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Jericho’s full of blood and bore

Special to The Times

Clive Barker knows a thing or two about scaring people. After all, who can forget that freaky pinhead guy from the “Hellraiser” series of horror flicks?

So it naturally stands to reason that the newly released Clive Barker’s Jericho would be the perfect Halloween video game, right? Give a master of horror the reins to create a creepy story and watch out: “Something wicked this way comes.”

Unfortunately, Jericho is wicked in all the wrong ways. Wickedly generic, wickedly repetitive, wickedly boring. This wholly lackluster first-person shooter demonstrates that horror games need more than just a bunch of eerie violins and a bucket of grisly blood to actually be scary.

How about some kind of adventure? For most of the early going, gamers zigzag through a seemingly endless maze of a desert city in ruins fighting off the same two kinds of zombies. Yawn. The “intense squad-based combat” promised on the game’s box borders on comical. Command your squad of soldiers from the Department of Occult Warfare to attack or hold. Groan. And the true proof of a poorly executed first-person shooter? No way to make your character jump! Ouch.

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The game gets marginally more interesting when other members of the squad become playable, but not enough to make it worth your time. Want a real fright? Dust off your old Xbox and play 2004’s Doom 3. Now there are some real chills.

Grade: D-minus (disgustingly dismal).

Details: $59.99; Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms; rated Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language).

Barrel Blast is all ups and downs

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We thought there was no way a kid-friendly Donkey Kong game could ever scare the pants off us until we played Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast for a while. Boy, were we wrong. Blast is truly terrifying in what you are expected to do to make your cute flying characters race: shake the Wii controls up and down violently. A lot.

After a short time, this gets physically painful, and not in the fun “I stayed up all night playing Halo” kind of way. More like the “where’s the ice pack, I think I need rotator cuff surgery” kind of way. With only three tracks and limited game modes available from the start, gamers would be well advised to skip this house of horrors.

Grade: D (damaged limbs).

Details: $49.99; Wii platform; rated Everyone (mild cartoon violence, mild suggestive themes).

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