Waxworks (1992 video game)
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Amiga Cover art
|Designer(s)||Michael Woodroffe, Alan Bridgman, Simon Woodroffe|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Waxworks is a first-person, dungeon crawl-style role-playing video game (RPG) created by Horrorsoft. The game was released in 1992 . It was originally an Amiga game, but was also released for DOS. This was the last game made by Horrorsoft before they became Adventure Soft, the company that made the Simon the Sorcerer series.
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Waxworks is a first-person, dungeon crawl-style RPG. The player moves through a series of tight corridors using a bitmap sprite-based point-and-click interface picking up items, solving puzzles, and engaging in combat with various horrific creatures, such as zombies. During combat, players can target their opponent's individual body parts, such as head or arms. Once a particular level is completed, the player loses all experience points and weapons, creating a new challenge for each new Waxworks level.
Many years ago, a Gypsy witch, named Ixona, stole a chicken from an ancestor of the player. The ancestor is said to have chopped off Ixona's hand as punishment for the theft. Ixona retaliated by placing a terrible curse on the ancestor that would take effect whenever twins were born into his family line; one twin would grow up to be good, while the other would become evil. This continues to the present day, and the player's twin brother, Alex, is next in line to inherit the curse.
At the start of the game, the player's uncle, 'Uncle Boris', has died and left them with his Waxworks, as well a crystal ball, through which his spirit communicates with the player and helps the player when summoned. In a letter, he tells the player that they must rid the family of Ixona's curse in order to save Alex. To do this, the player must use the Waxworks to travel through four time periods and locations, and defeat the evil twin of each time/location. These locations include the Ancient Egypt, a zombie-infested cemetery, the Victorian era London, and a mine shaft overrun with plant-like mutants.
Eventually the player learns that the only way to break the curse is to prevent it from being cast in the first place. After all four evil twins are defeated, the player will be given four artifacts. Each artifact was once owned by one of the evil twins which they encountered before being purified by their owners' defeat: the High Priest's amulet, the Necromancer's ring, Jack the Ripper's knife, and a vial of the Plant Monster's poison. They will also be granted access to the final waxwork in the game, which takes them to the precise time and place where the curse was originally pronounced. In this waxwork they are shown the events leading up to the start of the curse. Following instructions given beforehand by Uncle Boris, the player must then use three of these objects (sans the ring) and a crossbow found in the waxwork to kill Ixona before she can place the curse. As a result, the curse is never cast and is effectively erased from existence for every afflicted generation. This includes past generations, the present day, and all future generations.
After the curse is undone, Alex is found unconscious in a corner of the Waxworks, at which the player uses the ring to revive him. Upon waking, he tells the player about a strange dream he had, in which he witnessed the events of the final waxwork and Ixona's death. However, in the dream, Ixona muttered something right before she died. Seemingly as a result of her muttering, the ancestor, who originally incurred Ixona's wrath, was transformed into a demon. The meaning of the dream is never made clear, possibly hinting at a potential sequel, and the game ends with Alex and the player returning home peacefully.
The game uses the AGOS engine, which is a modified version of the AberMUD 5 engine. The story for Waxworks was developed by Dick Moran. Original music was composed by Jezz Woodroffe who worked with John Warfield for the sound design. Producers Todd Thorson and Mark Wallace worked with the help of David Friedland and Tricia Woodruff, who managed the technical resources.
Computer Gaming World criticized the small game maps, overemphasis on combat, and the IBM PC version's use of an Amiga-like 32-color palette instead of 256-color VGA graphics, but liked the "very atmospheric" soundtrack. The magazine concluded that despite flaws, the game was "better than most" CRPGs, and that "for those who revel in the macabre" ... Waxworks continues to satisfy the bent toward the supernatural". The game received 5 out of 5 stars in Dragon.
- Miller, Chuck (February 1993). "Accolade's Waxworks". Computer Gaming World. p. 50. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (April 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (192): 57–63.