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E3 2005: Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End
game: E3 2005: Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Hip Interactive
developer: HeadFirst Productions
ESRB rating: RP (Rating Pending)
date posted: 12:00 AM Tue May 24th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Tue May 24th, 2005

Click to read.After waiting years for Cthulhu video games, now there are two on the horizon. Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End is a survival horror game with a unique take on single and co-op play. While horror games - and particularly survival horror games - have repeatedly drawn on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos for the monsters and settings in games like Eternal Darkness and Alone in the Dark, Destiny's End operates fully within the Lovecraft's world view for the first time.

Destiny's End is set in a modern time, but in Lovecraft's Cthulhu lands on the New England coast. The visuals and storyline of the game follow closely the traditional framework of Lovecraft's world. The surrounding areas are dark and heavily wooded, populated by cliffs and water. While these are the traditional settings for horror games, the graphics in the demo are extremely impressive in terms of the detail on objects and in terms of the movement of multiple elements like the grass and tree branches. In typical Lovecraft fashion, the monsters are horrible and unclassifiable, much like the monsters of Silent Hill. 

However, within the traditional Lovecraft world and story, Destiny's End offers a remarkable take on the team-play design of most survival horror games. The main characters Emily and Jake are traveling to the town when they wreck their car. In this early portion of the game, the unique team-play comes into play. The team-play allows players to switch between either of the two characters for primary control, which is needed in the car segment to have Emily and Jake work together to open the car door. During regular play, the secondary character can also be set to follow the primary character, aiding in a fight or hiding if injured. Each of the two characters also has special skills. Jake is better with weapons and Emily has Reiki-like healing abilities, as well as the ability to crawl through smaller spaces.

Destiny's End also allows players to play in co-op mode at any point during the game, in much the manner attempted during segments of Obscure. The co-op mode allows a second player to pick up a controller and play at any time. The co-op mode I saw was brilliantly implemented in the preview level, allowing players to swap between co-op and single player play at any point.  It also marks the game saves that require co-op play, and splits the screen during co-op play into two squares rather than two rectangular slices. The two squares of screen for co-op are extremely important - as many horror fans will tell you - because unlike racing or stealth games, where the trajectory towards a particular target is often the primary goal, horror games rely on the ambiance of the setting for a great deal of the mechanics and mood. For instance, when Jake is separated from Emily he slowly goes insane, much like the insanity effects from Eternal Darkness.

Given the clear innovations on team-play and the remarkable graphics, as well as the reliance on traditional Lovecraft design, the Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End anticipated release date of late 2006 will be eagerly awaited by many players. During that time, players can at least enjoy Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, which is set for release later this year.

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