On a dark and stormy Halloween night, you find yourself standing before the gothic gates of Arcana Manor, the castle home of Doctor Arcana, the world famous magician who vanished several years ago. A strange force compels you to find a way in, but as soon as you set foot inside the mansion, the door slams shut behind you, sealing you inside the eerie manor house. A ghostly vision appears before you, presenting you with a challenge: Resolve a maze of riddles and perplexing puzzles, or be doomed to spend eternity locked inside the inescapable mansion. Do you dare accept the deadly challenge to discover the secrets that lie within The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana? Once you begin, there's no turning back.
This sprawling Gothic mansion has stood abandoned since Doctor Arcana vanished without a trace several years ago. Explore each shadowed corridor, cobwebbed room and secret chamber of this eerie estate to find hidden items and magical artifacts that will aid you on your mission. Can you piece the clues together to resolve this dark mystery?
A plethora of puzzles block your path, thwarting your quest. Every door and gate in the mysterious mansion is locked by a confounding conundrum that will test your meager mortal mind. Other devious dilemmas await in every room, including coded riddles, puzzle boxes and Doctor Arcana's perplexing puzzle cabinets. Can you rise to the challenge?
The eerie artwork displayed throughout Arcana Manor depicts witches, warlocks, vampires, gargoyles, ghosts and other denizens of the dark. You will also view several antique playbills advertising magical acts in addition to numerous mystical charts and scrolls. As you discover portraits and other works of art in the manor, they are added to the Gallery exhibit for your viewing pleasure.
In addition to the macabre and mystical artifacts that are on display in the mansion, sinister secrets and cryptic clues are hidden in every room. Throughout your investigation, you will keep track of all noteworthy discoveries in your journal and carry useful items in your inventory.
Joseph Vargo is an artist, writer and musician, best known as the creator of The Gothic Tarot, author of The Dark Tower series, cover artist for Dark Realms magazine and founder of the band Nox Arcana. Joseph conceived the story and puzzles for the game in addition to creating the original artwork and music to bring his vision to life.
"I've always loved puzzles and adventure RPGs. I've designed several board and live-action mystery games throughout the years and have always wanted to create a gothic adventure computer game set in a mysterious mansion filled with diabolical puzzles. The game itself is a puzzle lover's dream. It's like the ultimate escape room, or escape house, in this case."
Christine Filipak is an artist, writer and graphic designer, best known as the creator of Madame Endora's Fortune Cards and for her work as art director for Dark Realms magazine and The Dark Tower book series. Christine's combination of artistic talent and computer design skills bridged the gap between creative concept and digital production. Christine worked closely with Joseph to design the rooms and puzzles of the game, as well as the numerous inventory items, graphics and animations.
"It's a great deal of work to design and create a computer game as involved as this one, especially with a development team of only three people. Each of us had to take on multiple duties, creating the artwork, puzzles, soundtrack and getting everything to work smoothly on multiple platforms. The end result was worth all the time and effort."
Daniel Kennedy is a programmer and game designer. As founder of The Hideout, he has produced titles such as Manor of the Damned and its upcoming sequel, Isle of the Damned. Daniel is the tech-savvy guru who took all the pretty artwork and crazy ideas and made them function as a game, assembling Arcana Manor one computer file at a time.
Joseph Vargo discusses the origins of Doctor Arcana
The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana is a throwback to the early computer puzzle games like The 7th Guest, Shivers and Jewels of the Oracle. I was very influenced by these types of games and used them as inspiration throughout this project. Puzzle games seem to have become a thing of the past, and that's really unfortunate because they're very fun and challenging. I felt compelled to resurrect this classic genre, so we embraced the idea of creating an old-style puzzle game and ran with it. We specifically designed The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana to have a very retro look and feel within a simple framework with minimal mouse controls. The end result is an effectively moody and entertaining game that evokes a haunting sense of nostalgia.
The concept for the game began as a feature I created for Dark Realms magazine back in 2000. The feature was called The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana, based on the title of the classic silent horror film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. In each issue, the condescending Doctor Arcana presented puzzles for the readers to ponder, then insulted the integrity of anyone who correctly solved them. This jeering humor carries over into the game as well. Players are subjected to taunting remarks from Doctor Arcana throughout their adventure and lost souls who consult the in-game walkthrough, aptly named The Cheater's Compendium, will be scolded and ridiculed for doing so.
I developed the Doctor Arcana idea further on the Nox Arcana album, Theater of Illusion. The story centered around a secret society of magicians who possess actual magical powers and lurk in the hidden shadows of our world. I've always loved magic and magicians—the darker and creepier, the better. The concept seemed like a natural backdrop for an eerie adventure shrouded in mystery. In the game, players must explore this shadowy realm of magic and illusion and resolve a variety of devious puzzles to unlock Doctor Arcana's darkest secrets. The gauntlet of confounding conundrums consists of more than 50 logic puzzles, word puzzles, mazes, riddles and codes. For those seeking something more mentally stimulating than the usual arcade game or hidden object adventure, this is the game for you.
The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana™ © 2017 Monolith Graphics. Music by Nox Arcana.