Murdered Soul Suspect Developed by Airtight Games and published by Square Enix is an excellent example of how every so often a game comes along that blurs the lines between cinema and gaming. Unlike the games of David Cage, Murdered Soul Suspect has a lot more to offer in the way of gameplay then strictly an interactive movie.
You play as Detective Ronan O'Connor, a man with a sordid past. Growing up Ronan was in and out of jail and committed crimes ranging from stealing a mans wallet to assault and battery and for each crime he committed Ronan added another tattoo as penance. In the end due to several varying factors one of which was falling in love and getting married, he decided to clean up his life and fly straight and joined the Salem PD.
Fastforward a few years and Ronan's wife Julia has since passed away. He finds himself still trying to walk the right path but with a hole in him that can only be filled by the love of his wife. He puts himself deeper into his work. At this point in time Salem is being menaced by a serial killer who the cops call 'The Bell Killer' for the fact that he leaves an outline of a bell at the scene of each of his victims.
It's during this time that Ronan through the use of his street smarts and skills gleaned from years on the force found himself on the heels of the Bell Killer. However, he wound up coming face to face sooner then he thought and after a violent altercation he finds himself the latest victim.
After crossing over he is temporarily reunited with his wife Julia, but she tells him he still has unfinished business and must find and stop the Bell Killer in order to "move on". It's then he sets out on his mission to not only save Salem from this psycho but also find his way back to his soul-mate Julia.
Along the way Ronan can help other spirits with their issues and hopefully aid them in moving on and will even bump into some famous faces such as Abigail Williams of the Witch Trials fame. Being dead you would think Ronan wouldn't have much to worry about but sadly that isn't the case because in some locations Demons (who were once ghosts too but have given into the darkness due to pain and suffering over a long period of time and weren't able to cross over) lurk waiting to suck the soul from spirits who still linger here.
The demons can be exorcised but only if you manage to sneak up on them from behind as they are a fearsome foe if confronted directly. If they find you the only option you have is to hide in the spiritual memory trail of others and wait for the demons to leave or manage to find a way to distract them.
Ronan soon finds a pattern in the killings, the Killer is targeting Psychic Mediums and executing them in the same manner as was customary centuries ago for dispatching witches. He teams up with and later befriends a young teenage medium named Joy and together they both work towards their goals. For Joy it's to find her mother and for Ronan it's to finish this case, catch the killer, HIS killer and reunite with his wife.
Graphics : 9 (The Art style/direction in MSS is absolutely beautiful and wonderfully transitioned from the breathtaking concept art by the legendary Yuki Matsuzawa.)
Sound : 10 (There's no way I can do this review and give the sound anything other then a full 10 because everything from the voice acting to the sound effects was spot on and in my opinion rivals some Hollywood films and TV series, it's that well acted. How could I forget the spectacular soundtrack by two-time British Academy of Film and Television Arts award winning composer Jason Graves of Tomb Raider and Dead Space fame! Props to the sound design.)
Gameplay : 8 1/2 (Being a ghost, no one other then Joy and other ghosts can see you but that doesn't mean you can't manipulate the people around you. There will be times where you must possess people and/or animals as well as cause poltergeist like disturbances to further your cause. You have the power to read minds and are able to walkthrough most walls. The ectoplasm left on the wall you just walked through I thought was a nice touch. There are some walls however you cannot pass through they lay on consecrated ground.)
Controls : 8 (MSS If played on a PC is controllable with a keyboard and mouse or controller. I found the controls to be smooth, very straight forward and easy to get the hang of. There are times when it seems to have a mild challenge highlighting what you wish to examine but for the most part the detection is spot on and these issues are few and far between.)
Fun : 9 (I really enjoyed Murder Soul Suspect. From its amazing story, great characters, rich environment and the fact there are endless things to collect. For people who like to get 100% on a lot of games such as myself it really scored big here because there are no shortages of things to collect in this game. Ranging from historical plaques about the history of Salem to past memories of Ronan and his wife to ghostly memories that will unlock ghost stories that for the most part are unrelated to the main plot of the story. It's just an excellent game and should NOT be passed up.)
Difficulty : 6 (It's not really a hard game as the main story is very linear so you won't find yourself getting lost. There are side quests and collectables that will take you all over in search for them as well as the demons that can be a small challenge here and there, so for those reasons I rate this a 6.)
Murdered Soul Suspect is available on Steam -http://store.steampowered.com/app/233290/
Until Next Time Stay ~ Five by Five
Jack The Ripper published by GameTek, Inc. in 1995, is a murder mystery/crime drama/adventure game set in the White Chapel district of London circa 1888. You play as a detective assigned to the case and it is your duty to bring "Jack" to justice but doing so will be easier said then done.
Everything you do in the game is on a time limit. Let time stray too far away and the killer will have escaped yet again so every action you commit from searching the crime scenes to interviewing suspects must be meticulously thought out in order to save time and give you the edge in tracking down the murderer.
It's a good thing the game comes with a tutorial level for new players because this is a very difficult and unforgiving game by modern standards. Every time you start up a new game the computer will randomly generate a killer and locations (In the same vein as Clue/Cluedo) and so you will usually never play the same game twice.
When playing the game the player has all sorts of items at their disposal. Everything from the latest newspaper which may shed some light on the current situation to a notepad which will prove invaluable to recording witness testimonies to evidence and clues found at the scene of the crimes.
During the game it will be necessary to travel between locations in London to search for more clues, interrogate people and keep hot on the trail of the killer, but as mentioned earlier, even this will take some time.
Jack The Ripper is definitely a thinking person's game as you must pay attention to every detail no matter how miniscule, combined with time management and the fact the killer is randomly generated adds to a rich thought provoking experience that definitely has long legs (replay value speaking.)
The game wonderfully captures the atmosphere of the period and the characters in the game have a realness about them. For example if you arrive to interview a witness but spend too much time fooling around or just looking over the area too long for clues they will move along with their business and you will have missed your chance to interview them. Unlike most games they won't just sit around waiting for days on end for three minutes of your time.
If you tend not to be a reader then I would recommend you skip this week's game as it is very text heavy, this game will have you reading A LOT, as there is no speech or sound in the DOS version. There was a CD-Rom version released with music and a nice intro but this is the only version I have personally ever been able to get my hands on which is why I'm reviewing it.
In addition to every action you do taking time off the clock, it's important to mention the clock is always ticking despite whether or not you do anything to begin with from sitting in your personal study or at Scotland yard the clock is always active so this feature gives the game a gauge of importance and urges you onward as time is of the essence.
At the end of the game your story will be written up in the newspaper and you will be hailed either as a hero/heroine or a failure. There is also a High Score board which features Sherlock Holmes off to the side. Being a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work myself I found this a nice touch.
Graphics : 6 (About average for the time, I do however like the newspaper style of the character portraits and the almost cartoony yet not quite depiction of locations in the game.)
Sound : N/A (As mentioned the game features no sound what so ever so modern gamers may want to steer clear of this classic.)
Gameplay : 7 1/2 (Jack The Ripper really requires a methodical mind in order to play properly, the style of gameplay found in JTR would today be best suited to readers and those with a deep interest in History and Sherlock Holmes. Most gamers today I would assume would shy away from this title but they are really doing themselves a disservice as it is very enjoyable.)
Controls : 7 (Everything you do with a few exceptions is fully controllable with a PC mouse, from travelling to searching it's all done easily, just click/click and drag, etc. There will be a few moments in the game where a keyboard comes into play but for the most part this game has a very simplified control scheme.)
Fun : 8 (I found Jack The Ripper to be highly enjoyable and immersive. It's one of my favorite hidden gems most likely due to my love of History and interest in the subject. Like I said this isn't a game for everyone.)
Difficulty : 9 (The learning curve for new players is pretty steep as even the tutorial level may take two or so playthroughs until you get the hang of the style of play. It's not an easy game by any means but the fact the killer is always different and the locations change will keep the game fresh and enduring for years and decades to come.)
Fortunately Jack The Ripper is Now Abandonware, so it's FREE for any and all to download Here-http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/533/Jack+The+Ripper.html
And before I scoot outta here, if you're interested in the subject of The Ripper Murders and are a reader I highly recommend "Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution" By Stephen Knight who I think came the closest to a real definitive answer.
His book was later turned into the 2001 Movie "From Hell" starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham.
Until Next Time Stay ~ Five by Five
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