Clive Barker's Jericho

There's something dark, mysterious, sick and evil out there - and it's inside Clive Barker's head. Admittedly, this was obvious from our first look at Jericho, but it seems that there's more to this supernatural FPS than the predictable gore and oh-so-scary zombie Crusaders that have been seen hitherto.

We already knew that the game saw you controlling the Jericho team (Ghostbusters without the proton packs - or sense of humor) as they try to stamp out an "ancient evil" emanating from the Middle-Eastern city of Al-Khali, but, although the "wander around blowing away creatures escaping from the doors of hell" schtick suggests a complete Doom rip-off, there has been some thought put into it. For example, the shape of the game is largely based on archaeology - Al-Khali has been the site of several settlements stretching back to 3000 BCE, and the twisted denizens of each epoch will attack you in turn - soldiers from the city's time under Nazi occupation in WWII, Crusaders from the Middle Ages, Roman soldiers, until you reach the very heart of what made the city so damn unpleasant in the first place.

Although you ostensibly control Jericho team leader Devin Ross (who in the non-spoilerish words of Mercury Steam boss Enric Alvarez, "suffers a tragic misfortune very early in the story, but perseveres, turning the misfortune into a major benefit for the squad" (which means - SPOILER! - that he dies and is a ghost throughout the rest of the action; END OF SPOILER!), the main dynamic in the game is the ability to switch between each of the seven team members, or combine their different skills when the need arises. Hardly an original feature, of course, but then similar games don't boast the kind of skills these guys have. Finding a way to proceed by using, say, a combination of telekinesis, clairvoyance and just a little bit of gunpowder makes this a potentially pleasing puzzler, in addition to being stacked with genuinely revolting scares and solid, streamlined shooter action.


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