Christopher Walken, Burgess Meredith, Karen Allen, David Patrick Kelly, John Rhys-Davies, and Jimmie (Dyn-O-Mite) Walker. The cast of Take 2 Interactive's Ripper is studded with tarnished stars, and this most recent vehicle contributes to the oxidization process.
The game's most famous cast member, Christopher Walken, is inexcusably bad as Detective Vincent Magnottaa cop with a violent past and a personal connection to the Ripper. After Walken's convincing and powerful cinematic performances in movies such as The Deer Hunter and The Dead Zone, this largely amateurish portrayal makes you wonder what could have led to such a debacle. Did he know his lines before he stepped in front of the camera? Was the budget so tight that there was only one take of each scene? Did the director misread the script as much as Walken did? Does Walken consider acting in an interactive project a small-time gig with an unimportant audience? These are only a few of the questions I'd like to ask the creators of this game.
The story is a familiar one (see The Company Line) for anyone who's seen a horror film in the last fifteen years, but the script itself is full of predictably awful dialogue that includes new and exciting uses of the F-word in any pivotal scene. The cast could be subject of a documentary entitled Low-budget Movie Stars of the '80s: Where Are They Now? The answer to this question would be, "in possibly the most disappointing game of 1996." Booting the game brings forth another blast from the past in the form of Blue Oyster Cult's aging hit, "Don't Fear The Reaper," which has no relation to the game except for the questionable word association between "ripper" and "reaper." This type of illogical grouping serves as the basis for Ripper's puzzles, where reason is cast aside in favor of weak connections and quasi-logic. Instead of the story-based puzzles of a graphic adventure or Myst-like logic puzzles, Ripper opts for a mix of both with solutions so cryptic that the game offers no sense of continuity or logical story progression.
More noticeable still is the sloppy implementation and programming that presumably led to the callous release of this six-disc monstrosity. This casual approach shows through with countless incompatibilities and errors that make playing the game without a crash as much of an adventure as the game itself.
With all of this going against it, Ripper should be commended only for what it aimed to achieve, but failed to follow through on. This game is a weak hybrid experiment that combines the graphic adventure genre with a grand scale movie productionand will hopefully send other developers scrambling to one-up Take 2 with better parts to create one playable, enjoyable whole.