The Haunted Mansion

Format: PS2
Lucas Arts/TDK

5 026555 302029
Age Restrictions: 7+

Embark on a heart-stopping, action-filled quest in search of clues from an age-old murder in the haunted mansion. Trouble has found Zeke Holloway, a reluctant hero, who has taken a job as assistant caretaker in the mansion. In this house of wall-to-wall creeps and hot-and-cold chills, Zeke must put unwelcome evil spirits to rest while trying to keep himself from being scared to death - literally. But beware, the ghosts in this mansion are always looking for another soul to join their numbers...

The Haunted Mansion is a pretty interesting concept. Anyone, like me, who rushes straight to the haunted house ride whenever they go to one of the large theme parks is going to really appreciate this game.

There are spooky rooms, creepy creatures and plenty of surprises that will have you jumping out of your skin. The attention to detail is impressive and gives the mansion a character all of its own. And the eerie sounds and music also help to add a creepy feel to the gameplay.

The mansion is a huge sprawling place and to stop you from getting lost, the game developers have bared entry from certain rooms until you collect enough spirits. Only then can you gain access to other parts of the house. This also helps you to concentrate on each room's puzzles as you enter it. You know there's no point in going anywhere else until you've solved the riddle of the room you are in.

The loading screens are also worthy of note. Instead of watching a plain screen with the words "loading, please wait", the developers have cleverly introduced spooky loading screens. These show various spooky scenes - for example a picture of a young man ages to become a skeleton. It is little touches like this which make you appreciate how much thought has gone into the game's construction.

That's not to say that the game is faultless. Possibly the most annoying aspect is the camera angles. All too often you'll find that changing the camera angle, so that you can see your enemies, is a little too slow. In fact, in one level (the ballroom) you are pinned down at one end of the room and the camera changes as you are being blown around. This is made all the more annoying by the fact that you need to be able to see where you are aiming in order to kill the spiders in the room, and to complete the level. In addition the automatic aiming button doesn't always work as well as it should.

But these are small grumbles in what is an otherwise impressive game. This game is a scream! Make sure that you play it with the lights on!

Pete Boomer

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