Limbo of the Lost is a 2D point-and-click PC adventure game released in 2008; notoriously known for it's controversy due to plagiarism.
Limbo of the Lost received two separate retail releases - one from G2 Games online in Europe in 2007, and another from Tri Synergy in North America in 2008. Both releases were extremely limited, making this game in the European and American releases extremely difficult to come by, and quite expensive.
Limbo of the Lost is a point-and-click Graphical adventure game. Players direct the controllable character around the game world by clicking with the computer mouse to interact with objects and characters in the game world.
Limbo follows Captain Benjamin Briggs, the real-life commander of the Mary Celeste. In 1872 the Mary Celeste was discovered drifting, its passengers vanished without a trace. To this day, the fate of Briggs and his crew remains a mystery. The game puts Briggs in Limbo where he has to aid Destiny in a war against Fate.
At the start of the game, none of this is conveyed to the player. The intro movie is actually on the Bonus DVD pack-in that comes with the game, and even that does not explain anything beyond showing Briggs' ship sinking to it's watery grave. At the start of the game, the player has The Seal of Sufferance in their inventory. Quoted from RPG.net, "All the info you get on looking at it is from the manual, which explains that Fate and Destiny (anthropomorphized, we assume) are having a bet, and Briggs is working for Fate using the Seal to ensure that mankind can choose its own destiny. Destiny wants all mortals to follow a set path and have no free will, which is apparently Fate's domain. Weird. Anyway, there's a book and Briggs has to put it together. No, we don't know why. We're not even sure why all this information isn't in the game, beyond "they were too lazy to do it". Apparently, humanity is fragile enough that a single book missing a piece of its cover can doom us for eternity." (It should be noted that the roles of Fate and Destiny are accidentally inverted in this description.)
The ending to Limbo of the Lost has become infamous for its...well...ummm...just watch it; a very unique experience.
The gameplay in Limbo is of the pixel-hunting and ridiculously illogical inventory puzzle variety perfected by games such as Gabriel Knight 3 with its infamous cat hair puzzle. Below are a few examples of the pixel-hunting and puzzle insanity taken from the full playthrough at rpg.net.
Limbo commonly requires the player to interact with an object that is so dark on-screen that it cannot be seen. In order to progress, the player must move the cursor back and forth across the screen until they see text pop up that tells them that there is something they can interact with.
In the following example, the player must find an object in this scene.
It turns out to be a 1 PIXEL TALL piece of wood on the desk to the right.
Another fine example of pixel-hunting has the player trying to find something in the following image:
That's right - you're supposed to find a torn piece of cloth hiding to the left of the frame.
Most of Limbo's puzzles require the player to combine items in their inventory to make new items. The logic of combining these items, however, is questionable. One such combination requires the player to place a worm in a flask of water to create Tequila. Another, more complex sequence is described below:
In one of the game's more illogical sequences, the player must steal a vial with a glowing, green soul in it, the "Soul of a Warrior" in the image below:
They find a matching vial, which is, incidentally green in hue.
They fill it with water.
Disconcertingly, the water glows like blue paint through the green glass.
In order to get the water to turn green, the player must mix it with saffron.
After which it becomes green.
Obviously, the designer's logic was that water is blue and saffron is yellow, blue + yellow = green, thus, saffron + water = green. This is complete insanity on many levels:
- The blue color of water is only apparent in very high quantities and would NOT appear blue in a container as small as a bottle.
- The bottle is green, so clear water in a green bottle would look green to begin with.
- Mixing saffron in water results in yellow water.
- Most people don't know what saffron IS, let alone what colour it turns things!
This is only one example among many of the joys that await the player in Limbo.
A walkthrough, written entirely in verse, can be found one Gameboomers. An excerpt:
Briggs meets up with Edd who’s a "head" of himself You may laugh when you spy him in spite of yourself. Edd tells the Captain to leave, he’ll need a key But ‘tis around the neck of this great lump that ye see.
Edd tells Briggs to make a quick "Sleeping Draught" Gives him a bottle, now Briggs is feeling quite daft. But still he goes off stepping quietly in motion And is now on a quest to create a nice Sleeping Potion.
They both decide since Grunger’s not eaten Their plan just cannot be beaten. Perhaps the good Captain could spike his “gruel” So it’s off to the kitchens, but the cook is no fool.
She’s Grunger’s poor mum, Aye that’s just what she is. She cooks up dead souls to make for his gruel. But something is needed to complete her son’s meal a dead arm or a leg, so find it with zeal.
Go to her larder where books are like her school Ye’ll soon find a note which shows her how to make gruel a pot filled with fat which is a good source of fuel And another empty pot Briggs can use as sort of a tool.
Aye, this empty jar Briggs will find is a “snot pot”. But you’ll find that it’s empty, But Grunger’s nose; it is not. So fill it in close-up, it’s the best that the Captain can do Jeez Louise, but this is a disgustingly bad sort of clue.
An arm for the pot? Did I really say that?? Burn the ropes near the wall and Billy Nilmates falls flat Collect the appendage and skull from where the cages sat.
Look to Cranny Faggot, she’s wise and she’s green But the women of Limbo like their drink now betwixt and between. So help Briggs make some tequila with water and worm, An arm for the pot and a skull nice and firm.
Then ask for a sample and fill up the skull Add the snot from the pot and the gruel now will mull. Then it’s off to the jailer to give this sick brew to Edd The key can be captured, there’s no more to be said.
So now with the key, Briggs can finally get out. Find the large Oaken Door which is locked and about And take heed and learn of what this level teaches You're at Chapter One and The Lower Reaches.
Limbo of the Lost received only a limited release from both G2 Games and Tri Synergy. Few gaming sites would have ever reviewed it had the plagiarism controversy never occurred and it would have likely disappeared without notice. As it is, there was only one major review for the game before the controversy began, thus there is arguably little in the way of unbiased reviews out there.
Just Adventure reviewed the game first, before any plagiarism was uncovered. Their review is reasonably kind, though somewhat confused as the reviewer writes, "...this became the most complicated review I’ve ever written." and goes on to talk about how the graphics and gameplay are a "mixed bag" and that "All of the chapters though feel as though they have been created by different people. This results to some chapters being absolutely excellent, especially 3 and 5, while others are of an inferior level, especially chapter 2." The reviewer goes on to talk about problems such as "extreme pixel-hunting" but ultimately decides that LotL is "...a good adventure game, fun to play, with a few frustrations here and there, but certainly well worth your time."
Reviews for Limbo of the Lost following the controversy are universally negative, but perhaps not undeservedly so. The reviewers primarily cite gameplay defects and not plagiarism for their low scores. A review from Boomtown and a review by U.K. games journalist Richard Cobbett mention defects such as:
- Interminably long, unskippable dialogue sequences with no player interaction
- Difficult-to-find items (pixel-hunting)
- Illogical puzzles
- Awful voice-acting
- Poorly-mixed sound (making characters hard to hear)
- Extremely slow walk speed
- Uninteresting story
- Humor that falls flat
"Apparently, the developer has been pretending to be a player of the game on various adventure forums telling everyone how incredible the game is. Then he sent a review copy to one of them, and the reviewer helped out someone who was stuck in it. Then the developer pretending to be a player started ripping into the reviewer for letting hints out, and then posted as himself, the developer, supporting himself pretending to be a player.
Then... they figured out the "player" and the "developer" were the same person by seeing that their IPs were the same... so the developer said that it was a beta tester and posted as a player without his knowledge.
At another forum, the developer tried to do the same thing, got called out, and then the "beta tester" said that he was actually the developer's daughter.
Confused? This is so awesome.
Links to the forum postings if anyone wants to have a laugh:
FABLE = The developer pretending to be a player, a beta tester, or his own daughter
MSSTUDIOS = The developer responding to himself pretending to be a player, a beta tester or his own daughter."
Readers curious for a more in-depth review of the game can view a complete walkthrough of the game at rpg.net.
It is also worth noting that in October, 2007, a customer review of LotL appeared on amazon.co.uk stating:
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool game, and I have only played the demo!, 10 Oct 2007
By: Simon "sorcerer" (New York) - See all my reviews
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars
Graphics: Wow really good, excellent atmosphere, the main character knocking on the screen to get your attention is brilliant!!
Sound: Music is really good and better than most games, keeps a theme throughout
Movement/Interface: The game flows very well and feels very easy and natural to manipulate, great use of the interface - OUIJA BOARD. Hope this is used again on other games from Majestic.
Puzzles: Mostly Inventory based, but still very good, all keep to the macarbre feel of the game.
NPC'S: The characters in the game are a joy to watch and listen to, with near on perfect lip synching and great closeup views when they talk I could not wait to meet another creature or character.
Overall: Great game that deserves to do well, destined to become a classic of the genre! deffinately on my TO BUY list!All I hope is that there is more to come, a sequel maybe? come on MAJESTIC!!!
This review is believed to have been posted by Steve Bovis himself. The elements that the reviewer refers to as being high points of the game are generally things that other reviewers specifically complained about. These include the Ouija Board (which has a slow, irritating animation every time you open it to interact with anything), the inventory puzzles (extremely illogical), character knocking on the screen (pointed out by Richard Cobbett's review as being extremely irritating), character close-up (the player spends half the game looking straight up the nose of the character they're talking to), and lip syncing (near non-existent). In addition, this review was posted before the game came out and it references a "demo" that was never released to the public. Finally, various other customer reviews have popped up since then, the reviewers appear to have never written any other reviews on Amazon, so it is likely that these accounts were created expressly to post this review.
A sequel was planned for LotL. As per the second part of the ending cinematic to LotL, the title was to be Limbo of the Lost II: Flight to Freedom
The sequel, originally titled "Limbo 2: Temptations of Tarot" has been "on the drawing board" since 1995, according to an interview with Steve Bovis from The One.
In a post on the Wintermute engine forums, Steve Bovis advertised for a background artist for the sequel - implying that the next game was to have legit art for the backgrounds. Why he didn't do this for the first game is anyone's guess.
Finding a copyEdit
Unfortunately, since both G2 Games and Tri-Synergy have pulled all retail copies from store shelves, it is extremely difficult to find Limbo of the Lost for sale. G2 Games still has LotL available for download on its website for £29.99. Trying to create a user account and download it, however, doesn't appear to work. It is still possible to find authentic G2 copies on Ebay occasionally, but final auction prices can exceed $200.
The US Tri Synergy version, scheduled for release around June 2008, which comes boxed with the more detailed cover art work, is extremely difficult to find and is more vaulable than the G2 version which was released October 1 2007 in the UK. Estimated value is hard to speculate due to the lack of data from any previous sales based on the rarity of the US Tri Synergy version. Threre are also conflicting reports on whether the US version ever made it on to US store shelves.
It is possible to find illegal copies of LotL and its Bonus DVD pack-in disc readily available via Bittorrent. While downloading it in this fashion is technically illegal, it is unlikely, for obvious reasons, that the publisher or developer will attempt to protect their product.
A playable image of the disc is available for free at archive.org.
A demo of this game appeared to be available to purchasers of Carte Blanche, another recently released Tri-Synergy game, which mentions on its cover that its purchasers are eligible for a USB pen drive with a demo of Limbo of the Lost in it.