Escape from Monster Manor


Review by Doug Jackson



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 5


To set the tone for this review I want everyone to close their eyes and remember back to the days when first person shooters were almost always bad. You plodded along endless mazes and corridors, usually devoid of much detail or fun. There would be no variety in the enemies. You wander around endlessly searching for a single item in each stage and then continue wandering until you find an exit, then rinse, lather, and repeat. Now open your eyes and breathe a sigh of relief because those days have come and are long gone.

monstermanor13do.jpg (13734 bytes)With as much buzz as these games created back then, why didn't they sell more consoles and carry the systems better? Could it be that most really sucked and gamers finally saw through the illusion and realized that they were buying 80% hype and 20% game play? That's exactly right.

Now you're probably asking me why I gave you this scenario that you have no care on Earth to remember. Well, it's because Escape from Monster Manor fits this exact scenario with almost 100% accuracy. Electronic Arts wowed us with many other games on the 3DO that had great graphics and game play, but this game gives us great graphics, but that was their illusion for selling this game.

You'll play the first few stages and think this game is amazing, but by the third or fourth stage, once reality sinks in, you finally have to admit that you've seen the whole game. The game plays exactly the same through the rest of the eight stages, only they grow bigger and bigger, ammo becomes sparse, levels take longer, and if you die you get to start the whole stage over. Sound like something that'd be fun? No!

Electronic Arts gives a great intro with some very smooth FMV and the level graphics are extremely smooth though devoid of detail. You'll start in an attic, which looks like it should. Some times there will be some corpse hanging in a noose but there is no way to tell any area apart from the next from level to level.

Like variety? Yeah! Well, there are only four enemies: Grim Reapers, ghosts, spiders, and these stupid heads with a face on each side, and they have to keep you entertained for 12 stages. You get the privilege of using this gun that looks like it's from a 1950's movie and zap the baddies with electricity (can someone say Ghost Busters rip-off?). One cool thing is that your band gets bloodier the more you get hurt. Gun replenishments look like urchins, and first aid signs add health. This is nothing original. The music is cool though and sets a creepy yet lighthearted tone and is pretty fun to listen to but it can't save the game from mediocrity.

This whole game painfully lacks variety. It looks great at first but lacks any game play worth remembering. It should be easy to see through EA's illusion of a decent game. It's amazing what we accepted as playable back then and I'm glad this genre has had such vast improvements in modern times.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Monday, January 29, 2007 09:46 PM