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Slender is a game about the fictional Slender Man, a mythical creature that when looked upon slowly robs your memory and health until, eventually, you die.
Slender thrusts you into a forest; with the simple goal of finding eight pages to escape the prison you share with the fearful creature. It begins unassumingly.
Admitedly a dark forest may not be your idea of a good night out but it's quiet and only the rustle of leaves break the silence. Seeing the world in first person and armed only with a flashlight I set out to gather eight pages left by the Slender Man.
Fenced in on all sides I wander among the trees. Before me I see only the small area my torch illuminates, while above the dark moonless sky looks on. Contentedly I walk on. Eventually I see a truck in a clearing but I still can't find a page, and then, in the distance... something. I use the zoom function homing in on a distant white rectangle and attached to a tall red tower. It's the first page.
Knowing my flashlight has limited power I aim myself along a clear path and move towards my target in darkness. Reaching the page it is almost glowing in the shear black, it reads simply "Leave me alone". Picking it up I suddenly I hear a rhythmic beat, a tense pounding like a heartbeat; I know I am being stalked.
Still with seven pages left to find I notice my growing panic. The pounding coming through my speakers, coupled with the realisation that the Slender Man is after me, is almost petrifying. I take the fear and use it to spur me on, further into the dark to find an escape.
I come upon a set of rocks. Like a tower they stand in a clearing, isolated from the rest of the forest. Circling around I find another page attached. A simple click of the button collects the page, but it makes all the difference as another layer of discordant sound is layered over my already beating heart (both in game and out).
I feel the Slender Man closing on me, through nothing other than my own paranoia as the music and darkness combine. I know if I see him, if I look at him, I will quickly die. Though my flashlight has limited power I want to keep it on.
I'm terrified to look back; knowing that just to see him is death.
In the distance I see an arch. As I near it I realise it's the entrance to a large pipe that towers above me. Inside there is a page, turning out my light I move forward. I grab the page and the music jumps up another frightful notch. I move to leave; by the entrance there is a tall, pale figure. My vision begins to turn to white noise. I turn and run.
I'm terrified to look back; knowing that just to see him is death. I run on, until my breathing becomes heavy, mixing with the sound of music and my beating heart. My exertion I know has reduced my stamina, making escape next time even harder, but for now I'm alive.
Again I find the truck, am I going in circles? The music, and with it my terror, seem to subside. Given the way the truck is exposed by the trees it feels like there should be a page. I decide to risk searching it but still there is nothing.
Suddenly he is there, behind the truck. Mind racing I turn and run as the screen descends in to almost total white noise. It is nearly impossible to see where I am running as I move through the forest, blindly away from him.
Slowly my vision returns to normal, but my heart still races. I keep moving forward, running when I can, keeping my light on at all times. If he is coming for me, I want to see it.
Brilliant white fills the screen and I realise my pursuer stands right before me.
Another rock, its exposed position and large circumference have me scared to even approach. Open to attack, constantly turning unseen corners, surely he will be there. From a distance I see the page. I check left and right, then head straight for it. I grab it, and as the music's tempo leaps higher I sprint back into the cover.
I skulk through the wood, comforted by the surrounding trees. I know my battery and stamina are low so I walk in darkness. Directionless for what feels like minutes I turn it on the light to orientate myself. Brilliant white fills the screen and I realise my pursuer stands right before me.
Terrified I turn but it is too late. Through the white static a horrific, featureless face closes.
Slender is perhaps the most terrifying game I have played. Between the limited light obscuring vision and never being able to truly face the Slender Man, it completely emasculated me. For those with a strong heart, it is absolutely worth exploring (especially as it is free); for those of a nervous disposition, stay clear.
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