Lunacy Review

What makes Lunacy so compelling is the voice acting.

Every once in a while someone makes a game that doesn't really count as a game. It may have puzzles, and you may be able to move around, but it isn't really a game. Normally, such a game would anathema to any serious gamer, but in the case of Lunacy for the Saturn the game's enthralling storyline saves it. The plot of Lunacy involves a mysterious city where all your wishes come true (think the Nexus in Star Trek: Generations). Fred, the game's hero, bears the mark of the city's visitors (a crescent shaped tattoo on his head) and can't remember anything about his past. Unfortunately for Fred, he winds up in the City of Mists where Lord Gordon is obsessed with finding the magic city. As Fred you have to make your way to the mystical land while uncovering as much of your forgotten past as possible.

Lunacy takes place in a 3-D world held together by full motion video clips. The graphics look nice, but it's really an FMV with a severe lack of loading time; the entire game moves seamlessly as you walk from area to area solving the game's semi-complex puzzles. Some of the artwork is quite detailed, but the entire art motif suggests a cross between the make-believe villages of Disneyland and the morbid landscapes of The Crow. And by the time you venture to the game's legendary city, your surroundings are pretty out there. The end result is a twisted version of Myst that should appeal to hard-core gamers with twenty hours to spare accomplishing tasks like finding flowers for a gravestone.

What makes Lunacy so compelling is the voice acting, which unfortunately, comes nowhere close to matching the characters' lip movements - think a poorly dubbed Jackie Chan film. After you get used to it though, you too will be haunted and intrigued by the dialogue, which reads like David Lynch meets David Mamet. Every character in this game has some dark insanity to them and the complexities of the storyline make it a game worth finishing. But even if you don't get that far, you'll be able to amuse yourself and friends by listening to the game's dialogue, which is occasionally hokey (i.e. the scenes with Lord Gordon and his lady friend discussing your fate).

Lunacy is an interesting title that makes up for its lack of interactivity with sheer entertainment value. The cryptic dialogue, intriguing animated scenes, and immersive experience (spread out over two discs) make this game worth a serious look. It's a bit simple at times (walking around aimlessly will get you where you need to go eventually), but the end result is the best game in this "non-gaming" genre released so far.

The Good

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The Bad

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