Call of Cthulhu
Bethesda Softworks has taken on an interesting role in the PC game industry. While they publish a variety of smaller games here and there, every year they seem to have one big title. A couple of years back it was the most excellent Morrowind, a free-form RPG chock full of content, completely open-ended (or, indeed, almost endless). Last year we saw Pirates of the Caribbean, a game that looked promising but failed to deliver - being uncomfortably stuck somewhere between console and PC in design. This year, Call of Cthulhu took center stage.
It's a pity that Bethesda is a smaller publisher, because from what we could see of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, it deserved one of those massive displays normally reserved for major headliners. CoC is a first-person horror game, but unlike so many others it doesn't warrant the "shooter" moniker at all. It was very clear that the developers, Headfirst Productions
, went out of their way to make a Call of Cthulhu game
, not a Call of Cthulhu shooter. The distinction is subtle enough when the game is demoed, so pardon me if the following account does not convey all the little details that help separate CoC from your typical horror FPS.
At its simplest, Cthulhu can be described as a first person adventure. The protagonist is involved in some action as a first person game often entails, but more than that, he is also progressing through an intricate storyline. The devil, of course, is in the details - and CoC has plenty of those. The adventure aspects include a fair deal of puzzle solving and of course the great mystery that is to be resolved. On the first person side, there is the shooter part as a natural consequence, but also a stealth aspect. The game features a sneaky mode, which is an extension of ideas like leaning around corners - but in this case the player will move sneak between objects and fire from beyond obstacles.