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Headfirst Productions
GENRE: Horror
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End

 Written by Chris Reiter  on December 06, 2005

First Impressions: Call of Cthulhu may not be "Hip" anymore, but the game certainly isn't eternally damned yet.

Just this past E3, something great was happening. Publisher Hip Games was piquing gamer interest big time with unique horror-esque titles they planned on launching in 2006. Then something bad happened. The company went belly-up over the summer, and now all franchises under their vice are lingering around in development limbo. What's to be come of their zombie survival shooter, City of the Dead? What's on the menu next for the horror/survival game inspired by popular horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft's writings, Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End? Nobody knows these things yet, but hopefully someone, somewhere, sometime will.

As its Lovecraftian presence suggests, Call of Cthulhu will take place in a strange, strange world. Bizarre creatures will resonate heavily where the game's two protagonists, Jacob and Emily, will effectively try to live past the horrors that are revealed in the now. In the year 1928, there was a mysterious town known as Innsmouth that was left in shambles after a government raid occurred there. Now 80 years later in modern day times, the investigating pair made up of the strong-willed female Emily and the less stabilized male Jacob will come on the scene to find out the truth for themselves behind what really took place in this town so long ago.

Extracting chunks from other games, you can think of Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End as a Frankenstein monster. Strong, disgusting, but friendly, Call of Cthulhu will embody such gameplay devices from games as Resident Evil 4, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, and Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. From Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, that game's particular ominous semblance and coupling of one male and one female character who worked together to live has the most reminiscent style also being used in Call of Cthulhu. With Resident Evil 4 in mind, Call of Cthulhu will use an aiming system over the shoulder similar to that game as a laser-sight will mark off the body parts of enemies that you'll fire upon. As for Eternal Darkness, Call of Cthulhu will also feature a sanity meter. With grotesque creatures like giant fungi things and ravenous diseased people, Emily and Jacob will find themselves going crazier the more they're apart from one another or when they come in contact with things that would rather eat them than greet them.

Although single players can go the ride alone (with the AI controlling the character you are not), interestingly two-players can join in at any time. As there will be both Jacob and Emily involved in the adventure, the unique thing about this game is that a multiplayer function will have a stronger presence here than ones concocted with dual characters surviving alongside each other in other horror games of the like. In fact, Call of Cthulhu can't be beaten without both characters, as the challenges in the game will revolve around both bodies working cooperatively. If one dies, so will the other. The duality of Call Cthulhu will target Jacob's and Emily's skills. Emily will be able to fend off enemies with stuff like pepper spray and psychic powers. On top of that she uses a camera for detective work, and can read ancient tomes all the same. She'll be more the brains on this mission. Jacob is the one who'll carry the guns, acting as more of the protector. Together though, they'll have to solve puzzles and even combat enemies when in twos. One example of this will have Emily strangling a monster while Jacob unloads rounds into its ugliness.

Cryptic as the H.P. Lovecraft stories depict, Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End isn't intent on straggling behind in the visual department. Appropriately eerie, the game will cast you in a place full of otherworldly creatures. Locations like a darkened forest area with quite a bit of depth in details, for starters. A good mix of lighting in a dreary setting, and monsters like the giant killer mushrooms that animate and waddle at you with a frightful animosity. The game won't be as descriptive as say Resident Evil 4, but nevertheless it's got that flair for morbid delights in quality doses.

Final Thoughts
Given that it's not known if developer Headfirst Productions will ever find another publishing partner to put out this exceptionally sound horror title, the game might never see the light of day. But then, there's always hope. It's not like they've canceled it. And the game's coming along nicely enough that any company would be stupid not to want to bring this fright-fest to stores. Along with all the other Call of Cthulhu games Headfirst is making under Bethesda's and 2K's labels, maybe this could be another one to pile onto their publishing lists?

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