by Marcus Mulkins
reviewed on PC
Moving Right Along (cont.)
One of my chief complaints was the manner of investigation itself. In most Sherlock games, you find clues and try to puzzle out their meaning. In this game, in a given scene you wander about and find the clues. You can't leave the scene until you find ALL of the clues. Once you have found all the clues, Holmes will turn to Watson (or whoever is handy) and explain the significance of those clues. Rarely, you as the player, in the temporary role of Watson, will be asked something equivalent to "Where do we go from here?" The toughest part for your little gray cells (as Poirot would say), is unraveling some of the puzzles. Some are straightforward. Some, you can see what you're shooting for, but have to fathom a way to get from Point A to Point B - while using a very uncooperative interface. And some have no foundation in logic other than what seem logical to some drug-fuzzed developer's mind. You WILL find a decent walkthrough guide indispensable - and you will use it often.
When Someone Asks You if You're a God, You Say, "Yes!"
Lest we forget, this game is an intersection of the traditional detective genre and the bite-your-head-off kind of monster madness. Cthulhu is NOT a nice genre. If you're lucky, you simply lose your mind to eternal nightmares. Not so lucky and you get sliced and diced by very inventive cult worshippers, or just munched on by the extra-dimensional monsters they worship. I can see Sherlock hacking a poisonous snake with a swordcane. I can see Watson shooting the Giant Rat of Sumatra with his trusty service revolver, right in the rat's not-so-beady eye. But what is Sherlock going to do when he finally confronts a 40-foot tall thing with a giant squid for a head? "Cthulhu, I hereby arrest you on behalf of the Queen!" Uh, no. Maybe more like, "Inspector Lestrade, you may take it from here."
As you might have figured out, the game is NOT about bringing down Cthulhu. It's about tracking down the cult worshippers that have been collecting human sacrifices from London, taken and then shipped elsewhere for who knows what evil purpose. (Well, if you're up on your "Call of Cthulhu", you already know the general gameplan; now you only have to work out the details.) For starters, you can figure out why the heck the Bad Guys went to London to specifically snatch non-Londoners. (Hint: you NEVER get that explanation.) As Holmes and sometimes as Watson, you will follow the clues to wherever they take you. If at any time you are caught by the Bad Guys, you die, game over, load last Save game. (Save often; save your a**.) IF you make it to the climax of the game, I'm sure you'll have the great satisfaction of foiling some truly dastardly scheme. (It being Cthulhu, something trivial like saving the world - for now.)
I will say this about Sherlock Holmes - The Awakened: It has got me to thinking about what makes for a really good game.
Now where did I file my copy of "Call of Cthulhu"?
No Pros and Cons at this time