The Riddle of Master Lu is a pretty interesting graphic adventure game. In it, you assume the role of Robert Ripley, who was known for his Believe it or Not museums filled with oddities and rare, and wacky artifacts. You'll be doing what he devoted his life to -- traveling the globe in search of these types of things. This is what makes this game so interesting and unique.
In this quest, you out to find the answer to a 2,000 year old question (hence the title of the game). Played from the usual 2D point-and-click interface, you must guide Ripley all over the world looking for clues and talking with various characters. And because this is a graphic adventure, there are plenty of hot spots and items that you will need to pick up. Of course, the items you pick up must be given to people who need them or used together to solve puzzles and advance the story along. And the items you do find are based after the location you happen to be at. If you're in China, then you will be interacting with lots of Chinese artifacts as well as learning a lot about the Chinese culture. And this brings up a very good point about this game -- the sheer amount of history buried within this game is amazing. Wherever you happen to go in this game, you can read pages after pages of history about the culture, civilization, agriculture, etc. And the good thing is, you don't even have to read this stuff if you don't want to. It's not important to finishing the game. But if you like history or just want to read about culture, you can do this. A pretty neat feature, in my opinion.
From the technological standpoint, The Riddle of Master Lu is a little frustrating. The interface is a bit clunky at times, and it's often difficult to get Ripley to where you want him to be. You'll often have to click multiple times to get him into a door or next to an item to pick up. And if you need him to pick up an item, sometimes he'll move right in front of it and block the hot spot. Speaking of the hot spots, they are at times a bit annoying to find. Some spots are extremely small and you'll often repeatedly miss an essential item you need to pick up. You can be stuck for days because you're not aware that there's actually an item right in front of you that you can pick up.
Still, The Riddle of Master Lu is a very interesting game and even with it's technological annoyances, pretty fun. If you're itching for a new graphic adventure game, or just want to learn some history and take a look into Robert Ripley's life, then you should find this game to your liking -- just don't expect a highly polished product.
Graphics: Characters are digitized and put against rendered backdrops that are modeled after their real life counterparts. At times, this doesn't look terribly good, but for the most part, it's okay. There's also some FMV sequences that are decent.
Sound: The voice acting is pretty good and the music fits well in the different atmospheres.
Enjoyment: The Riddle of Master Lu can be frustrating at times because of it's sloppy design. But overall, it's a pretty fun game that has lots of interesting facts and items in it.
Replay Value: Like almost every other graphic adventure, once you complete it, it will just collect dust on your shelf. There's no reason to go back and play through it again.
In this game, you control a historical character, Robert Ripley (1893-1949), a famous traveler and collector of rarities. One day, during a travel in Egypt, Ripley was attacked by mysterious Chinese assassins. The trail leads him and his Chinese girlfriend Mei Chen to the Forbidden City of Beijing. There he becomes involved in a mystery that will take him to exotic locations all around the globe.
The game plays like a traditional puzzle-solving adventure. Ripley will have to talk to various people, searching for information, but the main emphasis of the gameplay is still on puzzles, mainly inventory-based. The game features live actors filmed over pre-rendered backgrounds. Cut scenes are often presented as full-motion movies shown in small screens with close-up on the actors.
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