Halloween 2011 Game: Undying

Posted by CornBREDX (5293 posts) -

I had considered playing this again when it was discussed Vinny and Dave may actually play it on their random PC game thing they do. They haven't played it yet (being the month of All Hallows Eve, this is a shame) but they may.

Another lonely voyage into a grand adventure.

In the meantime I myself wanted to play it again as it's a horror game I love and I have always considered to be pretty terrifying.

Installation was no fuss, shouldn't be surprising as the computer I have was built not that long after this game was released. As you can imagine I can play it at Max settings. The only oddity is the in game configuration is kind of weird- it seems they wanted it to auto configure for the most part. If you want to make tweaks you need to use the console in the game or the .ini file in one of the games folders.

That being said, it is really easy to tweak the setting, as the game is actually pretty accepting of any resolution you put in even if in the game settings it doesn't show it there, odds are it will work. It also, unlike most older games, has no problem with dual monitor setups for those interested in knowing.

The first thing most people who haven't played this ask me is "Does it hold up even today? Is it still scary? What are the graphics like?"

Yes, the graphics are noticeably dated but they aren't that bad.

The graphics are ok, but a tad muddy in comparison to design of today. The most notable thing you will immediately notice, though, is the animations are really stiff. Be gentle in your judgement, my friends, as this game was built using I believe the first UT engine in early 2001. I do believe it is somewhat excusable as this game came out not long after the first

half life

and

unreal

, so obviously it will show it's age. It's actually amazing it accepts a lot of the modern day resolutions- a lot of people will like that, but as I said above, you may have to tweak it manually. There is a few patches (an official one and some unofficial ones) that you can use to make the graphics less muddy and I recommend using them. For the sake of purity (because I'm crazy like that) I am not using the unofficial patches at the moment. I may install one I found tomorrow, not sure yet.

Anyway, I decided to boot the game up and see what I have not played in a little over 5 years now. After the interesting opening cut scene (if you don't like them by the way the game forgives you and lets you skip them, but you really shouldn't if you never played this as the game is about story and atmosphere. You really shouldn't bother to play this if you don't like games with these intentions) I almost immediately remembered what was so horrifying about this game. Besides the daunting controls (as there is a fair amount you can eventually do, being able to dual wield weapons and magic) the atmosphere and especially sound design is still magnificent and horrifying. Even if the animations and graphics show their age, the game still has an amazing atmosphere and may help you not worry as much about the game being old.

I can't lie, sometimes this game is reminiscent of Disney Haunted mansion- but much more adult and spookier.

Thunder has a sufficient crack, the pistol has a satisfying bang, and the magic is sufficiently mystifying. There are also times when you will hear voices, and not know where they are from. Sometimes it's like you are hearing voices in your head (I think he is- I cant recall if that's is explained somewhere) that basically tell you when to use your scrye spell (not that directly though, of course). This spell basically lets you see what's really there. There some terrifying things to see underneath the surface. I use it a lot of the time as a light source as it gives you a glow that helps you see a little better in the dark, but when you

should

use it... you'll know.

I've only scratched the surface, as I only played for an hour today due to setup, but I wanted to share my journey experiencing this again. Is it still scary? Yes, I think it is. The graphics are dated, and there are some weird animations that date it quite a bit, but the sound design more then makes up for it and with the atmosphere continues to frighten me even to this day.

I may write more of these if time permits, and I get the itch to share anything else about it but so far it's just as good as I remember, even if a bit old now. It's worth checking out, even today in my opinion.

This lady is kinda weird. Something about her...
The voice says to... WHAT? OH MY GOD, LADY! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU!?!
#1 Posted by CornBREDX (5293 posts) -

I had considered playing this again when it was discussed Vinny and Dave may actually play it on their random PC game thing they do. They haven't played it yet (being the month of All Hallows Eve, this is a shame) but they may. 

 Another lonely voyage into a grand adventure. 
 
In the meantime I myself wanted to play it again as it's a horror game I love and I have always considered to be pretty terrifying. 
 
Installation was no fuss, shouldn't be surprising as the computer I have was built not that long after this game was released. As you can imagine I can play it at Max settings. The only oddity is the in game configuration is kind of weird- it seems they wanted it to auto configure for the most part. If you want to make tweaks you need to use the console in the game or the .ini file in one of the games folders. 
That being said, it is really easy to tweak the setting, as the game is actually pretty accepting of any resolution you put in even if in the game settings it doesn't show it there, odds are it will work. It also, unlike most older games, has no problem with dual monitor setups for those interested in knowing. 
 
The first thing most people who haven't played this ask me is "Does it hold up even today? Is it still scary? What are the graphics like?" 
 
 Yes, the graphics are noticeably dated but they aren't that bad.
The graphics are ok, but a tad muddy in comparison to design of today. The most notable thing you will immediately notice, though, is the animations are really stiff. Be gentle in your judgement, my friends, as this game was built using I believe the first UT engine in early 2001. I do believe it is somewhat excusable as this game came out not long after the first half life and unreal, so obviously it will show it's age. It's actually amazing it accepts a lot of the modern day resolutions- a lot of people will like that, but as I said above, you may have to tweak it manually. There is a few patches (an official one and some unofficial ones) that you can use to make the graphics less muddy and I recommend using them. For the sake of purity (because I'm crazy like that) I am not using the unofficial patches at the moment. I may install one I found tomorrow, not sure yet. 
 
Anyway, I decided to boot the game up and see what I have not played in a little over 5 years now. After the interesting opening cut scene (if you don't like them by the way the game forgives you and lets you skip them, but you really shouldn't if you never played this as the game is about story and atmosphere. You really shouldn't bother to play this if you don't like games with these intentions) I almost immediately remembered what was so horrifying about this game. Besides the daunting controls (as there is a fair amount you can eventually do, being able to dual wield weapons and magic) the atmosphere and especially sound design is still magnificent and horrifying. Even if the animations and graphics show their age, the game still has an amazing atmosphere and may help you not worry as much about the game being old. 
 
 I can't lie, sometimes this game is reminiscent of Disney Haunted mansion- but much more adult and spookier. 
Thunder has a sufficient crack, the pistol has a satisfying bang, and the magic is sufficiently mystifying. There are also times when you will hear voices, and not know where they are from. Sometimes it's like you are hearing voices in your head (I think he is- I cant recall if that's is explained somewhere) that basically tell you when to use your scrye spell (not that directly though, of course). This spell basically lets you see what's really there. There some terrifying things to see underneath the surface. I use it a lot of the time as a light source as it gives you a glow that helps you see a little better in the dark, but when you should use it... you'll know. 
 
I've only scratched the surface, as I only played for an hour today due to setup, but I wanted to share my journey experiencing this again. Is it still scary? Yes, I think it is. The graphics are dated, and there are some weird animations that date it quite a bit, but the sound design more then makes up for it and with the atmosphere continues to frighten me even to this day. 
 
I may write more of these if time permits, and I get the itch to share anything else about it but so far it's just as good as I remember, even if a bit old now. It's worth checking out, even today in my opinion. 
   
 This lady is kinda weird. Something about her...
 The voice says to... WHAT? OH MY GOD, LADY! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU!?!
#2 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1093 posts) -

I struggled to find anything scary about Undying the last time I played it like 6 or 7 years ago. Most of the fear seemed to come from the fact that enemies are very strong and you, for the most part, are not. I got more frustrated than anything with this aspect because I was constantly running in to scenarios where I could not deal with the enemies I was forced to face - they move too quickly and do tons of damage. The actual atmosphere of the game itself is actually weirdly colorful but I never really found it to be that spooky. 
 
Kind of want to try it again, though.

#3 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

It's a reasonably good game but I reached a point where traversal became kind of confusing and shelved it. The controls, repetition, etc. also sapped my will to play it despite the interesting setting and plot. The atmosphere was really cool at time of release but I'm not sure if it would hold up in terms of scariness or tension.

#4 Posted by CornBREDX (5293 posts) -
@BlazeHedgehog: Ya, admittedly I am easily amused. At times this game is like the house of horrors, but I think it does a lot of the scares effectively.   
 
Of course, as most things, it's subjective whether you find it scary or not. It's an interesting take I think- Silent Hill (at least, originally) used a similar idea with its combat. Not everyone is into that. In this case, actually I think Bio Shock is more apt an example here as it too had fast moving enemies but difference there is you had a more robust upgrade system then in this. 
 
There's two other ways they could go (one of which when this was made would never happen): one is to have no combat and focus on evasion. This was quite effective in Call of Cthulhu and Amnesia the Dark Descent. Well, Call of Cthulhu did still have combat later in the game, but it still works.. The other way is over whelming type combat which would be more like  Left 4 Dead or Pain Killer. Some could argue, though that's more intense then scary, but it has been used in horror themed games. 
 
I personally don't mind the combat, although I think the controls could have been improved on a little more. It's not to bad, though, and I like the idea that the enemies are more capable then a normal person. I don't know if that makes sense (sorry I'm kinda tired) but ya.
#5 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1093 posts) -
@CornBREDX said:
@BlazeHedgehog: Ya, admittedly I am easily amused. At times this game is like the house of horrors, but I think it does a lot of the scares effectively.    Of course, as most things, it's subjective whether you find it scary or not. It's an interesting take I think- Silent Hill (at least, originally) used a similar idea with its combat. Not everyone is into that. In this case, actually I think Bio Shock is more apt an example here as it too had fast moving enemies but difference there is you had a more robust upgrade system then in this.  There's two other ways they could go (one of which when this was made would never happen): one is to have no combat and focus on evasion. This was quite effective in Call of Cthulhu and Amnesia the Dark Descent. Well, Call of Cthulhu did still have combat later in the game, but it still works.. The other way is over whelming type combat which would be more like  Left 4 Dead or Pain Killer. Some could argue, though that's more intense then scary, but it has been used in horror themed games.  I personally don't mind the combat, although I think the controls could have been improved on a little more. It's not to bad, though, and I like the idea that the enemies are more capable then a normal person. I don't know if that makes sense (sorry I'm kinda tired) but ya.
Well, I think it makes sense. I haven't actually played much Silent Hill so I can't really say how that effected me. My understanding, however, is that Silent Hill makes it deliberate that you're weak and enemies will eventually get you - in Undying, you are a seemingly "normal" human being and everything is just way faster and more brutal than you are. I can see the appeal, but I just end up getting dejected and frustrated when the fourth howler lunges and decapitates me.
 
Probably didn't help the scare factor when I ended up dumping down the difficulty to Easy because I ended up cornered by two howlers with no ammo on Normal.
#6 Posted by GiveUpNed (218 posts) -

I just snagged this game from gog.com after watching this gameplay video.

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