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Doing the Devil's dirty work in Lucius


Imagine a palatial mansion estate. Inside dwells a fortunate, wealthy family: a mother, a father, a little boy. Servants go about their business, a gardener tends the garden. It is, in short, the life of the well-to-do. In the kitchen, the little boy watches as a maid enters the spacious walk-in freezer. Once she's well out of sight, the boy calmly shuts the heavy, polished steel door behind her, snaps a padlock on the latch, spins the thermostat to well below freezing, and walks away.

The boy's name is Lucius, and here's the kicker: he's the protagonist. In other words, in this game, he's you.

Gallery: Lucius | 6 Photos

Lucius has two seemingly loving human parents, though he is visited by hellish visions of the devil nearly every night. During these episodes, complete with fire and presumably brimstone, Old Scratch nurtures Lucius' homicidal tendencies. It's not initially clear why the devil wants the people around Lucius to die, but he's the devil, so I suppose death is to be expected.

Developed by small Finnish studio Shiver Games, Lucius is functionally an adventure game, complete with tasks to complete and puzzles to solve. The major difference between Lucius and other adventure games is that the solution to every puzzle results in the murder of a human being. So, instead of figuring out the best use for a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle, you're trying to figure out how to crush the household handyman with a piano (Lucius' telekinetic powers should come in handy for that one, by the way). Lucius doesn't disguise its murder scenes either, all of them resulting in some honestly gruesome, disturbing displays.

The subject matter is obviously grim, but Lucius does its best to counterbalance it with a little levity now and then, at least in the early levels that I've played. Lucius is still a kid, after all, and that means he has chores around the house. It's darkly humorous to see dear old Mom harangue Lucius about picking up his room while the servants are "accidentally" dropping like flies all around her. There's also a detective named McGuffin investigating the apparent accidents. I'm not actually sure if he's supposed to be funny, but his unfortunate Brooklyn accent is a little goofy – not to mention that his name is Detective McGuffin.

There's no doubt that Lucius is a little morbid, but it's also undeniably intriguing. Like many readers of this site, I've virtually killed thousands of people and creatures in video games over the years. That said, there's something different about unadulterated digital murder, and frankly I find it a little unsettling. Still, if you're going to do it, there's no better excuse than "the Devil made me do it," right?

Lucius is slated for release on PC this October.

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