[Review] Lure of the Temptress


REVIEW # 00000000 01011110

When I came to my senses I found myself a prisoner in Turnvale’s squallid dungeons. Here’s my tale…

 

My heart says…

With its highly verbose structure and its medieval setting, Lure of the Temptress has cut itself an important place on my own personal graphic adventures olympus as one of the few games non-Sierra and non-Lucas I had very much appreciated and played as well. And guess what? Yes, it was featured on my Dutch Flyer compilation, my own video games bible.


Con la sua struttura molto verbosa e l’ambientazione medievale, Lure of the Temptress si è ritagliato un posto importante nel mio olimpo delle avventure grafiche come uno dei pochi giochi non Sierra e non Lucas che io abbia apprezzato molto e giocato almeno altrettanto. E indovinate un po’? Esatto era nella mia compilation Dutch Flyer, la mia bibbia dei videogiochi.

Splash screen

Graphics

Lure of the Temptress is the first game to make use of the Virtual Theatre graphic engine, created by Revolution Software and thet will be used also in the following games Beneath a Steel Sky (watch out for a review of this game soon) and Broken Sword. One of its strong points (but also one of its weaknesses) was giving volume and solidity to the objects and to the NPCs, now “free” to wander around on apparently random patterns: the problem is that these movements often prevents the protagonist to move as well, greatly affecting the playability (sometimes you really feel the urge to smash the screen just because you cannot go out of a room). On the visual side the details and the realism on the environment is very good, surely comparable to those of the great classics of Lucas and Sierra even though the sprites are often smaller and therefore less detailed.

Lure of the Temptress è il primo gioco a far uso del motore grafico Virtual Theatre, creato proprio dalla Revolution Software e che verrà utilizzato anche nei successivi giochi Beneath a Steel Sky (altro gioco da tenere d’occhio per una futura recensione) e Broken Sword. Uno dei suoi punti di forza (ma anche delle sue debolezze) è quello di aver dato volume e solidità agli oggetti e ai PNG, con questi ultimi “liberi” di muoversi lungo percorsi apparentemente causali: il problema sta nel fatto che questi movimenti spesso impediscono al giocatore di muoversi a grave discapito della giocabilità (in alcuni momenti viene veramente voglia di spaccare tutto per non riuscire ad uscire da una stanza). A livello puramente grafico il dettaglio e il realismo degli ambienti è di buon livello, sicuramente paragonabile a quello dei classici Lucas e Sierra, anche se spesso gli sprite sono più piccoli e giocoforza meno dettagliati.

Narrative

There’s nothing better than the intro to understand the story, so vamos!

The Kingdom was at peace; after decades of unrest the King had united his quarrelsome subjects. Now, under his just rule, protected by the sea and the mountains, the people prospered and the crops flourished.

The King and his companions had visited our village while hunting, which gave me, Diermot, the chance of a few days easy pickings as a beater. I should have know something was amiss when a messenger arrived…

An uprising in the far off town of Turnvale, a beautiful young enchantress named Selena; it all sounded very exciting – but far too dangerous! I saddled my pony and made haste to slip away unseen, but the stupid beast had sensed the mounting tension and, despite my protests, the next thing I knew we were riding with the King’s guard!

As dawn’s cold fingers reached into the sky we drew close to Turnvale. Through the morning mist we could hear the howls and bellows of the approaching army, but it was not until their vague forms drew near that we realised Selena had rallied and inhuman horde. It was my first encounter with the Skorl.

There on a small hill above the town the King fell, and there he was buried by those few companions who survived the battle. The town fell victim to Selena and the Skorl.

The story itself is nothing particulary new, it’s the good old tale of the peaceful reign invaded by monsters and a bad guy (this time a bad girl) with magic powers. Little but good.

Gameplay

In relation to other grapchis adventures of the same period, Lure of the Temptress features some innovations, the most important of which is the possibility to cooperate with other NPCs, to whom is possible to give orders and who can be used in emergency situations to escape (like at the beginning in the prison). As always is possible to interact with them in the “classic” ways, so you can talk with them and depending on the questions/answers, new options to proceed with the game will be unlocked. For the rest, LOTT is a rather straightforward adventure, with simple puzzles (that affect the longevity of the game) and with no particular contamination of other genres. mFor Revolution Software this probably represents a sort of “test” that will lead to other more successful games like Beneath a Steel Sky and most important, Broken Sword.

Rispetto ad altte avventure grafiche dello stesso periodo, Lure of the Temptress inserisce alcune novità; la principale è la possibilità di cooperare con altri personaggi nel gioco, ai quali possono essere impartiti ordini e che possono essere sfruttati in situazioni di emergenza per potersi divincolare (come all’inizio nella prigione). Come al solito è possibile interagire con loro nei modi “classici”, ovvero si può parlare con essi e in base alle domande e alle risposte si “sbloccheranno” nuove possibilità per avanzare nel gioco. Per il resto LOTT è un’avventura abbastanza canonica, con enigmi spesso semplici (che accorciano notevolmente la durata del gioco) e senza particolari deviazioni in altri generi. Per la Revolution Software probabilmente rappresenta una “prova” che porterà ai giochi di maggior successo Beneath a Steel Sky e soprattutto Broken Sword.

Controls

Maybe it is for my habit of playing Lucas and Sierra adventures and for being addicted to the SCUMM, but playing Lure of the Temptress can frequently become a nightmare. This is caused to the confuse action mapping and for the problems caused by the Virtual Theatre that, giving volume to the NPCs, frequently makes imnpossible any movement in the rooms. Many other adventures bypass these problems making the sprite “transparent”, sacrifying the realism for the playability and this looks the right way to make a good game. It’s useless to have a realistic game if you can’t actually play it. Even because if we really want realism, the NPCs could easily move if we’re going out the door…

Sarà per la mia abitudini ai giochi della Lucas e della Sierra e per l’assuefazione allo SCUMM, ma giocare a Lure of the Temptress spesso diventa un incubo. Ciò è causato soprattutto dalla confusa mappatura delle azioni da svolgere sia dai problemi causati dal Virtual Theatre che dando volume e “cognizione” ai NPC rende spesso impossibile muoversi negli ambienti di gioco. Molte altre avventure aggirano questi problemi rendendo “trasparenti” sacrificando il realismo per la giocabilità e pare proprio che sia la via maestra per relizzare un buon gioco. A poco serve avere più realismo se alla prova dei fatti non si riesce a giocare. Che poi se volessimo realismo i NPC potrebbero anche spostarsi se proviamo ad uscire da una porta…

Sound

The game has almost no music whatsoever, but only in-game sound effects (and not that many). To hear a good tune we can only refer to the opening credits where we understand why we start in a prison. Well here, despite the sounds are frequently too high pitched and they miss the gloomy and more thumping atmosphere it would be surely more appropriate, we can hear some good and in  the end well made tunes. That’s a shame they’re confined only in the first two minutes of the introduction…


Il giopo praticamente non ha musica, ma solo effetti sonori in-game (e neppure troppi). Per ascoltare un motivetto valido si può solo fare riferimento agli opening credits dove capiamo come siamo giunti in prigione. Ebbene qui, nonostante spesso in suoni sembrino troppo artificiali e manchino di quell’atmosfera più cupa e rimbombante che sarebbe di sicuro più consona al racconto, possiamo sentire note interessanti e fatte tutto sommato molto bene. Peccato che siano limitate a due minuti di introduzione…

Longevity

For this I have to refer to the statictics I’ve found online. If it were for me, the longevity of these kind of games would always be even too much, giving the fact that it takes me years to complete them (I remind you the 10+ years I needed to complete Day of the Tentacle and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis), but if we compare the lenght of these games referring to a single source Lure fo the Temptress ends us peeing a bit too short. Referring to my own personal bible, World of Longplays, the already cited DoTT and IJ last respectively 2h45mins and 4 hourse, while LOTT ends after slightly more than 100 minutes, always not considering a speedrun but an “honest” run with no waste of time (mainly caused by the already cited NPCs): maybe a bit too little for a graphic adventure.

Qui faccio un minimo affidamento alle statistiche online. Se fosse per me la longevità di questi giochi sarebbe sempre anche troppa visto che ci impiego secoli a finirli (vi ricordo i miei quasi 10 anni di tempo per finire Day of the Tentacle e Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis), ma se compariamo la durata di questi giochi considerando un’unica fonte, Lure of the Temptress risulta un po’ cortino. Facendo riferimento alla mia bibbia personale World of Longplays, i già gitati DoTT e IJ sono lunghi rispettivamente 2 ore e 45 e addirittura 4 ore, mentre LOTT si ferma a poco più di 100 minuti, sempre considerando non uno speedrun, ma un run “giusto” senza eccessive perdite di tempo (soprattutto causate dai già citati NPC): un po’ pochino forse per un’avventura grafica.

Final score 70/100

In the end Lure of the Temptress is a good game. Maybe it’s not a masterpiece and surely not at the same level of its more acclaimed colleagues, but it’s an honest game that surely deserves a revisiting. Back in the day, the game received very positive reviews, well over 85%.


Alla fine Lurte of the Temptress è un buon gioco. Forse non un capolavoro, e sicuramente non all’altezza dei suoi più ingombranti colleghi ma è un gioco onesto che merita di sicuro una rivisitazione. Ai tempi il gioco ricevette recensioni molto positive, oltre l’85%.


Year: 1992

Developer: Revolution Software

Publisher: Virgin Interactive (Konami in the US)

Genre: Graphic Adventure

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST

From same developers/editors:

  • Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)
  • Broke Sword (1996) and sequels
  • In Cold Blood (2000)
  • Gold and Glory: The Road to Eldorado (2000)

From same publishers:

  • Falcon Patrol (1983) and sequels
  • Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator (1990)
  • Chuck Rock (1991) and sequels
  • Dune (1992) and sequels
  • Floor 13 (1992)
  • The 7th Guest (1993)
  • Cannon fodder (1993)
  • Cool Spot (1993)
  • Aladdin (1993)
  • Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Zone Raiders (1995)
  • Command & Conquer (1995)
  • Lost Eden (1995)
  • The 11th Hour (1995)
  • Ignition (1997)

Inspired to:

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Daughter of Serprents (1992)
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992)
  • Curse of Enchantia (1992)
  • Simon the Sorcerer (1993)
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993)
  • Shadow of the Comet (1993)
  • Day of the Tentacle (1993)
  • Innocent Until Caught (1993)
  • Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)
  • Guilty (1995)
  • Clock Tower (1995)
  • The Dig (1995)
  • The Orion Conspiracy (1995)
  • Thimbleweed Park (2017)

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