Waxworks (1992 video game)

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Waxworks-Box Art.jpg
Amiga Cover art
Developer(s) Horror Soft
Publisher(s) Accolade
Designer(s) Michael Woodroffe, Alan Bridgman, Simon Woodroffe
Composer(s) Jezz Woodroffe
Platform(s) Amiga, DOS
Release 1992
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player

Waxworks is a first-person, dungeon crawl-style role-playing video game that was developed by Horror Soft and released in 1992. It was originally an Amiga game, but was also released for DOS. This was the last game made by Horror Soft before they became Adventure Soft, the company that made the Simon the Sorcerer series .

Dungeon crawl video game genre

A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find. Because of its simplicity, a dungeon crawl can be easier for a gamemaster to run than more complex adventures, and the "hack and slash" style of play is appreciated by players who focus on action and combat. However dungeon crawls often lack meaningful plot or logical consistency.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Adventure Soft is a United Kingdom-based video game developer established by Mike Woodroffe, first as an importer and reseller of Adventure International games. The firm operates out of Sutton Coldfield, and is best known for the Simon the Sorcerer series of games.



Many years ago, Ixona, a Gypsy witch, stole a chicken from the player's ancestor, who chopped off her hand as punishment. In retaliation, Ixona placed a curse on the ancestor. Whenever twins were born into his family line, one would grow up to be good while the other would become evil.

At present day, the protagonist learns that his twin brother, Alex, is going to suffer the curse. Boris, their uncle, has died and left them with his Waxworks, as well a crystal ball, through which his spirit communicates with his nephew. The protagonist learns that he must rid the family of Ixona's curse to save Alex. He must use the Waxworks to travel through four locations in different time periods: Ancient Egypt, a zombie-infested cemetery, Victorian era London and a mine overrun with plant-like mutants. Within each location, he is to defeat his evil twin who takes the shape of a villain.

Wax museum museum displaying a collection of ril representing famous people

A wax museum or waxworks usually consists of a collection of wax sculptures representing famous people from history and contemporary personalities exhibited in lifelike poses, wearing real clothes.

Egyptian pyramids Ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt

The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.

Victorian era period of British history encompassing Queen Victorias reign (1837–1901)

In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War; a Pax Britannica of international free trade was maintained by the country's naval and industrial supremacy. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked.

Eventually, the protagonist learns that the only way to break the curse is to prevent it from being cast in the first place. After defeating the evil twin four times, the protagonist is given four artifacts: the High Priest's amulet, the Necromancer's ring, Jack the Ripper's knife, and a vial of the Plant Monster's poison. The final level is unlocked, and takes the protagonist back in time to confront Ixona. Following Boris' instructions, the protagonist uses the artifacts to kill Ixona before she can place the curse. As a result, the curse is erased from existence for every afflicted generation of the protagonist's family line.

Jack the Ripper unidentified serial killer

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After the curse is undone, the protagonist finds Alex unconscious in a corner of the Waxworks and revives him. Upon waking, Alex recalls a strange dream he had, in which he witnessed Ixona's death. However, in the dream, right before she died, Ixona muttered another curse which transformed the protagonist into a demon. The dream's meaning is never made clear, possibly hinting at a potential sequel. The game ends with the brothers leaving the museum.


Waxworks is a first-person, dungeon crawl-style RPG. The game is divided into five different time periods: Ancient Egyptian Period, Medieval Transylvania Period, Victorian England Period, Industrial Mine Period and Ixona's Period. Three of those time periods have a mixture of puzzle-solving and combat, while the Victorian England and Ixona ones are more puzzle-solving oriented. Once a time period is completed, the player loses all experience points and weapons, creating a new challenge for each time period.

In each time period, the player moves through a series of tight corridors using a bitmap sprite-based point-and-click interface picking up items, solving puzzles, avoiding deadly encounters and engaging in combat with various opponents. During combat, players can target their opponent's individual body parts, such as head or arms. The player can use Uncle Boris' crystal ball to get hints and occasional healing items. The main objective is to collect a special item from the evil twin ancestors before venturing into the Ixona Period to undo the family curse.

Sprite is a computer graphics term for a two-dimensional bitmap that is integrated into a larger scene, most often in a 2D video game.

Point and click are the actions of a computer user moving a pointer to a certain location on a screen (pointing) and then pressing a button on a mouse, usually the left button (click), or other pointing device. An example of point and click is in hypermedia, where users click on hyperlinks to navigate from document to document.

A puzzle is a game, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct or fun solution of the puzzle. There are different genres of puzzles, such as crossword puzzles, word-search puzzles, number puzzles, relational puzzles, or logic puzzles.


The game uses the AGOS engine, which is a modified version of the AberMUD 5 engine. The story for Waxworks was developed by Rick Moran. Original music was composed by Jezz Woodroffe who worked with John Canfield for the sound design. Producers Todd Thorson and Mark Wallace worked with the help of David Friedland and Tricia Woodroffe, who managed the technical resources.

AberMUD was the first popular open source MUD. It was named after the town Aberystwyth, in which it was written. The first version was written in B by Alan Cox, Richard Acott, Jim Finnis, and Leon Thrane based at University of Wales, Aberystwyth for an old Honeywell mainframe and opened in 1987.


Computer Gaming World criticized the small game maps, overemphasis on combat, and the IBM PC version's use of an Amiga-like 32-color palette instead of 256-color VGA graphics, but liked the "very atmospheric" soundtrack. The magazine concluded that despite flaws, the game was "better than most" CRPGs, and that "for those who revel in the macabre" ... Waxworks continues to satisfy the bent toward the supernatural". [1] The game received 3 out of 5 stars in Dragon . [2]

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  1. Miller, Chuck (February 1993). "Accolade's Waxworks". Computer Gaming World. p. 50. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  2. Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (April 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (192): 57–63.