- May 5, 2020
Many of you have heard of the failure-of-a-horror game Clive Barker's Jericho but a few would have heard and even less would have played the 2001 EA horror game Clive Barker's Undying. Which is a mighty shame since this game is a gem of a horror game.
[img_inline align="left" width=350 height=260 Caption="The Covenant Family. Clockwise from center: Jeremiah, Lizbeth, Ambrose, Bethany and Aaron."]http://www.virtualreality.ca/images/Undying-1_800x600.jpg[/img_inline]
The story is moulded by Clive Barker himself so it was as expected very well written(we're assuming Jericho doesn't even exist, obviously) and the characters were fantastically developed. The story is focused on Patrick Galloway, an Irish World War I veteran turned paranormal adventurer who investigates strange occult occurrences at his friend, Jeremiah Covenant's manor. There he learns of a family curse which has already claimed the life of Jeremiah's siblings and now, he (Jeremiah) fears for his life. Now it is up to Patrick to put an end to the curse once and for all. However to do this, he must face-off against the undead reincarnates of Jeremiah's siblings and Otto Keisinger, an evil rival who simply wants to gain power from the demonic forces inhabiting the manor.
The game was a refreshing change of pace from the usual sci-fi stuff which happens all too often in modern horror game (I'm looking at you Doom, Dead Space). It went back to the classical magic-occult storyline which fortunately has not been used to death in the video game industry.
[img_inline align="right" width=180 height=170 Caption="Aaron. The artist of the family."]http://arstechnica.com/reviews/01q1/undying/haunt.jpg[/img_inline]
The game gave me my first introduction into horror games and it did not disappoint me in any way. In fact, at the time of this writing, so far no horror game has come even a little bit close to what this game offered in terms of experience. It had all the elements of horror and puzzle-solving lovingly mixed together. It even had a kill-cam! It worked like this: every enemy has a distinct method of killing and if you run out of health in the middle of battle, then the game presents a cinematic view of what the enemies do to Patrick afterwards. It's nasty. The enemies are as super-natural as they get as you battle demons, trolls, Cathulhu offspring, skeletons and your run-of-the-mill pirates. It's a horror extravaganza. The puzzles are moderately difficult and the encounters with demons are great. Although, the skeletons are overpowered and look very scary in the dark corridors.
[img_inline align="left" width=350 height=260 Caption="The curse's affects on the Covenant Family."]http://www.virtualreality.ca/images/Undying-2_800x600.jpg[/img_inline]
The boss battles are the stars of the horror show. They are really tense and you need to time your attacks perfectly in order to win. Otherwise, you might as well get used to watching a cinematic sequence of Patrick getting brutally mutilated.
This game incorporates System Shock 2's mechanic of dual wield. You have fun, bombastic weapons in one hand and awesome spells in the other. This adds to the tense moments of battle where you have to quickly attack your enemies while keeping an eye on your health, ammo and mana(your magic ammo). As you progress through the game you will find magic crystals and scrolls in almost every level which upgrade your spells to bigger, better versions. These are very important finds as the game gets harder later, so you must be prepared.
Fun to play and as scary as a horror game can ever get. EVER. APPROVED!
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