By Brian M. Sammons
Cthulhu Saves the World. Zeboyd Games, for PC and Xbox Live. USD $3.00.
Welcome back, gaming ghouls. Today, I’ve got another game for the spotlight, one that harkens back to old-school gaming goodness. 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, “Gee, 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 Great Cthulhu is Great Cthulhu with a broadsword); a band of weird allies (like a groupie who is oddly amorous towards our favorite Great Old One); and you travel to familiar locations like 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 really enjoyed, and you need to get if you are a true HPL fan. Well, I know you must be that, since you’re reading The Innsmouth Free Press, and since Cthulhu Saves the World is only three bucks, there is no excuse for you not to get this one.
Now, this is the part in the review where I usually discuss if the game is worth the price, but, come on – it’s three bucks! A small coffee at Starbucks costs more. That aside, this game is more than worth the pittance they’re asking for it. You get an eight-to-ten-hour main adventure, seven playable characters, nods and winks to Lovecraft aplenty, and, best of all, silliness. Lots and lots of silliness.
You play as Great Cthulhu freshly awoken from an ages-long slumber in R’lyeh, who is on his way to destroy the world. Too bad for the Tentacled One that a mysterious wizard was waiting for him and sucks all of the Great Old One’s mojo away, turning Cthulhu into a shadow of his former self. Luckily, Cthulhu overhears the game’s narrator saying that the only way for the eldritch horror to get his power back is to become a true hero. How does one do that? By being a good guy and helping people out. Naturally, that is the last thing Great Cthulhu wants to do, but that won’t stop him from fulfilling his destiny. So, Cthulhu 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 engage in a bit of friendly, eldritch, evil rivalry with one Mr. Nyarlathotep.
The battle system is classic turn-based, 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 Final Fantasy games, you’ll know that is a blessing. Also, the longer each battle goes, the tougher the enemy gets, so good strategy will save you a lot of pain. There are also “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 (naturally), which causes the enemies to take more damage. Because being crazy hurts, I guess.
Final Verdict: 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 or a PC, then consider this a mandatory game. It’s fun with a capital Iä, Iä.