Lula 3D Retrospective
Then people start to talk, and the subtitles start to appear on screen. The voice acting runs the standard gamut of vaguely passable through to actually nauseating, although at least the voices stick to English. Subtitles, for some reason, don’t seem to have all had a localisation job done on them, and every now and again you’ll stumble across full sentences written completely in German.
But what about the graphics? Well, there is the much touted ‘Bouncin’ Boob Technology’ and, yes, if the camera angle’s right, Lula’s boobs will quite obviously bounce a bit. Whoop-de-doo. This was apparently captured using motion capture, not that you can tell, and assuming you can withstand the frankly horrible images that this information spawns.
If anything, though, the developers have focussed on precisely the wrong area of Lula’s body to fully animate. Since the main camera viewpoint is right behind Lula, surely a fully modelled bum would have pleased a few more desperate gamers? And you’ll be staring at that behind an awful lot, as Lula’s run is even slower than the standard walk animation in most games.
As if it couldn't get worse; groin punching
The more you play Lula 3D, the more these graphical and interfacial problems start to chafe and the more Lula 3D attempts to compensate with crassness. Nudity is pretty much a constant, but by the mid-point barely a minute goes by with at least one nipple on show. If cartoon boobs are your thing then you’ll be over the figurative moon, as characters seem happy to bump uglies just about everywhere. Scarily, one scene focuses quite closely on a heterosexual couple having a roll in the hay, only to quite blatantly show that the male member is, er, member-less.
But hey, at least the developers have tossed in a few action sequences to give us some much needed respite from the terribleness served up everywhere else. It’s just too bad that these tend to be even worse than everything else put together, with wildly unpredictable swings in difficulty and truly terrible choreography. I spent literally hours of my life trying to best one of these action scenes – and the fact that I got stuck in something as inane as Lula 3D isn’t something of which I should be proud.
And the Oscar for blankest expression goes to...
The biggest problem, however, is that what usually defines a point-and-click adventure game isn’t actually the pointing, the clicking or the adventure. Instead, it’s the focus on dialogue, narrative and emotion. Lula 3D omits all of these, and tries to wrap up everything with an attempted sexiness that's beyond the capabilities of either the writers or the graphics engine.
In short, Lula 3D is the kind of title that only gives more ammunition to those that ridicule and decry this fabulous hobby of game-playing. It’s no shock to come to that conclusion, but the strength of the conclusion itself is somewhat surprising. Lula 3D isn't just a bad game; it's genuinely offensive in the way it sullies the medium and depicts women.
Normally in the process of doing a retrospective I can always uncover at least one reason to recommend trying a game, no matter how terrible it may be as a whole. Lula 3D is so repugnant, however, that it’s only worth getting a copy so you can have the joy of utterly destroying it.
And on that basis, I implore you to buy as many copies as you can.