On the Atari 2600, you play either a boy rescuing a girl, or a girl rescuing a boy; you can switch between the two, even in the middle of gameplay. On the Atari 7800 and VIC-20, you can only play the girl. You have to rescue your friend from Dracula, at the top of a three-story castle.
You start outside, in a graveyard, where you collect spears from either a friendly ghost or a skeleton, depending on difficulty level. Once you have 10-25 spears (again, depending on difficulty) you advance to the castle gate. There you use your spears to shoot a bunch of spooky things (skulls, bats, scorpions, and a knight) that move back and forth across the screen, while avoiding a Mummy that's trying to kill you with an axe. Once you've shot all the spooks, you shoot the mummy, and enter the castle.
The first and second floors of the castle are mazes of walls with an Advancing Wall of Doom sliding back and forth. There are coffins scattered around, that you open by touching them with your hand. One coffin per floor has a cross inside. Find the cross, then climb the stairs to the next floor. You get a third cross when you reach the top floor.
The top floor is a Boss Room, with Dracula slowly advancing towards you, and your friend being held prisoner in one of two cells at the top of the screen. You have to maneuver until Dracula is above you, and a prison cell is above him. Then use your crosses to force Dracula up into the cell. Once Dracula is imprisoned, your friend is freed, and you guide him/her back to the stairs to escape.
Higher difficulty levels change the number of spears you get, the speed of the mummy, the moving walls, and Dracula, and whether or not you have a lamp to see your way around the mazes.
Ghost Manor provides examples of:
- Three-Quarters View: The view inside the castle is a mix of Top-Down View gameplay and Side View sprites.
- Action-Adventure: You're on an adventure to rescue your sibling, and there's plenty of action along the way.
- Action Girl: You can play as a girl rescuing a boy.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Dracula slowly advances towards you.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: A wall that moves back and forth on the first and second floors of the castle. You can actually score points if you touch it from behind, but if you get hit by its front, you're dead.
- Bedsheet Ghost or Dem Bones: Depending on the difficulty level, the friendly spirit in the graveyard is either a ghost (with a rainbow bedsheet!) or a skeleton.
- Blackout Basement: The castle, if you don't have the lamp.
- Boss Room: The top floor of the castle is Dracula's lair.
- Collision Damage: Dracula will kill you if he touches you.
- Dark Is Not Evil: There is a single friendly monster (either a ghost or a skeleton).
- Dracula: Or at least a black silhouette of him, as the Final Boss.
- Difficulty Levels: Four, From moderately difficult to Nintendo Hard.
- Distressed Dude: In one of the earliest video game examples, one of the objects is for the girl to save the boy from Dracula.
- Final Boss: Dracula, waiting for you on the top floor of the castle. You can't kill him, you can only use crosses to push him back while you guide your sibling to the exit.
- Game Levels: Four, counting the first and second floors of the castle as one level.
- Game Over: You and your friend disappear into the graveyard.
- Haunted Castle: A three-story castle with Dracula inside. The outside of the castle is actually where most of the haunting is, with ghosts, skeletons, bats, animated armor, and a mummy all waiting for you.
- Holy Hand Grenade: The crosses repel Dracula.
- Instant 180-Degree Turn: You, the knight, and Dracula turn around instantly.
- Mini-Boss: The mummy. Once you've shot all the other monsters running back and forth above him, you can shoot him and enter the castle.
- Mummy: A mummy guards the entrance to the castle, and chases after you with an axe.
- Nintendo Hard: The higher difficulty levels speed up the monsters and the wall.
- One Bullet at a Time: Your spears, though they fly so fast it's no big deal.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: One touch from the Mummy's axe, a moving wall, or Dracula, and you're dead. And you only have one life, so it's Game Over.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Get a Game Over and "Taps" plays.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Gameplay is exactly the same with either the boy or the girl.
- Ring-Out Boss: You have to push Dracula into a prison cell.
- Side View: The graveyard and castle entrance are seen from the front, and gameplay is in side view.
- Scoring Points: Doesn't really mean anything, but it's there anyway.
- Survival Horror: One of the earliest examples, along with Haunted House. You're fighting your way past a bunch of horror-themed monsters and through a castle to rescue your sibling from Dracula.
- Timed Mission: You have four minutes to rescue your sibling, or you both die.