Daily Independent: Cthulhu is the Lord of Humor in Cthulhu Saves the World

The Daily Independent is a recurring feature in which we shine a light into the darkened wilderness of indie gaming, illuminating both the good and the bad of what we find there.

Cthulhu, that Lovecraftian monster demon thing, has been cursed and lost his powers, seemingly right before he could rise from the depths of his ancient city of R’lyeh and destroy the world. The only way to break this curse, our faithful narrator tells us, is for Cthulhu to become a true hero — and that means going on a quest. To become the bad guy he wishes to be, Cthulhu must first be the good guy he hates.

That’s the story behind Cthulhu Saves the World, Zeboyd Games’ irreverent parody of 8-bit RPGs and a host of other gaming conventions. The game just dropped on Steam and at least for the time being, you can snag it and Zeboyd’s other title, Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, for the spectacular price of less than $3.

And if you’re an RPG fan, a Cthulhu fan, or a funny things fan, you should jump on this opportunity. Cthulhu Saves the World remembers well all the RPG conventions of the 8- and 16-bit era — turn-based combat, epic storylines, random battles and inventory management — while generally making fun of the old Squaresoft and Sega titles that inspire it.

The gameplay is about as you’d expect. You travel around the world, gathering party members and fighting random battles, opening chests and changing equipment, buying from merchants and talking with townspeople. Overall, gameplay isn’t going to blow anybody away, although the nostalgia is strong with this one, and if you were a fan of the golden age of Squaresoft role-playing games, you’ll be right at home with Zeboyd’s offering.

But the greatness of Cthulhu is in its writing. The dialog between characters is often hilarious, with Cthulhu constantly crying things like “Foolish mortals!” and having open discussions with the game’s disembodied narrator. Early on, Cthulhu picks up an adoring and infatuated teammate named Umi, and the pair’s “rockstar-groupie relationship,” as Cthulhu puts it, is a great indication of what to expect.

Zeboyd’s attention to detail with the layers of parody is great, as well. For example, every enemy you encounter has a description — and that description is often hilarious. And Cthulhu’s special attack, which drives enemies and monsters insane, results in some hilarious bug-eyed, frothing sprites for representing your foes.

Not every player is going to be as impressed with Cthulhu Saves the World as I am, but fans of old-school RPGs shouldn’t miss it. It’s fun and, most of all, really funny, and you can’t beat the price.

You can snag Cthulhu Saves the World right now on Steam or Xbox Live. Check out the official website here.

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1 Comment on Daily Independent: Cthulhu is the Lord of Humor in Cthulhu Saves the World

Kyle W.

On July 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

Seriously one of the best retro JRPG-styled games out there.