The Lucubrator

by Ricardo Dague

2008

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Number of Reviews: 3
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Engrossing, but Flawed, November 24, 2008
by C.E.J. Pacian (England)

The beginning of The Lucubrator is a perfect example of everything that's both great and unfortunate about this game. You start out strapped to a slab in a morgue. Several graphical games have used this gimmick before, probably because it's a sure-fire attention grabber. Straight away, you find yourself in a gripping situation. And straight away, you find yourself having to try and read the author's mind. Because, as I mentioned, you're strapped to a slab in a morgue. So what can you actually do? The restraints aren't described in any detail when you examine them, you can't speak or reach anything... Seriously, what are you supposed to do? The answer is a verb that you probably won't think of unprompted. And sadly, the game doesn't give you any nudges in the right direction.

Lucubrator continues like this: great sequences that are a little rough around the edges but otherwise rather unlike anything you'll have experienced in an IF game before - and which unfortunately can only be solved by doing unusual actions at exactly the right time, not just unprompted, but sometimes in direct contradiction of the game's text. The ideas themselves are brilliant - if gruesome - and I don't want to spoil any of the over-the-top feats of murderous carnage you get up to, but I don't see how anyone could actually come up with them without first resorting to the walkthrough.

Lucubrator reminds me a lot of some of George A. Romero's more obscure films - The Crazies, for example: rough, low-budget, slightly creaky, but also rather inspired and deranged. Whether this kind of B-movie splatterpunk game is your thing is something that only you can know for sure.