A Renaissance-influenced nineteenth century antebellum/colonial revival mansion located in a bayou nearby New Orleans, Louisiana was a happy home to a family (presumably the Gracey family) and resident ghosts until a cult of evil forces led by Atticus Thorn known as the Order of Shadows, terrorized the mansion including the family, causing them to abandon the home and forcing all its resident ghosts to serve his wills.
Author Ezekiel Holloway, nicknamed Zeke, was orphaned following his father's death and his mother's disappearance in the Civil War and lived in orphanages as well as several caretakers until he was old enough to live on his own. These experiences taught him the value of self-reliance and he has long dreamed of becoming a reputable writer. In order to do this, Zeke searches for a job in order to finance his passion. His desperation for a job leads him to discover a misleading newspaper advertisement about being a caretaker for the aforementioned mansion
Zeke makes the decision to take the job and journeys to the mansion on October 17, 1879. Upon examining the mansion on arrival, he is welcomed by six friendly ghosts, who are Atticus Thorn's slaves, causing him to faint in horror. When Zeke awakes, he meets a spirit in a crystal ball named Madame Leota, who informs him of the mansion's history and that Atticus Thorn has trapped 999 souls in the mansion as part of his attempt to take over the Afterlife and should be sent into the Depths of the Afterdeath. Leota also informs him on how to use the Beacon of Souls, a magic lantern that fires bolts of light to fight off evil forces, and adds that when at the hands of good, the Beacon can be used to stop or destroy evil.
Despite his fears, Zeke agrees to help them, and is given the weapon. He travels around the mansion, freeing shriveled ghosts and collecting legendary Soul Gems, the items that power up the Beacon, from the friendly ghosts. During the course of these events, Atticus Thorn watches with sadistic delight and occasionally appears to fight Zeke, who beats him successfully.
After fighting dozens of enemies, Zeke eventually gains a pirate's ring that unlocks a passageway to the Vault of Shadows, Atticus Thorn's secret lair behind a painting in the Foyer. Atticus reveals his plan to take over both the Afterlife and the Land of the Living, and he steals the Beacon of Souls from Zeke. Zeke and Leota face off against Thorn's true form, a giant, worm-like creature, in a massive battle. After Atticus' death, Zeke emerges victorious and is thanked by the friendly ghosts. The Haunted Mansion is finally returned to light, and the 999 spirits are set free and move on to Heaven. Zeke is employed as caretaker of the estate, and continues to live in harmony with the remaining ghosts along with Madame Leota. He then pursues his dream as a writer under Leota's guidance later on.
Ezekiel Halloway is a Louisiana young man desperately searching for work after the Civil War. Zeke grew up as an orphan, living with several caretakers throughout the years and is finally on his own. Zeke always felt lonely but had been used to it due to his parents' deaths. His father had died in the Civil War and his mother had gone missing shortly after. Zeke had to learn to fend for himself by his own ways. He'd always dreamed to become a writer and has written much but is stumped on what to write about in his current story. Zeke had always written about thrilling personal experiences yet hasn't had one in quite some time. Upon entering the mansion he discovers he has a story on his hands. That is - should he survive.
Throughout the mansion, Zeke uncovers lost entries of the chronicles of Atticus Thorn. As Zeke reads these, he learns that Atticus is the leader of a group entitled the Order of Shadows. The purpose of the Order of Shadows is to find the Beacon of Souls along with the legendary Soul Gems and use its powers to suck souls from the living and use their energy to conquer the Land of the Living as well as the realm of the dead, soon leaving nothing but food for worms. These chronicles date from 1342 to 1867, indicating Thorn's state of undead. Another league is the Brotherhood of the Soul, of which Madame Leota joined after being tricked by Thorn into joining the Order of Shadows and then realizing their deceptions. The purpose of the Brotherhood is to use any passed on soul energy for good and keep the Beacon safe from Thorn and his Order. As mentioned in one of Thorn's chronicles, "The Beacon had traveled through the valleys of Spain", the Beacon has been passed through regions of the Brotherhood all throughout the entire world.
- Ezekiel "Zeke" Holloway - the player character, Zeke is an unmarried dreamer who pursues his dream to become a writer. Dee Bradley Baker provided the voice of Zeke.
- Madame Leota - Imprisonment in her crystal ball by evil powers of Atticus Thorn and the Order of Shadows. She aids Zeke throughout his mission.
- Atticus Thorn - the game's main antagonist. He seeks to destroy everything and contains supernatural powers of which he uses to turn each room in the mansion into dark supernatural puzzles in which Zeke can undo by turning on the lights. Corey Burton provided the voice of Thorn.
The Friendly Ghosts are six of Madame Leota's friends who give soul gems, items that increase the beacon's power, after Zeke completes a certain level.
- Duelist - the first of the six friendly ghosts who died during a duel in the Wild West.
- Organist - the second of the six friendly ghosts who was crushed by the organ in Ballroom. Unlike the organist in the ride and the movie, the character does not wear a hat but retains his cape and is shown to be a short-tempered and rude person, on account of calling Zeke a "beggar" and his always being upset whenever his playing is interrupted. Despite his negative traits, the Organist is also kind to Zeke when he shows his gratitude for the latter's efforts to restore the mansion and also setting him and the other friendly ghosts as well as imprisoned spirits free from Thorn's control.
- Beheaded Knight - the third of the six friendly ghosts who was decapitated during the Renaissance period. Despite having a physical similarity to his ride counterpart, the character speaks with a British accent and was beheaded by guillotine instead of an executioner's axe.
- Opera Singer - the fourth of the six friendly ghosts and the first female member of the six who died after literally "bringing the house down" at a concert.
- Old Lady - the fifth of the six friendly ghosts Zeke meets who died from drinking poisoned tea in the Parlor.
- Pirate - the last of the six friendly ghosts Zeke meets whose crew turned against him in the Seven Seas during a hurricane, causing his death. He gives Zeke a pirate ring in the attic.
Atticus' minions and other enemies
Atticus Thorn imprisoned many souls and turned them into mindless, memory-less minions. Several varieties are listed below.
- Evil Spirits - The first enemy in the whole game. Zeke encounters these in every room after their introduction in the Great Hall and they easily shrivel up and hide when the lights are turned on. Evil spirits are easy to take down and do minimal damage, however they always show up in great numbers.
- Spiders - small, purple-and-white spiders introduced in the Foyer, cause little much harm and can be easily squished if Zeke steps on them.
- Giant Spiders - Introduced in the conservatory by crawling outside a window and fought first in the game room, These spiders are larger than Zeke, orange and black, and are seen throughout the entire mansion, although not as often as the smaller ones. They also shoot strong webs to take Zeke in and bite him, causing much harm. The giant spiders are based on Aragog and his children from the Harry Potter series.
- Banshees - Upon entering the Downstairs Hallway, Zeke sees a beautiful ghost with long brown hair covering her face and a faded pink dress, floating in the corner and disappearing. Upon Zeke's entry to the Kitchen, she calls his name and then floats up to him, emitting an bloodcurdling scream to go with her "Scream" face. Zeke encounters these in almost every room following the Kitchen and is encountered in the hallways after a certain amount of levels. After she is defeated, she gives one final scream and magically vanishes.
- Skeleton Warriors - In the Graveyard, they are introduced when they rise up from underground and attack Zeke. They also have bone weapons known as Bone-erangs (pun of boomerang) that they throw at him and they shield themselves with their coffin doors. Zeke sees them throughout the mansion since.
- Gargoyles and their sidekicks - In the Mausoleum Battle, Zeke must defeat them. Every time the Gargoyles punch the ground with their fists, they release monkey skeletons that try to attack Zeke. He encounters them in a few rooms after.
- Knights - After Zeke turns on the lights in the Trophy Room, a knight comes to life and attacks him. They scream and grunt loudly and try to impale Zeke with their axes at every chance they get. They show up in almost every room after and chase him in the hallways. They are based on the moving suit of armor in the ride.
- Dark Reapers - When the chase scene in the closet of the Children's Room is over, Zeke feels safe. Unfortunately the lights are still off and a similar creature to that of the Grim Reaper busts down the closet door and attacks Zeke. The Dark Reapers make a weird noise when first seen and every subsequent reappearance after turning invisible. They are fought in a few rooms after the Children's Room is cleared, including the Attic, where Zeke gets his 999th soul. Seen first in the Great Hall after Zeke breaks down the barrier and walks through the door and floating in mid-air outside the windows of the Winter Garden after the lights are turned on. Fought first in Children's Room.
- Atticus Thorn and the Worms - Atticus Thorn throws new moves he has learned during the time the player hasn't found a soul gem. He also has strange Worm creatures helping him when he fights the player that emerge from his cloak. At the end, Atticus is revealed to be a giant Worm creature. He can breathe fireballs from his mouth and bite Zeke if he gets too close. The giant gem on his chest, the weak point in the final battle can send out a flash that depletes the player's life, depending on where he is looking.
Scenes and rooms from the game
Great Hall: The starting room and the training area where the light switch is easily accessed. The only enemies here are the evil spirits.
Foyer: There are two staircases leading to the light switch that collapse when Zeke steps on them and the only route is through a painting. The small spiders are the enemies first introduced here. A grandfather clock for saving game progress is located here.
Conservatory: Zeke must activate a piano and climb on books to activate the cello and violin in the balconies to gain access to the switch. The Tome of Shadows Volume I can be read here.
Game Room: Zeke must defeat a giant spider which is the main enemy and pocket balls in a pool table to gain access the switch. The first upgrade of the beacon is found here. The duelist is introduced here.
Downstairs Hallway: Zeke encounters here a Banshee girl and nailed doors with clawed hands. A second grandfather clock for saving game progress is located here.
Kitchen: After defeating the banshee ghost which is the enemy introduced in this level, Zeke must make a trail of wine in order to bring light.
Maid’s Room: The room acts like a maze with walls that move and create a limited view and Zeke must find 4 doors leading to the switch. The Tome of Shadows Volume II can be read here.
Dining Room: The light switch is easy to access to here, but when Zeke activates it, the candles in the chandelier start floating around the room and Zeke must chase them to bring light. Once he has all of them lit, he should jump to the lowered chandelier to light up the room.
Ballroom: When the organ sends strong wind to hold Zeke back, he uses spider webs here to access it where the switch is behind it. Atticus Thorn is first fought here. The second upgrade of the beacon is found here. The Organist's ghost is introduced here.
Winter Garden: Zeke avoids the falling floors here to get the water fountains to the proper gratings.
Graveyard: Zeke must activate the singing busts to raise the mausoleum and crypts and light up the area. The skeleton warriors are the enemies first introduced here.
Mausoleum: Zeke must battle the Gargoyles and sidekicks in 3 minutes. The Tome of Shadows Volume III can be read here.
Pantry: In this room, a portal begins the next battle. This is the second encounter with Atticus Thorn. The third upgrade is found here. The Beheaded Knight's ghost is introduced here.
Upstairs Hallway: The next hallway in the game. It is either accessed in the Foyer or in the Downstairs Hallway. A third grandfather clock for saving game progress is located here.
Study Room: Zeke must step on the round carpets to make the furniture (bookshelves, desks, chairs, etc.) lead to the light switch which is above the cupboard. The Tome of Shadows Volume IV can be read here.
Toy Room: Zeke must walk by using the ball to get the switch which is inside the toy box.
Trophy Room: The fireballs thrown by the fireplace that Zeke must shield himself with shields are used to light up the room. It can be used to defeat some enemies if they appear. The knight ghosts are the enemies first introduced here.
Sun Room: Zeke must arrange the mirrors to make light and this is the third encounter with Atticus Thorn. The fourth upgrade is here. The Opera singer's ghost is introduced here.
Sitting Room: Zeke must chase the light switch to its place.
Museum: Zeke must make it through a chessboard like game without walking in front of a knight. The Tome of Shadows Volume V can be read here.
Children’s Room: Zeke must survive while being helped by Madame Leota in the chase in the closet. The enemy first introduced here is the Dark Reaper.
Parlor: Zeke must step on the circular carpets to arrange the walls leading to the switch. This is the fourth encounter with Atticus Thorn. The final beacon upgrade is found here. The Old Lady's ghost is introduced here.
Gallery: Zeke must change the evil paintings to good, by walking past them, to turn the lights on.
Observatory: Zeke must jump from every obstacle to gain access to the light switch.
Attic: The enemies introduced in all levels are finally fought here. The cranks Zeke turns brings light to the room. The Pirate's ghost who is introduced here gives Zeke a pirate ring which is the key to the Vault of Shadows. The Tome of Shadows Volume VI can be read here.
The Stretching Room: This serves as the entrance to the Vault of Shadows. The only enemies here are Atticus' worms.
The Vault of Shadows: The final level of the game. Zeke must defeat Atticus Thorn twice who is a gigantic insect like creature. After that, The next area is a lava pool where Atticus, after being defeated submerges in flames.
- Many famous scenes from the ride (Ballroom, Dining Room, Stretching Room, Endless Hallway (including the candelabra), seance room, the Attic, and the graveyard) appear in the game. The Mausoleum, foyer, and conservatory/library, however are taken from the film while the Great Hall and other levels are created for the game.
- Some characters in the Haunted Mansion ride appear as well in the game. They include Madame Leota, the Beheaded Knight's Ghost, the Organist, the Opera Singer's Ghost, the Duelist's Ghost, the Bride's Ghost, the Hitchhiking Ghosts, the Singing Busts, and many more.
- Most of the Sinister 11 portraits and changing portraits from the ride can be found throughout the game.
- The song Grim Grinning Ghosts from the ride is featured in the credits of the game, which is called as "Tortured Souls".
- Based on both the Haunted Mansion Rides and Movie.
- Doc Penezek, the maker of the tonic that restores Zeke's bravery, can be met up with in the kitchen. He appears once the souls have all been captured.
- Zeke was inspired by the Caretaker seen in the rides. However, the caretaker from the ride appears as a friendly ghost in the Winter Garden.
- The Bride's ghost also waits for her groom like Melanie Ravenswood which is a reference to Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor.
- In the Ballroom, people can be seen riding the Haunted Mansion Ride above left side. This only happens right after beating Atticus Thorn for the first time. If you leave, they disappear.
- In the Gallery, there are of course a number of familiar paintings that originate from the ride along with a few new additions. Interestingly, one of the paintings depicts a castle on fire. When it transforms into its good form, it appears to be the Walt Disney World version of the Haunted Mansion ride exterior.
- In the left section of the Downstairs Hallway leading to the Ballroom and Graveyard, there are busts on both sides that look and follow Zeke when walking past much like the ones in the ride.