Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lucius (PC Game, 2012)

First off, I know it's been ages since I posted. Real life issues has taken up a good deal of my time the last several months, and I'm just now getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully, I'll be able to post a lot more from now on.

Anyway! I thought I would share a few thoughts on a PC game I played this past weekend called "Lucius". This is a horror game where you play as a little boy who is the son of the devil, and your goal is to, basically, kill everyone in your household. The game borrows heavily from the movie, "The Omen", and even takes place in the 1970's, like the original movie. It's probably more of an homage than a true rip-off, but the similarities are hard to ignore.

That being said, "Lucius" is a surprisingly fun game, and I feel a little evil for saying that. I mean, really, how many games are there where you play as a murderous child? But it's oddly compelling, and figuring out how to set up the various death traps is disturbingly satisfying. That being said, most of the characters have little to no backstory, the graphics don't make them look too "real", and you know they're just there to be picked off one by one, sort of like a murder mystery party game or a slasher film. The deaths range from silly to horrifying, and there were a couple characters I truly hated to kill off (I won't spoil it by saying which ones).

One aspect of the game that I loved, was earning "gifts" for doing chores. There's unfortunately only three you can earn, but one of them is a tricycle, that is loads of fun to ride around on. I'm someone who is a sucker for ride-able objects in games (vehicles, animals, etc), so this brought an extra fun element to "Lucius" that I wasn't expecting.  The mechanics are a little sloppy, especially when going up and downstairs. It feels more like floating. The sound effects on the various floor textures are quite good, though. Riding around outside in the garden gives a different "feel" than riding around in the house because of it.

The game itself is definitely a bit rough around the edges. I encountered quite a few bugs that at times made gameplay confusing. Though I tend to be more forgiving with independently made games, and none of the bugs are completely game breaking.

The graphics are pretty good, and the layout of the mansion in which the entire game takes place looks very massive and detailed. It actually took me awhile to learn my way around, and I like that. It made the tricycle object all the more useful. The graphic design of the characters looks a tad dated, but as I mentioned above, I was glad they didn't look too realistic, since the only objective of the game is to kill everyone in sight.

I found the voice over acting to be above average, though a lot of the dialogue is repeated if you continue to click on characters to talk to them. A little more variety would've been nice, as I did enjoy hearing what everyone had to say. The mother's voice over work was especially good, in my opinion, especially as the game progresses and her character changes a bit.

Now, one of the most important questions in any horror game, was it scary? I would say it's more creepy than outright scary. Since you're essentially playing as the "monster", there's not much to be scared by. Though, there's a couple times you have to sneak around the house without being detected, and I found that a bit nerve-racking. And obviously the overall theme of the game is rather unsettling. I began to wonder at times if I was still mentally sound (or as mentally sound as I ever was ;P), when I'd get frustrated that a murder wouldn't work or I (as Lucius) would get spotted using my demonic powers and get Game Over. It's a little surreal when one minute I'm thinking "Now where did I leave my trike?" to the next minute thinking, "How do I set this person on fire?" I think the main disconnect is the fact that it's a child you're playing as, even if it's a very creepy, soulless child. For me, I just had to not take it too seriously and to laugh at some of the more outrageous moments, as I would if I was watching an over-the-top horror movie. It is just pretend, after all.

So, would I recommend this game to horror lovers? Yes! It has great atmosphere and overall fun gameplay, in spite of its flaws. I'm someone who loves horror games that take place in an isolated house/mansion/manor/castle, and this one is like that. Just instead of worrying about what lurks around every corner, you ARE what lurks around every corner. A unique, fun, mildly disturbing horror experience that I actually hope begins a trend of slasher games where you get to play as the villain, because you don't see that very often at all. (Can you imagine a "Halloween" game where you play as Michael Myers or a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" game where you play as Leatherface? Okay, yeah, they were on the Atari 2600, but modern ones would be awesome!)