For fans of expertly-scripted horror movies and videogames, Codemasters? forthcoming supernatural squad-based ?action horror? Clive Barker?s Jericho
? currently in development for PS3, 360 and PC - is bound to provide the requisite amount of delightfully frightening fun.
I got to see a detailed demo of the Xbox 360 version of the game at this week?s Code07 event and I was more than mildly impressed (and even more than mildly frightened) with what we saw of the current build on display.
The game, as is clear from the title, is based on an original concept and story by master of the form, Clive Barker, he of (classic horror movies) Hellraiser
fame (random fact fans will be interested to learn that Barker went to the same school as John Lennon).
The background storyline is classic Barker schlock-horror ? some slightly vague ancient evil force has broken through into our world (or our ?temporal zone? - whatever) and seems to be centred on the Middle Eastern city of Al-Khali, a modern connurbation built atop the ancient ruins of a dozen previous conquerors and lost civilizations.
Team is a kind of psychic Special Forces squad, trained in the normal warfare methods (shooting, fighting, running away) as well as ?the arcane arts?. Each team member specialises in a different para-psychological discipline such as clairvoyance, alchemy, blood magic and exorcism. It?s kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark
, with more psychic ninjas.
is played in a traditional first-person shooter style as the team moves ever deeper into the twisted horror that is Al-Khali. The deeper you get into the game, the closer you get to the ?dimensional rift? at the heart of the city. You also have to rely increasingly on the different psychic talents of the various members of the group (and less on traditional combat) the further you progress.
One of the key elements of the gameplay is that you basically have to decide when to swap control between the different characters at different points in the game. You can also give the rest of your team content-sensitive orders (as opposed to orders the content of which is not sensitive, tough orders!), though there is a sophisticated AI system, which basically means they?ll follow your lead and react to the ghoulish goings-on around them accordingly.
There were five various ?time slices? in the game which we were shown brief clips from, which include Modern Al-Khali ; a Nazi-occupied destroyed middle eastern city in World War II; the classic Arabia of the crusades; the Roman-occupied Al-Khali and, finally, the city as it was way back at its very beginnings in the 4th millennium BC.