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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land review

Kat Orphanides
23 May 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
3.15
inc VAT

Despite an awkward control conversion, quality atmosphere and gameplay make this a must-have bargain for strategy and horror fans

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Specifications

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is a turn-based strategy game set in the trenches of the First World War, where the influence of malign cultists and ancient forces of incomprehensible power may be about to turn the Great War into mankind's final battle for survival. Based on the fiction of HP Lovecraft and the tabletop gaming system by Chaosium, The Wasted Land puts you in control of a small band of soldiers and scholars who've been given the task of uncovering the activities of the mysterious Cult of the Awakened.

As the game begins, Professor Brightmeer, a scholar from Miskatonic University has been assigned by British intelligence to join Captain Hill and his troops at the front. The landscape through which they must fight has been devastated by war, pockmarked with blast holes and scarred by trenches. You'll soon have to keep your men alive as they assault enemy trenches in an attempt to obtain evidence of the cult's activities.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

Every character has their own stats, and you must make the most of their abilities

Each of your units is an individual character with their own skills and stats. Each gets a certain number of action points which can be invested in movement, combat or using an item such as a first aid kit. Although your squad gradually gains new members as the game progresses, there are several core individuals who must be kept alive to reach the end of each stage. Fortunately, you have three turns to revive characters who’ve been knocked out before they die. Successfully completing each level often calls for lateral thinking over brute force - when in doubt, the best course of action is often to make a tactical escape rather than attempting to outgun the superior technology and dark powers wielded by your enemies.

Every time you complete a mission, you're given a financial reward with a bonus for getting your entire team out alive. You can spend this on equipment such as first aid kits and vitality boosts, armour or increasingly powerful weapons. You'll also get experience points to invest in the team's combat and scholarly skills. Both will prove vital as their discoveries lead them into direct conflict with unearthly monstrosities which attack your party's sanity in dream sequences as well as making physical assaults in reality.

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