Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was one of the first attempts to put H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos in game form. It’s definitely not the first (point-and-click adventure Shadow Of The Comet predates it significantly). However, it’s the first one to truly get the horror element of Lovecraft’s writing in at least one or two moments.
Lovecraft had some questionable views, absolutely, and this is something that creeps up in The Sinking City. Headfirst Productions effort was less concerned with Lovecraft’s views and instead opts to give you a fully realised Innsmouth. It’s a dilapidated place full of fish-men, complete with gurgling voices and a taste for the occult.
One scene that will always stay in my mind is based on the chase scene from The Shadow Over Innsmouth. You must escape from Deep Ones as they try to kill you while you’re resting at the local hotel. Initially, it seems they’re content with just hacking you to pieces, but as you traverse the rooftops, you’ll get visions that test your sanity and they’ll begin shooting.
As a recreation of such a vividly terrifying scene, Dark Corners Of The Earth manages to get the horror just right in this moment. It’s pure dread and terror, rather than a cheap jumpscare and that’s the best kind of horror – horror that makes you question everything. This is why Lovecraft’s writing endures, even if his views of the world are questionable, and it’s nice to see Bethesda get it right in this one moment.