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Two months of programming have passed since our last AT preview of Manse. During this time, we have uncovered some startling insights on Manse's programmer, Brian Barnes. It seems Brian has been very busy summoning spirits and creating Manse's undead . In his dark and secluded laboratory, he has concentrated his efforts on rejuvenating and increasing the brain activity of his morbid subjects.

OK, so Mr. Barnes is diligently sitting at a computer and not out raiding cemetery grave sites or holding seances. He is, however, creating a game that you won't want to play with the lights off. Though Manse is just entering the beta testing stage, where various changes and perfecting will ensue, we wanted to divulge a little of the chilling atmosphere that this imaginative and somewhat demented young man is creating.

Manse is an adventure, a mystery that involves exploration, interaction, and complex problem solving abilities. It is fashioned from the old-style text adventure games of the 80's but adds the exciting 3D graphics, action, and style of the games of the 90's.

The graphics create the atmosphere that absorbs you into the game. Creative design and detailed textures abound.

The scenes are highlighted by dramatic, ever changing lighting. Days turn to nights, calmness to storm. The lighting is created in real time so when you fire a flare into the sky, you can watch how the trail lights up the landscape.

Manse will have you swimming in dark flooded basements and crawling through tunnels with little or no light. In these dark areas, your flashlight may become your best friend as well as provide breathtaking effects.

Scenes are also created in real time, reacting to your actions, and providing the proper perspectives. Whether you are bobbing in the water, jumping, peeking around a corner, whatever, the backdrop will react in the proper way to portray your actions.

The monsters and mysteries make the game challenging. Unlike other 3D games where the skill level is increased by adding more and more monsters, Manse's progression involves creatures with rising intelligence. In the early levels, Manse's monsters may wait for you to come near before charging.

As the levels progress, the haunting creatures begin to seek you out. They communicate with each other and plan their attacks. They may gather together for an all out rush attack or they may plan to slowly surround you and attack from all directions. Learn your defenses.

Manse is also full of objects that can be picked up, moved, stacked, stood on, or used in numerous other ways to help you survive and to solve the mysteries. Solving the mysteries of Manse also requires thought, ingenuity, a keen eye, and attention to detail. For example, the cracks in these walls may point to secret rooms or passage ways.

Requirements : Any Power-PC based Macintosh and 16-bit color. Look for further previews in the upcoming issues of the Ambrosia Times.

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