September 12, 2006

Call of Cthulhu

A couple of months ago I purchased a first-person-shooter called Call of Cthulhu - Dark Corners of the Earth. In this you play an investigator in the Lovecraft universe.

Despite all the potential for lots of fun, the excellent graphics and a good storyline, the game turns out to be frustrating to the point of being unplayable.

Your guy starts out at a cult investigation, at the end of which he finds and opens a portal used by the Great Race, who glide through in all their cone-shaped splendor and take over your investigator...or so he discovers 5 years later when he wakes up in a mental asylum.

Then he takes his next case, which brings us to Innsmouth. For anyone familiar with the mythos, you know this is where the Deep Ones are integrating themselves with the human race. It's creepy and at some points disturbing. At one point you meet a human father who has a daughter that he wants to cure before she starts turning into a Deep One hybrid, but of course she already has that hybrid look you've by now come to recognize in all the other townsfolk, but is otherwise a well behaved and normal girl. You don't find eerie weirdness like this most of the time.

There are a couple of major problems with this game, one of which is that up to this point, your investigator has never found a weapon. There's ammo lying around here and there, but no weapons at all. This is a real problem in the level called Attack of the Fishmen, where you have to escape their murderous rage. They can beat you up pretty good, plus several of them have shotguns. There are no weapons up to and including this level (I checked online), it's a matter of fleeing through doors or windows and through various buildings. What really puts the nail in this game's coffin is that you can only save at certain points in the game.

I tried it several times and kept dying pathetically, so I finally went online in search of a cheat code. There are none. The only thing I could find was a very detailed walk through, telling me exactly what to do and where to go. Normally this is all a good gamer needs to get past a troublesome spot, but not so here. There are so many doors that must be locked or blocked behind you, plus you've got to make all the right moves at each point, all the while being chased by one or more fishmen (sometimes they're running down the hall right behind you). Any single misstep and you die, only to begin the level all over again (which includes watching a cinematic that, while short, becomes very annoying the 10th time around). Up until now Elder Signs (the save points) have been plentiful, but on this level there is no break, there is one Elder Sign all the way at the end.

For all the times I've played this level, most of the times I die in the first couple of rooms. I got to the end of the run twice, only to die at the hands of a shotgun-wielding halfbreed. There's some dude right behind me, and I've got to find and climb a ladder somewhere. I've never even found the ladder, I get shot and die.

So as good as this game is (even though you don't have a weapon yet), and despite all the potential goodness of actually having a weapon and unloading on mythos creatures, I've got to warn everyone off from this game. Don't waste your money unless they come out with a major patch to fix this, or maybe the game developers will get a clue before they release another one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But dude, it's Cthulhu, you're supposed to go insane. [evil grin]

Ia, Ia, Cthulhu fhtagn!

1:26 PM  
Blogger Rothar said...

*chuckle* yeah, you're supposed to be insane, not frustrated. Clearly this game's creators are Mi-Go who just want to get my brain in a jar!

9:53 PM  

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