Holding Your Hand Through the Mansion
Since Maniac Mansion can be completed a number of ways, all dependent on the characters that you choose, there is no single way to complete the game. However, if you want to follow a straight path to completion, then choose a character below. In addition, this page lists some important tips and tricks to winning the game (and avoid getting stuck in a no-win scenario).
NOTE: This section contains plenty of spoilers, so proceed with caution.
Escaping the Dungeon
If you get caught by a member of the Edison family, they will send your character to the dungeon. This does not end the game though. There are two ways to escape from the dungeon. The old rusty key opens the dungeon door, and allows you to enter/exit as you please. However, you wont be able to get the old rusty key until later in the game. If you have at least two characters in the dungeon, there is another way to escape the dungeon. Position one of the characters below the left window and use "What Is" to locate a loose brick. When you push the loose brick, the dungeon's door (on the right) opens for a few seconds, then closes again. It happens too fast for a single kid to push the brick and reach the door before it closes. But if you have a second kid in the dungeon, position him right in front of the door, switch to the first kid and make him push the brick, then quickly switch back to the second kid and run through the open door.
Leave a kid by the mailbox to intercept the package
At some point during the game, someone will deliver a package to the mansion. The doorbell will ring, and you will see a cutscene of Weird Ed leaving his room. If you want to win the game with anyone other than Bernard, you must have a character retrieve the package before Weird Ed answers the door. It is common practice to leave one kid by the mailbox, waiting for the doorbell to ring (so you can easily switch to that kid and pickup the package).
When Ed comes to get his package, he will walk through the hallways of the house. If Weird Ed sees a kid on the way, he will chase after him. It doesn't matter if the kid is captured or escapes, but Weird Ed will forget about the package and head back to his room. If you do not leave someone waiting by the mailbox, this is a good trick to keep Ed from getting his package. Remember, it's better to sacrifice a kid to the dungeon, then to lose the package.
How to Lose
There are several ways to lose the game. Losing the game can be as complex as killing all of the kids, or just losing a single inventory item (which can be very frustrating).
Killing All the Kids
- If you turn off the curcuit breakers in the basement, this will trigger a reactor meltdown. An alarm will sound, and you will see a humorous cutscene with Dr. Fred. If you do not turn the circuit breakers back on in a few minutes, the entire house will explode.
- Under the house (behind the grating, at the front of the house), is a valve that controls the cooling system for the nuclear reactor. Turning the valve will drain the pool, and initiate a meltdown. Once again, an alarm will sound and you will see a cutscene with Dr. Fred. If the valve is not turned again, the reactor will explode, killing everyone.
- At the bottom of the drained pool is a big red button. If you push the button, the house will explode and everyone dies.
- In copy-protected versions of the game, entering an incorrect security code will initiate a self destruct sequence. The player has a limited amount of time to enter the correct code, or the entire house will blow up.
- Have Bernard read the warning sign near the security door (this is dependent on the version of the game, if it has a security door, and if there is a warning sign). Bernard will attempt to crack the system ... with disasterous results.
- When you enter Dr. Fred's lab at the end, he will initiate a self-destruct sequence. If you want for the countdown to reach zero, the house explodes.
- If you enter the Meteor's room without a radiation suit and get hit by a radiation blast, the house will explode. While this should only kill the kid that's hit, it destroys everyone.
Killing One Kid
It's still could be possible
to win the game if someone dies
If a kid dies, a tombstone appears infront of the house and the character is no longer available to control. The game will continue as long as you have at least one kid alive. However, if a single kid dies, you may not be able to complete the game. For example, Dave and Jeff have no skills that let you complete the game. So, if your third character dies before completing an important task, you wont be able to finish the game. Below are ways to kill single characters.
Razor and Syd can use the hamster in the microwave. Give the remains back to Ed and see what happens.
- Make Syd/Razor use the hamster in the microwave ... and turn it on. Pickup the remains, and bring them to Weird Ed. Ed will be furious.
- Copy the record from Green Tentacle's room ("Tentacle Mating Calls") onto the cassette tape. Play the tape in Green Tentacle's room. Green Tentacle will attempt to mate with the character, killing them.
- Under the mansion (enter the grating at the front of the mansion), use the valve to drain the pool. Make another kid go down the ladder into the empty pool. Turn the valve again, and fill the pool. This will drown and kill the kid.
- Have Syd/Razor record a song in the music room, and mail the tape to the publisher. When you get the contract, give it to Green Tentacle. He will be insanely jealous and kill the character.
- Have Wendy obtain a contract for the edited manuscript. Give the contract to Green Tentacle. He will not be happy and will kill the character.
- Fill the glass jar with water from the pool (not the sink). Use the jar in the microwave and turn it on. When you open the microwave, the radioactive fumes will kill the character.
There are various dead-ends that can make the game unwinneable, some of which are dependent on the team you choose. These include anything that will impead access to the secret lab, restrict access to opening Edna's safe or even just ripping opening the envelope (a common mistake). Below are a list of possible dead ends.
- Kill a specific kid, before an important task is completed, and have no other kid to complete an alternative task. It is important to note that Jeff is useless, so if you choose Jeff and another kid, and the other kid dies (before performing his main task), the game will be unwinnable.
- Kill a kid that is holding a needed item. When a kid dies, all of his possessions disappear. If the kid was holding an item that was needed to complete a task, then that task will be impossible.
- Only one kid is left alive, who does not have the old rusty key, and they are trapped in the dungeon.
- One kid has the front door key, but does not have the old rusty key, and is locked in the dungeon ... and all of the other characters are locked outside the mansion.
- Let Ed collect his package, and the game is unwinnable with everyone except Bernard.
- Give Ed his package, without attempting to open the package first (and getting the stamps), and the game is unwinnable with Syd, Razor and Wendy. The stamps are needed in order to get a contract from the publisher.
- Rip open the envelope. In order to complete the game with Syd, Razor or Wendy, you need the envelope unsealed using steam in the microwave (so the envelope can be reused).
- Send anything to the publisher besides the demo tape or the edit manuscript (the memoirs). This makes the game unwinnable with Syd, Razor or Wendy.
- Open the undelevoped film when the lights are on, exposing the film - this makes the game unwinnable with Michael. The same will happen if you open the film when the lights are off and then walk into a lit area for more than a few seconds.
- Use the paint remover on anything other than the paint blotch in the room with the man-eating plant. The door behind the paint blotch will remain hidden, and you can't fix the wires in the next room. This will keep power off in the game room, and you wont be able to get the security code for the lab door.
- If you waste your dimes in the telescope room by making the telescope go back and forth too much, you may at one point no longer be able to move it to look into the attic and see the combination to Edna's safe.
- Call the Meteor Police three times without unlocking the secret lab's door. The meteor police will refuse to come anymore, making the game unwinnable with Bernard.
Use the yellow key in the Edsel before placing the meteor in the trunk. This can happen early in the game (before you gain access to the secret lab), or when you are holding the meteor. The car will take off, and leave a crater where the garage was. This makes the game unwinnable with Michael, Syd and Razor. Note: If you did not grab the tools from the trunk first, then they game will be unwinnable for all the characters (since you need the tools to repair the wires, turn on power to the game room, and get the security code for the secret lab)
Don't use the yellow key
in the Edsel too soon.
- Kill the man-eating plant by pouring the developer on it. This will restrict access to the observatory, or trap anyone up there (and all their items). Unless you already have the combination, this is a dead end for anyone needing the envelope.
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