On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One - first look

The adventure isn't limited to just your ravaged neighborhood or the detective duo's office, thankfully. You'll also be able to spend tokens down at the Pelican Bay Boardwalk, or hang out with Tycho's teenage niece, Anne-Claire (aka Annarchy) in her science-themed room (she'll also show up as a summonable character and toast your enemies with a flamethrower). The bulk of your time, however, will be spent in a disgusting, rainy slum known as Hobo Alley.

You're in Hobo Alley for two reasons: first, Tycho and Gabe want to investigate complaints that the trash is coming to life. Second, you're looking for a new place to live, and for some reason you really dig the idea of bedding down in a neighborhood that's infested with all sorts of horrific nasties. You'll therefore wander around, battling living trash and feral hobos (and collecting "hobo meat" from destroyed bums for a side quest), until you catch the trail of a mysterious slumlord who's running around and gathering up hobos in a sack. You'll then follow him into a boarding house called The Shithole, at which point he acts all nonchalant, so you do the only sensible thing any homeless adventurer would do in that situation: you ask about renting an apartment.

The results are predictably funny; room A has a rat, room B is inhabited by a large, rabid dog, and room C is nothing but a corpse in a bathtub, surrounded by arcane signs written on the walls in blood. Before you can ask what the deal is, however, the slumlord has disappeared into a fourth door; follow him, and you'll find a vast workshop, manned by enslaved hobos and dedicated to producing the fruit-humping robots who've hassled you all throughout the episode.

Naturally, this means you'll need to throttle some answers out of the slumlord, but getting to him means you'll first have to fight your way through several waves of robots and hobos. And even when you do make it to the man himself, he'll be surprisingly resourceful for a fat stupid bastard, reaching into his sack and tossing more hobos your way. Of course, considering that your fight with the slumlord apparently caps off the episode, we wouldn't expect it to be easy.

Due to appear online for PCs sometime this spring and on Xbox Live shortly afterwards, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness looks pretty deep for the first installment of an episodic game. The PC and 360 versions should be largely identical, apart from the controls; instead of pointing and clicking on the 360, you'll walk around with the thumbstick, and items you can interact with will highlight as you come near. On either platform, you can expect it to debut for under $20, which will buy you around six to eight hours of play time. So far, the game looks like a lot of fun, thanks to clever dialogue and cool gameplay ideas; expect to see a full hands-on in the coming months.


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