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Previews

Lost: The Videogame

Preview: Will Porter taps the same material into a computer day-in day-out for no discernible reason, brother

Lost frequently makes a joke of the fact that of its cluster of crash survivors, only a certain number of extremely interesting characters (and Charlie) ever get to do exciting stuff on camera.

And so it's entirely feasible that J.J. Abrams can conjure up Elliot - the character you'll play as the game runs its seven 'episodes' parallel to the Lost storyline. Conveniently, he conforms to two of the most overused character devices in gaming: he's an amnesiac (ding!) and a photojournalist (ding! ding!), who may well be required to take photos of the various beasts and mysteries on the island.

"J.J. Abrams is involved in the making of the game, as are all the executive producers," explains Gadi Pollack, the game's producer, as assurance that this is a game with princely roots, presumably under the misapprehension that I never got round to playing the Alias tie-in. "We meet and talk to them on a regular basis to update them on our progress and receive their feedback."

Suspend your inbred suspicion of the TV/cinema cash-in for a moment though, as for Lost fans this could be awesome. The tale, for example, tells itself with the traditional Lost flashbacks, shedding light on your own character's pre-marooned life in a fashion not a million miles away from Ubisoft's earlier misunderstood classic XIII (I'm still standing by that one, kids).

Then factor in the menacing environment of the island itself, the prospect of reliving so many of the show's key moments (tapping in the fateful numbers in the hatch, incarceration by the others in The Prisoner-esque conditions) and polar bears - and you've got a geek-pleasing treat at the least.

"We've created a linear story progression, but each map is open to make sure fans can explore all the great easter eggs," explains Pollack. "Our main goal is to allow the fans to explore any location on the island at their own pace. But this is Lost, so you never know what is lurking in those jungles."

Apart from, a cynic might add, the inevitable presence of hatches, French women, smoke monsters, Dharma Initiative stations, '60s-style CCTV systems and quests for dynamite in jungle-bound tall ships that is. And that horrid Ben character with the watery evil eyes. Ooh, how I hate him...

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