By EVAN MILLAR
Dust off your Necronomicon! The long-awaited video game adaptation of Chaosium’s pen and paper Call of Cthulhu RPG is set to release October 30, and Rue Morgue recently had the chance to glimpse the game’s initial moments. Games Editor Evan Millar shares his thoughts…
Our gameplay began in the harbour of Darkwater Island, where as protagonist/private investigator Edward Pierce, I set out to gather any and all clues pertaining to the recent death of the Hawkins family in their sprawling hilltop mansion. Making my way around the docks, I chat up a couple of thugs who guard an entrance to the district I’m looking to access. Several branching dialogue options fail to grant me entry, so I wander into an adjacent warehouse, spotting a grate leading into the sewers below.
After collecting a several pieces to repair the broken lifting mechanism, my character’s strength attribute is put the test as I struggle to pry my way in – a success, though the chain connecting it all snaps perfectly in two. Even worse, my blunder has been noticed by the leader of a local gang, who now stands looking rather unimpressed in the doorway. I decide to play things straight, disclosing the full details about my investigation. She lets me off the hook for the moment, evidently appreciating my honesty… but now I owe her a favour, the details of which she keeps deliberately vague.
This scenario can likely play out in a variety of ways, though it’ll be interesting to see just how much of a difference a slightly lower strength stat would have made, or what would have happened if I had chosen to take a decidedly more violent approach with the gang leader. There seem to be no shortage of strange folks to encounter in Darkwater, and I’m happy to report that both the excellent voice acting and foreboding atmosphere capture the feel of Lovecraft’s source material very nicely.
The build ended with a lengthy section within the Hawkins mansion itself, where Call of Cthulhu’s clue-gathering system was showcased. After entering a particularly grisly area, a button prompt allows Pierce to visualize crime scenes in their entirety, each piece of evidence painting broader strokes of the big picture. Moving from room to room in the abandoned abode, it becomes clear rather quickly that something more sinister than a mere fire is at fault here. And, without spoiling too much, things only got a whole lot weirder from there.
Having only gotten a small taste, I can’t wait to dive back into Call of Cthulhu with everyone else when it releases later this month.