Lucius is a new adventure game, from Finnish developer Shiver Games, that's inspired by '70s horror movies such as The Omen and The Shining. You play as the titular Lucius--a six-year-old boy who finds himself possessed by the devil. This supernatural event forces Lucius to kill off his wealthy family one by one, using a variety of objects from around his parents' mansion, as well as the supernatural powers that Satan grants you. We got to see a couple of the missions that will make their way into the finished game, as well as speak to publisher Lace Mamba.
The story behind Lucius' demonic possession starts with his grandfather. He is a politician who sits at the head of a satanic cult, and early on in his career, he makes a pact with the devil to attain success. In return, he offers the devil the soul of his grandson, which turns out to be Lucius. On Lucius' sixth birthday, Satan comes to collect his debt. Not only that, but he uses Lucius to exact revenge on the wealthy family by offing them one by one, starting with the maids and eventually working his way up to the grandfather that started it all.
The game opens with a fairly simple puzzle. The first task is to see off one of the maids by locking her into a walk-in freezer. You do this by finding a padlock somewhere in the house, waiting for her to enter the freezer, and then locking the door and turning down the temperature. The loss of the maid to a seemingly innocent mistake doesn't raise alarm bells, but later murders become more high-profile and more elaborate. For the second murder, Lucius is endowed with telekinetic powers, which he uses to take out the house chef. Lucius finds the chef in the basement hacking up meat, so he hides behind some boxes and uses his powers to take out the light. As the chef climbs up onto the electric circular saw table to fix it, Lucius uses his telekinesis to start up the saw, chopping the poor chef to bits.
One of the more elaborate missions we saw involved another demonic power--mind control. This murder involved Lucius' rather unsavoury uncle, who was not only sleeping with a couple of the house maids, but was also setting cameras up around the house to make amateur pornography. Using your telekinesis, you can pull down a Polaroid camera from the study and then use it to snap pictures of your uncle sleeping with one of the maids. You then plant the pictures where another of the maids will find them, along with the padlock you used earlier, making it look like she was responsible for the murder. Racked with guilt, the maid wanders out to the balcony to get some fresh air, which is when you use your mind control power to make her dive off to a grisly death.
There's no doubt that Lucius is a dark and twisted game and is bound to face some controversy when it gets closer to release. It's not overly graphic in its depictions of the murders, often cutting away during the actual deaths, but the concept of a mass murdering boy is certainly going to prove difficult for some to swallow. In terms of gameplay, though, it will play much like a traditional adventure game, with more elaborate puzzles requiring you to use different powers as you progress. Developer Shiver Games is hoping that the game will take some 15 hours to play across the 21 different missions.
Lucius will be released on the PC in the fourth quarter of this year. There's no console or Mac release planned so far, but it's something publisher Lace Mamba will consider if Lucius turns out to be a success. For more on the game, catch our interview with the publisher's Claas Wolter in this week's episode of Start/Select.