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The Terrible Old Man

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Rating: 4.1/5 (70 votes)
Comments (6) | Views (19,488)

The Terrible Old Man

[8/31/15: The Terrible Old Man is now available to play online!]

Cloak and Dagger Games have served up some supremely creepy point-and-click adventures before, but now they're paying homage to one of the masters with spooky short The Terrible Old Man, also available as a free indie download, is an homage to H.P. Lovecraft's classic tale made in just 30 days. A group of shady characters are getting ready to leave town and take their gang elsewhere, when they hear about an old man living alone in town who's supposedly sitting on a fortune. They aren't put off by the strangeness surrounding the stories the townsfolk tell about him... all they know is he's frail, isolated, and apparently packing gold dubloons in a time where most people can't even scrape together the money for a drink or three. Are they about to bite off more trouble they can handle? Well, let's just say Lovecraft isn't known for stories where everything turns out sunny and all parties are merely involved in harmless misunderstandings. To play, just click to interact with something or someone, and right-click to merely look. Move your cursor way, way up to the top of the screen to have your inventory drop down, and click an item to pick it up so you can try to use it somewhere. You can also save your game from the inventory drop down, in case you need to take a break... you know, in case the ten minutes this game should take is too much.Everything about The Terrible Old Man's atmosphere drips unease and subtle wrongness, much like the work of the iconic writer it was adapted from, and the big reveal is executed cringingly creepily. Don't expect any real answers, as The Terrible Old Man sticks to the original's plot like glue, and most of the puzzles are a simple matter of talking to the only people available and then giving them or saying what they want. While it isn't particularly long or challenging, however, it's still a fine interactive adaptation that's a nice fit for an eerie evening when you want to give yourself the shivers without devoting too much time to it.

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WolfgangDS April 19, 2015 10:43 PM

Well, that was... underwhelming. All of two scenes and nothing else. I've not read the story this is based upon yet, but if it's that short, I'm going to have to say the team could've chosen a better story.

sunnylauren August 31, 2015 6:26 PM


I guessed that the old man would be evil...based on the title, the little I know of H.P. Lovecraft, and the setup of the game itself. But what actually happened?

Obviously he murdered the mafia men, but how? What was that creepy yellow-eyed thing going on when he came out of the house? Was he a werewolf? Demon-possessed? Just an old man who got away with murder?

It was hard to feel sorry for the mafia men, because

They didn't really deserve murder, but at the same time they kind of deserved what they got for trying to take advantage of and rob an old man.

sunnylauren August 31, 2015 8:09 PM replied to Dora

Thanks for the response!

So I guess we're not supposed to know what the old man was or how he killed them. I guess to me he just seems like a crazy old man, brain fried from age and horrific sights on the sea, with extensive knowledge on how bodies look when they're just washed up. Or maybe he's a werewolf.


Lovecraft was like that. All of his stories are sort of vague in the particulars of the horror. Lots of them leave out the actual horror altogether. He uses a lot of characters that "come back changed" or "saw things too terrible to describe". And, when it comes to the actual monster or terrible event, that's all you get. It actually bugs me a lot. I don't like reading his stuff, for all that I sort of dig the eldritch nature of it, because most of his stuff boils down to, "I saw some nasty stuff, and it killed old Fred, so you bugger right off, then, but I have been changed by it, so I'm going to go fight it and die, and you'll never see me again."


It's about as abrupt and inexplicable as its source material. In one way, it makes it hard to blame the game. In another, it kinda makes me want to ask, "Why use this source material?"


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