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Maxwell's Maniac is a computer game originally part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack series. Loosely based on the concept of Maxwell's demon, the object is to separate red and blue molecules into their respective color-coded chambers, using a sliding door. It is superficially similar to Jezz Ball in layout.
The game progresses by stages; the player begins with four lives. Once the molecules are separated by color, the stage is over and a new stage begins. There is a time limit, divided into two phases: good time and bad time. While the game is in good time, there is no risk of losing a life. However, in bad time, gray balls begin to appear in the chamber; if they pass through the door, the player loses a life. Normal games progress through infinite stages; however, the more difficult Intense Game is limited to eighteen.
There are three modes of gameplay: Move, Swap, and Paint. In Move, the object is simply to move the red molecules into the red side. Swap adds blue molecules. In Paint, molecules become gray when they are on the correct side and return to their original color if they move back to the wrong side. In any game, a prize ball may be added; this is effectively a gray ball and works like any other.
In the later levels, lead bricks become available; these are useful to trap molecules or immobilize them entirely. If immobilized, a molecule will eventually vanish.
Scoring is based on how quickly the level was completed. If the level was completed in good time, bonus points are awarded; however, if it was completed in bad time, only 100 points are awarded. In addition, there is a 50 point bonus for a gray ball passing through the door in good time. For every 20,000 points earned, a new life is earned.