“What the fuck have I gotten myself into?” words spoken by the protagonist Victor of the Lust from Beyond video game. Though, you’ll likely say this a few times yourself while playing through this psychological horror-erotica game.
Look, Lust from Beyond is weird, ok? There, I said it. I mean, if you’re a fan of H. P. Lovecraft or H. R. Giger, then this game is definitely going to tickle your fancy… and maybe even tickle other parts of your body… huh?... wink.. wink …
Lust from Beyond follows the story of Victor Holloway, an antiquarian who is an unknowing ‘Seeing One’ with a spiritual connection to the dark realm of Lusst'ghaa. Victor is tormented by visions from this erotic realm, in which there is no difference between pain and pleasure. The Cult of Ecstasy seems to be the only answer to unveil the true meaning of Victor’s dark dreams, but can he make it out alive? Lust from Beyond is an unabashed homage to Giger and Lovecraft, twisting fantasy and horror with perverse design and sexual desire.
I will point out, though, that I’m playing the M Edition, which essentially tones down most of the gore and pretty much ALL of the sexual/nude elements of this game. So essentially, the less fun version. (Although I do actually very much appreciate that Movie Games Lunarium would want to release a sexually censored version of the game, to appeal to a wider audience, that perhaps avoided the game previously due to its heavily sexualized content)
But censored boobies aside, this game still manages to bring the erotic tension you may have been looking for. The environments are incredibly tense and often make me feel very uncomfortable, incorporating a lot of environmental sounds that completely set me on edge (specifically in the Lusst'ghaa realm where walking sounds very, VERY squishy).
I’m a panic gamer, so in Lust from Beyond, whenever an enemy would appear, and there is a very sharp change in the music, it only serves to heighten my fear, panic, and anxiety (for which there is a warning at the beginning of the game). Although after a few hours, I found myself becoming completely desensitized to the enemy-alerting sound as the game really doesn’t provide much of a challenge in combat or escape. Most enemies can be either snuck past or run from very easily, which is brilliant as I’m less stressed about fighting and more focused on the story. What can I say? I’m a lover, not a fighter! However, I can completely understand that a seasoned horror gamer who enjoys challenging combat and gameplay may find this version boring, unchallenging, and pretty simple.
There are also a few puzzles in the game; however, they seem forced and don’t really add to the story. They’re just in place to potentially provide a bit of a breather between feeling uneasy and/or afraid, well, for me anyway. Again these puzzles are pretty simple and don’t take very long to solve, so if you’re a big-brain puzzle gamer, this won’t be a challenge for you.
The script and voice acting are also incredibly awkward at times; with characters emoting out of nowhere or lines of dialogue that feel unnatural, not in a way that is purposely unsettling, but more like poor script work and voice direction. For example, when we’re introduced to the psychiatrist for the first time in the theater section, it feels almost like someone is about to throw on some jazz shoes for a cabaret musical number… I’m not quite sure that was the vibe they were going for.
The story can be hard to follow and a little convoluted at times, but it’s still compelling enough to make you want more. There are members of the occult, a Seeing One, redemption, purification, gory sacrifices, erotica, sadomasochism, the occasional sarcasm, it’s all in there, and it’s a LOT. It’s all that and more, but it’s compelling and disturbing enough that I need to know how it ends!
The environments in this game, I think, are where the studio has done its best work. I mean, they’re creepy and weird and wholly unsettling, which I suppose is the endgame, so they really executed that quite well. The Giger-inspired designs of the Lusst'ghaa are truly fascinating, in the what-the-fuck-is-this-and-why-is-it-so-phallic kind of way.
Lusst'ghaa is a dark and cold realm filled with erotic structures and scary-ass creatures, in which you can traverse due to being a ‘Seeing One’. Within the realm, you discover more of the lore and unlock more abilities from the ever-so-generous Lust God as you further uncover the story. Some of the abilities include health bar increases, or making some quick-time events less challenging and honestly, thank Lust God for that.
However, it’s not just within this erotically structured, damp and squishy realm in which this story takes place. The real-world environments are definitely not as exciting. There are a lot of locked doors or areas that are closed off, plenty of items you can’t interact with, and a lot of empty drawers and cupboards; which makes exploring feel very limited and unyielding. In fact, the majority of items you’re supposed to interact with start flashing as you approach them or when they’re within your line of sight. So, often you end up picking up puzzle pieces or items you’ll need for the story before you even know why you’re picking them up.
For all its faults, though, there is something intriguing and incredibly erotic about this game. It’s pretty impressive for a small studio. The game made me feel so tense and unsettled at times, that I ended up having to take multiple breaks, diving into some much-needed comfort food, even hoping to goodness that I didn’t end up dreaming of some Giger-inspired-squishy-nightmare sex realm… mostly because I’d have to clean the wet sheets. Yet, even though pressing that ‘Continue’ button filled me with dread, I was fascinated to relaunch myself into the world again to find out what happened to Victor. How does it end?
The game evokes feelings of fear, anxiety, and potentially even a tingle in the nether-regions if you’re that way inclined, which compels you to continue playing, even when faced with truly grotesque and obscene creatures, environments, and sounds. If you want a compelling erotic and psychologically thrilling horror game, then this may be the one for you! And if you’re not into the hyper-sexualised original version (where you actually engage in in-game sexual activity), then I would recommend this M Edition. It bypasses all of that and gives you a more tailored story adventure so that you can enjoy the disturbing nature of this world with a more subtle experience (you know, without pitching a tent, or busting a nut, or growing a stiffy, or creaming your panties, or needing any wet-floor signs… you get the idea).