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Mayhem in Monsterland

Moby ID: 16369

[ All ] [ Commodore 64 ] [ Wii ]

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 88% (based on 7 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 3 reviews)

The C64 era ends with a bang

The Good
Mayhem in Monsterland was one of the last games that was released for the Commodore 64 a year before the machine was discontinued. In the game, players take control of Mayhem, a cute little dinosaur who has the task of restoring color to a series of lands that Theo, his apprentice dinosaur, destroyed by mistake as he was practicing his master's spells. To do this, he needs to collect several bags of magic dust and bring them back to Theo so that he can use the dust to make the world colorful again. When the player collects enough bags, a section of the landscape is animated to show them where Theo's cave is.

It is up to the player to go around each of the game's five lands and collect the magic dust by jumping on monsters to destroy them. They can also be destroyed by charging at them at a faster speed, and performing this maneuver also allows the player to jump longer distances. Most of the monsters walk around or just stand there, while some of them hurl projectiles at the player. Some monsters are the same size as Mayhem, but only a few of them are twice the size. Their size does not matter and Mayhem can still jump over them easily.

The player can use the landscape to their advantage. For instance, jumping on birds propels the player to certain areas that are inaccessible just by foot. In some situations, this can be complicated as the player needs to jump on the bird more than once without falling off, but this can be achieved with a little practice. Also, Mayhem has the ability to climb up tress so that he is level with a platform and can easily jump onto it.

Once the player enters a new land, it is in a “sad” state. This is demonstrated by the dismal (but catchy) background music as well as certain elements such as lightning, thunder, and some features in the environment including trees with sad faces on them. Once the player has collected the magic dusts required and give them to Theo, the land is transformed into a “happy” state, where the land itself is very colorful, there is jazzy background music, and there are stars in the sky. For the player to arrive in a new land, enough stars need to be collected.

While I was making my way through the lands, I tend to fall off the platform to the one I didn't want to be. Either that, or I would fall to my doom (ie: go off the bottom of the screen and lose a life). When players are about to fall off the edge of the platform they are standing on, Mayhem's mouth turns into an “o” shape to indicate that he is gasping.

I enjoyed the introduction of the game, which shows the player the monsters they face during the game. I also liked the ending. It is a true ending where the end credits are displayed and scrolling pictures accompany them.

Controls are easy to get use to. Movement is achieved by pushing the joystick left or right, while jumping requires the player to push up. I am not sure if this is correct, but I think that charging at monsters is done by pushing down while approaching them.

The Bad
The last three lands, in their “sad” state, are already in color instead of B&W, giving the impression that they are “slightly sad” instead. Other than this, I found no problems with the game.

The Bottom Line
Mayhem in Monsterland is one of the last games that were released before the C64's death, and demonstrates just how stunning a C64 game can be in terms of graphics and sound. The players controls a dinosaur who has to restore color to each of the game's five lands by collecting bags of magic dusts to give to one of your fellow dinosaur, and stopping the player from completing his task will be a variety of dinosaurs (both big and small).

There are at least two ways to destroy these monsters, with one way being difficult to perform than the other. The player can make use of objects scattered around the landscape to get to hard-to-reach areas. Each of the five lands may take a long time to complete, depending on the player's performance. Anyone who likes playing excellent platform games as much as I do should add this game to their collection.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2009

Fantastic fun, an amazing technical feat, and an unrecognised classic.

The Good
Lets get this straight, I owned this game during the final days of the C64 and played it solidly for months. Sure it crashed on occasion but in no way did this make the game unplayable and it did NOT happen very often. My experience of the game bares no resemblance to the previous reviewer. With that out of the way, I can now say how great the game actually was! The speed, looks, sound, humour and sheer downright playability of this game made it a truly memorable experience and a fitting swansong for the C64 (the amount of time spent working on and perfecting the game meant that by the time its release date came around, the C64 was in it's final days as a commercial machine).

The Bad
I really, really cannot think of anything... Mayhem was a defining moment in gaming for me, if not just for the sheer technical achievement then for the fond memories of the hours spent playing on it and the initial amazement at what could be done on the humble 8 -bit.. I suppose the only thing I could say is that I wish it had come out earlier during the C64's lifespan. It would have stood as a defining benchmark to other publishers and developers on what could be achieved with the right amount of effort, dedication and skill. It may even have extended the life of the machine too, showing that it could keep up with the latest wave of 16-bit games consoles that eventually saw off the C64.

The Bottom Line
I would not want to play this game again. Time marches on and compared to current games, I am sure the game would look and play very basic. My memories would be marred. But that does not make this game any less of an all time classic. The previous reviewer does the game down and mocks its 100% rating in Commodore Format Magazine but I feel it was a justified score. I'm not saying it is the best game ever made. That would be ridiculous. What I am saying is that this is by far and away the best game to ever appear on the C64 and wrung every bit of processing power from it to create the best platformer possible for that particular format. Would that not justify 100%?

Commodore 64 · by Andrew Brudenell (4) · 2007

Could have been great.

The Good
The pretty graphics, the detailed and amusing characters.

The Bad
By 1993, consoles had more or less taken over and it seemed inevitable the C64 would soon be flat-lining. Apex, who had created the best-selling classic Creatures 2, were bringing out a game containing a console-like character who might save the C64. Or at least ensure it went out on a high note. It is therefore a shame that so many reviewers of the day reviewed it according to those facts (one magazine gave it 100% score!) , rather than giving it a realistic mark. The main gripe I have with this game is that, just as you're getting into it, it crashes. You can re-load it is many times as you like, but each play will end in the inevitable crash. The makers of this game, and all those C64 magazines who conned everyone into thinking it was the greatest thing since the wheel, ought to be ashamed.

The Bottom Line
As Mayhem, a little horned dinosaur, you must explore five areas, avoiding varied beasts and collecting enough stars to transform the levels from sad and dismal grey lands into places of joy and happiness. Give the stars to a magic dinosaur and then collect the stars from the happy lands.

Commodore 64 · by Gary Smith (57) · 2005

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by FatherJack, Koos King, Tim Janssen, CalaisianMindthief, Patrick Bregger, Dario Lanzetti.