Genre:     Adventure             

Developer:    Brainchild                          

Released:   January 2016             

Requirements (recommended):

    • OS: Windows 7/8/10
    • Processor: 2.4 GHZ
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 500 series or higher
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 350 MB available space




By flotsam


The Slaughter: Act 1


The Slaughter Act 1 casts you in the role of Sydney Emerson, a low rent private detective who starts by finding dogs but gets drawn inexorably into the seedier crimes of Ripper-ish London. It's retro blocky point and click third person, a la Wadjet Eye Games. The surrealistic little dream sequences added a nice counterpoint to the real world events.  No spoken word and everything  read, some sound effects and musical accompaniment, it was trundling along nicely.

Until I got to the Shove Ha'penny game.

Which is a real pub game, with rules and elaborate boards and which no doubt involves skill. As there is, according to Google, no national governing body, local variants of the rules abound, and therefore one plays the rules that exist in the pub you happen to be in.

Which in this case is an establishment called The Crimson King. In need of an item, Sydney is compelled to play the game in order to proceed.

Colour me churlish if you will, but this little interlude of "skill" almost had me abandoning the game. I didn't like it and it wasn't fun. I am up for a challenge, but the margins of error are small here, and when the opponent just happens to get the three results it needs to come from behind and win the game, you do start wondering how fair the contest is.

Nonetheless I persisted, and I eventually won in the end. I understand from another review that if you lose often enough the (main) game will let you progress anyway, but I can't tell you how many times that might be. I understand from Steam that the maker has no intention of patching the game to skip this contest, but has added a button enabling you to back out of the game at any time, rather than having to play it to a conclusion.

It did leave a sour taste, but to be fair, the game got going again, picked up its pace, and rollicked through to the end of the Act.

I liked Sydney, a typical noir PI, with an eye for the ladies and a drink or two. Not surprisingly, we first encounter him being soundly beaten at the behest of a local crime lord, a beating that only relents with the intervention of Alice. What follows is in the best noir traditions, and we end the Act with Sydney fleeing a murder scene, wig askew and his dress flapping in the breeze. The bit in the middle you can find out for yourself.

Puzzling is generally straightforward, involving finding and using items. Question everyone, explore everything, and keep your eyes open and it should progress at a good pace. The arm wrestle is probably the most convoluted solution, and includes the need to do what you need to in the short moment your opponent is distracted, but if at first etc, just distract him again.

The Slaughter is well written, occasionally witty and somewhat dark, or as dark as pixelly graphics will allow. I confess I enjoyed the image in the last crime scene, one that would have been far more grim in the "real" world.  It clearly has the point and click traditions at heart, and for an Act 1 it ended well – I want to examine the bloody page found at the scene, but don't feel like things just shuddered to a halt for the sake of being episodic.

Here's hoping Sydney returns before too long, and that he doesn't feel the need to play any more pub games.

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


March 2016

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