Things Man Was Not Meant To Click At

By Kieron Gillen on October 20th, 2007 at 5:22 pm.

Being big fans of unnecessarily obscure adjectives and overworked prose, clearly, we’ve got a lot of time for Lovecraft’s Cthulloid mythos. Not such a big fan of his Racism , of course. Anyway, news arrives that Zoetrope’s Lovecraft-inspired adventure game Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder has a 150Mb Demo released (Or approximately 6.6 recurring Necronomicons). And it looks a bit like this.

Booze and a mask. All good games should feature it.

Sexy masks, lovely booze and (er) newspaper. Now, normally we’d set Walker – the master at both point AND click – at this type of thing, but since Jim had just brought me a tea, we figured we’d have a crack. Impressions follow.

It starts like this.

HP Lovecraft? HP Warcraft, more like (Joke Copyright Something Awful Circa January 2006)

Where HP weighs in on his position on the 1999 gaming hot potato of Q3 vs Unreal or something. Immediate problem here – bar something about the house where you’re in having a bad reputation – that’s all we’re told about what’s up. Why are you here? Who are you? Why are all these extremely long and rambling letters from Loath Nolder doing everywhere? It’s less the mystery that bothers us, but the motivation. We have no idea what we’re meant to be doing or what we’re meant to be achieving, so we resort to blind pointing and clicking and spinning in circles (At which point we note there’s no bloody door into this room where we start, which spooks us pretty bad.). Through this we ascertain several things – that many objects are “interesting”, without really giving any other reason why (And entirely unpick-up-able) and many labels are smudged. Papers? Can’t tell the date. Bottles? Unreadable label and can’t make out what it is (Clue: Looks like booze to me). Windows? Too dirty to see through.

There’s not much to do. The full game apparently features some kind of Thinking Screen, which allows you to combine and mess around with objects, except that’s not functional in the demo. Which strikes me a bit of a bad idea to not allow you to play around with one of the game’s selling-points in the demo, much like giving a level of GTA where you weren’t allowed to run over people or something. You do get a fancy inventory, which allows you to manipulate objects and zoom in on them and stuff, which accurately simulates you flipping something around with your hands and having a good peer. So yay for that.

However, we do eventually find a chest with a lock on. Even our vestigial adventure instincts can recognise this as A Puzzle. We set our clockpunk hacker skillz to work…

Number of the BeastNumber of people who are shit at passwordsWhat number am I thinking of?

Exhausting all logical combinations, we set forth, having managed to locate the trapdoor which leads out of the room. In a corridor, we find what appears to be the combination. Rushing back up the stairs – only stopping due to some spooky noises – we unlock the code, and find all manner of junk in the chest, much of which we could actually take. So we do. Also, a book, which we can’t. This book…

Pink?

Now, we know enough Cthullu-stuff to know that reading books (even pink books) is a really dangerous thing to do, due to uncanny knowledge contained herein which can drive you apeshit, but – hey – nowt else to do, so we read it. We’re left none the wiser, and get back to roaming the house.

In the other accessible room, we find the scariest thing in the demo. This…

It's a statue. And it's behind you.

Unnerving statue of a native black gentlemen aside, there’s nothing else of interest. Trying to leave the front door tells me that we’re not finished my work here yet. Which is probably true, but I’ve no idea what my work is. I turn, and head towards the other staircase leading out of the room. Except I can’t walk up there for some reason, which – we suspect – be that the game’s not much cop.

Anyway, here’s our arch-nemesis the staircase, which managed to confound our progress. Damn it.

Bored now.

Any ideas?

, , , .

55 Comments »

  1. David says:

    At the risk of sounding like I’m from 4chan… push butan?

  2. Nick says:

    Use the plant on the light?

  3. dartt says:

    Use rope on quicksand?

  4. Mike says:

    Aw man, is that Duvel’s gaming debut? Lovely stuff…

  5. Andrew says:

    Use clamps on clothesline. Use rubber duck on clothesclamps. Use horrific creation on Cthulhu.

  6. Willem says:

    Use liquid nitrogen on demon vomit?

  7. James Lyon says:

    Adjust sights.

  8. Pesh says:

    Become an hero..

  9. Nick says:

    I notice it’s dark, you are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  10. Schadenfreude says:

    Use wax lips on yak.

  11. Max says:

    If everything else fails:
    Use exit in menu?

  12. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    I can’t use a whip with that.

  13. Kast says:

    Use forehead with table. Repeat.

  14. David says:

    @ Pesh; I hope that wasn’t directed at me!

    Hopefully the finished product will be worth playing; I’ve not played an adventure game since Dreamfall… *sigh*

  15. John Walker says:

    You have to click to the right of the goat, then very quickly get up and click on the machinery to the left.

  16. King Awesome says:

    Its simple, just remember the tonal sequence you heard twenty minutes ago and press the symbols in the right order.

  17. Thelps says:

    Switch to Hoagie and paint the kumquat tree red.

  18. roBurky says:

    Use max with the electrical box.

  19. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Press up, down, left then right to defeat the internet.

  20. ironanno says:

    @ Kieron Gillen
    “Cthulloid mythos”
    Is this a new way to refer to Lovecrafts Cthulthu myths? changing it into Cthulloid mythos.

  21. chesh says:

    @ironanno “Cthulhu mythos” is the generally accepted term.

  22. Thiefsie says:

    Look behind you, a 3 headed monkey!

  23. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Okay, here’s what you do. Don’t read if you wanna figure this out yourself.

    Go back into the Hallway with the drawers. Go to the area where you’re right next to the door leading up to the tower. Look down at the floor near the drawers, and you can investigate the floor. Tap around on the floor, and you’ll notice that it’s hollow. You should then be able to click on the drawers to push them out of the way, and lo and behold a trap door.

    More stuff happens after that, but I don’t wanna ruin it. I’ll say this though, don’t play in a dark room, as there are fouler things than that statue of an African gentleman in the deep places of the Earth.

  24. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Anyway, here’s our arch-nemesis the staircase, which managed to confound our progress. Damn it.

    You know, it kind of dawned on me now – staircases are one of gaming’s best, unsung archnemesis. As far back as I can recall, staircases have nearly always contributed to gamer frustration and prevented him from achieving success. Remember Castlevania? In some games of the series, jumping off of them was impossible and jumping on them would result nearly always in plummeting to one’s death. Countless games have lead players into virtual deaths with their evil stairs.

    There’s some potential for a feature there. Staircases of Doom, or something.

    Aaaand… The above has nothing to do with Cthulhu. So, have to give this demo a whirl.

  25. Schadenfreude says:

    My most memorable staircase in gaming was the winding stair up to the attic in the Shalesbridge Cradle. Thief 3, damn your black heart I love you so.

  26. Mo says:

    “I’m not putting my lips on that”

  27. Nate says:

    now you’re thinking with portals

  28. Valzi says:

    touch left pinkie to right pinkie, then type “inventory” and check to see if you get any ideas.

  29. someone says:

    If you don’t like adventure games, then don’t play them, don’t review them, and don’t mock them.

  30. Martin says:

    Eh, “someone”, from what I’ve gatehered RPS are big fans of adventure gaming – only they need to be properly done. Which this one doesn’t seem to be.

    Although, as an avid player of the Cthulhu (correct spelling btw) role-playing game a nd reader of HP Lovecraft’s books, I have to point out most of the time you/the protagonist don’t have a freaking clue about what’s going on.

    Still, a good game gets you on the right track pretty much right away though and keeps it interesting from there on.

  31. Chis says:

    Just go and play Shadow Of The Comet again, rather than this nonsense.

  32. Peppy Hare says:

    Do a barrel roll!

  33. Martin says:

    @Chis: +1 of awesomeness!

  34. Kieron Gillen says:

    I do like how my previous post can be retrospective interview about The Longest Journey, and I still get called out for Hating On The Adventure.

    KG

  35. Jim Rossignol says:

    Someone: we mock RTS games and MMOs too! Sometimes we even mock puzzle games. It’s like an all-inclusive sarcasm club.

  36. Kieron Gillen says:

    But we never mock Flight Sims, because some things are too fucking precious.

    KG

  37. JLF says:

    A book entitled “Children of Dis”, whose binding has a pink border?

    Looks to me like a romance novel written by Things That Should Not Be.

  38. Andrew says:

    Mills and Boon expanding into the mandibles-and-tentacular-death market.

  39. Solario says:

    I think I’ve made myself totally clear, Step one: Find Plans, Step two: Save World, Step three: Get out of my house! Let’s get cracking!

  40. Nick says:

    “Looks to me like a romance novel written by Things That Should Not Be.”

    Maybe it’s Japanese…

  41. someone says:

    Gee sorry. Didn’t realize this was such a touchy crowd. I liked the TLJ retrospective if that makes you feel better.

  42. Spacegirl says:

    In HP Lovecraft related news, I managed across a collection of his poetry entitled “A Winter Wish.” It took me over 20 minutes to actually find any poem in the collection CALLED A winter Wish.

    Yet Another Labrynthine Lovecraftian Mystery of the Unseen and Unknowable.

  43. Kieron Gillen says:

    Cthulloid!

    KG

  44. Adam says:

    The thing with staircases is that it’s waaaay too much work to get the game characters feet to actually walk on the stairs…
    So you either, don’t let them walk on the stairs, kill them when they walk on the stairs or do like World of Warcraft and have them slide up the stairs…
    Since this is Lovecraft nothing comes easy so it’s either 1. or 2.
    They went with 1. but no doubt if you really persist they will have the stairs eat you or something.

  45. paper says:

    @Adam:
    I think that the only time I’ve noticed feet and stairs being in the same world was Shadow of the Colossus. It was subtle, yet stood out because of the way that stairs usually seem like ramps. Wander even stumbled on them occasionally, and stopping on them left him in a realistic pose.

  46. Schmidt says:

    Awww, I’m way too late to timely say “Get ye flask.”

  47. Ben Abraham says:

    You see a room.

    Exits are Nth, Sth, East, West and Dennis.

  48. Kieron Gillen says:

    Go Dennis!

    KG

  49. Laestic says:

    There is a Piece of Paper with three figures on it : “287″. There is also a way to go to the cave below in the Passageway between the bottom of the staircase and the room with the clock. In the Cave there is a Dead Rat and later on a Strange Altar of Egyptian nature for I can tell, and frightening statues and sarcophagi. Somewhere there is a Three-Part-Seal and a sort of Twisted Wheel, again A Puzzle to solve on a ornemanted door.

    Heavy smoke fills the cave but I see no Darkness yet.