Cattus Atrox

by David Cornelson profile

Horror
1998

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Number of Reviews: 5
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
They didn't skimp on the Atrox., September 16, 2011
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: horror, Inform

It's probably hard for anyone to tell a really convincing story about a small lion pride stalking an innocent man through the suburbs one evening at the behest of a psychopath, but this is the subject matter of Cattus Atrox. Some of Cattus is pulse quickening, much of it is inexplicable, and a lot of it is very funny. Some folks would say that hilarity (either intentional or unintentional) has no place in a horror game, but I think horror and humour are weird emotional cousins, and there is something about this game that I found both intense (sometimes) and hysterical.

For half Cattus's length, I fled cleverly through the foggy night streets while killer lions and 'Karl' harassed me. Then I typed 'wait' about ten times while a beautiful lady conveyed me to safety, or at least to another location. (This is one of those games where you have to type 'wait' an awful lot.) During this gust of confidence, I found myself thinking, "The reviews of this game are wrong. It's totally playable and solveable." Then I found myself dying repeatedly in a drug induced (in the game!) stupor, which seemed inescapable. Then I turned to the walk-through, and then I realised that the other reviews were right. I don't think anyone could divine the series of actions leading to the solution of this game. Some crucial objects aren't mentioned in the room descriptions and tons of objects which would seem to be of help to you are just never implemented. The playing area may be large, but it's also samey and mostly painted-on.

I also discovered I was about 50 moves too late to even be trying to get off my fatal path. I don't mind learning from being killed, in fact sometimes I quite enjoy it, but it was galling in Cattus because of everything about the game that was revealed in one fell swoop when I had to turn to the walk-through -- at which point I just typed in the walk-through.

Still, there are a lot of weird little delights in Cattus. I don't think anyone expects a threatening stranger to suddenly reveal that he has a car full of lions. There's preposterous dialogue, leonine gore, crazy plot twists, and silly episodes of violence which animal-loving players will find completely objectionable. Some of these elements seem to belong in the world of the game, others have been added without care. This makes the whole a bit of a mess, and while Cattus is not a good game by conventional standards, the particular concoction which is Cattus Atrox is certainly that particular. In terms of its playability, though, I'd say it's guaranteed to aggravate any player cocky enough to persist with it in the belief they can solve it off their own back.