Previews

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth

The noble goth is a lot like the chaffinch and the gazelle, in that even though they all look the same there's a surprising array of sub-species within their number. For every 14 year old who likes Slipknot and hangs around in multi-storey car parks, for example, there's an aging, bedraggled, gangly fellow with a love for the works of H. P. Lovecraft.

It's the latter we're interested in here though, because Dark Corners Of The Earth is a first-person adventure based on the dark imaginings of the very same horror auteur. "The game opens with the player character, Jack Walters, attempting to take his own life in an insane asylum," explains Dennis Cheng, the game's producer. "The game then jumps to six years prior, with a fresh faced Jack being blissfully unaware of the Mythos, investigating a disturbance at a house in Boston, Massachusetts, involving an unusual cult. Jack discovers something in the basement of that house not of this world, something that pushes him beyond the limits of both his understanding and mental balance."

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The main game takes place in the weeks that lead up to his eventual suicide. It's February 1922 and (plagued by severe amnesia and psychosis) the terrors he witnessed back in Boston slowly start to unravel. "A new client, Arthur Anderson, asks him to visit Innsmouth, to investigate a missing store clerk," continues Dennis. "A little research uncovers rumours of strange creatures and unholy rituals, of the town's unexplained prosperity, and the recent disappearances in the area. During the course of the game the player will not only uncover the secret history of Innsmouth, but also gradually unveil the horrors of his own past."

Spooky, eh? Essentially this means Call Of Cthulhu will go big on the scary monsters, and even bigger on the psychological damage. Insanity effects will actually play a large part in the gameplay, much as it did in the under-rated GameCube shit 'em up Eternal Darkness, with hallucinations, dizziness, vertigo, sound hallucinations and shaking all making Jack's life an outright misery. "If Jack is put into a state of panic, the user will find that their controls have suddenly become extra sensitive," explains our man at Headfirst.

Whether or not all the flashes, bangs, smoke and mirrors come down on the right side of annoying we're yet to see, but in terms of design and heritage Call Of Cthulhu is certainly an interesting proposition. We're not reaching for
the trenchcoat just yet though.

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