The Lucius series takes a giant step backwards in time in the Lucius Demake, reverting from modern, 3D graphics to the highly pixilated, top-down, 8-Bit joy of the ‘80s decade of gaming.
This remake – aptly dubbed a demake instead, considering the graphics and audio technically aren’t improved, but rather are reverted to a lower “quality” in this new version – is “inspired by” the original Lucius title, basically converting it to a Point-&-Click bundle of gore, sexual elements, and Satanism. From the creative minds at Shiver Games, the same folks who brought us Lucius I and II, this Retro-inspired trek is a fantastic example of thinking outside the gaming industry box.
So, Who Is This Lucius Kid, Anyway?
Let me begin by saying that, prior to playing through the Lucius Demake, I had never played one of the chapters in the Lucius Saga; an error that I intend to remedy very soon, given how much I enjoyed this bloody journey. Thus, my opinions of this new title are based solely on it, and not at all on the legacy of its predecessors. Given that Retro games, 8-Bit graphics, and Point-&-Click Adventures are some of my favorite aspects of gaming, I couldn’t wait to get into this “demake” and see exactly what horrors awaited me – and I was not disappointed!
Lucius is the son of wealthy parents, living in an exquisite mansion, full of victims – I mean employees – but the lap of luxury certainly has done nothing to prevent him from being deeply disturbed. Born on 6/6/66, his birthday foretold an inevitable truth: that he was the child of a dark prophecy, a minion to Lucifer himself, destined to wreak havoc on his family and anyone else in his path. Deeply troubled and impulsive, Lucius has no qualms about using satanic rituals to gain new powers; as the story progresses, the player gains access to four different types of devil-granted abilities, which are used to accomplish heinous murders. Lucius employs these special abilities in addition to manipulating the environment around him, ala Point-&-Click style methods, obtaining items in one room to equip them elsewhere. And each task has the same nefarious, violent motivation: Death, for someone in the household, in the name of Lucifer’s glory.
Welcome (Back) to 8-Bit Violence and Mature Scenes!
Seriously, the Lucius Demake is pretty Mature in rating, complete with pixilated blood and gore, a sex scene, numerous graphic murders, and the like. But it manages to skirt the line of being truly disturbing, and the ‘80s style package of dated audio/video scenes definitely lessens the impact of the violence without losing the sinister charm. Even the sexual portions of the game are minimized compared to “sexual content” in most modern titles, simply because pixels don’t give you a lot of detail with such encounters.
The Lucius Demake also walks the line between challenging and easy with superb finesse, managing to keep its puzzles enjoyable and amusing without ever feeling tedious or repetitious; at times, the player must battle against another opponent in real-time combat, or race against a clock to beat someone else to an objective. There are even portions where, armed only with a flashlight and his malice, Lucius must navigate the mansion in the dark without being seen. I chose to play with the keyboard and mouse rather than a controller, though players do have that option, and I did find that using the Tab key to cycle through nearby objects was a little frustrating at times, especially during a combat sequence towards the end of the story. However, these things were incredibly minor, and the Lucius Demake shines with a polish that compares to the best of the best in Retro (or Retro-inspired) titles.
I absolutely cannot recommend the Lucius Demake highly enough, for anyone who enjoys macabre storylines, a riveting, intriguing Point-&-Click adventure, or even just for fans of the original two Lucius titles. It isn’t a super long game – I defeated it in under 4 hours – and the replay value here is sadly minimal, since the missions and murders won’t change with another play-through; I considered both of these qualities when determining the final score, and I’m still rating this one as high (or higher) than the other fantastic Point-&-Click titles I’ve experienced in the last few years.
I sincerely hope that the Lucius Demake is the beginning of a new trend in successful series, and that we will see more classic titles – especially those in the survivor horror, horror, and thriller genres – set into dated, 8-Bit graphics; I know that a few other “demakes” have been released, but this is my first experience playing one, and I am certainly hungry for more. Resident Evil or Silent Hill would be wonderful treks into the nostalgic world of vintage gaming environments, and I can’t think of anyone better to help lead the way than the folks at Shiver and this fantastic non-remake second take at Lucius’ morbid adventures.