Clive Barker's Undying

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Clive Barker's Undying is a horror-themed first-person shooter video game based on the Unreal Tournament game engine. It was developed by DreamWorks Interactive, and released in 2001 by Electronic Arts. 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 | edit source]

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 sisters 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.

Characters[edit | edit source]

  • Patrick Galloway - The protagonist of the game, and playable character. Galloway served along with his best friend Jeremiah Covenant during World War I, where Jeremiah saved his life. Repaying his life debt to Jeremiah, he visits the Covenant estate to learn the terrible secret of Jeremiah's siblings. He pursues, in turn, each of the siblings. First, he ventures after Lizbeth, then Ambrose, then Aaron and finally Bethany. After he battles each sibling, he beheads them with an ancient weapon "The Scythe of The Celt", apparently the only weapon which can permanently kill them. He also pursues his arch-nemesis, Count Otto Keisinger, who had Galloway exiled from his home land for reasons unknown. He is a heroic character, and extremely loyal to his dying friend. At the climax of the game, Galloway is deceived by Jeremiah, and he brutally executes him for his treachery, before facing the Guardian. At the end of the game, Galloway is mortally wounded from his encounter with the Guardian, but is in a way saved by a mysterious robed pagan (presumably Keisinger) who snatches the Gel'zibar stone, an ancient pagan artifact, from his neck, and leaves him to drift about the sea, back to the shores of the Covenant estate.
  • Jeremiah - The oldest son of the Covenant family, he saved Patrick's life during World War I. He is partially responsible for the curse that plagues his family. His health is deteriorating rapidly. Jeremiah is the one who calls Patrick to his estate, in the hope that he will be able to lift the terrible curse from his family. He is Patrick Galloway's best friend. He is decapitated by Ambrose while bargaining the Gel'zibar stone from Patrick. However, in the climax of the game, he reveals that he died saving Patrick's life from Trsanti during the War but like his siblings succumbed to the family curse and became undead. In his after life form he seeks the Gel'zibar stone to drain the powers of the Undying King so that he can shape the world into his own image, only to be decapitated for his deception.
  • Aaron - The artist of the family and Bethany's twin brother. He paints gruesome, dark paintings of twisted creatures and alien landscapes. Some of the places Patrick visits in the game are present in Aaron's paintings (ex.Oneiros). He was a well-traveled man, a worldly pleasure-seeker who took to using mind-altering drugs in an attempt to disassociate himself from the family curse. Aaron mysteriously disappeared from the estate and was presumed dead. Though the twins have a strong sibling rivalry, Bethany claimed she had nothing to do with her brother's disappearance though this is later revealed to be a lie when evidence clearly indicates that she murdered her brother and removed his jaw, which has led to Aaron's restless spirit wandering the manor. He is portrayed as a rotting corpse, or zombie, strung up by bladed chains and hooks. His cause of death is a mystery but it is suspected that Aaron was tortured to death - several comments made by Aaron during his chapter of the game hint that he was eaten alive by rats after having been skinned, tied and abandoned beneath the mansion. He also has the ability to create illusions, taunting Galloway with it throughout the game. Galloway battles with Aaron, first hacking off his arm, and finally decapitating him.
  • Bethany - The twin sister of Aaron, she is hungry for power and interested in magic and occultism. She accepted the help of Otto Keisinger, in order to learn more and develop, but he killed her after he gained enough power of his own and left for Oneiros. Bethany also had a greenhouse, in which she worked twisted experiments. Bethany is portrayed as a horned demonic witch residing in an alternate dimension known as Eternal Autumn. Galloway faces her last of the siblings, decapitating her.
  • Lizbeth - The youngest and the most beautiful of the Covenants, she is very fond of literature. She is also considered to be the socialite of the family. Her mother died birthing her, and a servant reflects that Lizbeth has suffered since she never had a mother's influence. Lizbeth is killed by a wasting disease at the age of seventeen. In her afterlife form, she is accompanied by strange, beast-like animals called Howlers. Lizbeth is portrayed as a vampire in a shredded bridal-gown, and the first of the siblings to be slain. She is eventually decapitated by Galloway, and in a moment of humor, her still verbal head is slapped, lit on fire and thrown off the side of a cliff.
  • Ambrose - He is considered to be the black sheep of the family. He had a passion for weapons, a powerful desire for independence from other authority, and an extremely quick temper, a mix which results in his childhood delinquency and eventual criminal habits. He killed his father with a pool cue and left to join a band of pirates. He supposedly jumped off a cliff to escape the police. Ambrose is the second to be slain by Galloway. Ambrose is shown as a pirate with peeling, hollow skin, though when united with the power of the Gezabar stone, he transforms into a gigantic, hideous ogre. He is also decapitated by Galloway. Ambrose is voiced by Clive Barker.
  • Count Otto Keisinger - Galloway's arch-nemesis. He is a powerful pagan wizard who has claimed a new kingdom in the hellish plane of Oneiros, an airy realm of disconnected chunks of ancient ruins floating in an endless sky. He was responsible for Galloway's exile from his homeland. It is through Patrick's recollections and the occasional written document from Keisinger that Patrick's leaving Ireland is connected with the murder of a young girl, and it is implied that Otto may have committed the crime and framed Patrick for her death, forcing him to become a fugitive. Otto was tutor, lover and ultimately slayer of the now powerful and undead Bethany. His lair in Oneiros is somehow connected to the Covenant estate, and it is from here that certain kinds of the strange creatures infesting the Covenant estate invade. Galloway pursues Keisinger into Oneiros, where he confronts his old nemesis and battles to the death. Galloway manages to mortally wound him, and Keisinger plunges into the abyss of Oneiros to his supposed end. However, at the end of the game, a robed man lifts a wounded Patrick Galloway onto his boat and takes the Gel'zibar stone off him, saying they will meet again in a voice much like Keisinger's, indicating that he is presumably Keisinger.
  • Eveline - The mother of the five Covenant children, she died giving birth to Lizbeth. She was a deep, reflective person, with great concern for all of her children. She is kept in an undead state in Lizbeth's lair and killing Lizbeth will allow Eveline to finally pass away into the other world and rest in peace, but not before she opens a secret door in Lizbeth's tomb to help Patrick out on his mission.
  • Sedgewick - The lighthouse keeper on the island, whose son Conor was killed by the Trsanti, who he assisted breaking into the Covenant manor so as to save his own life. When confronted, he will give Patrick some supplies and some info on where he can find the Trsanti, leading to Patrick's first encounter with Ambrose. It is revealed through journal entries that his son Conor was actually the best friend of Ambrose while growing up, and in a moment when Conor tried to oppose Ambrose, Ambrose killed him.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Patrick Galloway holds the Gel'ziabar Stone while entering the Covenant manor.

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 utilizes 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 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 permanently increased at certain points during the game.

Another aspect of the gameplay of Undying - and one which makes it somewhat similar in terms of ambience to traditional computer role-playing games - is that along with its set of offensive weapons, the player is able to utilize 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, or can be more quickly replenished by using potions called "Mana Wells". 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 utilize a certain spell (usually the "Scrye" spell) in order to find out how to proceed.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

The weapons in Undying are quite varied, ranging from standard first-person shooter fare to the supernatural. The more conventional weaponry include such standbys as a revolver, double-barreled shotgun, and Molotov cocktails. Along with these, the player is also given access to a number of more fantastic weapons, such as Phoenix eggs (which release explosive missile-like birds), the powerful demonic melee weapon called the "Scythe of the Celt", and the dragon-like "Tibetan War Cannon".

Notably, most weapons feature both primary and secondary firing settings (e.g. the secondary fire of the speargun is a zoomed mode similar to a sniper rifle). Some weapons also feature more than one kind of ammunition, such as the revolver, which is able to use both standard lead cartridges, as well as silver bullets for added damage.

Spells[edit | edit source]

Galloway casts the Ectoplasm spell at an enemy while wielding his revolver.

Along with its many weapons, Undying also features a number of spells, both offensive and defensive, useful for defeating in-game enemies. These include ranged attack spells such as "Ectoplasm" and "Skull Storm", the latter of which unleashes a number of burning skulls at an enemy. Non-combat magic abilities include such powers as "Haste", which greatly increases player speed, "Shield" which envelops the player in a protective translucent screen, and "Scrye", a clairvoyant ability which enables Galloway to psychically see past events and other visions.

All spells can be upgraded throughout the game using amplifier crystals found throughout most levels. Spells are also boosted by one level when the player wields the Gel'ziabar Stone while casting.

Multiplayer[edit | edit source]

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.

Development[edit | edit source]

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]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Critical response[edit | edit source]

Clive Barker's Undying was in general very well received by critics, with it receiving an average of 85 on Metacritic.[3] The game won GameSpot's "Best game that no one played" award.[4]

Sales[edit | edit source]

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 canceled, and EA and Brady Bell reportedly shelved the idea of a sequel. [5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Clive Barker's Undying. Revelations:the official Clive Barker resource. Retrieved on November 23, 2006
  2. Clive Barker’s Undying Interview. Sharky Games. Retrieved on February 1, 2007
  3. Clive Barker's Undying (pc: 2001). Metacritic. Retrieved on November 23, 2006
  4. GameSpot:Video Games PC Xbox 360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2 PlayStation 2 GameCube GBA PlayStation 3
  5. Quarter to three newsletter

External links[edit | edit source]