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Oh. My. God. Hide the kids and get the guns ma! Clive's here!

Review

by Dave "Marauder" Kratky, Mar 25.2001.

Publisher EA
Developer EA
Genre First person horror shooter/adventure
Requirements PII 400, 64 meg ram, 8x CD-ROM, 16 Meg or higher Direct 3D or Glide video card (Sorry Voodoo 2 owners!)
We Recommend Leaving the lights on when you play, and keeping your mommy on speed dial.
The good stuff

The ambience... The monsters.. The weapons... The spells.. the ambience... the music.. the graphics.. the level design... the ambience... the menus.... the story line.... the ambience... the scripted sequences. Best use of the UT engine ever. Pretty impressive locales. Puzzles are not mind blowingly hard.. I like that.

Did I mention the ambience? I think I did.

Things that just suck ass Occasionally annoying jumping puzzles. Multitude of spells and weapons occasionally gets confusing. Nightmares and missed sleep. Running through the same halls a few times in some of the missions. No multiplayer.
Cost

$50-$60 CDN ($45 USD)

You actually pay: A great deal of white hair.

 

Ohhhh my god. Clive Barker is one evil mofo, and it shows in this game. *shiver*

First off, let me say that when I think of Electronic Arts I do NOT think "Horror shooter!"... no, I like most people think.... EA..... Hockey..... Soccer..... Nice games.... Games that don't give you nightmares and keep you up nights wondering when a howler is going to leap down from the rafters and tear your throat out. The last time a game freaked me out this much...well.... half life single player came pretty close, but it didn't have the lasting creep effect. Undying drew me in and kept me hooked right to the bitter end.

When you first enter the game, one of the most noticable things is the amazing level design..... Everything just looks SO good. The attention to detail on the textures and level design is just outstanding. Even the menus and load screens look damned sweet. The maps are very detailed, and very believable. This is one of those rare games that actually feel like you are there in front of that creepy mansion in the rain, or stalking through an old seaside graveyard. The sound effects and music draw you in, and are both creepy and appropriate to the area you are in. The Eternal Autumn neaderthal level has a heavy drum and chanting.. the menus are etheral and erie.... Probably the best music and sfx I've heard in a game in quite some time.

 

Definately the best looking trees I've ever seen in a game.
Man. Some serious attention to detail here.
One of the coolest screenshots of all time. Just opened a portal to the past....
From one of the cut scenes... That's gotta hurt eh?

 

As I mentioned before, Clive Barker is evil. And the storyline in this game is just plain twisted. Basically an old friend of yours has called on you to solve the mystery of the family curse... A curse that has killed everyone else related to him..... Oddly enough they don't seem to want to stay dead and are back to cause some trouble.... For the family, you, and ultimately the rest of the world as well. Naturally you aren't about to let this happen and prepare to lay in some serious beatdown.

On your quest you will travel through a large number of various localles, including the Covenant family mansion, crypts, a light house (outdoors scenes GOOD!), caves, bandit bases, another (really nasty) dimension, the isle of standing stones that caused all the problems in the first place, an ancient ruined monestary and a few others... You will venture into the past in search of powerful artifacts.... And the attention the detail in the levels, as mentioned is excellent, and very believable.

 

Woops, looks like Mary Poppins got stuck in the chimney again!
Another example of just how lovely this game is..

 

This game comes loaded with a wide variety of weapons, from your stock in trade revolver and shotgun to ancient and powerful weapons like the Scythe, Speargun & Tibetan War Cannon. I think my favorite has got to be the Scythe. It packs one HELL of a punch, especially against magical creatures.... and you can cleave them in twain..... That's a good thing for those of you who failed 10th grade English. :) One of the neat things about this game is that you can use various ammunition in your firearms. There's standard and silver bullets for the pistol, silver bullets of course putting down unnatural oponents with a single shot rather than wasting tons of ammo. The shotgun has normal and phosphorus shells, always nice when you've got a pesky undead to fry up in 10 seconds or less.

 

Just another screenie of the Scyth.. Just 'cause it's a sweet, sweet weapon.
Spear gun... Some assembly required, don't try this at home kids.

 

The spells are cool, and learning to use them properly is the difference between life and getting your head ripped off by a flying demon. Spells range from the Shield for defence, and Disapate (Allows you to cancel enemy magic) to the Exploding Skulls spell that lets you throw bones long range and cause massive amounts of damage when they hit..... Scrye allows you to see past events, see in the dark, and sometimes catch site of secrets..... Some really cool stuff. For the most part I used the Scrye, Shield & lightening spells. Zot. :)

Scattered thoughout the levels you'll be encoutering various items to make your life easier. Dynamite, extra ammunition for your weapons, ethertraps to allow you to briefly trap unquiet spirits while you run away and more. Learn what they all do, you're going to need them.

 

Ethertraps. One of the many items you'll find at Crazy Cliff's used demon fighting emporium. Who YOU gonna call?

 

You will encouter a wide variety of enemies in the game, including skeletons (come on, you have to have skeletons somewhere, right?), flying things I can't even describe, demons, gouls, mutant crows, bandits, flying bugs, poltergiests, and of course.... the siblings that would not die to name a few.... Each enemy has a weekness, and once you find it your life becomes MUCH easier. Watch the siblings especially..... when they attack that's when you have to find their weak spot and leverage it. Enemy AI is of the standard run at you shooting type, but if you do run away they're pretty smart and will come after you. Especially those damned Howlers. Interestingly, the human enemies will occasionally trip up as they're running at you. :) Pretty funny to watch a bad ass bandit type run at you screaming and fall flat on his face at your feet. Heh.

A wide variety of enemies.. Including some plants that need a little prunin'
You see quite a few of these friendly little fellas. Here boy! Fetch the dynamite!
There's a skeleton in here, I swear.. it's just really, really dark!
Lizabeth, the first Sibling you have to beat down. Sooo... You like goth girls? Have I got a chick for you! :)
Wow. Cool end boss. :)

 

Not really much to complain about..... damn it....

I really can't find much to complain about in this game... Damn them for all their hard work and making excellent produ..... er.... Never mind, I'm happy I can't find much to complain about! The only things I can bitch about are the jumping puzzles (I hate jumping over the same chasm 20x before I get it right!), and the lack of multiplayer. The second from last level (Eternal Autumn) wasn't as inspired or creepy as the levels before it, but was still very cool and well done. Honestly, I don't think this would be a very good multiplayer game anyhows. :) I'm glad they spent the time on the single player story. There quite a few little graphics glitches when you are using the scrye spell, mostly where you get little lines between textures but that's not really an issue. Didn't cut down on my enjoyment of the game. :)

 

If there is a moon, I WILL post a screenie of it.

 

The final analysis

Excellent game, and well worth playing... Of course if you are easilly terrified, pregnant, nursing or have a heart condition you should probably just be playing the Sims and stay away from this game. Everyone else should get it. I just couldn't stop playing... I wanted to leave work just to play... Didn't want to go to work in the mornings, wanted to stay at home and play. Get it. Play it. Fear it. They left themselves wide open for a sequel in the end... and I hope they make one!