Escape From Monster manor: review typed by 2tuff


Abandon hope all ye who enter here, warns the player's guide to the latest 3DO release, Escape From Monster Manor. And yes, as you've probably spotted, there's rich irony here: by now 3DO owners probably have just about abandoned hope of ever seeing a decent game on their system.

And sadly Monster Manor - in spite of a few nice and very detailed baddies - is not a game that anyone's going to rush out and buy a 3DO for. It took a team of no less than 25 people to produce this game, which although okay in places, looks too unfinished and too drab to make any kind of name for itself.

First there's the obvious Wolfenstein comparisons: Monster Manor does pretty much everything Wolfenstein 3D on the PC did, and it moves just about as swiftly. But then the massive wonders of the sequel, Doom, have since totally overshadowed Wolfenstein. And the comparison with Doom is infinitely worse: Monster Manor has none of the multiple play levels, the labyrinthine secret passages, and the amazing parallax scrolling. In fact, Monster Manor doesn't even have the multiple weapons (ie machine and chain guns) of the basic Wolfenstein.

Its's the 'look and feel' factor that's Monster Manor's biggest asset. The dark corridors, the offscreen shrieking, the hanging spiders, the snaggle-toothed old crones that chase you about - this is definately a scary battleground for a 3D encounter. But the gameplay lets it all down. The scythe-wielding ghouls that you face early on are no real challenge, killing the spiders is just a nuisance, and the ammunition and health power-ups seem too plentiful.

But the biggest failing is that most of the screens are too empty of things for you to interact with. And the occasional 3D gems and coins that you pick up seem to have almost no effect on the game - they're just money in the bank. Still, that's something that's probably a pretty unfamiliar concept to the 3DO company right now.


michel.buffa@cmu.edu