Friday, March 31, 2006

Call of Cthulhu

Finally I got the new Call of Cthulhu game Dark Corners of the earth. Being a horror fan I looked forward to this. There is very little good horrors made these days in movies nevermind games. I got kinda into the the Cthulhu genre of horror by way of the Evil Dead movies following the book of the dead story back to the Necronomicon of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. I find his ideas intriguing although I find his books very difficult to read. He has lots of implications in his stories without all the gore we kind of expect nowadays from horror stories.

Anyways back to the game. I was at first surprised with the blocky designs of rooms and textures. It reminds me of much older games not one released in 2006. The character designs also seem a bit unnatural - I was expecting a bit better from the same company that is bringing out Elder Scrolls : Oblivion. But I know, yes it is a different team and probably an old engine due to the long time it took to be developed. So anyway before I started the game I made sure my kids were tucked in bed and my wife was busy and then I went and switched of the light for a spooky atmosphere. The start of the game is a bit confusing as I couldn't really understand what I was supposed to do. First thought was I had to stop a bunch of guys shooting from inside the house. But rather the game expects you to investigate the bottom floor rather than rushing the assailants. Okay that aside there is one creepy part in this prelude, but nothing to really get me anxious or anything.

So a bit dissapointed I continued the next evening (You'll note I don't play much on a game per night as I have lots of other responsibilities as well). So I arrived at the town InnsMouth. Now I know a bit about this town seeing as I saw the movie Dagon (pretty good horror movie but a bit gory...) which also told about this same town. OK so the town didn't look anything like the one in the movie but I knew there was something going on with its citizens. As a matter of fact only an idiot will be walking around not thinking he/she is in severe danger in this town. Luckily in the beginning the citizens doesn't seem to want you as their next sacrifice. They seem quite placent during the day. You catch glimpses of stuff and get knocked over by something that used to be someone's mom. The story line slowly gets you closer to your yet undeterminable fate. So far that night I can't really say that the game has anything really scary even playing in the dark as I was.

So last night I continued playing and then my idiot of an character actually wanted to go and sleep in this obviously demented town. This is when all hell broke loose. The game doesn't let you go to sleep until you bolted the room's door. No surprise then as you are woken up to a few citizens coming to collect body dead or alive for their next sacrifice. The game makes good use of that feeling of blurriness when waking up - which adds to the tension of getting out of the room as fast as you can before they break down your door.

What follows is probably one of the scariest things I have ever experienced on a computer (expect for a blue screen of death). You have to make your way from room to next room bolting doors and moving cupboards as you go along. This chase is quite a long (I mean this a relative too how long you can stand the tension and not being able to save your game...) and you'll have to do it a few times before getting it right as you need to figure out where to go as well while running shit scared. I read in some walkthrough there is periods you can actually wait a bit and that they don't always actively chase you. But it is so well done you feel like you have to scramble for it the whole time. This obviously makes for stupid mistakes as well (guilty as charged).

Finally I found my way away from the gang and through a warehouse were you gotto walk real slow and hide from the thugs. There also seem some other thing that is looking for you but you look as from its viewpoint so you can never get to see it. The scariness of the game dropped again. I went through some sewers with nothing much horrible in them - just a dead little girl insisting she is alive but always on the other side of an grating you can't get past anyways - so there is no scary "follow me" kindof routine used here. A pity it could have worked well for the game. The sewers hints of something being there but not showing you really anything. You finally meet up with a woman you met before earlier in the game. She somehow has not had any problems with the citizens while living there and go wherever she pleases - which seems quite unlikely. She helps you get into a church that the strange citizens are repelled from. Unfortunately she snuffs it before you can get a bit of cop and feel, so much for the sex scene - oh well ... which leaves you alone in the church.

One funny thing to me about this church was that although the people won't chase you into it, the priest has been crucified and disembowelled inside the church. Now how did they get this right if they couldn't enter ? Anyhow this is where I am currently with the game...

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