Until this week I had never played “Ghost Manor”. I had heard of the title and it had been suggested that I talk about it on the main website for over a year. So I finally sat down to play it and while I think it is a great game. Yet now that I have played through it a couple of times, I doubt I will every play it again. I will explain the reasoning behind that statement, but first let me tell you a little about the game.
“Ghost Manor” loads up with typical Atari 2600 graphics, but then a surprise hits you in the form of creepy opening music. The music in the game while short is pretty amazing for an Atari 2600 game and downright creepy, which sets the mood perfectly for a game about ghosts and vampires. Just a suggestion, this game is not a pick up and play title. You will need to read the manual to fully understand it. I messed around with it for a few minutes and made it to level 2 (yes level 2) before I decided to pick up the manual and realized they have character selection.
By choosing game color you can either play as the man or the woman in the game and the goal is to rescue your counterpart, but it won’t be easy. Because along the way you will need to go through multiple screens of varying gameplay before you reach the boss vampire and win.
Level 1 of the game is pretty weird, you basically play tag with a ghost and collect spears for level 2. Level 2 is a shooting gallery with a horror theme. Level 3 is a maze that is easy enough, but can be frustrating at times and the final level has you facing off with a cross against Dracula. Drive him back by holding down the button, which makes you wield your cross, and pushing towards him. Do that and you will free your man/woman counterpart and the game ends.
Pretty cool huh? Character selection, multiple levels, items that carry over from level to level and an honest to goodness boss battle in an Atari 2600 game. It IS cool. The problem is, that you have those set stages and once you advance the difficulty to the highest level, it is more challenging, but their are no surprises. Since you are not timed or anything it is just a matter of time before you get good enough to blast through the game at any level. This means it gets boring like quick after the initial awesomeness wears off.
That being said, this game was a few years ahead of its time and made the most out of the Atari tech like few others. Because of this I give “Ghost Manor” 4 out of 5 stars.