Name: Mayhem in Monsterland
Developer: Apex Computer Productions
Publisher: Apex Computer Productions
Year: 1993
Platform: Commodore 64
Genre: Platformer
Players: One Player
Rarity: Difficult to find second-hand

A computer game created and published by Apex Computer Productions in 1993 for the Commodore 64. Mayhem in Monsterland is probably the most technically advanced C64 game ever released, as well as being one of the last major commercial games developed for the format.

Created by the famous Rowlands brothers, Steve Rowlands and John Rowlands (Of Thalamus fame), with the help of Andy Roberts, this game is *the* greatest platformer released on the system, maybe even on any system, coming from the heritage of Thalamus' other classic platform titles, such as Creatures and Creatures 2.

The Story

Mayhem didn't enjoy living in Monsterland; it was always cold, it was always windy, and it rained every Sunday. It was clearly no place for a cute baby dinosaur.

However, rumour has it that Monsterland has not always been such an unpleasant place to live. The sun used to shine onto green fields with luscious vegetation and scenic mountains... until an apprentice magic dinosaur had too much cactus juice and decided to practice a few of his master's spells. The next morning, when all the monsters awoke, Monsterland had been transformed into a very dark and unhappy place. Mayhem wants to change Monsterland back, but has no magic powers to do this, so he enlists the help of his friend Theo Saurus, the dinosaur responsible for Monsterland's ghastly state. Theo lives below Monsterland in a hidden cave to avoid the wrath of the monsters - here he waits for Mayhem to collect magic dust. With this in his possession, he flies across Monsterland sprinkling the magic dust in order to transform it back to a happy place.

However, because Theo is only a trainee, his magic doesn't always work as well as he'd like it to. Some of the magic dust that he spreads over Monsterland is a little excessive, and clumps together to form magic stars. This magic could be dangerous in the wrong hands, so Mayhem must collect any magic stars he finds to prevent any further disasters.


Mayhem is a small yellow dinosaur character, who exists in a horizontally scrolling world. There are five main levels in the game, Jellyland, Pipeland, Spottyland, Cherryland, and Rockland; each featuring a Happy and Sad area. When you begin the level, it is in it's Sad state - everything is dark, dismal and miserable. You have to collect bags of magic dust, that, when given to Theo, will allow the level to be converted back to it's happy state again. Each level has a different quota of magic dust bags to collect.

Once the land has been converted, it's your task to collect a designated amount of magic stars - if you collect more that the quota amount, you will earn bonus points The faster a star is rotating, the more points it is worth. Once you have collected the star quota, you need to find the finish line - an area surrounded by black and white checkers. If you skid over the line (which will be described in detail a bit later), you will earn bonus points.

Mayhem is a very fast game, meaning he has to be very controllable. He can go into charge mode when he is running at his fastest - he can destroy enemies charging like this. When you're charging, you can also skid to a halt, by pushing the joystick in the opposite direction of the charge. As well as charging at enemies, he can also jump on their heads, just like in the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog games.

There are a number of bonuses to collect. As well as the magic dust bags, and magic stars, there are also score multipliers shaped like rabbits, a shield signified by a shooting star, extra time through an alarm clock, a half life obtainable by collecting a blue heart, an extra life by a red heart, and a continue by collecting a rainbow heart.

Interesting Facts

Mayhem in Monsterland was the only game to be given a perfect score of 100% by Commodore Format (probably because the game was exclusively distributed through mail order by the magazine).

Mayhem in Monsterland originally started to be developed under the name of Theo Saurus, who's story involved revenge against merciless villagers in medieval times, who had killed his parents. Theo would progress through villages crushing castles, torching knights and generally dishing out justice, apparently in quite sizable proportions.

Beginning in Issue 26, Commodore Format featured a developer's diary of Mayhem in Monsterland called 'The Birth of Mayhem in Monsterland', written by Steve and John Rowlands.

The title screen music is very closely based on the theme of the Tiny Toons cartoon.

The game is based in the Mesozoic era.

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