Mystery Mansion: A mix of genres   2 comments

Jimmy Maher mentions in the comments to my last post that “If nothing else, Mystery Mansion is very important for being the first non-fantasy IF.”

The genre is specifically a blend of mystery and horror and fantasy, and it’s rather confusing how they relate:

The “Fantasy” Part

There’s a maze with a dwarf found either by wandering in the woods or by going down a “dark pit” in the basement of the mansion. There’s also a garden with “witching wells” and magic words that teleport the player. There’s two talismans (although I haven’t figured out what they do yet).

The “Horror” Part

There’s a vampire you run into from falling down some floorboards, and a werewolf. There’s a weirdly oppressive atmosphere, including a “haunted hallway” and random screaming and various rooms are dark unless a curtain is opened but sometimes the curtain can close itself again (?).

The “Mystery” Part

Overall, Mystery Mansion is kind of like Clue. You gather information from a message on a wall:

THERE ARE MANY BONES SCATTERED ABOUT, SOME OF WHICH LOOK HUMAN. THERE IS A MESSAGE WRITTEN IN BLOOD ON ONE WALL THAT SAYS THE MURDER WAS COMMITTED WITH THE CLUB

and questioning suspects.

question master

YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED WITH A HESITANT:
I THINK THE MURDER WAS COMMITTED IN THE BELL TOWER

Once you have the murderer, the weapon, and the location of the murder identified, an in-game note explains–

THE NOTE SAYS: IF YOU HAVE THE MURDER WEAPON AND CAN GET THE MURDERER TO RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME WITH YOU, YOU WILL SCORE POINTS
SIGNED: A FRIEND

I think now (although the game is too confusing to entirely know) that a corpse is around before you get to the house (which makes sense) but beyond that I’m a little puzzled. At one point the curtain closed on a room with a corpse causing the lights to go out, and when I reopened the curtain the corpse was gone: what was going on there? Why is there screaming at random points — are people discovering the body? Why are sometimes the weapons where they normally are and sometimes not? Why do characters sometimes follow me?

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Posted May 6, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Mystery Mansion: A mix of genres

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  1. The talisman from the chapel seems to revive you with no cost to the total amount of points you have, if you die.

  2. Yes, the OLD TALISMAN gives you free revivals. However, nothing is truly free, right? You are revived at the cost of all your belongings – they just get sent to some other location and you have to hunt for them without the aid of the all important compass. :-)

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