Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: Friv Game Review

I must say that modern man has many advantages over his colleague at the beginning of the 20th century. He is both better informed and knows incomparably more, and, which is especially important for us, it is very difficult to scare him. He was frightened by the dead, pretty bloated from an overabundance of ash-two-o girls, hundreds of zombies per square meter, terrible monsters, waving numerous tentacles and claws, requiring a thorough manicure. But you never know what the scriptwriters' fantasy gave birth to, warmed up by packs of very green pieces of paper?

And yet, by maintaining the style and atmosphere, modern homo sapiens can be made intimidated by their own shadow. Silent Hill , for example, has convincingly proven this claim. But friends, put Silent Hill aside. Next in lineAlone in the Dark ? Tie it with a ribbon and take it to kindergarten - that's something the kids will be happy about. Let's take a closer look - Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a completely different grind project.

H. Lovecraft's works are directly intended to shoot atmospheric films and create cinematic, addictive, deep games. Alas, now I do not think of a single sensible arrangement of Sir Lovecraft's books, except, perhaps, Alone in the Dark . I don't know if bad luck played a role in this, or there is nothing supernatural - a common coincidence, but things are, frankly, sad.

Howard Lovecraft, a true master of fear, would have the right to resent such a careless attitude to his literary heritage, however, seems to have managed to atone for the failed attempts of its predecessors: we have a great game based on the novel "Shadow over Innsmouth".
The British have been working on the game for over six years. If you remember, Call of Cthulhu was announced in 1999, and since then little has been heard about the project. Undoubtedly, the studio was faced with difficulties that were extremely difficult to overcome alone. But all is well that ends well. Bethesda Softworks , which has an enviable nose for promising projects, took the game under a warm wing.

The camp of conservators sarcastically laughs at us, proud warriors of the PC-steppes, studying the release long ago released on the "black box". Nothing, not all carnival for the cat. Since March 27th we got the opportunity to feel the most promising horror of 2006.

Shadow over Innsmouth.

Detective Jack Walters was assigned to break into a mansion occupied by a crowd of cultists. After completing the task, our detective discovered something that simply knocked him off the rails. Psychological rehabilitation took a long time, but, having recovered, Jack decides to return to his old craft. There is amnesia, so Jack does not remember anything particularly meaningful from that terrible day.

A curious customer is tucked under the arm, offering an extraordinary task: in the port town of Innsmouth, a man has disappeared, an employee of a store. Walters is accordingly asked to find him.

"Never travel to provincial port towns!" - this should be written on the forehead of the main characters of all kinds of horror, so that when they wash in the morning they see the warning and, finally, take note of it. No one has bothered about Jack, so the detective goes to town.

Arriving in Innsmouth, from the very first seconds we are immersed in the absolutely stunning atmosphere of Lovecraft's works. The master did not add tension with non-stop action, but with details. A well-developed world, many nuances, "skeletons in closets" - this is the writer's calling card.
Before us is a dark, inhospitable city with crooked, dirty streets, dens for bandits and homeless people. Passers-by, grumbling something impartial, hurry to hide from the detective's eyes. Insmouth is so gloomy that, really, if I were its inhabitant, I would have hanged myself from the first telegraph pole. The city is scary without any monsters. It scares the gateways with darkness, the groans of the wind, but most importantly, perhaps, the oppressive feeling of hopelessness, melancholy and doom. I’m sure you will never smile for the entire game, because there will simply not be a single reason for this. Gentlemen, the game mocks our psyche in a way that no one else has done before.

Meanwhile, the detective runs cheerfully along the tracks of the plot. Renting a room in a small hotel - what could be more imprudent? Of course, they tried to kill the detective. And from that moment on, Call of Cthulhu will not let you go for a second.

Monsters, as if descended from the pages of books, sectarians, madmen - everything merges into a continuous whirlpool of death, fear and madness.
The gameplay is all about absolute, ruthless realism. It is far from easy for our detective to destroy the monster. The hand holding the pistol suddenly begins to tremble, and the shot is wasted, and the monster, attracted by an extraneous sound, quickly sends Walters to the land of the Eternal Hunt. One has to aim at the peephole - another argument against the use of force (although, we confess, it would be more accurate to say weakness).

However, enemies rarely need to spend half of their ammo. Although, in Call of Cthulhu, it is much wiser to use the tactics of Thief and Splinter Cell and remember the darkness - the best friend of those who are weaker. For more than half of the game, you will need to wait out dangerous moments in shelters, listening only to the beating of your heart and unhurried steps or gnashing of claws. All this, coupled with the appropriate entourage, able to bring a healthy person to a medical institution. What can we say about the detective who has already visited the "yellow house". By the way, I didn’t say it just for words. Our detective, thank God, is not a hero in glittering armor. To the general physical weakness (it will be limited to crawling and low jumps), a wonderful gameplay find has been added - Sanity Loss ("madness"). If we demonstrate to Mr. Jack for a long time dismembered bodies, trickles of blood, monsters, our detective will go mad and it will be at least difficult to predict his further behavior. Are you categorically against and think that nothing should interfere with the total extermination of populations of monsters? Then pay close attention to DOOM 3 and Painkiller, and our guest today is not a shooter.

There are no tactical and technical data as a class. How many cartridges are in the revolver drum? And remember who was fired at, and count. Is the machine capable of countering the enemy? Shoot and find out.

There is no health meter in sight. All damage is displayed directly on the character. By the way, the process of "treatment" is organized in an unconventional way. Cuts and abrasions will have to be wrapped in bandages, splints will be applied to broken limbs, and lacerated wounds will have to be sewn up. Injuries also greatly affect the gameplay. The wounded Jack Walters is only good for demonstrations to medical students.
Despite the rather biting approach, it is insanely interesting to play. It is possible that a full-length TTD would only spoil the unique atmosphere, and so - everything contributes to a greater immersion in the world of the game.

I was pleased with the creative approach to creating situations "And now everyone has fallen out of the chair!" Remember how the surprises were arranged in the aforementioned DOOM 3? In a dark, dark room, a tumbledown zombie was waiting for us, meekly sitting in some shelter, instead of walking around the base, looking for fresh carcasses. And, not by nightfall, FEAR? No, I understand everything, the Little Dead Girls are commendable, but the frequency of this girl's appearance exceeded all reasonable limits. No one here is going to fall on our heads with a sad growl. Headfirst Productions has a lot of tricks up its sleeves, and Call of Cthulhu will make you flinch in fear more than once.

Call of Cthulhu.

Graphics pumped up. The textures are plain and the models suffer from a lack of polygons. But we will not be too finicky and will take into account one significant point. Absorbed in the plot and atmosphere, you are unlikely to pay attention to the flaws of the local graphics engine. On reflection, I decided not to subtract points from the final grade because of this. Honestly, the value of this game is not at all in the graphic beauty.

There are also bugs in the vastness of Innsmouth, missed by the search teams of testers and programmers, but there are few of them, and they are not so critical as to spoil the overall picture.

But the sound is in perfect order, as it should be in a game that claims to be able to scare the player. Musical accompaniment, rustles, creaks, groans of the night Innsmouth - the highest level of performance. It should be noted also the excellent voice acting of the characters: all these hoarse, full of anger voices of the townsfolk, agitated quick speech of your "colleagues" in misfortune, people who got to Innsmouth due to circumstances, are remembered for a long time.


Call of Cthulhu is a serious contender for the title of the best horror action game not only of 2006, but also of the last few years. Silent Hill , Alone in the Dark and Shadow of the Comet , please move over and make your place on the podium for a gorgeous new game from Headfirst Productions... Piece, handmade. The game is undoubtedly worthy of your attention. And don't put it off. A date with Innsmouth can be one of the brightest gaming experiences. If you are not already familiar with the works of Howard Lovecraft, Call of Cthulhu , I hope, will contribute to this acquaintance.