Clive Barker’s Jericho


Clive Barker’s Jericho DVD Cover

Another new game made its way onto my desktop and goes by the name “Clive Barker’s Jericho”. It’s about a “special-ops” team heavily armed and trained to deal with occult dark powers. This game is based on a story written by the horror-fiction author Clive Barker. While in my opinion, he is not exactly an outstanding writer, the way in which his story has been implemented is impressive and the level of details in some areas is quite amazing.As far as PC specs go, the game needs Windows XP or Vista, AMD X2 or Intel Core 2 Duo as CPU, up to 4 GB of RAM (yeah, the more the better), and a graphics card from the current generation of ATI HD 2xxx or GeForce 8xxx. Even if in the game requirements some older cards are mentioned as well – it’s not worth playing this game on old hardware so that you’d be getting 3-4 frames per second, it spoils the fun completely. As for the required hard drive space, 4,5GB will be enough for a full installation. This game has been rated M (mature) due to the use nasty language in some levels – but seriously, I think such insertions bring color into what would otherwise be just a simple (as opposed to outstanding) game.





Game Intro

The game story is also the common background that brings us to the action from the first chapter – we find out that there was a “firstborn” long before Adam and Eve, who was neither light or dark, but dangerous and beautiful at the same time, and since he had a disturbing appearance, the Almighty banished him into the Abyss. The Firstborn kept waiting and tried to get out of the Abyss and there were 7 Sumerian priests who stopped him from getting out but at a great cost. Since then there was always an order that would train 7 warriors to stop the Firstborn from escaping, but none of the members of those teams has made it back alive, which gives the player a very “optimistic” view upon the game ending.

Clive Barker’s Jericho second DVD Cover


There was a special unit created in 1930s, called the Department of Occult Warfare, which was meant to fight against the dark spiritual forces. One of the Nazis from the German division, Arnold Leach, was a valuable member until he was expelled for extremely violent and cruel behavior. He has done so much evil that he was secretly placed on a list for assassination. While it appeared initially that the assassination was successful, he has found a method to survive and was never caught. The action in game starts in present day in the city of Al-Khali, where the team members are ordered to search for a Swiss Guardsmen squad. They find the bodies of the guards horribly mutilated. During the first mission that goes beyond the original quest, the captain of the Jericho squad dies, killed by Arnold, but his spirit comes back to possess each of the bodies of the members of Jericho squad in order to lead them into victory.

Before I go deeper into details, I need to present you the characters, especially the three ladies from the team who are hot! They all are typical characters, but there’s more to them than meets the eye:

The Captain Devin Ross is a war veteran, and is very skeptical towards the paranormal phenomenon. As squad leader he has very good skills in organization and management. His psychic skills involve healing and reviving other team mates who are wounded or hurt badly. His weapons are the “Patrioteer” (a 5.56 mm G36C assault rifle as primary) with a semi-auto shotgun (XM-26 as secondary). After he dies in the game, at least from a physical point of view, he can enter in any of the team mates’ bodies and control them. This ability can be used on short distances, and any of the members with Ross inside them can gain healing abilities.




Captain Devin Ross

Corporal Simone Cole is the one handling the intelligence (she is a genius!) and information processing. She also is in charge of getting supplies for the rest of the team, by “downloading” them – now that’s quite interesting to go on a mission and never to run out of ammo! Actually she “rewinds” time in the ammo belts so that they are full again. Also her powers explain the checkpoint system within the game. She is really amazing when she presents to the team various data and background info on the surrounding areas where they are located. She can spot the weak points of the enemies and can use her X-86 submachine gun to fire extremely accurate shots, by using her face-mask with zooming options. Since she is a reality-hacker (ok, that sounded weird, but here’s how it works) she can manipulate space and time so that everything goes into slow motion while she keeps her fast speed – and that lasts about 12 seconds – enough to heal a team mate or to inflict big damage on fast opponents in very a short time by use of the second power, “firestorm”.





Corporal Simone Cole

Lieutenant Abigail Black has a reserved attitude and is a telekinetic sniper - guiding the bullet - a pretty similar procedure to the secondary fire of the Redeemer from the Unreal shooter games. She is my favorite character because she is in control of the team for most of the time after the captain dies because of her accurate fire power and team management abilities (she helps Simone get back to her senses in the Crusade level). Even if Delgado jokes about the fact she is “into girls rather than boys”, she throws back “cute” one-liners to keep up the “exchange of kind words”. Her powers are focused on telekinesis, and beside the ability to control a bullet in order to shoot multiple enemies with one shot, she can also throw or break items out of the way in order to clear the path. She is very amusing when she says “I hate when you do that” to Ross, when he enters her body. She has a techno-gothic look and outfit and has high hopes just like any other member that the team might be able to return home alive.





Lieutenant Abigail Black

Wilhelmina 'Billie' Church is a ninja blood mage and she is the assassin and also works as scout for the Jericho team. She is trained in stealthy arts and is Delgado’s girlfriend. As weapons she prefers the katana sword, but she is also using an Uzi-fire-style automatic gun because the squad imposed it on her. Her magic abilities include the creation of a blood ward that blocks and slows down the enemies, while the other power is a fire ward that causes heavy damage to the demons. She can also open blood seals, but we can see that only in cinematic sequences.





Wilhelmina 'Billie' Church

Sergeant Frank Delgado has a Spanish origin, and his powers are the result of a long study of alchemy and shamanic arts and wisdom. One of his arms is cased within a protective metal shell that contains Ababinili, a fire-flame spirit that Delgado uses to summon in order to burn down the demons while the fire-snake feeds on them (“Feeding time!”). As weapons he has a big and heavy 7.62 belt-fed chain-gun that compensates for his lower dexterity, called “Hell’s Keeper”, and “Pain”, a semi-auto pistol. His main magic power is pyromancy as mentioned above and the secondary skill is creating a wall of flame around himself and the team that shields from environmental or physical attacks from the demons.





Sergeant Frank Delgado

Father Rawlings (the chaplain in the military) is a preacher with a southern American accent, with a high level of knowledge of the history of the Jericho squad and the real purpose of their mission. His strong personality makes him assume command in some occasions when he knows better than Ross what needs to be done. His weapons are two custom made handguns (dubbed Faith and Destiny), that have 3 fire modes. His powers obviously have to be connected to the divinity, and thus he can heal team members with his Ghost Healing power from a distance, and his second power is the exorcism ability, but it is manifested only in the cutscene with Hanne Lichthammer, a sadistic German officer, in the World War II level and at the end of the game.





Father Rawlings

Xavier Jones is the “ghost” of the team – he can literally render an astral projection of himself outside his body and flip switches or open doors with the help of telekinesis or burn fuel containers with his pyromancy abilities. His weapons are a “Patrioteer”, just like the one Ross has at the beginning of the game and a XM-26 semi-auto shotgun. The others think of him as a law-enforcer, like before the ending level of the game.





The Spiritual Projector - Xavier Jones

The levels in the game are pretty much linear and you will have to pay attention to all the details and everything the characters have to say to find out as much information about the missions as possible. The action in each section of the big five levels follows a straight pattern – “kill all demons and move on”, and that can be really annoying after some time, especially when you will encounter the same type of demons in areas you wouldn’t expect to. Also, make sure the “sniper” chicks stay behind the squad and the “big-guns” stay ahead – so that there would be a balanced attack. The historical mission series starts in Al Khali, in present times, when the team finds out that they’re actually meant to fight for something else than just finding the Swiss Guards. Almost at the end of this level, Arnold shows up and kills Ross.

at the entrance characters with feelings Arnold Leach


In the World War II, the level name gives the timing when the action happens (“not where are we, but rather when are we?” says Rawlings) this is where you will meet some Flamethrowers for the first time - make sure you take them down as fast as possible. When you get to be in Rawlings’ body, in a movie sequence involving the exorcism of Hanne Lichthammer (who is later destroyed by Billie who slits her throat), you will use the divine powers to chase away the evil spirits. She uses very bad language in order to distract Rawlings. I also enjoyed the company of the 3 English blokes who help the team go further.

the English blokes Lichthammer brain-beast


the “fake” knights are devoted to Arnold not a pretty sight a prisoner


In “The Crusades” level, your team will split in half for a while leaving you to work only with Delgado, Abby and Billie. Once you finish slaughtering some very ugly allegedly “doomed templar knights”, you will find back the other members of the team and help Simone Cole to get over her fears and scary thoughts. They too have been dealing with ghosts of children. The Bishop Maltheus Sinclaire was a horrible person but also insane – he built an army of children against the saracen armies of Saladin, because he thought their innocence would protect them. Obviously, they were killed by the soldiers and they remained furiously as ghosts in the Bishop’s chapel hoping to get revenge for their deaths – the activity of the Jericho team renders the Bishop’s spirit vulnerable and they destroy him. After that, they go happily to the Heavens.

a “warm” welcome shoot-out in the arena hanged!


The next chapter takes us through another historical age, that one of the Roman rulers, namely the governor Cassus Vicus (in the Roman Provinces). He was thrown into this place because of his terrible crimes and he erected a palace, some temples and even a coliseum, not to honor the old gods but for himself. After defeating his champions in the arena, including big and disfigured gladiators, you will also get to fight with him. What bothered me the most is that there isn’t a progress bar telling you how much more shooting is required to kill an enemy – you can only guess by looking at the demons and listening to the sounds they make. Vicus is too obese to move himself too fast and so he hangs by a metallic mechanism that carries him in a circle type of movement. When he is finally defeated, he opens a new portal that takes the team to the next level.

Jones is also a voice medium Antadurunnu Delgado disagrees


Sumeria is the last big level that has a lot of twists and turns, many of them based on defeating double enemies, one at a time, as they tend to work together and you need to guess which of them is providing the energy for the other. This is where Lt. Black (Abby) takes control again as hers is the first body that Ross finds when they are “teleported” by some rays of white light. At the beginning you just have to reunite the team members and move on to the next area where you have to recreate Antadurunnu (to join his body parts) who claims he can help you end well the mission.

Delgado threatens Rawlings The Firstborn close to the ending


However, things will start looking suspiciously to Delgado who thinks Antadurunnu will betray them, having in mind the prisoners they have seen in the Crusade palace and in the Roman Provinces, who were doomed to spend their time in torture for eternity. In the end, Delgado shoots Antadurunnu and they go through the portal to defeat the Firstborn. Make sure you know by now how to use the magical abilities of the characters because as soon as he will try to possess any of the team members, they will have to strike back by using their magical skills. The normal ending shows how the Jericho team goes deep into the water to escape, while Arnold "assumes" responsibility for the destruction of the Firstborn. Some rumors hint that if you finish the game in hard mode, you will battle on the plains of purgatory as Ross against Arnold and that you have to make sure you sink his eyes deep within his brain in order to defeat him.

The sound in the game was pretty creepy in some areas, after all, this is supposed to be an action-squad-horror. The ability to switch among characters is rather new and interesting – that way you won’t have time to get bored. The music is merely ambiental and has nothing special. This is somehow compensated by the visual effects, especially when you use the magical powers of each member of Jericho. The controls should be very familiar to any gamer who likes shooters.

Digitainment mark: 7 out of 10 (penalty for the scripted events – those were so annoying!)
Designer: Clive Barker
Developer: Mercury Steam (the game engine bears the same name – the Mercury Engine)
Publisher: Codemasters
Website: http://www.codemasters.com/jericho/

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Discovering Nature



Discovering Nature is not one of the hardcore gaming enterprises which we’re usually reviewing. It won’t charge an arm and a leg for you to play and doesn’t even require you spending long vicious hours on a daily basis to provide a sense of achievement. In fact Discovering Nature is the kind of game you pass on to your kids when they are young, in the hope that they’ll learn something when the day is done. Maybe the girlfriend or wife will enjoy it, and rest assured, when you have a break at the office you’ll enjoy its catchy casual scent just the same, dear reader.


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Discovering Nature has been released by the independent Croatian game developer Ocean Media on October 24th, 2007. Since we’re talking about discovering nature, expect the game to have a strong educational value coming from the myriads of creatures and plants from all over the world. As the story goes, blonde Professor Jane Pinckleport needs to follow the leads and get samples needed to cure a deadly virus. Players are going to be of assistance by helping her in specific locations all over the world. Jane meets about 60 animal species to save from mortal danger by pairing and moving them to the lab. As you might have guessed by now, Discovering Nature is a puzzle game where wits gain you more points and a quick solution to reach the next level.


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Each encounter faces you with the challenge of pairing up a certain number of creatures belonging to three different types. The simple drag and drop process allows you link them together according to the current level rules. This is to say, it’s ok to group three little squirrels together and take them out of harm’s way if we’re on a matching trip. But if we’re in the predator game, your advancement relies on triplets like snake – guinea pig – grass, like a food chain condition. All in all you can link as many creatures as the setup allows you to, start the chain wherever you like, and end it as shown in the screenshots.


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There are even great bonuses if you manage to link every creature belonging to the current selection in the entire level. The intriguing part is that huge chains will grant you more points but won’t get you closer to the final goal. The yellow box is your trap and it can only be activated when two creatures of the same type share its bonds. Thus the Tetris-like movement of your puzzle pieces needs to clear the way for such pairing.


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What starts off as a relatively easy task turns into a real challenge later on. Animals begin to get stuck in spider webs which need to be cleared by collecting and using water buckets, only to see trappers showing up and stealing your prize. It’s a real jungle out there and only the smartest assistants can survive. Should you get stuck in one of your attempts, you can reverse the latest move or even roll the dice once more at a hefty score penalty. You start off in the Amazon and quickly make your way into similar natural habitats. Professor Jane’s friends eventually show up and guide your progress as the virus gets treated in the end.


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Discovering Nature is addictive and a great time killer should you need a pause from normal and slightly boring activities. Your kids can delve into a pleasant, mind stimulating, activity and learn a thing or two about ecosystems at the same time, food chains and native animals from all over the planet. There’s a demo available for you to try out and who knows, maybe you’ll even make someone happy with this present. A little bit of casual gaming never hurt anyone.


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GameStop Does Not Sell Xbox360 With Warranty Anymore


Xbox logoMicrosoft faced the extremely high and unacceptable failure rate of the Xbox 360 systems earlier in July that brought a $1.05 billion loss that covered the repairs for customers experiencing the “Red Ring of Death” error on their systems for three full years.

 Even the retail partners have started to find this failure rate as quite hard to deal with, and that is also the case of GameStop, where the employees received an e-mail: "effective immediately, GameStop will no longer offer PRPs (product replacement plans) on new, refurbished, and used Xbox 360 systems". They were losing themselves too much money already because of the faulty returned consoles.

Xbox 360


I had some suspicions from the start that this console wouldn’t perform as expected, even if it does have a video graphics chip made by ATI. There are other products on the market with very similar defects – mainly caused by bad manufacturing procedures, untweaked or improperly mounted wired connections, cheap components and sensitive plastic parts.

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