Mayhem in Monsterland

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Mayhem in Monsterland
Mayhem cover.jpg
Developer(s) Apex Computer Productions
Publisher(s) Apex Computer Productions
Distributor(s) Apex Computer Productions
Designer(s) Steve Rowlands and John Rowlands
Platform(s) Commodore 64, Virtual Console
Release date(s) Commodore 64
1993
Virtual Console
EU 20081017October 17, 2008
Genre(s) Platformer (2D)
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Cassette Tape, Floppy Disk, Download on Wii Virtual Console

Mayhem in Monsterland, released in 1993, was a game produced for the Commodore 64 home computer. Its titular hero, "Mayhem", was a yellow triceratops blessed with the gift of speed. His goal was to return his world from sad to happy, ridding the world of monsters along the way. The game featured effects not previously thought possible on eight-bit computers, and was the first C64 title to have a real feeling of speed, a "console-esque" feature the developers wanted.

A new game for mobile phones starring Mayhem, Mayhem's Magic Dust, was released in 2004. It was developed by Infinite Lives.

The game was released on the European Virtual Console online store for the Nintendo Wii system on the 17 October 2008, costing 500 Wii Points.

In 2009, a 15th Anniversary Edition of the game was released on cassette and disk by the British retro publisher Psytronik Software.

Development[edit]

Mayhem in Monsterland was produced by Apex Computer Productions, who had previously made Creatures and Creatures 2, which featured Clyde Radcliffe as the main character. Mayhem was far lighter in tone than Creatures, which featured end of level action puzzles that if not successfully accomplished, meant death by various gruesome machinations.

Mayhem in Monsterland featured both high-quality graphics and high speeds, a combination that had never before been seen on the C64. This was made possible by taking advantage of a bug in the computer's graphics chip, the VIC-II, that allowed scrolling the entire screen up to the width of one screen -- 320 pixels -- in hardware. Normally the C64 can only scroll the screen 7 pixels in hardware. This technique had been used in demos before, but it is believed that Mayhem in Monsterland was the first commercial game to do this.

Story[edit]

An apprentice magician dinosaur living in Monsterland, Theo Saurus, made a mistake while practising a spell one day. He turned the lands Jellyland, Pipeland, Spottyland, Cherryland, and Rockland into sad places, void of color or life. Theo began living underground in a hidden cave to avoid the wrath of the other monsters until discovered one day by the hero of the story, Mayhem. Mayhem promised to bring Theo the necessary magic dust to transform Monsterland to its previous happy state.

Gameplay[edit]

At the beginning of each stage the goals are displayed to the player. There are two types of quota to be met. The first is magic dust quota where enemies must be defeated to gain magic dust. Enemies may be killed in two ways. Enemies may be bounced on. Mayhem bounces upwards a small amount when destroying an enemy like this. Once the lightning power up has been obtained, enemies may also be charged at with speed in a special attack. Monsters are not always simple to dispatch as some have spikes and others shells. Soft spots on such enemies have to be found by the player in order to defeat them.

Happier music plays once all the enemies are defeated. It is then a race against the clock to collect the quota of stars and to get to the exit to complete the stage. The faster a star is rotating, the more points it is worth. If all stars are collected on a stage, then the player can receive a Super-Star bonus, but only on the first and last stage of the game on the cassette, disk and cartridge versions of the game.

Reception[edit]

The game was chronicled during production in Commodore Format magazine, which later awarded it a 100% score in its final review. The editors also subsequently gave the game an excellent review. This came three years after the creation of "Creatures" was chronicled in Zzap!64 magazine - Commodore Format had followed the creation of "Creatures II: Torture Trouble".

See also[edit]