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Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.1.5    RAM: 20 MB    Graphics: 640x480 @ 32-bit

Midnight Mansion
October 12, 2005 | Ian Beck

Click to enlarge

Beyond the mansions
The final question, of course, is whether this game is worth the $20 that ActionSoft is charging for a registration code. Although I can't say that everyone will enjoy Midnight Mansion, if you try the demo and find yourself having fun then there is very little reason that you shouldn't buy the game. The value in the games price versus what you get is impressive, and although my judgment here is influenced in part by the eight huge mansions included with the game (each likely 45-60 minutes worth of play in their own right on easy, other difficulties notwithstanding) and in part by the fact that the mansions are actually different for different difficulty levels, the big thing that makes this game a steal for $20 can be summed up in two simple words: level editor.

Bundled with the game is a complete level editor which has an easy graphical interface, requires absolutely no coding, triggers, or whatnot, and allows you to test each room as you design it. Playing around in the level editor brought me straight back to the days of Lode Runner: the Legend Returns when my sisters and I used to compete to see who could make the most fiendishly entertaining level. Such an easy-to-use tool adds to the life and value of this game tremendously, and there are already several custom mansions available at its fan site, Midnight

Essentially Midnight Mansion is an extremely well-done old-school platformer fit for gamers of all ages, with a significant amount of content and high possible community involvement via the level editor and online high scores. Despite a couple quibbles with graphics, the gameplay is solid, sound incredibly well done, and the overall value of this title is extremely high.

It barely deserves mentioning that this game can run on just about any hardware ever. With a minimum screen requirement of thousands of colors at 640x480 and system requirements of "Any Macintosh capable of running MacOS X," Midnight Mansion is truly a game that just about anyone can play. (I had no issues running it, although getting it to run in windowed mode for screenshots required doing the old "hold down option when starting the application" rigamarole.) Chalk up another reason that you have little excuse to not try it out.

The glorious thing about shareware is that you can try before you buy. Personally, I think the Midnight Mansion demo lacks a bit (it lets you play 75-80% of two of the mansions, and as a shareware connoisseur I would have preferred an entire mansion), but it does give you a pretty good idea of what the gameplay is like. I'll admit that this game won't appeal to everyone since some people won't be as interested in platformer gameplay or the somewhat cute presentation, but if it sounds like something you might like there is absolutely no reason not to download it and give it a shot.

• Large amount of content
• Easy-to-use level editor; custom mansions available online
• High attention to detail in sound and graphics
• Fun, cartoony graphics and professional quality sound
• Solid gameplay with a good learning curve
• Mansions are actually different on different difficulties
• Appeal for entire family
• Optional mildly macabre blood
• Negligible system requirements

• Gameplay/graphics may not appeal to everyone
• Minor layer-based graphical weirdness
• "Family-friendly" presentation is not everyone's cup of tea
• Normal difficulty can be rather frustrating when you first start out, but easy difficulty is extremely easy

Midnight Mansion
Developer: ActionSoft
Download Midnight Mansion Demo


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