When This Games A Rockin Don't Come A Knockin
Maniac Mansion, was the first adventure game from LucasArts. As well as the first game to use the now infamous S.C.U.M.M. design. That would later be implemented by the Monkey Island series. The NES port is surprisingly an excellent port of the PC classic.
In Maniac Mansion, Dave’s girlfriend Sandy, is taken by the loony Dr. Fred. To be used in an experiment. “Weird Fred”, will take her brain! Dave and two of his friends of your choosing, must infiltrate the mansion and rescue Sandy.
Each of Dave’s friends has there own unique talents and abilities. Michael for instance, is the only one that can develop Weird Ed’s secret spy film. While Wendy is the only one that can re-write the memoirs of the tentacle.
Depending on how you solve the puzzles will result in the various different endings. These add to the replay value of the game. And make Maniac Mansion, the only LucasArts adventure with multiple endings.
In the game you explore the house, collecting items, using them to solve problems, and avoiding being caught by the members of the house. Some items are implemented very well, while others tend to be more off-beat. The way Ed reacts to the doorbell ringing is genius.
The Graphics are good for a NES game. But compared to other versions of the game they are more of a mixed bag. The Commodore 64 version for example, features bigger more detailed sprites. But they tend to be less colorful. But overall they are good, practically considering the weakness of the NES.
The Music really shines here. All the kids and situations have a theme song. All of which are very catchy. I have not played this game in years, yet, I can remember the music as if it was yesterday. Why doesn’t all NES music sound this good?
There are very few sound effects to speak of. But the very few there are fit the context, and the game as well as possible.
The controls suffer on the NES. A mouse would be ideal for a game like this. And of course there is not one for the NES. You can only save one game. In the Commodore 64 version you could not save at all, so I guess this is an improvement, yet more save slots would have been nice.
This version is pretty obsolete, with the LucasFan Games version. Which is freeware by the way. That’s the one I play when I have a hankering for some Maniacing.
The Bottom Line
Overall this is one of the best games of the NES. Despite the fact that the free remake is available. Try it if you are one of those types that must play every version of a game that you like.