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MANIAC MANSION

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela


This old game is famous! It was the very first adventure game ever made by LucasArts (then called LucasFilm) and it totally revolutionized the gaming industry. And it was so popular that it spawned a TV series by the same name. Still a delight to play even today, it is one which should not be missed by anyone who loves a great game (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear 'Maniac Mansion' now).

It seems that an unusual meteor crashed some time ago near the home of eccentric scientist Dr. Fred Edison. And since then some very strange things have been going on in and around the creepy old mansion.

The swimming pool is glowing with an unearthly light. Dr. Fred himself has gone mad and has been performing bizarre experiments, determined to control the world "one teenager at a time". And the rest of the family is no better. His sister, Nurse Edna, is a grim and frightful-looking creature with a single minded purpose that "would make a sailor blush". There's a scary-looking teenager and even the family pets are weird: a couple of walking, talking tentacles created by Dr. Fred in his lab. And then of course there's also ..... Dead Cousin Ted.

As the game begins, Dr. Fred has kidnapped Dave's girlfriend, a sweet young cheerleader named Sandy, and is about to perform a 'brain drain' experiment on her. In desperation, Dave has assembled 6 friends, each with different talents and abilities, to break in and rescue her. But on second thought he decides that they'd be more likely to remain undetected if only 3 of them went in at a time. So he chooses the 2 who he thinks will be most helpful and, "scared out of their shorts", they tiptoe toward the door .....

When it was first released in 1987, this game broke new ground in several ways. It had a revolutionary 'engine' that allowed 3rd person point and click play instead of typing in commands, and screen scrolling for the first time. You could choose your 'team' from multiple characters and switch between controlling and interacting with any of the 3 while playing. And it had an unheard of level of replayability because both the story line and the puzzles changed according to which characters you chose, with up to 9 possible endings.

It is a non-linear game with many zany puzzles that require some seriously creative thinking, but are a lot of fun to do. Indeed it is challenging enough to hold the interest of any gamer since there are no obvious clues about where to go or what to do next. You can get caught and thrown into the dungeon or run into a dead end if you're missing something you need. And, unlike in later LucasArts games, you can die ..... unexpectedly and often.

But the situations and incidents are hysterical and the old graphics seem to add even more to the campy fun, with exaggerated character features and strange skin colors. The house itself is spooky, plus you never know when you're going to run into one of the demented inhabitants out roaming the halls. And the hilarious characters are absolutely unforgettable, from the man-hungry Nurse Edna to the nerdy and panicky Bernard. (Weird Ed: "Mommy, I'm worried about Daddy. He hasn't been at dinner for 5 years, ever since he started taking all those bodies down to the basement." Nurse Edna: "I'm a busy woman, Ed. What's your point?")

It is a classic: one of the few, truly original games which were later often copied but never surpassed. And although it looks ancient by today's graphical standards and has only subtitles (no voice), it is nevertheless still a lot of fun. Try it!


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Produced (1987) and published by LucasArts Entertainment.

Is available on the CD-ROM with Day of the Tentacle (its sequel).

Also available along with 3 CDs ( Day of the Tentacle - It is on this CD,  Indiana Jones and the Fate of AtlantisSam & Max Hit the Road ) in The LucasArts Archives: Adventure Collection.

Was available boxed with 4 other games in LucasArts Classic Adventures (on 3-1/2 inch discs).

Minimum System Requirements: Available for IBM, Apple II, Commodore 64, Amiga and ST

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthroughs" available here!

"Walkthrough" available here!


Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  1998, Revised 2001
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