The Slaughter: Act One on PC
Set in London in the midst of the Ripper murders, The Slaughter: Act One follows the story of a low-profile private investigator, Sydney Emerson, who finds himself unintentionally close to the mysterious crimes plaguing his city.
The Slaughter: Act One is a pretty standard point-and-click adventure in the vein of a LucasArts 1990 game. The game’s tone is set right out of the gate, as players open to a scene of Sydney being savagely beaten in an alleyway for apparent misbehavior at a local gambling club. The game’s dry humor and dark tint continue throughout this introductory chapter, with plenty of puzzles to overcome as Sydney becomes embroiled in the Ripper’s dreaded reign.
Most of The Slaughter’s opening act is set in the streets of London itself, but this isn’t the only scenery for players to take in as they begin the story. Bizarre introspective dream sequences are peppered throughout, giving a sense for the trouble mind that lies beneath Sydney’s calm demeanor. Despite his relatively level-headed approach to his work, desperation and instability seem to be at the core of the dishevelled-looking P.I.
Given that The Slaughter: Act One is so rooted in the point-and-click genre, it should come as no surprise to anyone that puzzles are abound. Finding the tools you need for a given job, or figuring out how to combine the items you’ve collected, is the key at nearly every step of the journey. For example, players will have to play a game of “Shove Ha’penny” against the local drunkard, with victory securing a brief borrowing of the man’s wooden hand, an important piece of hardware needed to cheat your way past an arm wrestling match with a private club’s doorman.
Much of the story through The Slaughter: Act One is told in a cinematic fashion, with players mostly controlling Sydney outside of the events that lie at the core of the larger plotline. Still, some wonderful moments of humor and sharp writing make the entire experience pretty enjoyable. The dialogue options are a bit limited as far as player choice goes, but not in such a way that it hinders the experience.
Perhaps the best praise that can be given to The Slaughter: Act One is that I can’t wait for more. While this introductory chapter feels a bit short, the story is compelling and the characters just interesting enough that I really want to see where it goes from here. With the entire affair being a one-man production, I have to imagine it may be a while before we see Act Two, but I’m optimistic about what lies ahead for Sydney and the others.
With its keen writing, dark theme, and wry humor, this is an easy win. Anyone who enjoyed the old LucasArts point-and-click games of old should definitely be keeping an eye on this one. Even those who didn’t play those old games, could easily find something worth playing here. The overall design is a testament to its creator’s devotion, and it quite handily lives up to the $8.99 price on Steam.