February 10, 2015

Maniac Mansion

Lucasfilm Limited, 1987

LucasArts, well known for producing games with superb graphics and interfaces, developed this classic adventure game in the days when the PC-XT ruled the world. Yet even with the technological limitations of the era, it became extremely popular and subsequently inspired a television series by the same name. The story starts when a strange meteor crashes near Dr. Fred's mansion. Since the crash, nearly twenty years ago, Dr. Fred has been building strange devices and conducting bizarre experiments. Unfortunately, his latest evil experiment includes Dave's girlfriend, Sandy, and now it's up to Dave and two of his buddies to go save her from the mad scientist!  This game was later used as the basis for the wildly successful LucasArts adventure release, Day of the Tentacle.


Computer's Dream, 1990

This cyber-punk thriller casts you in the role of a secret agent for the clandestine 22nd Century organization B.A.T. As a B.A.T. operative you must infiltrate the underworld of crime and corruption using many nifty spy-gadgets, including B.O.B., an organic computer that has been implanted in your arm. While this game is quite enjoyable, the fun is marred by an annoying interface and a somewhat confusing plot.

Additionally, some role-playing elements, such as the need to monitor stats and health levels, also detracts from the overall game enjoyment. If you can overlook these flaws, however, you will greatly enjoy this unique and underrated game.


Core Designs, 1994

In this classical old-style adventure, you are playing as Boris Verne, an ordinary young guy who has been mistakenly teleported to a parallel universe while fiddling with his uncle's Virtual Dimension Inducer. While looking for a way back to your own dimension, you'll will have to find fabled lost star as well as a way to defeat the Golden King.

While it is clear that the folks at Core Design spent considerable time perfecting the graphics for Universe, they did not pay as much attention to other equally important aspects of the game. The controls are overly complicated and the story weak. Perhaps better music and the injection of humor into the tale would have made the contrived plot less noticeable. But as it stands, this is not Core Design's best work. I recommend this game only to a die-hard adventurer whose life depends on playing adventure games.

Little Big Adventure

Activision, Inc., 1995

Little Big Adventure is a nifty adventure brought to you by the developers of the great Alone in the Dark series. The title was first released in Europe under a different title, Relentless. The game casts you in the role of Twinsen, a young Quetch trying to make sense of a dream that predicts the destruction of his home world, the planet Twinsun. You must help Twinsen to escape from the asylum and travel to Fortress Island to save his beloved wife from the manacles of evil Dr. Funfrock. Can you help him save his wife and the world?

The game plays in an isometric perspective in a well designed 3D world with super VGA resolution. It has excellent music and sound effects that enhances the actions of Twinsen and the other characters. A treat any serious adventure genre fan should have.


Microids Canada, 2002

Syberia is another masterpiece from the French artist and novelist Benoit Sokal. You play the role of Kate Walker, a lawyer who has been entrusted by her law firm to negotiate and finalize the deal of an old toy and automaton factory in Valadilene on behalf of their client, Universal Toy Company. The deal seemed quite normal as the sole proprietor of the firm, Anna Voralberg has decided to sell up the factory, but the day before Kate arrives in Valadilene, Anna Voralberg dies. Anna's notary announces that he can't finalize the deal, as there is an heir to the property – her brother Hans. But Hans had left the place at the end of the thirties and never returned, and was actually believed to be dead. While investigating Anna's office, Kate finds a proof that Hans is alive and waiting for his sister to join him. He has  already sent her the design of a travelling device, an automaton train with a unique automaton driver. In order to finalize the factory deal you will have to travel in place of Anna. So, you embark on this long and exciting adventure to find Hans Voralberg.

A sequel of this game is also released, in which you will continue the rest of the journey. Syberia claims to have the most exuberant graphics ever seen in any adventure game along with an equally delightful music and excellent voice-acting. All these qualities make this game a masterpiece and a best buy.

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!

Sierra On-Line, 1993

In this sequel, Larry becomes more health conscious...NOT! Actually, Larry wins a vacation package at a health spa/hotel. Once again, everyone's favorite lounge lizard is looking for love in the shallowest of places.  And again, you must "score" to win the game! The hotel is full of willing women, but each has a problem you must solve before they will welcome you into their beds. Al Lowe's marvelous Larry graphic adventures only get better!