Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gamer's Diary 2009-02-23

Last night, prompted by a desire to keep up with the Rebel FM Game Club podcast, I started to once again play Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. Long ago I had by arcane means transferred my Xbox game saves to the 360, but something had happened since then to render those saves corrupt. So I either had to attempt to transfer them again, a rite involving strange instruments of adaptation and supplications to dark PC gods, or just replay the game from the beginning.

I nearly reached the point I'd been at before, but the late hour forced me to stop while still in the sewers. I did get to that part faster than ever, as I played for speed rather than savoring the experience. Knowing what to do and where to go helped as well.

Despite the speedrunning I was reminded both of how much I like this game and how frustrating it can be. The Attack of the Fishmen aroused the same feelings of panic as before, while the tricky jump near the end inspired the same controller-hurling levels of rage.

The podcasters opined that the opening cutscene, which shows the main character trying to hang himself in an insane asylum, is set somewhere in the ten years between the prologue and the game proper. I disagree. Lovecraft's stories frequently end with the protagonist dying, going insane, or becoming something unhuman. The Shadow over Innsmouth, which appears to be the inspiration for this game, has such an ending. And the stories sometimes begin with the end, the rest being told as a flasback. I think this game will have a similar structure.

Incidentally, The Attack of the Fishmen shows just how off-base Capcom is in claiming that restrictive controls are necessary to make games like Resident Evil 5 scary. CoC:DCotE has full-on first person shooter controls, yet the escape from the hotel is possibly the most terrifying sequence I've ever experienced in a video game.

No comments: