Maniac Mansion was one of the very first video games to feature "cut-scenes", scenes that cut away from the action to let you see what's going on elsewhere in the game. These scenes are not interactive but instead are used to provide either background information or clues. The name "cut-scene" was coined by the Maniac Mansion team and is still used to this day by gamers. Nowadays, cut-scenes are a staple of adventure games and RPGs.
There are two types of cut-scenes in Maniac Mansion, the ones that happen in response to the player's actions, and the ones that are triggered by an arbitrary timer.
Although triggered by a timer, some of these cut-scenes will only take place once you've reached a certain point in the game, and sometimes a cut-scene will be skipped entirely. All timer-based cut-scenes are listed here.
Dr.Fred and Sandy
Very shortly after entering the mansion, you will see a cut-scene of Dr.Fred in his secret lab, bullying Sandy. This scene gives you your first glimpse of the secret lab, which you will only be able to enter late in the game. It also highlights the fact that Dr.Fred is really mad, and Sandy is in big trouble.
- Dr.Fred: "Well, my dear. Hope you're having fun! Within minutes it'll all be over. You'll be hooked to my machine getting your pretty brains sucked out."
- Sandy: "You'll never get away with this! Dave and his friends will rescue me! You and your meteor can eat slime!"
- Dr.Fred (turning to the player): "That's what she thinks! Heh, heh, heh."
Dr.Fred leaves and Sandy unsuccessfully attempts to open the exit door.
- Sandy: "Help, help, HELP!"
Ed goes to the kitchen
Usually, some time after you entered the kitchen, you will see a short cut-scene of Ed in his room, saying "Gee, I'm hungry!". This obviously hints that he's going to the kitchen and that you shouldn't leave any kids on his way. Approximately one minute later, he will arrive in the kitchen, singing "Tum te tum. Dum de dum.", and check the fridge.
If you left the cheese in the fridge, he will take it, say "Oh boy! Cheese for my hamster and me!" and leave. If you took the cheese, he will say: "Where's the cheese!?" and leave.
Ed and Edna
Later on, Ed pays a visit to his mother and tries to convince her that something's wrong with Dr.Fred, to no avail. This scene gives you your first glimpse of Edna's bedroom if you haven't been there yet. It also shows you that Ed disapproves of his father's behaviour, hinting that it may be possible to get him on your side. It also tells you Dr.Fred is hiding in the basement, if you hadn't yet figured it out.
- Ed: "Daddy's been acting very strangely ever since his secret project in the lab..."
- Edna: "YEAH SO!!!"
- Ed: "Well, Mommy, I'm worried about him. He hasn't been at dinner for 5 years..."
- Edna: "YEAH SO!!!"
- Ed: "... and he's been bringing those bodies down into the basement late at night."
- Edna: "WHAT'S YOUR POINT ED?! I'M A VERY BUSY LADY!"
- Ed: "Never mind."
Dr.Fred and Edna
It is now Dr.Fred who's visiting Edna. She is sulking and turns her back on him.
- Dr.Fred: "Edna... I'm having trouble with the Zom-B-Matic. I need to shut down the power. It'll be off for 5 or 6 minutes."
Edna turns around.
- Edna: "Is this all you have to say to me? You've been in the basement for the past 5 years! Sometimes I think you like that meteor more than me!"
- Dr.Fred: "Don't worry my little Beauty Queen, soon everything will be different."
- Edna: "Sure."
4 or 5 minutes after this cut-scene, the house's power then goes off for, indeed, 5 or 6 minutes, before it comes back on. Even though you can turn your flashlight on to avoid being completely in the dark, there are some actions you can't perform while the power is off. So in certain cases you'll just have to wait until the power comes back before you can continue.
Dr.Fred and Ed
Dr.Fred visits Ed in his room and requests to get Ed's hamster as well as an electrical cattle prod for an experiment. If you haven't yet found the card key, you are given a very big hint here that Ed stole it, and thus that you must find it in his room. Dr.Fred also mentions that the card is required to reach the Meteor.
- Dr.Fred: Hey Ed! The meteor wants to borrow your hamster and electric cattle prod.
- Ed: My hamster! NOBODY touches my HAMSTER!
- Dr.Fred: Better watch it, Ed. You're going to piss off the meteor. It already thinks you stole my purple card key.
- Ed: Er… I don't know what you're talking about!
- Dr.Fred: I can't get to the meteor without it.
- Ed: Oh, really?
- Dr.Fred: Shape up, kid!
Dr.Fred, Sandy and Purple Tentacle
In the secret lab, Purple Tentacle is bullying Sandy.
- Sandy: "Get away from me you purple slime geek. Don't touch me!"
- Dr.Fred: "PURPLE TENTACLE!! Stop playing with the lab experiments. Bring her, the machine is ready. Heh, heh, heh."
- Sandy: "EEEEEEEEEK!!!!"
Very short cut-scenes also take place when Ed's package arrives, and when Dr.Fred plays (or attempts to play) in the arcade room. These are covered in the "Walkthrough" section, and are not reproduced here because they're so short.
Cut-scenes triggered by the player
These cut-scenes only take place in response to a specific action from the player. For now, only the Mark Eteer scenes are listed here.
You can mail different things to Mark Eteer, the publisher you saw on TV. Once you correctly mailed him something (see the "Walkthrough" section for that), all you have to do is wait, and about 5 minutes later you will see his reaction. Make sure to save your game before sending him rubbish, because once your envelope and stamps are gone, you're not getting them back.
Mailing him a tape:
"A cassette tape! Now, where's the play button?"
- Blank tape: "A blank tape? Is this a joke?"
- Old/broken record: "I like the beat, but the melody stinks!"
- Tentacle mating calls: (His office window breaks) "Oh, great!"
- Syd or Razor playing the piano: "Wonderful! Outrageous! AWESOME!! This will be a MEGAHIT! I've got to sign them right now!"
- Green Tentacle's demo tape: "Wonderful! Outrageous! AWESOME!! This will be a MEGAHIT! I've got to sign them right now!"
Mailing him the Meteor's manuscript:
"Ah! A manuscript! Let's see..."
- Original manuscript, or rewritten by someone else than Wendy: "What is this garbage! I wouldn't even use it to start a fire."
- Manuscript rewritten by Wendy: "Wow! This is hot stuff! It will sell millions maybe even BILLIONS!! I'm going to make Mr. Meteor a million dollar offer!"
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