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    dkirschner's Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (PC)

    [August 2, 2014 05:13:46 PM]
    Well that was short and sweet...and buggy as hell!

    I'd heard this game was buggy. After the first hour, I'd already gotten stuck on a curb, run into an invisible wall, and when I minimized the game to look up how to open a safe, not only is the way to open it different than the game tells you (game says enter the numbers clockwise, you actually have to go right, left, right, left turning the dial, NOT clockwise!), but the game window disappeared, yet is still running on my computer. I cannot find it anywhere, and it won't shut down through the task manager. So I have to restart my computer! Since then, I learned that the game crashes if you minimize it, I hit several more annoying bugs, like one where I couldn't get on some moving box properly, and then the sound would screw up every time I did it.

    Finally, I encountered one of the game-stopping bugs, which I learned is referred to as the 'blue lights' bug, closely related to the 'invisible reef' bug. This happens about 80% of the way through the game. You're on a ship sailing toward Devil's Reef (or Demon's Reef, or something like that), and you have to look through a cannon's zoom to target 3 enemies on the reef and kill them. The enemies are supposed to be represented by blue lights, but in my game, when I zoomed in, I was like, wait what am I supposed to shoot?! There were no blue lights! So where were the enemies? How can I kill them?

    I looked this up online and some people had come up with clever solutions, such as mapping where to aim, where the blue lights should be. You're supposed to memorize the locations. Even then, it takes these experts about 15 minutes to kill the 3 enemies. It would have taken me god knows how long. The cannon zoom view barely moved, and I had to increase the mouse sensitivity to max, but even then, by the time I'd find about where I thought I should target, the enemies would cause another tidal wave, and I'd have to go hide somewhere while it passed.

    So, I finished the game watching a walkthrough on YouTube where a guy was going for an "A" ranking by saving less than 5 times and meeting some other insane requirements.

    Why is saving less than 5 times insane? Because this game is not easy! I'd read that it was frustratingly difficult, and I assumed that was in the typical survival horror way where ammo and health are scarce. However, neither were scarce, and the game was hard for surprising reasons. First, your character, Jack, dies fairly easily. I suppose it's realistic in that way. Instead of just getting shot and losing health, you lose mobility if you get shot in the leg, aim if in the arm, you get dizzy from head injuries and so on. Further, you can have just scratches (require bandages), deep cuts (require sutures), breaks (require splints) and so on. So the health and healing system was more involved than normal. I actually thought it was pretty cool, but it does make things difficult at times! You can't just pop a medkit. Jack actually pulls out the healing supplies and performs the action on himself, vulnerable the whole time. So it's usually a good idea to hide before healing. Sometimes it was eyeball-rolling because he would get hurt so easily. For example, if you jump off a crate, you might break your leg.

    Jack can also go insane, which was an obvious influence on Amnesia. The screen shakes, he sees bugs, hears voices, becomes paranoid, that kind of thing. It was cool. He loses sanity from looking at disturbing things mostly, like corpses, or statues of Cthulhu and whatnot.

    There are plenty of little puzzles. Many are annoyingly obscure to solve, and the game definitely had an adventure/puzzle game element where you have to use items on things and it is sometimes something I'd never ever think to do. Opening safes was particularly stupid. I swear the game tells you exactly how to open that first one, then you have to do it a different way. Lots of the puzzles were just trial and error type things. Sometimes I wouldn't know where to go next because what I thought would work would keep getting me killed, but nothing would deter me from thinking it was the right thing. For example, this one time I was trying to escape Innsmouth. I found a way to go with lots of enemies. I kept trying to get past them, shooting my way through. After many deaths, I finally decided the enemies were infinitely spawning (they do that sometimes, very irritating!). If they are infinitely spawning then what am I supposed to do?! I know I have to go that way. I used a walkthrough a good 5 times to figure out what the hell to do next. In this case, I had to go find a key and let a guy out of jail first. He gets a truck and then we DRIVE that way. OH OF COURSE.

    Why else was it hard? Hmm..Oh yes, the AI. At times they were your typical omniscient goons, knowing exactly where you are. At other times, they were complete idiots, running around in circles while you stood right in front of them. They'd patrol sometimes. Sometimes they just seemed erratic. Their aim was usually terrible, but sometimes the game would decide that they could blast you from the other side of the room with ease. Yeah, just very unpredictable. I guess that made it important to learn to be stealthy. Once you get guns, especially in the later areas, the combat became easier.

    Oh, and Jack is a perma-walker. He never runs. Even when caves are crumbling or buildings are burning, he walks. And if he hurts his legs, he walks.real.slow. That's another weird thing that seems inconsistent with the plot. You think you'd run if you were being chased by fishmen. He's also never out of breath. His speech is always completely level, normal, and he's always got attitude. Even if he's going insane or his friend just got killed or both his legs are broken, he's a sassy 1920s cop. His best line was when some fishmen trapped him in a tunnel, one said "I don't believe you're on the guest list for our little party." Jack replied, "Just check the guest list again. I'm on the section not reserved for ugly freaks." I laughed at that one.

    Anyway, cool game, great atmosphere, genuinely creepy. I'm glad I played it, even with all the bugs and the eventual gamestopper.
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    dkirschner's Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 30 July, 2014

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 2 August, 2014

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Ok, good atmosphere, interesting plot so far. Voice acting bad, some other irritating things. Buggy. We shall see... ------------ Really engrossing game. I got the blue light bug though :-(

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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