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 that was developed by Horror Soft and released in 1992. It was originally an Amiga game, but was also released for DOS. This was the last game made by Horror Soft before they became Adventure Soft, the company that made the Simon the Sorcerer series.
Many years ago, Ixona, a Gypsy witch, stole a chicken from the player's ancestor, who chopped off her hand as punishment. In retaliation, Ixona placed a curse on the ancestor. Whenever twins were born into his family line, one would grow up to be good while the other would become evil.
At present day, the protagonist learns that his twin brother, Alex, is going to suffer the curse. Boris, their uncle, has died and left them with his Waxworks, as well a crystal ball, through which his spirit communicates with his nephew. The protagonist learns that he must rid the family of Ixona's curse to save Alex. He must use the Waxworks to travel through four locations in different time periods: Ancient Egypt, a zombie-infested cemetery, Victorian era London and a mine overrun with plant-like mutants. Within each location, he is to defeat his evil twin who takes the shape of a villain.
Eventually, the protagonist learns that the only way to break the curse is to prevent it from being cast in the first place. After defeating the evil twin four times, the protagonist is given four artifacts: the High Priest's amulet, the Necromancer's ring, Jack the Ripper's knife, and a vial of the Plant Monster's poison. The final level is unlocked, and takes the protagonist back in time to confront Ixona. Following Boris' instructions, the protagonist uses the artifacts to kill Ixona before she can place the curse. As a result, the curse is erased from existence for every afflicted generation of the protagonist's family line.
After the curse is undone, the protagonist finds Alex unconscious in a corner of the Waxworks and revives him. Upon waking, Alex recalls a strange dream he had, in which he witnessed Ixona's death. However, in the dream, right before she died, Ixona muttered another curse which transformed the protagonist into a demon. The dream's meaning is never made clear, possibly hinting at a potential sequel. The game ends with the brothers leaving the museum.
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Waxworks is a first-person, dungeon crawl-style RPG. The game is divided into five different time periods: Ancient Egyptian Period, Medieval Transylvania Period, Victorian England Period, Industrial Mine Period and Ixona's Period. Three of those time periods have a mixture of puzzle-solving and combat, while the Victorian England and Ixona ones are more puzzle-solving oriented. Once a time period is completed, the player loses all experience points and weapons, creating a new challenge for each time period.
In each time period, the player moves through a series of tight corridors using a bitmap sprite-based point-and-click interface picking up items, solving puzzles, avoiding deadly encounters and engaging in combat with various opponents. During combat, players can target their opponent's individual body parts, such as head or arms. The player can use Uncle Boris' crystal ball to get hints and occasional healing items. The main objective is to collect a special item from the evil twin ancestors before venturing into the Ixona Period to undo the family curse.
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The game uses the AGOS engine, which is a modified version of the AberMUD 5 engine. The story for Waxworks was developed by Rick Moran. Original music was composed by Jezz Woodroffe who worked with John Canfield for the sound design. Producers Todd Thorson and Mark Wallace worked with the help of David Friedland and Tricia Woodroffe, 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 3 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.