Horror is Knowledge: The Presentation of Fear in ‘Call of Cthulhu’

 

I’ve moved on the Lovecraft this week. Few horror games get you right off the bat. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth manages to do just that.

I play these games on the look out for something to talk about. Thankfully I only booted the game up for about a minute when the Warning symbol gave me the perfect jumping off point. I knew the game would screw with me with the visual and audio because that is what Lovecraft inspired video games do. I didn’t expect for the game to warn me about it ahead of time. Even better was that I had to actually stop playing an hour and half in and take a break. I went back an hour later when I had calmed down and the game crashed two hours later. I figured it was time for bed then.

 

Now to be fair. Life got in the way and I wasn’t able finish the game. In fact, according to a walkthrough I’m about 36% of the way through. But Call of Cthulhu is so dense that the early chapters offer so much material to work with. They also function as their own short story with a beginning, middle and end before leaving it open for a sequel/next episode sort of deal.

I can’t say for certain if the game keeps up with how I described its method of deriving terror, but from what I had played it was incredibly effective. It also fit into the Cthulhu mythos. Every time you learn something or find some new piece of information you take a trip into the disturbing. I called the intro an interesting gambit, but I think changing it to ‘presentation of fear‘ was the better description.

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