Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet ultimately hangs it hat of success or failure on how much you, as the player, enjoy the central storyline. It's a graphic adventure that relies more on content than putting on a pretty face. If you're looking for glitzy graphics and inspiring sound, look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a good story based on an eerie mystery and setting, step right in to the tiny town of Illsmouth, grab hold of your mouse and hang on for an interesting ride.
Oddly enough, one of the first things you notice in the game is a seemingly innocuous mistake on the part of the publisher and the game maker. The original box the game comes in indicates you'll be adventuring as John T. Carter, yet in the game itself (and the short user's manual) you're known as Mr. John T. Parker. Curious but insignificant to gameplay. That oversight can be forgiven as the rest of the game runs fairly mistake and glitch free. Shadow uses a very simple point and click interface to move your character from place to place, always walking at right angles (never diagonally), and voice acting dialogue accompanied by pop-up balloon text. The music is not inspired and can get tiresome. The vocalizations are adequate at best but add a welcome dimension that is lacking in simple text balloons. As an option, if you're a fast reader and in a hurry, a simple right click moves you on to the next piece of dialogue without having to wait for a character to finish speaking. A pop-up menu of standard adventure game options controls your actions such as Read, Speak, Pick-up, Look, etc.
The world of Illsmouth is not particularly large but there are some interesting locations. The town itself has more than twenty important sites (including a well, cemetery, harbor, fishery, post office, pharmacy, tavern, forest and a host of town character dwellings) and is fairly trackable via a simple auto-mapping feature. Beyond the edges of town, however, you're on your own as you visit places like the catacombs, a gypsy camp and Dagon's Island. During your adventuring, you'll meet many eccentric characters (nearly 30 important ones) and be required to solve a few not-too-difficult puzzles and a minor maze (catacombs).
Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet is not for the aesthetic purist but contains an interesting story and mystery with enough strange and unusual settings to ensure an entertaining tale. The entire adventure takes place over a three day period, just prior to the reappearance of Halley's Comet in 1910, assuring a decent pace. Again, the lack of better graphics (afterall, this is a graphic adventure) and sound are the major drawbacks to the game but if you can overlook these shortcomings and immerse yourself in the story, you'll find Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet to be a worthwhile diversion.
Graphics: For a graphic adventure, it comes up a little short on graphics. Somewhat blocky and pixelated visuals are antiquated for the year published (1994) and leave the game looking outdated.
Sound: Limited in scope and quality but not to the point of total loss. A matter of degree and the sound just doesn't register as too hot.
Enjoyment: The story makes the game. The graphics and sound detract to an extent but the mystery and premise, roughly based on H. P. Lovecraft's tale, is absorbing.
Replay Value: If you like re-runs on TV, go for it.
In 1834, in the small New England fishing village of Illsmouth, the distinguished British scientist Lord Boleskine lost his mind. After studying ancient manuscripts of evil repute, he had travelled to this place to observe the passing of Halley's comet. What he observed that night, however, turned him into a raving lunatic. Now, 76 years later, Halley's comet is coming back, and young astronomer John T. Parker has travelled to Illsmouth to try to uncover the truth in Boleskine's wild claims, and see the comet for himself.
Shadow Of The Comet is a unique horror adventure, inspired by the terrifying writings of H. P. Lovecraft.
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