Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet

1The first Call of Cthulhu computer game, Shadow of the Comet tells the story of a young aspiring journalist, Johnathan Parker, who is obsessed with the night sky. He’s in an H.P. Lovecraft story, however, and soon he’ll be battling with the forces of fate to stop a race of angry, outcast gods. The link between their world and ours is strangely linked to Hayley’s Comet and a mysterious town called Illsmouth. The people there seem to know something.

Playing as a supernatural adventure game, Shadow of the Comet has many of the high points you’d find in a quality release. The graphics, voice work and music are top notch. It has an air of mystery and foreboding that sits right at home with its subject matter as well – all of the town inhabitants are eerily strange (you can have conversations with them), and obscure clues such as diary entries and odd biblical verses give hints as to what is to come. A sense of dread is steadily established.

The game is played over a span of three days. The first day is spent finding out about the weird events that occurred in town. Things get progressively weirder and the puzzles more supernatural in nature as you unravel the mystery. As a game it’s pretty typical inventory-based adventure stuff, but there are some significant departures. For one thing, you walk around a lot and have to use keys to interact with the environment, be it looking around, using items or talking to people. It’s an odd departure from regular graphic adventures that use the mouse exclusively. You can still walk around using the mouse in the CD-ROM version of Comet, but not much else.

Also of note is the general difficulty of the game. If you’re a throwback adventure gamer looking for a challenge, then you probably found one with Comet. The puzzles, again, start off mundane but become more and more cryptic as things turn for the bizarre, and a few of them even add a time element to add further stress. Also there are many pitfalls, dangers and horrible ways to die as well, so saving is extremely important. But the gloomy atmosphere of the game makes it all worth it, which, coupled with the high production value (excellent music and voice acting), make this a classic Lovecraft-inspired tale.

System Requirements: 80386/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS/blockquote>

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