An Attempt at Horror
GiN Weekly Time-Waster Review
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Hello Time Wasters!
This week I sit down with one of the most well known creepy pastas' found on the internet, Slender Man. Slender Man is a strange entity that has been photoshopped into countless images in attempts to entertain the masses of the internet. His overly elongated body, blank pure white face, snazzy business suit and the many tentacles coming out of his back all come together to create something that is truly scary. Add to this the multiple horror stories of him dragging children off in the middle of the night and killing anyone foolish enough to wander into his domain, and we can easily see how such a character rose to internet fandom. All this being said of course, it wouldn't be long until someone created a game based on Slender Man.
Here we are with Slender: The Eight Pages, a survival horror game in the first person perspective that really stresses the idea of helplessness to the player. Armed with nothing more than a flashlight, we're thrown into the edge of the woods at night and given the objective to collect eight pages that can be found scattered throughout the area. Each of these pages contains cryptic messages left behind by other unfortunate people.
Slender: The Eight Pages starts off slow. Walk around the woods and stumble across a page here or there. It's only after we collect our third page that the game starts to get unsettling, or at least tries. Now we have ominous music playing in the background and the occasional sound of nearby footsteps to add to the dark foggy environment of Slender: The Eight Pages. It's not long now until we have our first run in with Slender Man. This is one thing that the game does great. Slender Man isn't thrown in front of our faces or shown chasing us down, no instead all that happens is he'll be standing quietly beside a tree watching us. The catch here is that we can't stare back. Looking at Slender Man will cause the screen to start to fill with static and will result in a game over. Instead we have to shut off our flashlight and avoid looking at him. No longer is the game making an active effort to scare our pants off, it lets our imagination do the rest for us, unfortunately though this didn't really faze me.
I'm a seasoned horror game player and I started my college career off in the Game Design major, that is until I realized just how much math I would have to do (I hate math). This being said I could easily look at this smaller indie title and find all the loopholes of the game. For example Slender Man spawns more often for those who constantly check behind them to see it he is following them. I instead took few chances to look around and focused on my objective. I knew Slender Man wasn't going to spawn right in front of me, so as long as I looked forward I'd be okay. I also knew that instead of him actively chasing me down like many people believe he does, that instead he is a static object that doesn't actually move. The only real threat in the whole game is the time limit. The more pages collected the less time we have to get to the next page before the game forces a game over on us.
Maybe I'm being a little too rough on Slender: The Eight Pages. After all it is an indie title that from my understanding is still only in its prototype stage. It just irks me to see other game review websites praising a game that really doesn't have much to it. Sure the first person perspective and inability to fight back against the antagonist is an out of place mechanic in today's run and gun action horror game scene, but it doesn't mean it isn't something fresh and new.
Graphics in Slender: The Eight Pages aren't the greatest. As I stated above Slender Man is nothing more than a static object, which is really disappointing. The environment of the game looks like something developed on Half-Life's GoldSrc engine rather than on a more modern one. Even then though I can't give too much hatred here, after all this is an indie title and I'm sure the developers were more focused on the quality of the game play rather than the aesthetics of the game.
Audio in Slender: The Eight Pages compliments the setting of the game. The foreboding music adds to the atmosphere of the game and the occasional sound effects, though small and easily missed, will send the imagination into overload mode by the more observant players.
All in all Slender: The Eight Pages has a solid idea behind it. Slender Man is a much loved source of creepy pasta and a game based on him is sure to gain attention. Sadly though the lack of a real threat in the game is both what makes it bad and good. The idea of using the player's own imagination against them is great but sadly the game doesn't reinforce its own horrifying villain enough for there to be a threat.
Slender: The Eight Pages gets 2.5 GiN Gems out of 5 for making a solid effort but not quite being able to meet up to the mythos of Slender Man.
Billy loves nothing more than leveling and grinding through a good RPG. And he knows that Time Waster is not a negative term when it comes to games. : firstname.lastname@example.org.