Clive Barker's Undying

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Clive Barker's Undying
Undyingcover.jpg
Developer(s) DreamWorks Interactive (PC)
Westlake Interactive (Mac)
Ratbag and Capstar Games (Linux)
Publisher(s) EA Games (PC)
Aspyr (Mac)
Monolith Productions (Linux)
Designer(s) Clive Barker
Writer(s) Clive Barker
Engine Unreal Engine 1
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
  • NA February 21, 2001
  • EU March 16, 2001
Mac OS X
Genre(s) First-person shooter, psychological horror
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution CD-ROM

Clive Barker's Undying is a first-person shooter psychological horror video game. It was the last game developed by DreamWorks Interactive before becoming EA Los Angeles, and released in 2001 by EA Games. Noted horror author Clive Barker was consulted in shaping the game's plot and background story and also provided the voice of Ambrose, a character in the game.[1]

Undying follows the adventures of 1920s Irish paranormal adventurer Patrick Galloway as he investigates the mysterious occult happenings at the estate of his friend Jeremiah Covenant.

Plot[edit]

The game begins in 1923, after World War I veteran Patrick Galloway receives an urgent letter from his friend Jeremiah Covenant. Covenant, well aware of Galloway's reputation for dealing with occult matters, is in failing health and raves about a curse that has destroyed his entire family. Galloway travels to the Covenant estate on the coast of Ireland to visit his friend, who relates an outlandish tale of supernatural terrors.

Jeremiah Covenant is one of five children, along with his siblings Ambrose, Lizbeth, and twins Aaron and Bethany. As children, the Covenants found a strange occult book in their father's library and performed a ritual found within at an ancient set of standing stones located on an island on their family's extensive estate. This seemingly childish game however, brought the wrath of evil forces upon the family. After reaching adulthood, the Covenants fell one by one into madness and then death, eventually leaving Jeremiah as the only survivor. The power of the curse, however, has reanimated his fallen brothers and sister as monsters of pure evil; they have been haunting Jeremiah and he fears that he will soon follow where they have gone.

Galloway decides to honor his friend's wishes by trying to stop whatever was set in motion long ago at the ancient stones where the ritual was performed. Through the Covenants' journals and Galloway's own memories, the player learns more about the nature of the curse and the creature behind it: The Undying King, a powerful demonic presence threatening to destroy the reality we inhabit.

While attempting to prevent the Undying King from entering our world, Patrick must face off against the four undead Covenant siblings as well as Otto Keisinger, an evil rival who simply wants to gain power from the demonic forces.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay of Undying in general follows the precepts of the first-person shooter genre. The game simulates the main character's (Patrick Galloway's) point of view for the player, who uses a variety of weapons to defeat enemies within the game while making his or her way through a series of levels. As with most FPSs, Galloway has a certain amount of health, represented by a cross symbol and corresponding number at the bottom center-left of the screen. Each time the player is hurt by an enemy the health number is continually reduced until it reaches zero, at which point Galloway dies - an event which is usually marked by a unique to each enemy type third-person cut scene which shows his gruesome final moments. To prevent this, health can be replenished when low using health packs. Patrick's maximum health can also be increased when using the alternate mode of a certain weapon, however it drains quickly back to the standard amount of health.

In Undying the player is capable of using both conventional weapons and magical abilities simultaneously.

Another aspect of the gameplay of Undying - and one which makes it somewhat similar in terms of ambience to traditional role-playing video games - is that along with its set of offensive weapons, the player is able to use a wide range of magical spells. Spells consume a certain amount of Galloway's magical energy, or "Mana", which is represented by a flask icon and corresponding number on the bottom center-right of the screen. This energy slowly regenerates itself over time. Magical tatto pickups called "Arcane Whorls" permanently increase mana regeneration rate, while amulets called "Mana Wells" increase maximum mana by 10 up to 200. Once the player acquires a spell, it may be boosted in power each time the gamer finds an "Amplifier Stone", which are purple glowing crystals scattered throughout levels of the game. The player can simultaneously wield weapons in his left hand and cast magical spells with his right; the power of both the weapons and the spells increase accordingly as the game progresses.

Also, as is common with first-person shooters, combat is interspersed with simple puzzle-solving elements which usually involve overcoming an obstacle (such as a locked door) which impedes the player's progress through the game. Along with the usual "find the key" solution, the player is also often required to engage in conversation with non-player characters, or use a certain spell (usually the "Scrye" spell) in order to find out how to proceed.

Development[edit]

Originally, the protagonist of the game was to be "Count Magnus Wolfram", a tattooed man with superhuman strength and supernatural abilities. Barker himself rejected this idea, noting that the more normal, down-to-earth Patrick Galloway would be easier to relate to for the average gamer. Wolfram's character model plays a small part in the finished product, however. He is the Trsanti shaman who attacks a younger Galloway with the Gel'ziabar Stone in the opening cutscene flashback.[2]

Undying lacks any form of multiplayer, including cooperative play or online play. The game was originally planned to ship with a multiplayer aspect, but given time constraints it was later to be relegated to a post-release patch.[citation needed] With the poor sales performance of Undying, however, even this belated implementation was never realized.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Clive Barker's Undying had generally very well reviews by critics, with receiving an average score of 85 on Metacritic.[3] On GameRankings.com Clive Barker's Undying is the number one fantasy first-person shooter. [4]

GameRankings (PC) 84.35% [5]

GameRankings (MAC) 90.00% [6]

Metacritic 85% [7]

IGN 90% [8]

GameSpot 9.1 [9]

Giant Bomb 4/5 [10]

Sales[edit]

Undying was critically well-received, but sold poorly with sales so low that announced plans for a multiplayer patch were abandoned. Console versions of the game were also cancelled, and EA and Brady Bell reportedly shelved the idea of a sequel.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]