Lucius Review

Lucius has an intriguing premise, but some not-so-original adventure-game flaws.

by

It ain't easy being the Antichrist. In adventure/puzzle game Lucius, you experience the trials and tribulations of being the firstborn son of the big red guy with the horns. As you might expect given the young lad's pedigree, when he suffers growing pains, they involve a sizable body count. Lucifer is a demanding daddy, who wants souls in exchange for building the tyke up with telekinetic powers. All this contributes to a grim but promising setting where your only goal is to figure out how to murder the folks on the devil's hit list. Unfortunately, this darkly innovative premise is not implemented well, due to a reliance on pixel hunts, and you're dropped onto the scene with just pop's orders to start killing.

Lucius has exactly the sort of cute, pudgy little cheeks you want to pinch…while searching his scalp for three sixes.

The entire game has been liberally borrowed from the Omen series of horror films (so liberally that you wonder if lawyers are being put on retainer at this very moment). You take on the role of the title character, Lucius, who gets a visit from his infernal real father on the occasion of his sixth birthday on June 6, 1972 (which, of course, means that he was born on the auspicious date of 6/6/66). Daddy stops in to give the pale-faced, lank-haired little ghoul both gifts and marching orders. He has big plans for Lucius, and these can best be realized by the murder of, well, pretty much everybody who lives and works in the huge family home called Dante Manor.

You start off by simply locking a maid in the walk-in kitchen freezer, and then graduate to inventive slaughters such as cutting a butcher's head in half. If you're familiar at all with the decapitations and vivisections that made the first two Omen movies so striking back in the '70s, you'll know exactly what sort of Grand Guignol atmosphere that developer Shiver Games is going for here. Most of the game is creepy and understated, with Lucius haunting the halls of the old mansion, sometimes with just a flashlight to guide his way. A barely there B-movie script and mechanical voice acting make it tough to take the story seriously, but the kills make a real impression as they splash onto the screen with showers of blood and body parts. The game strikes a good balance between chills and gore that any fan of horror movies will appreciate.

It's not as if Lucius is just an average, everyday six-year-old serial killer, either. He possesses a range of supernatural powers courtesy of dear old dad. These get more powerful with every murder, so while you start with the basic telekinetic ability to toss around objects and turn on machinery (bad luck for that butcher mentioned above), you are soon enough launching fireballs. At the same time, Lucius is just a kid to his parents and the household staff. You might be plotting gruesome murders, but you still have to brush your teeth and clean up your room so mommy and daddy can see that you're a good boy (the one bit of effective black comedy in a game that is otherwise gloomy). Rewards for being so well behaved include such treats as a Ouija board that dispenses hints, though it's not clear how mom and dad got their hands on such trinkets.

He's really gonna feel that in the morning.

Aspects of the gameplay are more off-kilter in reality than they seem when laid out on paper. The biggest problem is a lack of information. You're essentially greeted with the devil's instructions to start killing people right when the game begins, and are left to suss out how to go about doing this on your own. Tips are given about various special skills, like telekinesis, but the core aspects of the game are not explained well. And they really should be, because this is a unique experience that blends the murder-sim attitude of games like Hitman and Manhunt with point-and-click adventure tropes. Lucius can't just creep up on his kills. Instead, he needs to explore the mansion to load up his inventory with various items necessary to set victims up and finish them off. Lucius also has to sneak around. Getting spotted doing something odd by mom or any of the other characters that patrol the mansion results in instantly failing your assignment. This process makes sense when clearly laid out, but unfortunately, the developers didn't include tutorial killings to help you get a clear picture of your task.

As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details, and details abound in Lucius. Dante Mansion is a massive old place loaded with exhaustively detailed dens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, game rooms, bars, gardens, cellars, kitchens, and more. The sheer amount of care that went into the mansion's design is impressive. Pretty much everything is functional. You can pull open drawers in every desk, nightstand, and wardrobe in the place, and a lot of rooms come equipped with crucifixes that need to be flipped upside down before they drain Lucius of his Hades-spawned powers.

No one ever accused the devil of being badly dressed.

It all looks good, even though the visual quality is more functional than cutting-edge and the repetitive music can add a grating tone to the entire scene. Alas, there are some high costs to this visual appeal. First of all, loading the mansion takes am exhaustingly long time. Second, the cavernous nature of the home makes for tedious exploration and pixel hunting when looking for items required to pull off a kill. Feedback is often lacking. Certain puzzles lack proper clues pointing you towards the proper solution, such as overheard lines of dialogue that could nudge you in the right direction. Formidable leaps in logic have to be made all through your killing spree, making you wonder if the devil might have been better off giving Lucius a .38 and an alibi.

Also, though the mansion is enormous and absolutely loaded with all manner of furniture and people, there seems to be only one road to every murder. There is no way to freewheel through killings, or to concoct various nefarious plots. The sprawling setting is mostly wasted, because you can't make use of it to pull off inventive murders. Instead, you're stuck with a paint-by-numbers approach where you follow a set path of collecting items and triggering events that then kick off a brief cutscene of someone dying in a macabre fashion. This limits the game, especially if you come to it as a veteran of something like Manhunt, where you could murder victims in all sorts of creative ways.

Nope, not creepy at all.

Lucius blends frustration with aha moments where everything briefly comes together. While you take some morbid pleasure in walking around in the cloven hooves of a chip off the old Beelzebub, it is hard to fully enjoy figuring out how to send your victims on their merry way to hell. Playing a gaming adaptation of The Omen from the perspective of the creepy little kid is certainly an original concept that will carry you along for a while, but the underdeveloped and limited mechanics make it tough to see this horror story through to its conclusion.

The Good
Antihero Antichrist protagonist is a great concept
Subtly creepy with splashes of serious gore during the murders
Very challenging, with a lot of exploration needed to solve the murder puzzles
The Bad
Kills are all linear
Puzzles involve pixel hunts through a huge, heavily detailed mansion
Needs more overt black humor to offset the grim nature of the storyline
Very long load times
6.5
Fair
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0 comments
AzatiS
AzatiS

Anyone can verify if its good for thriller/horror fans ?

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I think it looks really fantastic.  The game looks so thick with atmosphere yet so fresh at the same time.

Still going to wait for a sale to pick it up though, to iron out the inconsistencies more than anything.

Why people would pay more to play from start to finish an inferior game is beyond me...

dvdmorar
dvdmorar

I think the lack of instruccions is not a problem at all. Today gamers like to be instructed to walk, to access the menu, my god, can´t they figure it out for themselfs as the gamers of old??

Powerwalk
Powerwalk

is this game like scratches that game was epic

Shirl_Tubarov
Shirl_Tubarov

I never thought I would say that...'cause I was waiting for soooo long to have his game but it's... kind of boring... very linear indeed. I think it looks good, specially when you think that's an indie game. Even when I'm not 100% happy with it, I must admit that the concept it's very original... adventure games are not the kind of games in which you get the chance of being the bad guy very often

Warsilver
Warsilver

It is difficult and has long load times, but this is still a really great game!

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

*Sighs* I guess it wasn't as good as Brett Todd's 7.5'd Two Worlds.

McStrongfast
McStrongfast

"Kills are all linear"

 

Well that's unfortunate. Kills the whole thing as far as I'm concerned. Oh well, Hitman's out soon.

e5115271
e5115271

I think the reviewer is missing the point of the game. It's a modern adventure game, the murders or 'chapters' are basically puzzles, albeit in a unique and different real-time format. Lucius is not a 3rd person stealth action experience with gameplay a  la Hitman. Saying that the game is linear is kind of a mute point; all adventure games tend to have one solution to any given puzzle.

 

That said, I agree with the reviewer (and other commenters) that I felt like I was just deposited at the start of the level with the only hint about what to do was a waypoint on the map to my next victim and the pun-based chapter title. I found myself running around the massive mansion aimlessly, and I gave up and uninstalled after being clueless at around chapter 5.

 

The game could've benefited from the occasional gentle nudge in the right direction, or perhaps unlocked parts of the mansion only when required. Shame really as the concept as a game was refreshingly different.

FiddleJohnny
FiddleJohnny

"Needs more overt black humor to offset the grim nature of the storyline"...really now, Gamespot?

MAXAM999
MAXAM999

As always people disagree with gamespot reviews .

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

this game has been in development for like... forever. Gonna get it with the Steam halloween sale, the premise looks good enough to me

Warmuro
Warmuro

One of the best games i've ever played. I've beaten the game just in 1 day. What really bad in this game is the ending. Horrible ending ever. Some "puzzles" are hard but i recommend you to think what to do instead of just walking around. After a while, i started to think as a devil who only thinks about ways to kill people, of course just while in the game :D It worked a lot too :D

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

In the scenes between missions, where The Devil himself gives you instructions, if you point the flashlight at him, you'll see his shadow has horns.Sorry if this is any kind of spoiler, but it was fun to see this.

shanethewolf
shanethewolf

I was really looking forward to this game, but what a let down! I can overlook the very low budget feel, dated graphics and awkward camera controls, but the game is just really boring.

 

You don't really get much control over the character and perform all actions using just one button. Secondly, the game guides you by the hand every step of the way and tells you where to go and what to do.

 

Maybe it picks up further in, but I couldn't wait to turn it off.

zeifel
zeifel

wait.. all kills are linear? I was expecting a Hitman: Blood Money system where you can kill everyone in whatever ways you think possible.

TheEveryMan
TheEveryMan

Damn, and I was hoping this game would get a good reception, although people shouldn't be bothered too much.

KillerJuan77
KillerJuan77

"Needs more overt black humor to offset the grim nature of the storyline" Cause that worked so well for The Last House On The Left -_-

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

Fun game but could have been way better. I agree that wandering around the mansion hunting items and trying to figure out what to do next can be tedious but overall I'm enjoying this game.

AceBalls
AceBalls

"Needs more overt black humor to offset the grim nature of the storyline"---  I completely disagree.

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

They need to make a Friday The 13th game where you can actually be Jason. Why aren't there more bad guy games? The whole "war hero/soldier/rebel" thing got boring a long time ago.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

I find this review a bit too generous.

Sortek
Sortek

Just bought the game. About 6 hours in. Easy to sum up. Creepy, evil little child.

travis_14
travis_14

interesting but one way per kill

baszzer
baszzer

no comments for this game? come on.. 

Warsilver
Warsilver

 @AzatiS I didn't find that it was "horror", just bloody and antichrist. But it is a really good game, although you would probably need to refer to a walkthrough at some point.

Warsilver
Warsilver

 @McStrongfast "linear" as in it is the same process leading up to the kill, not the same kill... the kills themselves are very creative and varied.

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

 @e5115271 I don't think its a mute point. It ties in with that whole thing about having to run around clueless. Part of the reason why you're running around aimlessly is because the game is so linear surely. If you could improvise with the kills more then wouldn't it be more accessible? 

jotalandia
jotalandia

 @e5115271 I agree with you. Say the game is linear is kind of pointless in this genre.

This kind of game is in short demand. I miss those Phantasmagoria, Gabriel Knight.

Despite of the rest of your testimony been nothing encouraging, I'll check this game. I really love this adventures games.

Warmuro
Warmuro

Ah, and 6.5 ? LOL ??? My point is 8.5/10 at least. 6.5 makes this game not even worth to try. I'm thinkin to be Lucius and gonna find the way to kill reviewers through the internet lol

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

 @shanethewolf I thought the opposite. I think the flaw is the lack of any direction in  the game. I spent a lot of time roaming around the mansion trying to figure out what to do next.I didn't think the game held your hand at all.

vadagar1
vadagar1

 @AceBalls me too I think gamespot gave this game a lower score than it deserves...if I wanted black humor I will play fallout 3

 

its nice to see games that are "unique' even if they are not zomg epic :P

Kars
Kars

 @thereal-15-cent I totally agree with you. But at the same time I am worried and afraid of what these games will do to kids' brains. I mean murdering and torturing IS really fun...but it is completely immoral don't you think?

e5115271
e5115271

 @biggest_loser The way that you kill your victims are a catalyst for the narrative. Having a 'sandbox kill' style of gameplay would upset how the story unfolds from the point of view of the detective character.

 

It would also be extremely hard to balance gameplay-wise; Questions would be raised like 'How come I can't push this guy down the stairs with Psycokinesis yet I can move this book?', or 'Why can't I just set this guy on fire?'. It would be incredibly frustrating for the player to know the limits of what is possible.

 

In my opinion, the game needed some way to restrict or direct the player in each mission. This could've been achieved by having a more intuitive map that highlighted points of interest, camera directions, locking off unnecessary parts of the mansion, or even Daddy-o speaking to you telepathically.

 

It's not the fact that there isn't a choice of how to kill someone that makes the game frustratring; it's the fact you have the whole map available from the get-go, with no clue about where exactly to go or how to go about it.

Scarab83
Scarab83

 @Warmuro I don't think you fully understand the scale that Gamespot uses these days.

FiddleJohnny
FiddleJohnny

 @Kars  @thereal-15-cent I've played Mortal Kombat, which is rated M, since I was 6-7 years old. I turned out quite fine. I mean I've been in the can a few times, but hey who hasn't?

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

 @Kars

 It's up to parents to monitor what their kids play, and a good parent won't let a young kid play this game. As far as it being immoral, obviously murder and torture are immoral, but it's just a game. Here's how I see it:Playing a war game like CoD won't make you a hero in real life, right? So why would playing a game like this make you a villian in real life?

Renoo27
Renoo27

 @Kars  @thereal-15-cent

Games with 'M' ratings usually aren't child-orientated, so why would you allow a kid access to a game like this anyway? Also, no sh** it's immoral. 

skittzo_s
skittzo_s

 @FiddleJohnny  @Kars  @thereal-15-cent Been there done that 2, though ive spent alot more time in holding then waiting for bail from a magistrate, (bloody hate weekends). than the big house once.  But that was all before i had kids etc. and i can safely say it was in no way caused by gaming or movies. But the people I was around, and my immaturity. But we cant speak for every human soul out there, and how games affects them mentally.

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

 @Kars

 They would be banned in some places, for sure. But Saints Row has no redeeming value and it still sells millions. I think a game like that could be released in America without too much controversy.  The movie industry can release immoral movies with no problem, so why can't the gaming industry?

Kars
Kars

 @thereal-15-cent I am not supporting the other side. I want and would love games that put you in the shoes of a bad guy. I am just saying this is difficult to happen because of the "morality issue". Usually games that you get to play a bit of a bad attitude guy are getting polished by the fact that in the end you were doing a bigger good (even though you are trying to act bad).

 

I don't know. I just think the truly evil games that I imagine just can't exist. They would get banned worldwide immediately.

 

And about the kids thing... I played whatever I wanted and my parents are great! They just don't understand technology and didn't have the time to inspect me every minute of my childhood. And I believe a part of who I am now is because of the video games I've played. No, I don't believe a kid would become a murderer from just playing a game, but surely it would have an impact on his development.

Lucius More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    Lucius is the son of the devil and has to clear a mansion of its residents in this adventure game.
    6.5
    Average User RatingOut of 139 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Lucius
    Developed by:
    Shiver Games
    Published by:
    Lace Mamba Global
    Genres:
    Adventure