Review: Slender- The Eight Pages (PC)

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Indie, PC, Reviews, Survival Horror
Tags: , , , ,

The Slender Man mythos is one of the more remarkable creations of the internet at large. Born out of a photoshop contest on the Something Awful forums, the Slender Man has been the subject of videos, blog entries, stories, and now a game. The character is also one of the best-known examples of the internet-born take on urban legends, the Creepypasta.

But none of this knowledge is necessary to appreciate  Slender: The Eight Pages (although the game’s menu provides handy links to articles and videos on the Slender Man) . Slender is a simple first-person adventure that places you in the woods at night with nothing but a flashlight. Your goal is to find the titular eight pages, which chronicle another unfortunate soul’s encounters with the Slender Man. The location of the pages is randomized, although the layout of the woods doesn’t change from game to game. There are a few sheds, abandoned vehicles, and various buildings scattered about the map and the game leaves it up to the player to find their way around.

One notable feature of the game is its aversion of typical “Hollywood night”. You’re only able to see most things by the light of your flashlight. There are no weapons, no items, just you and the pages and the Slender Man. The game does an excellent job developing its atmosphere. You search, and you are watched, and followed. It builds upon many of the classic horror tropes: the feeling of being far from help, completely isolated, alone in the dark, and tracked by an entity whose motives you can’t fathom. The inherent wrongness of the Slender Man’s appearance- his proportions are just off enough that you know he’s inhuman- gives you a strong natural urge to get as far away from him as possible.

The creators of Slender (Parsec) should be commended for doing so much with so little. The rules and gameplay are simple, and from that simplicity is born a superbly terrifying game. In a way it’s somewhat reminiscent of John Carpenter’s original Halloween film– it favors mood and menace over gore (as in, there is none whatsoever), and the thrills are well earned. It engages the primal fear of what could be lurking in the darkness and triggers an impressive level of paranoia. I wasn’t expecting to be scared- and I was proven so, so, wrong.

Slender is available as a free download, and I highly recommend it. However, I waive any responsibility for soiled undergarments, heart attack or shock, or shouted profanities.

PROS: Absolutely terrifying. Simple but extremely effective. Plus, it’s free!

CONS: Small game world. You may have nightmares.

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