One of the most ambitious IF titles ever made, LASH by Paul O’Brian is an intriguing, highly literate game that strikes a fine balance between providing challenging puzzles and telling a compelling story.
Although definitely the highlight of the game, LASH’s plot cannot easily be told without spilling a spoiler or two. That is because the game is not what it seems at the outset. It starts out in the far future, with you controlling a robot named MULE in a guided salvage operation in what was once Georgia. But the game evolves far beyond this simple sci-fi premise to be – well, suffice it to say that if you are familiar with US history, you will be able to guess what the game entails. Although the plot that the game evolves into is extremely well-written and compelling, die-hard sci-fi fans who mistake the game for a “light” space romp will probably feel cheated soon after the designer’s true intentions are revealed. Also, the game is much more literate than the first few treasure-hunting puzzles may suggest. Although the first few puzzles are a bit banal (and some even downright boring), the game does get a lot better as you find out more about the sophisticated plot.
All in all, I find LASH to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking adventure, despite the fact that its beginning will definitely mislead most people. Once you discover the game’s “true” plot, you will find LASH to be an excellent blend of sci-fi, drama, and even historical sensibilities that is well worth your time. The writing is consistently strong, and certain scenes are described in painstakingly vivid detail. Despite the daunting premise, LASH is also relatively easy, making it ideal for beginners who want to sample the “serious” school of IF. Highly recommended.Reviewed by: Underdogs