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Mike Woodroffe ist immer für eine Gänsehaut gut - auch wenn er bei seinem neuen Grusel-Adventure auf die Dungeon-Domina "Elvira" verzichtet hat, lauert der Horror wieder hinter jeder Ecke!

Waxworks Die Ecken gehören zum Wachsfigurenkabinet von Onkel Boris, einem kürzlich verstorbenen Mitglied Deiner unglücklichen Sippe. Der ganze Ärger begann mit Deinem Urur-Opi, der einst einer Zigeunerhexe die Hand abhackte - die revanchierte sich daraufhin mit einem Fluch, der seither von jedem Zwillingspaar in der Familie ein Kind zum Bösewicht werden läßt. Du hast Schwein gehabt und bist die gute Hälfte. Dein Bruder Alex ist der Pechvogel und unter ungeklärten Umständen verschwunden. Damit endlich mal Schluss ist mit der Unglücksserie, begibst Du Dich in Onkel Boris' muffiges 3D Labyrinth, in dem die bereits verblichenen Übeltäter der Familie mit ihren Greueltaten verewigt sind.

Das praktische Problem dabei ist, daß die Ausstellungsstücke teilweise doch noch ungemein lebendig zu sein scheinen und daher für die Action-Komponente bei diesem Adventure-Rolli sorgen. Das riecht schon alles sehr nach Busenwunder, und dem ist auch so; Rein technisch haben wir es hier mit einer Art "Elvira" ohne Elvira zu tun. Die Gemeinsamkeiten ziehen sich wie ein blutroter Faden durch das gesamte Spiel, angefangen von der pflegeleichten Maussteuerung über die meist logischen Rätsel bis zu den schauerlichen Sterbeszenen. Ja, das erstreckt sich sogar auf Details wie das hübsche Inventory, in dem all die Waffen und sonstigen Sammelobjeckte in Icon-Form landen; aber auch das hektische Mausgeklicke bei den Kampfen kam uns merkwürdig vertraut vor.

Waxworks Es gibt also nicht allzuviele Unterschiede zu den Vorgängern, doch es gibt sie - z.B. wurden neben den bereits bekannten Hit-Points nun auch "Psy-Points" eingeführt, mit deren Hilfe man Onkel Boris im Jenseits kontakten kam. Der antwortet im Multiple Choice Verfahren und erteilt dem Helden gute Ratschläge oder leistet ihm gar Erste Hilfe. Außerdem hängt hier die Bewaffnung des Familienretters davon ab, in welcher Abteilung des Gruselmuseums er sich gerade aufhält, was optisch auch durch das wechselnde Heldensymbol ausgedrückt wird. Im alten Ägypten muß er sich etwa mit einer Schaufel gegen einen Hohepriester zu Wehr setzen und erscheint im passenden Kostüm am Bildschirmrand. Wir überlassen es Eurer Fantasie, womit im viktorianischen England gekämpft wird, wenn Jack the Ripper auftaucht - dasselbe gilt für den monsterverseuchten Minenschaft, den Zombi-Friedhof und schließlich auch für das finale Showdown mit der fluchenden Hexe.

Grafik, Animation und Soundkulisse sind mit den Worten "schön schrecklich, schrecklich schön" eigentlich ausreichend beschrieben, was die Handhabung angeht, kann man nur sagen: Schafft Euch zunächst eine Festplatte an und dann erst diese zehn Disks umfassende Gruselorgie. Dazu am besten starke Beruhigungstropfen, denn trotz gelegentlicher Längen bekommt Ihr es wieder mit einen Schlocker der blutrünstigen Sorte zu tun! (C. Borgmeier)

Amiga Joker, December 1992, p.?

Amiga Joker
1 MB

Waxworks logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

Our very own House of Horrors star, Mark Patterson, puts quill to parchment once more.

Waxworks I'M MELTING
Following the success of the Elvira games, Horrorsoft return from the pits of eternal damnation (or wherever they spend their hols) to feed gaming bloodlust with their unique brand of computer horror.
Like Elvira 1 and Elvira 2, Waxworks takes the form of an RPG. Although this time Horrorsoft have concocted a plot which lets them make the best cliches whilst including a few lesser known horror formats.

The game starts with your character receiving a message informing him that he wasn't, contrary to what his mother told him, an only child. It turns out that he has a long-lost twin brother who's intent on bringing Satan into the world, and could you see your way to sorting him out. It goes on to say that due to a curse, or bizarre genetic make-up, twins have been common in your family, and throughout time one has wandered off to commit every day acts of despicable evil, while the good one attempts to stop them.

Your uncle is the person responsible for this letter, which also contains an invite to his house. On arriving you find your host has turned up his toes some days before, and that he employs a servant more suited to the Hammer movies' costume room. What he failed to mention in his letter was that he has built a waxwork museum in his house, with the exhibits depicting gruesome scenes from history, such as Jack the Ripper going about his business.

Fortunately, your uncle wasn't on for taking things like death on the chin, and his spirit returns to explain exactly how you're supposed to rectify your ancestors' wrongs. Each diorama is actually a gateway through space and time, rather than a piece of sicko art, so that you can actually travel to the locations depicted.

In front of each scene is a plaque that tells you exactly what happened, with the story culminating with a mysterious stranger arriving in the nick of time to save the day. All you have to do to sort things out is step into a scene, instantly becoming the mysterious stranger, then track down and slaughter your homicidal relative.

To begin with only ancient Egypt, Jack the Ripper's London, an old mineshaft and a spooky graveyard are open to you. These can be entered in any order, as any objects you collect within are lost when you exit. When these are completed, other scenes open up, culminating in a show down between you and your nefarious twin.

Each stage has its own set of graphics, tricks, traps, and creatures. While the objective in each is to find and kill someone, the puzzles vary greatly. Although I only got about a third of the way into the game, I never found it repetitive, which is exactly what I had expected it to be.

The control system, as is common nowadays, is entirely point'n'click. To examine an item you simply double click on it, and to pick it up you drag it onto the inventory window. The only problem with this system is that it's very easy to overlook an important item, so it's essential to click on everything in the area. While this system works well for the most part, it can be fiddly if you need to change weapons, or perform a similar act, in a hurry, which leads to some very untimely demises.

Combat is very simple. When you've chosen your weapon you simply click on which bit of your foe you want to strike at. Depending on when you click, your character will either lunge or swipe. If you're facing a human-shaped creature, it doesn't matter too much, but when it comes to your everyday creatures from the dark side, you have to be very selective about which tentacle you're aiming for. The status of your enemy is shown graphically by the amount of wounds on their body. What's really neat is that the corpse is added to the game map, so you can use your victims as markers to help you find your way around.

You're not without help in your quest. Your character has a number of psyche points which can be spent summoning his uncle's spirit. When it appears you're given a list of questions to ask him, all of which are relevant to that scene and your current situation. I found this feature particularly useful, as it provides further background to your current quest as well as the odd life-saving tip.

The graphics are superb. Much of the time is spent looking at repetitive scenery, but when you come to a key location you're treated to some very smart graphics. The graphics artist must have received a video camera for his birthday, as there are a few bits of digitised animation, along with static digitised pics, to which he's added a variety of throat and facial wounds, along with generous amounts of blood. The music is a little clumsy at times, but there's a different piece for each level which compensates slightly.

Waxworks is set over a whopping 10 disks, which to my mind makes it to one of the largest games on the Amiga. While this could lead to all sorts of disk swapping malarkey, it appears that each individual scene has a disk of its own. While there is a certain amount of accessing when you enter a key location, the overall amount isn't much. If you've got a hard drive, though, most of the above problems disappear.

More than the technical excellence, what makes this game really special is the plot. I can't remember having played such an imaginative and involving game. Each one of the subplots is good enough to stand up as a game in its own right. Whether it's nineteenth century London or wandering around a third dynasty pyramid at Saqqara, the atmosphere is fantastic. It's really good to see a game which doesn't rely on hordes of orcs and trolls to provide RPG entertainment. This goes down as one of my top three games of the year, and one of my all-time favourite game concepts. If you can handle the horror, you can't afford to miss this.

CU Amiga, January 1993, p.p.82-83

WATCH OUT MARY WHITEHOUSE With a name like Horrorsoft, you wouldn't expect this company to produce games with, say, fluffy lambs tripping across fields. No, if these guys were to feature anything four-legged and furry it would either have fangs and an insatiable bloodlust or they'd have someone setting a flamethrower on it. This brand of 'creative' imagination has lead to the inclusion of some rather colourful (i.e. red) graphics. For instance, examining the corpse of Jack the Ripper's latest victim and you get a pic of a young lady, with a large slit where her throat should be. Shortly after, if you don't make the right moves, the good old bobbies catch you and you're then treated to a close-up pic of your character hanging neck-first from 12 feet of rope.
Naturally this sort of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea, so if you're offended by the sight of maidens being shut in coffins and zombies stripping the flesh from twitching corpses, you'd be advised to stick to something that lets you drive cars or stomp on aliens with a fast-moving rodent.

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One of the best RPGs I have seen in a long time.