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Video Game / Call of the Sea

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Call of the Sea is a First-Person Adventure Game developed by Spanish studio Out of the Blue and published by Raw Fury that takes cues from the works of Lovecraft. The game was made available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on December 8, 2020, and for Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 on May 11, 2021.

The year is 1934, and Norah Everhart is about to go on a journey. Her husband, Harry, had organized an expedition to a mysterious region of the South Pacific in hopes of finding a cure for her inherited family illness — an affliction that has left her with chronic weakness, lesions on her hands, and, if her family history is anything to go on, a shortened lifespan. Now, after months of keeping Norah up to date, Harry has gone missing. But perhaps he still lives, as Norah receives a message to come find him on a nameless island.

So Norah sets out on an adventure to rescue her missing significant other. But there is more than just a case of someone missing going on. The island has many secrets waiting for Norah, and she may just discover things about herself along the way...


  • Affectionate Nickname: Norah and Harry call each other "Dear Old Pal," after the early 20th century song "Dear Old Pal of Mine." Norah and Harry sing the song as a duet in the end credits.
  • Batman Gambit: Harry's plan. His entire plan to "save" Norah from her illness hinges on her believing that A. He would never deceive her and B. He was dead. That way, she would cleanly let go of him, the only thing standing between her and accepting her true nature as a Deep One. It almost worked. But then Norah realizes that Harry all but said the ritual wouldn't work, and he would never be so foolish to commit to an action he knew wouldn't work. She even accounts for him knowing she would realize the deception but by then she would have trekked across the island and made several discovers about her nature and ancestry, enough to know what decision he wants her to make and how much it would mean to her. Whether the gambit succeeds is depending on your final choice in the game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While, in a certain way, Norah gets her happy ending by the choice she makes, the same cannot be said for Harry. He is left alone in both, either after a dozen more years with a sick Norah or never seeing her again.
  • Body Horror: The results of Cassandra performing the ritual on herself aren't pretty. And it's implied that the progressive transformation DeWitt was going through also make him less and less human, in body and mind.
  • Book Safe: The dagger needed to enter the sanctum in Chapter 6 was initially hidden in one of these. Considering its placement in the camp outside, it may have been Cassandra that brought it.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: As part of her illness, Norah wears leather gloves to hide the spots on her hands. At the end of Chapter 4, when she learns the truth about her illness, she takes them off, never to put them back on again.
  • Dark Reprise: The end credits features Norah and Harry singing "Dear Old Pal of Mine" as a duet with an image of the couple. If you choose the "Reject" ending, the image shows the couple in 1946, with Norah's illness in an "advanced" stage (spots on her face and neck), and the song ends when Norah suddenly has a major coughing fit and Harry refuses to continue.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's 1930s, so despite his great talent and at least some form of technical training, Frank is denied access to the Louisiana State University, because he's black. Also, the crew of the Australian ship Lady Shannon decided to go whaling in the waters around the island while waiting to retrieve Harry's expedition; Australia would ban whaling in 1978.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Norah. Prior to her arrival on the island, her illness had advanced to where she was constantly bedridden, and the days she could move, she had to use a cane. Even on the island, she moves around slowly, with default movement being a walk, and the sprint being only slightly faster. And up until Chapter 5, she constantly wears gloves to cover up the spots on her hands. Subverted, in that her illness is actually a manifestation of her true form, and what would kill her is refusing to accept or failing to complete her transformation.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Ultimately leading to a stretched Total Party Kill. Roy mishandled dynamite after not accounting for the flammable properties of the ooze, blowing himself into pieces. The shaft he forcefully opened splattered DeWitt with the black ooze. As he was turning into a fish man, he went insane and attacked Frank, wounding him, then disappeared into the sea. Once the wound got infected, Frank died from sepsis. Teaharoa, witnessing all of this so far and Harry's growing obsession with reaching the center of the island, decided enough was enough and left the expedition, sailing back home after waiting a while for them to join them. Cassandra, being left alone with Harry and knowing at this point the ritual can grant immortality, shot Harry with his stolen gun and went to perform the ritual on herself. Once she was dead by incompatibility with the black goo, Harry staged his own death and went back to Tahiti, to send Norah on her quest. If the stuntman wasn't so reckless or simply took into account the properties of what he was blowing up, nobody would have died but its hinted that the island and ooze have a subtle effect on people which amplifies the key aspects of their personalities for better or worse.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: For a wide definition of a Dragon, but still. Cassandra is initially dedicated to the expedition out of a sense of discovery and thirst for knowledge. However the longer anyone who is not a Deep One, stays on the island, the more their personality traits are amplified and the more mentally unstable they become. After multiple deaths and discoveries she remains loyal - or rather feints being loyal - to Harry solely for the sake of turning it all into a big scoop she previously didnt care for while in turn ceasing to care about the actual goal of the expedition. Then it's get upgraded a step further once she figures out the ritual can grant immortality to anyone - including herself. After that point she actively despises Harry and even finds his presence and behaviors infuriating. She eventually tries to kill Harry and performs the ritual on herself.
  • Dwindling Party: The Everhart Expedition suffers from this. Roy dies from dynamiting an entrance, Dr. DeWitt transforms into a Fish Man and disappears, Frank dies from wounds caused by Dr. DeWitt stabbing him before his transformation, Teaharoa abandons the expedition after bringing the team to the Sanctuary, and Cassandra dies attempting to complete the final ritual to transform into a Deep One.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Norah's side of the ending could be seen as one. If she chooses to return to Harry, she still gets what she wanted, in that she reunites with her husband, at the cost of an early death. If she chooses to leave Harry, she is not only free from her illness, but fully becomes herself as a Deep One with eternal life, and in a place she truly belongs.
  • Femme Fatale: Cass gradually turned into one throughout the expedition, pushing the right buttons to keep Harry motivated and hopeful. Then she shot him and left him for sure death, trying to perform the ritual on herself. It's left open if she always had such personality, or if it was the gradual influence of the island that turned her this way.
  • First-Name Basis: Frank initially calls Harry "Mr. Everhart" for propriety's sake (especially since this is the 1930's and Frank's an African-American addressing a rich white guy), but Harry insists on being called by his first name to show that he trusts Frank as a friend. Frank's last written message even shows that he crossed out "Mr. Everhart" at the beginning and instead wrote "Harry".
  • Fish People: Norah has been turning into one, a process that gets accelerated by contact with the black ooze and which temporarily happens fully when she passes through the portals that start appearing at the end of Chapter 4. Similar "water animals" (as the Naacal called them) were closely associated with the human culture on the island, and it's heavily implied that Norah is becoming one because she is descended form one. A secret object found in Chapter 6 implies she is a Deep One.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a Lovecraftian story, creating the obvious expectations of body horror, people going raving mad, dwindling party and maybe some Eldritch Abomination for a good measure. It's all there, indeed. Only that none of this is malevolent, all the deaths resulted from either stupidity, greed or simply bad luck with the island amplifying already existing personality traits (and not all were for the worse) and by the end of the story, Harry is very much alive, with the possibility of Norah being immortal Deep One. Whoever survived till that point is having their version of Happily Ever After.
  • Genius Loci: To a degree. The island seems to defend itself against any human intrusion. The reason Norah is left alone is due to being a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In a surprise for a game that involves the Cthulhu Mythos, this gets averted and subverted. Harry, when he realizes the true nature of Norah's "illness," suffers from grief over the inevitable prospect of losing his wife one way or another, but never loses his sanity, and in fact is clearheaded enough to set up the events of the game. Norah, when she learns the true nature of her "illness," all but embraces her transformation, as it's the first time she feels alive in her entire life, even before the illness. At one point, she even comments that she has never been more clearheaded in her life than now. Still, played straight with Dr. DeWitt.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Cassandra initially got herself tangled into the entire expedition due to the thrill of discovery and pursuit of knowledge, this eventually degrades into seeking out big headlines out of whatever the island contains. She eventually deteriates even further, becoming tempted to try to gain immortality- and it ends badly for her, when she's ultimately killed by the incompatible ritual. It's revealed that she realized the ritual was going wrong once it started but it was too late for her by then.
  • Hands Looking Wrong: At the end of Chapter 2, Norah has a dream where she swims toward a giant creature off in the distance and is shocked to see between strokes that her hands have the scales and webbings of a Fish Person.
  • Healthy Country Air: Norah makes repeated comments on how the fresh air on the island has made her feel much healthier than she had been since taking ill, to the point that she can even jog, whereas before she had to rely on a cane to even walk. It serves as a hint to Norah's connection to the island.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Roy, who is a stuntman and a daredevil for hire, clearly thinks he's part of an action movie, or at least behaves the part. He's first to die, in a very stupid display of pyrotechnics, starting a Disaster Dominoes that get two other people killed (and one of them died almost with Roy anyway).
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ultimately the reason Harry "vanished". He knew Norah would search for him, so once he discovered the truth about her "illness", he went underground so Norah would go to the island and find the truth for herself while believing he was dead. That way, she could live forever in her species' native dimension without worrying about him.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • If Norah's journal during the dream sequence in Chapter 4 is to be believed, Norah is the descendant of a union between a human (her great-grandfather Obadiah Marsh) and a Deep One.
    • Averted in case of Reject ending, where Norah simply dies few years later. Subverted in the Accept ending, where she turns into the Deep One and leaves Harry behind, accepting her new life. Harry spends rest of his days in constant uncertainty if he made the right decision in both endings. Either way, they are denied such option regardless of ending.
  • It's All About Me: Cassandra never cared much about the goals of the expedition, neither scientific nor personal of Harry Everhart. First it was the scoop that would make her famous. Then it was the lure of immortality. She goes as far as almost killing Harry to get what she wants.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Teaharoa, after witnessing what's happening to the rest of the expedition, at certain point simply says "Enough", leaves them an apology and leaves. When Norah lands on the island, she finds he secured the approach with stockade and safely sailed on a self-made va'a, leaving the impression that he's the one who send her the artifact and the photo of Harry.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After abandoning her principles and better nature, Cassandra eventually attempts murdering Harry so she can perform the ritual on herself. However since she isn't a Half-Human Hybrid, the outcome isnt assured and the resulting transformation instead kills her. The final image we see of her is her sitting on the ritual throne with a fearful expression as ooze pours down on her, realizing too late that its all going wrong.
  • Late to the Tragedy: It becomes very apparent in Chapter 2 that bad things happened to Harry's expedition. Most of the rest of the game involves finding out exactly what and why.
  • Leitmotif: A five-note leitmotif is played throughout the game, and is connected to the game by being what the music box plays and what Norah sings in Chapter 4, allowing her access to the inner sanctum where she learns the truth about her "illness." Amusingly, if you play the leitmotif on the mini-piano in Chapter 3, you unlock an achievement, "You Read a Guide for That!"
  • Lovecraft Lite: Technically speaking, it's a Cthulhu Mythos story, with Dwindling Party, people going mad, grotesque and impossible things experienced by the survivors and what not... but when Norah is visiting the island, it's a very light-hearted experience about finding your true self and deciding between being that self or being with your beloved ones. No cosmic dangers, no monsters, not even any real danger, both to Norah or the world. And as far as she cares, she has a Happy Ending for herself, regardless of the final choice. Which makes sense as Norah is a Deep One and as such the island is her true home. Compared to a regular human, its fauna is in synergy with her rather than hostile, its latent effects are bolstering rather maddening, its "technology" is cooperative and the ooze transformative rather than lethal.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The stone avalanche destroyed all the tents, but the one belonging to the Polynesian guide, who adored it with amulets. It's never made clear if the amulets worked, or it was just a lucky coincidence, especially given the position of the tent itself.
  • Mayincatec: The mysterious Naacal civilization (which Norah notes is distinctly non-Polynesian based on what she sees) left behind ruins, artifacts, and murals that faintly evoke Mesoamerican civilizations. They even had a form of Human Sacrifice (though some of the victims were turned into Fish People if they survived the process).
  • Multiple Endings:
    • In the "Reject" ending, Norah forgoes returning to her home realm, returning to Harry to spend what time she has left, dying about 12 years later. Leaving Harry alone for the remainder of his days.
    • In the "Accept" ending, Norah sheds her human form to embrace eternal life and returns to her home realm, surviving, while leaving Harry alone for the remainder of his days.
  • Ominous Obsidian Ooze: One of the game's most recurring elements is an odd black ooze. Touching it drives people to madness with being around it achieving this slowly. Unless they come from whatever dimension Norah is from.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: An otherwise healthy and stocky Frank got stabbed by crazed DeWitt with a ritual dagger. The wound was treated and wasn't anything serious so he kept working for days as if it were nothing. Until the wound gained an oddly persistent infection which made him scrawnier and increasingly weak until he was unable to even walk on his own.
  • Production Foreshadowing: An Easter Egg in Chapter 6 involving the portal configurations gives a teaser of the then-unnamed American Arcadia.
  • Red Herring: The note written in French in Chapter 1 implies that whoever wrote this was probably the person who sent Norah the package to find Harry. In fact, in the end, we learn it's Harry who sent it himself, as part of a plan to save Norah by letting her transform into a Deep One.
  • River of Insanity: The Everhart Expedition. The island seems to amplify a person's personality traits but not always for ill. Roy becomes dangerously reckless, not considering the flammable properties of the ooze covering the entrance he attempts to blow open. DeWitt , who is not quite sociable, becomes deranged and insane while beginning to transform. Cassandra becomes increasingly unhinged and uncaring, her motives to seek knowledge for its own sake twisting into hunger for a glorious big scoop and then twisting further into seeking eternal life without consideration while becoming increasingly irate with Harry's very presence, even becoming furious from him just breathing or eating. Partly subverted in that Frank only becomes more creative and inventive with his technical ability and remains dedicated to his friendship to Harry, even writing him a letter in preparation of his passing. Teaharoa becomes more cautious and abandons the expedition when its clear the others have become obsessed despite the escalating dangers of going further inland, and Harry, who while becoming more desperate and disheveled from the stress keeps his senses in check, using Cassandra's death to confirm he cannot complete the ritual and sets Norah up to complete the ritual herself while believing he died attempting it himself.
  • Slave Liberation: Implied in the history of the island. The rituals of the Naacal use slaves to complete. Eventually, the transformed slaves, praying to Dagon and (presumably) Mother Hydra, stage a revolt that overthrow the Naacal.
  • Snipe Hunt: Though Harry was on the island at one point, he's not there during the game. Instead, he sends Norah out to find him so that she could discover what she was.
  • Trigger Phrase: More like trigger notes. The music box doesn't play to normal human ears, but its playing triggered Norah's transformation into a Deep One, which initially took the form of an illness. She finally hears the notes in a dream sequence in Chapter 4, and shortly thereafter uses the notes to open the sanctum of the temple, where she learns about her true nature.
  • Wham Episode: The first half of the game is very much focused on Norah trying to find her husband Harry, with only small hints that something is amiss. Then Chapter 4, "Quite A Show" happens. Norah reaches the temple, and in an attempt to give the loudspeakers power, gets knocked out. A dream follows in which she faces the trauma of her illness, only for the music box at the end to start playing. When she wakes, she uses the notes from the music box to open the temple door, and there she finds murals of humans being transformed into...something inhuman, and notes the uncanny similarities between them and her. Finally, she reaches the inner sanctum, only to learn from her husband's letter that there is no cure for her illness, since she isn't ill at all. Instead, she's undergoing a transformation similar to what she saw in the murals. The chapter ends with her completing the transformation, albeit temporarily.
  • Wham Shot: Chapter 2 ends with Norah having a dream/hallucination of herself swimming toward a giant aquatic creature way off in the distance — and between strokes, she suddenly sees that she has the scales and webbed hands of a Fish Person.