Point And Perish: The Eldritch Cases – Dagon

By Adam Smith on April 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

The Eldritch Cases: Dagon is an embellished adaptation of Humbert Percival Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth, although it might be more accurate to say it’s a mash-up of some of his most popular works. Herbert West will make an appearance as the villain, for example, and some of Pickman’s models might well show up. For those who enjoyed Dark Corners Of The Earth until it started shooting from the hip a little too often, Eldritch Cases has the advantage of being a point and click game. In a genre not known for gunplay and panicked escape sequences, it’s fair to expect a greater emphasis on investigation and puzzling, although that could well mean reconstructing cuneiform tablets via the medium of sliding block puzzles. Let’s hope not!

I didn’t mention that The Eldritch Cases are currently confined to Kickstarter. With less than half of its £20,000 target currently pledged and 18 days left on the clock, a determined push is needed to cross the finishing line. A tenner for the game DRM free, with a Steam key supplied should the Greenlight process succeed, seems fair and while the video isn’t the most thrilling pitch I’ve ever seen, I do like the music.

With two playable characters, a prohibition agent and a nurse, the game has more than a hint of Broken Sword about it and developer Thomas Busse acknowledges that. Scratches, Gabriel Knight and Silent Hill also receive a namecheck. Seems like good company to keep.

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45 Comments »

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  1. Great Cthulhu says:

    In a genre not known for gunplay and panicked escape sequences

    Ironically, the novel actually does include a panicked escape sequence.

    • dskzero says:

      Which was made into a awesome videogame sequence in a PC game ruined by a bunch of game-breaking bugs.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        I actually thought it was more the escape sequence that ruined that game for me. From that point onwards the game goes from being an interesting stealthy adventure to a really hard shooter… Or at least it does for long enough that I can’t play it past that point, because I can’t get past it! They hooked me with the prelude chapter and then alienated me with the shooty fishmen.

        • wererogue says:

          I think you’re misremembering – the panicked escape sequence was the *start* of the stealth game proper, everything up to that was scene setting and investigation, with a few shorter hidey-searchy sections. It’s not until after a very lengthy tense sneak-through-town that the protagonist finds a gun.

          If you watch Stuart Gordon’s movie adaptation of “A Shadow Over Innsmouth”, titled “Dagon”, it’s clear that the whole hotel sequence (and a few other sections) of the game were modeled on the movie, and the execution of that scene in particular is fantastic. I played the game before seeing the film though, and the idea that I could move stuff around to delay my pursuers was thrilling – even if it turned out to be a setpiece with no alternate routes or choices.

          The game was really deeply flawed but there’s so much in it that I love, like being able to find each fishman that you sense watching, or the way that the breathing audio and vertigo works against the player.

        • wererogue says:

          Having finished the game, I also think that the idea that it’s a shooter is a fallacy. I have never finished it by playing it as a shooter. It’s balanced to be a stealth game – just like Thief, MGS or Hitman, getting into combat is risky and should be avoided at all costs, and if you have to take down an enemy you’d better be able to do it quickly and quietly or you’re in a lot of trouble.

          There *are* enemies that you have to kill, and some that it’s easier if you kill, but there aren’t enough bullets to kill everyone and it’d take a long time to knife them all.

          The stealth is hard as well, however. No excuses for that – ymmv – but I found parts of it very tense and atmospheric and other parts frustrating.

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            JamesTheNumberless says:

            I think you misunderstood me, when I said it was an interesting stealthy adventure. I meant that I was enjoying the game as an adventure game with a few stealth mechanics thrown in, not as a stealth game.

            Like you said, this was really just the intro, and then the pace of the game picks up and the gameplay changes.

            That was the entirety of the problem for me, I didn’t enjoy the gameplay from that point onwards. I didn’t want to play a Hitman, or even a Theif, I wanted to play something with puzzles and investigation and a slowly creeping sense of horror.

            Of course you can’t do the plot of Shadow over Innsmouth without a certain amount of running around with fishmen after you, but there was no need to make it so hard or so different from the first part of the game. The bit where you’re running through the inn locking doors behind you is a trial and error action sequence where you not only have to know what to do at each moment but have to do it very quickly or it’s instant death.

            They just lost me at that point. I’m not arguing that it was a bad game or trying to reduce it to a shooter. Personally I didn’t notice a single bug either!

      • N'Al says:

        I played this on the original Xbox, so can’t comment on any bugs in the PC version (which, I’m assuming is what you’re referring to?), but the biggest issue I had with that sequence is that the button to close the door bolts and to open the door are the same – so half the time you would be opening the door for your pursuers, rather than bolting it shut on them instead. Very aggravating.

    • kalirion says:

      Gemini Rue had both…

  2. Adam Smith says:

    I meant point and click adventures rather than Lovecraftian horror! Although now I’m imagining a escape QTE in a point and click game :(

    • Great Cthulhu says:

      Heh, yeah I got that. My comment was not a criticism on your statement. It’s just that most of Lovecraft’s work doesn’t actually feature anything so action-packed. So they picked practically the only story of his in which an escape sequence should occur to make a p&c adventure out of. Hence my smiling at the irony. :-)

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Humbert Percival Lovecraft? H P stands for Howard Phillips!!!! I don’t know if you willingly made that mistake to make someone like me point that out or to troll the fans, but it’s wrong either way.

      • Adam Smith says:

        I just like writing ‘Humbert Percival’. Whenever I see Hewlett Packard products I exchange the words as well. HP Sauce. It’s Humbert Percival sauce, thankyou very much.

        “Pass me some of Humbert’s brown sauce’, I’ll say.

        ‘Please leave the establishment, sir’, they respond.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          I figured it was in jest, but knowing it was incorrect I felt compelled to let everyone know what HP actually stands for.

          When I think of HP Lovecraft, I also think of Hewlett Packard and HP sauce. We’ve seen some odd PR stunts, like Azeroth Choppers and yet there has never been anything of that kind with HP Lovecraft. There are Cthulhu plushies and stuff, but no HP Lovecraft Sauce or Hewlett Packard Lovecraft computers. No “Cthulhu approved” products of any kind, as far as I know.

          I’d love some more Lovecraft-ian games, rather than more Warcraft games, so I say: Make Lovecraft, Not Warcraft.

    • YogSo says:

      Although now I’m imagining a escape QTE in a point and click game :(

      It’s not exactly a QTE, but there was this terrifying escape-through-a-maze-while-an-indescribable-eldritch-horror-pursues-you sequence near the end of the old classic Shadow of the Comet that worked pretty well.

    • Keyrock says:

      Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse has a dodge QTE in it. Thankfully it’s childishly easy and only occurs once in the whole game.

  3. ncnavguy says:

    Not dead which eternal lie
    Stranger eons Death may die
    Drain you of your sanity
    Face The Thing That Should Not Be

    Looks ok but I wish someone would make a violent action lovecraftian game where tentacles and limbs can be disarticulated. Also humans are boring let make one where you can be Cthulu or Nytholotep and eat a city!

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      That little poem nicely sums up everything that usually goes wrong with Lovecraft derivatives.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Most of what goes wrong with Lovecraft derivatives is they try to give a visual representation to aliens/elder gods/beings (whatever you want to call them that in the stories just the sight of drives the protagonist/characters mad, not to mention the non-euclidean geometry…

        Not to say there haven’t been some damn fine efforts done in games and film though. Nothing has yet to fully carry over that sense of dread his writing conveys though.

      • wererogue says:

        It really is a microcosm of a comment, isn’t it?

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      RedViv says:

      Well, there is this at least. Probably the most friendly-Lovecraft in the gamespace.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        That is a brilliant game, and yes it has the classic Lovecraftian not only “out of body” but “out of context” dream experience. Most of the games I’ve played that wear their influence on their sleeves take the “there are scary things about and you have a sanity meter” approach.

      • wererogue says:

        There was this, too: http://gamejolt.com/games/other/the-lake/735/

        Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened wasn’t all bad, and it came with the series’ trademark Creepy Watson, scarier than the cultists.

    • kalirion says:

      There’s already one about you being Cthulhu Saving the World :)

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Well there’s obviously Call of Cthulhu (damn bugs and gun segments), Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, Eldritch, The original AVP games to a degree, The Thing, I Have No Mouth and Must Scream and a bunch more that are obviously inspired by Lovecraft to a certain degree (hell DOOM and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. come to mind as well as the original Quake)

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          A pretty decent list but you forgot the original Alone in the Dark, the most Lovecrafty of all games, especially if you read all the books. It’s also a pretty fair bet that whoever designed the Daedra in the Elder Scrolls series (visually and conceptually) has read their fair share of HPL.

          Also, have you read the original short story of I Have no Mouth? The author reworked it quite a bit for the game. I suppose if there’s a Lovecraft connection there, then by extension System Shock (Shodan is the bastard lovechild of AM and HAL) has one too.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      I always thought “The Outsider” would make for a good narrative for a game.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        Me too!! I keep looking for possibilities to do this for a game jam but so far none of the themes match…. Oh balls, the last Ludum Dare theme did!! I wish I’d realised that on Saturday.

  4. Brinx says:

    Watching this trailer made me want to walk into the sea to meet my brethren.

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    strangeloup says:

    The top picture makes it look like the Mythos is being investigated by Agent 47, and while I’m sure that’s not what the actual game is, I can’t help but imagine how brilliant/terrible such a thing might be.

    • Smion says:

      “Hmm, you don’t look a thing like my incestuous, ichthyophilic demonspawn brethren but since you are wearing their pair of bathing shorts, I guess you must be alright to see the grandmaster of the esoteric order of dagon.”

  6. oyog says:

    Boy they sure didn’t bother trying to make the game look like it’s set in New England.

  7. Anabasis says:

    I have to say “the war between good and evil is raging” is a pretty silly way to describe Lovecraft’s work

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      You are a tiny worthless fleshy blob amidst a vast indifferent universe of chaos and horror, far beyond your comprehension. In fact don’t even try to comprehend it, because the only thing defending your fragile existence as you know it, is your own ignorance. Don’t even try to understand the nature of your own species too well, because there is far more evil there than good.

      Would be better.

      Not very Hollywood-y though is it? I mean, who can eat popcorn to that?

  8. Retrofrank says:

    Does anyone here remember “Shadow of the Comet” ?
    One of the earlier Lovecraft-Games.Not a great adventure game, but it really packed some atmosphere.
    There still was an older Game called “Hound of Shadows”, but I only knew that one, from the reviews in the magazines.

  9. tnzk says:

    You know, H.P Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla are in the 11th circle of Hell, being eternally tortured by excessive fanboy adulation.

    This game won’t end well, but do play Scratches if you’re keen on this kind of horror. The upcoming Asylum game, also by Agustin Cordes, looks pretty cool too.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Lovecraft’s recent popularity is almost entirely down to the recent expiry of copyright on several of his works. I wonder what the deal with Tesla is? When I was a kid it was Edison who had all the geekcred.

  10. Adam Smith says:

    Anyone mentioned Prisoner Of Ice yet?