Archive for April, 2011

Clive Barker’s Jericho

Clive Barkers Jericho

Roughly three days ago, I completed yet another game for my Buffet Challenge.  This one is Clive Barker’s Jericho developed by MSE and Codemasters. Clive Barker is noted for his Hellraiser creation, which to this day, Pin Head still slightly creeps me out. Anyway, I figured this game would be a Sci-Fi Shooter, but it falls under the Survival Horror genre. Survival Horror is another one of those game types that I tend to fall in love with. The Silent Hill series still remains as one of my favorites. Even if a few of them left me slightly disappointed, I still enjoyed playing them.  Survival horror games get my adrenaline rushing – you just never know when something is going to come around a corner and scare the living crap out of you.  Also, most of the survival horror games that I enjoy tend to be a bit of a psychological roller coaster ride.  I mean seriously – Silent Hill 2, people.  Pyramid Head is a symbol  to represent James Sunderland’s (the protagonists) punishment for his “sins”, to put the term loosely.  If you want, go ahead and read the analysis of Pyramid Head.  I know that I can get completely off subject with just him alone. Regardless, I was just trying to explain my love for the psychological, creepy,  survival horror games.

Pyramid Head really isnt that loving. Hes just trying to trick you.

Onward to Clive Barker’s Jericho!

You start out in a small dream that one of the characters, Ross, has in the middle of the night.  He awakes from the dream to receive a phone call (“at three in the damn morning”) about a job that requires his skill and expertise.  Naturally, Ross accepts the job, and he’s on a plane with six other individuals. Panning across the plane, you see a mustached man, a girl, a relatively large bald man,  another woman, an African American man, and a barely clothed woman.  This group is known as Team Jericho, a group that doesn’t truly exist according to the government. You then learn that each individual is skilled in ‘arcane arts’, and the group deals with Covert Occult Warfare,  a ‘fancy euphemism for witches with guns’. The first character that speaks is Rawlings, the mustached man. His voice entertains me because it’s as though the actor is trying way too hard to sound like a Southern American bad ass.  He briefs you and your team on the mission you will be required to complete. You learn that an old friend of Rawlings, Leach,  is a core of the problem. Leach and his Brotherhood of Dark Rapture are trying to gain access into an area called Al Kali by using dark rituals. So far, this sounds pretty interesting. I don’t want to give the ending away at all, so I’ll just talk about the game play and a few of the levels.

Team Jericho FTW!

Holy cow, that’s a lot of side boob on her! Anyway, Clive Barker has a very dark, imaginative mind. Keep in mind that he didn’t develop this game; he merely wrote the story to it. The game is a first person shooter with not too bad of graphics considering it was released in 2007.  I wasn’t expecting much from the first handful of levels.  In most games, the enemies and quests are pretty straightforward in the beginning. This game was no exception.  You have a very linear path to follow in order for the story to continue.  Also, the enemies never really jumped out at you at the beginning.  As the story progresses, you (Ross) ends up getting killed. His spirit and arcane ability is  able to ‘migrate’ to his team members.  You have the option to change between six characters, each with a different skill set.  At first, I thought this would be pretty interesting, but after a while, I wanted to stick with one character instead of changing to six different ones just to get a menial task completed. The one that I used most was Jericho member Black. She is a sniper that has a ‘ghost bullet’ ability which allows you to control the trajectory of the bullet. I mainly used it to get some of the achievements I needed 🙂 To be honest, I remember some of the team members abilities, but I didn’t use them that much.

As you’re trying to find Leach, you come in contact with Breaches that allow you to travel to different centuries and eras. At one point, you’re in the Greek/Roman era. This is also to the point where I’ve put nearly two hours into the game.  Not one enemy scared the crap out of me. They were mostly annoying. Oh, look. A dude wielding a shield and some spears. What’s that? A flying thing? Well he’s about as annoying as a mosquito. I was expecting something to pop out and be somewhat challenging, but I didn’t come across that at all. I wanted the element of surprise. I didn’t see any of it. It was far too predictable. I knew exactly when an enemy was going to show itself. At one point, the enemies began flanking team Jericho between three rooms.  It was literally like playing Whack-a-Mole. I knew exactly where they were going to pop from the ground or around the corner. The pattern was easy to figure out, and they came at you one at at time. There weren’t any puzzles or strategic missions in the game at all – it was so linear that it made this game agonizing. If there were any puzzles, then they were extremely easy. The boss fights weren’t any better. It was predictable on how to get rid of them. There was one really large guy that was slightly disturbing, but he just hung from these giant meat hooks and spat blood at you.

He really wasnt that scary when you could see him from 80 feet away.

The story was intriguing, but I felt the developers could of put a lot more work into this game.  Some puzzles, some monsters jumping out at you in the dark, and some more difficult bosses would of done the trick. I think the story made the game bearable. The gameplay was below average, the voice acting was average, and the story was extremely intriguing.  I wish I could say more on this game however, I feel that I can’t. I also don’t want to give too much away in case any of you want to try to play it.

I think my top words to describe this game are: linear, predictable, interesting, WTF, and side boob.


Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Instead of writing an entry on a game I recently finished,  I figured I’d give a tribute to my grandfather.

He’s the one that stepped into my life and acted like my father. I’m eternally grateful for that. If he didn’t, I wouldn’t have most of the values I carry with me today. If you read one of my first entries, he’s also the one that started me on video games. He not only supported my hobby – he played with me as well. When I was younger, he would take it easy on me and pretend that he fell off the edge or that he died. As I got older, it became a competition – friendly, not angry 🙂

So Papa, this is for you. You turned me into the gamer I am today. You also shaped me into the woman I am today. I don’t know what I would of done without you.  I hate that you were taken from myself and my family nearly four years ago, but I know you’re watching over us. I love you.

I’m currently involved with a Gamerscore Challenge on My first gamerscore challenge (if I remember correctly) was back in 2009-2010.  I must admit – coming to the store on my days or evenings off to play elementary, terrible games that just brought out our inner gamer aggression.  It wasn’t active aggression,  just passive. You could see it in our faces! The pain! The agony! TMNT – you suck.

Anyway, the challenge I’m involved with right now is called The Buffet Challenge.  You score 1,000 gamerscore points in 18 different genres of video games. There are at least 26 different genres to choose from as well.  Here are the following genres I could choose from:

  • Action shooter
  • Action/Adventure
  • Family
  • Fighting
  • Hack and Slash
  • Historic Shooter
  • JRPG
  • Karaoke/Rhythm
  • Modern Shooter
  • Oddball
  • Party
  • Point and Click
  • Puzzle
  • Race
  • Retro
  • Rockstar
  • Sandbox
  • Sci-Fi Shooter
  • Social
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • Survival Horror
  • Top Gun
  • Wrestling
  • WRPG

So far, I’m playing a Point and Click game, meaning that you usually play in a first person view and you point….and click…on items to progress through the game.  An example of this game is CSI: Fatal Conspiracy.  The one I’m working on is Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper.


Nothing like cuttin' up prostitutes and figuring out who did it!

I was relatively excited about this game when I heard that BoZack , my boss, ordered it for the store.  When I was a senior in high school,  I chose Jack the Ripper as a subject for an English paper.  That paper earned me a $500 scholarship for my freshman year at college!  Onward to the video gameage: I was nerding out about the history I know of Jack the Ripper and the entertainment I receive from reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  Knowing that both are woven into a video game made my hopes rise a bit higher than I had intended.

I started this before the gamerscore competition started just to get an idea on how the game is going to play. I received approximately 100 gamerscore from the game, so I need to play another point and click game for 100 points to complete the genre.  As stated previously, my hopes were pretty high for this game.  The first chapter starts you out in Sherlock Holmes apartment, and you’re playing as Watson.  If you hit the X button,  you can toggle from first person to third person view. In my opinion, third person is about useless in this game. I don’t think I used it much, if at all.

As I kept playing,  I noticed all of these green magnifying glasses popping up when I got closer to an item.  When I clicked on one, it automatically gave me a description of the item.  I also noticed when you pull the left trigger, all of the items with green magnifying glasses popped up. What. Just. Happened? I do have to admit that I don’t play point and click games that often, but is it really supposed to be that easy? I was expecting it to be a bit more challenging. Then I realized that I was using this for a gamerscore competition, and I shouldn’t complain about complexity in a game that I want to be within reasonable time. After exploring Holmes’s apartment, an 80G achievement popped up! Looks like I’m on the road to a good outlook on this competition!

The history of the game (on Jack’s side) is pretty accurate. The names, locations, ages, dates, and manner of death were all correct based on what I could recall.

By golly, I think this is Elizabeth Stride!

After some tedious routine examinations of items, the real fun began. I started investigating the murder of Polly Nichols, Jack the Rippers’ first known/publicized victim.  This is where it can become a bit gory. The reenactments of the murders were pretty fun. There’s a chalk outline of the body (which, if you really want to know, is a myth and never really happened. The chalk outline could potentially ruin evidence around the crime scene) that indicates where the murder took place. When you click on the chalk outline, you’re given an image of a woman that has been murdered. There’s also a magnifying glass you click on in order to zoom in on the victim. The zoom-in isn’t too graphic, but it’s still enough to possibly make one queezy, especially the last examination of Katherine Eddowes.

Once the body has been fully examined, you’re pulled into the deduction and sometimes the timeline board. The timeline board tells you what time to place the figure, so it’s not challenging at all. You will have to pay attention to the deduction board, but you’ll know when you get it right since the clip boards on the far right turn green.  The deduction board is really just a matter of paying attention to dialogue and having some reading comprehension.

Deduction board.

Timeline Board

The cases are captivating as well as the logic Holmes throws into the case with his cunning demeanor. The puzzles were relatively easy, and there is no difficulty setting on the game.  The characters you come across are quite entertaining, like Danny…the uh, woman with ill repute who despises cats.

Meet Danny. She's allergic to cats and throws rocks at them.

The graphics and voice acting of the game are sub par, but if you can get past that and the fact that the game isn’t super challenging, then this game really isn’t half bad. The history is relatively accurate, even the potential suspects for Jack the Ripper are mentioned. Granted, the identity of Jack the Ripper is still a mystery, but there are tons of theorists out there that have attempted to explain their thought of who it potentially could be.

There was one part I was oooing and aahhhing over. Holmes and Watson discover some body trafficking was occurring with a certain group of individuals.  Long story short, you MacGyver your way into the second story of this seemingly abandoned house (there’s a lot of MacGyver-ing in this game). You come across a body lying on the table.

Oh, dear Watson. What do we have here? Elementary!

Turns out someone is attempting to preserve a body to look exactly like a picture you find in that room. The equipment lying on the table, the make up on the cart next to the table and the chemicals used to embalm/preserve individuals is exactly what they used in the 1880’s.  This made me extremely happy.  For those of you that don’t know, I’m ~this~ close to becoming a licensed mortician and funeral home director. I love it when games get history correct!

As you continue with the game, you begin to build more suspects. One of them happens to be Jacob Levy. I won’t ruin anything for you, but if you’re curious, you should google his name and see what pops up.  I really don’t want to give any of the game away if you plan on playing it. The ending sequence occurs when you talk to your prime suspect, and it  is quite eery. The suspect displays  his violent acts and then laughs maniacally at the end.

Personally, I really liked the story. It was intriguing with historically correct facts. Frogwares didn’t do too bad developing this game, but they also know what they’re doing since they’re primary focus is on games that feature Sherlock Holmes.  Creating a game with a fictional character (Holmes) to a realistic murderer (Jack the Ripper) was definitely interesting. The game is also an outlet to foresee a possible theory of who Jack the Ripper was during that dreadful era in Whitechapel.

I’m extremely glad BoZack decided to purchase this game for the store as it is one of my favorites. Not my ultimate favorite, but it will still be one that I enjoyed playing.  This just proves that BoZack buys and chooses some pretty awesome games for the store, and he’s a pretty awesome boss 🙂