Review by Lvl99blkmage

"A horrific experience for the whole family! (Except maybe the kids and grandpa...)"

I'm really disappointed that it took me so long to discover Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. Some thread of fate made me pick it up at my local rental store, and two weeks later I have pronounced it the greatest Survival/Horror game for the Xbox. Enjoy.

Mythos and Shoggoths and Fishmen, oh my!
Storyline - 10/10
What a confusing yet satisfying story. We follow insane actions of Jack Walters, private investigator as he uncovers not only someone else's case, but his own insanity. What starts off as a simple missing person case quickly turns into a chase for survival. We also learn of the Mythos, a mysterious cult called Dagon, and some messed up monsters along the way. There's enough twists and gameplay turns to keep the game satisfying till the end.

Is it just me, or is the screen getting darker?
Graphics - 9/10
I really don't see what all the complaining about the graphics is about. They looked almost top notch for a 2005 Xbox game, to me at least. Right when you start off, the effects come in. A 1914's car's headlights shining in your eyes, stunting your vision. You have no idea that headlights will be the least of your problems soon. The magnitude of effects on screen are incredible. There is no HUD or interface, so if you want to find out how much health you have, you'll have to determine it by the amount of blood on your screen. As you lose blood, you'll begin to "swim", get blurry vision, get sensitive to movement, and begin to fade away. The graphical innovations are really neat to witness, and the insanity effects are just plain cool. The environments are great too. The town of Innsmouth does it's job in creating an eerie town full of creepy "fishmen". I guess some people can complain that NPCs aren't realistic enough, but they did the job for me. Graphics-wise, most of the Xbox's hardware is being put to the limit.

Kinda hard to shoot when there's blood on the screen..
Gameplay - 10/10
And here is where Call of Cthulhu shines. In simple words, it's fun. It's really cool, in my opinion, that you don't even get a weapon until a couple hours into the game. Playing the stealthy way is really fun, but having a free-for-fall and blasting your enemnies is perfectly fine too. The cool thing is that you can use stealth all you want - you'll save ammo and medpacks, but you can also pull out your Magnum and kill everything in sight. Other than the standard stealth/shooting levels, there's also escape missions. In escape missions, you have to basically run away from the enemies, locking and bolting doors, pushing things out of the way, and jumping off roofs gives you such a rush (really, it does). It takes a lot of trial and error to finally get away from the enemies, and when they do catch you, and they will, it's very scary. Since you're running, you don't know how far away they are, and you don't have time to look back. Another cool feature is the semi-interactive scenes. Instead of standing around listening to someone talk in a scripted scene, you can look around and interact with them yourself. Without giving too much away, scenes like the interrogation one, where different effects are happening onscreen while two detectives beat, inject, and electrocute you, is one of the interactive scenes I'm talking about. One downside of the combat is the terrible AI. Shootouts are incredibly easy due to the fact that enemies will just run around sometimes, and they have the worst aim. The lackluster combat usually made me take the stealthy route.

I sure hope that was my imagination...
Sound - 8/10
Once again, at the top of the game. Voice acting is excellent from the fishmen and other characters. The occasional repetition in statements can get annoying. I can count how many times I heard "It won't budge" or "It won't open" throughout the game. The part that wasn't very good however was the most important part, Jack Walters. The voice actor sounded like he was half asleep most of the time, or he just wanted to take his money and go home. The music makes up for the poor voice acting though. The music does the right thing at all the right parts, going into a crescendo when you see something disgusting, and going into a decrescendo when all is calm.

Overall - 9/10
Realistic envrionments, good voice acting, a compelling and involving storyline, and a huge variety of gameplay aspects make Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth a must-play game for the Xbox. Such memorable moments as the car chase, interrogation room, and the ship battle make it such a rewarding experience. One of the Xbox's finest.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/25/07

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