Tag Archives: mystery

Why “Lost Girl” Would Make a Great Video Game…

For the past couple of weeks, I have been tearing through the first season of Lost Girl, an urban fantasy television show originally airing on Showcase. That’s the Canadian channel that airs one of my favorite sci-fi shows, Continuum — so I was excited to see how Lost Girl played after I heard good things about it.

Kenzi and Bo
Kenzi and Bo

If you haven’t seen the show, here’s the gist: a woman named Bo, who has spent her life waking up to dead lovers, finds out that she’s actually a succubus — a supernatural being who feeds on chi. In other words, when she gets “hungry,” it means she’s horny — and when she sleeps with someone, she drains them of their life energy. But finding out who she is means meeting a whole world of other supernatural beings, called Fae. And she gets into all kinds of adventures as she tries to figure out who her parents are, where she comes from, and how she can use her powers to help humans rather than hurt them.

I kind of love the show. It reminds me of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars in the sense that it’s a show with female leads who are bold and smart and witty. The show revolves around Bo and her human sidekick, Kenzi, running their own investigative services for people dealing with potentially supernatural problems. It’s fun to watch a duo of women instead of the typical male “buddy” cop show. And like Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, their gender is really beside the point in their episodic dramas.

But seeing Bo run around kicking ass and seducing people to get information out of them — sometimes with a single touch — I started thinking how fun it would be not only to watch it all, but to play it. In a video game.

Succubus Powers

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The power to seduce is often seen as an “evil” power in fantasy stories and comics, and it comes with strong sexist tones. Male heroes like Thor and Batman are faced with seductresses who nearly turn them evil or make complete idiots out of them — all because men are supposedly putty in the hands of a beautiful woman, and a beautiful woman can use the power of sex to manipulate men. I personally hate that trope.

Fortunately, Lost Girl turns that upside down. The main attraction of the show is the fact that protagonist Bo is a succubus trying to use her power for good. Not all succubi she encounters are like her — using seduction for selfish purposes is a lot easier and potentially more fun — but Bo has a good heart and hates hurting people.

One of the issues she faces early on is learning to control her power. She’s used to draining human men and women completely, leaving them dead in bed beside her. Now that she knows she is a succubus, her goal is to learn to control her hunger and take only the energy she needs. She might leave her lovers weak and tired, but at least they’ll still be breathing in the morning.

All of this would be excellent in a video game. First off, the video game could have all kinds of sex appeal, with certain characters available for seduction if the protagonist needs to “drain” information from them — or just create a himbo or something. I could see some players choosing a more “evil” play style that involves leaving bodies everywhere, while other players limit their feeding and use their wits to ask the right questions early on. This type of power would definitely lend itself to a new, creative type of thinking as players try to progress the plot.

The trick for the game developers would be in keeping the game classy. I’m not opposed to the game having a whole lot of sex scenes — that’s half the fun if you’re playing a succubus video game — but the game would feel cheap if players could just run around using powers to create their own porn game. It would help if the game limited how far random seductions can go, with several cinematic sex scenes built in that are actually integral to the plot, optional side quests, or part of a romantic storyline.

Two Paths

Lost Girl has all kinds of action.
Lost Girl has all kinds of action.

Another aspect of Lost Girl that would make a great video game is the divide between Light Fae and Dark Fae. These are two clans that live by very strict rules; they take care of their own, and they don’t cross into each other’s territory whenever they want. If a Light Fae kills a Dark Fae (or vice versa), you can bet it will be problem for the whole community — and depending on who is involved, it might even be considered a declaration of war.

When Bo is “discovered” as a succubus, she first has to pass trials to show that she is worthy of being accepted into one of the two clans. But when she passes these trials, she refuses to choose a side, instead aligning herself with the humans. This makes her a free agent in the Fae world, capable of associating freely with both but having no real protection from either side if something happens to her. Being neutral makes her homeless, at least as far as the Fae are concerned.

The alignment instantly made me think of a video game and how fun it would be to choose sides at the start of the story. Playing as a neutral protagonist would be fun, but I would especially love the replay value in choosing between the two paths and having different stories, follower characters, or side quests based on your decision.

Supernatural Mysteries

Dyson_part-shifts_(101)Supernatural mysteries never get old. I’m a big fan of the Lost Girl mythology so far, which features some interesting types of Fae not often depicted in other urban fantasy/supernatural stories. And having Bo and Kenzi working as detectives in this world of weirdos — some of them terrifying — is a blast.

We already have a lot of supernatural mysteries out there. I saw several on the bookshelves earlier today, and they’re what make Fables so fun to read and The Wolf Among Us so fun to play. But each one I read or watch or play has its own flavor, and a succubus video game would already feel refreshing for having a unique female protagonist. Throw in some little-seen supernatural characters involved in some hair-raising unsolved crimes, and you’d have a pretty amazing game. I’d definitely waste a few weeks on it. =)

— Ashley

“The Wolf Among Us” Review — A Crooked Mile (episode 3)

So this morning I played the third episode of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, and I’m still recovering. It is by far the best episode of the series yet. Proceed with caution, though — it’s hard to talk about this series without giving away spoilers!

The first episode, “Faith,” has Fabletown Sheriff Bigby Wolf (a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf of fairytales) joining up with Snow White to investigate the murder of a call girl. It’s a point-and-click mystery adventure, which I reviewed on my blog here. The first episode leaves you with a cliffhanger, and I couldn’t wait for the second episode to begin.

However, after playing the second episode, “Smoke and Mirrors,” I just couldn’t find the inspiration to write a review of it. After how much the first episode sparks, “Smoke and Mirrors” just felt lacklustre to me. The story in episode two progresses at a slowed pace, with a little too much time spent throwing things around the local strip club just for the hell of it.

I also felt like I had less agency in the second episode. In “Faith,” your decisions result in a main character either living or dying, and you decide which suspect to arrest while letting another go free — for the time being. However, in “Smoke and Mirrors,” decisions are more along the lines of how-mean-do-you-want-to-be-to-this-character, and it feels like things will work out similarly no matter what you do. I suppose the big difference is in what information you get. This is a series where it pays to pay attention to every little bit of data you glean from suspects and witnesses.

ep_3_bigbyIn any case, episode three, “A Crooked Mile,” empowers the player with major decisions, just as it did in episode one. Some of the choices are how Bigby responds to the people around him, but these moments feel much more important than before. With more murders happening and Bigby hot on the heels of someone directly involved in them — possibly the killer himself — both Fabletown and our protagonist are at their breaking points. That means confrontations, and every dialogue option has the potential to piss somebody off. I personally loved an argument between Bigby and Holly — the latter grieving for her murdered sister — because it played on how Bigby interacted with Holly in past episodes. (Basically, Holly hates my Bigby.)

The episode also clips along at breakneck speed. There’s a meeting happening between the prime murder suspect and a mysterious witch at exactly 2 AM, giving Bigby and Snow just a few short hours to track down who this witch is — and where she is. I usually get stressed out when there’s a timer on missions, but in this case, it works for the suspense.

You have three places to investigate, but there’s only time to visit two of them before 2 AM. There are also unexpected turns of events when you arrive. For instance, you might show up somewhere to look through someone’s things, but you can’t anticipate who is going to be there or what information they are going to give you if you handle them right.

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Best of all, the scenes get a little emotional. The beginning of the episode has Bigby crashing a funeral. Later, while investigating a murder suspect’s belongings, he has to sneak around the grieving Holly who is subdued and half-asleep from pain medication. Though I could have had Bigby announce himself to her, I kept him quiet while Holly (who hates him, remember?) rambled on about him. There was a touching moment toward the end of that. And during the last fight scene, Bigby morphs into his wolf form, is shot several times, and has to fight just to stand up and keep going.

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It gets intense. The series seems to be heating up, and I can’t wait to see how the story wraps in the next couple of episodes…

— Ashley