Undying - A forgotten gem from the past

I've been thinking about video games lately, especially those kind of video games that really had an impact on me. And although most of these games are well know: Deus Ex, Silent Hill 2 & 3, Metal Gear Solid and so on, one game in my personal list of "video game gems" seems to be fairly unknown. I am talking about Clive Barker's Undying, a game that I really loved when it came out 10 years ago.

The game is an occult themed shooter placed in the 1920s and is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s narrations as well as Barkers own work.You play as a man called Patrick Galloway, who has received a letter from an old friend, who asks for his assistance in the investigation of a series of recent supernatural events. Patrick himself is a WWI veteran and possesses a magic artifact allowing him to see supernatural things and ... well most of you guys will recognize the beginning of a classic lovecraftian story by now. A story about a simple man trying to keep his own sanity, while approaching the great dark unknown. I could give a full story synopsis here but I really don't want to spoiler anything, as it is not necessary to explain why I loved this game so much.

The Atmosphere: Imagine walking slowly through the barely lit hallway of an old manor, lightning striking on every step you take, suddenly ... a scream, a howl, the sound of flesh ripping. You slowly follow the screaming and watch the housekeepers flee in terror when you discover the dead body of one of the housekeepers lying on the floor in a pool of its own blood ... and THEN you barely catch the silhouette of a beast fleeing through a shattered window. This is what undying is about, especially the first part of the game. Yes it is a shooter. Yes you'll have to kill a shitload of monsters. But the game sets its tone and mood very thoroughly before it even allows you to see what you will be shooting at and what your enemies really are.

The Mechanics: The game basically features the dual wielding from the first Bioshock game (yup no new idea) and allows you to wield a weapon on your left and a magic spell or curse on your right hand. This allows you for some interesting strategic approaches, especially in the later stages when you have the option to either throw a bunch of exploding skulls on your enemies or enhance your own movement speed to move extremely fast and cut of the heads of your enemies with a magic scythe. Also the magic artifact I mentioned above, that allows Patrick to see things for what they really are, leads to the following change in a family portrait that you come across:

before
after

This is literally the reason why I loved this game so much. It was immersive and really well made and if you are interested in a good horror game AND are able to find it somewhere have fun playing it. (and yes I am aware of the fact that it looks like "arse" by todays standards, like I said its from 2001)

Thanks for reading.

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