Maniac Mansion

Developer: LucasArts
Release Date: 1987
241 KB
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A meteor falls from the sky. Out of the meteor crawls aliens who are nothing more than large intelligent primary colored tentacles. The tentacles and the meteor enslave Dr. Fred and Nurse Edna and twist them to become fiends out of a monster movie. Even their house, the mansion, become maniacal. Into this chaotic fist scene bumbles a troop of teenagers. Choose three alter egos to save the day, all with their own special skills and attributes.

This is a single player game, where depending upon the group you choose the puzzles in the game can be different. For example, Wendy, the budding novelist, can use the typewriter on the third floor to solve one puzzle, but Razor, the young female rock musician cannot type her way out of a paper bag. The puzzles are the treasure hunt type where you collect tons of artifacts and hope that you can use them later on. Other characters include Syd, Dave and Sandy.

The interface has the menu commands and scrolling inventory in the small area at the bottom of the screen, while the majority of the screen area at the top is reserved for the third person side view of the environment. The mansion must be explored and is very large, as is the script, since it was written to accommodate multiple solutions to the same problems.

There are many sight gags abound in this game including movie posters of Star Wars and other Lucas triumphs. Most of the humor comes from the well written script which seems to have a mind of its own.

Another landmark feature is that characters cannot die. When caught by the bad guys, the characters are incarcerated in a stone chamber marked "Seckrit Lab -."

The graphics are overall quite nice for the time, but are at a low level of pixels and a maximum of 16 colors. The animation of the main characters are very primitive, however, and look like colored bricks walking. Cut scenes carry out the commands given by the game player. The characters on the screen act out the command optionally. Should you want to preempt the animation you only need to enter another command.

Sound is virtually non-existent. Other than the introductory music, there is no music during the game play sequences. There are, however, sound effects throughout the game. For example there are crickets, water running noises when you turn on faucets, radio static, Fred's grandfather clock ticks spread out through the game.

Overall this game brings back a lot memories for a lot of people. It spawned an era of great adventure gaming, and for that I tip my hat off to this one.

By: Al Giovetti