For fans of the Elvira games Mistress of the Dark and The Jaws of Cerberus, Waxworks will seem dismayingly familiar. The game doesn't have much going for it other than it's dark and eerie, foreboding tone which it manages to project quite well. For a game released in 1992, the primitive looking graphics still carry a decent punch due to the gory and detailed artwork that went into the game. The major problem with Waxworks is that it is basically boring and tedious. You must map the levels very carefully by hand, otherwise you'll be treading the same ground over and over, but come to think of it, you'll probably do that anyway because your character will undoubtedly die repeatedly as you enter most of the scenarios. There are five main scenarios, each taking place in a completely separate environment from each other, of which you can access four at the beginning of the game. Another huge early genre irritation is evident here as your character doesn't carry over any of his gains from one scenario to another. You basically start at ground zero with no weaponry or abilities in each segment.
On the surface, the story is a good one. It's the old haunted mansion theme where your uncle kept a Waxworks exhibition in the lower levels for reasons known only to himself. It reminds me a little bit of the Friday the 13th television series in that each exhibit takes you off into an environment totally unrelated to the others. As you enter each exhibit, you enter another time in history that ranges from the Valley of the Kings in Egypt to late 19th century London and Jack the Ripper. To help you in your perilous journey, you can rely on good old Uncle Boris whose spirit is hanging around to help you out with subtle hints. The interface is basic point and click with inventory (an ever expanding, vast repository) manipulation. Many of the puzzles in Waxworks are actually fairly logical but there's really nothing there to stimulate lasting enjoyment. The story unfolds in first person perspective with a lot of in-your-face horrors that pop up unexpectedly and it requires quite a few dedicated hours of gaming to get through this one although much of that time is spent retracing your steps and watching out for unfair booby traps in some of the locations. Waxworks was a fairly good early try but there are many better avenues for pursuing your horror needs.
Graphics: Not bad for 1992, although by late 90's standards they appear primitive at best. Lots of horror and gore depicted even though it looks somewhat cartoonish at times.
Sound: A mixed bag as the sound effects were fairly effective but the game would have been better off with no music. That aspect is pretty bad.
Enjoyment: Too plodding and predictable to really have substance. It plays like what it is, separate, unrelated episodes that remind you of short stories in a book.
Replay Value: Once is more than enough.
As a child, you were never taught of your family's dark secret - a whole history of 'evil twins' doing Satan's work on earth, and 'good twins' attempting to put this right. Your uncle informs you of this shortly before his death, and after travelling to his castle you find that you must travel through time to correct these wrongdoings.
Through a range of murals at your uncle's house, various past scenes must be entered, with more becoming available as you complete them. In each you must find and kill your demented relative in time. The game's controls are point and click, with the interface allowing you to examine and collect objects, select a weapon, and attack potential foes by striking at a particular part of their bo
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