I’m not new to puzzle horror games, having played Penumbra, Amnesia, and other shock horror games such as Dead Space, and to a lesser extent, F.E.A.R. Despite this, I can safely say that ‘Slender’ is one of the most truly horrifying games I have played.
‘Slender’, a game created by Parsec Productions
, is based upon the Slender Man, a fictional character that was made up a couple of years ago by popular website, ‘SomethingAwfulForums’. The competition was to make one of the most blood-chilling and believable mythical characters that this forum could, and to spread it across the internet placing rumours.
Slender Man is a tall, thin bone-white man in a black suit with no face that can be recognized, which has the ability to create extra limbs from his back, giving him the appearance of a spider in some fan art. He is usually found in a habitat of forests, where he is able to blend in with the trees in his long thin shape. He specializes in kidnapping people, especially children, however there have been some more gruesome mythical tales of people found impaled on trees with each of their organs put in plastic bags and placed back within the body, which was then sealed up.
Naturally, after being told all of this about a year ago by my friend in a late night gaming session, when I was home alone, I was mortally terrified of this ‘Slender Man’ character, especially after having looked up some of the mythical tales about him.
As the character of ‘Slender Man’ got more popular and people started to get more interested in him, there began to be questions about why a film or game hadn’t been made out of this enemy, being such a strong and well thought out character. This is where I began to see new game plays on my favourite YouTube channels of a game called ‘Slender’. I immediately assumed it was something to do with the Slender Man, as the art style was very similar to that concept art of him around today.
I decided to have a go at this game, despite my fear of it. Upon starting up the game, the concept of it is very basic. You set what graphics you want it on, what resolution you want, and you begin. You appear in a forest at night, what a typical setting, with only a flash light and a task to find 8 pages. As you look around the forest the pages that you find are stuck to random scenery, however each play through, they will be in different places. Upon finding the first page, you become the prey, and tension building background noise that cannot really be described as music is added, making your heart pound more.
As you run, basically blindly through this forest, you need to keep your eyes peeled. It is certain that you shall run into the Slender Man at some point during your ¬¬play through. Most likely, you are going to see him in the distance after collecting your first page; however the forest and mist will attempt to play tricks on you. A vague white dot of mist could be taken as his face, and the long, thin trees don’t help either.
If you run near to the Slender Man, or if he teleports directly into your face, your camera will begin to gain static, which is a reference to the series ‘Marble Hornets’ on YouTube, which features the Slender Man. Every time he is near to the camera, which appears to be your sight in game, it begins to break down, the audio and video files becoming corrupted. You need to look away from him immediately, or it will be your death, similar to the styling in amnesia. If you stare at an enemy in amnesia for too long, you begin to lose sanity.
I will not give away too much about tips and tricks to complete this game, because when you get a method it is relatively simple. I would say the initial surprise you get from this game is the most important, but that does not mean that on other playthroughs it is not enjoyable. I think the best way to approach this game is to get straight into it, before watching any videos on it, but afterwards, watch how hilarious it is for others.
There are some small things that really add to the game, such as if you leave your flashlight on for a while, it dims, and the fact that you do actually lose stamina from running, despite there being no UI. If you get caught by this white no faced man, past versions of this game immediately crashed the program to desktop. It does now have a repeat option, however I would say that the effect of seeing him and then your program crashing is really quite nerve wracking, and actually I believe should not have been taken out of the game.
I’m sure there are actually spawn points for him once you enter a certain region, and that these could be planned out and some kind of walkthrough could be made, but I would completely disagree with doing this. It would completely spoil the atmosphere of the game, not only to play it with a walkthrough, but to be tabbing out every now and then. However, one tip I will give you. If he is following you; Don’t turn around! In fact, most of the game, he could be right behind you. He will not always get you this way, as this game relies on terrifying you first before killing you, as the Slender Man is said to terrify his victims in the mythical lore.
In games like Amnesia, Penumbra, and other horror games, you are able to remember that the enemy is stupid. They are simply pathing guards that you can trick. However the Slender Man always knows your there. Always Watches, no Eyes, to quote. He is clearly a lot more clever than the zombies like guards in these two games, and will also immediately kill you if you get caught, where as in other games you can usually take a couple of hits.
All of these things build up together to make a terrifying horror game. It is true that you could say, ‘jump scares’ idea is a little easy, however It is built up so well by music, atmosphere, and the idea that you are alone within this world against an intelligent enemy really adds together to make this an incredible, but heart stopping game.
I hope I have not too much away in this game, but even If I have you would still be terrified by this game. All I can tell you is that this game is the only game that I have played in a long time that actually made my heart pound and my body shake, and before you call me a coward, play the game yourself and then tell me how much of a coward I am. I commend this game for being one of the scariest games I have played in a long time!