Enjoyable horror-themed dungeon crawler
For those who have never been introduced to the charms of Elvira, she was a sort of B-movie horror TV show host whose cult popularity was enough to warrant a few games based on her likeness. These include the horror RPGs, Mistress of the Dark
and Elvira 2: The Jaws of Cerberus
and due to Waxworks' similarities it is considered a spiritual successor to these earlier games. This is is dungeon crawler, like Dungeon Master
or Eye of the Beholder
, but with a stronger sense of horror and which sees players exploring a series of claustrophobic corridors, engaging in real-time combat with the various denizens and solving puzzles. The backstory explains all this as being due to your family's dark history which involves witchcraft, chickens and ancient curses and which basically means you have to use the family's collection of waxworks to travel through time to locations including Ancient Egypt, Victorian London and other assorted spooky places to right this terrible wrong. Gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played a traditional action RPG, with experience points, weapon upgrades and the like all making an appearance and which are all implemented reasonably well and with a few variations on the established conventions. There isn't a great deal of customisation or depth here though so hardcore RPGs beware. Visually, the game is slightly dated but holds up pretty well with environments that are suitably creepy and atmospheric and monsters that are both imaginative and pretty terrifying at times. The story is fairly cheesy but is entertaining enough so when combined with the solid combat and puzzles, this makes for a fun experience. Just don't expect Elvira herself to make an appearance.
Elvira 3: Waxworks is a classic horror dungeon crawler
Today we have games such as Amnesia to give us a good scare or even shooters like Alien
vs. Predator to charge us with the dark adrenaline of scares. But in 1992, there were fewer scary options available, mainly because the graphics of the period were quite far behind the HD revolution, and also because it was harder to transpose the same feelings of anguish and fear on the tech. Not impossible however. Waxworks is the kind of game that managed this particular balance, it was dark enough, both in the graphic depiction of the underground setting as well as in the story that fueled the underlying quest. The story involves some witchcraft from a certain Ixona whose actions in the past send ripples through the future and affect your story. The game is creepy but it never gets over a certain limit. However, it will create feelings of claustrophobia, fear and will even offer you some good scares if you aren't desensitized by current gen horror productions. So do give it a try if you want to see what a scary and claustrophobic game looked like in 1992.