Release date: June 22nd 2005
Game language: German
USK: for gamers 16 years and up
A review by André 11th July 2005
Lula 3D belongs to the quite rare, and equally scurrile, sub-genre of adult-adventures. As is generally known there's enough free adult stuff on the internet and you quasi stumble across it whether you want or not. Thus, theoretically, this market should already be covered. Lula 3D will nevertheless surely find its buyers. But those probably won't be adventure gamers only, but also people, who generally acquire compilations including "Dirty - Mau Mau" and "Strip Poker" - regardless of the opinion supplied by the reviewer.
However, the question remains whether this game, starring Lara's juicy sister, is interesting for the puristic adventure gamer too. I do think that Lula 3D actually deserves closer attention and hope this review offers some insight.
One can read it in the forum-threads: some sequences were simply omitted, so that the available game is only an economy version. The thin insert is likewise not really attractive in place of an appealing booklet. The reason for this was surely the financial aspect, because the release date was postponed repeatedly and for a long time it was doubtful whether the game would be released at all. Thus be happy about the fact that Lula has been published now, although in somewhat thinned out shape. Out of decency it's sold at a real bargain price of around 20 Euros at nevertheless (according to manufacturer) 25 hours play time. The market offers more expensive adventure games, which don't reach this game length.
First of all: The game has got a solid story line, and if one would have simply omitted or at least reduced the many, sometimes more sometimes less clear allusions and soft porn scenes and all the feeble jokes, the game would have made a lot more fun. Because actually the game wouldn't have needed such things at all, the more so as those sequences are completely unerotic anyway. That's how the really daffy dia-/monologues as well as the sex scenes are annoying ad infinitum. These sail very close to the limit of "mature 18+ only". Sometimes one observes e.g., how Lula quite clearly tampers with a "toy", and permanently she stumbles across copulating couples. Already the intro sequence shows how a a slobbering basset mutt is attracted by Lula's strip-tease show and uses the leg of the rogue to jerk off, etc. ... The critter is called Dusty by the way and is Lula's constant escort in the game.
In between the conversations (as for instance with the hard of hearing old lady) are quite normal, in order to turn to dirty again in the next moment. The texts are partly larryesque, as for example allusions on starlets such as Verona Feldbusch. And the authors don't even flinch from posthumously slating real stars like the great Hildegard Knef. She surely hasn't deserved that!
However: Lula plays the role of a producer of erotic films while working in her mansion in Beverly Hills, when she realizes that her three female protagonists have disappeared. She assumes that the ladies were kidnapped, as she finds a noticeable matchbook in the room of the three. Soon thereafter she comes across some video tape recordings of the monitoring camera in the gatekeeper's house, showing the kidnapping of the breezy triplets leading her on a first trace to San Francisco. One hint leads to the next and right away Lula is fully involved in the case ...
Graphics - Lula's World
Surely Lula 3D is a solid game on the visual side, even if the graphics, particularly the character graphics, don't appear to be top notch. Nevertheless, those who rashly want to dismiss it as sleazy little game of bad design, quite fast get stolen their thunder, because that wouldn't match the game at all. The cutscenes and the background graphics are very well succeeded. The graphics reminded me a bit of Gabriel Knight 3 (from 1998) and this is on the other hand by far not the worst reference.
The developers weren't stingy and created an enormous and varied area. It makes fun to behold the detailed 3D-locations and e.g. at the beginning examine the quite stylish furnished posh mansion of the sex&coke scene in Beverly Hills with all the "work spaces", the luxurious grounds with designed paths, pools and vehicle fleet to get an (probably quite realistic) impression, which might be refused to most of us.
Little by little new locations open, which partly look even more beautiful, as for example the roads of San Francisco, where the outlines of the street canyons are marvelously reflected in the lacquer of the cars or the huge area in Las Vegas on the other hand. The three-dimensional landscape moves similar to an ego adventure game when you turn the camera around Lula with the mouse. But sometimes the backgrounds are fixed either. Really amazing was the fact that you can simply enter and just examine many vast areas e.g. an enormous multi-storey car park or roof terraces, which were provided apparently only for the pleasure of the players, since they do not have any further function in the game.
However most character graphics are rather trashy. Lula herself and a few other main characters are perhaps halfway lifelike modelled, while the supporting characters weren't so lucky. Likewise the body movements don't always look natural. Completely off-key are however the facial expressions of all characters - particularly when talking in close-ups. Sometimes during dialogues the very sharp-edged figures are staring apathetically to the ceiling, or they forget to move their lips. The faces partly look as alive as those dolls from the Augsburger Puppenkiste (Note: German famous puppet play).
Obviously Lula has changed her graphic outfit for this new game, as she too has a "story". Lula 3D is not, by far, the first game starring this bouncing sex-bomb. A short query at Google results in at least Lula Inside (Lula as Tamagotchi), Lula Pinball (a pinball game), Lula Attack (Lula in space?) as well as "Wet - The Sexy Empire", a business simulation game. The latter is well-known to me, as it was on the cover-cd of the last PC Joker, some time ago. At that time the comic-style Lula still seemed rather cute than crude ...
But cute has gone now at the latest, because the comic style gave way to a "more realistic" 3D-style.Our rascal Lula now has plastic 3D-boobs, which could be basis for several breast-surgery-TV-shows at Sat 1 or Super RTL. And when the freshly tuned 3D-Lula bounces along the roads in full garter-outfit, not too much remains of the charm of past days. However the something "more realistic" style better fits into the three-dimensional locations.
During the installation procedure we already get electric music with suitably groaned "Oohs" and "Yeahs", which however sounds appealing. Even in the further process this impression is confirmed. There's not much music in the game most of the time, but during the cutscenes and while loading you can occasionally hear various very professional and pleasant electric or easy listening tracks, sometimes sounding more even-tempered, sometimes more groovy and funky and sometimes nearly jazzy. In some rooms you can also find a radio, that can be turned on to play some extra music.
The dialogues however are kind of dumb and offer a diverse repertoire from not-very-funny over reality satyric to embarrassing. Probably it was quite difficult for the speakers to interpret the outregeous dialogues reasonably. After some time one gets accustomed to it however, and discreetly ignores every in true sense "sucked off" ambiguity assiduously.
Lula 3D is divided into so-called missions. The first and very simple mission consists for example of finding the room of the three disappeared ladies. By and by the missions or tasks become a bit more difficult, the game however remains very easy. In principle nearly all solutions are given in the mission descriptions and so most puzzles are not much of a challenge.
We encounter evidence, collect objects and interrogate people. It happened to me once at the beginning that a wrong answer led to a completely unexpected Game Over. If the circumstances have changed and something new has happened, one should talk to the characters in Lula's environment again, in order to receive new hints or objects.
Surprisingly Lula does not only manage to keep her balance and doesn't topple over with her oversized pads. No, she even has to face occasional action sequences. And this is where the otherwise quite dovelike Lula becomes the wild beast and doesn't stop to simply shoot some tracing cops! Execution of such drastic measures takes place in shooter mini games in Moorhuhn-style, which are quite tricky to my disappointment. Lula 3D is basically a pure adventure game, but some few, but nevertheless particularly unnecessary difficult ego-shooter-sequences were unfortunately inserted towards the end. Just before the end sequence there are five shooting games one after another and especially the last was so difficult, that I had no desire to make another attempt! As I therefore couldn't watch the ending video, I will take off some rating points!
Controls - Run Lula Run
Lula is an adventure game with combined mouse/keyboard control, although other 3D-adventures already proved, that one can get through such a game by mouse-clicks only. Well - controls are nevertheless okay. The few hotkeys are easy to remember and they can additionally be changed in the clear option menu if desired.
One should immediately change the speed in the option menu from "walking" to "running", since she otherwise wanders around really slow. Lula doesn't stumble against objects, seldom gets stuck in or swallowed by a wall if she is watched from an unfavorable perspective.
Normally you look Lula over the shoulder and can freely change the camera angle by mouse. It's however possible at any time to switch to 1st-person view with space bar, which is very practical, if Lula covers something with her body, that would escape the gamer's notice otherwise.
Aahrrgg, she's back again: Bouncing out of the shallowness of the wonderful world of entertainment industry, the rascal Lula now also attacks innocent adventure fans, desperately asking themselves, whether the 3D-version possibly would come into question as game for them for lack of alternatives because of the silly season. There are factors, which theoretically militate against that:
Some players will leave the game on the shelves because of the ego-shooter mini-games. And I will subtract some points because of the completely annoying, unnecessary difficult final sequence. Many players will resent the rather revealing character design and the questionable, redundant sex scenes as well as partial nutty and annoying dialogues and allusions and the missing political correctness.
Without all this, the game would have been definitely more fun. But if one ignores all this circumstances generously, the bottom line is a trashy, but nevertheless nice adventure game for sweltry summer nights with relaxing, because mostly very easy puzzles, a giant game environment and not necessarily top notch but nevertheless very appealing graphics. Overall I had a lot of fun with this game. It's worth the money and therefore it gets from me actually very unexpected 70 %.
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
- WIN 98/ME/2000/XP
- Intel Pentium or AMD with 1,5 GHz (recomm. 2 GHz)
- 256 MB RAM (recomm. 512 MB)
- T&L-able 3D graphic card, 64 MB (128 MB recommended)
- 2,5 GB free space on hard disk
- Win XP
- AMD Athlon XP 1800
- 512 MB RAM
- Graphic card Radeon 9200 series
Hard drive 60 GB