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Written by  :  Shamal Jifan (21)
Written on  :  Mar 22, 2017
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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Summary

Maniac Mansion is Marvelous

The Good

Maniac Mansion is a great adaptation of a classic, point 'n click adventure game. These sort of games rarely got published for the Nintendo or Sega systems and, when they did, they were often hatchet jobs. Maniac Mansion is different.

Maniac Mansion features quite impressive, 8-bit graphics and music. Despite not having a computer mouse, the gameplay mechanics are responsive and easy to master.

The game excels both as a computer adaptation and as a stand alone NES game. Except for a few problems, this game is probably one of the best games legally published for the NES - during its original lifetime.

The Bad

Nintendo was insistent that games made for its system (especially by a third party game designer) reflect a certain, "family friendly" image.

The video game industry had not adopted an industry-wide rating system, and Nintendo felt the need to police the content of all NES, SNES and Game Boy games. Some games were subjected to more censorship than others, with Maniac Mansion being extensively policed by Nintendo.

They wanted games to avoid contemporary politics, Christian iconography (crosses and devil symbols), and they also wanted to avoid anything that might be seen, by parents, as profane, perverse, obscene or otherwise outside the neat and tidy family friendly box.

Nintendo insisted that the NES port of Maniac Mansion be less violent than the original (and already fairly tame) version of the game. Mild sexual innuendos were deleted or made very obscure.

Even representations of famous artwork were deleted to ensure that the LucasArts Adventure game didn't threaten Nintendo's "family friendly" image.

Oddly enough, early versions of the NES game allowed the player to murder a pet hamster. I guess sometimes things slipped by the all-powerful Nintendo censors.

The censorship doesn't ruin the NES game. If you aren't familiar with what has been cut or modified, you probably won't notice. However, it's unfortunate that the game had to be put through the "Big N's" content guidelines.

The Bottom Line

Maniac Mansion is a classic computer game, which is superbly ported on over to the NES. The game has been subjected to the censorship policies of Nintendo, but it is still a great game. This is one of LucasArts' best adventure games, and hopefully all of their adventure games will be made available for future generations.