One of my first gaming experiences on the Mac was Dark Castle, an ancient black and white game from Silicon Beach Software. In it, you explored a castle that was overrun by monsters of all types — swooping birds, rats, bats, and more — armed only with rocks. ActionSoft’s Midnight Mansion offers an updated take on this bona fide Mac classic and offers plenty of fun extras.
In Midnight Mansion (), you assume the role of Jack Malone, a fedora-wearing adventurer in the Indiana Jones mold. But instead of recovering archeological artifacts, Jack’s a treasure hunter. He’s found a map of eight haunted mansions that are rich with gold — and infested with monsters, traps, and pitfalls of every conceivable size and shape.
The mansions are absolutely huge. According to the developer, there are more than 750 rooms to explore in all. To find his treasure, Jack must traverse treacherous pits, make his way over lava-filled pools, climb ladders, shimmy down poles, and most importantly, avoid the monsters that protect these mansions — everything from floating medusa heads that swarm like angry bees to skull spiders that skitter across the floor.
Midnight Mansion is a non-violent game. In fact, there’s even a preference that lets you turn off the blood effects that occasionally pop-up — when Jack gets eaten by giant spiders, for example.
Different keys unlock different doors. Occasionally Jack will need to toggle levers to unlock doors or activate platforms and other objects. There are also electric barriers and other traps that Jack will either have to avoid or figure out how to turn off in order to proceed. Three levels of difficulty give you access to different mansion layouts and keep things challenging.
The game supports multiple user accounts, so if you and your kids want to play separately, you can each set up your own account. If you need to step away, you can suspend the game and pick up where you left off.
The game comes with some interesting extras. A recording mode lets you create movies of each game you can play back to show others your skills. You can use the mansion builder application to create your own levels.
Midnight Mansion has a terrific soundtrack that helps set the mood. Despite appearing a bit amateurish, the cartoonish graphics are well-suited for the game. They also allow for fairly modest system requirements: you can play with any Mac that runs OS X 10.1.5 or later. Download a demo of the game and give it a try before you buy.
The Bottom Line If you were a fan of Dark Castle or similar games, check out Midnight Mansion. It’s a well executed blast from the past.