If you’d rather just see the game being played then I’ve got a shameless shill for you! I’ve actually got a full let’s play of this game available on my youtube channel.
Cthulhu. A being who’s stories has spread fear across the century. A being so grossly powerful and from a realm so foreign to our limited perceptions that he drives men insane at the sight of him and would destroy our planet on accident. He lives in his underwater fortress city of R’lyeh, with its non-euclidean geometry, and works through his Deep One agents. His dreams are so powerful that the nightmares inspired by the sheer power have kept humanity afraid of the dark for millenia. Now is the time for his rise from the deeps, when he collects the souls of mankind to fuel his dark designs in the cosmos, for a purpose we could never understand.
His awakening is interrupted by a powerful wizard who curses Cthulhu and strips his powers away from him. The curse has a catch though. If the Tentacle faced dragon man can become a true hero then his powers will return and he will finally be able to destroy the world. But will he instead learn to love the people he’s come to know and protect? Find out in CTHULHU SAVES THE WORLD!
Cthulhu Saves the World was developed by Zeboyd games. Founded in 2009 in by Robert Boyd and William Stiernberg they began their careers with Interactive Novels such as Molly the Were-Zompire released in 2009 for Xbox Live.
Their first video game project was for a 2-D, turn-based RPG by the name of Breath of Death VII: The Beginning. It innovated on the classic RPG framework by awarding different choices of abilities for leveling up, increasing animation speed to make fights quicker, and offering limited random battle encounters per area to ease exploration. Cthulhu Saves the World followed suit and also included the ability to force a fight on the spot if you just wanted to get them all over with or farm gold and experience points. It was originally only available for Xbox Live but a quick Kickstarter campaign brought it to the 360 and PC dubbed the Super Hyper Enhanced Championship Edition Alpha Diamond DX Plus Alpha FES HD – Premium Enhanced Game of the Year Collector’s Edition (without Avatars!)
Cthulhu Saves the World was released on December 10th, 2010. It’s competition was Secret of Mana (iOS), the Oddboxx of Oddworld games (PC), and Shining Force II (PC).
I find the evolution of Cthulhu to be fascinating. He’s gone from a minor monster thought up by Lovecraft and evolved into a world-wide phenomena over the last century. Creating and sustaining the genre of eldritch horror. Reminding humanity that there are things out there in the world that are so large that they do not care about us and would destroy us without even meaning to. Held aloft by teenagers as the pinnacle of horror via creepy-pastas and poorly informed fellow teens. And finally turned into a joke by the adults who grew up with him and can’t help but laugh in the face of madness and how silly powerful he is, evidenced by this game.
This game is the most stock turn-based RPG that has ever turn-based RPG. You walk around, delve into dungeons, choose your party members, find sweet loot, and use abilities to destroy your enemies — and try not to die, of course. The game is filled with, and truly held aloft by, comedic references to both RPGs and Lovecraft’s mythos that will render fans of either doubled over in joy.
The big mechanic in this game is that Cthulhu and others can inflict enemies with insanity. Insanity has a lot of bizarre effects on enemies. Near as I could tell it generally lowers their defenses. Be careful though, some enemies grow more powerful when they’re driven mad but it makes sense as to which enemies benefit. Drive elder gods insane is a recipe for disaster, but turning a zombie into a wreckless corpse is a safe bet.
After you beat the game for your first time new modes of play are unlocked. Some of which change the game entirely like Highlander which limits the party to one member but increases XP gains dramatically — who’s the best for what situation, experiment and find out. And Cthulhu’s Angels which presents an all female party to help Cthulhu save the world because he’s too lazy… I mean busy!
I can’t properly emphasize here how many Lovecraft and RPG jokes there are in this game. Some of them were so deep that they went over my head. Like the powerful Belt Man, made as a mockery of Tetsuya Nomura’s penchant for adding belts upon belts to his characters. A living sword joins the party and his class title is swordsword for wielding himself. Or the game’s use of classical Lovecraftian locales as the towns and settlements of the game.
Taking a few wrong abilities at level ups can make things really rough. I tried playing Cthulhu as a mage because I was getting a lot of magic options I thought I could make good use of… boy was I wrong. That run ended in a total reset, the farming time for getting through the second dungeon was just plain untenable.
For a game with a 3 dollar price tag this is a bargain. That being said it’s a niche title. If you’re not a fan of Cthulhu or old-school turn-based RPGs then you might have a hard time getting into this title. But if you can Cthulhu Fhtagn and still remember Final Fantasy IV fondly then this game will bring a lot of great laughs and enjoyable experiences.
Next Week: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor