Clive Barker's Jericho
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2014)|
|Clive Barker's Jericho|
|Release date(s)||NA October 23, 2007
EU October 26, 2007
AUS November 7, 2007 (PC)
AUS November 8, 2007
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, psychological horror|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Clive Barker's Jericho is a first person shooter psychological horror video game with author Clive Barker providing the premise of the storyline. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2007.
Jericho 's core gameplay consists of leading the game's seven-man team codenamed Jericho, allowing control of all team members by jumping to each character during certain points in the game, through various environments that have been warped by the Firstborn while fighting off a variety of twisted creatures.
The game also features several "survival events" where the player must press the corresponding buttons or keys shown on screen in order to successfully survive. Additionally, each team member has both a primary and a secondary attack, either in the form of an alternate fire such as a grenade launcher on a rifle, or a secondary weapon such as a sword or pistol that can be dual wielded. While the game is a first person shooter, the ability to control different members of one's squad adds a tactical element; players must determine which squad member is appropriate for each particular job. Not only does each squad member have different strengths and weaknesses, but they also each have a unique ability (or supernatural abilities in some cases). This allows the player freedom in choosing a playing style that suits them throughout much of the game. However, during certain instances, certain characters are unplayable.
The squad's supernatural abilities play a prominent role in the game. The character the player originally controls is a psychic healer (medic) with the ability to fully heal fallen comrades that are close to death. Other squad members have other powers, such as summoning a fire demon, slowing time, firing a guided bullet, and leeching life from enemies to add it to one's own.
Certain depictions and ancient scriptures dictate a being created by God in His own image before the creation of Adam and Eve; according to legend, this being was abandoned by its own Creator. Called the Firstborn. God was so disturbed by what He created that He banished it into the Abyss. God then started anew and went on to create mankind, giving the species two sexes, feelings, and love.
The Firstborn, too powerful for even God to keep from breaking into the mortal world, would make seven attempts to escape, each time taking back a piece of the earth to add to its domain and each time sent back to the Abyss. Fragments of time and space would form layers around this domain, linked to this world in the city Al Khali. These layers would entrap pieces of history within its walls, from the time of the ancient Sumerians to World War II. Over time, other great conquerors and civilizations would arrive to claim the city as their own. Eventually, the city was forgotten and buried by the sands of time.
The Department of Occult Warfare was created in the 1930s to combat the supernatural and unexplained. Another purpose was to meet Nazi Germany's own research into the paranormal. One of their most brilliant members, Arnold Leach, was recruited in 1962. However, his unscrupulous behavior and nature would eventually have him expelled. He was marked for assassination, and although the operation appeared to be successful, it seems that he may have survived.
The Jericho Squad is sent to Al-Khali to prevent Leach from opening the breach and unleashing the Firstborn upon mankind once again.
The game begins with General Arnold Leach, a high-ranking member of a secret U.S. organization called the Department of Occult Warfare (DOW), being contacted by the Firstborn, a being that was imprisoned by God at the beginning of time in a patch of reality called the Box. The Firstborn convinces Leach to help it escape from the Box. Leach leaves the DOW, and spends the next twenty years committing acts of great evil to build up evil energy to cause a breach in the Box.
Eventually, a breach is made, and the DOW sends in a Special Forces team called Jericho to seal the breach. Being unable to seal it any other way, they enter the Box to close the breach from within.
Once inside, they must battle the souls of those who have breached the Box in the past; a Nazi officer, a fallen Catholic priest from the Middle Ages, a depraved Roman Governor, and six ancient Sumerian priests (Ninlil and Ki, Inanna and Enlil as well as Nanna and Utu, who were the first to banish the Firstborn but ultimately fell victim to its corruption). Jericho is aided by the souls of those who ultimately resealed the breach each time it was broken.
When they finally reach the point at which they can seal the breach, they decide that they should kill the Firstborn rather than try to reseal the breach, as resealing would just result in them being trapped in the Box and endlessly tortured until the breach was opened again. When Jericho passes into the Firstborn's cavern, they find the Firstborn in the middle of an island on a lake, with Leach tied to a wall. During the final battle between Jericho and the Firstborn, Leach breaks free of his bonds. Angered at the Firstborn’s betrayal, he grabs it and carries it to a tunnel of light, with the fate of both left unknown.
The cavern soon begins to collapse. Jericho jumps into the water and swims as deep and far as they can. The game ends as they emerge from under the water in a vast ocean under an orange sky.
Clive Barker's Jericho received mixed reviews, with critics praising the squad based system, elaborate storyline and Clive Barker's dark style while criticizing the character AI, lack of scares, linear gameplay, abrupt ending and difficulty with certain game mechanics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 65.69% and 63/100, the PC version 64.19% and 63/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 60.72% and 60/100.
On the game's style, Eurogamer stated that "Clive Barker's contribution to the concept and narrative direction of the game will certainly help get the attention of horror fans" while Gamespot noted its "gorgeously creepy visuals and sound." Official Xbox Magazine praised the choice of characters, being "endless fun to switch tactics and experiment with different combinations of powers and weapons for crowd control." However, reviewers complained about the in-game mechanics. Among their criticisms were the poor AI, whereby teammates would die often, requiring the player to heal them regularly. IGN stated: "if the Jericho members' intelligence level wasn't enough of a nuisance for you, there's the actual shooting itself" with Jolt Gaming commenting that the maps were too linear and close.
After being denied a rating in Germany Jericho's uncut version has now received an 18+ rating for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. In 2010, UGO included the game as the #6 in the article "The 11 Weirdest Game Endings".
Rumours about a sequel to Jericho were confirmed when Clive Barker had announced his intention to make a sequel to the game.  In an interview, Barker let slip that plot details include "an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean with exactly 666 children in its hold", and will reveal the fate of the remaining Jericho members, especially Ross, following the death of the Firstborn.
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