- Platform: Windows 98 / Me / 95
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- Media: CD-ROM
This game is terrifying beyond all belief. Not since Silent Hill has there been a game so utterly nerve wracking. I have played games that were designed to scare you, but this, from the mind of horror master Clive Barker, will have you trembling in your seat. Unexpected occurences, such as monsters bursting through walls, the ground suddenly falling out from under you, terrible shrieks that sound like they came from right behind you....you walk into a dark room and see nothing. The door slams shut, you turn around......the beast standing there will take your head off if you aren't fast enough!
Crisp, beautiful graphics that look great even on older video cards (such as Voodoo 3), and incredible sound effects make this game what it is. Very cool weapons, such as the Tibetan War Cannon which shoots a blast of ice at your enemies, and amazing looking spells, such as the ectoplasm, which fires bolts of pure energy at your enemies are just some of the weapons you will use. There is 'duel-weilding', where you hold your weapon in your right hand, and your left hand is free for spell casting. Spell power can be upgraded through 'Mana Wells' found throughout the game. Helpful items such as 'Ether Traps' can keep monsters at bay while you try to find your way out!
The story is rather good, but there are many events in the game that will get you sidetracked while you are trying to perform a task asked of you by one of the NPC's, and then all of a sudden you find yourself being led one way by something else when you are trying to go the other way.
There are some other annoying aspects, such as being unable to backtrack, so if you miss something, thats it, you've missed it. Doors will often shut behind you, and will be unable to be opened again. There are also many doors throughout the game that cannot be accessed until much later in the game, where you will find yourself scrambling around the many beautifully detailed areas in the game, trying to find them again. There are quite a few monster types in the game. However, at some parts, these monsters respawn at an overwhelming rate, and some of these creatures are VERY difficult to kill because of their unique skills.
The inventory system and weapon selection systems were rather annoying as well, with the '1' and '2' keys cycling forward and back through weapons respectively, and '3' and '4' to cycle through spells. There is a button that allows you to access a 'weapon wheel' where all weapon icons are displayed on screen, allowing you to pick which one you want. However, if you have to quickly switch weapons in a tense situation, both methods are rather difficult to pull off.
Despite those gripes, the game itself is very good. The monsters are scary, the ability to cast a spell that shows you things that are not normally there, such as ghosts and alterations in the scenery, which will help you understand the story, or just plain terrify you, add to the atmosphere and mood of the game. If you are a fan of horror and FPS games, this one is for you! Not for the weak of heart! Difficult controls, but all in all a good game!
Single Player First Person Shooter
Graphics: Beautifully detailed and textured environments. Awesome creatures with uncanny realism. Cool special effects and plenty of blood!
Sound: Enemy and ambient sounds are among the best I've heard. The voiceover is tight, most notably being Aaron (the ghostly brother). I read that Clive Barker himself is the voice of Ambrose (one the main characters in the game) and he too, does an admirable job.
Gameplay: Most your basic FPS elements with an interesting twist on accessing your weapons & spells. The wheel-based selection system takes some getting used to, but is quite effective during battle (the game also allows you to use a more conventional system of hot keys if you prefer). Fighting creatures in Undying stands apart from the crowd when the player (you) gets hit. Blood splatters on the screen and your view is knocked in the direction from where the impact came. Very Cool! Most puzzles are rather easy except for a handful that will have you scratching your head and feeling silly once you figure it out.
Presentation: The game comes with the normal PC stuff (jewel case and manual = sigh). However, Undying does come with a big diary full of back story on the family and is extremely well written.
Pros: Just read anything I or nearly all the game reviewers are saying. Hands down the early pick for game of the year.
Cons: A little short for my liking, but that's a PC game issue in general. You'll get longer play with some console games, but few as fun as Undying.
You definitely won't be sorry if you get this game. Maybe scared.... But not sorry.
After playing the game for about two hours, I am completely lost in the big Irish mansion (well, actually, I just opened the wrong door and I am now lost in some lower dimension), running low on health and have "died" about 4 times already but I like this game. The game's engine is wonderful: The lighting effects, textures and character movement are great. The plot is also wonderful; it's the main reason why I don't get that sense of futility that comes with playing mediocre games.
This game does have the familiar "find the key" type puzzle but it does not have the standard "run - jump - shoot" action of most FPS games. Undying is more like a "walk - investigate - what happened to the lights? - duck! - that's not my reflection in the mirror! - NOW run" type of game. This game adds many Barkerish touches (the long gloomy hallway with the white curtains wafting gently across it - pure genius.) that add to Undying's quality.
Aside from the care taken by Undying's creators to provide the right atmosphere, the user interface is very easy to understand and configure. The dual weapon/spell control is a little daunting at first, but I am getting used to it.
One reviewer compared this game to "Resident Evil". That game is a mess that bored me to tears. Undying is a really engrossing, spooky adventure. Electronic Arts and Mr. Barker have created a superior gaming product that is well worth Amazon's price and my prediction is that it will be popular for many years.