A New Professor
Watching the trailer for Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights for the first time, I couldn’t help but agree with what I had previously read about the game: that it takes more than a few cues from the Professor Layton series. From its top-hat sporting hero and its use of logic-based puzzles, to the similar style used for the animated cutscenes, one could be forgiven if they thought Konami’s upcoming 3DS adventure was little more than an attempt to ride the wave Level-5 made with Professor Layton. But that would be a mean assumption, because, despite being obviously influenced by the aforementioned series, Doctor Lautrec’s greater emphasis on adventure, as well as its use of turn-based combat, ensure that it is not trying to be a mere rip-off.
- Puzzles, action, and story should combine into a worthwhile adventure -
The setting for Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is Paris. The time is the late 19th century. Jean-Pierre Lautrec is a brilliant but eccentric lecturer at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle. One day a mysterious woman comes to him with an unusual gadget which displays a map that points the way to a fantastic treasure belonging to King Louis XIV. As you may expect, the good doctor, along with his perky assistant, Sophie, sets off to discover the treasure but comes across opposition from many sides. And if that wasn’t enough, the treasures they need to find throughout the journey happen to be cursed (more on that shortly). Lautrec and Co. have a lot to put up with. But let’s be honest, would it be any fun if they didn’t come across any difficulty along the way?
Besides bad guys and cursed treasures, there are even more obstacles standing in the doctor’s way. As you guide him through the streets and catacombs of Paris, Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights throws at him several puzzles for you to solve before Lautrec can progress further. These puzzles test your logic in such ways as having to find the difference between two similar images, choosing the right piece to properly complete a sequence on the top screen, and many more. The puzzles will also come with a help feature to make sure that even novice players can make it through without pulling their hair out.
Sounds a lot like Professor Layton, right? But there is more to Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights than simply that. This is most apparent in the inclusion of turn-based combat. Remember those cursed treasures I mentioned? The only way for Lautrec to get to those treasures without getting cursed himself is to defeat the “Treasure Animatus”, the guardians of the treasures. This is done with the help of other Animatus that Lautrec has already captured. Battles take place within a large circle on the bottom screen. Placed throughout are several spaces (which change with every battle) that you can assign an Animatus to attack from in the usual turn-based fashion. Strategy is important, as the placement of one Animatus in conjunction with another can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
- Players will scour Paris in search of the cursed treasures -
Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is shaping up to be another fine addition to the 3DS’ ever-growing catalog of titles. It may have a hard time ahead thanks to all the comparisons to Professor Layton, but I am sure this game is strong enough to stand on its own.
Adventure, mystery, puzzles, and action. All of these await the good doctor when the game hits Europe on October 28th and the Americas on December 6th.
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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