Jericho is squad-based horror shooter from the twisted mind of Clive Barker. Upon discovering a lost city buried in the blistering desert, a team of psychic commandos are dispatched to unlock its secrets within. Upon entering this lost necropolis they discover that the city is actually the prison of the First Born - a creature of boundless evil that was God's first attempt at creating life. Unhappy with his creation, the Lord banished it to its prison, where it has remained and plotted its revenge upon creation ever since.
Clive Barker is an amazing writer - his imagery and style is truly unique, and any computer game featuring his talents is bound to be something exceptional. By combining intense action, perverse abominations, and twisted surroundings to the mix, Jericho promises to breathe much needed life into the already stagnating FPS genre.
So does it work?
Well, no. To be fair, Jericho is an absolute travesty to the games industry. After enduring the game for two hours I found it hard to believe that they still make games like this. Perhaps five or six years ago this sort of attempt would have been acceptable - but with so many other titles on offer it is hard to recommend Jericho for any reason.
The main problem with Jericho is it's actual gameplay. The entire game plays like some hi-res Time Crisis on the Playstation One, or Cobra Command or Road Avenger on the Mega CD. Enter area kill all enemies. Move on to the next and kill more enemies. Move on to there and kill a few more. Then repeat. Again. And again. And again. Progress is so linear that there is only ever one set path to follow with no deviation or interaction with the environment what-so-ever.
Which leads to problem number two. As this is a squad-based shooter the player should be given some choice as how to manage their squad. With one set path to progress through it is impossible to co-ordinate your team and use effective group tactics. So what could have been a tactical experience quickly develops into a bog-standard shooting mess. There is absolutely no point splitting your team up - there is no multiple routes to flank enemy monsters, no cover to use and no high ground to use your sniper. Which I must say is a useless team member. Its just shoot. And shoot. And shoot.
Further excitement has been removed by giving the team infinite ammo. Rather than forcing players to make best use of the three firing modes for each weapon, players can just fire willy-nilly forever with little regard for ammo conservation, again, reducing the amount of tactics required to progress through the game.
The weapons in Jericho are pretty bad, and only add to the pain. They lack the power to take down even the most generic of enemy monsters. Shooting creatures in the head with your sniper inflicts little damage rendering her useless, and spraying a group of gibbering demons with a heavy-duty chaingun has all the power of shooting peas through a straw.
But the agony and boredom just keeps getting better. In an attempt to pervert the fabric of reality Jericho forces the player to several situations where they are required to hit buttons in a certain sequence to cheat death, etc. However, each button needed flashes up on the screen short of a nano second, so success is only certain by replaying these events over and over again to memorise the entire sequence.
Its hard to recommend Jericho for anything other than its graphics and monster design, and the fact that Clive Barker had something to do with it. The whole game plays like an early Mega CD game without the option of pressing left or right. Instead its pressing shoot and shoot. Add to the fact that you cant die (you possess other members to switch between each squaddie) and you have the most basic of games that offers as about as much fun as the DWP PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME- a complete waste of time and money.