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Clive Barker's Jericho
(hx) 08:38 AM EST - Dec,15 2007

I'm a fan of Clive Barker for a long time. I've read almost all his books. Recently, Barker took some time off from writing to work on a new game. He teamed up with publisher Codemasters and developer Mercury Steam (Scrapland makers) to deliver Clive Barker's Jericho - a supernatural horror-themed squad based first person shooter. Story-wise, Jericho is an original concept by Clive Barker. Basically there's an evil chap who's after a God-like creature called the Firstborn because it'll make him incredibly powerful. So, a group of magic black ops soldiers known as the Jericho Squad are called in to stop him. This involves traveling through time, taking out bad guys from history - including Nazis, medieval warriors and fat Roman emperors - in a race to get to the Firstborn and destroy it. You play as the leader of the Jericho Squad, Captain Devin Ross and your soul job is to stop the Firstborn from escaping the ruined city of Al Khali and banish the Firstborn back into the Abyss. You start off at Al-Khali in modern times and quickly jump around the timeline to the days of World War II, The Crusades, Ancient Rome and of course the original domain of the Firstborn back in the 4th Millennium BC.

"In the beginning, God created the Firstborn, God's aborted attempt at creating mankind, an entity neither dark nor light, male or female, both beautiful and terrible to behold. Disturbed by the power of his creation, God left it unfinished, banishing the Firstborn to the abyss, forsaken and unloved."

Jericho's core gameplay consists of leading the game's seven-man team, 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. Each of the characters has his or her special power (magical and tactical abilities; healing, telekinesis and summoning), be it offensive or restorative, and combined with the characters' more conventional weaponry they are deadly to anything that they face.

- Capt. Devin Ross (sub machinegun, shotgun + healing)
- Lt. Abigail Black (sniper + telekinesis allowing you multiple headshots with the one bullet)
- Sgt Wilhelmina Church (UZI, Katana + she can use her own blood to cast spells)
- Cpl. Simone Cole (sub machinegun + ability to hack time and reality)
- Sgt. Frank Delgado (heavy gunner equipped with a minigun and a pistol, grenades + he possesses a demon in his arm which can be unleashed on enemy targets)
- Capt. Xavier Jones (submachine gun + astral projection)
- Father Paul Rawlings (two pistols which are capable of firing three ammo types + exorcisms)

Though a bit awkward at first, cycling through different team members becomes rather straightforward, and you'll definitely want to use their different abilities depending on the situation. The unique abilities of each of the characters can play an important role in different situations. This raises the tactical level of the combat quite considerably, while the very mechanics of using, say, a sword (Sgt Wilhelmina Church) or a chain gun (by the heavy guy, Delgado) seem immersive and intense enough to hold your attention. Another really cool feature of the game is the weapon customization ability. Each team member has unique weapons and abilities, and your ability to switch between the team members puts about 10 to 15 different weapons to your disposal!

Of course, the game is not without flaws. The weakest part of the game is its level design, which is way too linear as you're directed through an endless series of narrow paths and cramped tunnels throughout the game. Exploding bodies never gets old but slogging through similar looking passageways and outdoor areas certainly does. Another my concern with Jericho was the AI of your teammates...there was none! In battles, (which tended to be intense and chaotic, almost arcade-like), your fighters just stand there, out in the open, and fire away (with the end result...they get killed)! As the game progresses, you will at first be ready to deplore the teammate AI for dying so easily. You can revive downed teammates, but there are times when you spend more time reviving than you spend shooting guns! The game also features several "survival events" where you must press the 'arrow' keys on your keyboard in a specific sequence to escape a situation (and you keep repeating this 'exercise' until you get it correct or you can't progress any further). This seemed senseless to me and had no real bearing on the game.

The strongest two points of the game are its perfect sound and a very unique visual presentation. Just looking at the credits you get the notion how much time these people invested and spent in sound studios. Voices are great, battle sounds too and combined with its background ambient sounds it does create a visceral impact on the player. Jericho plays on this fear. It's an experience meant to be played in the dark. And once you see the warped creatures that the Jericho squad is up against, you'll definitely find yourself wondering just what twisted realm Clive Barker lives in! :-) Remember, Jericho is not for everybody and if you feel repulsed by blood, gore and references to torture and bizarreness stay away from it! :-D

In the end, Clive Barker's Jericho does exactly what it seems to set out to do. It provides gamers with a creepy, action-packed experience with a solid plot and unique designs. It can be creepy and scary, at times. At others, it's also repetitive and predictable title. I guess I would recommend it to all Clive Barker fans.

snd: 5/5 - impressive, the game messes with your head as creepy noises fly from every angle :P, characters repeat the same phrase all the time
gfx: 4/5 - gorgeously creepy, excellent character models, plenty of blood, poor level design
playability: 4/5 - solid, great story+concept + classic Clive Barker trappings, plenty of violence, magic powers, awesome guns and multiple characters, a bit repetitive, pretty linear, rather frustrating survival events, poor AI, no multiplayer, no savegame feature (->checkpoints)
genre: horror-themed first-person shooter
platform: PC (also available on PS3, Xbox 360)
release: October 2007
developer: Mercury Steam
publisher: Codemasters
Overall: 80%

last 10 comments:

darknothing(07:58 PM EST - Dec,16 2007 )
i played the game on console and pc, i agree with the review its a good game.
but it feels better on console the pc, just more of a console shooter then anything, still fun.

Penetreitor(04:32 PM EST - Dec,17 2007 )
Yes nice graphs and effects, but I miss the historyline and gameplay of Undying.
This not deserve to be made for PC, it's a silly console FPS.

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