From the twisted mind of Clive Barker comes the squad-based shooter Jericho. Developed by the Madrid-based studio Mercury Steam, the game centers on the exploits of a seven-person Special Forces strike team known as the Jericho Team. Trained in both conventional and paranormal warfare, each team member specializes in a different para-psychological discipline such as clairvoyance, telepathy, alchemy, blood magic and exorcism.
At the outset of the game, Jericho gets dispatched to Al-Khali, a modern Middle Eastern city built atop civilizations from past millennia. It also happens to be the site of a top secret archaeological dig and paranormal research centre. Suddenly, all of that gets whisked away when it becomes the center of a dimensional rift from which an ancient evil emerges -- one that threatens to engulf the entire globe. Players must lead the team into the now flaming ruins of the city, one filled with hellish monsters that only Clive Barker could imagine.
Initially, players assume the roll of Captain Ross, who ends up dying not long into siege. However, his death doesn't occur in vain, and actually facilitates the game's key play mechanic. Ross becomes a spirit with the ability to jump between the bodies of his former squad mates to utilize their specific paranormal abilities. This "threading" technique lets player mix the abilities of the characters together like an alchemist. For instance, Ross can jump into one character to create a mystical shield, and then switch to another with telekinetic powers to turn it into a weapon.
As the story unfolds and players navigate through the streets, alleys and buildings of Al-Khali, they'll learn all the "whys" and "what for" of this macabre story. As the squad gets closer to the rift, the city becomes flooded with hellish warriors. These "warriors" are actually the spirits of dead soldiers who have died throughout history.
In an interesting twist, history becomes layered through the many labyrinthine walls of the city. According to a press release from Codemasters, the game's publisher, the city itself will be like a maze. Barker says, "I don't want to give too much away just yet, but the concept is that somewhere in northern Africa there is a walled city which is not just a walled city but walls within walls within walls. It's like Russian dolls, spaces within each other, and trapped inside each space is a slice of time where the warriors of good have gone against ultimate evil and have lost."
The first level contains modern day soldiers, while other levels include ancient warriors armed with magical powers. Therein lays one of the many twists: some of these warriors are evil while others are not; the player must decide which they are. With each level, combat becomes more primitive and a more primal experience. The team must rely less and less on traditional weapons and instead harness their collective psychic abilities to defeat the supernatural combatants.
Through a press release Barker says, "Players will constantly be given new challenges, new environments, and yes, new horrors and abominations to face every step of the way." "However, unlike a conventional game in which the characters are attempting to escape at the end of their ride through Hell, our protagonists have a much more difficult task. The closer they come to the end of their trek into darkness, the nearer they get to the source of that darkness: Evil Incarnate, we'll call it for now ..."
Mini games also play a huge role. The better the game gets played the fewer mini-games players will encounter. One example given involved hunting birds. If they're not killed fast enough one would eventually swoop down and grab the player, triggering a mini-game where the player had to get free from its grasp. If done in a timely manner, no mini game.
It has yet to be determined if a multiplayer component will be included in the game, but it doesn't seem likely. Mercury Steam's proprietary next-generation graphics engine will bring this phantasmagorical game to life. The engine combines photo-realistic art with hyper-realistic color and lighting effects to achieve a distinctively dark and surreal visual style appropriate for a Clive Barker project.
Finally, Mr. Barker says, "This project is very close to my heart and I don't believe there's ever been anything like it. It promises to be the most spectacular, creative, and unflinching realization of a Clive Barker nightmare that will drag players in kicking and screaming."?
Gulp. GameDaily will post more coverage on this spine-tingling shooter in the near future.
Windows Xp/Vista, Pentium IV 2.4 Ghz or AMD, 1 GB RAM, Geforce 6600 GT/Radeon X1600 XT or more, Directx 9.0c, 6 Gb on Hd, DVD-ROM 2x