Cthulhu is a single-player modification for Half-Life. It contains 65 maps, 21 new monsters and 14 new weapons. Aeons ago, Earth was ruled by The Great Old Ones, beings so alien and terrible that merely seeing them would drive most people mad. Before man's ancestors climbed down from the trees, these being were defeated in a war with The Elder Gods. But their alien nature meant that they could not be slain in any way that we would understand, so they were imprisoned. And so they wait, patient and potent until the stars are right and they shall walk forth once again and wipe mankind from the face of the Earth. You play Ranulf Stafford, an occult investigator in Arkham in the year 1928. Drawn into a nightmare chain of events, you find yourself the only thing standing between mankind and the return of Cthulhu, one of the most dreadful of The Great Old Ones.
I'll admit this can be a chore at sometimes, but in my opinion, this is decent enough to play. It has its boring parts: a maze, fighting on low health and dying all the time (those medkits really should give you more health), timed sequences that are hard to do, or waiting for the flashlight to reload...
Lets start from the beginning: The story. If you know anything about horror, you’ll know H. P. Lovecraft. If not, look it up. You can get his whole works for free off the internet. Even though I haven’t read his stuff, I can tell you that the mod’s story is pretty much in the spirit of H. P. Lovecraft if I learned anything from Call of Cthulhu.. the characters are supposedly from his books although have very little dialogue. Regardless it is an original idea for a mod. But the story is merely a background for the levels, the story tries to interconnect these levels together but they seem rather random when it comes down to it.
Reading the books in the game are the highlight of the mod, and are important to follow this story. The spells are a nice addition although I barely used them.
This mod is somewhat a total conversion. All weapons are changed, and most of the characters. However, you’ll also find some original half-life characters and zombies.. which looks out of place, and also detracts somewhat from the story.
While there where flashlights in 1928, the elevators don’t make much sense in that time period. The only place it belongs,is later on, when you’re in the city of Yith. It’s an advanced civilization, a couple of million year’s ago. While original and in style with the year 1928, the weapons can be a bit annoying too as it takes about 3 headshots with the pistol to take down cultists and their reload times are painfully long.
There are some surprises (Snakes/Big Monsters). Some of the boss fights require some keen observing but the rest is mostly gun fights. I like the locations even if some levels are bland.
To summarize, it could have been better.
I love this mod, it focuses on the gunplay more than the actual half life did, and thats a shame as Half-life's gunplay could have been less generic. This mod isn't as good as it could have been, but it's still a *VERY* Good mod, definately worth your time.
This mod is one of the few for Half-life that I, as with They Hunger, come back to replay every few years. It is a fun mod and just as challenging as the first time I played it in 2005.
The maps are all different from each other and plucked from the works of Lovecraft. That makes it interesting for any first-time player to make progress, and a delight for some long-time Lovecraft fans to see what´s comming up next. On the other hand, the story is a thick Mythos spanning several novels and short stories all crammed into a Saving The World scenario, with noone but Cthulhu himself as the villain. Works decently for anyone unfamiliar with Lovecraft, but might leave fans with stirred opinions.
During the course of the mod you have to rely on several different tactics as your arsenal expands - it starts with a sword and a revolver, and the Run & Gunning doesn´t truly begin until the later half of the mod. Additional difficulty is gained if the player ignores the spellbooks. At least try them once! The mod was created with them in mind.
What´s really negative however, is the ugliness. The White robed wizards, Nightgaunts and Ghouls spring to mind immediately - they resemble retarded flying G-men and Gollum. Many of the weapon models interfere with the player models arms in strange ways. The mod also suffer from repeated textures and models from original Half-life, which make the underground maps very dull and the worst parts of the mod. You might recognise many enemies as being obvious HL1-zombies when they aren´t supposed to be, you know, Hl1-zombies.
The mod is difficult at times which is okey, but some maps remain purely frustrating. For example; The underground maze in The Ghouls Lair is still a chore to navigate, even after several replays. Whenever I get to this part I take it like a (smart) man and noclip through all of it instead of draining the fun.
Needless to say, it is flawed, yet I still like it. Play on easy, noclip if necessary, use the spellbook