PARENTAL WARNING!! Intense Graphic Violence! - A sticker on the game box (They MEAN it)
Descend Into Five Vast Worlds of Molten Terror!
After the success of their Elvira based adventure games
, Horror Soft
followed them up with another point-and-click horror/adventure in the original IP Wax Works
, which is so similar to the Elvira
games that it's often considered a spiritual sequel.
The storyline was fairly simple: After the death of your uncle, he leaves you his wax works, a crystal ball, and a letter telling you that you must rid the family of a curse put upon you by an evil witch, which has affected the family whenever twins were born. One twin turns out good, and the other evil. To defeat each evil twin, you must use your uncle's wax works to go back in time to five periods and locations: An Ancient-Egyptian pyramid, Victorian London (in which the evil twin is none other than Jack the Ripper
), a cemetery teeming with zombies, and a vast mine shaft filled with plant mutants. If you survive each stage, you will be able to enter the final wax work, the Witch's lair, and rid the family of its curse for good. If you need assistance, you can speak to your uncle through the crystal ball for clues and tips.
But much like the Elvira
games, the story is hardly the most memorable aspect. In addition to being Nintendo Hard
, the game is notorious for having horrifically realistic and gory death scenes
. If this isn't the game with the most disturbing game over screens in history, then it is certainly a worthy contender for the title. It actually makes the Elvira
games seem somewhat tame by comparison. That said, it's a great point-and-click adventure game. Just prepare like you won't believe. And you may wish to avoid eating during gameplay.
For those interested in the game, a longplay of the Amiga version can be found here
, and the game is available for sale as a download at Gog.com
Not to be confused with the film Waxwork
, which had a similar premise.
- All There in the Manual: The game came with a short novel that served as both exposition and prologue.
- Ancient Egypt - One of the levels is set inside an Egyptian pyramid.
- Animal Stereotypes - Invoked twice in the pyramid: One death has you being dragged into the water by a crocodile and eaten, and the other involves snakes coming out of holes in the wall and one of them biting you.
- Artistic License – History: The prologue states that the first evil twin born after the witch curses the bloodline became known as Vlad IV, later known as Vlad the Impaler.note
- Bad Moon Rising - In the Jack the Ripper segment, the moon looks like a skull. But not, oddly, in the graveyard level.
- Bloodier and Gorier - While the game isn't a true sequel to the Elvira games, it's similar enough that it might as well be, and is a lot gorier than either of them (and they weren't slouches in the gore department, either).
- Body Horror - Those plant mutants in the mine? They used to be human. The worst case of this is your twin brother, who is so badly mutated that he doesn't look even remotely human anymore. And of course, this trope can happen to you - especially the tongue mutant death.
- Cain and Abel - Your family was cursed so that one of every set of twins becomes evil, and you have to go back in time using the titular waxworks building to kill the worst of them and break the curse. Your own brother is incapacitated before and throughout the game, and part of your goal is to save him, but other than this, the "evil twin" aspect isn't played up much: the evil brothers of the past include Jack the Ripper, a necromancer who looks far older than his good twin, and a human/fungus mutant who doesn't even resemble a human anymore.
- Cartography Sidequest - You get experience for each part of the map visited in an area. This is the only way to level up in London.
- Covers Always Lie - See that melting candle comprised of faces deep from the Uncanny Valley up there? Nothing even resembling it appears in the game.
- Cue the Sun: The ending of the Egypitan wax work will have you and the Princess leave the maze just in time to watch the sun rise over the Pyramids.
- Daylight Horror: The only waxwork that takes place during the day is the Mine scenario. Both the Graveyard and London ones are set at night, and the Ancient Egypt one takes place during a single night, the sun sets just as you enter the pyramid, and rises as you leave.
- Death by Irony: Up to Eleven according to the prologue. After the witch places the curse, she is later killed by the first evil twin for refusing to lift the curse.
- Disproportionate Retribution - Long ago, one of your ancestors cut the hand off of a witch for attempting to steal his goods. Her curse in revenge was to condemn one of every set of twins born to the family to become evil.
- Dracula - There's a dead ringer for the classic vampire in the graveyard.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: The Graveyard waxwork is teeming with the undead, and the best way to kill them is by lopping their arms and heads off with a sickle you find.
- Eye Scream - Quite a few of the deaths depict ocular damage.
- The only way to defeat the last boss is to utterly mutilate her with a barrage of attacks, starting with shooting an arrow through her eye.
- In the mine scenario, to incapacitate your horribly mutated twin brother you have to poke all of its seven or eight eyes with a rail.
- Facial Horror: A lot of the deaths involve horrible things happening to your face. Also, the two zombie models in the Graveyard waxwork have decomposed faces that are pretty unsightly, to say the least.
- Gameplay Roulette - Each level has its own style of play. The pyramid is based around puzzles and traps, Victorian London is stealth and evasion, the graveyard is the most action-packed, and the mine is almost like a pre-Resident Evil as you traverse a mine shaft full of plant mutants. The best weapon against them is the chemical thrower, but it has limited fuel and you must go to a certain spot on the map to refuel it.
- Gorn - Saw has nothing on this game.
- Jack the Ripper - In this game, he is presented as one of the evil twins you must vanquish.
- The Many Deaths of You - You would be hard-pressed to find a better (and more disturbing) example of this trope.
- Nintendo Hard - Just like the Elvira games, Wax Works is very difficult.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown / Curbstomp Battle - The final boss fight with the witch.
- Porn Stache: Oddly enough, one of the zombie models in the Graveyard waxwork is sporting one of these.
- Press X to Die - In the Egyptian pyramid, you can find an option that lets you knock down a supporting pillar. Take a wild guess what happens when you do it. *squish*
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge - For many players, the vicious brutality they inflict on the witch at the climax is payback for the many gruesome deaths they undoubtedly suffered up to that point.
- Shout-Out - The part in the pyramid where the snakes come out of holes in the wall is very similar to an infamous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. No snakes slithering out of human skulls, thankfully.
- Slashed Throat - Jack the Ripper's specialty. In the London Waxwork, the first thing you see is a girl whose throat was slit. The same happens to you if you lose in the fight with Jack.
- Spikes Of Doom - One of the deaths in the pyramid involves a very nasty encounter with a spike pit.
- Tomato in the Mirror - You're the evil twin.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay - You WILL die. A lot.
- Two-Faced: One of the zombies in the Graveyard waxwork.
- Unwinnable by Design - Near the climax of the London Waxwork, you are to go to a shady part of town, where you need to get a box of tea for a bar owner in order to get to the last part of the game. Later, every alleyway leading out is filled with thugs. If you try walking past them, one of them will punch you. Once you wake up, all your items are gone, including the crowbar you needed to open the crates and the box of tea. How to avoid this? You were supposed to find a whistle hidden in a house that's very hard to notice.Even if you found the house, the whistle is hidden inside a vase. Oh, and the thugs steal the key to get inside said house too. Sucky part is that not only you had no idea that you even needed the whistle, but were probably even unaware it ever existed.
- It is possible to get rid of them with another not-so-concealed item:a shotgun which is found in the same room as the whistle (but in plain sight).While it can lead to extreme disappointment (trying to shoot it reveals it is loaded with blanks) the noise is enough to chase the thugs away.
- Victorian London: One of the levels is set here.