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May 28, 2020
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Lovecraft Quest — comics that you can play

by Andrey Sklyarov on 10/10/18 11:12:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


“Lovecraft Quest”, as you can see from the second word of the title, is a point-and-click quest, where I try to focus on puzzles. Intro that acquaints us with the plot seamlessly turns into a game itself. After a shipwreck in the storm, the main character gets to an island lost in waters of Pacific Ocean. There he finds an entrance to the dungeons of the Temple of Nameless Cults. To his misfortune he decides to investigate the dungeons. Some spoilers: in best traditions of Lovecraft, there is nothing in store for him but insanity and death.

It should be noted, that the plot is not primary here. I may please you or disappoint, but this is not that game where you choose the turn of the plot and watch where it goes. Well, no, there are a lot of choices, perhaps, even too many! But they don’t imply that you‘ll sort them out looking at the variants of the hero’s death and searching for the branch that will lead you on through the plot.

As a basis, a meta-game, I took the classic text-based computer game called “Hunt the Wumpus”. I am sure that not many are familiar with it now. It is terrible to imagine that the game was invented 46 years ago. Therefore, it will be of use to describe its essence briefly.

The goal of this game is to find and shoot Wumpus, a large and dangerous monster living in the labyrinth. The labyrinth consists of 20 numbered rooms, each of them is connected to three others. Topology options can be very different, in my game I made two: a flattened dodecahedron and a variant based on Mobius band.

At the beginning of the game, the character appears in a random room of the labyrinth. Making a move, he can either shoot at one of the three adjacent rooms, or go into it. Wumpus sleeps in one of the rooms, the task of the player is to find and kill him.

Except Wumpus itself, there are other dangers in the labyrinth. The player may smell disgusting stench, feel draft in the air or hear some noise. The smell indicates that Wumpus sleeps in one of the adjacent rooms. The draft means that one of next rooms has a bottomless pit — entering such a room, the player dies and, accordingly, loses. And the noise is made by giant bats that transfer the player to any other room randomly chosen.

Thus, exploring the dungeon, you can get an idea of interconnections of rooms, calculate the traps and the location of Wumpus. Similarly to the game “Minesweeper”, if you feel a draft, and two adjacent rooms have already been visited, then there is obviously a bottomless pit in the third one.

Coming back to Lovecraft Quest, we get to the labyrinths of the Temple of Nameless Cults, where instead of bats you can meet monsters from the bestiary of “Cthulhu Mythos”. Such as Shoggoth — a shapeless mass of protoplasm with a thousand eyes, tentacles and other unimaginable limbs © Lovecraft.

In Lovecraft Quest the study of the labyrinths is only the basis for a variety of puzzles and mini-games. So, entering the room where Shoggoth sleeps, you are given a chance to run away from him if you can choose correctly one of the three doors for a limited time. Of course, there are also classic puzzles in the game, for example, a variety of “barley-break” or a task with setting the scattered elements in the correct position.

There are also several variants of the end, more precisely, five. Three of them have already been implemented, two are still awaiting “on paper”. Some simple options, like the death of the main character, you can get right away, and some other variants you’ll have to find. For real fans of Lovecraft — in the labyrinth you can come across some “artifacts” — legendary objects from his works — such is a small element of collecting.

At the moment, the game is about 70% complete. Together with me, an artist and a composer are working on Lovecraft Quest, too. We continue to draw new scenes, add final puzzles and voice acting, which would emphasize the atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. If you like the game, do not forget to add it to your wishlist on Steam to keep up with news and events. I will be very grateful if you help me make Lovecraft Quest better by leaving your wishes and comments under this entry.

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