6 Days a Sacrifice (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Kevin Stands (5)
Written on  :  Nov 18, 2008
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Not as scary as Trilby's Notes, not as witty as 5 Days a Stranger

The Good

This game has a decent sense of atmosphere and can probably creep you out at least a little bit, and scare you silly if you're not used to horror. It's well written, fun to play, and definitely worth the cost.

The Bad

Mind Screw plot if ever there was one, tries way too hard to tie up way too many loose ends way too quickly and with way too many bizarre plot twists. Since this series didn't have enough of those already. Also reduced the gentleman thief from 5 Days a Stranger to cannon fodder.

The Bottom Line

I said this game was worth the cost, but that's because it doesn't cost anything. The creator of this game, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, also happens to do the Zero Punctuation reviews for Escapist Magazine, so I find it only fitting that his own games be ripped to shreds by a ruthless critic. For maximum effect, read this review in a British accent while ignoring all punctuation marks.

Yahtzee has built himself up a good reputation in my eyes as someone who can create really good games. Five Days a Stranger inspired a very wide range of emotions, which is unusual for a horror game, because most horror games these days chuck out every other emotion because the goal here is to make you wet your pants with raw terror and any other emotions might get in the way. Five Days a Stranger didn't have that problem, and while it was very creepy, it was also very funny and very good at getting you attached to the NPCs. I was never really afraid that Trilby would die, but I was very much afraid that Jim or Simone might.

6 Days a Sacrifice does away with that by making you dislike or distrust almost every character on sight, including your main character, which somehow doesn't take the edge off of the scenes when you're being stalked by a madman in a welding mask. To be fair, that particular sequence didn't have much edge to begin with. Not nearly so much as similar sequences in 7 Days a Critic, at least, though maybe that's because after being stalked by the undead captain of the Mephisopheles and the Frankenstein Welder, suddenly being chased around by some girl with a machete doesn't seem so frightening.

Actually, the Welder isn't half so scary as the Tall Man, which is a big reason this game fell flat for me. I played it almost immediately after Trilby's Notes, which was very, very good at inspiring fear with Silent Hill-esque reality shifts. The Tall Man is also more or less the most frightening villain I've ever seen, and when he was the primary antagonist, the game was pretty frightening, and for the first half of 6 Days a Sacrifice it appeared as if I might get another good fear trip, only to have the Tall Man slowly fazed out as the villain and replaced by the malignant spirit of John DeFoe.

Ultimately, the only purpose the Tall Man serves is to kill your Trilby clones in the final sequence, making you constantly afraid that something bad will happen to you even though, as far as I can tell, nothing bad ever actually WILL happen no matter how long you go Trilby-less. And in the epilogue, you find that your main character has become some kind mummified psuedo-Welder replacement for the Tall Man. Problem being, the Tall Man is scarier. A LOT scarier. It's pretty anti-climactic, actually, and the fact that you kill him with your Dragonball Z powers doesn't help.

But what I really miss from all the John DeFoe games after 5 Days a Stranger is Trilby. Sure, Trilby is back in Trilby's Notes, but he isn't a gentleman thief anymore. He doesn't have subtle humor woven into half of every line he speaks, he doesn't stop to make smarmy comments before breaking down the bathroom wall with a pickaxe, and he doesn't start rambling about his past love life because the player won't stop looking at all the bloody doors. He's become some kind of sullen, broken, shell of a man by Trilby's Notes, but even that wasn't enough to make me gape in shock and horror when I saw the Tall Man kill him near the very beginning of Sacrifice. But by the time I'd reached the end, I'd realized that the Trilby clones were all flat, dull pawns of fate. They weren't getting to the bottom of anything. They weren't even helping much, really. Mostly, they were cannon fodder, which is why my only fear when the Tall Man kept snapping Trilby's neck in the ending sequence was that eventually I'd run out. You don't, by the way.

6 Days a Sacrifice wasn't nearly as witty as 5 Days a Stranger, as tragic or pulse-pounding as 7 Days a Critic, and not half as scary as Trilby's Notes. And before I forget, the plotline is the most horribly convoluted mess I have ever seen in my life, no exceptions. I haven't seen Neon Genesis Evangelion, but by the sound of things it ranks in about even with Sacrifice for "What kind of messed up, stupid ending is that"-ness. The worst part of the whole thing is that in the beginning it looks like it might be just as scary as Trilby's Notes, but then it gets so busy trying to be absolutely bizarre and tie up all the loose ends from the series that it loses all ability to inspire any kind of emotion in me.

But hey, it's free, so what am I complaining about?