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Video Game / Ripper

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"Dis gai... is un-fucking-believable."
Ripper is a 1996 FMV Adventure Game developed by Take-Two Interactive.

The game is set in New York City in the Cyberpunk-ish future of 2040 and is centered around the investigation of a serial killer known as the "Ripper", due to him having a similar MO to the original Jack the Ripper. The player controls Jake Quinlan, a reporter investigating the killings who periodically receives messages from the Ripper himself. The case turns personal when Quinlan's girlfriend Catherine Powell is attacked by the Ripper for getting too close. Unexpectedly, she survives but falls into a deep coma. It is up to Quinlan to discover the Ripper's identity, even if it means butting heads with Cowboy Cop Detective Vincent Magnotta.

This game is mostly notable for the sheer amount of Hollywood actors involved in this game. The list is a sight to behold: Christopher Walken, Scott Cohen, Burgess Meredith, Ossie Davis, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies, Jimmie Walker, David Patrick Kelly, and Paul Giamatti, and features licensed music from Blue Öyster Cult.


A Let's Play / MSTing of the game done by The Spoony Experiment can be found here, and Retsupurae's MST of it can be found here and here.

Not to be confused with J. K. Rowling's murder mystery which also prominently features the music of Blue Öyster Cult.

This game contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: This is what most people assume happened to the victims, even though it turns out they all exploded from the inside and an exploded person should not look the same as someone gutted like the catch of the day.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Possibly unintentional, but when Magnotta says Quinlin is on thin ice and "when it cracks, ain't nobody gonna hear you scream", it's hard not to think of this.
    • Not only that, but at one point, Magnotta mentions that anything he gives Quinlan should be considered "Pennies from Heaven".
  • Adam Westing: Christopher Walken seems to be doing a Christopher Walken impression in this game.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alien Sky: The sky is red for some reason.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Delivered by Jake when Catherine collapses in his arms.
  • Ax-Crazy: Falconetti and Magnotta.
  • Badass Boast: "The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but they're movin', they're movin'. You get yourself caught in those wheels, Quinlan, you're in for a lotta pain."
  • Beneath Suspicion: It's hard to get more beneath suspicion than being in a coma.
  • Black Comedy: One of the most hilarious, if not twisted moments in the game stands out at the beginning of the second act, between Quinlan and the hospital's receptionist, Viv. Even Spoony and Retsupurae found it worth a laugh.
    Viv: Hey, how come you didn't come back to see me on my break?
    Quinlan: I'm here to see my girlfriend, Viv. She's in a coma, remember?
    Viv: What do you know, a guy who's faithful?
    Quinlan: Mm-hmm.
    Viv: Go on, run off and see your girlfriend. See if I care! Call me if she croaks.
    Quinlan: *turns around* I heard that!
  • Brain–Computer Interface: Catherine is hooked into a machine that outputs her memory in visual form, and the main goal of the game is to help her recall who attacked her so that the image clears up. Later on, you are also able to use the machine to hack into her brain and directly assist through it.
  • Brown Note: Apparently in her spare time, Dr. Burton records the mental "death resonances" of monkeys she's tortured to death in cyberspace, and sends them to Vigo Haman, who sells them on the black market, for who knows what purpose.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Farley is a Fat Slob whose autopsy methods are...questionable, at best. He also comes up with a viable lead on how the Ripper kills from afar.
  • Cigar Chomper: Magnotta. However, he never seems to smoke them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the game, Jake finds a book on Jack the Ripper in the Library, but it serves no purpose for most of the game. At the end, the Ripper tells Jake to return there and open it, which turns out to lead him to Whitechapel.
  • Cowboy Cop: Magnotta and how. Somewhat justified in that it's revealed that policemen have become more like bounty hunters.
    • He's cited as a 'typical New Breed cop,' but apparently one who has a bad reputation even among them.
  • Cyber Punk
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Falconetti, if innocent.
    • Possibly subverted if Catherine is the killer. The reason she killed the victims is because one of them had killed her mother; Falconetti was on her hit list and most of the evidence points to him (again, only if Catherine is the Ripper).
  • Dartboard of Hate: Magnotta hates Falconetti enough to have a photo of him used as a dart board. And all of the thrown darts landed at his head instead of the obvious printed bullseye in his torso.
  • Digital Avatar: Quinlan's is a simple-looking green putty CGI man that absorbs software into its rubbery head. If other people are around, though, he appears as his real self, except with a plastic-looking effect on top.
  • Dirty Cop: Magnotta. He's not explicitly on the take, per se, but he's about as unethical as you can possibly get, seems more interested in covering up the Ripper case than actually solving it, and is one of the possible suspects. It's also stated that he gets away with his more questionable actions by giving a piece of his bounties to the police chief.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The desk sergeant has one on his desk, sometimes.
  • Dr. Jerk: Claire Burton
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The three prime suspects all used to be in the same hacker gang before growing up and going their separate ways.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Dirty Cop Vincent Magnotta versus the Ax-Crazy Joey Falconetti. And depending on the ending, one or both of them is also part of the hunt for the new Jack the Ripper.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation
    Spoony: In the future, you won't just enter in a text web address, you'll be forced to wander around the hellish virtual landscape of MORDOR!
  • Fake Difficulty: Some of the puzzles aren't that difficult, but other factors make them much harder to solve, such as limited controls or a lack of a frame of reference
  • Fat Slob: Farley
  • For the Evulz: In three of the four endings, you're left with no real idea of the killer's motivation, and Quinlan says he has no interest in trying to put it together.
  • Fortune Teller: Implemented by Hamilton Woffard in his virtual mock-up of Whitechapel, to actually make his weapon work. And to do that, you must solve the game's final puzzle - see Moon Logic Puzzle below.
  • Flipping the Bird: For some reason, Quinlan's avatar does this after he defeats a giant robot rat in cyberspace.
  • Future Slang: There are a lot of computer-related terms, many of them taking a page from Neuromancer ("decking" referring to going on-line with your brain, "ICE" to anti-hacker security measures); "smoke" being some kind of drug or tobacco product. "Data angel" refers to the avatars of people in cyberspace, "Grepping" replaces "searching" note , and "Cyberspace WELL" is a term for a programmer's self-designed little pocket dimension of cyberspace.
  • Game-Over Man: Losing the final shoot-out sequence switches the game's perspective to Ripper. We don't see his/her face, only a monitor showing Quinlan's dead body.
  • Genius Cripple: Soap Beatty, played by Jimmie Walker
  • Genius Slob: Farley, awful slob, excellent coroner.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The Virtual Library in cyberspace.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the more difficult puzzles
  • Hacked by a Pirate: Inverted. The well in cyberspace represented by a skull and crossbones is explicitly for antivirus software. Although the game itself has quite a number of skull motifs, for no explained reason.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": A Running Gag over the French pronunciation of Café DuChamp.
  • It Only Works Once: Hamilton's energy shuriken can only be used once, because (being basically the Whitechapel virtual environment's self-destruct function with a twist) once it makes contact with its target, it deletes itself, the target (killing the human) and eventually everything around it.
  • It's a Small Net After All: As Spoony highlights, the Internet in this game seems to consist only of a dozen websites.
  • Jack the Ripoff
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind
  • Karma Houdini: It's implied that in what's thought to be the true ending, Magnotta, Falconetti, and Burton all get away with their various misdeeds
  • Knife Nut:
    • Falconetti loves his knives, and regularly practices throwing them.
    • Magnotta pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit by cutting his own forehead.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: Joey Falconetti makes his debut scene doing this to interrogate Quinlan in cyberspace.
  • Large Ham: Magnotta. Even by Christopher Walken standards.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Quinlan's opening monologue for Act II almost perfectly sums up the game in one sentence.
    I was beginning to think I was in a bad mystery novel where everyone did it.
  • Love Triangle: Between Falconetti, Burton and Magnotta.
  • Mad Doctor / Mad Scientist: Burton
  • May Contain Evil: Vigo Haman calls Quinlan out for once exposing an associate of his in the paper, a butcher named Schultz who smuggled drugs by packing them into the sausages he sold. At the end of the conversation, when Quinlan asked what happened to Schultz, Vigo reminds him to avoid the Cafe DuChamp's hot dogs.
  • Mega-Corp: Pan-Financial, who fund Dr. Burton's shady research, and, according to her, own the entire police force. This explains the Cowboy Cop entry shown above.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Magnotta simply can't stand still when he's talken. Spoony makes fun of this.
    Quinlan: "What's happened to you?" (Referring to Magnotta's bandaged arm)
    Spoony: (Imitating Walken) "Gesturing too much."
  • Missing Steps Plan: Dr. Burton's 'death resonance' business comes across as this.
    Step 1: Collect monkey fear
    Step 2: ????
    Step 3: Profit
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The final puzzle of the game has you input a sequence of Tarot cards to receive the anti-Ripper weapon with no apparent clue to the correct sequence. However, during the puzzle "Don't Fear The Reaper" starts playing. You're inclined to ignore it since it's the game's theme song and this is the endgame...until you realize that the key to the sequence is the song's lyrics ("Seasons don't fear the Reaper/Nor do the wind, the Sun and the Rain..."). While it's simple in retrospect, you're likely to get stuck since you're not expecting the sudden use of Painting the Medium.
    • Unless you pay close attention to the weird sound each card makes.
  • Multiple Endings: Curiously enough, the identity of the Ripper is actually randomized at some point of the game, with some elements changing accordingly. Disappointingly however, the endings are mostly the same regardless of the culprit. It can be inferred that only one of them is the "true" ending, due to the way it's differently handled than the rest (and that that one person was the only one with a specific grudge against all the victims) but, again, unlocking that ending is randomized. It's likely the others were just thrown in at the last moment.
  • Nervous Wreck: Farley's replacement Bob is one twitchy dude.
  • Never Bareheaded: Magnotta. Even when he's cutting his own forehead. The only time he is seen without his hat is during a brief recording in cyberspace.
  • Nice Hat: Magnotta can rock a fedora like no other.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Falconetti
  • No New Fashions in the Future
  • Not-So-Badass Longcoat: Quinlan, whose only journalistic credit seems to be printing the Ripper's letters. Even his comatose assistant is a much better investigator than him.
    • To be fair, there can be a very good reason why Catherine knows more about the case than Jake- if she is the Ripper herself.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The majority of the puzzles that make up the "hacking" minigames are either puzzles, or, bizarrely, first-person rail shooter segments.
  • Oral Fixation: Walken's character is chomping on a cigar in almost every scene he's in. Literally. Spoony explicitly points out "oral fixation" and adds a "NOM!" every time Walken chomps away at the cigar.
  • Police Brutality: Detective Vincent Magnotta has been known to beat confessions out of people.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Falconetti does this in his first scene, while throwing knives at a giant wheel with Jake Quinlan strapped to it.
    Falconetti: Who! *throws knife* Da fuck! *throws another knife* SENT! YOU?! *throws yet another knife*
    Quinlan: (screaming) AH SHIT!
  • Rabid Cop: Magnotta
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. The song's lyrics are the key to the final puzzle.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Jake has to record Dr. Button's voice to open a voice-locked door in the Metacog's basement. Made slightly more difficult as Jake has to download an audio editor from cyberspace first.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Falconetti's skillz are highly sought after, even though he is batshit crazy.
  • Retired Monster: Falconetti
  • Snowy Screen of Death: Played straight in the good endings, after Jake logs out of cyberspace just before the virtual Whitechapel is deleted.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Many, but one of the worst must be the set up in Catherine's apartment which involves crystals that must be put in a certain order in a grid that fires a laser at a book. You're only given a very vague idea of where to put crystals on a very specific grid to create a constellation, and the payoff is ultimately something Catherine could have just left you in a note: her password. Just to make it worse, the puzzle centers around the constellations of the horoscope, and the password is Horoscope, meaning that solving the puzzle means you have to already figure out that Catherine was interested in horoscopes, despite that information alone being enough to make a reasonable guess at the password.
    • Another infamously terrifying puzzle, one whose mere screenshot is used as a reference to how tough the puzzles in an adventure game could be, is the circuit board rewiring puzzle. It looks about as complex as learning how to solder chips in yourself without getting anything wrong would be in real life; fortunately, abstracting out some of the codes and what-not can make it easier.
    • One of the oddest ones is digitally assembling a broken mug from a scan. The puzzle isn't hard other than the detection of when it's solved being really touchy, but the whole point is to read what was written on the side facing away from you when you solve it. This was one word spread over two pieces; it could have been solved instantly in-universe by just looking at it without the forced perspective.
  • Stealth Pun: A cripple is played by Jimmie Walker.
  • Theme Music Powerup: Don't Fear the Reaper plays during the final puzzle. Select words from the lyrics tell you how to solve it.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Magnotta has this. Since he's also both a Rabid and Dirty Cop, it's arguable that he's parodying this trope.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The several rail shooter sections. Yeah, in an adventure game.
    • And Spoony learns the hard way that they too fall under Guide Dang It!; in one of them, it's not enough to shoot the pop-up targets once, but to shoot them as many times as possible in order to get the qualifying score, even though the game fails to tell you that little detail.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Magnotta tells Quinlan he doesn’t care if he and his girlfriend “played tiddly winks in your birthday suits.”
  • Video Phone: Complete with Blue Swirly Thing in the corner.
  • Virtual Ghost: Hamilton Woffard's AI self, to the point that it even looks like a Force ghost.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Magnotta gets away with beating up Quinlan while interrogating him by slicing his forehead with a huge knife so he can claim self defense if Quinlan reports this. I mean, would anyone believe the truth?
    • Also qualifies as an inverse of the Police Brutality Gambit.
    • And, as Spoony points out, it wouldn't have worked anyway.
    Magnotta: Self defence, man. I mean, why'd you hit me, Quinlan? What are you, stupid? Hitting a cop?!
    Spoony: With a knife, while handcuffed.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Forget hacking into the human mind to give you an aneurysm or whatever: the Ripper can hack your brain in such a way your body's internal pressure builds until you explode from the inside.


Example of: