Back To The Mansion! Meteor Mess 3D

See, more Ds than ever before.

Here’s news of a cute little project – a German amateur team, Vampyre Games, are recreating Maniac Mansion in 3D. Called Meteor Mess 3D, presumably in an attempt to confuse LucasArts’ lawyers, they’re using the self-made Gamestudio Adventure System to rebuild the game in all three dimensions. The project’s been running since 2008, and should be released this year. And there’s already a demo.

It’s clearly a little primitive-looking, but that bendy leg walk animation is not the final version. If they can pull this off – Maniac Mansion (a game I was certain was called Manic Mansion for the first 20 years of my life) was a really complicated game, with multiple possible characters and a number of endings – it’ll be really lovely. They say they’ve already made some key fixes, such as removing the paint can dead end that ruined the original game for many, and have made the Edison family more able to move about the mansion and thus catch the characters.

It’s currently being voiced in German, but the team are looking for ways to get a native English-speaking cast for an international version. And don’t worry that the credits of the demo are in German, it kicks into English once you start.

It’s definitely one to keep an eye on, and hopefully something that won’t be snuffed out by needless possessiveness over a 23 year old game. And big thanks to William for pointing this one out. Here’s a rather uneventful video of the beginning:

25 Comments

  1. Lambchops says:

    i still call it “Manic Mansion” when in conversation with people.

    Also to my shame, this remains one of the adventure games I never completed. Granted I haven’t tried to since the advent of readily available walkthroughs, so I’d probably have no problem now with a little help from Gamefaqs. Still the memories of frustration have always stopped me from tracking down a copy and trying again.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Fun Fact: There was a Maniac Mansion TV show back in the early nineties. Canadian produced, I don’t know if it ever got aired in the US. I was actually introduced to that before the video game, and a few years later when I played DoTT it was a mild revelation that it was the sequel to Maniac Mansion “like from that old tv show.”

  2. wm says:

    That’s a lot of walking.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    Until you pointed it out just now, I had -no- idea it was not Manic Mansion.

    Nope, I still prefer Manic Mansion to Maniac Mansion

  4. Xercies says:

    Man this will bring me back i remember playing this on the NES(Yes, so what) but making it so the people can catch you? It was fecking hard enough and now your making it even harder!

  5. Someguy says:

    Why do people spend so much time and effort on projects that they’ll never get licensed for? LucasArts isn’t exactly the most generous with their copyrights. It seems like if you’re going to put that much work into something you might as well just make something original so it doesn’t get eaten by lawyers.

    • Brumisator says:

      It’s okay, as long as it’s not talented people.

      I mean, this remake is just FUGLY!

    • YogSo says:

      There was a fan remake released some years ago (Maniac Mansion Deluxe) and it wasn’t shut down.

    • Nezz says:

      It seems they’re using neither the trademarked title nor any protected art assets. There’s very little LucasArts could do to stop them.

    • Mike I. says:

      @Nezz Are you kidding? What about the script? It’s a pretty clear copyright violation.

    • Nezz says:

      @Mike I.: That’s true, of course. I hadn’t watched the video when I wrote the comment, and I didn’t consider they would lift the lines word for word. That’s a bad idea for many reasons; the script isn’t even particularly good or memorable.

  6. Chris P says:

    It’s a lot easier for an amateur team to recruit members and sustain focus if they’re referencing an existing game with a ready-made fan base. You need a compelling pitch to get people to participate, and you need a core shared motivation to prevent team members from pulling in different directions and/or quitting. Thus, fan projects have much better establishment and survival rates than original amateur projects do.

  7. Navagon says:

    They might have improved the graphics, but I’m not seeing any evidence of them having resolved any of the game’s numerous other failings. They should have paid more attention to what Lucasarts did with DoTT rather than produce a straightforward 3D MM.

    I wonder if it still has the ‘choose the wrong people right at the start = instafail’ problem.

    Like Someguy says, efforts would have been better invested in creating something original. That’s where the real beauty of the mod and indie scenes lies, not in creating carbon copies of existing games.

    • Thirith says:

      I don’t think I get that “Do something original!” line that always comes up with things like this. A) It’s not like every game out there done by independent or fan developers is a remake, and B) do people ever tell concert pianists that they should stop playing Beethoven et al. and play their own music? Or theatre companies to stop doing Shakespeare and instead come up with their own material?

      Designing and creating a game from scratch is a very different process from remaking a game. You may have all the talent necessary for the latter and still not have what it takes to do the former. Added to which, I enjoy seeing other people’s interpretations of classic games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Also, a remake of Maniac Mansion will receive far more attention than anything original. A depressing thought but there you go. The same reason why every town has a bunch of terrible cover bands who make a steady living, but only a handful of original bands – most of whom will lose money for eighteen months then implode.

      And I agree with Thirith, creating something original and remaking something that’s been done before are two completely different things.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Oh and @Navagon,

      Was there really an instafail problem if you picked certain characters? It’s been years since I played it, but my memory tells me that it was impossible to pick a dud team.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Thirith

      I think you’re missing the point of what I’m saying here. Firstly I’m saying that most of the truly successful indie ventures are hugely original. Probably genre-definingly so.

      Secondly, had they followed my advice and looked to later Lucasarts games for inspiration on how to best update Maniac Mansion I think we’d be looking at a much less plodding rigidly straight, side on adventure game. There’s no logic in pandering to the technical limitations that existed over two decades ago.

  8. Ignorant Texan says:

    Ron Gilbert tweeted a link to Vamprye Games headed with ‘Maniac Mansion in 3D! That’s one more D than the the original!’. Sounds like a seal of approval to me.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Best of luck to them and all that, but it seems a bit redundant to me. The only thing about MM that’s really aged badly is the v1 SCUMM interface, and another fan project fixed that with Maniac Mansion Deluxe.

    Still, if they’re having fun remaking it then more power to them.

  10. Navagon says:

    @ Hodge

    Apparently so. It’s not something I experienced myself. But then I don’t know if I ever completed it. So who knows?

  11. PetaByte says:

    This is absolutely awesome … although some people don’t like the graphics I think it looks fantastic and it totally fits to Maniac Mansion (still one of the best adventures ever) … can’t wait for the release.

    • Conference says:

      Yeah … I agree. Most adventures have just one walkthrough … Maniac Mansion has 6 and some additional variations … so many objects to use, so many hidden stuff to explore. I wish nowadays adventures would come back to this. I don’t want to see the end after playing 6 hours … I want to be challenged. Playing a game for several weeks or months without having seen everything ??? Yeah … great … as far as it’s not unfair to solve. I’m really excited to explore the mansion once again … Meteor Mess 3D will rock, I’m sure. Although the alpha demo isn’t top of the hill, it’s shows the potential of the project and if you watch the progress from the alpha demo release to now, I think the final release will be really great … can’t wait for it :-)

  12. Wow Cataclysm says:

    Yeah looks great, but i agree with tthe guy who said it wont get a lot of attention simply do to it being an older game

    • Conference says:

      I think you’re wrong … the game was mentioned in the International House of Mojo (formerly the homepage of LucasArts) and it was twittered by Ron Gilbert. Just google the game: it seems to be mentioned in nearly every board with ten-thousands of views in a bunch of threads. Seems that this old game is still alive :-)