In late October of 2005, Headfirst Productions released Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. The game is based off of the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft that all string together into one story. The game was released for Xbox and PC as one of the most chilling games of 2005.
When you ask most people if they have played the game, you will be surprisingly shocked that most people have never heard of the game. Before the game was released, there was little to know about the game’s storyline or that the game was coming to local game stores in the area. It has to be one of the most underrated games of the Xbox generation.
You play as Jack Walters, a very popular Boston detective, which is known for his case cracking without any evidence. The game opens up to Jack Walters in a mental asylum, while he narrates the missing pieces of his memory. The player begins to control Jack on an investigation of Arkham Asylum, which seemed to be years before he was placed in the asylum. Through a series of events, the player sees what caused Jack to be taken to the mental institution.
Exactly 6 years later, the player now controls Jack as a private detective. Over the years, Jack has surrounded himself in the occult in hopes of figuring out the time between the investigation and now. Jack admits that he had a split personality that seemed to disappear. Jack is called on a private investigation in a little town called Innsmouth, where a young man by the name of Brian Burnham has mysteriously disappeared. Immediately after, Jack is thrown into the town of Innsmouth where he finds himself not only unraveling secrets of the residents but secrets of himself.
The game play definitely has a steep learning curve. There is no HUD (Heads Up Display) which gives the player more of a difficulty in surviving. While playing Jack, it is completely first person. But, unlike most survival horror games, an herb or med kit might not fix injured Jack. The game will leave types of med kits that heal different locations of the body. For example, if Jack falls out of a window and breaks his legs, if you do not have the right equipment, Jack will bleed out at die. This mechanic makes it a lot more difficult to survive. Injuries are different and will effect Jack in different ways. A tip? Save those med kits if you can.
Did we fail to mention that Jack reacts to different situations in a poor manner? Are you located in a tight enclosed space? Great. Jack will start breathing heavily and his vision will begin to blur. This is not a case where you can just continue with blurred vision and move on with the plot. There are points in which the game will end because he has gone completely insane or has committed suicide. Also, the triggers for this insanity are not always obvious. Sometimes if you stare at a corpse too long, Jack will start to get fidgety. This becomes more difficult later in the game when Jack starts to talk to himself and hear voices that cannot be avoided.
After the evolution of graphics over the years, the player has to remember that this game came out in 2005. The graphics are not top of the line but they are realistic enough to scare you. Jack’s dialogue seems a bit lengthy and expected at times but the characters all have a certain personality that is strictly designed for them. Interactions with other characters in the game have a good sense of variety.
Mike Tomasek, local survival horror fan says, “It was intense over all. It didn’t let up in the slightest. The game isn’t for the weakened gamer.”
This game is not for the weak at heart. I have played several survival horror games and nothing has been created like this. There are puzzles mixed with times of panic tossed together with brain teasers. The images from the game are horrifying and real. It is not as fast paced as games like F.E.A.R. in terms of horror, which makes it all the more horrifying. If you can find a copy and have an Xbox/Xbox 360, get it. The game sells for $9.99 if you can find it at your local game store.
So, grab some friends, turn the lights off, and go on a wild adventure you won’t forget!
You can also curl up on your computer because Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is also available on Steam.