Developer: Lucasfilm Games
Plot: Maniac Mansion starts off as a really cheesy horror movie-in-the-old-haunted-house type movie. An evil meteor has crashed and taken over the mind of the once kind old Dr. Fred and his family in the old mansion. He's kidnapped Sandy, Dave's girlfriend. So you pick Dave and two other friends (from a list of 5) to get Sandy back.
Despite the seemingly lame story line, Maniac Mansion is one hell of a game. You use menu commands to control your characters and their actions.
Challenge: A–. Well, long games like these where you need to solve puzzles are never easy. Miss picking up an object, and you're back to the drawing board. It's a good thing this game has a save feature. You have to try everything, and the mansion is downright HUGE, with tons of rooms.
Graphics: B. Maniac Mansion really makes use the NES's graphical capabilities. There's plenty of colors onscreen at once, and the programmers spent loads of time on the background details (posters, maps, books and such).
Sound: C. I know that when I'm thinking to solve a puzzle, any music I'm hearing gets very irritating. It's possible to turn off each character's "CD Player", so you can still hear sound effects but no music. There is one exception—Bernard's music is terrific.
Fun: A. The surpisingly cool things the characters do and say vault the fun factor high up there. For instance, you can steal Weird Ed's (Dr. Fred's son) hamster and microwave it until it explodes! This was reportedly taken out quickly, but I'm lucky enough to have one of the early cartridges with that in. But anyway, it's just the hilarious jokes and personality that make Maniac Mansion so neat.
Overall: A. I love Maniac Mansion. My only gripe is that the commands on the bottom are a bit tough to select. It would have been better if the pointer skipped to the command rather than scrolling anywhere in that area (didja catch that?) Also, depending on what characters you select and what you do in the mansion, there are a couple of different endings—some better than others. Bonus! Any fan of RPGs or adventure games should own Manaic Mansion. Really!