Friday, 13 January 2017

Maxwell Manor (Atari 800 / Commodore 64)

Maxwell Manor (Atari 800 / C64) :

Strange things are afoot at Maxwell Manor....The former mad scientist-type owner has been found headless and obviously dead in the library, and strange creatures resulting from bizarre experiments on doilys & combs (seriously!) roam the grounds and manor, as do undead spiders and the like!

The Psychical Society believes that the legendary Skull Of Doom is now in control of the manor and has tasked you... the wonderfully named Professor Arabesque...with the task of entering the manor, seeking out the skull and destroying it!

With no instructions, this game can be rather confusing as you start off in the middle of road with no idea where to go. A gun, shield and sword can be found here, but if you venture too far along the road you'll end up getting lost and find yourself zapped to the mansion gates! This is not the entry into the manor though, and you'll need to find another entrance somewhere along the wall....

Thinking the game was a bit basic, and not really wanting to continue with it, I did manage to find and check out the instructions online before giving up on it completely...and I'm glad I did! The game is a lot more complex than it first appears!

Apparently there are over a thousand variations to how the game will play out, although the instructions are deliberately vague about what exactly affects these variations. Also included in the game manual are some maps that show how the various areas are connected, so it's worth having the instructions for this fact alone!

The various creatures can be attacked with the sword or gun, and the shield will deflect some projectiles...but I'll leave it up to you to discover how to beat the Vampyre Spider and it's sticky webbing! Oh, and if you happen to die too many times, escape from Limbo can only be achieved by choosing the right direction!

There are a few more items to pick up with some unique abilities, but again you'll get more enjoyment if I leave these for you to discover yourselves. Hopefully you'll make it through the mazes and get to the manor...which I have yet to actually do myself...although I hear some jumping and platforming skills may be needed!

But yeah, having given the game a bit more time, my first impressions turned out to be wrong...and I now recommend Maxwell Manor to any Atari 800 or C64 owners or emulators who are willing to put in that little bit of effort required to fully enjoy it!


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