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Midsomer Bottom Manor Reviews
Author: Sly Dog
Date: 2004

Reviewed Grimm Sharlak

Basic Plot: 
You play as the butler to the esteemed upper class English couple, Sir John and his wife the Lady Emma. As you go about your duties, you see the underbelly of upper class society while creating a scandal or two of your own with the other hired help. 

Overall Thoughts: 
There’s a little alarm that can go off in the back of a player’s mind when they unzip that latest game. Like when fifteen poor porno photos appear alongside the game file. Or when poorly drawn porno pictures appear. None of this happened with Midsomer Bottom Manor, however. What came with it was a walkthrough. 

Now, this is not a strange thing. Many games come with a hint file or score list, but in this case, it’s quite necessary, as Midsomer is an ambitious, but somewhat frustrating game. 

Midsomer can be a frustrating game, at times. Nearly every puzzle is time-based in some way, and, for example when the lady of the house tells you to meet her in the chapel via the secret passage, unless you press down in the right room you’ll never find your way. The game has too much of a lack of direction, which could have been solved by having both exits in the room descriptions and “NPC moves of to the south” messages in certain instances. Not knowing where a NPC has gone when you need to find them within a certain time limit, due solely to them having “left the room” isn’t challenging, it’s just frustrating. 

Also frustrating is the door system. Once upstairs, you have to unlock and open doors almost every time you want to enter one. The final frustration is in character naming. His Lordship, Sir John, has aliases such as ‘Lordship,’ ‘Sir John’ and ‘John,’ but not all aliases will work with all commands. The same can happen with other characters. Points for effort in including the aliases, but the fact that they’re not implemented fully kind of wastes that effort. 

The sex is short, sharp and shiny. It’s all about getting down to business in this game, even in the final “reward” sex scene. And all are rather short. Unfortunately, if you tackle the game in order, you start off banging the fat cook and then a stable hand everyone thought was a boy before you get to the better fare. Not exactly the best buildup, especially when the sex with the more desirable ladies of the manor is just as short or shorter than these initial trysts. 

However, the one threesome scene in the game is the longest, if nothing else, and provides something different to the rest, so there’s some variety to be had. 

Again, points for effort here, as the author has gone for some realism in your role; you’re the butler, you need to do certain things at certain times and time is always passing in the manor. This can make things difficult at times, but for the most part its implemented well enough. 

Including a walkthrough with the game was a great idea, although it needs to be more explicit. When you can’t do something that the walkthrough says you can (sliding down the handrail) then that’s just… Confusing. 

Still, the time aspect is a different spin on the “manor of horny chicks” type game, and the coin game near the end is also well done. 

Final Thoughts: 
Midsomer Bottom Manor has its good points, and is certainly doing its best to be innovative, but unfortunately the implementation lets it down. Sorting out the complicated timing system is a grand effort in ADRIFT, but the naming problems and short sex scenes make it seem like similar effort didn’t go into all the aspects of the game. 

Rating: C 

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