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Lovecraftian Computer and Platform Games
Alone in the Dark, I-Motion (1992)
This well-crafted game takes place in a mansion in Louisiana that is beset with Lovecraftian horrors. The elegant interface, cinematic points of view, and wonderful atmosphere make this game a must. The front of the box reads, “A Virtual Adventure Game Inspired by the Work of H.P. Lovecraft.” Two more games followed in the Alone in the Dark series, but only this first one contained Lovecraftian elements.
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The Attic
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The Gallery
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, Infogrames (2001)
Although the makers of this game claim that it goes back to the Lovecraftian roots of the first “Alone in the Dark” game, it’s more accurate to say that it merely goes back to that game’s horror roots, since there are no overtly Lovecraftian elements in this new game.
Arcane, Sarbakan (2001)
Unlike the other games here which are purchased for a specific computer or platform, Arcane is an online “interactive horror/mystery adventure” which is played on the web.
Blood, Monolith Productions, Inc. (1995)
A 3D horror game that makes several passing references to Lovecraft. These include the Miskatonic Railroad Station and Pickman’s Rare Books and Maps.
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Rare Books
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Headfirst Productions (2005)
A first-person horror adventure game whose setting is based on Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth”. The game’s “Dynamic Sanity” system and lack of heads-up display lead to a highly immersive experience. Follow-up games, “Destiny’s End” and “Beyond the Mountains of Madness”, are planned.
Castlevania 64, Konami (1999)
The “Castlevania” series of platform games began back in 1987 and now continues with this release for the Nintendo 64. Although the game revolves around the vampire myth and is set in Transylvania, the Necronomicon is featured.
Daughter of Serpents, Electronic Arts/Millennium/Eldritch Games (1992)
Set in Alexandria, this game is rich with Egyptian and Lovecraftian atmosphere, even though the box gives no indication that there is any connection at all to Lovecraft. Designed by the same team that made the mostly text The Hound of Shadow, the graphics of this game are wonderful. Unfortunately, the game is very linear and can be played to its conclusion in very little time. The instruction manual includes a two-page biography of Lovecraft, as well as a short, paper-based role-playing adventure, “The Alchemist of Istanbul.”
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Savoy Hotel
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Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Silicon Knights (2002)
The game’s storyline revolves around the “Ancients”, which have been imprisoned on earth until the time is right for their return. The Tome of Eternal Darkness bears a resemblance to the Necronomicon, several characters are from Providence, Rhode Island, and one of the characters is an Inspector Legrasse—the game also explicitly mentions Lovecraft.
The Hound of Shadow, Electronic Arts/Eldritch Games (1989)
This game takes place in England in the 1920s and the box invites you to “Enter the sinister world of H.P. Lovecraft.” This is primarily a text-only adventure game with some occasional graphics. The instruction manual includes a two-page biography of Lovecraft.
Lovecraft Country, Skotos (2005)
An online, text-based, role-playing game set in Arkham, as envisioned in Chaosium’s “Call of Cthulhu”. Players act as students at Miskatonic University and interact both with other players and with non-player characters. The main game is called “Arkham by Night”, but separate sub-games, such as “In the Tomb of the Desert God”, allow players to go on expeditions in other locales.
The Lurking Horror, Infocom (1987)
Trapped during a snowstorm on the campus of G.U.E. Tech (modeled after Cambridge’s M.I.T.), you struggle against horrible entities that lurk in the tunnels beneath the school. The back of the box mentions that, “THE LURKING HORROR recalls the ghastly visions of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King...” Although no overt Lovecraftian references are made, the tone of this classic game is very Lovecraftian.
Necronomicon: The Gateway to Beyond, Dreamcatcher Games (2001)
Set in Providence and Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, this game appears to be based primarily on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
Necronomicon Digital Pinball, KAZe
One of KAZe’s “Digital Pinball” series, “Necronomicon” includes three different tables—Arkham, Cult of the Bloody Tongue, and Dreamlands—whose themes are all Lovecraftian in nature. John Petrucci, guitarist for Dream Theater, played some of the music for the game.
Prisoner of Ice, I-Motion
Something monstrous is discovered frozen in the Antarctic ice and you must prevent the Nazis from releasing it. The box makes it clear that the game is “Based on the bizarre writings of horror master H.P. Lovecraft” and invites you to “defeat Cthulhu and save the world.” With some clear inspiration from Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, this game is full of stunning graphics and animations.
Quake, id Software (1996)
Id’s follow-up to their highly successful first-person combat game, Doom. Due to the influence of Sandy Petersen, creator of the “Call of Cthulhu” role-playing game, Quake has a number of Lovecraftian elements, including such creatures as Shub-Niggurath.
Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness, Sierra Online (1993)
This game is not overtly Lovecraftian like the other games here, but does have a number of Lovecraftian references. The primary bad guy in the game is the tentacled Dark One, Avoozl—a name much too similar to the title character of Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan” (Weird Tales, June 1932) to be mere coincidence. The founder of The Cult of the Dark One is the mad monk, Amon Tillado, a character similar in concept to Abdul Alhazred, but whose name is an homage to Poe. Amon Tillado is found dead in a pool of his own blood next to the Necrophilicon. Included in the game manual is a section called “Call of Avoozl” and an article by “P.H. Craftlove.” There’s even the phrase, “In his Vacation resort at Club Dead, Avoozl lies twitching.”
The Scroll, Millennium Interactive/Nova Spring (1995)
Another game from the creators of The Hound of Shadow and Daughter of Serpents. Like Daughter of Serpents, this game is also set in Alexandria and uses many of the same graphics, and thus appears at first to be the same game. However, it is a separate game that merely uses the same setting. The box explicitly mentions Nyarlathotep, but not Lovecraft.
Shadow of the Comet, I-Motion (1993)
Created by the same group that created Alone in the Dark, this game uses a more traditional graphical adventure interface. Taking place in the New England town of “Illsmouth,” you must discover the relation between the return of Halley’s Comet and the “resurgence of the Great Ancients.” Licensed by Chaosium and prominently bearing the “Call of Cthulhu” logo, this game makes it clear that it is “An Adventure Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft.” Many of the characters in the game have faces that are oddly reminiscent of a variety of actors...
X-COM: Terror from the Deep, Published by MicroProse, Developed by Mythos Games
The spaceship T’leth crashed on earth 65 million years ago, imprisoning the Great Dreamer. Now the Deep Ones are attempting to awaken him, “the ultimate alien whose darkness will engulf the globe.” Sound familiar? Steve Goss, Project Manager of Hothouse Creations Ltd., had the following to say about Lovecraft’s influence on the game:
Yup you’re dead right we couldn’t get copyright clearance on the Cthulhu names (R’lyeh and the like) so I monkeyed around and gave them “almost” names and types. The Deeps ones are straight from Lovecraft, the other creatures display features similar to well known creatures in the mythos. The Great Dreamer is there, his head (replete with tentacles) is in the casket at the end of the maze.
Steve admits to being a fan of Lovecraft and says that, despite the Lovecraftian elements in the game, “It was never meant to be really hardcore Cthulhu...
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Page Last Revised 29 May 2006
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