The Cat Lady

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The Cat Lady
The Cat Lady video game poster.png
Developer(s) Harvester Games
Publisher(s) Screen 7
Designer(s) Remigiusz Michalski
Composer(s) Michal Michalski
Engine Adventure Game Studio
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Linux
Release
  • WW: December 7, 2012
  • WW: April 20, 2014 (Linux)
Genre(s) Psychological horror, graphic adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Cat Lady is an indie psychological horror graphic adventure video game developed by Harvester Games for Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Overview[edit]

The protagonist is Susan Ashworth, a chronically depressed, middle-aged woman with no friends. She hates flowers, and her only companions are stray cats, whom she summons to her flat by playing her piano. She is known in her neighborhood as the cat lady.

One night, Susan decides to take her own life, but this leads her to explore a strange place in death where she encounters the Queen of Maggots, who grants her immortality and gives her the task of ridding the world of five psychopaths referred to as the "parasites".

Susan then returns to the world of the living to wake up in a hospital bed and is soon forced to carry out her task. She meets Liz in the hospital, a friendly nurse unhappy with her job, who tells Susan her "daughter" saved her; much to the chagrin and annoyance of Susan, who has no daughter. Annoyed by the hospital's constant druggings and wanting to get home, Susan attempts to escape, only to be stopped by Doctor X - the hospitals' psychiatrist. She reveals her feelings and past to Doctor X, and tells him how Liz killed herself the night before. Doctor X, knowing Susan is aware of Liz's death, traps and kills Susan. She awakes later in some kind of hidden torture basement to the screams of another victim. Upon searching around, she discovers that Doctor X kills his patients to reform them as artwork. Susan then leaves, possibly after killing Doctor X.

She returns to her house, attempting to return to her normal life. Whilst summoning the cats, she receives an angry complaint from a neighbour, who threatens to call pest control. After this, she meets Mitzi, a young, homeless woman willing to be her new roommate. She had lied about being Susan's daughter merely to save her life. When Susan sees the Queen of Maggots behind Mitzi, she realises she is close to death, leading Mitzi to reveal she has cancer. Susan learns that Mitzi had a boyfriend named Jack who was driven to insanity upon learning of her cancer. He stumbled upon a suicide forum online, in which a troll called the "Eye of Adam" lured people to kill themselves using a mixture of two household chemicals. Jack has attempted to persuade her into it, though Mitzi had refused, leaving Jack to kill himself. Mitzi insists that she just wants to find the person, who is in the flat, to "talk" with them before she dies. Soon after, Susan investigates outside after hearing the cats howling outside, only to be kidnapped by the pest controller.

Susan awakes in the pest controllers' house, tied to a table. The man reveals he is sexually attracted to Susan, and had previously sought after other women, though his wife then interrupts and pours bleach over Susan's face. The pest controller, seeing Susan so bloodied, loses interest in her and abandons her with a gun, unaware of Susan's immortality. Susan awakes and finds the house littered with cat and human meat. She unsuccessfully calls the police and then Mitzi, asking for the chemical combination used by Jack, and uses this to murder the couple.

Upon returning to the flat, Susan and Mitzi slowly reconcile and become friends, and Susan agrees to help Mitzi find the Eye of Adam. When having coffee, Mitzi naively asks Susan if she has children, unknowingly bringing up her pained memories. After breaking a mug, Mitzi attempts to apologise before Susan angrily walks out, only to be murdered by a man pretending to offer flowers. Susan awakes on some kind of dock, her in limbo state between life and death, where she has to blow out another candle to reveal another death.

Awaking in the flat, she is tied to Mitzi in the bath, where they fail to escape. Susan reveals her hatred for flowers; ten years ago, she was young mother to Zoe, married to a taxi driver named Eric. One night, whilst Eric was working, Susan was at home with Zoe. She spoke to a man on the phone, supposedly her admirer, who sent her flowers whilst she was married. Susan hid the flowers in Zoe's room with the window open. Eric returned home, angrily informing Susan of a terrorist attack happening earlier that day, nearly killing him. Susan was oblivious to this as she was talking to her admirer, who promptly called to interrupt the conversation. Whilst Eric and Susan argued, Zoe's rare allergy to pollen reacted with the pollen coming from the flowers, eventually killing her. Susan also reveals to Mitzi that Eric was found dead shortly after, leaving her alone and depressed in the same flat.

The man returns, untying Susan and hanging Mitzi from the ceiling, attempting to kill her. The man orders Susan to play the piano for him, summoning the cats, who eat him. Susan unties Mitzi, and they set out trying to find the Eye of Adam. Whilst searching, they meet Joe and Ivy Davis from Downfall, an old man, and a young mother with her baby - which Susan finds uncomfortable.

The game deals with mature themes such as depression, suicide, murder and cancer, but also provides moments of humor and hope.

The ending of the game is slightly modified based on player's choices.

Cast[edit]

The game has English-only voice acting.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic81/100[1]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Adventure Gamers4.5/5 stars[2]
GameSpot8/10[3]

The Cat Lady received generally favorable reviews. It received an aggregated score of 81/100 based on 11 reviews on Metacritic.[1] Keven Van Ord of GameSpot gave the game a very positive review, and concluded it by saying, "If you seek horror, The Cat Lady may sometimes freak you out, though probably not outright scare you. But that horror is in service of a touching character portrait—a portrait that's authentically, poignantly askew."[3] The game won Best Story in the 2012 Aggie Awards.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Cat Lady for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ McGovern, Merlina (December 12, 2012). "The Cat Lady review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b VanOrd, Kevin (January 22, 2014). "The Cat Lady Review". GameSpot. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ Adventure Gamers 2012 Aggie Awards The Cat Lady wins Best Story. February 20, 2012

External links[edit]