Gaming Cthulhu

Fans of Lovecraft and particularly fans of The Call of Cthulhu roleplay games, know beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to videogames. We eagerly watch the internet for some mention of a game which, even if it isn’t directly based on Lovecraft, is at least described in Lovecraftian terms.  Eternal Darkness for the Gamecube was one of these, and it was perhaps one of the best. However, the below games represent those directly tied to the Cthulhu Mythos.

1. Call of Cthulhu, Dark Corners of the Earth (XBOX, PC, 2006). It could have been so much more, and yet at times it was deliciously creepy and knew how to pace itself to build suspense and atmosphere. Most memorable game moment? The chase through the inn. Right out of ” The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” You flee the cult members  in the middle of the night. This is also a hair-pulling, scream inducing challenge.  Although The Call of Cthulhu, Dark Corners of the Earth is often absurdly hard and suffers a little from clunky game mechanics,  the hardcore fan of the genre is wrong not to have booted this up.

2. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened (pc, 2007). I love Sherlock Holmes. Before this came out I had played several Holmesian computer games and also the old Sherlock Holmes game in the brown binder, with the maps and clue books. So, when someone had the good sense to combine Holmes and Lovecraft, I was in heaven.

This is a difficult challenge, as well it should be considering we’re talking about Holmes. The key to beating the cult trying to bring the Elder Gods into this world is through careful observation and logical reasoning. As Holmes himself might chide the player: “The problem, dear gamer, is that you see, but you don’t observe.”

3. Alone In The Dark, Inferno (PC, PS2, XBOX, 2008)  This franchise started survival horror. That is a hard statement for fans of Resident Evil, but the original PC game with simplistic puzzles and hordes of mythos inspired critters, was a stepping stone in horror survival gameplay. I could have put the Alone In The Dark Trilogy on this list, which combines the first three games on one disc, but instead I chose what I felt was the best of the series. Set in Central Park this is the darkest game of the franchise, with controls and gameplaysustaining a high level of suspense and player involvement. It’s not on the same level as some of the later Resident Evil or Silent Hill games, but considering its legacy and inspiration, this representation of the franchise deserves mention.

4. Necronomicon (PC, 2001) This is an adventure game. Which means it’s a matter of navigating through different screens and soaking in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the game moved slowly, and too often puzzles were a matter of frustrating pixel searches. Still, it’s a worthy creepshow. You begin play in Innsmouth and the town is as you would picture it, a dilapidated community by the sea, with unsavory inhabitants lounging about its narrow streets. Or worse, it’s a dilapidated community by the sea and you see no one — because they are hiding, watching you! The Necromicon is  for the die-hard fan only.

Unfortunately, there are no current games dealing with mythos that I’m aware of. Perhaps the buzz surrounding Guillermo del Toro’s  At The Mountains of Madness will change that.

In the meantime, consider the video below from the never released game Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End
Uploaded by Hot564231. – Check out more gaming videos.

2 comments to Gaming Cthulhu

  • mrm1138

    I know it’s technically not based on Lovecraft’s work, but Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for Nintendo GameCube is worth a mention.

  • Stewart Sternberg

    I agree. It’s a great game and definitely Lovecraftian. There are several other games I could have mentioned like that. I remember the first time I played the game and it began messing with me, faking crashing, simulating hallucinations…those were some disturbing moments as you attempted to deal with your character’s sanity loss.