Clive Barker’s Mind Freaks
July 2, 2007 – Welcome to the mind of Clive Barker, where supernatural powers and the latest in conventional warfare may still not be enough to get you out alive. Jericho is the term given to the team of seven members all equipped with different weapons, as well as different special abilities. We begin our journey as a single character, but soon gain the ability to swap through any of the seven to use each player accordingly.
Jericho allows us to give the basic commands while controlling the other Jerichos from one players standpoint (move forward, hold position, regroup etc.) but also gives us access to play from any one character we choose, be it the exorcist (to enchant weapons), the blood mage (a spell caster who, uh, cuts herself to unleash these powers), the two healers (who keep your time alive time after time), or the telekinetic (who moves objects with her mind).
Strategy will play a large part in this game in at least two ways as you lead the Jerichos to the heart of darkness to save all mankind. Like all war games, you’ll want your machine gunner in front and your sniper in back, but with this team, keeping your healers in a safe position needs to be thought about as well, seeing as only they can revive dead team members. You do have the power to play as any character; however, you have no say in forcing them to use special powers remotely, as you can tell them how to move. They will however, perform their specials automatically, based on the circumstance. Clive Barker’s Jericho is a first person shooter, as you may have already guess, based on the idea that the seven Jerichos hold the fate of the world in their hands while advancing toward an ancient evil in the city of Al-Khali.
We’ve been promised easy control amongst the Jerichos via the pressing of two buttons, so the switch to and from a character should not be a difficult process. We’ll also be able to combine the attacks of more than one Jericho later in the game for a greater, more damaging effect. Expect to face precious opponents lacking in skin, but prevailing in stench. Think a man nailed to a cross to suffer for eternity (see Clive Barker’s Jericho trailer) or perhaps Voldo’s (Soul Calibur) brother, or much of his family for that matter. Though they may be hard to look at, don’t expect a free moment without them. The trailer may not have been hugely packed much information as to what the Jericho’s mission in the game is, or how actual game play will look, but it certainly opened your eyes as to how the visuals will play out. It will be hard to predict, as of now, whether the character switch will be as smooth as promised, and we find that much of the games value and replay value may rest on this aspect of the game itself; but given the level of Clive Barker’s involvement, as well as the beauty of the visuals so far, we can expect that this attribute will be up to par.
To Hell and Back, With Clive Barker
April 25, 2007 – The name Clive Barker conjures many images: uniquely talented author, playwright, and horror icon with a predilection for gore and a flair for the fabulous. Barker originally turned his gore-splattered gaze upon the gaming world and released 2001’s answer to a good night’s sleep, Undying. A genuinely scary game, Undying set the stage and raised the bar for horror games and horror-based FPS. Barker’s unique blend of horror and mysticism returns to the video game market with the upcoming Jericho.
Like much of Barker’s work, Jericho melds the worlds of technology and religion, the profane and the sacred, with plenty of blood, flesh, and BDSM imagery. Once more, the forces of darkness have returned to overtake the world in the name of all things boney and creepy. What better setting for hell on Earth than the Middle East?
The game takes place in the peaceful village of Al-Khali: the site of an ancient city, built and rebuilt, conquered and re-conquered over and over throughout history. This time it’s modern day and the baddies have risen once more to challenge the rule of man. The theme of a hellish megalopolis rising out of the desert is a familiar one for fans of Barker, Harlan Ellison, and anyone who’s been to Phoenix. Humanity responds as it always does in video games: send in the Marines.
These are no ordinary bug-hunting, cigar-chomping, cybernetically-enhanced space marines. This gang of misfits and miscreants share the typical Barker-esque melding of technology and magic. Sergeant Frank Delgado is the typical mini-gun toting brute, except that his right arm is possessed by a flame spirit named Ababanili. Delgado uses this to his advantage by firing massive bursts of fire at his enemies, which is always nice when facing off against a surging horde of hell-beasts. Billy Church is a kitana-wielding assassin, handy with a machine pistol and a head full of voodoo spells. Her spell casting comes into play when healing or enchanting other members of the team. Lieutenant Black is a deadly sniper whose telekinetic abilities allow her to slow down time and alter the path of her bullets. Fans of the sniper rifle in FPS will no doubt wet themselves at the possibilities this presents. Father Paul Rawlings is an exorcist who enchants his weapons to give him a supernatural edge. Captain Xavier Jones uses his clairvoyance to see into the future and head off baddies even before they arrive. Corporal Simone Cole is a hacker who can manipulate time, a very popular attribute in FPS these days. The player even controls the disembodied spirit of Devin Ross, whose corporeally-challenged status allows him to heal other players and to “thread” their spirits together to share their abilities as a group. No ordinary space marines, indeed
One of the most interesting aspects of gameplay is that the player can control each of these characters individually. As with other FPS, the player can switch between the available characters, depending on who is present in the mission. This is particularly important when a puzzle or enemy requires a specific team member’s special ability. Whether pure firepower or acrobatic skill is required, the player will have to cycle through the available team members to make it through alive. There is more to winning in Jericho than mowing down everything in one’s path, however, and coordinating the team’s various abilities will be crucial to the player’s success. The play is varied not just among the members of the strike team, but also in time and space.
The city of pure evil has risen and fallen many times throughout history. Specifically, the player will try to cork the hell-mouth in present day, WWII, the Crusades, the Roman Empire, and the source of the original mess thousands of years before Christ. From the first encounter with the beasties in present-day Al-Khali to the depths of the dark ages, (the really, really dark ages) the action promises to be non-stop, challenging, and, one can safely assume, pretty scary. At the very least, early previews indicate the game is a visual feast.
Atmosphere is key to the horror genre, as a clear, well-lit environment is about as scary as a basket full of napping kittens. The walls drip with ooze, hell, everything drips with ooze. The flesh and bone that make up the beasts guarding the hell-mouth are so detailed you can almost smell the rot. Flames, smoke, and explosions look great in screenshots and it looks like it will all add up to a really menacing atmosphere. Keeping the pressure on and the stakes high is key to any FPS and Jericho looks like it’ll do both quite nicely.
FPS are a dime a dozen these days, so a quality storyline from a seasoned spinner of horror yarns is a welcome change. Couple that with the game’s visual beauty and unique take on character-switching, and Jericho has the makings of a great horror FPS.