An example of the finest adventure/horror story in a first person shooter

User Rating: 8 | Clive Barker's Undying PC
Clive Barker's Undying tells the story about an Irish family, that have intervened into to the affairs of the dead and now suffer an ancient curse, by which all of them have turned into undead, ghosts or monsters. The last "living" family member, a friend of yours from WW1 days, summons you to his mansion to investigate the mastery behind his family curse. And so the game begins with you having to learn the mystery of the cursed family, where you will be investigating clues, collecting evidence, taking notes, traveling to distant locations, entering other dimensions or even visiting past time events, meeting various people and creatures of this and other realms, eventually fighting for you live to return for the truth. Basically the game works as one great adventure/horror novel - this is the best part of the game, that simply will suck you in and keep you exploring..

Not to go deeper into the story and spoil - you are an adventurer/wizard, who is capable of doing extraordinary things. Every first person shooter has something that makes it unique in terms of character development, abilities and physics. Just like in most first person shooter, you have an array of weapons, those you can select by clicking a wheel display and then by pointing with a mouse at your weapon - so this is an alternative selection method compared to simply binding weapons.. The weapons themselves are a mix of a standard firing weapons like the pistol, shotgun, molotov bottle and dynamite and magical weapons, like frosting dragon breathe and flaming phoenix eggs. Besides weapons, there is a secondary array of spells at your disposal, those can be accessed either by key bindings or by another wheel display. You can imagine what list of spells a standard wizard might have at his disposal - from typical spells like magic arrow, haste, low vision, to most powerful like flying and summoning skulls; so, you have both - spells and weapons at the same time and can mix them in combat situations, although not simultaneously.. You character will move responsively and well animated and you will a have a journal, where you will collect information .

The game levels are always innovative and never boring - either you spend time searching for secrets in the great mansion with many many doors and corridors, traveling through green valleys up mountains, going underground, visiting forgotten ruins or even entering other magical worlds - you will always appreciate that there are no same looking objects and linear design. Your magical abilities to see in the dark, see visions of past and hidden clues will only make those levels look more versatile to explore, because there are lots of hidden things in levels what you do not see normally. Finally the ability to fly allows you to reach difficult places and appreciate the design of structures.

Now that you know how different your combat skills are - mixed selection of guns and spells, you will expect challenging adversaries. To say the least your adversaries will challenging to the point, that some will be just frustrating.
Expecting to find many types of monsters in this game, you will find that some of them look and act very good, deliver great and balanced challenge value, while others are unbalanced and deliver poor gameplay experience. One of the worst examples in the game is the basic skeleton - poor development of this entity makes your life miserable, as they are completely overpowered for what you might take them and then you realize that now comes the moment where this game sux. Lucky enough you won't have to face many of them. The skeletons are not the only poor example of development, but others are not that drastically "damaged", and having in mind that many adversaries are really "cool", i can forgive it. The best part about the enemies are the bosses - every boss you will face will leave you satisfied and impressed. With every different attack tactics will be needed, and some bosses won't be alone, but other creatures will accompany them.

Besides the great story, sound in this game is that of the finest quality - it is really well developed for a horror/adventure game - there are lots well placed ambient and rhythm sounds as well as those coming from you and the monsters. The sounds not only will create a great great atmosphere, but will help you to understand clues and hints..

I could not say that the graphics are as superb as sound, but certainly the picture looks good. Clive Barker's Undying visuals kinda remind you that you really live in a fantasy world - the textures are rich, and everything looks deeply colored, shadows are great, lighting is not bad, objects are not the most sketched, but still looking good. And some levels feature great color and composition contrast - like it supposed to be in another dimension.. Certainly Clive Barker's Undying is not the best looking game of 2001, stepping a bit behind Max Payne, Serious Sam or AVP 2, but it is still in the top.

These days, there should not be a problem for anyone to play this game, but i tested in on a popular notebook system - Intel G945 platform with GMA950 graphics - it is unplayable even at lowest settings, so you really need a video card, no less than GeForce 2 GTS...

This game is not perfect, but in the end you will really be satisfied and will forget some of the unbalanced things and glitches you encountered before.
It's a first class horror/adventure game - i guess you should pick it up, if you long for these types of games...