Developer: Dreamworks Interactive / Westlake Interactive (MAC OS)
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Aspyr (MAC OS)
Platform: Windows / MAC OS
Genre: Action / Horror
OFLC Rating: MA
Now for those of you who haven’t heard of Clive Barker he is a well-known author in horror/fantasy, The Hellbound Heart being one of his most notable which was cinemagraphically adapted into the the Hellraiser series. Over the years he has written novels, motion pictures as well as directing them and he has even had a hand at video game design (this being on of them).
Undying uses the Unreal Engine (UE1), the game itself is presented as a first-person action game with various ingame cutscenes (both first and third person). Using UE1 the gameplay is fast-paced much like Unreal Tournament once the action sequences start up.
The story takes place shortly after World War I (or The Great War) in the 1920s where you take on the role of “Paranormal Adventurer” (and WWI Veteran) Patrick Galloway. The opening cutscene (or prologue) shows Galloway en-route via yacht to an estate, during which he explains that he’s on his way to visit an old friend from the war and how he came to his current path. Now without spoiling it for you… Galloway investigates mysterious occult happenings at Covenant Estate at the request of his friend Jeremiah Covenant. Throughout the course of the game you learn of the Covenant family curse, encounter both undead and demonic forces as well as getting a taste of a hellbound experience (pardon the pun). Now the character Patrick Galloway is best described as being cross between Indiana Jones and a Ghostbuster with the Mythbusters’ approach to superstition and the occult. Strangely enough he has in possession the “Gel’zibar Stone” giving Galloway the ability to utilise magic. One of the interesting things about the combat system in Undying is that you can use both weapons and magic simultaneously to unleash some serious devastation. When you have weapons ranging from a revolver, shotgun, to a Tibetan Warcannon and the magic sythe combined with combat magic like Ectoplasm and Skullstorm you can literally obliterate any demon, undead or idiot who’s dumb enough to jump out in front or behind you and say “Boo!”
Aside from having combat oriented magic you also have spells that intended as a puzzle solving actions. The one spell that seems to have an all-purpose use is “Skrye”, telepathic visual aid that allows you to see things from different plains in time (the puzzle side to the spell) and painting auras to provide indication of hostile/friendly presence (great for spotting Howlers hiding behind doors at close range – not that they do).
Given that this is a fast-paced action shooter under the hood driving a horror movie…
So if you have any experience with Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena, it pays to stay sharp and not to sit for too long (one second is all it takes…). Undying does a good job at utilising the fast-paced nature of UE1 and delivering a heart-pounding action while maintaining the nightmare atmosphere. Though this game encourages you to explore, this by no means an open ended game. Undying is scripted and very cleverly I might add. The most basic use of scripting are the “Jammed” doors and gates throughout the game, right down to well written sequences that occur to keep things interesting. Though you are playing a horror game, like all story-driven FPS action games you have what are commonly referred to as “Arenas”, these are areas that will have locked in a particular zone until all enemies have been eliminated. I’ve said this numerous times before, how you approach a game can make all the difference! Treating the action sequences like an intense fight on the online deathmatch circuit will have you nailing anyone and everything looking to give you a grizzly death. Being a horror game you need to stay alert, be ready for anything because the moment you lose your nerve at the worst possible time… It’s game over!
Undying isn’t exactly Hellraiser, but not far from it as you can see some spin chilling moments and visuals that Clive Barker is known for. So putting this fairly…
Clive Barker’s Undying is awesome single player game with a great story driving it, but make no mistake this is by no means for the faint-hearted.