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#88204 - 06/20/02 04:20 AM Ripper
Skully Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego, California
I'm sure my inflammatory subject line will raise the ire of this game's legions of fans. Jenny100 posted a review delving more into the story and technical aspects of the game here, so if you're looking for some positive remarks you should take at look at that. Because, in my experience, this is one of the top stinkers of all time.

As I wrote in my review of The Riddle of Master Lu : “What sets apart a good adventure game from a good movie is the interactive experience of solving the puzzles for our character.” And this game has some of the most absurd puzzles I've ever seen. [I've included an example of one at the end of this review to show the crazy kind of reasoning you'll need for this game. I was hesitant to be actually giving out a puzzle's answer, but I really feel strongly about the ridiculousness of this game's puzzles and I wanted to show anyone considering this game what they'll be in for.] There is an Easy/Medium/Hard setting for puzzles on the Options screen, (but not all puzzles are affected by this). Some puzzles can be bypassed with a cheat (like the two different types of sliders). This should be an immediate red flag: If the game's developers think that you need cheats and difficulty settings to complete their game, then it seems to me that they tried too hard to be “clever” and wound up with a mess.

There are also a lot of arcade/action sequences, taking place in cyberspace. As much as I enjoyed the action/adventure game Realms of the Haunting, I did not enjoy the shooting sequences in Ripper as you usually have to hit a certain spot on a moving body to disable it. The game's developers must have realized these were also too difficult as there are cheats to get past most of these too. Yet another red flag.

At least The Riddle of Master Lu had a great story. Ripper had potential, but it was ultimately a disaster. Far, far too much machismo was being flung around in this game. Almost every person was nasty, mean, and crude, including the reporter you play, Jake Quinlan. (The language in this game, while it fits the theme and characterizations, is VERY rough.) The game's writers must firmly believe in the motto “nice guys finish last” because snarling and threats were the way to advancement in this game. (At one point, if you asked The Falcon's friend, Twig, for help, he turned you down. But if you chose to grab his shirt front and shake him around a bit, then you got the info you needed and could proceed.) The notable exception was the hospital's receptionist, Vivien, who was an outrageous flirt! She was certainly a breath of fresh air and an antidote to the bitterness the other characters were spewing. Even though most everyone in the game would be torture to be stuck in an elevator with, I will say that the acting was very good all around. (The music was also very good, although I really didn't need to hear that Blue Oyster Cult song quite so many times.)

I can't really give away THE end of the game because there are four different endings, each with a different identity for the Ripper. While this excited me before I started the game, I later realized the only way to do this, without major fine-tuning for each possible outcome, was to have a lot of unexplained leads and “clues” that go nowhere. And this is certainly what you get. My game ended with Jake thinking to himself something along the lines of: “I'm sure that somewhere in his/her mind there was a logical explanation for these killings, but I'm not up to pondering the reasoning of a mad(wo)man.” What?! What a super-cheesy cop-out! After all the time invested in the game, we're given no motive for these killings - no explanation why the current string of killings is happening 15 years after the first death. What a major letdown!

There were incredible lapses of realism in the plot (yes, I know this is a game):

*For a long time, Dr. Burton adamantly refuses to follow the usual treatments to help Catherine. But then, out of the blue, she says to Jake and The Falcon, “Oh, you two go ahead and do whatever you want; I'm going to the gym!” (where she stays for a third of the game). She does this even when she later admits that it'll be her fault if Catherine dies. Perhaps the Hippocratic Oath has been rescinded by 2040.

*There is a spare computer on the gym receptionist's desk, facing away from her and freely available to any schmoe walking in off the street, with members' names and addresses, height and weight, and employer's name. Hey stalkers, get your info here!

*It obvious they put a lot of money into the making of the game. Why couldn't they spring for a slightly bigger costume budget? The game takes place over several days, yet no one ever changes their clothes.

*Jake, a reporter, has free rein throughout the police station including watching the interrogation of suspects, stealing a pass card from directly in front of the desk clerk, passing through doors marked “Authorized Personnel Only,” snooping though the files, blackmailing the officer in charge of evidence, and free access to Detective Magnotta's office (and planting a listening device in there). Maybe the Journalist's Code of Ethics has also been repealed. (OK, I really shouldn't blast this aspect as this is typical adventure game behavior.)

*[These “listening devices” are phenomenal! They not only eavesdrop, they transmit pictures, including an opening shot from across the room and switching camera angles between the people in the room, always focusing on whomever's talking. Ain't technology incredible!]

*The weirdest scene was early in the game, visiting the Wofford cottage. After a short (and angry) conversation with Covington Wofford, Jake just starts exploring his home without even asking, snooping through his den and bedroom, all the while Covington stays put in the lab, brandishing a broom as a weapon. You get vacuum tubes (yes, vacuum tubes in 2040) as rewards for solving the puzzles in the cottage, which you then proceed to plug into a device in the lab, all the while Covington stands there watching you, brandishing a broom as a weapon. And then you link into cyberspace using the Wofford's computer, all the while Covington stands there, watching you . . . . . . brandishing a broom as a weapon. Too surreal.

This is a long game with good acting, good music, and nice sets. It's just a shame it was ruined with ridiculous puzzles, sour characters, and a weak script.


Spoiler: What follows is an answer to a puzzle near the beginning of the game. It is the same puzzle I previously groused about on the Discussion Board, and is not one affected by the Easy/Medium/Hard setting:

Here is what you are faced with:


Decipher this to find out a catalog number for a library book. The only hint given is a short list of catalog numbers for other books, and from that you can figure out that the answer should be in this form of letters and numbers:


and that the first two letters are probably HC or HE.

.................OK.................figured it out yet?

The walkthrough explained it thus:

Start with the part inside the brackets.
Ignore everything but the letters
Substitute the first "i" with "eye"
What is the numerical equivalent of "no eye aid"?
The answer is 2020, +1.
The 18 at the end needs to be a letter.
The 18th letter is R.
No other call numbers begin with AB; they all begin with HC or HE.
Try HC (because it starts with AB and C comes next...)

So the answer is:


Yes indeed, AB[@no_iaid+1]18 = HC2021R ! (I did figure out the “R” part!)

You have been warned!

#88205 - 06/20/02 09:12 AM Re: Ripper
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10323

I have Ripper and had some problems getting it to run - so I haven't gotten this one played yet. I don't know if everyone will or won't agree with your review but it was definitley well thought out, written with care and pretty funny in spots. laugh

Besides I think that there are times when it is easier for me to decide whether I'll like a game from what someone didn't like than the reviews we write when we just love a game.

I liked the refreshing view. smile


#88206 - 06/20/02 10:48 AM Re: Ripper
Skinny Minnie Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 190
Loc: Southern MA
Kudos for a well-written review, Skully, and for the guts to post it wondering if all the Ripper fans will be upset. It isn't easy to publicly pan a game. I actually loved the Ripper, but I do agree that some of the puzzles were fiendish and over-the-edge, that 2021 one being one, and that computer chip puzzle being another. I got a different ending than you, and mine made the most sense of the 4 suspects, at least the way my run through the game panned out. The hints and a strong motive were there in my path through the game. I actually guessed it was that person about 2/3 of the way through, but I know that depending on which ending you're headed for, different cut scenes come up or don't show up at all.

I heartily agree that playing Jake as an aggressive, hard-boiled, down-in-the-trenches reporter was the best path to success within the game. The game did set him in the New York City of the future, though, which by his account had only gone downhill from the crime & smog-laden place it is often reputed to be even today. Apparently the game's creators felt that he might need to be that type of character to successfully chase down and confront a blade-weilding mass-murderer, but more stealth options might have been a nice option, hmmm?

As for the "suspension of reality" thing with camera angles, etc., yeah, that happens all to often in everything from movies to tv to games. Not too many games take the time to weave "concrete reality" into themselves. The "blatant kleptomania" encouraged in many adventure games even dating back to the 1980s and text-parser games (am I dating myself here? lol ) is seldom if ever explained in any plot-enhancing way, nor do other characters even seem to notice it!

Again, thanks for sharing your opinion.
Support Prozac: Buy a Sylvania Monitor.

#88207 - 06/20/02 03:01 PM Re: Ripper
syd Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/12/99
Posts: 12307
Loc: Body in California/Heart in Ha...
Ok Skully - don't hold back - tell us what you really thought of the game laugh

I'm glad you posted an opposing point of view to this one. I played Ripper a long time ago - and had to use both a walkthrough and cheats to get through it - (same with Black Dahlia). I rather enjoyed the game myself but then I don't expect puzzles in games to make a whole lot of sense most of the time.

Were the puzzles innane? Yep, some of them sure were - and I personally hated the acarde stuff in cyberspace (I just generally hate arcade stuff period).
Dark Side : Risen
Light Side:

I can only please one person a day. Today isn't your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.

#88208 - 06/20/02 06:11 PM Re: Ripper
Gamer Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/31/01
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ohio,USA
I personally enjoyed as much of the game as I could play ( about half ) as I couldnt get it to stop crashing and finally gave up, I bought it when it first came out and no patches for it around at that time, anyway its good to have both opinions and you are certainly entititled to yours,you wrote a good in depth review, and I think you did a good job, you dislike Ripper as much as I disliked MYST, ( thought that was a big stinker ) but Im just to lazy to write a review
about a game I hate, so my hats off to you. wave

#88209 - 06/26/02 09:38 AM Re: Ripper
infernoj13usa Offline
The Radiant Moderator Staff Reviewer
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 5766
Loc: FT. Worth ....Where the West b...
Skully wave
Sorry the game upset you so much. I think you're review was very accurate. (But I still loved the game anyway laugh ), But that's probably because Chris Walken is one of my all time neato-keen favorite "b" movie actors, and in this one he plays it over the top.
The puzzles and arcade sequences didn't really bother me all that much ( uh....could that be because I used the Strategy Guide throughout???, yup.)

I don't think it was a Rip Off, though.....
( Games like the Forgotten there was a case in point ......a 10% game .... there were supposed to be 9 other installments planned,that game only took 45 minutes to play; lets see $9.99 per game X 9 more "games" or "Chapters"
= RIP OFF. (didn't know this from the advertisements or the Game Box until I finnished playing it!)
I found Ripper entertaing and even laughably ridiculous at times....the point being "it entertained me" and helped me relax, which is why I play Adventure Games to begin with.

Great review though .... I enjoy seeing the other point of view. Congrats! laugh
Watching: Dark Shadows
Reading: Angelique's Descent
Playing: WoW and living in Kil' Jaeden

#88210 - 07/05/02 11:24 PM Re: Ripper
Skully Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego, California
Well, it's a few weeks later and no one's slashed my tires or egged my house, so I guess people could handle my blasting of this game! I had to laugh at the fact that most people who responded here agreed with what I wrote, yet they still liked the game! Different strokes for different folks, eh? It would be a rare game indeed that everyone loved.

Laura: I had trouble too when I first started. Mine was centered on Jake's handheld all-purpose thingamabob – when he received video calls, my screen went kablooey. Downloading and executing the v1.05 patch cleared this up, although during the endgame, in Whitechapel, the video was again messed up. (I had a difficult time finding the patch and I don't remember where I finally did. I can email the .zip file to anyone who needs it. But then again, you may curse my name if this allows you to play and you end up hating it as much as I did!)

Skinny Minnie: The "camera angles' capability of the bug was pretty laughable, but I admit it worked better than “a static view of Jake's W.A.C. while he just listened to a conversation” would have. (Did they once tell us what W.A.C. stood for?) The Riddle of Master Lu is the only game I think of right off where the par-for-the-course kleptomania can actually work against you. I guess it will always remain a characteristic of adventurers!

Gamer: You hated Myst?! Them's fightin' words! Myst was devoid of plot (there was a backstory to the game, but it did not advance much at all while playing), but I thought the puzzles were very clever, logical, and fair (I needed no help to finish that one!) That's a big part of whether I like a game or not.

infernoj13usa: I called it a rip off partially as a play on the word Ripper, but I still feel it was accurate. After all the time invested in playing (and the money spent – I'm so glad I got it cheap or I really would have been steamed!), we're not given a motive for the killer or satisfactory explanations for the other characters' suspicious actions. But hey, you had a good time and that's what counts! I haven't played Black Dahlia (by the same people who also did Ripper), but I've seen a lot of complaints about its ending so it seems this is a trouble spot for these guys!

#88211 - 07/05/02 11:54 PM Re: Ripper
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10323
Well Skully as for the tires and eggs -

We tried but after several police chases and some embarassing incidents with totally wrong cars - we gave up and decided to replay Myst and call it a day. lol

Seriously, I like reviews of a game that differ totally from my take on a game. As long as it is well thought out, lucid and not just a flamer. It just creates a fuller image of the game. The idea is to be helpful to the widest range of gamers and I always thought point - counterpoint was the most effective way to ensure this.

As for the patches. I have actually had two loaded on my desk top for over a year now. I never could figure out which to use - so their they sit. One is rip105 the other rip103. Anyone who could tell me which is the one to use - I would be thrilled. smile


#88212 - 07/06/02 09:37 AM Re: Ripper
Don M Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/07/99
Posts: 2376
Loc: St. Helens, OR
rip105 Laura.


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