Friday, March 19, 2010

I want to speak about entertaining insanity that is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
The Game is developed by "Headfirst Productions"[R.I.P] and published by Bethesda Softworks, I don't know why there is Ubisoft logo on the poster.

Game is based on the works of H.P Lovecraft, who along with Edgar Alan Poe is considered to be the founder of Horror Genre. Both are writers, they lived more then a century ago and Poe would kick Lovecraft's ass in Tekken.

Call of Cthulhu is set in early 20'th century and we play the former police detective Jack Walters, Being exceptionally talented and lucky investigator, even considered "hero" by local magazines Jack is called by police to investigate strange cult bolted shut in abandoned mansion. Jack finds strange alien devices, after activating one he's gone missing for six years, spends half year as raving lunatic in Arkham Asylum and is released to become private detective, with six years of lost memories, no money and Horrific nightmares that are slowly drawing him back to insanity.

Game has unique visual style, there is no interface, not even when when holding a gun, Survival Horror's beloved "noise" effect and old black&white movie style occasional screen scratches turn all visual aspects of the game into one believable cinematic experience.

The game begins as a kind of first person Stealth\Adventure , as a private detective you have to investigate little crime that has taken place in a little shady town of Insmouth. You begin by collecting evidence, sneaking around crime scenes. The brutish greyfaced thugs that seem to populate most of Insmouth are no help, in fact they soon make a point that your interference is unwelcome and potentially dangerous to your continued existence.

At this point game may get tedious or boring for some players, but it soon takes up faster pace as you slowly discover darker more sinister side of Insmouth. Strange cult, young women ending their life with suicide, blood, now all this things can hardly have any effect on experienced gamer, but the beauty of the game is that it never tries to scare player directly, but rather makes you experience all the horror felt by Jack Walters.

As your protagonist comes across scenes of violence, or is chased by some ancient horror trying desperately to find small locking mechanism on doors to win few more precious seconds, the masterfully done visual and audio effects just make you fully experience as Jack slowly succumbs to insanity and paranoia. In fact more often then not It's your mental, not physical health you have to worry about. Continuous exposure to horror makes Jack Suicidal.
You don't get any weapons until you have passed about third of the game, Weapons too are done in style. There is no crosshair, no bullet count, you have to manually reload every time and keep mental track of ammo left. You can hold weapons in Aim mode and have to use weapons own aiming helpers to know where the bullet will go, Combat is realistic and there is complicated injury system. You can receive several levels of injury in either your torso, hands, feet or head. More severe injuries require different kind of treatment and if not healed in time will result in death out of blood loss. There are many different kinds early twenties style weapons in game, starting with simple revolver and shotgun, ending with "Tommy Gun" and even alien energy weapon near the end.

Story itself is not great when all is tied together, but tension and mystery in individual missions, "The Storyline" makes Call of Cthulhu definitely worth playing.