Saturday 14 October 2017

Lure of the Temptress: Won!

by Alex

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve come to the ignominious end of an ignominious game. Upon getting Diermot smuggled into the castle, it didn’t take long to finish Lure of the Temptress, mainly because there just wasn’t much to do.

Let’s start from where we left off last post: Diermot had hid inside of a barrel, taking Ewan’s place, and was carried by a Skorl into the castle’s wine cellar. TBD helpfully pointed out that having “one’s turn in a barrel” is a rather vulgar Navy joke, and I like to imagine that Diermot did somehow participate in this rather nautical way of relieving tension.

But I digress.

There are a bunch of empty casks in the wine cellar that Diermot can’t do anything with, and a staircase to the right. It doesn’t take too long before a young boy comes downstairs to presumably wander around and bump into Diermot every time he tries to do anything.

It turns out that this boy is Minnow, Morkus’ son, whom Morkus sold to the Skorl for beer money.

That’s right: Morkus’ son is a slave of the Skorl. Gwyn mentioned this during my last play session, but I didn’t note it in my last post. It doesn’t matter, anyway. You’d think this would be a huge plot point, but nope. It’s just dropped, Diermot can’t even bring it up to Morkus, or to anybody else, for that matter. It’s just tossed off as an aside even though we’re talking about child slavery.

Yawn. Child slavery ho-hum.

Diermot can do a few things with Minnow: One is to have him tell the Skorl guarding the tower that Selena wants to see him, which Minnow tells Diermot is a bad idea. See, the Skorl is only interested in one thing: Drinking. And he’s so trashed he won’t be able to make it up the stairs, but Minnow tells the Skorl anyway.

Nothing happens.

Diermot can then have Minnow tell the Skorl that there’s someone in the basement. Minnow agrees and tells Diermot to hide somewhere.

I try to hide where it looks dark, since I can’t move Diermot behind anything, and then this happens:

It’s a visual metaphor, see? Diermot represents the player and the Skorl is the game.

So far, this has been the only way in Lure of the Temptress I’ve found to die. So I restore and try to explore my surroundings a little more before telling Minnow to lure the Skorl into the wine cellar. Clearly I’m missing something.

Upstairs is a kitchen. There’s a carcass of something on the table, but all Diermot can do is grab a disgusting chunk of smelly fat. On the oven to the right, despite being able to look at all the stuff, all Diermot can do is grab the tongs. The description of them indicates that they’re likely used to move hot coals to and from the range, but can Diermot do anything with any of the other objects?


Still, inventory items usually bespeak of puzzles, even though I’m lugging around a statue, a flask of water, and a sprig of herb that thus far serve no function whatsoever. But a man can dream, can’t he?

Beyond the kitchen is a hallway with stairs to the left and a door to the right. I head through the door first and end up in the Skorl’s dining area.

Yeah . . . I back out of here and go up the stairs.

The stairs lead to a walkway above the dining hall. I overhear the sole conscious Skorl ordering Minnow to get him some wine. I wonder—could this be a good hiding place? Is this puzzle that simple? Knowing how Lure of the Temptress works, probably.

I explore the rest of this catwalk. It continues for one more screen before leading outside, where a raised drawbridge bars Diermot’s path to the tower beyond.

This is a rather pretty screenshot.

So I have some objectives, at least:
  • Find a way past the Skorl guard
  • Find a way to lower the drawbridge
  • Find Selena and use the Eye of Gethryn on her

Sounds like some actual puzzles!

To solve the first one, yes, the answer really is to just to stand on the catwalk after telling Minnow to alert the Skorl that someone’s in the basement. Once the Skorl leaves, I just walked back downstairs, through the dining hall, to the conveniently located drawbridge operating mechanism beyond.

After finishing the game, I consulted a walkthrough. It turns out I could have used the tongs on a cask in the wine cellar which would have started the wine flowing, even though the game told me that every flask was empty, but what the hell. Then I could have hidden somewhere (Where? Beats me.) and watched the Skorl drink himself into a stupor. But it didn’t matter.

Anyway, in the drawbridge room, there is a lever and a winch attached to the mechanism. Neither will budge, though the rusty lever will be operable once Diermot rubs that disgusting fat all over it.

Still, nothing happens. It didn’t take too long for Minnow to wander into the room. I tell him to pull the lever while Diermot operates the winch. It took a bit of timing, but we eventually lowered the drawbridge.

It’s another example of the “ordering allies around” mechanic that could have been used so much more and to so much greater effect in this game. But nope: this is the fourth and final time it comes into play. Bye Minnow! See you never!

Upstairs, the drawbridge is down and another man-bear-pig comes at Diermot for Lure of the Temptress’ second go-round at absolutely tension-free combat.


Unlike the first such beast, this one didn’t seem susceptible to head shots. So I poked it in the belly a few times until it too crumbled into dust.

My path was clear, so I moseyed on into the tower and came face to face with the woman who started this whole mess: Selena!

So what do you think happens? Do they trade quips and barbs? Does she try to zap Diermot, for him to need some inventory object and quick thinking to get out of this jam? Does the demon possessing Selena transform her into some foul beast that Diermot has to once again fight off with his axe, all the while not hurting the possessed enchantress so that he can dispel her?

Nah. It’s an automatic sequence that requires no player input whatsoever.

So Selena changes into a scorpion-woman, Diermot dodges her a few times, and then chucks the Eye of Gethryn at her, dispelling the enchantment. Game over.

At least the animation was nice.

Now, this is like if in Quest for Glory I, you don’t have to do anything when you finally reach the enchanted Elsa posing as the brigand leader. In both the original and the VGA remake, you have to first have gathered the ingredients for the healer to have made a dispel potion (you know, a puzzle) and then make sure you use it on Elsa before she runs you through. The Lure of the Temptress approach would be you get the potion after finding one stupid thing, the game doesn’t let you advance until you do this, and then automatically finishing the final confrontation for you.

And now, the ending:

Yup, two paragraphs of text. At least we know that Minnow got out alright, but wait: Goewin ended up with Luthern?


You mean this Goewin who had this to say about this Luthern when Diermot asked her about him in the caverns?

And didn’t Goewin, as recently as last post, tell Diermot this?

Who cares? Honestly, what does it matter? Lure of the Temptress is such a rushed, poorly written, unfinished game brimming with unused potential that it makes me want to scream.

Here’s what the developers could have done:
  • Created some kind of side-quest where Diermot could have won Goewin’s heart.
  • Had there been an endgame sequence where Diermot had to choose the right response to Selena, or even had to dodge her magic spells or whatever, before finding the right time to use the Eye of Gethryn on her.
  • Had Selena and Diermot end up falling in love in an unlikely pairing that would have at least been a little entertaining. Maybe they could have seeded references to this throughout, foreshadowing their ultimate union.
  • Had the rest of Turnvale’s citizens be involved with an uprising—an uprising Diermot helped Luthern foment—while Diermot was in the castle. I mean, they’re all friends with Ultar the barbarian! Couldn’t he have caused some damage?
  • The dragon in the caves could have been used to fight the Skorl, as hinted at in the game itself. Maybe this, coupled with the aforementioned uprising, could have been the distraction Diermot needed to get into the castle.

And these are ideas I literally just came up with off the top of my head with barely a second or two of thought.

But nah. Plot threads dangle like the dangly things on the bottom of a jellyfish like a great big unsatisfying mess. A great big unsatisfying mess that stings.

I do not recommend that anyone play Lure of the Temptress. We’ll see how it fares in the PISSED rating next post, but I can’t imagine it will do too well. The graphics are pretty nice, at least. Beyond that, we’ll see.

And one final thing before I go: what happened to Ratpouch?!

Let’s see this again, because I like watching Diermot get punched.

Inventory: Broken glass, knife, tinderbox, flask of water, diary, statue, Eye of Gethryn, sprig, axe, 4 groats, tongs

Session Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours, 25 minutes of my life that I will never get back


  1. Congratulation on finishing the game! This one seemed quite a stinker. I'm just hoping your next game won't be even worst.

    1. Thanks Ilmari! I honestly forgot what’s next for me, but I just hope it’s fun.

    2. At least it might be professionally interesting to you - that is, if one can except realism from an adventure game based on a law TV show.

  2. Well done!

    Bit of a shame this one, some good stuff in there but a bit of a let down in the end. Perhaps we should start a kickstarter campaign to find out what happened to Ratpouch?

    1. I am 100% on board with that. Unlike the rest of the useless simps in Turnvale, Ratpouch actually had a useful skill—lockpickkng. Sadly, the game put it to use exactly once.

    2. Ratpouch works for Nellie now! He told this to Diermont, before travelling to the castle (if you speak to him, of course).

  3. I've enjoyed reading about Alex gradually going from optimistic to dislike.

    Not because I enjoy seeing hopes shattered, but because it's given me more of an indication of why I hated this game when I played it.


    1. You’re welcome. But I’m sure that watching my hopes and dreams shatter was plenty entertaining as well.

  4. This is a rather pretty screenshot.

    Shades of the first puzzle in Beneath a Steel Sky!

    1. Good opportunity to plug Ben Chandler's blog about adventure games, if you like discussions about old adventure game art:

      This one shows the Beneath A Steel Sky bit that you're talking about.

    2. This is an amazing blog! Thanks for sharing!

    3. @Rowan

      Is Beneath A Steel Sky worth playing?

    4. @Alex

      I can't speak for what Rowan would say, but I would recommend Beneath a Steel Sky. Interesting story and the visuals and voice acting is some of the best of the era. I can't judge if the puzzles are great or not (since I suck at it and tend to use walkthroughs).

    5. @Alex

      Beneath a Steel Sky is a much, much better game than this in pretty much every aspect and is a classic. It has actually memorable, coherent world-building and puzzle design that fits into it nicely. Less fetch quests and more trying to find uses for your items or trying to circumvent the system. It does have some backtracking and maybe some mildly silly puzzles but very little that could really be called poor design. I'll be really surprised if it doesn't enter the PISSED leaderboard.

  5. Remember Alfred's statement of Kyrandia? "Take the exact same puzzle design with graphics and sound a little less memorable and Kyrandia would have disappeared from adventure game history with a lot of his competitors." I think Lure of the Temptress is an example of that - a fantasy game with poor puzzle design, but without the aid of memorable music and graphics to elevate it. I'd add though that the story and dialogue is closer to Future Wars than Kyrandia in quality.

    1. I agree (and love to be quoted ;) but from what I read there, Temptress' puzzle design seems even more infuriating than Kyrandia!

    2. @Laukku and Alfred

      This implies that Lure of the Temptress has puzzles...

  6. There's a let's play by Yahtzee Croshaw of this game from a few years ago:

  7. Hi there,

    maybe my new Adventure Space Geekz would be a good addition to your list?

    Best Regards


    1. Since we are pretty much doing a history of whole adventure gaming, it will be quite some time before we get to current year. We'll sure take your game into consideration, Marcel, once we get to 2017 in few decades!