Call of Cthulhu Game Review
Call of Cthulhu is a point and click RPG with some creepy horror elements created by the french company – Cyanide SA. You play as detective Edward Pierce an alcoholic detective, (I mean seriously folks have you ever played a game where the detective was not alcoholic?) who is sent to investigate the tragic death of the Hawkins family. The location – far away at the watery isolated Darkwater Island. With the scene set, you are off on an adventure that will take you to the edge of madness or sanity depending on your choices.
Lets get started on this Call of Cthulhu Review.
Do I need to Know Lovecraft to enjoy Call Of Cthulhu the Game?
First things first, If you have read HP Lovecraft and especially Call of Cthulhu(1926) you are in for a treat with this game. If you haven’t I imagine parts would be confusing but you could make your way through it. There are tons of audio book version of the story on YouTube, so why not dive in for your morning commute before tackling this game? If you don’t have time for that, here is a quick breakdown of everything Lovecraft Horror 101.
Themes In Lovecraftian Horror
HP Lovecraft was a horror writer in the 1920s. His style of writing is very antiquarian and he frequently used over the top words to describe things – even for that time period. The main themes in his writing are as follows:
- Cosmic insignificance – The universe is so vast that humans are as insignificant and fleeting as specks of dust
- Terrible ancient powerful beings that can hardly be described and could destroy humanity at any moment
- Descending into madness or Sanity’s fragility – upon seeing or learning truths they descend into madness. Insanity takes hold and there was no other option.
- Helplessness, Dead, Hopelessness, Fear, Detachment – the hero will go on a journey of these concepts. Although there may be temporary wins, they usually end up paying a price for it.
- Obsession with internal organs of the body – to Lovecraft gross horror is what is stuffed inside being outside. Slime, tentacles.
- Religion being “evil” – Cults, rituals, sacrifice
You are now caught up on everything you would need to know and what you will experience in Call Of Cthulhu the game.
Story in Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu is definitely rough around the edges in some parts. The animation and character movements are not comparable to big block busters, but they hold up well enough. The music and soundtrack though. Well call me spooked! Not since early Silent Hill games have I felt such a constant suspenseful presence from the soundtrack to a game. There are some downright terrifying moments based mostly on me sitting in a dark room, gaming with my headset turned up. There are minimal amount of jump scares. Thankfully. Although I still was constantly expecting something to jump out of the shadows because of the environment and the music, this jump scare technique is all but over used in most horror games on the market. So what makes it spooky then? Those themes I listed above. Watching your competent smart character slowly descend into madness based on the choices you make is pretty creepy. Also the sense of dread that your choices won’t matter is told repeatedly to you through out the game (even though they do). They feeling that there is no good answer is an on going feeling. These ancient powerful beings that are just beyond our understand and view are also something else to keep you up at night.
Gameplay in Call of Cthulhu
What exactly are we doing in this game beside walking around? It’s a basic linear RPG point and click adventure where the objects you can interact with are highlighted with a dot or symbol. You have character points that you can put into Pierce to figure out how the story will play out. Do you want to put more in strength, investigation, psychology? Each of these will unlock certain choices in the story as you continue along. There are hidden items for you to find that will beef up your skills and unlock achievements. There was a few moments where I did not complete the secondary objective, or when I used my freakishly high Investigation skill in a dialog option, that I feel the story jumped a bit and I missed something. At one point I didn’t go to a “secondary objective” before the “first objective” and missed meeting an entire group of characters that were referenced a few times till much later for example. Overall, this didn’t affect my gameplay experience.There are a few scenes where stealth is needed to hide from things that go bump in the night. These scene could sometimes be frustrating as the attacking characters went from “notice to angry” quite rapidly in some instances. Nothing was impossible but a few retries may be required.
How long can Pierce’s mind withstand these horrors? There is an actual character stat called Sanity. You can watch as Pierce devolves into madness right before your eyes on this screen and what caused him to do so.
As with any RPG there is some puzzles for you to solve. For once I didn’t find these puzzles pointless and cumbersome. They were little logical riddles based on audio clues, or walking across a narrow bridge “the right way”. These were a fresh take on overcoming the puzzles you come across in games of this type. Although none were over the top hard, you will likely enjoy them too.
Final Thoughts on Call Of Cthulhu the game
I finished the game in about 10 hours. I took my time to investigate every corner and pick up and interact with every item possible. There are multiple endings available and I would like to play through again trying to purposely to pick different choices and get different levels of sanity or answers for the ending choices.I appreciated a different type of horror game that plays into classic Lovecraft Horror and forgoes the all to common jump scares we have in so many games today. If you are looking for a different kind of story that walks you down the path of the ancient ones and a decent to madness, check Call of Cthulhu out.