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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Dreamworks

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q1 2001

 

 

- Some nice visuals and creepy soundtrack

- Uh, time away from reality?

 

 

- TOO MUCH STORY!!

- Annoying load times

 

 

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Clive Barker's Undying

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

Ever wish you could take the monotony of trying to read a horror novel to get to the gruesome parts and combine it with average game play? Well, look no further, here's Clive Barker's Undying. Some would say that it isn't fair to bash a game when I haven't made one – well, crap, you didn't spend money on this piece of pixilated chum. (The CD is currently keeping my drink from staining my computer desk while I write this vengeful rant.) I admit to not being a "huge" fan of Clive Barker, but I have read some of his work and he is a talented writer, but his talents are definitely being wasted on this medium (I'd recommend directing more movies like Hellraiser.) The excessive story of this title is truly hindering, you can't pick up this title and play – the story is so important to the game that any detail could be critically important.

 

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You control Patrick Galloway, an Irishman who survived a "mystical incident" during the first World War and attained a stone imbued with magical powers. Since the "incident," he has become an occult expert – traveling the world witnessing and debunking powers of mysticism. His wartime friend Jeremiah, whose household has befallen terrible horrors including the death of his immediate family, calls him. Anywho, it's your job to discover the truth behind the deaths and stop the vergence of evil that is covering the house. The terrible truth is that his four siblings are cursed and now are trying to kill their brother to release them from some spell, OR, you could go bust some skulls . . . hmmm . . . decisions, decisions. Using whatever weapons you can find with your growing collection of spells, the undead stands no chance, right? Well as long as you don't need to reload. (Who makes an FPS that doesn't have a reload key?).

 

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As I said, the game is a standard 1st person shooter (using the Unreal Tournament Engine) with Galloway able to operate a weapon (or tool) and a spell simultaneously, which is useful when trying to keep those enemies at bay. More importantly, a little bit of strategy is required – you can't just rush in with only one bullet in the pipe, Rambo. The game tries desperately to be a horror flick so expect lots of dark confining 

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passageways paired with a creepy soundtrack and good sound resonance. Gamers are in for some mildly scary action (I'm so jaded that I liked it when the Irishman screamed like a sissy girl). The action at times seems irrelevant to the story – you’re attacked by creatures for no apparent reason (no one else around the house ever seems to encounter these howler monkeys) just to keep your attention.

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The shortcomings for this title are in the story. Every bloody time that you pick up a scrap of paper you are forced to read a ten-page dissertation and its generalized effect on global warming. He writes like a ten year old girl would in her diary, but unfortunately you are forced to sift through that crap in order to figure out what you should do next. This is the most limiting part of the game – where you are forced to take a break from the action in order to read some excessive piece of information because if you don't you'll just be wandering aimlessly looking for something to happen (which might be preferable to talking to some of the other characters). Of additional surprise is the large loading times when moving. Every time Galloway goes through a door you might as well go for a walk because you're gonna be waiting for a bit. It is really distracting to have intentional and unintentional breaks – you can't get into the action.

Clive Barker's Undying is a different sort of game, one where story dominates the action, but in this case to a fault. The art designers have made a visually impressive and aurally stunning experience but it is wasted on a game that most people will not have the patience to play – I certainly don't have it or the time. I can only say that I did not like this game very much and relish the opportunity to begin forgetting about it. However, there are some out there who are big enough fans of Mr. Barker's work to get Undying just because his name is attached to it.

- Tazman

 

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