A title screen is accompanied by the sound of leaves and branches crunching underfoot. The title then fades away, revealing a lone person in the middle of the woods, armed with nothing but a flashlight. Suddenly, words appear on the screen:
FIND EIGHT PAGES
This chilling introduction to Slender is the perfect way to start the game. Audio is used very well in the game to help create the scares. Any horror aficionado will tell you how important the audio is in horror games, and Slender takes these teachings to heart. Every step is nice and loud and every sound is important.
Perhaps the most horrifying sound in the game comes when the titular Slender Man is seen. A high-pitched siren blares, the screen begins to become static and shake, and the next thing you know, it’s game over. Like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the enemy in Slender does its damage by messing with the protagonist (aka you) simply by being there. The Slender Man stands still and tall, and when spotted hiding amongst the trees, it evokes a sense of genuine terror that few games are able to create.
The game is a mixed of high quality textures when it comes to the ground and the trees, interesting little locations around the game world, and the disappointingly animated Slender Man. From afar, he is scary, but up close, when his blocky, plain face crowds the screen, he becomes less scary and more of a joke.
Slender is a free download, so I won’t be too hard on the developers. However, if a little more work was put into the design of the Slender Man, he would have been much scarier. The lag in the game is also quite annoying, but I found that sprinting usually got rid of it. From reading forums online, playing the game on advanced gaming rigs (like Crysis 2 capable computers) eliminates the lag problem completely.
As I stated earlier, the overall goal in Slender is to find eight pages. Using the keyboard to move and the mouse to aim the flashlight, players are left with no clues other than the fact that they have to find these pages. The pages themselves are hidden around the area, which is surprisingly varied. I was worried the game would be restricted to the woods, but during my time with it, I discovered a small building that was really scary to move through, as well as other areas.
The pages can usually be found attached to objects or walls, and the collecting of them seems to constantly summon the Slender Man. This puts the player in an awkward position. The goal of the game is to collect the eight pages. But in the process, collecting the pages causes the enemy to appear. It forces players to deal with the fear of the enemy in order to complete the game’s main objective. It’s really a brilliant and unique way to invoke a sense of horror in a video game.
Whether or not you should play this game does not depend on if you can afford it — the game is free. The deciding factor is whether or not you have the stomach. Slender is a true horror experience. So, if you’re looking for a fright, go to Google. Search for the download link for the free-to-play Slender, and then download the game. If you dare.
Tested on PC. Final Score: 9/10
A dark commentary free walkthrough…