Maniac Mansion - Overview

Overview

Maniac Mansion takes place in the mansion of the Edison family: Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna, and their son Weird Ed. Living with the Edisons are two large, disembodied tentacles – one purple and the other green. The intro sequence shows that a meteor crashed near the mansion twenty years earlier. The sentient meteor took control of the family and caused Dr. Fred to start sucking out human brains for use in experiments; his family supported and encouraged him in these efforts. One day, main protagonist Dave Miller's girlfriend, cheerleader Sandy Pantz, disappears without a trace, and he suspects that Dr. Fred has kidnapped her. After the game's introduction, Dave and his two companions prepare to enter the mansion to rescue Sandy; the game starts with a prompt for the player to select two of six characters to accompany Dave.

Maniac Mansion is a graphic adventure game in which the player uses a point-and-click interface to guide characters through a two-dimensional (2D) game world and to solve puzzles. Players can select from fifteen different commands with this scheme; examples include "Walk to", to move the characters; "New kid", to switch between the three characters; and "Pick up", to collect objects. Each character possesses unique abilities; for example, Syd and Razor can play musical instruments, while Bernard can repair appliances. The game may be completed with any character combination, but because many puzzles can be solved only with specific skills, the game can be finished in different ways, depending on the characters the player has chosen.

The gameplay is regularly interrupted by cutscenes (a term coined by Ron Gilbert) that advance the story and inform the player about non-player characters' actions. Aside from the green tentacle, the mansion's inhabitants pose a threat and will throw the player characters into the dungeon – or in some situations kill them – if they see them. If one character dies, the player must choose a replacement from the unselected characters; the game ends if all the characters die. Maniac Mansion has five possible successful endings that depend on which characters the player uses, which ones survive, and what events occur.

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