Lost: Via Domus

Posted by Anand Vedula.
First posted on 01 April 2012. Last updated on 01 April 2012.
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Lost: Via Domus
Elliott is stranded on the island after surviving a plane crash.
Lost: Via Domus
Elliott searches through the wreckage to try to find his backpack.
Lost: Via Domus
Elliott must shut off the fuselage to prevent the engine from exploding.
Lost: Via Domus
The Smoke Monster chases Elliott in the jungle.
Lost: Via Domus
Bartering with other castaways is necessary to survive on the island.

Lost: Via Domus is an adventure game based on the popular American television drama series Lost. The game tells of a brand new story that coincides with the early events portrayed in the television show. The game features most of the cast of characters from the series, including Kate Austen, Juliet Burke, Michael Dawson, James "Sawyer" Ford, Tom Friendly, Desmond David Hume, Sayid Jarrah, Jin-Soo Kwon, Sun-Hwa Kwon, Benjamin Linus, Claire Littleton, John Locke, Charlie Pace, Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, and Jack Shephard. In addition, the game features a number of new characters that are not part of the original series: Elliott Maslow (the main protagonist), Lisa Gellhorn, Zoran Savo, and Beady Eyes.

In this game, the player takes on the role of Elliott, a photojournalist who is suffering from amnesia after surviving a plane crash to a remote island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. He soon meets the other castaways of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 who have also crash-landed on the island. Thereafter, Elliott explores the different parts of the island as depicted by the television show (such as the Dark Territory, the Dharma Stations, and the Black Rock) and uncovers the island's many dark secrets in attempt to find a way home.

Following the format of the television show, the game is split into 7 different episodes:

Episode 1—Force Majeure: Elliott wakes up on the island after the plane crash. He scouts his way around to try to locate the other survivors. Suffering from amnesia, Elliott remembers little of his past. He tries to befriend the other castaways. He locates his backpack from the wreckage on the beach that may help to jog back his memory.

Episode 2—A New Day: Elliott recovers his laptop and camera in the jungle. He finds Locke who tells him about the Smoke Monster and how to avoid it by hiding inside the banyan trees. Elliott follows the trail of crash debris to reach the plane's cockpit.

Episode 3—Via Domus: Elliott needs to find batteries to power his laptop. Sayid tells Elliott that Locke has what he needs. Elliott finds Locke who gives him the batteries, but he also finds a compass with the inscription "Via Domus" ("The Way Home" in Latin) in the nearby caves which Locke claims to be a gift provided by the island itself.

Episode 4—Forty-Two: Kate, Hurley, and Elliott discover a Dharma Station (Swan Station). Syaid agrees to help to fix the laptop for Elliot, but only if Elliot can prove that he is a passenger on the plane. Elliott gets trapped inside the station but uses the compass to deactivate the station to escape. However, Jack and Sayid then confront Elliott and lock him up, after they discover some incriminating evidence against Elliott on his laptop.

Episode 5—Hotel Persephone: Elliott remains locked up in the armory. He experiences a flashback of an encounter at the Hotel Persephone in Sydney. Remembering now that he is a journalist, Elliott convinces Kate to release him. He prevents a reactor meltdown by using dynamites to blow open the door to the reactor's control room and accessing the computer to disable the reactor.

Episode 6—Whatever It takes: Elliot is confronted by the Smoke Monster near the sonic fence. He experiences another flashback of the encounter at the Hotel Persephone where he teams up with Lisa to investigate Savo.

Episode 7—Worth A Thousand Words: He experiences yet another flashback of the encounter at the Hotel Persephone. He now remembers how he has betrayed Lisa who is killed by Savo when her cover is blown. Elliott's only chance of salvation is to follow the compass to make his escape and return home.

Gameplay consists of a number of puzzles and quests which the player must complete in order to progress. These tasks range from placing fuses correctly into electric panels to completing a series of timed IQ tests (literally) that are disguised as mini-games. Throughout the game, flashbacks are triggered by various items or characters which Elliott finds or encounters respectively on the island. During these flashbacks, the player has to be use the camera to take photos at the precise moments in order to trigger Elliott's memories of the previously forgotten events.

In the game, the player can interact with the other characters by engaging them in dialogs. During a conversation, a list of topics appears on screen from which the player can choose to converse. In general, the available topics are divided into those that are related to general events and those that are related to the current quest. The game automatically saves the player's progress after each quest is completed.

The player can also barter with the other characters. The player can scavenge coconuts, papayas, water bottles, and other items scattered on the beach or in the jungle and trade them for other more useful items. Only few trades are absolutely necessary to progress in the game, however. Most trades are either worthless or optional.

The game's graphics are surprisingly pleasing. The in-game cut scenes are very well made. The scene in which the plane tears apart and then crashes is particularly praise worthy. The beach and jungle environments look realistic. Many of the locations featured on the television show have been recreated in the game, all of which are instantly recognizable. Even the Smoke Monster has been faithfully recreated.

The game's voiceovers are done well enough for most characters, though the dialogs at times sound flat. The game features the voices of only some but not all of the actors who play their respective roles on the series, including Henry Ian Cusick, Andrew Divoff, Michael Emerson, M.C. Gainey, Yunjin Kim, and Emilie de Ravin. The game's sound effects and music scores are both very good.

Lost: Via Domus is a game that is unabashedly aimed at fans of the television show. Still, you can enjoy the game even if you do not follow the series closely and have only a cursory knowledge of the series' mythos. A few of the mini-games can make for interesting play, but they become repetitive quickly. Some of the interface controls are a bit awkward, such as the controls for the camera to zoom in and out to take photos. The game is very short, though perhaps appropriate for a budget title. Gamers who are not diehard fans of Lost may have a hard time understanding the many subtle references the game makes to the television show.

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