The Let's Play Archive

Compute!'s Gazette

by Chokes McGee

Part 3: Chokes McGee - Haunted Mansion

Let's Play Haunted Mansion A DOOM HOUSE?!

Feb. 1984, Vol. 2, No. 2



This is one those games that comes with a storyline built in, so I'll just settle back and let the intro tell you wh—



Ghosts, bats, and spirits, eh? Sounds like what you need is a Bad Enough Dude to save the President's cats.


Grab cats, one at a time, and haul them back to the bottom of the maze. You'll lose points and temporarily freeze your guy by running into ghosts and bats. You'll also be pushed back a random number of steps if you're carrying a cat, ostensibly because you drop the damn thing and have to go collect it. Save ten cats and the maze regenerates so you can keep going. Run into one of the evil-faced spirits, and it's an instant game over.

This a strategic game more than an action game. You can just plow over all the ghosts and bats in your way and then bring the kitties home, but you want to go for the high score, right? I hope you said yes because that's the only metric you have for success in this game and also possibly in life. The rest is figuring out how to deal with spirits in tight spaces, because they move infrequently but in small, super erratic bursts.


I picked max difficulty because I'm a balla like that

Right away, you can see I messed up a couple of lines of code. As a result, the externals of the house aren't quite up to OSHA standards. Apparently it's a groverhaus instead of a DOOM HOUSE?! Who knew.

House #1

Nothing particularly exciting here. Spirits are jamming most of the empty intersections, so I make the easy saves, then take out a bat to the left to open up the middle cats. Same thing with a rightmost ghost for the rightmost cats. After that, the tough part is how to get to the top of the house without plowing over a bunch of mobs in the process. I finally just bite the bullet, run into a couple of bats at the top, and corkscrew my way up and down for the last two cats.


House #2

Yeah, this one doesn't go nearly as well. Not the least of which because a spirit spawned next to nearly every single feline on the board.

I grab the first three fairly easily, although I have to hustle to get the third as that spirit gets reeeeeeaaally interested that I'm up there. I continue to live life on the edge by taking out a bat and using that to get to two cats in the middle—one of which is directly by a spirit, who fortunately decides not to move.

Another trip up the right side, plow over a bat, the grab the kitty from the middle of the house. That's six!

For reasons I don't understand on watching the playback, I decide to take the literal most dangerous route possible to the middle of the board, then to the upper left and over a bat to open up the top two cats. I slam into a ghost and a bat on complete accident while carrying the first one home—the controls in this game aren't exactly crisp—and despite there being two spirits in the general area, I manage to get it to safety. I then make an incredibly poor decision of plowing over two bats on the left side, freeing the spirit, then slipping in behind him to grab the cat. I mean, on the face of it, the plan almost worked... but I shot out of there too fast afterwards, and the result was a game over.

The Good

I'll be damned! It's an actual video game! One that's kind of fun to play! The incredible thing is that it was originally made for the VIC-20 and ported over to C64.

Those are actual symbols on the screen that you can type in, by the way. The C64 keyboard had a shitload of extra characters like that, and all you had to do was use SHIFT or the Commodore key to get them. The program does cheat a little and alters the bitmaps of certain characters when it starts in order to produce "sprites" that can be moved quickly around the screen. It's a pretty simple/crude, but on the other hand, they came up with a quick and dirty system that actually isn't too shabby. I mean, it's not going to win any IGN awards, but for something you punched in from the back of a magazine it's not bad at all.

The Bad


The Weird

"...also leading candidate for the Zodiac Killer."

I am reasonably certain doing taxes on a VIC-20 is not only a sign you're going to be audited but also that you need powerful antipsychotics for the well-being of you and those around you.

The Verdict

Quick(ish) to type in and actually fun, Haunted Mansion is something I could see myself playing a few rounds of while I'm waiting for my coffee to brew, someone to return an email, work to stop paying attention so I play better games, etc. 4 of 6 would type in again!!!!!!