Review by BannedAccount

Reviewed: 02/02/06

I've never despised and enjoyed a game more

Call of Cthulhu: (pronounced Kah-Thoo-Loo) Dark Corners of the Earth is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft in which you play as Jack Walters, a private detective who goes to a small town called Innsmouth to investigate about a missing person's case.

Game Play:
Upon investigation, you realize something's a bit off in this town, what with all of the secretive people who refuse to answer any questions you may have regarding the missing person. For the beginning segment of this game, you're weaponless, which really adds to the feeling of helplessness once the local's get sick of all of your questions. So you're pretty much just stuck sneaking and hoping no one notices you or just running as fast as your legs will carry you, which is apparently not very fast... Jack is a very slow runner and whenever he gets freaked out or scared when people are chasing him, he panics and moves even slower.

Jack gets freaked out, a lot. In fact, he's not the most stable person. He was in a mental institution for six years after he had a slight meltdown. So when running from people (or things) Jack's vision will get blurry and it'll get very hard to even see what you're doing. These are called "sanity effects" and it's an interesting touch, if a bit frustrating at times. Who am I kidding? At all times. It's not like this is the easiest game to begin with.

Take for example, you're running from the villagers and you find yourself up quite high. You have to walk across these rafters, while being shot at and having to deal with Jack's vertigo. Now, imagine it being dark and you don't know where you're supposed to go because you can barely ****ing see. That's what it's like playing Call of Cthulhu. In fact, most of the time you'll end up being killed while doing things like this and will have to retry it many times over. I have never seen a "Game Over" screen more times in my life. But, this game is always either way too hard or so easy it's ridiculous.

It's like two completely different groups of people designed one part of the game and another group did the other. There's no in between with this game at all when it comes to difficulty. Now, this game does have difficulty settings available from the start (Easy and Normal) I just beat this game last night on Normal after investing well over 20 hours into it (though my final time was 7 hours) because I kept dying and had to keep re-trying parts again and again, and again. You can unlock more difficulty settings once you beat the game, but why would you want to put yourself through that again?

I really did enjoy this game, even though it doesn't sound like it. I've never had to retry some damn part more times to still keep dying and not get it. Each time after about an hour or two of trying I'd just say "**** this game..." and give up to only come back a few hours later to try again. It's oddly addictive. I always just had an urge to play it even though I was so miserable while playing it. But obviously I enjoyed it... How, I can't say... But I think it's one of those things you have to play to understand. When giving this game the score I did, I thought about what I should give it and I thought "This game deserves nothing less than an eight." 0_0 I think this game has subliminal messages. No joke. It makes you like it.

But they're sometimes when you're having fun. Like when you first arrived in town was fun... and the whole "push **** in front of the doors so they can't get you" hotel sequence was hella fun. You really actually felt freaked out like they were gonna get you and not just some character you were controlling. And oh man, when you very first get some guns and you blast one of those villagers for the first time, it just feels great after running from them for the past few hours of play. I actually said "Owned *****! How the **** do you like being shot in chest with a shotgun?" You really get immersed and feel like it's you.

The music is good (what little there is) I can't remember any of it though except for the music you get on the "Game Over" screen after having heard it about 200+ times. The gun's sound great. And when you get seriously injured and break your leg then try to walk on it... Ouch. It makes you weak hearing it. The voice acting ranges from great and audible to "...What the **** are you saying?" The villagers have a speech impediment, but the acting is alright... I think.

Since I really have no idea what they're saying ever. It's just so slurred. And it doesn't help that this game suffers from the background noise being louder than the voices. It's not half as bad as in games like "Far Cry: Instincts", I mean you can hear what you're supposed to hear for the most part. Back to voice acting, Jack sounds great, but it would be awesome if the emotion in his voice changed even once. When asking around town, it sounds a little uppity and important. When scared and talking to another person, the same thing. Why couldn't he sound like he does when he gets paranoid and starts talking to himself in scenes like this? His paranoid rambles sound great. He sounds scared out of his mind and it's very believable.

Mixed bag here. A lot of the backgrounds look great, from a distance, but upon even remotely close inspection, the textures look kind of half-assed. The character model's are alright. The mouth movements are a bit off from the sound and the faces aren't really expressive. Nothing spectacular, they just get the job done. The sanity effects are really cool to look at, but when you have to play with them, they get a bit on the frustrating side. Vertigo looks really cool, as does the panick-y effect which causes a swishy screen.

Should you buy this game?
Really, I can't say. You might just want to rent this one and see if it's your thing. I mean, it's too slow moving for the regular FPS Lover, and I don't think it's really what fan's of Lovecraft are looking for since you can pretty much kill anything. I've never read anything by H.P. Lovecraft before, so I can't say how loyal it is to the books (but I know you can't kill everything) This game got me interested though. So I'll probably end up reading a few of his books and see for myself. I really think you'll just be better off renting and seeing if you're interested.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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