Cthulhu Saves the World
Zeboyd Games, $3.00 (zeboyd.com)
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Remember the classic 8-bit RPGs like Final Fantasy, Fantasy Star, and pretty much anything else with “Fantasy” in the title? Do you find yourself often wistfully saying, “They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore?” Well, how cool would it be to play one of those retro games but with Great Cthulhu as your main character? Not only that, but you get weapons and armor (after all, the only thing scarier than Cthulhu is Cthulhu with a broadsword), a band of weird allies (like a groupie who is oddly amorous toward our favorite Great Old One), and you travel to such familiar locations as Miskatonic University, Innsmouth and Dunwich.
If that sounds like the game for you, you’re not alone. I, and the people at Zeboyd Games, would agree. Cthulhu Saves the World is the little indie game they made, I enjoyed, and you need to get if you are a HPL fan. I know you’re that, since you’re reading The Unspeakable Oath, but there is one caveat. You’ve got to have Xbox Live to get this. Yeah, that’s kind of limiting, but the good news is that Cthulhu Saves the World is only three bucks!
This is the part where I usually discuss whether the game is worth the price, but come on, it’s three bucks! A small coffee at Starbucks costs more. This game is more than worth the pittance they’re asking for it. You get an 8 to 10-hour main adventure, seven playable characters, nods to Lovecraft, and best of all, silliness. Lots and lots of silliness.
You play as Great Cthulhu freshly awaken and on his way to destroy the world. Too bad a mysterious wizard was waiting and sucked all of Cthulhu’s Great Old One mojo away, turning him into a shadow of his former self. Luckily Cthulhu overhears the game’s narrator saying that the only way for him to get his power back is to become a true hero. How does one do that in a digital RPG? By being a good guy and helping people out. Naturally that is the last thing Mighty Cthulhu wants to do, but that won’t stop him from fulfilling his destiny. So you must gather some friends, delve into a number of dangerous dungeons and do battle with obligatory orcs, the far less common flying hearts, not to mention zombies (which Cthulhu kind of likes), and even deal with a bit of friendly eldritch evil rivalry with Nyarlathotep.
The battle system is the classic turn-based sort with melee attacks, magic spells and skills to aid you in a number of ways. Thankfully, a couple of things set this game apart from the norm. First, each dungeon has a limit to the number of times you’ll face random encounters. If you remember the ancient Final Fantasy games you’ll know that is a blessing. There are “unite techniques” that you can use depending upon who is in your party, each with their own special powers. Perhaps the best part is Cthulhu’s ability to drive his foes insane (of course), which causes the enemies to take more damage. Because being crazy hurts, I guess.
Cthulhu Saves the World is a fun and funny trip down Nostalgia Lane in a hotrod built by Lovecraft. And once again; three bucks! If you have access to Xbox Live, consider this game mandatory. It gets an easy eight out of ten phobias.
This review appeared in The Eye of Light and Darkness in The Unspeakable Oath 19.
Reviewed items are rated on a scale of one to ten phobias:
1-3: Not worth purchasing.
4-6: An average item with notable flaws; at 6 it’s worth buying.
7-10: Degrees of excellence.