Friday, November 19, 2010

Luxor: 5th Passage - tragic disappointment!

Yesterday morning, I posted about how excited I was to discover that a new Luxor game had been released. So, last night, I finally had the increasingly rare opportunity to sit down and spend a few minutes gaming. I fired up Luxor: 5th Passage, ready to enjoy some excellent gaming.

I was very disappointed, and a bit shocked.

To me, Luxor 3 and Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife were as close to perfect as any casual game can get. They abandoned the mediocre marble popping of the first three Luxor games, and made the enterprise into something really special. Now, imagine that these two games had never been released. Imagine that the developer (MumboJumbo) had never upgraded their programming, style, and presentation to create the awesomeness that we saw in these last two Luxor games.

Well, for a reason that I can't fathom, on this new game, the developers chose to revert to the old-school production values of the first three Luxor games! From the moment that the game opened to the menu screen, I could tell that something was wrong. It looked half-baked from the get-go.

This game uses the old versions of
  • the marbles
  • the interface
  • the scarabs that push the marble chains, and
  • the look of the levels.
The music, sound effects, and graphics have lost their shine, as if they were created 2 years ago (with the exception of some of the standard sound effects that never change).

They even brought back limited lives! It's like I'm playing the first game in the series. What was MumboJumbo thinking?!

They even tried to cover up their slop by introducing new power-ups and a new Blast mode. They also incorporated some levels from previous Luxor games that are thought to be player favorites. None of these features save the game.
Additionally, they scrapped the Puzzle mode, which was one of my favorite features of the previous two games.

I couldn't play more than 3 or 4 levels before I quit and opened Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife just to remind myself that the series used to be excellent.

Why does this matter so much to me as a gamer? A few reasons:
  1. I have a detailed and picky eye for quality, and this game lacks it.
  2. I had come to trust MumboJumbo, and they didn't deliver. I imagine that with the current economic struggles, they wanted to cut costs, and so reverted to the old, unpolished style, hoping fans wouldn't notice.
  3. The graphics look grainy, and you can't adjust the resolution.
  4. The controls feel jerky and hesitant.
  5. When marble chains are approaching the exit, the marbles don't load into the shooter in as nice of a pattern as before.
So, if you loved Luxor 3 and Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife like I did, I advise you to skip this new game.

To see why I loved the previous two games so much, read my reviews:

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