September, 1888. The shadow of the Whitechapel Murderer looms over London. Eddy Nichols, the eldest son of the first acknowledged victim, arrives to Whitechapel in search of answers. What he finds, though, is a panic-stricken city and a number of people eager to make the most of the horrible crimes: an American private eye, thirsty for fame and glory; the owner of an awful tabloid; a psychiatrist who advocates for suspicious, questionable methods, and an elusive, mentally unstable journalist.
THIS IS A BOY’S LOVE/YAOI GAME IF YOU AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH THIS NICHE PLEASE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
GRAY’S FIRST IMPRESSION
＊*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚ He’s a cute fellow when he opens his mouth, but his thoughts are anything but sweet or humble. He goes about with this very civil and courteous persona, when his inner monologue tells a very different story of what he believes. ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚＊
GRAY’S FIRST IMPRESSION
＊*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚ He has occult books in his house… Not only that his home is like a miniature library of sorts with tomes and really old looking trinkets. I’m not saying that I think he’s a killer, but he definitely has something haunting him, whether it is psychological or paranormal. ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚＊
GRAY’S FIRST IMPRESSION
＊*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚ Tsk. Of course there has to be the one oresama in the game that even the MC can also get irritated with! While he may be known as the American Sherlock Holmes, his way of thinking and looking for evidence is sloppy. He’s quick to cast his assumptions without truly looking for facts and evidence to tie someone to a murder. ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚＊
Around 50k words of mystery and romance.
Two (optional) love interests.
A gripping original soundtrack. [Listen Here]
While this seems like a regular ‘choose your own adventure’ VN, a lot of the demo seemed mostly static with the options presented being more like something closer to how Ace Attorney functions. The point and click scheme is prominent in here, and I do not believe there is a current STATs implementation at this time. What I can concur is that I do like how they have staggered the answers versus havbing the usual drop shopping list display.
The two optional interests are refreshing as we usually encounter a lot of LI routes that can get pretty hectic at times. In this aspect, I like the fact that we have two LI and can focus more on the two men that are presented. Sometimes when there is more than one LI, trying to remember the characters can get pretty hard, and it can also at times become daunting.
Let me say that the soundtrack is impressive, I appreciated the changes in the sound and depth of the music in the game. From both casual to the suspenseful moments, the musical genius who worked on the game knew what they were doing. The inflections and subtle but impactful variations that were added to go along with the characters moods worked very well, and left a great impression on me.
The opening line is the most pivotal hook for a book, game, movie, or TV show, and did this line grab me instantly. Hah! As the readers we are instantly sent back in time to the foggy and humid days of London, where clothes get damp from just walking the streets, and the layers of dense fog licking harshly against your skin leaves a disgusting feel against your flesh.
Looking at the graphics and line art, the game has improved since the original demo, with the visuals looking more sharper, brighter, and cleaner. I appreciate how they captured the look of a foggy day, while I’ve never been to the UK, it certainly makes me feel like I’ve walked into the battlefield of fog and mist. Eddy Nichols made it clear about his disdain for the weather, and I can’t help but agree with his description of the humidity in the air and how it reminds me of sweat.
With this being a VN, visuals are just one of the key components for a game to be successful. The game didn’t disappoint with the narrative that we are invited to read, Eddy is fascinating as a storyteller in my opinion. Looking through his lens of things, we get to see a character who has to hide his sexuality and also his true thoughts about something.
Albeit, there is a strong impression of how he restrains himself from saying something that is not polite towards others. However, Eddy is a class act, and keeps his cool even when he’s faced to deal with Detective William Barns. It’s when we meet Barns that we start to read more of what Eddy’s inner thoughts are and how he wants justice for his mother.
Another aspect that I enjoy in VNs is when we can actually see a map of where the hell we are and where the heck we are going. I am impressed with the detailing of how the game creators designed the map, and I also chuckled at the way marking the map reminds me of a red sharpie being drawn across a road map. However, because we are only using a demo, we only get to go to one place on the map–but I do hope in the full game release that we get to visit all these spots on the map above.
WHOA THERE DETECTIVE BARNS, DO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE TO BACK YOUR CLAIM?!
One thing is for certain, the game does paint a really good fictional part of this century–While I understand that forensic science and gathering evidence that is not contaminated wasn’t perfected at this time. There was still a good bout of ‘witch hunting’ going about, where you could claim someone did something even if you had hardly any evidence to convict them. One thing is for certain, Eddy isn’t a push over and he definitely challenges Detective Barns on many of the man’s assumptions.
It’s a breath of fresh air, and I’m fairly glad to see more characters who have a good balance of strengths and weaknesses coming out into VNs and Otomes alike. Lurkers is definitely one historical game to look out these coming months, as the suspense and historical mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper comes to life in a new story.
Evil seems to be whispering into the ears of those who take things at face value in this game, so it is good that Eddy isn’t the type to listen to blathering nonsense without proof but, I also am glad he usues his gut feelings as well. The demo screams more than promise, it practically drags you into the world that Eddy lives in and his determination to seek justice for his mother. From the musical score that helped bring appropriate touches of suspense into the dialogue and the character designs, this story rich VN has made it onto my watch list.
I’m eager to see the journey that befalls upon Eddy and the others, and hopefully they are able to find the killer before they find them.