I love the video game The Terrible Lost

In 2008, Lost was red hot. This pop culture-conquering TV show about a group of plane crash survivors having a rough time on a strange and mysterious tropical island was three seasons long, and the internet was abuzz with smoke monster theories. , the DHARMA Initiative and where the hell did that polar bear come from. I was an obsessive ‘Lostie’ myself, spending most of my evenings on message boards trading idiotic theories with other fans and listening intently to every word uttered by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse on the show’s official podcast, who would occasionally drop hints about the next episode. or small morsels of new mythology. It was an excellent moment, and I’m glad I lived it.

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With Lost being watched by millions and DHARMA Initiative mugs and t-shirts making ABC a small fortune, it was only a matter of time before someone turned it into a video game, and that someone was, you guessed it, Ubisoft. This was an era where shows like The X-Files, Prison Break, The Shield, 24, and The Sopranos routinely spawned video game spinoffs, most of which were, frankly, terrible. But no matter how bad they sucked, many fans enjoyed them because it was a chance to enter and explore these worlds that you would normally only be able to experience passively. The Sopranos: Road to Respect sucks, but hanging out at the Bada Bing with Paulie and Silvio? Forget it.

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Lost: Via Domus was released for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 in late February 2002, a couple of days before season 4’s The Constant aired in the US. It’s arguably the best episode of the entire series. I saw it recently and it’s still sensational. When this show was good, it was Okay. Developed by Ubisoft Montréal, the story of Via Domus runs parallel to the first 70 days after the fateful crash of Oceanic Flight 815. You play as Elliot Maslow, a nobody whose story conveniently never steps on the toes of the larger series’ mythology or the lives of the other survivors. He’s basically one of those throwaway red shirts that hung around the beach.


It won’t surprise you to learn that Lost: Via Domus is a bad game. The sections where you have to sneak through the jungle avoiding the smoke monster are repetitive, overly punitive, and deeply tedious. When the smoky old man walks past your hideout making that weird screeching noise, he looks and sounds exactly like he does on the show, briefly fooling you into thinking you’re having fun. But you’re not. Pipe Mania’s endless fuse box puzzles are an arduous task. The chase sections are awful, especially when you die and have to sit through an unmissable cutscene for the umpteenth time. It’s extremely poorly done, seemingly rushed to capitalize on the show’s peak popularity.

But here’s the thing: I love it, because it lets me be in Lost. Outside of the terrifyingly awkward action sequences, Via Domus has the laid-back feel of an old-school adventure game. You can wander around the island exploring faithfully recreated locations like Black Rock, the beach camp, and a bunch of DHARMA stations, which for me were always the highlight of the show. You can go down to the Swan, enter ‘the numbers’ (I still remember them by heart: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) and press the infamous button. The timer actually ticks in real time, so in theory you could sit there and diligently input numbers every 108 minutes if you had absolutely nothing better to do.


You can also talk and trade supplies with your fellow survivors. However, only Michael Emerson (Ben), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), MC Gainey (Mr. Friendly), Andrew Divoff (Mikhail), and Yunjin Kim (Sun) bothered to show up for the recording. . sessions. The rest are played by look-alikes, and the quality is, shall we say, inconsistent. Still, getting the chance to share the breeze with these familiar characters is a real joy. Lost Via: Domus is best when it doesn’t ask you to do anything in particular, and you are free to just exist on the show To its credit, Ubisoft Montréal’s attention to detail is extremely impressive throughout. It is clear that the game was created by people who loved the series.

If you want to play Via Domus, you’ll have to dig up an old console or play the PC version, which inexplicably runs smoothly on modern hardware. It’s long out of stock though, so you’ll have to go on eBay or insure it by “other means”, if you know what I mean. With Lost now a distant memory, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a remake or remaster of any kind. If you’re a fan, it’s worth looking for. It’s also a fascinating time capsule: a snapshot of when there was still some mystery left in the show, before Jacob and the Man in Black were introduced and it went off the rails. Lost is long dead, but I’ll never stop loving it, even if it means playing an objectively terrible spin-off game 14 years ago.


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