CoC5 7

Alone Against the Wendigo (1985)

After playing though, and thoroughly enjoying, the Call of Cthulhu solo adventure Alone Against the Dark, I had high hopes for Alone Against the Wendigo (1985). Those hopes were quickly dashed about as thoroughly as if they had been dropped from a great height onto a snowy mountain below.

You’re heading up an expedition into a mysterious valley in the Northwest Territory of Canada to find…something. Your fictional professor isn’t terribly picky about what they discover, so long as it results in fame and fortune (the professor’s name is Nadelmann, and I really want that to be a sly reference to TED Klein’s novella “Nadelman’s God,” but I am probably giving the author too much credit).

The prose of the adventure is straightforward and right away, that told me that something was wrong. Like, way too straightforward. It reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure. And I don’t mean that as a broad term for a category, I mean the children’s books. There is no attempt at atmosphere or building a sense of horror.

One of the very first decisions in the story puts you stumbling on a Mi-Go mining operation, which doesn’t do much to shake up the protagonist or the aliens. If you run away, they just ignore you. There are also pygmies, a hidden valley full of dinosaurs and sasquatch (ugh so many big foots this week). Eventually, I got caught in a loop that kept dumping me back into sections I’d already completed. There is a Wendigo storyline, but it is damn hard to get to with all the other distractions vying for attention (and possibly killing you) first.

I should have known from the cover. It always bothered me. The lady seems like she is in a nest in the tree branches instead of on the ground, the perspective isn’t clear so the Wendigo always reads like a giant to me and the dark blue sky in the gap between the branches behind the Wendigo’s nose is too close to the color of his skin, so it looks like he’s got a big pointy honker. Ugh.

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