Monday, March 30, 2009

Call of Cthulhu: Dark corners of the Earth Review

Platform: PC
Genre: Adventure/FPS/Horror Survival/Cookie Monster

It took me a while to get around to finishing this. This is one of those games you love to hate or hate to love ... I'm not quite quite sure. It's a great(-ish) game for the most part.

For those that have any sort of connection with H.P.Lovecraft's work or with the Cthulhu Mythos this game is a gem..for those who don't it's still a good game and it will make you want to find about Cthulhu. The game starts in one of my favorite places - Arkham Asylum (Batman ripped off Lovecraft in case you were wondering, not the other way round), a mental institution where the main character is just about to hang himself. That means it gets a gold star from me right from the beginning. :)

It takes place in a small New England town called Innsmouth which is ruled by the Order of Dagon and to quote one of the weirdo citizens "they don't take kindly to strangers". For those familiar with ol' H.P.s work you get the idea, for those not so familiar here's the short version: Innsmouth=bad,bad place, Order of Dagon not like you so much, fish people try kill you. Was that clear for everyone? Thought so.

Gameplay-wise it tries to be an adventure game ... mostly ... when it isn't trying to be a FPS ... when it isn't trying to be a stealth game ... ah you get the point. This game is as hybrid as it gets but in a good way. Puzzles are moderate to easy in difficulty, the FPS parts are Ok, stealth can get pretty annoying and the boss fights are interesting and pretty unique. Since I'm on the subject, stealth can drive you insane in this game since you are forced to do these sections and you can only do them in one specific way. Another infuriating part would be the insta-death (just add water) which you get for no apparent or maybe just because the intergalactic counsel of space monkeys deemed it necessary. You just get killed of for trying to get past someone just because you forgot to turn a valve somewhere or something of the sort ... but then again it probably makes sense in fairy land. Also an interesting feature they added was the fact that your character can go insane if he looks at dead bodies or monsters for too long etc but that you'd think he'd get used to it at some point ... oh well, it's pretty entertaining to see him shoot himself while looking at a statue of an octopus-faced thingie.

CoC is by far one of the most atmospheric games I've ever played but the constant backtracking you have to do from the middle of the game up to the end can get tiresome fast. So does the fact that they ran out of character models somewhere along the line and you get to see the same ugly hulk-like dudes spouting the same "friendly" lines all the time ... it gets Frustrating ... believe me on this one. Also it's buggy as hell with a few game-breaking bugs just for the heck of it and NO patches.

I suggest playing this game in short burst, with a few friends around to relieve the stress and a walkthrough ... you'll need it. That being said this is a unique and great game if you manage to stick around 'till the end.

So how does the cookie crumble?
the Bad: Stealth, Insta-die, Bugggggss
the Good: Great atmosphere, Good story, Lovecraft

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