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Video Game / Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game

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"In his sunken house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming..."

"Sanity is a curse. The only freedom... is madness. Cthulhu Fhtagn..."

Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game is a Survival Horror Adventure Game Role-Playing Game developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive. It is set in the Cthulhu Mythos, and is a loose adaption of Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Tabletop Roleplaying Game.

Edward Pierce is a private investigator who is hired by wealthy industrialist Stephen Webster to travel to Darkwater Island to investigate the death of his daughter, Sarah Hawkins, and her family in a fire. His investigations soon tell him that there is much more to the case than meets the eye and that the locals of the island are hiding dark secrets from him. As he investigates, he will have to deal with horrors that threaten his life and his sanity.

The game was released on October 30, 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, and PC through Steam.

Call of Cthulhu contains examples of the following:

  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: There are three chapters in which Pierce sees through the eyes of different characters and you play through events as them. Namely Marie Colden, Sarah Hawkins, and Cat Baker.
  • Artifact of Doom: There's actually several spread through the game and some of them are quite useful despite their damned evil nature.
  • Bedlam House: One of the game's levels is set in one of these. The patients are treated as prisoners, tortured, experimented on, and apparently dissected on a regular basis. So, it's not a good thing when Edward Pierce ends up imprisoned there.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • James Fitzroy the head of the Cult of Cthulhu on Darkwater Island is planning on bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. He is actually just a pawn for the Leviathan, though, who serves as the game's true antagonist. Even then it is ultimately Sarah Hawkins who is the one who will bring about the rise of the Great Old Ones.
    • Cthulhu himself is the Greater-Scope Villain, with his impending summoning being a major plot point. His writhing tentacles can be seen in the background of the final level, obscured by storm clouds; and is briefly seen in the "Perform the Ritual" ending, illuminated by a lightning flash when he's summoned. His mere presence drives the cultists and Pierce to kill each other in a fit of murderous insanity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Two of the endings fall under this
    • The first one is "Perform the Counter-ritual" ending. Pierce is able to successfully stop Cthulhu from entering the world thus saving the day, but he has also lost his sainity as a result and is now in the asylum ran by Dr. Fuller
    • The second one is the "Farewell", ending. Pierce walks away from complying with the ritual which drives Sara Hawkins to kill herself. Pierce has saved the day and survived with his sanity still in tact, however the experience has caused him to become a depressed alcoholic
  • Body Horror: Happens to a few characters throughout the story including Sarah's husband, who is now a full blown Humanoid Abomination.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Drinking alcohol regularly might seem like a terrible idea given your current situation, but it actually helps protect your sanity from the Mythos and helps you get the "least bad" ending.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Most of the town of Darkwater Island are this rather than willing followers of Cthulhu.
  • Brick Joke: In chapter 2, Pierce encounters two local fishermen who are pissed off because someone vandalized the statue of St. Brendan built on the pier. When you go back to Darkwater port in chapter 12, backtracking to the location of the statue reveals that it has been destroyed offscreen.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu:
    • Sarah Hawkins successfully banishes the Dimensional Shambler but the mental exhaustion makes her susceptible to Leviathan's brainwashing.
    • How best to summarize the Counter-Ritual ending. Mind you, Edward did save the world, it just wasn't necessary to do it that way.
  • But Thou Must!: A few, mostly pertaining to ensuring the player does at least a few things that affect Pierce's sanity. You have no choice but to look upon The Shambler painting for instance, despite being very well informed at how bad an idea it is at that point, and while you get a choice the first time, the second time the Leviathan comes offering Pierce truth all your dialogue choices are to take it. The final hallucinatory segment ramps this up, with several "choices" that happen no matter how much the player resists, to show the Leviathan's control over Pierce.
  • Color Wash: The entirety of Darkwater Island has a green filter on it to make the place seem more alien and sickly.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: As befits a H. P. Lovecraft inspired story, Edward Pierce is called to investigate a town that is full of secrets and may result in The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: Encountered in Chapter 10, where Pierce encounters a painting of a man looking at a cultist scene in the distance - and as Pierce moves out of frame, the figure's face has turned to reveal that it, too, was Pierce.
  • Cult: It wouldn't be the Cthulhu Mythos without one of these at work.
  • Darkness Equals Death: In chapter 9, when Pierce is trapped by the Shambler in an alternate dimension of the hospital's first floor, running out of oil for the lamp results in the Shambler catching and killing Pierce.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • If all else fails in Darkwater Port, Pierce can get Cat to let him into the Hawkins warehouse by promising her a favor to be named later. She never actually collects on it, though.
    • The Cult of Cthulhu makes a variety of these with the Leviathan. Given how it ends up for them, it's unlikely they got any of their wishes granted.
    • Pierce can make one of these himself and ends up destroying the world in the process.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Possible in two of the endings. One of them binds Cthulhu into Edward Pierce's body, which isn't remotely good for his mind and is possibly temporary. The second is simply not helping with the summoning ritual and ruining the cult's plan.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • May happen to multiple characters across the storyline depending on Edward's action. It is also the Plot-Triggering Death's cause. Except Sarah Hawkins is alive.
    • Indeed, the only way to stop Cthulhu if you have low Sanity and not enough occult knowledge is to do this to yourself.
    • Sarah Hawkins will choose this ending to break the connection between herself and the Leviathan.
  • Dump Stat: Strength has almost no practical use in the game outside of opening up intimidation-based dialogue choices, most of which are just as if not less effective than choices relying on your wits or charisma. Unless you're specifically playing a Strength-based Edward, there's little reason to invest points in it.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The cult of Cthulhu has one of them underneath the Hawkins Mansion. It's mostly a system of tunnels they've repurposed into a cult hideout but is one of the creepiest parts of the game.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The entirety of Darkwater Island which is spooky and full of menace that is not entirely apparent at first glance. Almost the entirety of the town's inhabitants are corrupted by the Leviathan's influence.
    • The final chapter, including a puzzle sequence where the reality seen at a distance is the actual reality, but closing in obscures the truth.
  • Eldritch Abomination: This is the Cthulhu Mythos after all...
    • The Shambler looks like an elongated and mutated human with no eyes or ears and two sets of teeth. It even makes Pierce take sanity damage just from looking at it. Along with that, the further away it is the more obscure it is until it looks more like a distortion of reality.
    • The "strange whale" caught by the "Marvelous Catch" is actually a Star Spawn dubbed the Leviathan by Fuller, which is first seen depicted in cave art left by the island's indigenous populace — who were its first victims. Its butchered corpse is found in the penultimate level, and eating its flesh granted the people of Darkwater — namely Fuller, Fitzroy, and Charles Hawkins — unnatural abilities.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Both Marie Colden and Sarah Hawkins are turned to the Cult of Cthulhu via brainwashing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The game features a "find hidden object" skill, which serves to determine whether some specific objects spawn or not when searching through a room. The alcohol bottle next to Hawkins' mansion fireplace and Sarah Hawkins' sketchbook in her room are two of those items and, despite being quite large, they require to have a sufficient score in the skill to even appear ingame.note 
  • Foreshadowing: The main families on the island are all headed by second generation sons who kept up the family businesses of their fathers as closely as possible. This is because they're literally the same men, kept immortal by eating eldritch flesh. To go one further, in the very beginning in the game before you have any reason to distrust him, you can find a picture of Fitzroy's "father" who looks a hell of a lot like him.
    • The Scylla in general. You're first introduced to it very early in the story, and everything you learn about it in the beginning gains additional layers as more context is revealed.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: It's possible to run out of bullets if you shot too many brainwashed Darkwater inhabitants during chapter 12, but Pierce will still use his gun during a couple of cutscenes and scripted interactions which happen a bit later (against an unnamed cultist then against Fuller in the abandoned whaling station, and during the end of the game, against Fitzroy if you choose the counter-ritual ending or against yourself if you choose the suicide ending).
  • Gameplay Roulette: Most of the game is an Adventure Game focusing on environmental exploration, dialogue, and puzzles. There's also a couple stealth sections and a Puzzle Boss encounter in the middle of the game, and a rudimentary first-person shooter section near the end which is designed to be disturbing rather than cathartic.
  • Haunted House: The Hawkins Estate is a ruined crumbling building which has survived (barely) a fire but was in a horrid state even before. It's not inhabited by ghosts. It's inhabited by something much-much worse.
  • Honey Trap: Leviathan more-or-less allowed itself to be caught so it could trick the people of Darkwater into eating its flesh to make them and their descendants receptacles of Cthulhu's will. By the time Pierce rolls into town, it's grown weary of its imprisonment and being perpetually consumed; so much so that it tricks him to releasing it since its mission was pretty much done.
  • Human Sacrifice: The cult of Cthulhu practices these as part of their deranged activities. Played with as it seems all of the cult's human sacrifices are voluntary.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A peculiar example of it. The cultists ate a sentient being but it was an inhuman whale-like alien. The alien also wanted them to do it.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Pierce is a detective, not a fighter. At various points any attempt he makes to fight usually ends badly (granted, his opponents are usually superhuman in nature), and he spends most of the time hiding, fleeing, or avoiding being detected as much as possible. Early in the game you can pick a couple fights with the locals, whether you win or lose these is purely determined by your Strength stat.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Averted. Although you pick your ending in the final dialogue, which choices are available are dependent on how you've played the game thus far. The "walk away" and "suicide" endings are dependent on your stats and are also mutually exclusive, while the "perform the counter-ritual" ending is only available if you saved Algernon earlier. In fact it's quite possible to end the game with only the "perform the ritual" ending available, which is the worst ending as it brings about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Leviathan is this, serving as a conduit between the Old Gods and modern-day humanity.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has four endings depending on various decisions made ingame, though what eventually happens is determined by a final dialog allowing to choose between the unlocked endings:
    • First is "Perform the Ritual", in which Pierce decides You Can't Fight Fate and helps summon the Great Old One. This ending is the only one which is available regardless of how you played through the entire adventure.
    • Second is "Perform the Counter-ritual", available only if Algernon survived the fight with the Shambler, in which Pierce decides to say Screw Destiny and, with the help of Algernon, seals the Great Old One inside Pierce.
    • Third is "Sacrifice Oneself", in which Pierce decides that it's Better to Die than Be Killed and commits suicide to prevent the summoning of Cthulhu.
    • Fourth is "Farewell", where Pierce simply refuses to do anything, and Sarah is Driven to Suicide at realizing that everything - including the death of her son - was All for Nothing, as they can't force Pierce to help them.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: The Leviathan allowed itself to be eaten in order to infect the townsfolk and their minds.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Pierce faces off against the Dimensional Shambler for the first time at Francis Sanders' art museum — a nod to Lovecraft's The Horror at the Museum, where the species was introduced.
    • Towards the end of the game, when the townspeople are driven murderously insane by Leviathan's influence, they speak with the same phlegmy, fishy growl as the Deep One hybrid townspeople from Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Not His Sled: It is a Call of Cthulhu game where you visit an isolated fishing village where the locals are creepy looking, have a dark secret, and everything is worn down. There are no Deep Ones and the Cult of Cthulhu was founded by sailors who ate a Star Spawn. It's actually surprisingly different from The Shadow Over Innsmouth that was used heavily in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Fighting the Mythos by using the Mythos. Performing the Counter-Ritual results in Cthulhu being sealed into Edward Pierce, making him completely insane. It also puts Edward under the cult's doctor's control. By this point, just walking away would ruin the cult's plan; however, it's only an option if Pierce is sane enough to realize that.
  • Occult Detective: Mr. Pierce, sort of comes with the Lovecraft territory. You can also put lots of points into his Occult skill, which makes him almost suspiciously knowledgeable.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: There's no hit point meter. During the stealth sequence, the Shambler's encounters, and chapter 11-12 shooting sequences, being caught by the enemy immediately sends the player back to the latest checkpoint.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: For Sarah Hawkins' father, Stephen Webster. His daughter has always been mentally ill but in a controllable harmless way (or so he thinks). Then she dies in a fire with her husband and his grandson. The police and locals believe she may have done it in a fit of melancholy.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In the game's finale, it's revealed that James Fitzroy, Thomas Fuller, and Charles Hawkins were all members of the crew responsible for the "Miraculous Catch" that occurred a generation ago, having eaten the flesh of the Leviathan and succumbed to its will, gaining a form of immortality. Each one of them has pulled off a My Grandson, Myself and is living as their own "son", which accounts for why Captain Fitzroy is the splitting image of his "father". Their supernatural immortality also seems to be how Fitzroy managed to regrow his leg.
  • Recurring Boss: The Dimensional Shambler stalks Pierce in a stealth encounter in Chapter 6, and later Sarah and Algernon fight it in a more straightforward Puzzle Boss encounter in Chapter 10.
  • Red Herring: Charles Hawkins is originally set up as the mutated leader of the Cthulhu cult. While he was one of the original cultist and is a major threat, he's actually acting against the cult during the plot - obsessed with saving Sarah, who will end up being the true power behind the cult once possessed. Likewise, the Shambler is the eldritch antagonist of the first half of the story, but beyond being the catalyst that (ultimately) causes the fire, sets up the plot with Sanders and sparks the case that brings Pierce there in the first place, it itself has little to do with the Leviathan's machinations.
  • Religion of Evil: The Cult of Cthulhu, naturally, is winning no friends in this game anymore than it has in other properties. Notably, the cult is completely composed of humans this time around with no Deep Ones in sight. Well, mostly humans.
  • Remixed Level:
    • You venture around Darkwater's port and warehouse 36 at first during chapter 2, when everything seems alright, then during chapter 11 when playing as Cat, and when Darkwater starts going to hell, then again during chapter 12 when most of the locals have been brainwashed and are now hostile.
    • You explore first the upper level of Riverside Institute during the day as Mary Colden in chapter 8, then go back during the night in chapter 9.
    • Chapter 3 entirely consists in exploring the surface part of the Hawkins mansion. The end of chapter 9 has a small sequence when Pierce goes through the same rooms again, while looking for the R'lyeth Key amulet.
  • Safe Behind the Corner: Pierce crouches behind a piece of furniture to hide from the Shambler during their first encounter. The monster even crawls up to looks over the furniture but fails to look down slightly to see him.
  • Sanity Slippage: One of the game mechanics is that if you do poorly then Edward Pierce will start hallucinating. These can range from finding clues which don't actually exist to being attacked by a tentacle monster that drags you to your (near) death.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Most of the achievements are named after various Lovecraft stories.
    • Pierce calls Bradley "Inspector Lestrade" during one of their early encounters (before Bradley teams up with Pierce).
  • Sunken City: Pierce has a vision of the eldritch sunken city of R'lyeh fairly early on in the game, while exploring the flooded bootlegging tunnels.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: One of the endings allows Edward Pierce to avert the summoning of the Cthulhu without sacrificing his life or his sanity. Indeed, he does so simply by choosing not to engage with the Mythos. He's still mentally scarred from his experiences and possibly an alcoholic, but that's still way better than any of the alternatives.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Darkwater Island is a creepy isolated location despite being right next to Boston and perfect for becoming a major trading port. Being cursed by an ancient eldritch god will do serious damage to your bottom line.
  • The Virus: The town suffers this in the form of those having eaten Leviathan's meat being susceptible to his mind control.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In the final confrontation, if your sanity is high enough, you can tell Sarah you're not doing anything at all, and you even throw away your gun for good measure. Sarah, noting that she and the cult can't force you to perform the ritual, accepts defeat and commits suicide. The rest of the cult seems to be equally as accommodating, as Pierce is seen alive in his office in the post-credits scene brooding over one of Sarah's paintings depicting her death. This is the only ending that doesn't result in Pierce either dying or becoming an insane shell. If your sanity is too low, if you try this you'll instead blow your own brains out to prevent the ritual, being too far gone (and having seen too many horrors) to find simply not acting at all to be an acceptable solution.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cat Baker is last seen holed up in the shipping office, nursing a wound of unknown severity in a building surrounded by enemies, not long after her playable section. She's never mentioned in the story again.
    • If you get the "Perform the counter ritual ending, they don't show what happens to Drake after he performs the counter ritual.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • The root of the trouble here is the same as in Siren; both are possibly based on the same Japanese fable. During an economic downturn, a strange creature (Leviathan) washed up on the shores of Darkwater, and the fishermen villagers ate its flesh, gaining knowledge of the Mythos and becoming pawns of Leviathan and Cthulhu. Fitting, considering the plot of Siren also somewhat resembles The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
    • There's also more than a little reminiscent of In the Mouth of Madness. An investigator being sent to an obscure, remote location that turns out to be home to an artist whose works have an odd effect on people's minds and seem to be able to out and out influence reality.
    • An obvious homage could be to Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth where you similarly play a private detective investigating a creepy Lovecraftian town with a story based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This can end better for the protagonist.
  • Worst Aid: Doctor Fuller uses his position as head of the local hospital to abuse and experiment on its patients.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Leviathan pulls this on Doctor Fuller and has Pierce kill him during a hallucination. Subverted in that he's revealed to have survived being shot in the Counter-Ritual ending and you don't have to shoot him in the first place.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Darkwater Island suffers one of these in the final act where all the islanders who ate of the Leviathan are possessed by his will and start attacking the uninfected.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Call Of Cthulhu


Call of Cthulhu: The Official

Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game is a Survival Horror Adventure Game Role-Playing Game developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive. It is set in the Cthulhu Mythos, and is a loose adaption of Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Tabletop Roleplaying Game.
Edward Pierce is a private investigator who is hired by wealthy industrialist Stephen Webster to travel to Darkwater Island to investigate the death of his daughter, Sarah Hawkins, and her family in a fire. His investigations soon tell him that there is much more to the case than meets the eye and that the locals of the island are hiding dark secrets from him. As he investigates, he will have to deal with horrors that threaten his life and his sanity.

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