The atmosphere of Masterpiece Mansion owes a lot to Museum information tapes, and surprisingly enough, The 7th Guest. The background of the mansion was that a wealthy widow built it in memory of her husband, because she was grief-stricken over his death. It was built on the advice of a gypsy woman.
This woman's husband was no prize, though. He was, as the intro tells us, mean and villainous. The worst part about Masterpiece Mansion is the fear you might get trapped inside, with no way to escape.
Players are deposited in the entry foyer, where three pieces of art are hung on the walls. Players must click on each piece of art and answer questions about it. Right answers gain them points, wrong answers subtract points. They must gain 50 points to leave the room, though there is nothing stopping them from gaining more if they so desire.
Each further room along the route requires higher point values to leave. If you gain enough points from earlier rooms, it is possible to bypass whole rooms entirely. After you leave room four, you gain a password that will enable you to return to that room from the beginning of the game. Another password is given at room seven, and a third will take you to the end room, the Grand Ballroom.
Unfortunately, there is no way to save your game and quit. The passwords are the only way to get back into the game if you wish to leave and play another time.
At the final room, there are four pictures on the walls. Three of them give number digits used in the combination to the safe, while the other tells you how to reveal the safe (this one is not strictly needed. By clicking around on your own, it is possible to uncover the safe).
In the safe is the golden key needed to exit the mansion. When it is used, the roof flies off and you soar into the sky.
Each room has a musical and artistic theme. The transitions between rooms are very fluid and are another reminder of The 7th Guest. The mood of the mansion is slightly eerie, with a disembodied voice telling you where you are in the mansion and how many points are needed to escape that room.
My only complaint is that the game could have been longer. With only 10 rooms, it feels too short and light. It's a good game to test your knowledge of art, but with an encyclopedia used in game, it is doubtful how much information players will retain.
Also, the mansion is static. No matter how many times the game is played, the questions remain the same. And so do the answers. Playing the game once or twice through will enable players to beat the game with an extremely high score that may not be warranted by the player's knowledge of art.
Graphics: Very good, and the transitions between rooms are simply superb.
Sound: Each room has its own theme, which is taken from the time period of the artists displayed in it.
Enjoyment: Somewhat enjoyable. And the ultimate learning value is questionable.
Replay Value: The only reason to replay is to see how high you can raise your score. Nothing changes in the mansion.
Your only way out of this mysterious house is to solve the puzzles contained in each painting and sculpture. To escape, you'll need to detect forgeries, unscramble mixed-up images, play musical chairs with paintings by arranging them in chronological order, hunt for the works of a particular artist or period, and play many more fun and challenging games and puzzles. Ultimately, you'll leave the house, but you'll take with you a greater appreciation for the world of art. More than 40 unique puzzles and games create a fresh approach to art. It has over 150 famous works of art by 46 artists such as Botticelli, Michaelangelo, Degas, Kahlo, Rembrandt, VanGogh and Calder. Lavish 3-D rendered rooms are covered in artwork from five major periods: Ancient Greek/Roman, Renaissance, Dutch Realism, Impressionism and 20th Century. There's a rich Musical score which showcases music from each period, and the content is researched and developed by art educators.
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Way Things Work, The, Macbeth, Ghosts, JumpStart Adventures: 5th Grade - Jo Hammet, Kid Detective, Qin: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom, Microsoft Ancient Lands, SimTown, Explorers of the New World
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