Lost: Via Domus - first hands-on

But what actually happens between the start and finish of each episode? What do you actually do in Lost? And is it any fun? That depends...

We tested three modes of play. The first, a chase sequence through the jungle, was ironically the least exciting. Clearly designed for casual gamers (aka, the television viewers who wander into this experience out of mere curiosity), the action was limited to running straight forward, hitting one button to jump over logs and pushing another to slide under them. We couldn't see the monster during any of this and the jungle, while visually attractive, offered only the single path through it. Fortunately, we're told that additional jungle moments will feature gun-toting Others that you can trade fire with.

The second mode consisted of walking through the settings of Lost, talking to fellow castaways, gathering inventory and solving puzzles. Both the environments and conversations seemed faithfully true to the show. In the hatch, for instance, we could visit the laundry room, raid the store room full of Apollo chocolate bars or enter the "numbers" into the countdown computer.

And while the "fuse" puzzles in these sections appear tedious and repetitive (add and subtract voltage to move electricity from one side of the screen to the other!), the ingenious riddles in flashback mode might make up for it. Whenever Elliott experiences a trigger, he enters a foggy world of memory in which only certain details are visible. Use your camera to snap a shot of the right detail, however, and the entire vision becomes clear... as well as packed with crucial information. Kate giving you a hard time? Once you've recalled witnessing her on the plane with handcuffs, you can leverage that information against her to move forward in the story.

At this point, we're extremely excited about some aspects of Lost and a little turned off by others. Will the adaptation please both fans of the show and fans of gaming? Will it strike the right balance between faithfulness and originality? Look for more impressions as the February 26 release date nears.

Jan 23, 2008