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Are there any combinations of characters in the original Maniac Mansion which make the game impossible to finish?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't believe so. Certain combinations will probably make it harder, but it seems you generally only should need 1 character's special skill to beat the game; Dave and the third character can just be bodies to do stuff everyone can do.

I am extrapolating based on info from this walkthrough which has instructions for beating the game using each character's special skill, and simply calls your third character "your third kid."

The walkthroughs do mention to not choose both Syd and Razor (because their skills are the same) but they still don't conclude that the game will be unbeatable with them.

That said, killing off one of your characters could easily make the game impossible.

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In Maniac Mansion, you need a single Kid's skill to get past certain obstacles (mainly Purple Tentacle) and you need at least two kids to win for most of the game.

  • Dave and Jeff don't have any skills whatsoever
  • Bernard can fix the Telephone (to call Edna) and Fred's Radio (to call the Meteor Police)
    • This gives you the meteor police badge that can get past the Purple Tentacle
  • Razor/Syd can record a music cassette which is used to get Green Tentacle's demo tape, which gets him a recording contract
    • Green Tentacle will protect you against Purple Tentacle
  • Michael can develop Weird Ed's secret plans, which befriends Weird Ed
    • Weird Ed will protect you against Purple Tentacle
  • Wendy can fix up the Manuscript written by the Meteor and land him a book contract
    • The contract gets you past Purple Tentacle and the Meteor - possibly my favorite ending

So as long as you have one kid with a skill you can get past purple tentacle, and as long as you have one additional kid you can finish the game (for stuff like pushing the gargoyle, prank calling Edna to get to the safe, ringing the doorbell to get into Weird Ed's room etc.)

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Jeff can fix the phone, so his skills are a tad better than Dave's, but so can Bernard and he can also fix the radio. Why they didn't give Jeff another skill is unknown, but the inclusions with the full package hint at another skill. I've read he was originally supposed to be able to intuit the inner door code if you dropped the radio into the pool (he gets shocked and sees a vision of the code in his head). Whether that has any truth or not, I don't know. Personally, I think he should have been able to pick the medicine/medical cabinet and perhaps other door locks open. The medical cabinet would have been an ideal place for a special object related to his character as the game hints it needs a special key but there is none to be found. They could have had him be able to swim even (saving time not having to drain the pool to get the radio/batteries). It seems kind of dumb to limit him so much.

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