Just in case you are unfamiliar with the concept of the smash hit TV series Lost, here’s a quick rundown. Lost is like an unfortunate mix of Celebrity Treasure Island and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I attempted to drag my interest though a couple seasons of Lost but couldn’t shake the incessant bewilderment following each episode.
In a nutshell, the show's writers add progressively more confusing sub plots so as to keep you from being distracted with their complete failure to close the previous sub plot, whilst hoping you just wouldn’t remember to ask why there was a polar bear or dinosaur running around the island eating a constant stream of unimportant characters.
The series does however have legions of fans, so a game was somewhat inevitable. Unfortunately, a game based on the TV show was always going to be like having a magic 8-ball helping God out in the whole 6-day creation thing. Nevertheless, I put my bias on the back burner and sat down in complete ambivalence hoping not to be too disappointed.
Some games that have sprung from movies and TV series have been quite successful in adding to the story and worlds of their parent products. The Matrix series, for example, led on from the movie and added to the storyline very well, bridging the gap between movies and filling out the content of the Matrix universe nicely.
Lost, on the other hand, seems to contradict the TV series from the get go. Rather than subtly use a rarely seen character and form a new supporting story based on their experiences, a new crash survivor is added right at the start, who interacts directly with the main characters from the series.
Maybe if you hadn't been following the TV show too closely you may not notice so much... but then nothing would make sense. However, regardless of the immediate contradiction in stories, the game still promises to provide some worthwhile entertainment.
The game begins with a cinematic sequence which can only be described as a work of art, and which succeeded in wowing the rest of the office here.
After surviving the crash, the protagonist is struck with a nasty bout of amnesia, leaving him confused, but determined to find out who he is and what he was doing on the ill-fated United Airlines flight 815. To add to his woes, shortly after his miracle plane crash survival, he is approached and subsequently beaten severely about the head and shoulders by a mysterious suit clad man, who demands that he hands over his camera and laptop, and threatens to murder him if he fails to do so. And so, wondering who the mystery man is and how he made it through the catastrophic plane wreck without so much as a wrinkle in his suit, you set off you find your identity and the story begins.
The game uses the same awkward third-person camera, just like the one used in Tomb Raider and various amateur productions of questionable virtue. Moving the character around the fairly linear game world is simple in concept, but navigating around objects can prove challenging as he has a tendency to get stuck on anything if he gets too close.
The voice acting is a mixed bag, with a number of the actors from the series opting not to participate in the game. Instead the designers have employed voice actors with similar voices to the originals. The difference is however, quite noticeable and a little distracting. As the game progresses, the content seems to get thinner and thinner, to the point where you start to question what elements are actually designed to accompany the TV series, and which ones have been thrown in for good measure, or because the developers had someone hovering over them with a whip.
None of this will dissuade true, hard-core fans of the TV series from picking up a copy of this game. You know the type I'm talking about - they're the ones that dissect each episode, frame by frame, and develop complex theories based on what colour the grass was at 2pm next to Jack's tent.
Those of you looking for an adventure game, or if you haven't turned on a television set since 2003 and have no idea what Lost is, are probably best to pick up a copy of Drake's Fortune instead.