Warning: This is a poorly organized gush.

I love the world of Call of Cthulhu as it relates to games. I have a post I want to write at some point about the table top game but what it comes down to is what I like to call a "disempowerment fantasy." We spend so much time as badass spacemarines and sparkflash embermages that it's refreshing to play a game where we're just a regular dude. This lends itself well to the horror genre but a lot of survival horror eschews this idea. Though you may start out relatively powerless in Resident Evil or Silent Hill, before long you're blasting and/or bashing in skulls and even in the early game, you are more than a match for a few zombies. There are exceptions, of course, like the Penumbra games, Amnesia, Haunting Ground or Clocktower.

This game straddles the line. For the first half, you are entirely defenseless and moreover, it plays like an adventure game. You're solving puzzles and soaking in atmosphere. The game is bifurcated by one of my all time favorite sequences in a video game (I'll talk about that a moment), and afterwards you have weapons. But your aim sucks and it's hard to hit enemies. If you run into a couple of guys, you're more or less fucked. I'm not going to say it's realistic but it's more so. You're not a badass. You're a bookish detective. It's very rarely a good idea to just charge into a situation with guns blazing. You use splits to heal broken legs and bandages to heal cuts. Super neat.

Further, the game does a great job at being unnerving without resorting to jump scares. The citizens of the town you're explore are subtly off and refer to terrible things in off handed ways. They're not openly malevolent, until they are and christ, it's amazing. This game is based on a couple of books by HP Lovecraft, the primary one being The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The climax of that book is an escape from an inn and this game replicates it perfectly. I'm going to say that it's the best translation of a specific scene from a book to a game EVER. If you've played it, you know what I mean. Thrilling, terrifying. I fucking love it. This game is must play up to that point.

Yes, it loses some shine, yes it has some rough edges. We talk about those a lot in the episode. But there are things this game does better than any other game I've played, specifically the idea of pursuit as a game mechanic.

I apologize for the touch of madness that caused this to be so disorganized. Underrated gem.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/27/2012 at 12:20am

I request a lets play of this game!

Gary_Butterfield   Post Author wrote on 10/29/2012 at 03:56pm

I'm going to try! I recorded a half hour yesterday but it didn't encode right. If I can get it to work, I will upload it. If not, I'm going to do a bevy of halloween NES games.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/29/2012 at 04:16pm

That's cool, thanks for giving it a go. Is a 3d game harder to capture?

Gary_Butterfield   Post Author wrote on 10/29/2012 at 04:50pm

I'm not very tech savvy. I do LP with a custom program my buddy wrote. It's set up for the NES emulator I use and using it with anything else requires some setting-monkeying that I may not be up to.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/29/2012 at 05:36pm

Fair enough. I want to get into doing that for my upcoming FF2 play through.

Gary_Butterfield   Post Author wrote on 10/29/2012 at 06:38pm

Further, rendering the video takes a long time so it's not easy to test a bunch of settings. CoC is worth it on your own, however, even if I don't get around to the LP. You're talking about FF2 or FF4?

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/29/2012 at 07:12pm

Final Fantasy 2/4. Played it as 2, need to get used to the proper convention.

Gary_Butterfield   Post Author wrote on 10/30/2012 at 10:04pm

Oh, FF4 is a treat. I think I like FF6 the best but that's a great game. Close to top of the pops for JRPGs.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/30/2012 at 10:21pm

FF6 is a close second to 4 for certain. I think the Moon and Dwarf underground in the cavern parts sent it over the edge. FF6 has more re playablility and its end game can take you pretty far.

Gary_Butterfield   Post Author wrote on 11/02/2012 at 04:29pm
jdodson   Admin wrote on 11/03/2012 at 12:43am

Watching it now.

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