The Chzo Mythos is a series of four horror adventure games designed and written by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw (better known in current times for his game reviews, Zero Punctuation). The four games are all considered must-plays in the Adventure Game Studio community, and have some of the highest ratings on the site.
Like most games in the adventure genre, the series is heavy on plot (and plot twists), so it's hard to say much about the story without spoiling the fun; basically, the four games chronicle the epic time-spanning story of the ancient eldritch being Chzo, a pain elemental who Yahtzee admits is blatantly inspired by Cthulhu. You play as three different characters throughout the games: Trilby, a cat burglar who gets supernaturally trapped in the Defoe manor in 1993; Jonathan Somerset, the ship doctor on the spaceship Mephistopheles in the year 2385; and Theodore Dacabe, a building inspector in 2189. Although Chzo is the chessmaster, most of the gritty violence and mayhem in the game is performed by his other minions: The Tall Man, an inhumanly stretched, bandaged figure wielding an axe; and John DeFoe, who looks like Jason Voorhees with a welding mask.
On paper the games don't seem terribly creative, but the execution sells them. Yahtzee expertly uses your imagination against you -- although the games do contain gore, they don't actually have much of a body count, and the majority of the horror is sold through the game's use of sound. Unexplainable footsteps haunt you as you wander around the old mansion of the Defoes, you swear you hear someone whispering -- but what are they saying? -- you feel around for a false wall, and you pray to God that nothing's on the other side -- but I won't spoil it. The atmosphere is thick, and it only gets thicker in the final two games, which feature an original score by Mark Lovegrove. His songs are so memorable and fit the series so flawlessly that the premium editions (now available on Yahtzee's website, Fully Ramblomatic, for free) actually contain the soundtrack with commentary from the composer.
The games in order are:
- 5 Days a Stranger
- 7 Days a Skeptic
- Trilby's Notes
- 6 Days a Sacrifice