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Cthulhu Saves the World

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By NAG3LT28-08-2012
Bobfish (editor)
Blankdoor (editor)
Cthulhu Saves the World

The Defence

Developer:
Zeboyd Games
Publisher:
Zeboyd Games
Genre:
Role Playing, Indie
Release Date:
13-07-2011

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel 1.6 Ghz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia DirectX 9 card
AMD equivalent
RAM:
1 GB
HDD:
200 MB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

 

H. P. Lovecraft is considered one of the most influential writers of horror and fantasy. While he was not well known by mainstream public during his lifetime, after the middle of 20th century almost everybody has heard about some of his characters. While not being the most important being in the stories, Cthulhu has become the most widely known and popular of Lovecraft’s creations (old tentacle beard is more of a concept than a personality). A lot of games have been created about it and most show the powerful god in the same vein as the original story – a powerful and unstoppable enemy to humanity. Looking at the name of this game, it’s obvious that a different story route is taken. The question is – how interesting is Cthulhu that saves the world.

The Trial

 

First thing to notice about this game – it is old-style 2D RPG, reminiscent of early 90-ies Final Fantasy games. The unimpressive technical side doesn't stop this game from excelling in other areas, though. The synopsis of such a strange adventure starts with the "apocalyptic" of Cthulhu ready to destroy the world. Immediately, somebody manages to steal his powers, and while the narrator starts explaining the situation and the ways the mighty god can return his powers by becoming a hero, Cthulhu quickly breaks the fourth wall, speaks to the narrator and goes on to act good to get back his mighty powers.

The story isn't very complicated, but is full of nice jokes and references, both to Lovercraft's work and other games, old and new alike. The premise of Cthulhu operating with such a strange goal allows for many cliché RPG tropes to fit well within story, which is commented on by characters from time to time. Those little bits of character dialogue are the tiny details that leave a good impression.

Not a common way to see Cthulhu

Not a common way to see Cthulhu

There isn't a lot of freedom for exploration, a lot of areas are simply closed off by story progression, while side roads are rare. On the other hand, each of those locations is done with care and has an unique feel to them. There are also a lot of small things you can notice in every location. One of the nice changes from other old RPGs – limited random encounters in each area, that stop after some number of them. When you want to fight some more however, it won't stop you, as you can always force an enemy encounter.

The battle system is quite varied, allowing very different approaches, depending on enemies you are facing. The simplest attacks rely only on the strength of your party member and on the stats of the weapon, having no restrictions on repeated use. More powerful tech and magic abilities require some magic points to be used, and may come with additional modifiers. Each pair of characters has a Unity power that they can use together, giving more powerful attacks or unique modifiers. As magic points are mostly replenished only in a few places per area, care is required not to overuse special abilities and save those for tough encounters. The leveling system doesn't show you the tree, but constantly presents you with dual choices: more power or new abilities, weaker area attacks or mighty attacks against a foe.

No battles based on actual Japanese history

No battles based on actual Japanese history

While the 16-bit pixelated graphics aren't anything amazing in technical terms, the visual side of the game is done with care. As 2D game there isn't much choice of resolution, but 1280x720 windowed shouldn't be an issue. Each character is drawn well, and mini-avatars manage some kind of facial expressions. The soundtrack is nice, but becomes repetitive in some places. There is a save anywhere system, so you can play no longer at a time than you want to. After the main quest there are also some additional modes as well as director's commentary.

The Verdict

 

Cthulhu Saves the World is an enjoyable game. While not everyone might like the old style of its presentation, the gameplay and atmosphere matter. The mix of turn-based RPG, humorous story and dialogue with Lovecraft's world give an unique experience. This game is cheap to get, so if you like old RPGs or have a sense of humor, it's a no brainer to get this little gem.

Case Review

  • Visuals: Nicely drawn characters and enemies
  • Feeling: Cute Cthulhu
  • Price: Completely inexpensive
  • Fun: A lot of humour in story and conversations
  • Single road: Linear progression
  • Long Name: The full name of game on PC is: Cthulhu Saves the World: Super Hyper Enhanced Championship Edition Alpha Diamond DX Plus Alpha FES HD - Premium Enhanced Game of the Year Collector's Edition
4.5
Score: 4.5/5
A really fun and humorous experience
Comments (1)
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Posts: 40

great game.