Put your sanity to test in this survival horror adventure based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
akhorahill wrote this review on .
Jack starts his investigation right after his arrival at Innsmouth, a sinister and dark small town whose inhabitants are not a bit pleased by the arrival of a stranger. The graphics do a great job of portraying an eerie city, with dark alleys and strange looking people walking the streets. Everything seems to be rotten and abandoned but at the same time it gives you the impression it has seem better days.
Talking to the people and exploring the settings at this time is rewarding since the voice acting has been done to further increase the eeriness of the atmosphere. Hissing voices, whispers and guttural shouts seem to be commonplace at Innsmouth.
The first person view might indicate an action oriented game but that's not true for the three quarters of the game, that involve a lot of exploration, stealth and interaction with NPC's and the scenario. As a matter of fact, you won't find yourself a weapon until you've completed 25% of the game. In case you're wondering about the accuracy of my percentages, the game provides you with an accurate indicator of overall progress.
The plot and the knowledge about the occult unveils bit by bit through interactions with NPC's and reading. It's worth to read all the diaries to find more about the history of Innsmouth as it is to solve in game puzzles.
The game changes its pace a bit once you discover the secrets of the cult and decide to attack it. There are plenty of occasions where you're forced to fight a group of cultists for survival. Even though your ammo is limited, you'll find yourself a machine gun, a pistol, a revolver, a rifle and a shotgun.
What prevents you from mass murdering all the cult members you meet is the health system. There's no clear indication of your current health but as you take damage, the color from the screen begins to fade and Jack begins to move slower. On the next stage the brightness fades away and the black screen indicates death. Damage is always assigned to a given body area: head, arms, legs or torso and the kind of injury is determined by its cause. If you fall from a high place you'll end up breaking a leg or an arm and claw attacks often produce cuts and gashes. Damage is healed with the use of a med kit containing bandages, sewing kits and their like. Each kind of injury require a specific treatment. Bandages can't be applied to severe cuts, which require sewing and a needle is not effective on a broken leg. Its not uncommon to have plenty of bandages but no needles.
Those injuries often have side effects. Gashes make you bleed and eventually die from the wound and broken legs and arms reduce your speed and accuracy, respectively.
Physical damage is not the only thing to fear in Call of Cthulhu. Meeting with ancient beings, deformed humans and severely damaged or mutilated bodies damages your sanity and can drive you mad. Damage to your mind is shown in screen-bending effects, hallucinations and hearing weird and really creepy stuff in your head. Also, you can hear you heartbeat and breathing getting faster and heavier as fear dominates your mind.
Dark Corners of the Earth is a tough game. It has difficult puzzles that'll probably take up a considerable amount of time and facing some monsters or groups of cultist will probably require you to try a couple - or half a dozen - times before achieving success.
There are diverse and interesting chapters involving fights with ancient horrors, plenty of stealth, using the environment to your advantage and the ones I liked most were those you had to run like a maniac to survive.
It's a very creepy and unsettling game. There's plenty of gore and scares but there's also plenty of subtle horror in your hallucinations, sanity losses and voices in your head. It's surely best played in the dark - the very first hint of the game - alone and with a good sound device. It's hard not to recommend it to anyone with a taste for survival horror.