There were already multiple red flags up before I even decided to start playing the Beta for Lust From Beyond. First, there is the fact that both the demo and stand-alone prequel Lust From Beyond: Scarlett haven't exactly been given glowing reviews. Then I was informed that the game has been delayed several times just in the last few months. This is all not to mention that Lust from Beyond's main selling point is that it blends horror elements and erotic themes together, which is by no means an easy feat. Either way, I was still morbidly curious to see what this small snippet of the main game might bring to the table. If what I played is any indication of how well the full game is doing then Lust From Beyond is in for some serious trouble when it finally releases.
The Lust From Beyond Beta begins by dropping the player right into the shoes of a cult member named Amanda (a familiar face for Lust for Darkness fans) who is standing in front of what can only be described as a vagina from the deepest reaches of hell. Amanda has used some kind of portal to travel into a different dimension is now attempting to wrestle some small slug-like creature out from inside of a larger fossilized-looking monster. The first action that the player gets to take in the game is physically reaching inside of this monster's birth canal in order to pull the small slug out. Suffice to say this is a pretty strong opening for a game such as this, but Lust from Beyond never manages to shock or disgust the player like this ever again.
The Vagina From Hell Is This Game's High Point
From here though things become much more boring and tedious. After a short segment playing as Amanda, you then take control of the actual main character of Lust from Beyond, Victor Holloway. Victor runs an antique store by day but has horrible nightmares/waking dreams full of disturbing and sexually charged visions. After a particularly bad nightmare causes Victor to accidentally injure his girlfriend, he decides to travel to the remote and mysterious town of Bleakmoor to meet with an even more mysterious psychiatrist.
I went into Lust for Darkness expecting to be outraged or disgusted in some way, but I couldn't help leaving this erotic horror title feeling just completely bored.
In Bleakmoor the game becomes decidedly more Lovecraftian. Those who have read The Shadow Over Innsmouth or played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth will probably immediately see similarities here. The streets of the city are completely empty deserted for disturbing and monstrous entities that lurk just outside of Victor's view, the few townsfolk that you come across seem to be slightly wrong in both attitude and appearance, and even Victor's doctor seems a little too eager to keep him in town. The setting is altogether perfectly suited for the story that the game is trying to tell.
I Like My Horror Games With a Little More... Horror
From here though we start to run into several problems with Lust from Beyond. For one, there was actually very little to be done during the course of the roughly two-hour preview. There was one very easy puzzle to solve, one Resident Evil style find-three-small-objects-that-can-open-this-big-door situation, and then two parts where I was supposed to run away from monsters. Other than that all of the objectives were as simple as just walking around until I triggered what was supposed to happen next in the story. The biggest challenge really was discovering where I was supposed to go half of the time or where certain objects were located in the game's world.
I think my biggest problem with Lust from Beyond so far though is that there just isn't anything particularly sexual or horrific in the game. Do I really want to see some awful sexual acts committed in a game? Most decidedly no, but if a game markets itself that way I become a little confused as to why those things aren't front and center during a preview. There are some fairly vanilla sex acts presented during two parts (a missionary sex scene with Victor's girlfriend viewed from the shoulders up, and a dream sequence scene with a cultist that really only shows you her back), and some phallic and yonic imagery throughout the game there really isn't much in the way of sexuality. There also wasn't a single moment in the game that genuinely had me on edge or made me uncomfortable unless you count the game's stilted dialogue and uncanny valley like character designs.
Lovecraft May Want to Hire Some Lawyers
There is also a little issue of unoriginality in the final moments of the preview that I am unsure how many players will actually notice unless they are once again familiar with The Shadow Over Innsmouth or Call of Cthulhu: Darkest Corners of The Earth. While staying at a hotel in Bleakmoor, Victor is woken up by a sound in the middle of the night. You are prompted to get up and lock the door but are then woken up again a few hours later to someone trying to break down the door. To survive you must go out the window and cross over to the next-door room in order to escape the crazed town person. This scene is nearly identical to the one in Lovecraft's novel and the game that was inspired by it. If you, like me, are into obscure cult-classic horror games and early 20th-century literature this will probably rub you the wrong way.
At the end of the day, I'm pretty disappointed with Lust from Beyond so far. I was expecting so many different feelings from this experience (namely outrage or disgust) but I frankly never thought it would bore me instead. There is a lot of work needed if the developers want Lust from Beyond to be a working video game anytime soon.
TechRaptor previewed Lust from Beyond on PC using a Steam code provided by the developer. The full game is set to release on March 11th, 2021.