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Lula 3D Retrospective

Lula 3D Retrospective

Publisher: cdv Interactive
Platform: PC exclusive
Release Date: June 22, 2005

You know that period when you’re waiting for a game to install and don’t really have anything to do? Well, there are some games that try to make use of that time, say, by playing some atmospheric music or treating you to a slideshow of concept art – StarCraft 2 used it to help players catch up with the story, for example.

Lula 3D uses this opportunity to tell you about itself too, although it does it by showing a lurid, stylised picture of its titular star laid across a car bonnet, charms on show. Of all the things one could say about Lula 3D, it could never be accused of trying to hide its true nature.

Lula 3D isn't really a game. It's vague titillation for those unwilling to peruse the internet. It’s a hint of crudery for people who never flicked through the mythical adult mag in the bushes at their local park. It’s Leisure Suit Larry without the wicked bits of humorous dialogue. It's not a good thing.

Lula 3D Retrospective Lula 3D Retrospective
Click to, um, nevermind

Need convincing? The box art, displaying what looks like a particularly gaudy looking pink bed spread, features Lula in one of her ‘sexy’ poses, and a snippet of text boasting about the ‘Bouncin’ Boob Technology’ featured within. Subtlety had most definitely taken a walk during that meeting.

Then there’s the opening cutscene. I’m no biologist, but I’m happy to stick my neck on the line and say that animals aren’t usually stirred up into a sexual frenzy by a glimpse of human flesh. If so, woe betide the hamsters that reside in anyone’s bedroom. Yet, when Lula takes to a stripper pole as part of the intro sequence, one nearby dog is so excited he goes from simple tail wagging to excited leg humping at the expense of a fat businessman. In Lula 3D this must pass for humour, because the entire room turns and giggles. Lula laughs too, sounding like an otter being fed into a shredder.

Lula 3D Retrospective Lula 3D Retrospective
The wardrobe communicates themes such as 'sexism' and 'objectification' excellently

Now, adult themes are one thing, but unsurprisingly Lula 3D’s puerile humour isn’t backed up by solid gameplay. If there was some semblance of decent adventure gaming underneath it all then this article would be entirely different in tone, because, when all else is said and done, Lula 3D does have some potential. Games need to explore more adult stories and themes if this setting is ever to be taken truly seriously. The gaming equivalent of Emmanuelle will be just as important as the game of Citizen Kane, in some respects.

But Lula 3D has no intention whatsoever of delivering an interesting experience. It doesn’t aspire to justify the lewdness with good puzzles. It’s boobs in a box and that’s it. The biggest defence one could muster for Lula 3D is that the story, which has Lula as a director searching for her kidnapped actors, isn’t any more far fetched than the plot of most adventure games. In fact, it’s somehow more believable without ghost pirates or talking dog detectives.

In terms of the interface, Lula 3D feels similar to others from the first generation of 3D adventure titles. The keyboard and mouse controls are cumbersome, unwieldly and prone to quitting altogether when Lula comes across an obstacle any higher than, say, her big toe. Character models start to repeat after around roughly 15 minutes of in-game action, and the term clipping could quite easily have been created purely for Lula’s adventure.