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Clive Barker's Undying (Windows)

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Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5463)
Written on  :  Nov 26, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful

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Above average, story-driven shooter

The Good

Clive Barker's Undying is a well plotted shooter that loses its impact in the final 1/3 of the game. In Undying, you are Patrick Galloway, a man who's life has been touched by the supernatural. An old war buddy has called you to his estate to help him unravel a family mystery. The family story is revealed through journal entries that you find and through a scrye spell that shows how events unfolded in the past. The scrye spell was my favorite part of the game.

While the game plays as a first person shooter, the ability to use weapons with one hand and cast spells with the other is a distinct touch. Some spell/weapon combinations even complement each other. There is little inventory management and the linear design of the game means that you will have access to every weapon and spell.

I specifically liked how each weapon and spell had advantages and drawbacks. The revolver is powerful but has a long reload time; the shield spell is helpful but blocks your vision. Also you have the ability to "amplify" spells through power-ups, which offers a slight degree in variation of gameplay.

Graphically this game was impressive, I particularly liked the lighting in the outdoor areas. Characters looked great and sound was immersive.

AI was passable, the best AI comes from creatures deciding what attacks to use at what range. Also some creatures used cover for protection, but most encounters involve having creatures run straight at you.

The Bad

This game seemed to unravel towards the end. I really enjoyed the game up until the first boss (which was rather far into the game). Tension had been slowly building and I felt significantly challenged. Towards the end of the game, I was simply too powerful. I ended the game with 50+ health packs, most of my spells were maxed out, and I had tons of ammunition. This game lacked the bullet conservation aspect of most "survival horror" games.

This game is also very linear. Innumerable doors are sealed which prevented me from getting lost, but I began to wonder why the designers bothered putting doors in to begin with. I would have enjoyed exploring more rooms even though they might not have had any useful items or information. At the end of the game I felt like I hadn't missed any areas (unlike the Thief series) and feel that there is little replay value.

Finally, bosses were easy to beat. Like most game bosses, there is a method to beating them and discovering the method to defeating these was very easy. Often, I had much more trouble with the ordinary creatures leading up to the bosses rather than the bosses themselves.

The Bottom Line

This game is very similar to Realms of the Haunting but technologically light-years ahead. I really liked most parts of the game and was only really disappointed with the final level. Spells and weapons were great and there were several scary moments. Unfortunately this game sold poorly and it seems that no sequel will be made. Its strengths are its unique spell/weapon system, character models, and price. Its weaknesses are its linear design, lack of replay value, and a weak endgame.