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Clive Barker's Undying Review
developer: Dreamworks Interactive
P400, 64MB RAM, 350MB HDD, 16MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 01, 01
|» All About Clive Barker's Undying on ActionTrip|
How can I help you, sir?
I'd like to buy a book called: "A Hundred and One Way to Start A Fight".
... An Irish gentleman whose name eludes me at the moment...
We haven't got that one in stock, sir...
Oh, not to worry, not to worry...
Do you have "Unndying" by any chance?
Yes, that we have sir! The latest PC-CD game from the famous horror novelist, Clive Barker!
I beg your pardon?
No; Belldream Goatcharm... The famous Armenian author.
I think you'll find that it's Clive Barker's Undying.
No, Clive Barker was working on Undying. This is "Unndying" with two "n", by Belldream Goatcharm.
Well, yes... I'm afraid we don't have that one, sir...
Some of you are now probably rolling your eyes and thinking: "reviewer on crack?" Few of you however, recognize the famous Book skit by the Monty Python gang. Well, I have no idea where you can find "Unndying" with two "n" by the famous Armenian author, Belldream Goatcharm, but you can go ahead and pick up a copy of EA's latest horror FPS, Clive Barker's Undying. The game is an Unreal engined fusion of the creative talents of Dreamworks (Steven Spielberg's gaming pet), and novelist, Clive Barker. Hence the title: Clive Barker's Undying... Not exactly KISS, or anything (cough, cough, cough, cough, cough... ad infinitum) spectacular like that, but a decent name to put next to a game... I mean Imagine if it were something like Dejan Grbavcic's Undying (our cheats editor, also known as Dex). No one would buy the game, because they'd break their jaw trying to explain what it is they're trying to purchase...
Set in Ireland of the 1920's, players take on the role of Patrick Galloway, who has been summoned to an ancestral estate by its last descendent Jeremiah. Death has claimed his four siblings (one of whom was his decent-looking sister Lizbeth, but she's a mean zombie now - damn), each who have reanimated intent on slaying their living brother, the last of the family, so as to free the Curse of the Undying King.
In order to save his friend and unravel the curse that has plagued Jeremiah's family, Patrick must embark on five perilous quests before he can uncover the final horror of the estate.
Each quest brings Patrick face-to-face with one of Jeremiah's undead siblings and the strange and wicked creatures the curse has summoned. In addition, Patrick must triumph over his reviled competitor Kiesinger. If there is power to be won by unveiling the mystery of the estate then Kiesinger will try and steal it - and there is much power to be gained. It's up to Patrick to defeat each of Jeremiah's siblings and vanquish Kiesinger in order to quell the Undying King... How 'bout that for a plot setting; is that interesting enough for ya...
Unfortunately, it seemed a bit clich' to me, but don't worry... Later events in the game, and the numerous writings in various journals that Patrick will pick up along the way will gradually immerse you deeper into the storyline... After all, Clive Barker's respectable record of eight novels, his most recent the acclaimed Galilee and nine anthologies including The Book of Blood series, and the seminal "Hellraiser," which he directed and adapted from his own story "The Hellbound Heart" are I think more than enough to make you go: "mmm... maybe I should give this one a go..." And that's all it takes really. Thanks to pioneers like Clive Barker single player FPS genre is coming of age and is finally beginning to take his rightful, sophisticated and more meaningful place in the order of all future media and interactive entertainment. Personally, I'm ecstatic about this possible future trend, especially considering that Jane Jensen's Gabriel Knight II is one of my favorite games of all times...
It might seem like just another marketing stunt to put Clive's name in the title, but it's really much, much more than that... Undying is in many ways a very original FPS game. It would've been less original as a novel, but it's very original as a game. Only a blatant idiot (I wonder how I noticed all these things then) wouldn't see the huge influence that somebody who is not working in this industry had on this game. Everything from the backdrop of the story, gritty appearance of the main character, to the much more complex and intriguing character personalities, well-placed details that improve the air of horror (who'd think that mirrors and animated curtains can add so much atmosphere), and some great directing, suggest that Clive Barker indeed had a lot of influence on the designing process. The end result is in many ways a positive step in the right direction for the genre - it's a relatively deep and immersing story set in the green fields of Ireland in between two of the bloodiest wars in the human history. Luckily, the hero doesn't look like he's been on steroids and "Stairmaster" all his life, and that helps to further set the tone of the game. Now, add to this the spectacular musical score (Bill Brown's work -- only Outcast had better music), and the vivid and very-well performed voice acting --- Patrick Galloway speaks in a thick, believable Irish accent, mix it all up, and what you get is a unique blend of great horror work and decently performed game design.
8.8 Very Good
Immersive, moody, pretty, pretty scary, and deep... Clive breathes some fresh life into the genre;
Linear gameplay can be a turn off... AI glitches. Ineffective spells, needs more weapons (relative con's - it's a matter of taste).