DANGEROUS DAVE IN THE HAUNTED MANSION
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 9, 2018
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and other assorted life forms! You have found your way, once again, to our Big Red Timemachine. Now, as you may have read two weeks ago, Dennis finally tracked down yours truly and managed to bring me back from the brink of insanity. I can't tell you precisely what happened because my memory is still a bit fuzzy, but I do know that I somehow managed to act even more psychotic than usual...
As you may recall, my esteemed colleague found me in what he referred to as "a dark room in his way too creepy mansion." Now, before you go around telling people that I am so filthy rich that I can afford to have my own mansion, let me assure you that this is not the case. I am not rich, I'm rarely ever filthy (I might get a little filthy from time to time, but that's beside the point right now).
You know these e-mails you tend to get from time to time, saying that some long lost great-great-great uncle or aunt has left you a fortune. Now, most of the time, this is complete and utter nonsense and merely a way to lure unsuspecting people into a trap by making them pay large amounts of money to, allegedly, receive even larger amounts of money. Well, in my case, what sounded to good to be true was in fact a inheritance of my own making!
You see, when traveling through time, one tends to meet a lot of people. In this case, a very nice young woman who was the sole heir of quite the amount of money. She didn't want anything to do with this fortune however, due to the less than honest ways in which her father amassed his wealth. Therefore, I was able to procure a very large mansion for a very small amount of money. Naturally, I bequeathed this mansion to... myself! I specified that ownership should fall to Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on a specific date. This date, not purely coincidentally, was in December of last year, giving me the perfect place to enjoy my exile from the Big Red Timemachine.
Alas, Dennis thought otherwise and pulled me back into the madcap world of time travel for which, I must confess, I am secretly grateful (but don't tell him that!). So, without further ado, let me take you on a journey into the past, in search of those forgotten gems of gaming. Today, we set our sights on the year 1991 and go in search of a game that is somewhat in line with my former predicament. So please fasten your seatbelts and come with me as we look for, not Sadhonker in the Spooky Mansion, but Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion!
Released in 1991 by John Romero, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack and John Hall (otherwise known as "The guys from ID software") for DOS, Dangerous Dave and the Haunted Mansion served as the sequel to the 1988 DOS game Dangerous Dave. We once again take control of our brave protagonist, Dave, who sets out to rescue his brother, Delbert. To this end, Dave must valiantly enter a haunted mansion, which is inhabited by Ghosts, ghouls, zombies and other assorted creepy crawlies. Armed with (and this might well be why I love this game so much) his trusty shotgun, Dave storms headlong into the haunted mansion and starts blasting everything that moves!
In terms of gameplay, Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion is pretty straightforward. You can move Dave across your screen by using the arrow keys. He can also jump, enter doors and, of course, shoot. By using the up or down arrow, Dave could aim his shotgun in that direction, making it possible to hit enemies below or above you, like ceiling crawling spiders. If you jumped on a crate, you would be out of reach for floor-bound enemies, but you could still aim down and fill them with lead.
The game consisted of eight levels of varying size and difficulty. Now, you might think: "Only eight levels?! That'll be over quickly!" and you would be totally and utterly wrong! Despite its simplicity, Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion offered a decent challenge, even for the most seasoned platform game enthusiast. The only reason the game ended quickly, was that you were overrun by the undead bad guys and had to start all over again.
As you made your way through the game, you could collect hats, which signified an extra life. What you didn't find were bullets. Now, normally, this would pose a problem, but you have to remember that this game was made long before someone thought of using inventories on a regular basis. Therefore, Dave has a unlimited supply of ammo! Don't get too excited, because having unlimited ammo does not mean you don't have to reload. That's right; Dave's shotgun holds up to eight bullets and can only be reloaded by standing still. Especially when you're fighting a boss, this comes as somewhat of an inconvenience, because you'll have to keep moving in order to not get hit, but you'll have to stand still to reload when your gun is empty. You see why this could be a problem, don't you?
Graphics-wise, Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion looked pretty good for its time. The mansion is filled with nice little details and the enemies look cool. When Dave died because he was hit by one of the monsters, a little box would appear with an animation of how Dave dies. These animations varied per enemy, so if you were killed by a different type of enemy, you would get a different animation. Nowadays, this may not sound as much, but back then it was really, really, REALLY cool! The game's soundtrack was awesome, even if it mainly consisted of squeaks and bleeps. The gameplay was truly challenging, while at the same time really fun! So, however you look at it; Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion was a seriously enjoyable platform experience!
Alas, that is all the time we have for today. But don't worry, in two weeks time, my compadre Dennis "CallMeBackDraft" Aspers will be here to send you on another mission into the past, hopefully with a fully functioning robotic time-traveling crew. That reminds me; I wonder how the manufacturing of his latest batch of robotic minions is coming along. The last batch had a bit of a flaw, seeing as how they self-destructed whenever they encountered anything that was not made of green Jell-O... go figure!
So this is the newly rehabilitated Sadhonker, wishing you all the best and hoping to see you all again soon! And reminding you of our new Big Red Timemachine motto: If at first you don't succeed... sod it and go do something else!
DANGEROUS DAVE IN THE HAUNTED MANSION
Gamer's Edge, ID Software & Softdisk Publishing