Lighthouse: The Dark Being

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Lighthouse: The Dark Being
Lighthousebox.gif
PC Cover art
Developer(s) Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s) Sierra On-Line
Platform(s) PC (MS-DOS, Windows), Mac OS
Release date(s) 1996
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution 2 CD-ROMs

Lighthouse: The Dark Being is an adventure game developed and released by Sierra On-Line.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is a first person adventure with a point and click interface. It is played very similarly to the popular Myst series.

Plot[edit]

The Player starts the game in their new cottage on the Oregon coast. According to the Players diary, he or she (personal effects in the new cottage, such as a handbag, suggest a female protagonist, but the gender is never explicitly defined) is a struggling writer who has just moved in, and recently met their eccentric next door neighbor, Dr. Jeremiah Krick, and his daughter Amanda, who live in a nearby lighthouse. Glancing out of the window, the player sees the lighthouse struck by lightning and it, afterwards, begin to glow strangely. On the player's answering machine, Dr. Krick has left a frantic message begging the player to come over to his house and watch Amanda.

Upon arriving at Dr. Kricks house, the player discovers the front door locked, darkness inside, and silence. After turning on the power and entering, the player finds Amanda in her crib, alone. Once the player has explored the house, a snap is heard, and Amanda begins crying. When the player enters her room, the "Dark Being", described in Dr. Kricks journal, takes Amanda, and jumps through a portal. At this point, the Player can either follow him through, or use Dr. Krick's laboratory to construct their own portal. Either way, the player ends up on a rocky beach in a parallel world. Krick's notes on this make reference to the real physical concept of Godel's universe.

As the player explores 6 different locations in the parallel world, the goal becomes clear. They must build an "Ionizing Cannon," whose 7 pieces are scattered between the different locations. Then, the player must use this cannon to capture the Dark Being, and save Dr. Krick and Amanda.

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Player: the unseen protagonist of the game.
  • Dr. Jeremiah Krick: the player's eccentric next door neighbor. He is of foreign origin. The name Krick is German, suggesting that Dr. Krick is in fact from Germany, perhaps in the stereotype created by the legacy of Albert Einstein. His personality also suggests that he is a mad scientist.
  • The Dark Being: a mysterious humanoid creature from an alternate dimension.

Minor[edit]

  • Mother: only heard via answering machine at the start of the game. Her sole purpose is to point out that the player should take the umbrella before leaving.
  • Editor: only heard on the answering machine.
  • Amanda Krick: an infant whom the Being kidnaps.
  • Bird-man: a mechanical bird-human creature who guards the tools necessary to operate one of the devices in the alternate world.
  • Liryl: a girl who, among other injuries, lost her legs in an accident prior to the events of the game. She inhabits a mechanical temple; a mechanical chair (which she calls simply "the device") provides her with both life support and with a limited degree of mobility within the temple. She gives the history of the alternate dimension in which she resides. Most of this information is learned directly from her, but some is acquired via a laserdisc-like device using a projection machine. (As the game was released in 1996, the DVD did not yet exist outside of prototype form.)
  • The Priests: the original keepers of the temple before the alternate dimension's civilization collapsed due to overpollution. They were all killed in a ship wreck prior to the player's arrival; only their skeletal remains can be found in-game.
  • Martin: a prolific lone inventor who lived in a tower in the alternate dimension after the collapse; starved to death trapped in his bedroom, prior to the events of the game, when the bird-man, whom he created, became hostile and took over the tower.
  • Aunt Selma: the protagonist's aunt who provided the umbrella the previous Christmas.

Reception[edit]

Lighthouse received mediocre reviews, averaging a 67% on Game Rankings. Critics praised the game for being beautifully detailed, but objected to the vague and obscure puzzles.[1]

Similarity to Myst[edit]

The game was conceived expressly as a "Myst Clone;" lead designer Jon Bock later recalled that 'Ken Williams called me into his office one day, pulled out a copy of Myst and said; “Can you do this?” I said yes, and the game went into development.'[2]

Similarities to the Myst franchise include:

  • It is a first-person, CGI graphic adventure with very few other characters with whom to interact.
  • The protagonist is never seen or heard, similar to the Stranger in Myst.
  • Most of the game takes place in an alternate dimension, similar to the Ages in the Myst series.
  • The technology of the alternate dimension is predominantly Industrial Age technology. The Myst series also utilizes such technology at least ninety percent of the time.
  • Dr. Krick's purpose in the game is similar to that of Atrus in the Myst series, including providing a journal for exposition and puzzle clues.
  • It includes an extensive railway maze in a network of caves.
  • The mini-submarine in the game has extremely similar cockpit and control design, and behaves in an almost identical way, to the underwater tram in Riven, the sequel to Myst.

Notes[edit]

  • One part of the long quest involves solving several puzzles in order to unlock a mysterious box on Dr. Krick's desk. One of these is a very complex sliding puzzle. Because of its enormous difficulty, if the player quits and returns several times, a button labeled "Solve?" will appear, allowing the player to skip the puzzle.
  • The conversation with Lyryl is a bit awkward. In order to receive information from her, one must present her with shells, pebbles, and mechanical parts (screws, nuts, etc.). The main unusual aspect, however, is that she will talk until she begins to repeat herself. (The user must click on her to receive further information from her.) This leads the player to believe that the conversation is over. However, if the player tries to leave, Lyryl will stop the player to provide more information. This awkward, and potentially annoying, attribute of the conversation happens several times during her dialogue.


References[edit]

Trivia[edit]

GameSpot's first game guide was for Lighthouse.

External links[edit]

See Also[edit]