by William Thompson, reviewed on
“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep”
I’ve got kids of my own, and at times I have wondered if they were the spawn of the devil or the devil incarnate. I don’t think they’ve ever been close to killing me though. Yes, they have accidently whacked me in the head or hit me in the groin, but up until this point none of them have come at me with a knife or attempted to drop a piano on my head. Lucius on the other hand is another story completely. He seemed like a normal young boy growing up, despite being born in strange circumstances on June 6th, 1966. Something a little peculiar happened on his sixth birthday when things started to go awry at his home, Dante Manor. And early on in the game we find out the reason – Lucius is met by his real father, the Devil, in a vision, who tasks him with killing off all the inhabitants at Dante Manor.
If this sounds somewhat familiar, you would be right, as Lucius has paid homage to one of the classic horror movies, The Omen. The similarities continue throughout the game, with Lucius being raised in a wealthy family with a politician father (Damien from The Omen had a US Ambassador to Great Britain for a father) and evil things start happening during a birthday – Damien turned five when his reign of terror began.
It is just after Lucius’ birthday party that you are given control of the young disturbed lad. Your first task is to murder your first victim, the maid. Gameplay works in a point and click adventure style – moving about using the WASD keys and selecting and using objects with the mouse. Some objects can be joined together to form new objects, or can be interacted with the environment. All pretty simple for gamers who have played any adventure games previously. As progress is made, Lucius picks up some new abilities such as Telekinesis, which he can then use in his deadly quest.
“Oh yes, there will be blood”
Most tasks/victims are fairly straightforward. In fact the game is so linear that you are basically told what to do. There is an order to the victims, so you can’t simply decide to kill of anyone at your whim. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if there was a reason why. But apart from Gene (the business partner of Lucius’ father) whom Lucius dislikes because he smokes, there is no explanation why you cannot kill the other maids, or household staff as you walk around the Manor.
Some deaths are rather enjoyable to pull off though. Killing Gene by rigging the stove and then stealing his matches and watching as his head ignites as he attempts to light his cigarette is quite ingenious. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the game almost holds your hand to perform much of the killings. The only concern is performing the kills whilst no one is watching or without leaving any tell-tale clues.
“We all go a little mad sometimes”
One frustrating issue I had was with the camera angle used in the game. The mouse pointer is just to the right of Lucius’ head and at times it can be difficult to pinpoint items that you want to view or interact with. Often moving from side to side doesn’t help either as the pointer moves from the object you want to view. On more than one occasion, I opened up a cupboard or drawer to look for something useful, but then couldn’t see what was inside due to Lucius’ head. As it turned out, there was nothing of value in there, but it still came as quite an annoyance.
Dante Manor is a dull and dreary place, so it’s little wonder that Lucius has gone down his path of slaughter. The locations are full of blacks, greys and browns, with little colour at all. Indeed, the only other colour that is used in any great amount is red… the red of the blood that is spilled. Lucius himself looks like a normal boy. Well, actually he doesn’t as his lack of facial movements gives the impression that he’s Pinocchio prior to becoming a real boy. His wooden movements could be hereditary though, as most of his family and the inhabitants of Dante Manor share similar stilted mannerisms.
The voice-overs are a little better although the speech doesn’t always match what the lips are saying. Lip synching issues aside, the voice acting is quite good. Each character has a distinctive voice, with the voices of Lucius’ father Charles and detective McGuffin being particularly well presented. The background music is also very well suited to the dour mysterious nature of the game. The sinister tunes set the ambience perfectly.
“Do you like scary movies?”
As a horror game, Lucius is quite tame, mainly due to the story, or lack thereof. The game sets a reasonably slow pace, and due to the fact that you are the horror character, there is little suspense that often makes a horror game or movie into something especially thrilling. Although Lucius pays respect to The Omen in many ways, the thrill is just not there as you know exactly what is going to happen next.
It is a decent adventure title, with some sombre background music and passable, if not staid characters and settings, but if you are after a thriller/horror game to play this Halloween, then don’t look to Lucius to get the heart racing with dread.
Background music sets the perfect sinister tone to the tale.
Extremely linear, and an almost non-existent story.