Monday, 27 February 2012

Quick Update and Final Rating for Maniac Mansion

I’m having a busy few days right now so I haven’t had any time to start the next game. I’ll definitely have an update of some sort in the next few days though.

In the meantime, I’ve had a good think about the situation involving which version of Maniac Mansion I played through, and how that might have affected my rating of the game. For anyone unaware of the discussion, I played through the enhanced edition of the game which was released a short while after the original (around a year later). The enhanced edition has much better graphics than the original, but is otherwise exactly the same. A few people have commented that playing the enhanced edition would have skewed my rating, particularly the score I attributed to the Sound and Graphics category.


The original Maniac Mansion

Before I reveal my decision, it’s worth noting that the Enhanced Edition is not a remake of Maniac Mansion. It is an enhanced version of the original game. This is different to the Sierra remakes that were developed in the early nineties, where all aspects of the game were improved upon and in some cases the actual game mechanics were changed considerably. Not the case here!

I’ve decided to adjust my final rating for Maniac Mansion. My reason for this is not so much because I didn’t play the original release (in other words, I’m not opposed to playing patched or updated versions of a game), but because I did unfairly compare the graphics of the game to other games released in and prior to 1987, when the enhanced edition was released in either 1988 or 1989 (the jury is out on that). I’ve spent a bit of time checking out the original release and I don’t believe that the puzzles, interface, or any other category apart from Sound and Graphics would have been unfairly skewed by the version I played. It’s fair to say that Environment and Atmosphere may have been skewed by the increased graphical quality, but since I happened to be fairly critical in that department when rating the game, I don’t think that’s the case for Maniac Mansion.


The Enhanced Maniac Mansion

So, I’m going to change the 7 I gave for Sound and Graphics to a 5. The graphics are merely on par with the likes of Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest which I gave 6, but there is a distinct lack of sound in Maniac Mansion which I’d criticised previously. This changes the overall rating of Maniac Mansion from a 65 to a 62, which still rightfully leaves it at the top of the board. The good thing is that there are very few future cases of games with multiple versions, but whenever I come across them, I will make sure I play the earlier version wherever possible.

9 comments:

  1. First comment!
    Nice to see you responding to your fans like that. What I'd do in future is play the original, then when you hit the enhanced do it again with totally different characters and get another ending. Where such multiple totally different solutions exist anyway.

    Just my $0.02CND.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great idea Canageek and I think I'll do that whenever an enhanced edition justifies a replay. If it's only minor stability tweaks, then it won't be interesting reading, even if the game does have multiple solutions.

    I was going to make some smart comment about the value of your $0.02CND when exchanged to Australian dollars, but it turns out it rounds up to $0.02AUD, which doesn't give me much room for humour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you consider the Sierra remakes as having enough new to justify a replay?

      Delete
    2. Yes. I intend to play the remakes.

      Delete
  3. Well, having gone through the game once, you shouldn't have a problem getting through it rather quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You should play the NES version of Maniac Mansion when 1990 rolls around. There's a couple reasons I think this would be worthwhile. First of all, the graphics are completely different from the other versions, not just enhanced but a totally different style. Second, it has a LOT more music, done by The Fat Man, and all of it is fantastic. Third, there's a lot of changes that were made due to Nintendo's censorship policies, and it's interesting to see what got cut out and what stayed in, though it's the most unfortunate part of otherwise the best version of Maniac Mansion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. There are also some small, but significant changes to the interface, such as the "What Is" verb being integrated into the cursor.

      Delete
  5. I used to play this on the NES. I could never beat it, though I enjoyed playing it. The SCUMM interface works really well, and all of these LucasArts games have a really endearing, quirky sense of humor. No surprise to see this one get such a high PISSED rating.

    ReplyDelete