LUCIUS


Written by sPINDRAFT 3/22/2014

Lucius title

Shiver Games 2012

I tried really hard to like this game because it appeared on the surface to offer something a bit different but other than the graphics/texture detail it fell flat on so many levels it was quite sad. Obviously based (at least in core concept) on the 1976 classic ‘Omen’ where an America Diplomat and his wife adopt a child whose mother died at birth; they name it Damien and he goes on an evil rant that begins on his fifth birthday with the seemingly random hanging suicide of the nanny.

Maintenance man crushed by a piano

Probably not the best way to tune a piano

In ‘Lucius’ we have a similar situation where Lucius is the son of a US Senator and goes on a demented killing spree beginning on his sixth birthday in order to repay a debt owed to the devil by the family of the manor for deaths that occured there. Over the course of eighteen chapters Lucius employs wit, deceipt and plain evil intention to murder everyone in Dante Manor in an coup to gain his dad’s vast fortune and power for his true father Lucifer.

The grand staircase

Can almost see the dames in big flowing dresses

This all sounds like it should make for some damn ambitious, awesome game play but they missed the mark so bad. Visually the game is beautiful with well done texture, graphics (except for the cut scene stuff) and object builds but the AI is absolutley sensless and the story (although it has a good core outline) is so poorly delivered it is almost insufferable.

With the hateful boss maid in her office

This witch needs an ass kicking

Let’s pick on the AI for a bit. I would dare say that there are semi-comatose, thorazined patients in the world’s hospitals that can hold a better track than most of the characters that inhabit Dante Manor. Dante was a nice pick don’t ya think? It describes the Italian poet’s (late 13th and early 14th C) journey through hell, purgatory and paradise. In Dante’s Manor we have a bit of all three of these as well; paradise is the beautifully rendered graphics, hell is the sluggishly boring AI and game pace and purgatory is suffering through some of the worst story acting known to man.

Standing on a second floor balcony with the mansion sprawling around you

Told you the mansion was big

The voice acting is incredibly goofy for the most part, repeating itself in loops that are not tied to or triggered by your location in the game or the story; simply running into the same NPC again anywhere in game will kick off their most current set of responses whether they are valid to the current situation or not. So if you begin an interaction with any character their dialogue sequence will endlessly loop until you somehow manage to solve whatever puzzle you are currently embroiled in, even if you don’t see that character for some time after the initial contact. In other words I could see no evidence of compound interaction at all, every character had a role to play and they were kept neatly in their respective boxes whether it made sense or not.

In the garage with the mechanic

Never did find that damn crowbar

Aside from the terrible AI mechanics (did not elaborate on paths but you should follow some of these folks around, has a very amateur feel at times) the game pace is horrendous. Let me see if I can explain this a bit, there is nothing necessarily wrong with the pace design it just does not fit well with the overall experience. You are tasked with serious mansion searching (and the mansion is big) requiring you to move through many doors and several floors. At normal walk Lucius is so sluggish you just want to smack him so you pretty much hold left shift as much as possible to overcome this pokey behavior. Problem is that it becomes difficult to steer Lucius around corners causing many corrective feats of patience to actually get through an open door.

Entrance gate to Dante Manor

Welcome to Hell

Furthermore the journal where your task details are kept are just about as vague as you can possbly get in most cases. You enter a new chapter (the title of each is a clue as to what type of action will rule the day) and your book updates with something along the lines of “I hate the damn butcher, think I will just mess with him a bit” and thats your update, which was a total waste of fucking creative energy (they could have spent that energy fixing the AI). So what it mostly comes down to is you are a six year old little devil running around your dad’s mansion at the direction of Lucifer trying to figure out how the game wants you to kill the next unsuspecting victim.

The secret room where evil rituals were carried out

Now let the games begin

Let’s just say the idea that sits at the core of this game is a good one but the execution/delivery is just about as rotten as Lucius’ soul. It’s sad really because this could have been something absolutely awesome if given more of an RPG style approach to mission solving; faster pace, multi level problem solving, smarter AI that adapts to change, more precise story and journal. Looks alone can only get you so far, at some point you have to actually put up a convicing argument.

 

HAG Score  -  7.8

 

Official Lucius Site

Lucius on Wikipedia

Shiver Games

About the author

I work in the welding and fabrication business as an educator, that's right, no major magazine experience here nor am I a coding guru. My hobbies include amateur coding, game creation software, writing stories and hopefully releasing something one day. Aside from my day job I currently design and write for HAG, my favorite MMO is The Secret World and WURM is pretty cool (not a horror game). I enjoy the horror genre and only write about games I have actually played. I am always available via the 'contact us' page.