Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Crooked Man

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.0

(+)Pros: - Thought provoking story that wraps up really well towards the end, - Great protagonist that we can relate to, - Characters that you would want to save and protect, - The Crooked Man is one scary son of a gun, -  Good variety of environments and puzzles, - Bad ends and scenarios for each chapter.

(-)Cons: - The entire game's scare is based on The Crooked Man and him alone, - Starting segment is draggy.

Gameplay time: About 5 hours

You know I could start off the review by reciting the entire "Crooked Man" rhyme, but that shit is creepy and I'd honestly rather NOT do it. "The Crooked Man" is another pixel horror RPG, made by Uri I believe, the creator of other pixel horror RPGs like "Paranoic" (which sucked) and "Mermaid Swamp". "The Crooked Man" is a pixel horror RPG with a story different from most other games in its genre so far. Unlike the other games which usually talk about curses, ghosts, horrors and occult stuff, "The Crooked Man" tackles the problems of real life, and that what happened could eventually happen to any of us. This is easily the game's selling point, and the rest is just icing on the cake. "The Crooked Man" is perfect for those looking for a pixel horror RPG with a different kind of story.

The story talks about David, a 26 year old man leading a troubled life. He just moved into a new apartment under recommendation from two of his friends, Paul and Marion. David's life has been filled with misfortune, and he just wants to lead the rest of his life in peace. His mother is in the hospital and is suffering from mental problems, his girl left him, he has nothing left. When finally deciding to settle down in his new apartment however, he starts to see things. His radio emitting static, his television going freaky, and he sees words on his apartment walls. Then black liquid starts to leak out of a crack in the wall. David finds a slip of paper talking about the apartment's previous owner, and how he left to look for an answer. David sees an address on the paper, and decides to go there...

S-shut up, there was no Crooked Man....

With a story tackling different themes than you'd normally expect in a horror game, "The Crooked Man" draws sympathy from the player onto its main character, David. The story itself already makes you think about the many things in life that can really screw you over in the future, and the many ordeals that David faces can easily be related to us in real life. Going on a journey to chase after an imaginary entity that might not exist sounds really stupid, but the things that happen over the course of the game are intriguing to say the least.

David is a really troubled man. Nothing goes his way, and he may just be a sad, unlucky individual, but we can all relate to his problems. The problems he face in the games are very human, and the way the story is told really shows the many ways to heal one can deal with inner problems. David isn't strong, he isn't brave, he doesn't know how to take control of his life, but everything that he experiences slightly changes the way he acts, and the character development in David alone is much better than any character I have seen in pixel horror RPGs.

Yeap, something ain't right.

Throughout the course of the game you'll be running into many characters that are somewhat troubled themselves. They will talk with David, and eventually get to know one another. These characters are very different from one another and they relate to David. You'll soon grow to like these characters, and as with most games in its genre, there always comes a time where your choices start to matter. Whether or not the other characters get to live or die, its all in your hands. With the characters you started to like, would you want them to die? 

Of course when most things lead to dieing, it leads to bad ends, and I'll tell you up front that each chapter has quite a few bad ends...Most of the time when someone dies, its a bad end, and there are a good deal of ways to make wrong choices. Its nice to see a game with multiple chapters and each having their own bad ends, not just a variety of ends at the game's conclusion. However though, the multiple ends doesn't quite match up to something "Corpse Party" offers.....

You'd pretty damn well try to save Sisi or you're one huge douche bag.

"The Crooked Man" IS a horror game, so expect some scares, even though it lacks quite the ghosts, zombies or walking mannequins that other pixel horror RPGs do provide, "The Crooked Man" has something that'll bring you nightmares. Yes, its the Crooked Man himself. This dude is wacked out, and makes up for something much more than what you'd see in other pixel horror RPGs. He is the ONE guy tailing you and trying to kill you throughout the entire game. There will be chase sequences, battle sequences, and just jump scares, ALL FROM THIS GUY.

Yes, you heard me, battle sequences, old-school "The Legend Of Zelda" style.

Also no pixel horror RPG would be complete without puzzles. The game has its good share of problems, and of course, they're well done (puzzles are the core of these games). Finding keys and pass codes galore! You'll even be searching trash cans for items. You'll also go through some good, atmospheric environments fitting for a horror game. What kind? Oh you know, abandoned buildings mostly, an empty motel, an empty school and an empty hospital. Typical horror game environments, no?

True dat.

"The Crooked Man" is probably the longest of the pixel horror RPGs I have played, which means that it deserves some praise there. However there are flaws to that. The opening segment of the game (figuring out his apartment) is too long, and its mostly uneventful, without any problem solving whatsoever. Its just walking around mindlessly to examine stuff. Also, since there are no natural "threats" or "enemies", the entire game's horror segment is based on the Crooked Man and him alone, which means you'll spend quite awhile of the game not feeling any "danger" until he actually comes by.

"The Crooked Man" is easily one of the better pixel horror RPGs and this made me see the jump in Uri's games. I played "Paranoic" which was easily the worst of the pixel horror RPGs (too repetitive, luck dependent and boring), and I finished it, but I didn't like it (thus no review of it). "The Crooked Man" was a MASSIVE improvement over the mess of the game that was "Paranoic". A great game when put next to others in it genre.


......honestly he's creepier than Slenderman.

Happy gaming!