Lost’s drug addict ex-hobbit Charlie wasn’t pleased about being pushed aside in the latest season of Lost, and so went and snagged a role in the upcoming X-Men: Wolverine movie. His character? Beak – a humanoid birdman with feathers, talons and a beaked face. Call us cynical, but going from an edgy addict in one of TV’s most popular shows to a feathered freak that’ll probably end up being used for comedy value doesn’t sound like a wise career move.
But we digress – Ubisoft’s Lost game has been a long time coming, so much so that when it was first announced PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions were planned and season three was just starting in the US. Based on seasons one and two, you play as a random survivor of the plane crash who is suffering from memory problems and not only has to rediscover his past but find a way off the island.
The beach acts as a basic hub where you can interact and trade mostly useless items with the likes of Kate, Hurley and Locke and also witness their shoddy voiceovers. A few aren’t bad – you can at least tell who they’re trying to sound like – but others are hilariously poor. Whoever does the voice for Charlie sounds like they’ve just walked off the set of 80’s cartoon The Nessies.
A handy journal keeps track of progress and also provides clues for what to do next, while there’s plenty of variety in the missions, each having a central theme. Things like trying to carry dynamite from the Black Rock over to the Hatch without being shot by The Others; following markers in the jungle while hiding in bushes to avoid the smoke monster and a couple of fast-paced chase sequences. There’s also the chance to rummage around the inside of the Hatch and the dank Hydra station. And yes, you do have to input ‘the numbers’ if you’re in the Hatch and the alarm goes off. It’s all pretty simple stuff, made slightly infuriating by some rather ‘old school’ style random deaths. Walk too close to one of the plane engines on the beach and it’ll explode, killing you instantly, or if your torch goes out when navigating some maze-like caves then it’s also game over.
The sections that by far show the most innovation involve the series’ infamous flashbacks. These short sections are set in black and white and run on a loop, with the idea being to take a photo at the right time and place to unlock part of their memory.
Rather than including several ingenious puzzles to solve the developers have instead included just one and lazily repeated it. It entails collecting fuses of various shapes and voltages, then plugging them into a switch board accordingly to light up various LEDs. We soon grew to hate these as the fuses have to be collected beforehand, and annoyingly there’s no way of telling that you’ve found all the fuses in an area.
At least fans of the show are well looked after – the characters look the part, the Hatch is faithfully recreated, right down to the blood stain on the ceiling, and the presentation mimics the TV show. The jungle looks great too, although you’re not exactly able to roam free. Non-fans though might be a little bemused in places. A good example is to why it’s never explained why Sun speaks Korean one moment then English the next. A lot of key moments that occur in seasons one and two also happen behind the scenes – it’s just casually dropped into conversation that Michael, Sawyer and Jin leave the island on a raft. Given that everything can be seen and done in around five hours, you’d think that the developers would have bulked up the story as much as they could.