Ripper / Take Two Interactive (1996)

Christopher Walken's Verdict:
What are you talking about? I do not recall any such game.
Scott Cohen's Verdict:
I can't get work anymore. But I was the best part of this game? What the hell?
My Verdict:
Ripper is OK, and has definitely aged well.

Game Information

Game Type:
Not applicable -- it's not a text adventure.
Publisher Info:
Take Two is also responsible for the forgettable Black Dahlia and for ruining Dr. Derek Smart's good name.
Download Link:
Ahh, but this was a commercial release.

My brother bought me Battlecruiser 3000 AD as a Christmas gift this year. He wanted to know why on earth I wanted a game that was five dollars.

"It's from Derek Smart. He's this guy who has been absolutely crucified by gamers everywhere because Take Two Interactive released his game while it was still full of bugs. He went on to fix the bugs in his game but it didn't matter to most of the easily-entertained no-life monkeys out there. Even though he has a vision for his games -- something 90% of game developers absolutely do not have -- he is nonetheless the martyr. "

(I didn't tell my brother how Derek Smart gives as good as he gets when it comes to unfair Usenet discussions. I'll build to that someday.)

My brother considered this information carefully. "Take Two... didn't they do that Ripper game?"

"Yeah," sed I.

"Jeez. Can't they do anything right?"


Ripper isn't perfect, but as far as PointNClik games go, it's at least vaguely entertaining. See, it's interactive fiction -- barely.

The game concerns a virtual reporter by the name of Jake Quinlan (played, remarkably well, by Scott Cohen) who gets contacted by a futuristic Jack The Ripper in either 2040 or 2080 depending on whether you believe the box. the promotional materials or the game. Regardless, Quinlan gets the scoop of the century -- the Ripper contacts him after killing people (just like the real Ripper did!) with the only minor annoyance that everyone Jake works and interacts with thinks that somehow he is involved with the killings. Oh, and the Ripper puts his girlfriend in a coma, too, natch. They have actually just started to date, so this is a Bad Thing. No doubt that motivation would not have worked for King Arthur's Night Out.

The game begins with Blue Oyster Cult playing "Don't Fear The Reaper" to a video intro where a 41 year old woman gets splattered by the Ripper. You immediately think "foul play" because the girl looks 18. So obviously she's up to no good, why else would she have a few potions of longevity? But inconsistencies like that abound in the game: when there was a choice between listening to the designer's vision for the game and the dude who was going to shoot the film, the brother shooting the film got mad props. This is, after all, the short flight into Hollywood. Greasy gamers who demand coherent storylines will not do anything for you, hell most of them have icky zits and such.

The beginning of the game is well-paced. There is a lame puzzle where Jake has to put together a mug that Christopher Walken's police detective character has (purposefully?) destroyed, but other than that, nothing that really gets on your tits. Jake's relationship with Karen is more than just sexual, they also work together. Of course, if she did little else than get Jake's coffee in the morning there would be the hateful cries of deliberate chauvinistic pig propaganda from the same people that visit this website and call me a fag. Luckily enough then,  Karen is actually looking to scoop Quinlan whenever possible. Unfortunately, we lose our ability to initially see that relationship develop because Karen gets hammered by the psycho before too long.

At this point I feel I should discuss the fact that one of four people in the game can actually be the Ripper. the game selects a new Ripper each time you play. While some reviews on the game state that it ruins the entirety of the experience -- the first parts of the game simply don't matter, as the clues can be applied to anyone, I firmly disagree. The beginning of Ripper does a great job of establishing the variety of characters that inhabit the game's cruel world. It also gives a role to TV's The Penguin, Burgess Meredith. There's nothing quite like the experience of a one-hundred-and-forty year old senile man trying to act in a computer game. Yet, strangely, he still does a better job of it than Christopher Walken who was neither a double-septuagenarian or stricken with Alzheimer's, arthritis and dandruff when he came to put his eight hours in. I'm guessing that perhaps the director didn't have the balls to say, "Christ, Chris, that sucks. The hell? Act like you're a frigging pro, goddamit!" Either that or Christopher made it clear that he was going to shoot each member of the crew in the face with a stolen, unregistered shotgun and greedily eat their entrails if they kept giving him crap about his awful performance. Stick another watch up your cornhole, Mr. Schrek, and don't ever do a computer game again.

But. Anyway.

The puzzles in Ripper are fiendish, yet logical. One "move-the-crystal" puzzle is prefaced by saying that he never paid much attention to Karen's wacky obsession with crystals in the first place. OK, that's kind of cool. Who hasn't dated a crazy new-age chick for a little while? Good for Jake. So many lead roles in adventure games are simply whining pussies. Eh, Gabriel?

The interaction schema with NPCs does try to be slightly better than average. First of all, NPCs exist. That right there makes it a better game than Myst. Secondly, you can often choose from a number of conversations when talking to them. It's usually pretty obvious when you'll be able to go right down the list and when you need to make a game-altering "decision." Ripper definitely does a solid job of making that clear. The game is always disturbing although occasionally tedious. In its day there really were not affordable CD-ROMs that could spin the game fast enough, which becomes an issue due to the fact that the player has to go to different locales many different times.

Ripper does have solid atmosphere, some clever puzzles and an interesting story. There's nothing particularly original about it, but Scott Cohen has enough charisma playing the part of Jake Quinlan so that you do become slightly concerned as to whether or not he gets his life back in order. If you can find it in 2000, Ripper is a solid enough game for a few bucks that provides a weekend's worth of entertainment.

Simple Rating
6.9 / 10

7 / 10

Ooh! Ooh! Jack the Ripper! Jack still r0xx3D j00

7.3 / 10

Nothing special, really... although kind of funny in some parts

6.8 / 10

Puzzle Quality
8.7 / 10

Christopher Walken:
2.3 / 10
Everybody Else:

Reader Comments:

Josephine Maxwell

Date/Time of Posting:
Aug 25 2001 / 10:50:55

I think Ripper was a brilliant game and everything else should bow down before it... The only probs I've had with the game were a) technical difficulties and  b) that awful scene at the beginning with Cathrine just slipped into her coma, but aside from that crud piece of acting I give Ripper two great big thumbs up... Especially for the Blue Oyster Cult song... GO TAKE 2!!!!!

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