• Publisher: 2K Games
  • Release Date: Oct 24, 2005
  • Also On: PC
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. 82
    It's been a long time coming and it's not without flaws, but Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth delivers an engaging, unsettling, and satisfying experience.
  2. A thick, unsettling atmosphere fills this ambitious first-person action adventure, which makes up for some technical issues with plenty of chills, variety, and originality.
  3. A unique and scary experience, Call of Cthulhu for the Xbox is a frightening and most engaging experience that will not fail to hook you from the very start.
  4. The story is accessible for all players to grasp, though the true Lovecraft enthusiast will get the most enjoyment.
  5. The action is slow and unresponsive,and there is very little direction spurring you through its grainy, muddy-looking world. [Jan 2006, p.150]
  6. 80
    This is the first frothing video game form of Cthulhu Mythos that's been done almost completely right, and this year's most frightening first-person adventure. A true cult classic.
  7. Almost to its detriment, it doesn't play its hand early on; if anything, the game takes fully three or four hours before you really start to unravel its charms, and even then it never feels like a game in a hurry.
  8. It's not for twitch junkies, but gamers with a certain amount of patience will be rewarded with an engrossing game. I just wish that Headfirst hadn't thrown in so much jumping and climbing, and that the sanity effects weren't so detrimental to seeing what's going on onscreen.
  9. Call of Cthulhu shows that the first-person perspective doesn't always have to pack an uzi, and can even be the perfect view for players interested in a more cerebral challenge. Its dated look and absurd difficulty will probably consign it to mere cult status, but perhaps that's really where a game based on Lovecraft belongs.
  10. As an adventure game, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth manages to live up to the genre expectations.
  11. An amazing adventure title full of horror and thrills throughout its fantastic story. It's also a game full of glitchy little problems that can wear away on your nerves before the sanity meter gets full.
  12. 60
    Understand going in to this game that you're going to die a lot. And you're going to have to replay the same scenes over many times before you get past them. And if you see Cthulhu, give him our best.
  13. It's definitely something different and while it's not going to be the average gamer's best Christmas title, puzzle fanatics, horror fans and thrill seekers are really going to love this one.
  14. Once guns are acquired you feel less helpless, but the combat is awkward with enemies reacting poorly to hits and a compulsory manual reload that is ponderous beyond belief. In trying to make the game realistic, Headfirst has grievously shot itself in the foot. [Dec 2005, p.112]
  15. Suffers from linear gameplay, ridiculously difficult challenges, bad graphics, and a lead voice actor who sounds like an utter twit. [Jan 2006, p.75]
  16. An intelligent and original gaming experience for those strong enough of stomach and mind to see it all the way through. [Dec 2005, p.108]
  17. Offers a great (mature) story, some heart-stopping moments, and some great evolution of the first-person shooter genre, even if it does have some warts.
  18. It may not have the productions of "Resident Evil," but Call of Cthulhu is easily one of the scariest video games ever made. It's also a great story full of mystery, intrigue, and a few twists and turns you won't see coming!
  19. On one hand there is a fantastic immersive horror title that captures the environment perfectly. On the other hand, you have a game that is filled with bugs and leads you with both hands tied through the whole game.
  20. Rare is the game that can generate a truly creepy atmosphere – Call of Cthulhu is one of those games.
  21. Even though I was put off by the stealth sequences and the occasionally high difficulty level, it's impossible not to admire how frightening and intense this game can be.
  22. An atmospheric thriller marred by a constant need for repetition. Gunplay feels a bit tacked on. [Dec 2005]
  23. It's the sort of title we'd recommend to anyone who fancies something a little different and is prepared to put in several hours hard graft - but it's just too slow and doesn't twist itself far enough into the spooky or surreal.
  24. Developers Headfirst brings H.P. Lovecraft's cult favorite Cthulhu mythos to life in this genuinely scary first person adventure title. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
  25. Aside from the flaws with the "detective" mode, and lack of direction the game provides, Cthulhu is a solid experience. An untraditional take on the FPS genre (no WWII action or one-liners here), players are sure to get taken in by the game's eerie levels, immersive world, and engrossing story.
  26. The end result of their labor is a rock-solid videogame that almost perfectly captures the dread, majesty, and sheer abject terror of Lovecraft's world. One doesn't need to have read the fiction to enjoy the game, but those who're familiar with the world of Cthulhu and Innsmouth will find the game even more enjoyable because it works on multiple levels.
  27. A strange beast. Initially captivating for its haunting atmosphere and impressive plotline, Gamestyle soon uncovered sanity effects that pushed us over the edge - of despair.
  28. Dark Corners weaves a spellbindingly scary vibe. [Feb 2006, p.89]
  29. The gameplay here is a truly unique and realistic experience, seamlessly blending elements of adventure, stealth, and first-person shooter games into an intriguing and coherent package.
  30. An undeniable effort. It can be fulfilling and mightily rewarding, but there are too many frustrating moments to say it's a classic.
  31. The sound of Jack's shallow breathing as he becomes increasingly frightened is very effective, and there is nothing quite as unnerving as hearing the growls and mutters of your pursuers as you hole up in some dark corner.
  32. The game is so dark that it is almost unplayable at parts.
  33. While not perfect, Call of Cthulhu is an important demonstration of what should matter in a game.
  34. One eerie game, which provides a well rounded gaming experience. If you like suspenseful plots, dark forbidding mysteries, and adventures into the dark side this is for you.
  35. And while the devil is in the details, the game as a whole forms such a genuinely immersive and unique experience that to let it go unnoticed would be a disservice not only to Lovecraft but one extremely talented bunch of developers.
  36. The game draws on the rich material inspired by Lovecraft's twisted world, and actually recreates its creeping, claustrophobic horror surprisingly well. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  37. 78
    Rough around the edges, but the story and setting draws you in from beginning to end.
  38. The gameplay is great and the presentation is just as commendable. At around 12 hours, the game is even the right length.
  39. You can immediately tell that Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was created as a labor of love. It defies convention in favor of creating a videogame experience that is a worthy heir to the Lovecraft name.
  40. A flawed but fascinating adaptation of the imaginings of one of horror's most influential writers.
  41. One of those games that has a solid mix of gameplay elements and takes its source material seriously, ensuring plenty of scary moments and schoolgirl-shrieks from players.
  42. They managed to take a very dark and ecclectic horror RPG and successfully port it to console! Brava guys! Definitely a "should-be" on the horror fan's Xmas list.
  43. Eerie, deeply disturbing and wonderfully designed for maximum emotional effectiveness, the game has a way of getting under your skin and taking root, drawing on your own fears and putting forth leaves and fruit that amplify the experience.
  44. 80
    While certainly not flawless, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is the perfect game for followers of Lovecraft's work, but the title also offers an intriguing and involving adventure for those who aren't and just want something a little different from a normal first-person game.
  45. Marred only by a few broken glitches and repetitive NPC cues, Call of Cthulhu will captivate the dark side in all who dare journey its perilous trail.
  46. Its challenging difficulty and immersive design will keep players on the edge of their seat from start to finish.
  47. While it may be relatively short overall, it's definitely one for people that like to solve a mystery, rather than just run through a game without taking anything in.
  48. It throws out so many references to the source material and stories written by the author that fans can't help but feel the wait has been justified.
  49. The overall quality of the game far outweighs every one of its shortcomings. In my humble opinion, this game represents a labor of love from people who wanted to pay homage to Lovecraft.
  50. A very good game if you can get past things like the perspective issues and you don't mind dying often.
  51. Some of the scenes of murder and dismemberment may be a little unnerving for younger players. We weren't scared a little bit, though. Well, maybe a little. Umm, who turned those lights out? Recommended.
User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 5 out of 26
  1. May 14, 2011
    0
    The idea of a horror game based around HP Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth" short story is awesome, and it's a real shame that this game fails to deliver in every way other than the storytelling aspect. The game is way too dark and grey/brown to ever tell what is going on and you can easily overlook elements in the environment. The game doesn't give you an actual weapon until nearly 3 hours into it when you find your first guns. No ability to use melee? C'mon. The AI is annoying, the cutscenes are unskippable, the insanity factor comes into play way too easily and makes things blurry (things are hard enough to see in this game as it is), and the stealth doesn't really work at all. This is just a complete waste of time and utter disappointment. I tried very hard to enjoy this game but it just doesn't have what it takes to be called a good game. Other horror games over the years ranging from Silent Hill to Resident Evil Remake to Eternal Darkness to Dead Space 2 are all vastly superior in every way. Avoid this one, even if you are a Lovecraft fan like me. Full Review »
  2. DerrickF.
    Nov 11, 2005
    3
    I had eagerly anticipated this game, but put it aside at the point of Fishmen Attack. My reason: after walking the length and breadth of an unwelcoming town without finding even a pointy stick for a weapon, seeing a child ripped to pieces by monster, and finding evidence proving that the innkeeper is a mass murderer, I am forced to follow this same murderer to a room of his choosing and bed down for the night without the option of sneaking out of the building. Of course, the townsmen come for you, and you are forced to flee like an idiot out of a trap that even the most naive player could see coming. While I was willing to try a game devoid of firearms, I was disappointed to play the role of a eunuch incapable of even pimp-smacking his assailants. Anyone giving this game a ten has no Y chromosome. Or wits. Full Review »
  3. Jul 24, 2014
    8
    An overall very interesting and worth being played game. Especially for H.P. Lovecraft fans.

    What works:

    - A number of ideas: the sanity
    factor, the screen without HUD
    - The use of Lovecraft material for creating the game
    - The overall atmosphere of dread and isolation
    - The puzzles: they are often very well made and fairly engaging
    - The decision of relying on aiming down the sight (no in game crosshair)
    - The damage system being divided into 3 categories (bandage, splint, suture, antidote)

    What doesn't work:

    - The graphic is sometimes too blurry and muddy, making difficult to not only spot some items but even simple orientation
    - Respawn (I loathe it as game concept)
    - Lack of polish (it is obvious that corners have been cut and the ambition of the project reduced greatly from how originally anticipated)

    What is so-so:

    - The level design is most of the times very good and well focused (best chapters: Chapter 2 - Attack Of The Fuccing Fishmen, Chapter 3 - Jail Break and Chapter 7 - Dangerous Voyage) but sometimes there is an annoying lack of feedback about the need of backtracking (without much of a valid reason) while some other levels are much less spot on (Chapter 5 and Chapter 11 come to mind)
    - The AI: sometimes the enemies are in front of me but don't see me for some strange reason
    - Voice acting (some are good, wrong choice of tone for the protagonist who sounds too matter-of-face in most situations)
    Full Review »