The Mystery of Arkham Manor was one of your more interactive text adventures, using a system commonly seen in the Lucasfilm games Maniac Mansion. Selecting text from some preset words to construct various commands and phrases.
The game got a mixed reception on the Spectrum and Amstrad platforms, but we never got to find out what was thought of the C64 conversion which never appeared.
Normally when a game appears on just the Spectrum and Amstrad, you assume that the C64 version hit problems in the conversion process. The game was no isometric Spectrum hit to convert, but a rather simple concept which had been done before in similiar games by Melbourne House such as Redhawk.
Alan Malik was the C64 developer for the game, but unfortunately Alan struggled with the C64 architecture after primarily working on the BBC micro platform (Writing the ‘Sleuth’ debugger). Mike Lewis (One of the game’s original developers on the Spectrum) worked with Alan for around 5 days to try and help finish things off, but unfortunately although the basic code was there, things were quite buggy and after discussion with Melbourne House, the game on the C64 was dropped. A huge shame that maybe Alan wasn’t given a bit more time to adapt to the platform, but we guess that the time slot for the game’s appearance had passed.
In early 2010, a breakthrough was made when Andrew Craigie came forward with his unreleased SID tune for the game (Which now you can download for the first time! – Thanks to Ian Coog for tidying up the SID file!). He then gave us the remaining credits.
As for the game itself, it seemed the best hope of finding something of the game would be by contacting Alan and seeing if by chance he kept any of his development disks. Unfortunately Alan confirmed that everything was given back to Melbourne House (Dev kits etc). Alan mentions that from memory there was a change in ownership / direction and it fell of the radar and that was that. Kit was returned and everyone called it a day.
So now it is down to the graphic artist having something, but it is very unlikely. This could well be lost forever, unless someone from Melbourne House comes forward.
Do you know anything more of this conversion?…
Contributions: Peter Weighill, World Of Spectrum, Andrew Craigie, Ian Coog/HVSC, Richard Hewison, Mike Lewis, Alan Malik