In principle, Atomic-Age Cthulhu should have been great. It’s an official Chaosium supplement for playing Call of Cthulhu games set in the 1950s! You’ve got delicious themes of xenophobia and paranoia under a facade of syrupy-sweet uber-normality! What can go wrong?
Well, the major thing that can go wrong is that it can be a glorified monograph. For those that don’t know about that, this came out under the old Charlie Krank-headed regime at Chaosium, and one of the things they did was a line of monographs written and edited by fans with minimal input from Chaosium and tossed out onto the market with a big fat caveat on it as cheap and cheerful product. (Except the monographs were overpriced for what they were because the Krank regime was bad at business.)
Now, it isn’t unprecedented for Chaosium to turn what had been a monograph into a proper supplement – it happened to Cthulhu Invictus. However, in that case it got a proper layout and editing pass. Here it literally seems like Chaosium printed the monograph and then at the very last minute decided to bind it and present it like a fully-developed supplement, even though the art and layout is clearly extremely rudimentary and the book could have done with some additional editing passes. Even the fonts, paper quality, and general layout look like something more reminiscent of the monograph line (which had heterogeneous layout styles depending on who was doing the layout), rather than resembling the Chaosium house style of the time.
The apparent low level of editing seems to have knock-on effect on the quality of the adventures presented here – most of them could do with a fairly comprehensive tidy-up and rearrangement to better present the information to hand. On top of that, the various contributors don’t seem to have been given that much guidance as to what sort of tone the supplement was going for, so you end up with adventures ranging from fairly purist affairs to cheesy B-movie style action.
Lastly, there’s too many adventures and not enough setting material. There’s a brief guide to the 1950s, but it’s tucked into the back and is too brief – it isn’t extensive enough to feel like it’s giving you much you don’t already know, and it doesn’t seem to have many ideas about how to integrate the Mythos into the era beyond the adventures and adventure seeds offered.
In short, this supplement is a dud. Ignore it.