Written by  :  Frankenfed (36)
Written on  :  Feb 16, 2009
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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Clive Barker's S&M Ghostbusters

The Good

This game is possibly the most fun and gory fps I've ever played. Although I'm not a big admirer of the fps genre - too many stupid plot lines, samey gameplay mechanics, macho indifferent characters, cliched bosses and boring level design themes, this one manages to get everything right.

Clive Barker's contribution here is probably the most characteristic aspect of the game giving it a rotting different soul from every other run-of-the-mill shooting game. He manages to spread his diseased ideas over -of course-the story but also on the splattered graphics, the haunting music and the over the top psychic powers of the Jericho squad.

The story is based on some metaphysical ideas of Barker about an abomination(the firstborn) that God created before mankind and banished it to dwell forever in another dimension. This entity envious of God's new creation, humanity, tries to break through to earth via a place called Al-Khali, by contacting depraved men and tricking them into committing bloody rituals for opening the dimensional gate. All attempts have failed till now cause of a secret magical sect opposing the firstborn but now for yet another time Al-Khali has resurfaced and shown new magical activity on its ground. So here comes the Jericho team, modern successors of the ancient protective sect.

W-O-W what a concept! Even though compared to a book maybe sound simple, for an fps game shines like a supernova in a cosmos of black voids. The similarities to Ghostbusters movies are striking throughout the game, although the team is more of the leather-clad goth persuasion and the environment instead of urban is a middle-eastern excavation ancient site. Even the first boss reminds me a bit of the Sumerian Gozer the Gozerian from Ghostbusters 1. That said, the similarities go a bit further into that this is not exactly a horror game. It may sound a bit awkward but the whole squad based gameplay eases the loneliness or depression into a more relaxed albeit sinister adventurous ride and the horror atmosphere is replaced by a mysterious and grotesque descent into hell by a band of misfits who make fun sometimes on the way. And that's in my opinion the most Clive Barkeristic aspect of the game, that it puts you into this extra-dimensional world made of deformed flesh and makes you feel at home with it, makes you compromise with the unspeakable. Every character in this game is somewhat cursed and you eventually sympathise with the rejects of this world. But enough blathering..

So what about the graphics? This is the most crucial part of the game, otherwise this whole feeling of other-worldliness, skinned-flesh walls and eerie corpse-pile ruins would collapse into a cheesy unplayable mess. But the new graphic engines and care full design, minimalistic at places and full of blood in others, manage to deliver the gore masterfully. It's a wholly new bloody gaming experience. The Jericho team is well designed so they not seem like blackish overblown rag-dolls and the enemies full of pestilent details. I could go on ranting about places and effects but lets skip these to the next aspect:

The sound is on the mark, with the effects being brilliantly realistic, like Delgado's (a squad member) machine-gun which when it starts firing it feels really heavy and lethal! (ugh!). The music is good, with some children chants (kyrie eleison) , some military drum music and some Ennio Morricone-like soundtrack but on the horror side, when you advancing levels in the game.

The last bit of my review, is about the gameplay. Being my first squad-based fps I enjoyed immensely. There are so many choices in magical abilities and weapons between the team members, so many different tactics to accomplish a mission that I never got bored. Resurrecting team members, having a sniper, a sword wielder and a heavy tank(Delgado with the machine-gun) gives the notion of an RPG-based team ,and felt like playing with other people while controlling one character. The AI is pretty good most of the time,of both the enemies and the team. Another good aspect of the gameplay is that the better aim you have the most quickly the enemy goes down,sometimes with their heads a-poppin'. An aspect that another FPS of the time(Bioshock) ignored completely making the battles so boring that I had to quit it. FPS GAMEPLAY FUN IS IN AIMING ! Of course its also on the variety of weapons and tactics and as I said this game has lots. Also the game has some cut-scenes where you have to press quickly arrow buttons. Although some people found it irritating and a waste of time, I found that it added to the immersion in the game since it offered a small change in gameplay and these cutscenes are gruesomely fun!

The Bad

I'm getting bored writing so much on the good side of this game so let me say the few minor drawbacks.

1)The first 3 levels are so interesting and well designed that the last 2 being of the same quality as the first seem a bit less interesting. Not so much though since these two have nice aspects and nicely horrible touches and details.

2)The enemies of the game don't have enough variety and after some point they keep repeating. Since this is a small game this isn't so negative, but if it continued for 2-3 more levels then it would become boring.

3) The game is small. Some people like to play a game for many days. This will last 2-3 days but for me it was like a movie and it ended on the right place and right time ,so that it doesn't drag.

4)The last stage and ending- it's not so spectacular, it's good but it needed more cutscenes to explain more things and make a cinematic finale. The end credits fall too quickly leaving you desiring more and explaining nothing.

Overall a sequel is needed, with more enemies and explanations, to amend for these sins.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line-Play it! I really can't understand the dissing this game got in the press. Well I guess they had to put to it low scores so that everyone would buy that failure of a game Bioshock whose company had paid game reviewers affluently. For me it is probably the last fps I've played till a worthy sequel comes out. My holy trinity so far is 1)Undying, 2)Dark corners of the earth, 3)Jericho, with the last surpassing in fun and replayability both of the former, becoming the ultimate fps experience for me. Unlocking goodies will make me come back to this game. This is made easier cause every little stage in each of the 5 parts can be played individually to gain access to art and information. And it's FUN.