February 28, 2001
Let me say this right off the top. Clive Barker's The Undying is one game to keep an eye on. Not only is it a great looking First Person Shooter (FPS) but it is attempting to bring in a detailed storyline, different quests, magic and mythical creatures all into one game. I guess it's similar to Hexen and Heretic in style and goals, but this game looks much better. With Dreamworks Interactive developing the title and Electronic Arts publishing The Undying should be a chart topper.
The storyline for The Undying is as follows. The time is February 1923. Magnus Wolfram is a bear of a man, a grizzled adventurer and investigator of the supernatural. When he receives a letter from a World War I comrade, Jeremiah Weedhaven, pleading for help at his estate in western Ireland, he cannot refuse, and is further intrigued by rumors of strange nocturnal happenings in that region. He arrives to find Jeremiah on his deathbed, crippled by cancer. His friend tells a strange tale, how 26 years ago he and his brothers and sisters had read a ritual from a book. Something had answered, promising them power. Jeremiah had bound the book, frantically, for as long as the five of them lived; now he, the last of them, is dying.
As Jeremiah weakens, his siblings are returning from the dead, animated by the chaotic forces Jeremiah has been holding back. The grounds of the Weedhaven Estate become a battleground as his brothers and sisters, and one opportunistic magician, vie for supremacy, each employing their own servants and their own strategies. The Weedhaven Estate itself distorts within, becoming a surreal, twisted version of a house, a sprawling, writhing thing of galleries, mezzanines, towers, drawing rooms. Magnus must battle each one, learning sorcery and gaining in power as he searches deeper and deeper into the Estate to uncover the past, and understand what it is he faces.
As one sibling after another falls, Magnus journeys deeper into the house, into a dreamlike space. Far beneath the world, he uncovers the beginning of this saga: in the prehistoric past, a spell cast in a circle of standing stones, the last bid of a dying culture to stay alive; an Undying King, whose presence is the last foothold of the Old Gods of the earth.
To help you on your quest you are armed with 16 magic spells, 8 of which are offensive and 8 of which are defensive. The range of weapons is also impressive with 8 different guns including Shotguns, Molotov Cocktails, Tibetan War Cannon and the Scythe of Brennus. These spells and weapons will be used to defeat over 20 different creatures which inhabit the land. Their variety is impressive. What hasn't been announced yet is if this game will include a multi-player mode on the Playstation 2. The system is certainly powerful enough, but the gameplay may be geared more to a single player experience.
One thing that is certain is the visual quality in this game. Using the Unreal graphics engine, on the PC at least, has allowed the developers to concentrate on developing the levels, gameplay and intense graphical detail. The game should run fairly smoothly as a result, and if the explosions are anything to go by then this should be one very exciting game.
With so many FPS games (including Red Faction, Unreal Tournament, and of course Quake III Revolution) all expected to be released by mid 2001 on Playstation 2 it won't be a surprise to skip The Undying. But don't. The game uses the Quake III engine, has a great storyline and looks quite stunning. With Dreamworks Interactive and Electronic Arts working on the title for almost 2 years it's hard to see this game failing to impress. The usually very quiet August for gaming is now looking a whole lot more exciting thanks to Dreamworks Interactive and Electronic Arts. Thanks guys.