Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39506)
Written on  :  Nov 14, 2011
Platform  :  Apple II
Rating  :  2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars
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Show what you think of Lord Cranston by stealing his treasures

The Good

Before they became famous for their King's Quest series, On-Line Systems (or Sierra On-Line, as they were called later) released a number of adventure games for the Apple ][ called Hi-Res Adventures. The first three of these were Mission: Asteroid, Mystery House, and Wizard and the Princess. The fourth one is called Cranston Manor.

The game is set in Coarsegold, which happens to be the same town in which On-Line was based at the time. It doesn't look so spectacular. You can't go into any of the buildings, with the only exception being the general store. This is where you have to get something that you need to complete the game.

During the game, you get to explore a mansion inhabited by the late Lord Cranston. His mansion is huge, containing many rooms that you wouldn't expect to find, including the sun room that you'll find later in the game. After Cranston died, no one has even attempted to buy the mansion, and it remains deserted except for the security detail that patrols it from time to time. You are exploring his mansion for only one purpose: steal the sixteen treasures inside it. But before entering the mansion, you have to get through a hedge maze. Luckily, the maze isn't as dangerous and you are free to do a little trial-and-error and see what is the best path to the front doors.

This and the mansion is the reason why making a map is necessary. When it comes to exploring a large area, maps can really help and by using them, you make sure that you don't want to go around in circles.

Cranston Manor makes full use of the Apple ]['s color palette to demonstrate each scene, and each scene is more colorful than those of Mystery House, Sierra's only Hi-Res adventure that had black-and-white graphics. Like other Hi-Res Adventures, there is no sound in the game, and I don't care if there is or if there isn't. As a primitive machine, I can't imagine what any background music would sound like coming through the Apple's speakers.

Control is via keyboard only, and a two-word, verb-noun combination is required to progress through the game. Some commands can be abbreviated. This includes directions and it saves you from typing the whole word in. If you have gotten used to text-only adventure games, you are welcome to try out the text-only mode, by pressing [Return] without typing anything. This is useful for some things like checking your inventory and your inventory list is quite long.

The Bad

If you play the game in text-only mode and you go off in some direction, it will automatically switch back to graphic mode to load up the next scene. This can be annoying for people who want some nostalgia, and don't wish to see graphics at all.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Cranston Manor involves players exploring a mansion and stealing the sixteen treasures from it. This task is made difficult with obstacles getting in your way, and the player has chance to overcome them later in the game. Like other of On-Line's adventure games for the Apple ][, they have the option of switching between graphic and text modes, a feature not present in other adventure games. If you are a fan of Sierra games, have an Apple machine handy, and want to know what Sierra was capable of in the early Eighties, then this game is for you.