As anyone who has read any of his novels will attest, the imagination of Clive Barker could never be described as limited or dull. Disturbing, perhaps; distressing, shocking, horrifying and at times even disgusting, the ideas that spring from his fertile mind are never less than vibrantly original and captivating, even if their appeal is sometimes a product of fascination through revulsion.
Clive Barker has established himself as one of the most creative individuals in the horror genre. Most importantly, he is a superb author. With eight substantial novels to his credit so far, he has gained a reputation as one of the horror world's foremost writers, producing extremely literate and immersive books whose originality and quality have established him as one of the leading storytellers of our time. His writing crosses genres, often venturing more into fantasy than pure horror, but the creative vision presented in each book is never less than original. But Barker is not only a novelist; he is also an illustrator, playwright and filmmaker, having directed, produced, acted in and/or written the screenplay for fifteen motion pictures to date. Given his history, it is perhaps surprising that he has not ventured into interactive entertainment until now; Undying is the first computer game in which he has had an involvement.
To be fair to all concerned, it should be acknowledged that Undying is not purely the creation of Clive Barker. He acted as creative consultant for the game, and thus provided input for other writers rather than devising the entire story and game structure himself. But nevertheless, for his name to appear on the box, it's fair to assume that this game will have strong story-based gameplay, rich imagination behind it, and the power to terrify.
The Undying CovenantsUndying does indeed have a strong story behind it, and provides an interesting blend of the supernatural and the magical, with a ghost story's power to make the flesh creep on your back.
The plot is set in Ireland, a few years after the First World War, and centres on the ancestral estate of the Covenant family. Only one of five brothers and sisters, Jeremiah Covenant, remains alive, but the deceased family members seem to refuse to remain buried. Fearing for his own life, the ailing Jeremiah calls in his friend, Patrick Galloway, to help rid his estate of the ancient curse which has befallen his family.
You play the part of Patrick Galloway. It is your job to track down and lay to rest the animated remains of Jeremiah's siblings, who seem intent on forcing their brother to join them in death. Background information is provided in the form of diary entries concerning each family member. Lizbeth, the youngest daughter, was a beautiful girl who died at age seventeen. Aaron was a talented artist with a deeply disturbed and twisted vision who painted horrific images of monsters. Bethany became deeply interested in the arcane, studying ancient texts with the occultist, Count Otto Keisinger, and she also nurtured something strange in the greenhouse. Ambrose became an extremely cruel and violent young man who gained a reputation for being unbeatable in any fight. Jeremiah, the eldest brother, is the only Covenant left alive at the start of the game, and it emerges that he was unwittingly responsible for the curse that has befallen his family, having conjured up evil through an incantation at some standing stones near the Covenant estate.
As Patrick, you discover more and more as you progress through the game, keeping a written diary of what you have seen and learned. Throughout the game you will converse with characters such as gardeners, maids, butlers and members of the Covenant family (living or otherwise), and you'll also come across books, letters and spell scrolls; for each of these you will make notes in your diary, and the entries can be called up and read at any time. In this way, you will learn about the things you find and the Covenant story will unfold as you progress.