Control has been one of the best games I have played in some time, the combat, the atmosphere and the ambiance has really shown how well concept can be polished to make a game that makes you say “one more mission, one more checkpoint”. It is a game that leaves you wanting more and still wondering what will be around the next corner.
From the start you are thrust into an uncanny office setting that feels aggressively corporate and then you discover the catalyst for the madness to come, the current head of the Federal Bureau of Control has been murdered and in a simplified job application process you pick up his mantle, are found worthy and have to deal with the incursion besetting the Old House, the Hiss.
These pod people are awesome. Their play style is one I can virtually never tolerate in a horror game. They constantly interject humor, and make boatloads of out of game, character, genre, and period, comments: aaaaaaand they’re wonderful.
The GM’ing (Keeping), and play is great, they are genius, their timing is impeccable, their humor is gut-busting–they’ve made me laugh so hard I stopped breathing–and the production value is fantastic.
In addition to live play, they suggest games, movies, bands, etc., and present advertising for the most hilarious faux products, or perhaps they are real . . . Dum dum dum!
It’s very much like listening to The Firesign Theater play Call of Cthulhu.
The protagonists in most Mythos stories are, or become, insane. This is because they see things, learn information, etc. beyond the capacity of the human mind to cope with and/or understand. Why does this result in madness?
Cthulhu is described as the ruler and high priest of his kind, and able to garner and maintain human followers through dream projection while asleep/comatose in his city of R’lyeh, immersed beneath the Pacific Ocean.
Cthulhu is a member of a group of beings, all immortal and extremely powerful, referred to as the Great Old Ones. The two other primary classes of entities in this mythology are the Elder Gods, and the Outer Gods, however the nature of these two groups is largely not within the scope of this essay. The same is true of the rest of the Great Old Ones.
More recently, these distinctions have been viewed as unnecessary.
“We can only avoid assimilation by writing hermetically; by not making ourselves clear to every department store shop-assistant. Mystery is frightening…”––Unidentified Trotskyite speaker sampled in Greater Than One’s “Fear Is The Agent Of Violence” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAn2_Jfw7eo
rhetorical blood and literal ink has already been spilled over the question of
graven or implushed images of Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones; but, while the
argument may have fallen away unresolved as a relic of the halcyon days of sane
public discourse, the failure to address the true scourge afflicting our dreams
of hegemony haunts us still, and shall grow ever worse unless and until we
cleanse it with purifying (albeit figurative, for now) fire.
Coming in at a good duration of 93 minutes, The Babadook is intelligent, dark and frightening. Claustrophobia and gut-wrenching stress are intruded upon by a well meaning(?) outside world of school staff, social workers and haughty housewives. There is enough ambiguity to keep the viewer guessing as to what is actually going on, and the hero of the story is most unlikely–though always close by.
“Fear’s Sharp Little Needles” is a book of short scenarios, by Stygian Fox, and written for the Seventh Edition Call of Cthulhu role playing game published by Chaosium.
The cover art has elements I like, but is so dark it gives the impression you’re missing detail. That said, it’s very well executed.
The pages have a very cool parchment look. It’s bold enough to be noticeable, yet subdued enough to not interfere with reading. The table of contents gives the scenario titles on simulated scraps of paper, which is a nice touch. The text is Times New Roman, with the section headings bolded, and in some sort of sans serif font, making for an easy reading experience.
The interior art is beautiful. Also, not only does each scenario start with a full-page illustration which is a teaser for what’s in store, but there are also maps galore. The scenarios are intentionally brief. They are all set in the modern era.
Now, on to the scenarios, with an effort to minimize spoilers. Unfortunately, this leaves me only room for introductions. The cover page of each scenario contains three or four words which give an even briefer idea of what is contained therein–nice touch.
Posted in Gaming, Reviews
First things first, this is a beautiful product. Arc Dream Publishing does a great job with the covert ops decoration–bits and pieces of classified documents, blurry, black and white photographs, documents with blood drops, etc. Combine this with beautiful cover art of a sufficiently horrid monster and you’ve got a product which says “Buy me. Play me.”
This review is for two books, as I read them back to back, got swamped with packing up a house, and have finally found time to put together a proper review.
The Arkham Detective series follows a no-name pulp detective in the city of Arkham, Massachusetts. While most of the residents have heard rumors and stories regarding all of Lovecraft’s beasties doing their dirty work in the town, most of them don’t believe them, and neither does our protagonist until a gory encounter and a witness who claims some rather horrendous things.
Cthulhu’s Minions is a great primer to the world of the Arkham Detective in that it’s a great origin story for the guy who makes it his job to hunt down the weird stuff while also being a short read to get you psyched about the bigger stories in the series.
The action doesn’t stop with Minions, though, and my intrigue kept me going straight from the last page of Cthulhu’s Minions and directly into the sequel, The Innsmouth Look.
Depending on the day, my favorite story from the Lovecraft Mythos is Shadow Over Innsmouth. The dark tale of a city cursed by it’s fortune in more ways than one makes for a great setting for some pulpy adventure (as myself and other authors have noted). Unlike those other authors, and even myself, the adventure here is nonstop pulpy goodness that only Byron Craft could have put together. On the trail of a murderer and kidnapper from that doomed city, the Arkham Detective takes grit to a new level as he interrogates the town and puts his best detective shoe forward, stumbling upon Government spies, trapped locals, and, of course, a dark ritual that the town wants to happen while the rest of the world obviously doesn’t.
Craft knows his Mythos and weaves that into a series of books that reads like a great Lovecraftian story, but with more adventure and less fainting. I give both of these books 5 out of 5 stars for just being great and fun reads.