Imaginary Review – The Lost Boys:The Game

Initiation’s over, time to play the game.

The Lost Boys: The Game opens with a gliding aerial view over the boardwalk and city of Santa Carla, murder capital of the world, to the strains of INXS. As the cut scene plays out we are introduced to moody protagonist Michael and his family. Having fallen in with a spectacularly-mulleted bad crowd, our job is to save the family from a bloodsucking, biker gang, led by David, before Michael himself succumbs to full time vamping.

The gameplay consists of a series of guided missions through an open world with a mixture of action and stealth. You can play solo or recruit a vampire slaying crew with varying strengths and weaknesses. Michael’s brother Sam may be gutsy but prone to wandering off to gaze at his Rob Lowe poster. The Frog brothers are knowledgeable yet clumsy at fighting. Star, the love interest, has access to hidden areas but is often cowardly. The family pet dog, Nanook, is an essential recruit, sensing the presence of nearby vampires.

Weapons are predictably basic but plentiful. Stakes are added to your inventory by visiting Grandpa and your holy water pistol can be topped up from several churches, handily located in your Santa Carla guide map. Other items such as garlic necklaces and torches keep the undead at bay for a limited time but won’t kill them.

The battles are broken up with stealth sections which help prevent the gameplay becoming monotonous. Escaping the enemy lair, the Vampire Hotel, without waking its fanged inhabitants is genuinely tense, as is stealing Grandpa’s car. A glitch which sets off the musical horn, immediately alerting Grandpa, is expected to be patched pre-release. The only other issue is the meal with Max, the suspected head vampire. Sensitive controls means an instant mission fail if you accidentally throw holy water on the mother instead of Max.

The controversial sex scene between Michael and Star which made the papers and caused ripples amongst gamers on Twitter has been cut from the final game. Instead, we get a soft focus cut scene hinting at their relationship.

Despite the main story being fairly linear, there is ample opportunity to explore Santa Carla between missions. There are bike races against David and his gang, you can customise Michael’s appearance with piercings and various 1980s clothing options, browse the Frog brothers comic store, ride the carousel and play a quick time event sax solo to please the boardwalk crowds. Collectibles are scattered throughout the city and finding Grandpa’s creepy taxidermy animals unlocks humourous cut scenes showing his dates with widow Johnson.

The online multiplayer currently only features team deathmatches with races expected to be added as DLC at a later date. The Left 4 Dead style humans vs vampires deathmatches are a fun distraction from the campaign. While the vampires can fly and increase low health with worm noodles and maggot rice, getting close enough to the humans to attack sometimes proves to be a frustrating experience.

Overall, the cheesy one-liners, familiar characters, atmospheric soundtrack (yes, Cry Little Sister features numerous times) and varied gameplay make this one title you’ll really want to sink your fangs into.

8.5/10

(If only it really existed.)

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