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Jack the Ripper

aka: Jack L'éventreur: New-York 1901, Jack el Destripador, Jack lo Squartatore
Moby ID: 11908
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Description official descriptions

The real murders by the renowned killer, Jack the Ripper, took place in London in the year 1888. As everyone knows, the cases have never been solved. What would happen if Jack left London and started his killing thirteen years later ... in New York City?

Similar to other Jack the Ripper stories, the main character is a reporter. You play James "Jimmy" Palmer, a newspaper man in New York, who is assigned to get the scoop on some strange and grotesque murders. Guide Jimmy around the dank and dirty "Low Side" of New York in the year 1901 - twelve years after Jack the Ripper's last known killing in London. Visit crime scenes, interview people who knew the victims in a brothel, a cabaret nightclub and alleyways. Get help from different types of people from various walks of life - bookies, prostitutes, street bums as well as the police, investigative agency professionals and Jimmy's co-workers.

This first person adventure game is completely mouse controlled and features an in-game map for navigating between locations, 360° views, 3D graphics, and ambient background effects. Exploration, interaction with other characters, solving various types of puzzles, and finding/using inventory objects are all part of the gameplay.

Spellings

  • Джек Потрошитель - Russian spelling
  • 开膛手杰克 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Screenshots

Credits (Windows version)

94 People (92 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

President
VP Marketing
Executive Producer
Acquisitions Manager
Producer
Product Manager
Graphics Department Manager
Creative Director
Lead Illustrator
Graphic Design and Layout
Director, International Communications
PR Coordinator
QA Manager
QA Lead
QA Staff
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 59% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings with 3 reviews)

Jack Is Back!

The Good
In real life, the identity of the infamous Jack The Ripper is still unknown. Hypothesis about his profession, the reasons behind his masterful killings as well as his identity abound. For what purpose were vital organs taken from his victims? Were they to be used for some strange experiments, or was he just a madman acting out a personal vengeance toward prostitution? Was he in reality a doctor with knowledge of anatomy and skill with a scalpel? No one will ever know, for he is surely in his own grave by now - 116 years since his 1888 London murders surprised and shocked the world.

In this rendition of the story, Jack the Ripper surfaces in New York City in the year 1901 and resumes his killing frenzy. Of course, it takes awhile to conclude that it is, indeed, Jack – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

One New York paper has beaten everybody to the punch with the story of the first murder. Competition being what it is, you work for another newspaper and your boss is determined to outdo everybody else. Your character, Jimmy Parker, is given the assignment. You guide Jimmy as he hunts down clues in various locations, talking to people who knew the victim and learning more about Jack in general – all in first person perspective. During the next 12 days (and nights), more murders occur and “the plot thickens”, as they say. Eventually Jimmy is able to pinpoint exactly when and where the last murder will occur and might have an actual opportunity to catch Jack the Ripper.

This game is atypical of some other French-made games I’ve played recently – graphics-wise at least. You’ll find static backgrounds with animated people and objects. The interactive characters and pick-up-able objects are so very obvious that they stick out like sore thumbs. (This can be good or bad.) There is nothing really very atmospheric about the backgrounds other than they are dirty and destitute, like they’re supposed to be on the “Low Side” of New York. The newspaper is cluttered and has the feel of an early 1900s place. Clothing on the characters is in keeping with that time also.

Music is good, but not extraordinary. The English singing voice of Abigail is very nice to listen to. Ambient sound effects are everywhere and, in fact, add the only real atmosphere I felt while playing the game.

The game ships on 2 CD-Rom discs but there is no disc swapping. Disc 2 is used only for installation and never required while playing. There are 12 game save slots, which was adequate for me. Several resolutions are selectable in the options as well as the choice of shadows, anti-aliasing and sub-titles .. but there was no volume control selection. The navigation map is accessed with a right-click and is easy to use. I did find the object use function a bit clunky, but nothing to hinder enjoying the game.

The story is good, although it takes awhile to get “into it.” Each day Jimmy must write his “chronicle” for it to become night. The plot gets better in about Day 4.

The Bad
New York City is a huge place, so there should be plenty of locations to visit. Yet, you only get to visit one brothel, one cabaret, one police station, one hospital and one agency office. There are several alleys and the crime scenes, but all-in-all there is not enough versatility. Too few characters is also an issue.

And, the locations you do get to see are absent of things to do. There are many screens which contain “eye candy” only … nothing to interact with, nothing to do but look. There is a meager attempt to add atmosphere with meaningless flashbacks when a raven appears.

If you use a walkthrough, the game will play out in about 10 hours – if not, you’ll find it drags along at least for the first few game days.

Lastly, it is very, very, very linear. If you go somewhere or do something out of order, you’ll need to revisit/redo what you’ve already done. And, in the worst case, the game can actually hang up.

The Bottom Line
This version of Jack the Ripper could be considered a weekend diversion. As adventure games go, it is nowhere near a classic and will soon be forgotten once finished. It really covers no new territory in the Ripper story and leaves you with the same questions you started with.

Windows · by Jeanne (75367) · 2004

A short but very nice game.

The Good
The story is nice, so is the making, so are the characters.

The Bad
I didn't like the fact that you can only move to predefined points (like in Myst 3). And the game was too short (finished it in 7 hours) the puzzle aren't challenging at all.

The Bottom Line
This game is way to short and easy. But don't get wrong on it, it is a very good game. I had much fun playing it, although the fun didn't last much.

Windows · by John Doe (2) · 2004

The Game That Wasn't There

The Good
Jack is back?

New York City, November 17, 1901

With the second vicious murder of a Low Side prostitute, Jack the Ripper is on the tip of everybody’s tongue, but is this a copycat or the real deal? Tired of being the editor of the number two paper in the Big Apple, Mr. Bur assigns Jimmy Palmer the Ripper case and tells him to return with a new story every day. Ripper headlines sell papers and cracking the Ripper case won’t hurt sales either. So it’s up to the up-and-coming reporter to investigate the dens and alleys of New York’s seediest section and its inhabitants. Unfortunately the closer Palmer gets to the Ripper, the closer the Ripper gets to him.

Jack the Ripper plays out from a first-person perspective, using a familiar point-and-click interface. Every location offers a 360° panorama adding a pseudo three dimensional experience and an extra layer of immersion. The mouse cursor is context sensitive, changing into an arrow to move, a hand to interact, an ear to overhear or a speech bubble to talk with someone. Right-clicking pulls up a map of Low Side, showing available locations, inventory items and clippings Palmer keeps about the case.

Every adventure game struggles with the amount of freewill to give to the player. There’s an underlying story to tell, but players have to feel like they are a part of the story, rather than watching an interactive movie. Jack the Ripper is heavily scripted, only has two real puzzles (perhaps a matter of opinion), and is mostly played out by clicking on a character, exhausting the conversation options, and infrequently using inventory items.

If you are looking for good game play, don’t buy this game. If you are looking for a good story… well… read on.

The story behind Jack the Ripper is its sole driving factor. While the Low Side District isn’t particularly large or well inhabited, there are many areas to explore and a fair amount of people to speak with. Within the game’s span, Palmer runs afoul of Chinese opium dealers, has a sinister encounter in a morgue, spends time at the Red Chapel cabaret watching Edison’s Kinetograph and listening to the luscious Irish Nightingale and engages the services of the Pinkerten (sic) Detective Agency.

Jack the Ripper has a good cast of characters and strong voice work. Some professional reviewers say that Jack the Ripper has a poor cast with questionable voice work, but I think they were upset about the game play. Standing out among the many memorable characters is Jason, a bum who spends most of his day chasing the dragon, but also serving as a one-man Greek Chorus, providing insight as the tragedies mount. Palmer is also assisted by Paul, fellow newshound, who covers the sports and entertainment in the city, Patrick the newsboy and several ladies of the night.

The panorama engine doesn’t provide sharp graphics, but the washed out, somewhat blurry visuals could pass for atmosphere. Character models look good, but there are few extraneous characters—and these can be removed at the option screen to improve the game’s performance. Jack the Ripper is stronger when it comes to audio, having eerie ambient music and effects as well as a few performed Irish ballads. There are a few brief but poorly integrated cinematics too.

Jack the Ripper, with the exception of the questionable spelling of Pinkertens and the inclusion of fingerprints, is well researched. Ripperologists will recognize names and will appreciate the use of real Ripper documents and photographs. Edison’s Kinetograph also provides a nice diversion, using what I can only believe to be actual footage from Edison’s film library (since it would be far too much effort to fake the footage). There’s one particularly frightening film of a train, which looks like it might come through the computer monitor killing the player.

The Bad
Jack the Ripper has a wide variety of problems.

The manual notes “As Jack the Ripper is a challenging game, we recommend that you save your game often,” which reads better than, “As Jack the Ripper is an unstable game, we recommend that you save your game often.” The most common problem is that the correct cursor won’t kick in, so you either can’t move or interact with something.

I usually play games with subtitles enabled. The subtitles here are close to being illegible, contain numerous spelling errors or differ from what the character is saying. However, when the audio drops out, it’s nice being able to follow the conversation rather than reloading.

A worse audio problem occurs when a character has a default line of dialogue which is delivered unprompted to Palmer. Example: Palmer goes to the Blue Velvet and the Madame tells him, “I got nothing to say, newsie.” For some reason the dialogue gets stuck, so she endless repeats, “I got nothing to say, newsie” until Palmer flees the building.

The game progresses when Palmer has exhausted all his options for the day and returns to the newsroom to write his “chronicle”. Frequently it will seem like you’ve done everything, but you won’t be able to “use” the typewriter. This is because the event trigger system is wonky. Expect to visit and revisit locations repeatedly to see if anything—or one—has changed. Sadly, using the world map commonly bypasses triggers.

Clicking on a location on the world map automatically warps you to that location, regardless of where you are (except if you haven’t done something, like returning a key to its home). So if you accomplish something inside a building but don’t exit the building, instead warping somewhere else, you may miss something. Not that you can really miss something, since the game is linear and you have to do everything to continue.

My final complaint is about the ending. I was prepared for the game to end a few different ways. I was ready for any one of several suspects to be Jack the Ripper. I was ready for two possible twist endings. I wasn’t ready for this. The game ended and I immediately thought, “Great, I got the bad ending. Let me check a walkthrough and see what I should have done.” There’s only one ending folks and it’s crap. The last game I played had a crap ending too, but at least Holmes’ twenty minute lecture wrapped up every damn plot point. I won’t give the ending away, but if you really want to know how I feel, give someone $20 and let them slap you.

The Bottom Line
Jack the Ripper is strong on story, weak on game play, and lacks any satisfying dénouement. It’s a shame, since the story is enough to stimulate most gamers. With an ending (any ending), this game would be worth playing, but as it stands, it’s an insult.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2004

Trivia

References

The autopsy report for the second Low Side victim is written by Dr. Ralph Llewen. Dr. Rees Ralph Llewellyn examined the first commonly accepted Ripper victim, Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols, and determined that the killer was left-handed.

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 11908

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, lobo rojo, Ghost Pirate, Patrick Bregger, DemonikD.

Game added February 1st, 2004. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.