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Turning horror cliché on its head

What Is In A Name?

Lucius is a name that finds its origins in the Latin word Lux, which means light. It is ironic then, that this should be the name chosen for the son of the devil in Shiver Games’ upcoming adventure puzzler. Despite the fact that Lucius seems to utilize the typical ‘creepy kid’ scenario of many horror tales, it avoids the cliché by taking a somewhat fresh approach. Rather than have you fight through the shadows of games like F.E.A.R. in which a small girl is used to creep you out, Lucius puts you right in the shoes of the mischievous devil child himself.

It’s My Party, And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Lucius meets all the requirements for being the son of the devil. He was born on the 6th of June in 1966, and up until his sixth birthday he was a fairly normal child. His childhood was spent in luxury; he was raised in a mansion with several maids, a private butcher and even a personal teacher. As anyone aware of the film The Omen could guess, on the night before his sixth birthday, the devil enters his dreams and tells Lucius that he is his son. The devil plans on using the wealth of the family to get Lucius into a position of power from which he can bring forth doom. The first step is to kill all of the inhabitants of the mansion, and who would ever suspect a child?

Obviously this is the most unoriginal plot that could be formed, but working with this well-known storyline should mean that the developers will be able to concentrate on adapting this into some interesting gameplay. Much like the culprit in a game of Clue!, Lucius must dispose of the mansion’s inhabitants using household items in a way that makes it look like an accident. Oops! That means we can avoid any controversial images of a kid manically stabbing a person to death then. We all know about the ruckus that Manhunt caused, so someone made a wise decision in toning down the violence.

Toying With Death

The majority of the game will play out like a puzzle game in which you set up a chain of events that will cause your target to be killed. Think of it as a murderous child version of Hitman. It has not been made clear how many different ways there are of killing each of the 20 people, or even if there are several choices in the first place. Early indications are slightly worrying as it looks like the game could be fairly linear and not offer players any room for creativity when constructing their death traps.

This does not mean the game will be bland though. When you are not setting up traps, you will be required to research your target so you can get an idea of how best to make their death look like an accident. Fans of the old point-and-click adventures can rejoice in this aspect of the game, as it will require players to explore the mansion, find items and extract clues. Playing time is predicted to be between 12-15 hours, but how many of these are credited to you scratching your head with a confused expression is not clear. This will more than likely mean that the game will require patience and the use of logic if players are to enjoy the satisfaction of watching their handiwork cause someone to die. Cue the evil grin. You better make sure you clean up your mess, though, or they will soon find out that it wasn’t Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the study.

Son Of A…

Being the son of the devil, you will acquire supernatural abilities as you grow in power after each kill. The most important power seems to be telekinesis as it will allow you to move objects without touching them; presumably this will be required for the more difficult puzzles. You will also gain the ability to control people and cause them to do some pretty horrific things – suicide may be an option. Do not expect a bloodbath though. The game mimics the style and atmosphere of The Omen as well as its storyline. It seems to aim for the more sophisticated horror style that relies on a tense atmosphere rather than visual shock to deliver the fright.

This is probably more of a necessity rather than a choice though, as although the game’s visual style is great, with long shadows and old-fashioned décor, the graphics are not the best. When you do not have detailed graphics to work with, it is usually wise to not include body innards and excessive gore. This is more of an indication that the team is concentrating on the gameplay, and in my books, that is always a good thing. Needless to say, if the gameplay does not deliver, then this title may not have a lot to fall back on.

For All The Sadists

Lucius is certainly a game to look out for if you enjoy the odd bit of sadism here and there. With a bit more effort, the game could rework generic horror into a sophisticated puzzle game.

Playing the killer will always be fun and games that allow players to do this will always stand out due to their controversial perspective. If you enjoy delving into your dark side but are looking for something that requires more thought than a simple gorefest, Lucius is looking at you…right at you, into your eyes with a cold stare.