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Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End Preview for Xbox
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Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End 

Preview for Xbox

- William Usher, " Cyguration ", Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 07, 2006 

Review Preview

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End
Survival Horror
HIP Interactive
Headfirst Productions
Q2 2006
RP (Rating Pending)

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End Screenshot Gallery

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End Screenshot Gallery

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny End Screenshot Gallery

The horror-survival genre is getting another relative, going by the name of Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End. With Hip Games at the helm, and based on the famed short story by H.P. Lovecraft, Destiny’s End is designed for one or two-players who must traverse through a dark story. The game retains its graphical look of gloom and creepy cornered structures from the previous iteration by Bethesda Softworks,Dark Corners of the Earth. The sulky shadows that loom over every surface with the advanced lighting techniques also looks quite promising for Hip Game’s take on Call of Cthulhu.

Howard Philips Lovecraft was a man that struggled through a disturbingly depressive life. His precocious behavior for the written arts and his autodidact skills were almost never fully cultivated... due to uncontrollable circumstances. The dire seed that pervaded his life also permeated his written works, ostensibly leading to the cult classic known as Call of Cthulhu. The original short story was a dark tale that circulated the events involving cults of the vile priest Cthulhu from R’lyeh. Much like the movie Lord of Illusion, Call of Cthulhu has cultists trying to revive ancient secrets and mortal horrors that aim to put Earth at the mercy of chaos and murderous anarchy. The time line in the story approximated the 1920's, but ventured to explain a series of events that occurred with other characters in various timelines.

The new breed of terror

Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End takes the original short story in a different direction. Destiny’s End is more modern in its endeavors, taking place during current times in New England. The story follows a young teenage boy named Jake, who has been awe-struck with hideous nightmares and frightening dreams. Similar to some of the characters who had experience with the cult’s antiquities from the short story, Jake is drawn to the town in which his dreams take place. Unsettled at the thought of Jake traveling alone, he is accompanied by his friend Emily.

Upon reaching the town, the two teenagers discover that it is over-run with hideous creatures. The quest for unraveling the mystery behind Jake’s dreams turns into a fight for survival as the nightmarish fiends try to devour the two heroes. Like most third-person survival horror games, Destiny’s End features firearms and other means of defending oneself against hordes of the unholy. However, if a second player is not controlling Emily or Jake, they become computer controlled. Like Brothers in Arms, players can direct their non-player partners to a visible location using the L-trigger. This can help your partner from incurring unnecessary damage, or to get in a better position for attacking foes, etc.

Like in the previous Call of Cthulhu for the Xbox, the visual demeanor of this game is aimed to send chills down your spine. And, as in the past title, the model designs look fairly decent and the texture work is seemingly adequate. The animations could have been done with some motion-capturing, for a more frightening experience. What really set the new game apart... was the lighting and, conversly, the shading. Phenominal. The character dynamics look really good under the horror-film influenced use of lighting technology; and it truly adds to the significance of the "Survival-Horror" name. Still, there is just a bit of smoothing and polishing that needs to be added in some areas, but by the time this game is released, it ought to look quite appealing for an Xbox title.

Anyone up for some psychic ghost hunting? Anyone?

During the course of the game there will be plenty of encounters with deadly monsters and uncomely foes. Jake has handguns, shotguns, and other brawn-related weapons at his disposal, whereas Emily is given psychic powers and other related skills. When players are not engaged in battle, there will be a series of puzzle elements tossed in to keep players on their thinking toes. There’s also parts in the game where either Jake or Emily will excel at handling a task more or less efficiently than the other. Supposedly, there’s plenty of evenly balanced opportunities to make use of both characters. Occasionally, there are some puzzle elements that will require the efforts of both characters to overcome a task. So on two-player mode, expect a lot of cooperative play.

Speaking of cooperativeness, the designers have it setup where both Emily and Jake affect one another, if separated for too long. It might seem too convenient to take flight and run for cover when being pursued by some unearthly demon; players must keep in mind that separating too far from one another will result badly for both Jake and Emily over a course of time. Primarily, this takes effect from a “sanity” meter that both characters have. As the meter depletes -- the insanity starts. Details are scarce on how each character will actually be affected, but similar effects seen in Dark Corners of the Earth seem to apply: Such as a blurred vision, vertigo, or sinister voices that torment either Jake or Emily.

So far, Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End appears to be a well-rounded survival-horror game. It has some sure promise and a couple of original features that might keep the intensity factors high. As for replay values, we’ll just have to wait and see what Hip Games comes up with. You can look for Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End scheduled for release later on this year for the Xbox and PC.

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