The game commences...

Themepark Mystery logo

DO YOU know what lectryomancy is? No neither did I until I played Theme Park Mystery. Even when I did know what lectryomancy, gyromancy and empyromancy meant, thanks to the Theme Park booklet, I was no wiser as to playing the actual game. I quote: "The game instructions have deliberately been kept to a minimum to force you, the user, to experiment".

What this invariably means is that if you were given enough instructions to know what the hell you were doing then it wouldn't take long to complete the game.

Theme Park Mystery falls neatly into this trap, because in each of its carefully prepared segments, Future World, Dragon World, Dream World, and the starting location of Yesterday Land there is a measure of complication that arises from not knowing what any of the various objects therein actually do.

Rather like an adventure game, the object is to repeatedly try to do different things with the same item until a use can be found.

In Theme Park this somewhat repetitive task is made all the more tedious by the fact that there are plenty of red herrings, and that you need one of these objects (found in Dragon Land) to gain entrance to Dream Land. Thus you end up playing and playing again in the platforms and ladders world of Dragon Land.

Before you even get that far you have to solve a small puzzle involving one of the three machines in Yesterday Land. This achieved an image of Zoltan forms in a crystal ball, and hands out the boarding pass for the pan-dimensional monorail. Yup, step right aboard for a trip, and what a trip it will be.

Until you can acquire the sleeping potion required for access to Dream Land (whoops that's given the game away) you can only visit Dragon Land, which is a distinctly mediocre platforms and ladders game.

Unfortunately you'll be spending quite a lot of time here until you work out how to acquire the artifacts that allow access to the chessboard-like Dream Land, and the killing zone of Future Land. I'd like to say that Theme Park Mystery actually resembles a theme park, but it doesn't, so I can't.

There is quite a lot of depth to the game with regards to things you need to do and collect, so you will be at it for some time, but the telling point is that you'll be doing this acquiring over the same terrain, facing the same obstacles again and again.

The graphics for Theme Park are indeed a mystery, a mystery why they are so gob-smackingly mediocre that is. The sound effects are equally routine and for a mystery in a theme park the game really does lack graphical imagination.

It also bears a resemblance to Weird Dreams in concept, and though that game left an awful lot to be desired it did at least look different, unusual and interesting.

Theme Park Mystery is a reasonable and playable game, once you know what you are doing. If you start off with only the information available in the manual then I can predict plenty of teeth gnashing and hair pulling in store.

If you really want to play this game, which lacks the class to haul it out of the realm of mediocrity, then I'd say wait until some magazine published copious hints and maps.

Themepark Mystery logo

IMAGEWORKS/MIRRORSOFT £24.99 * Joystick and Mouse

Theme parks are generally seen to be happy places. Places to which families can go together and spend a day having fun, forgetting all their worries. Your grandfather can tell quite a different story.

Magic Canyon was one of the most succesful Parks in the country, until something happened there to send your grandfather completely mad. You must find out what happened so that the memories of your family can be put to rest and the park can be reopened. Otherwise the park and the land will have to be sold off, losing everything that your grandfather worked for.

As soon as you arrive at the park, it becomes clear that something is not quite right. A strange presence can be felt as you enter the first of the Park's three sections, Yesterdayland. For one, what happened to your clothes? The old-fashioned costume is not what you were wearing when you arrived - things are going to be weird!

This is where your adventure begins. To begin with you must work out how to use the fortune telling machine, the home of Zoltan. He will tell you what you have to do to return the park to normality - namely return eight runaway demons to him.

The demons are well hidden within the four areas of the park - Yesterdatyland, Dragonland, Futureland and Dreamland - each of which has its own specific task that needs to be completed before the game can be finished. To enter the different areas an item must be picked up and used, but finding them is not as easy as it sounds.

All possible clues must be taken note of, as well as applying a substantial amount of brain power to solve the puzzles and win the challenges placed in your way by the mischievous demons.


Theme Park Mystery's strength most definitely lies in its polished appearance. A lot of care has been taken to ensure that the feel leans well towards the ethereal adventure side of things (even though many of the sections are definitely arcade based) with lots of objects to use and graphic puzzles to overcome.

Each park has its own distinct atmosphere, from the rustic colours of Yesterdayland, via the medieval catacombs of Dragonland to the surreal surroundings of Dreamland. Sound is sparse, consisting of a few sampled effects and tunes, but it is still effective where it is used - particularly the jolly bandstand music from the grabbing game and the mysterious theme tune (if it only was a bit longer).


As you would expect from an adventure game, it is extremely unlikely that you will complete Theme Park Mystery in any great hurry. The arcade sequences fit into the game well, but rather than returning for another 'bash' their challenge will only last until you have managed to carry out the task required to complete them.

Still there is enough to get through before the game has been won, so adventure fans will probably sit glued to their screens until the challenge has been overcome.


Adventures that are entirely graphics based are quite often simply arcade games with a few obligatory puzzles thrown in.

Theme Park Mystery manages to avoid this trap, mainly due to the fact that the game was designed by a well-established adventure writer. With a great deal of though, all the puzzles can ben workout out logically but, even when you know what to do, there is still a lot of playing to be done before the final goal can be reached.

Theme Park Mystery may be just the game to bridge the gap between pure adventure games and the adrenaline-fired world of shoot-em-ups or platform games, creating the perfect opportunity for fans of either to cross over and discover the delights of the other.

Themepark Mystery logo

Wenn einem zwischen all dem mittelprächtigen Stoff, der sonst so den Tester-Alltag versüßt, mal ein wirklich originelles Spiel in die Finger kommt, ist das schon ein kleines Ereignis. Und wenn dieses Spiel dann auch noch ein ofenwarmes Testmuster ist, das die netten Leute von Mirrorsoft bei ihrem Besuch in der Redaktion dagelassen haben, ist die Freude natürlich kaum noch mehr zu bremsen!

Schon beim Vorspann wird klar, daß dieses Game etwas anders ist als die anderen: Statt dem üblichen Loadingbildchen kriegt man tanzende Augen zu sehen, begleitet von einer mystisch-düsteren Musik. Theme Park Mystery ist ein Action-Adventure; in der Vorgeschichte geht es um die Schließung des MagicCanyon Parks, dessen Vorbesitzer verrückt geworden ist. Warum? Genau das wird der Spieler noch früh genug herausfinden!

Das Game ist in vier Sektionen unterteilt: In der ersten, Yesterday Land, ist eine kleine Unterhaltung mit "Zoltan", dem Seltsamen (einem antiquierten Wahrsageautomaten, wer den Film "Big" gesehen hat, weiß, wovon ich spreche), angesagt.

Weiter stehen hier noch uralte Arcade-Maschinen herum, auf denen man zwar nicht unbedingt spielen muß, es aber dennoch tun sollte: Auf einem kann man nämlich einen Dämon einfangen und von den Biestern braucht man insgesamt acht Stück, um zu gewinnen. Das Problem ist nur, daß sich die Viecher untereinander er überhaupt nicht vertragen!

Ist dieser Level geschafft, geht es weiter ins Dragon Land, das zwar aussieht wie ein "Black Tiger"-Clone (aha, der gleicher Grafiker...), sich aber etwas besser spielt. Dieser Abschnitt ist im Grunde ein einfaches Plattformspiel, das durch die verschiedenen zu lösenden Aufgaben (Gegenstände einsammeln und benutzen) zum anspruchsvollen Action-Adventure aufgemotzt wurde.

Sobald man das Schlafmittel (Sleep potion) gefunden hat, kommt man - oh Überraschung - ins Dream Land. Hier wird es ziemlich abstrakt und strategisch, man blickt von oben auf ein Schachbrettmuster, auf dem die eigene Spielfigur Dämonen finden und einsammeln muß.

Die letzte Station heißt Future Land, dort ist wieder mehr Action angesagt. Es geht jetzt schließlich auch um die Wurst, sprich die letzten noch fehlenden Dämonen! Sobald man mal das Visum für den "Zug der Zeit" gefunden hat, können die einzelnen Level auch nach Belieben besucht werden.

Die Grafik von Theme Park Mystery ist überdurchschnittlich gut, ruckelt kaum und ist exzellent animiert. Der Titelsoundtrack ist von beeindruckender Düsterkeit, im Spiel werden dann passende, gut gemachte Effekte geboten. Zum Steuern braucht man Joystick (Bewegen) und Maus (Auswählen), anders geht gar nichts.

Genau das richtige Game für Leute, die ungewöhnliche neue Ideen lieben und beim Spielen Grips und Geschick gleichermaßen anstrengen wollen! (mm)

Themepark Mystery logo CU Amiga Screen Star

PRICE: £24.99

Things are not all candy floss and fun down at the fair. Ghouls and demons are everywhere but in Ghost Train, and they are partial to a quick spot of terrorising. Then the owner dies, bequeating the park to you. A true parsons ghostbuster, you set out to hunt down the seven demons possessing the various areas of your park.

Theme Park is set over four levels - Dragon Land, Dream Land, Future Land and the first, Yesterday Land. Here you operate three funfair booths. The first is Zoltan, the mechanical fortune teller, and the lynch pin to the game. Zoltan supplies help throughout the game, plus some clues to get you going.

Next is the bagatelle machine, forerunner to modern pinball machines. This is where you win tokens for Zoltan. Last is the grabber - but instead of fluffy toys it contains tin soliders, one of which turns out to be a demon.

Yesterday Land is linked to the other areas via monorail. First stop is Dragon Land. Half way through the journey your clothes metamorphoses into medieval garb, and the train takes on a pagan feel in this attractive interlude sequence.

Dragon Land itself is similar in some respects to System Three's Myth. The graphics are small and tidy and there is some puzzle solving and lemming-like suicidal experiments for you to plunge into. On the whole it is a very nice sub game.

Achieving a sense of surrealism is a prerequisite for any dream sequence. Dream Land is set on a giant chess board, full of holes and crawling with bugs with the demon hiding out at the end of the level.

Future Land is where things really get out of hand. A free for all shoot em up, you find yourself piloting a shuttle craft along a roller coaster, dishing out death and destruction to all and sundry. Not a technically inspiring section but good fun to play.

Theme Park provides a diversity of gaming styles, ranging from arcade blasts to puzzle solving. On the whole everything seems to join together well enough, but people afflicted with bad joystick control will have some problems with the arcade section, just as the dedicated zapper will have trouble with the problems.

An interesting combination of games, both sonically and visually attractive and highly playable. Well worth paying the entrance fee.

Themepark Mystery logo

Mirrorsoft, £24.99

Eighteen pages of informative text set the scene for this imaginative arcade adventure, reminding readers of the medieval origins of carnivals. Many of the various sideshows have mystical aspects, something which films from Big to Something Wicked This Way Comes exploit.

Now you've inherited one such entertainment palace, but don't celebrate yet. You were bequeathed it by a mad grandfather and for the sake of both your sanity, and future profits, you must face up to the spirits that haunt it. In fact, there are eight demons to be found.

The game begins with you at a monorail station in Yesterday Land where there are three machines from the early 1900s. A fortune telling machine, a bagatelle and a grabber must be exploited to provide a train ticket.

Once you have a ticket you can board a train for the three other lands, or games. These must be completed in order, so first you must get off at Dragon Land. This is a platform arcade/adventure where you're transformed into a barbarian who must battle stone apes, ghosts and pigeons! Collecting a dream potion will allow you to go to Dream Land, but there's also five cogs to fix the dragon ride - taking you to four variations on the Dragon Land theme.

Dream Land is a multi-directionally scrolling overhead-view arcade adventure. You start off on a chess board with various pieces dotted around. Bumping into them reveals boxes which can be opened by keys. Inside there are such things as oil cans (to use on deadly eyeballs!), ladders (to cross gaps) and the demons you need to collect to finish the level. As well as lethal eyeballs, lips and beetles, there's a snowfield to cross, complete with snowball-throwing snowmen.

The next level is Future Land, a first-person perspective view of a ride up (and down!) a futuristic rollercoaster. You defend yourself with a laser-armed grabber which can collect demons and the debris of destroyed ships.

Phil King My favorite part of this game is the antique amusement machine line-up - now I know what the 'exciting new machines' will be at the next Ludlow funfair. The rest of the game is an interesting mix of weird sub-games. The Dragon Land level is fairly straightforward, and probably the most fun. The more ambitious and innovative later levels aren't quite as playable. Having said that, the game's whole is greater than the sum of its parts with the surreally sinister graphics and good sound effects giving it a good spooky atmosphere. The fortune teller is a particularly impressive start. If you like the carnival theme you'll enjoy it, but I don't think it's quite good enough to be a big mainstream hit. More of a cult game, in my opinion, for those who fancy something a bit different.
Robin Hogg To their credit, Mirrorsoft seem to specialize in promoting off-beat 16-bit games such as Gravity, Interphase and now this. There's little info on the game itself in the packaging, and even with programmers' hints it's a bit difficult to immediately get into. Nevertheless the urge to see all the different game-types is inevitably compulsive, and the actual games are good fun from the bagatelle to the above-average arcade-adventures in Dragon Land and Dream Land. It's also good how you can choose either to explore Dragon Land more fully, or just grab the Dream Potion and hop onto one of the later levels.
The final rollercoaster shoot-'em-up is okay as well. As a package the game works well, with plenty of imagination and attention to detail. I enjoyed the first section best, and while nothing is outstanding here this is well worth a look.