Every Lucasarts Adventure Game: Ranked Worst To Best

From SCUMM to yum.

Lucasarts logo COMI

For three decades, a little gold chap splashing up at the start of the game was a fairly reliable indicator that, yes, these 11 or so floppy disks you'd just spent £40 quid on were going to be good.

Probably damn good.

That little gold chap was the symbol of Lucasarts, the development studio birthed by the bottomless funds and irrepressible creative desire of namesake George Lucas. At least to begin with, the purpose of Lucasarts - originally Lucasfilm Games - was not to churn licensed cash-grabs, but to indulge the talent of some of the industry's brightest minds. If someone thought an idea might be good, it was greenlit. It was a creative paradise.

Of course, by the time Lucasarts shut down, they were pumping out nothing but Star Wars games. The sad realities of a hyperfinanced industry eventually made them the only viable output.

For a time though, the company was synonymous with the point 'n' click adventure genre. Indeed, it was the unjust commercial failure of Grim Fandango which convinced Lucasarts that what had once been their main stock in trade was no longer profitable.

'Not profitable' never meant 'not good'. In total, Lucasarts released 15 adventure games, as they perpetually remained at the forefront of the category. With one or two exceptions, all of them were stellar. But which takes home the little Gold Guy as the best?

15. Labyrinth

Lucasarts logo COMI

In the spirit of the school-yard - "first the worst", and all that - Lucasarts' debut adventure, the 1986 adaptation of muppet-laden Bowie-fest Labyrinth, takes up the tight-trousered rear. (Although by that logic it'd follow that Maniac Mansion is the best. Spoiler: it's not.)

It may be bottom of the pile, but Labyrinth is by no means bad. Preceding the inspired SCUMM system of Ron Gilbert et al., the game - curiously, Lucasfilm's first based on an existing license - instead employed a fairly intuitive context-sensitive 'verb wheel', eliminating Sierra-style guesswork, and with it Sierra-style temper tantrums at instant death.

Unfortunately, despite the pull of Douglas Adams writing, and an accommodating interface, the movie tie-in is just that little bit basic, and that little bit boring. Adams could only work with that he had, and there isn't much room for excitement here.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.