Eldritch Crafts Itself A Lovely Mountain Of Madness

By Alec Meer on December 6th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

I quite liked Eldritch, that recent coupling of Minecraft and Spelunky and gravitas-free Lovecraft, and I assure you that I use ‘quite’ in a positive sense rather than a back-handed compliment sense. It’s a ‘hey let’s just do this’ sort of game, a hearty gasp of an idea that coalesced into something brief but satisfying. It did feel a bit content-thin though, and I assure you I use ‘thin’ in a ‘not quite enough’ sense rather than ‘oh my, how svelte!’ one. So I’m glad to hear about that an expansion, Mountains of Madness, is en route, and that it is Sinister Christmas-themed.

No details have been given out, so I might be being tricked into posting about the sort of superficial Christmas-themed update that’s going to infect far too many videogames over the coming weeks, as a result of its namechecking one of the most notable Lovecraft tales. All we have to go on is this:

I don’t know if it changes the game much or just adds new, Chrimbly art, but hey, rare’s the day that I don’t want to savage a penguin with an axe. It’ll be free, which is something of a relief at this spending-fevered time of year, it’s out on December 19 and everything’s all white with the world.

I’m so sorry. Have a good weekend everyone.

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21 Comments »

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  1. Vinraith says:

    Was anything ever done about the difficulty issues with this one? It looked really interesting, but I repeatedly read that you couldn’t get to the “real” game without slogging through the whole thing on mega-easy mode first.

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      Mitthrawn says:

      That is still true, at least when I played it (finished about three weeks ago). The game is proper spelunky hard once you reach new game +, but yeah it is a bit of a bummer that the first part is so easy (I died just twice before completing it, and both times out of stupidity rather than it being hard). Unfortunately, all but the second world is really a joke on normal. It’s too bad you have to see everything before the difficulty ramps up, though this would seem like the perfect opportunity for a mod (hint, hint, industrious internet peoples…).

  2. killmachine says:

    tikeli, tikeli. (did i spell this right?)

  3. DatonKallandor says:

    Tekelili, Tekelili!

    I did spy an Elder Thing in that trailer – it’s the cone-oid looking thing with the wings and tentacles on top (and bottom!).

  4. JadedPrimate says:

    Guess who won’t be allowed into the zoo anymore?

    Alec Meer. Butcher of penguins.

    Oh my.

  5. TillEulenspiegel says:

    gravitas-free Lovecraft

    Yeah. Despite the universal nerd-popularity of Cthulhu mythos imagery, I don’t think anyone has managed to get Lovecraftian horror right. Or even Call of Cthulhu-esque investigations and adventures.

    It’s like everyone’s latched onto the least interesting part of the mythos, rather than the cosmic horror and creepy cultists. What a shame.

    • killmachine says:

      that may be true but i still have my hopes up for the mountains of madness film from del toro. let’s see what he makes out of the book. as weired as it sounds but i actually recommend prometheus for cosmic horros. it’s as close to mountains of madness as it can get, sort of. just ignore all the errors scott made in that movie. get high or drunk, sit back and enjoy it.

      also, if you know the book (mountains of madness), you may want to watch “the thing” by john carpenter. it’s heavily influenced by the book. you could even think that it sort of is a sequel. the monster in that movie representing the evolution of the shogoths from the book.

      • Xocrates says:

        You mean the movie that’s been put on hold several times, it’s not even in development, and it’s unlikely to be in the near future?

    • poetfoxpaul says:

      I agree, at least regarding video gaming. Too often the focus is placed upon these huge, disturbing monsters taken from Lovecraft’s stories, whereas it’s fairly established that the majority of the horror came from the other, more human parts of the narratives. The “descent into madness” concept that is often paired with Cthulu-esques was taken almost too literally by Eldritch – the game asks you to descend and descend, fighting admittedly creepy monsters but ultimately working towards the goal (finding magic orbs, I think?).

      I think the issue is that a lot of games borrow from the mythos, picking and choosing the strangest monsters or creepiest settings rather than attempting to emulate the thematic and stylistic elements that make Lovecraft so oddly Lovecraft. While taking the best and leaving the rest is fine if you aren’t trying to exactly emulate the mythos, it often leaves me with a dissatisfied taste to see what was a disturbing, incomprehensible and unbeatable monster reduced to yet another bulletsponge. Some of the Cthulu monsters are downright silly when taken out of context (I mean Yithians are about as threatening as an upside-down icecream cone).

      Now that I think about it, the Penumbra series (Frictional games’ pre-Amnesia titles) came very close to creating that mood found within the stories of Lovecraft. I distinctly remember being afraid to open every door, doubting my own memory, and wild bursts of absolute panic.

      Also, the CoC tabletop RPG does a perfect job encouraging Lovecraft-style narrative within players, provided your DM knows what’s up.

    • The Random One says:

      You’re correct, but at least this game seems to be aware of how poorly it takes after Lovecraft. It doesn’t fail to go after the Lovecraft mood as much as it succeeds at going for a Lovecraft theme (in the ‘theme park’ sense).

    • DatonKallandor says:

      The Call of Cthulhu game (Dark Corners of the Earth), while a buggy mess coded by inept people-who-can’t-code, was a fantastic Lovecraft game. It was basically a “best of” Lovecraft’s Big Hits compilation, with some of the more insane horrors very well realized. The Shoggoth is truly horrible, and when you’re the protagonist in the “Shoggoth rushes through tunnel toward narrator” scene, it’s scary as all hell.

      And as was mentioned the John Carpenters The Thing (not the terrible remake called “The Thing”) is a great mountains of madness movie. So great the script Del Torro rejected for Mountains of Madness was just a bad rewrite of The Thing. Complete with “We don’t know which of us is a really a Shoggoth pretending to be a person!”.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        Yes of course, whenever a game goes wrong it’s because the programmers were incompetent, how true.

        Dark Corners started well with investigative bits, stealth bits and a Lovecraftian atmosphere but descended into an unforgiving, action heavy FPS, far too soon. The horror game for me will always be the original Alone in the Dark – it isn’t until the final areas in which that game loses the plot a bit.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Coders who tie movement speed of the player character into the resolution the game is running at don’t get to make excuses and blame someone else. Atmosphere, Story and visuals were great. The shooter parts were pointless and the stealth bits were badly realized.

      • killmachine says:

        i thought del toro cancelled his project because prometheus was too similar to it. at least according to “comicbookgirl19″ on the youtubes. admittedly promethus is in fact very similar to the general story of the mountains of madness but i honestly don’t know why del toro cancelled his movie.

        i personally am not a huge fan of del toro. i enjoyed hellboy 2 because it was a step forward from hellboy 1. it wasn’t a great movie but i enjoyed it. his other projects are ok’ish but i personally would not let this guy direct a movie about a book that clearly is the masterpiece of one of the most influential writers for the horror/science fiction genre. i would rather let michael bay direct a stephen king movie, if you know what i mean. ;)

    • KDR_11k says:

      Isn’t one part of that that most protagonists are unaware of the supernatural parts and are horrified when they find those? Kinda hard to do with a game where players practically expect stuff to go supernatural.

      • killmachine says:

        i assume it’s just like with movies. i mean, if you approach both medias equally and don’t spoil yourself by reading plots or previews/reviews, you could achieve this general feeling of finding something supernatural without expecting it.

        take half-life for example and imagine you don’t know anything about the story. your a scientist doing some hi-tech experiments. all of the sudden there are aliens. so, i mean, it’s totally possible to create an experience that seems normal but then weird stuff is happening. you just have to not spoil yourself before you actually play this game. kind of hard though for this media because, obviously you want to inform yourself before you buy a potential crappy game.

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    Anthile says:

    What, nobody else noticed the 0451 on the plane?

  7. cfcannon says:

    That last part (0.23s) looks like it might be open or at least much larger than the current rooms in the game. Eldritch has been one of a few top surprise awesome games of the year for me, I saw it on a stream, bought it right away and still go back to it regularly. I’m not good at it but still love it. As long as the DLC is even somewhat reasonably priced, I’m in.

  8. austinwoolcock says:

    Abby. although Denise`s story is flabbergasting… on wednesday I got themselves a Land Rover Defender from bringing in $9333 this last month an would you believe ten-grand this past month. it’s by-far the most-comfortable job I’ve ever had. I started this 9-months ago and pretty much straight away startad earning over $87… p/h.
    try here……. http://goo.gl/iITlPP