Warning: This review isn't necessarily safe for work, but all the nsfw content remains hidden within the spoiler tags. Read at your own discretion.
Title: 妖幻天女 (The Bewitching Celestial Maiden)
After way too many vns in our existence all the plots slowly run together into one and character development stops being important. It is when we want to take a break and get our hands on something extra crispy - as long as it allows us to indulge in the deepest of desires, there's no place for needless banter. We are merely simple beings with simple needs... and being a simple guy, I couldn't neglect a game, one of my friends recommended me long ago. "Play this japanese erogi", he said. "You will reach true happiness.", he said. At that point I barely knew moon runes, so I couldn't care less. Now when things changed, I accidentally stumbled upon this magnificent piece of software, while browsing through more forgotten corners of the japanese net. Was it worth it?
If you're interested, please continue.
It's common for sons of well-established leaders to be mostly useless, good-for-nothing gallants. Raziel isn't an exception.
Prince Raziel is the successor to the demon throne, but his interests vary wildly from whatever his father keeps in stock, not to mention actual marriage. When his soon-to-be fiancée turns out to be an angel - a mortal enemy of the demon kind - Raziel takes a liking for the girl and decides to make her his bride, much to Demon King's disapproval. After a heated argument, king promises to approve of their relationship, but only if Raziel manages to bring her back to the demon realm. Clueless on how to begin, prince Raziel joins forces with his ever profit-hungry childhood friend Rosetta and together they embark on a fantastic journey through mystical realms, full of glorious dickings and endless hopes for treasure troves ready to be taken.
In this realm, your future half is revealed through divination, the rest does not seem to matter that much.
In order to reach the heavens above, our duo has to traverse through 魔界 ("Hell" for you, uneducated peasants) and obtain four elemental stones, which will allow them to open a magical portal leading to the mortal plane. From there onwards, they will have to pass through the Machine Country and Country of the Beasts, before they reach entrance to heavens. A seemingly simple task, if not for the fact the stones are being kept away within four great towers and each of them is supposedly protected by a powerful guardian. Obviously, the stones themselves contain tremendous powers that allow it's bearer to control the elemental energies and as such, shouldn't ever fall into anyone's hands, especially demon.
What a cutie. I'm obviously talking about Rosette.
No one really knows what lies beyond the mortal gates, but they're confident to push onwards. Such is their fate.
TL&DR version: It's a game about a demon prince, boning any females that stand on his way to achieve true happiness. Also, snakes. Lots of 'em.
Thanks for stating the obvious, Rosette.
Yougen Tennyo is a classic eroge, deeply rooted within the galgame realm of late 80's and early 90's. Game itself is divided into two parts - the usual story mode, presented in ADV fashion and a Qix-esque mini game, where your take control of our dark-winged protagonist trying to slash through maps compromised of tiles, avoiding and fighting against a variety of opponents. The capricious all-female guardians force him into a game of wits and wagers to prove his worthiness on being the next owner of the stones... and perhaps something else.
As you slowly progress through the game, you quickly find out the damn stones are as relevant as Raziel's fidelity. While each failure results in a classic "game over" screen, after which the game restarts, actual victories net you - the player - not only story progression, but the main reward - h-scenes, in which our protagonist has his way with the defeated ladies (sometimes likewise). And boy, oh boy - if you enjoy stories, where protagonists are either rogues or straight out bastards, while females constantly switch from prideful to poor, oppressed beings into lust-filled demons demanding your se- I mean, your unyielding attention - you'll love every minute of it. It's not a mystery to behold our dear ladies are of supernatural origin and being forever bound to a single place with no one to accompany them, they grew both very lonely and bored over the passing centuries. Surely - they might be ill-tempered and/or cautious (PMS, perhaps), but it's in your task to soften them up and judging from devs, the best possible way to do so is by being rough. Push onwards, traveller. Open all the gates!
The whole story is divided into seven arcs, not counting prologue and epilogue. There are four different towers and three realms our heroes will have to pass in order to reach ending. Each of the areas is a home to one of the game's heroines.
The Earth Tower, inhabited by our shy nymph Raka (guarding the Earth Stone)
Kingdom of Winds, home to the capricious sylph Sherra (guarding the Wind Stone)
Tower of the Flames, guarded by the tsun fire sprite, Narsemi (guarding the Fire Stone)
Rainy Kingdom, home to the tempting undine, Arga (guarding the Water Stone)
Machine Country (human world), managed by the automaton Queen, Lia
Country of the Beasts, supervised by proud centauress, Eija.
Finally, the Heavenly Realm, where Raziel's fated bride - Oferina - resides.
As a reader, you will spend most of the time following Raziel and Rosetta from place to place and engage in battles with it's guardians; either chasing after the more timid gals, or confronting the powerful vixens directly, ultimately falling into their playful clutches. It's worthy to note despite game's initial simplicity, girls themselves prove to be pleasantly developed, both in terms of personalities and the less, but not less important bits (when it applied). Each of the encounters is different and has something else in stock - there's a nut for every bolt, as they say. Not all of them run away scared or remain hostile to the protagonist. Some - in fact - welcome him as a pleasant surprise in their realms, offering to exchange their stones (wew) for a friendly game of cat and mouse. Those games - often being contests of strength, wits and spirit - ultimately turn to time, where they slowly get to know each other and sadly - the only time where we can learn something more about them. Fans of Rance series might find themselves at home, as most of the events in the story are described in an ultimately comedic fashion, rather than being serious and you can't deny that Raziel - even for being a villainous sort of a protagonist - isn't inherently bad, or evil as his only ultimate goal is to find a way to heavens and meet with his fated fiancée. In other words, you quickly let certain things go past the radar, even when most of the acts committed by Raziel could easily be described as nothing else but forcey fun time.
Things get more hectic in the end, when you finally reach the Celestial Kingdom, that turns out to be less celestial, than you thought at first. A rather tiny, but surprising plot twist occurs, where you confront an unexpected guest and have to rescue Oferina from a fate far worse than death... I'd rather omit the details to avoid potential spoiling, but the whole final confrontation left me as much distressed and angry, as hilariously grinning for the remaining portion of the game.
And they all lived happily ever after... or did they?
I found the whole concept of the game symbolic at times. Embarking from the depths of the netherworld, collecting elements that form the basis of universe, passing through the human realm, reaching the kingdom representing nature itself (one that will always remain above humanity) and finally reaching heavens, representing self-understanding all create a somewhat mystic feeling. Each of the realms seems to be a self-sufficient, closed-off state - more of a dream, where our heroines reside, mostly alone, if not counting their faithful servitors. The lack of humans within their own world is thought-provoking and you start to wonder, what happened. Did we lost ourselves in our never-ending pursuit of perfection or perhaps the mechanical puppets themselves are what remained of our own kind? In contrast to this, the Country of the Beasts seems like a bliss, akin to ancient descriptions of Promised Land, or Eden. We see all the animals in the backgrounds - both herbivores and carnivores - living in perfect harmony. A place of eternal happiness and ultimately something we cannot return to. The Celestial world above seems very cold and empty, with ancient ruins older than the universe itself. It reflects in Oferina's eyes - distant, melancholic and filled with solitude.
All those states form what could be seemingly described as our own consciousness. Quite artsy, to be honest.
This is what happens, when you allow greedy lolis to do as they please.
In overall, I found the whole story to be pleasant and really enjoyable, if not a bit repetitive. Despite being plain and very much straightforward, the entire voyage got me hooked until the very end. For that I have to thank the game's heroines and Rosetta's constant antics.
Though the developers consider Yougen Tennyo a mix between ADV and Qix, the mini-game portion itself feels closer to Bomberman, rather than similar puzzle/arcade titles.
The mechanics are very simple. Your primary task is to clear each stage from all the tiles scattered on the floor. There's a timer running, so you have to hurry up, because when it reaches zero it's instant game over.
Raziel moves across the tiles, leaving a flaming trail behind him which can be used to close them in simple geometric patterns. When you succeed, all tiles contained inside turn into elemental bullets and shoot in a direction our character was last facing. Those can be used to damage and kill the servitors sent by the guardians to hinder our progress. Killed enemies will sometimes leave power-ups. Those are divided into few different types - offensive, defensive and utility, ranging from instant bombs and bonus lives to additional time or stop it for a while, prevent opponents from spawning on the map or summon Rosette's lovely pet companion - Grimarkin (actually, it's a female as well... hopefully) - to either destroy tiles or launch attacks at the opponents. Again, despite it's simplicity, the mini game turned out to be a lot more engaging than I expected. It's feels very balanced and provides constant challenge, while not being an overly frustrating addition. If you will play straight from the beginning and have some skill with arcade games, you shouldn't have any problems in reaching the end, considering how generous stages can be at times, raining you with constant stream of 1-UP's.
You're also gifted with Rosetta's presence in the bottom-left window, cheerfully commenting on your achievements and mishaps, because all we need is more sarcasm.
My only note is that the game could still use a bit more variety in map design and puzzle elements. If not for the slight changes in terrain graphics and opponents, you could be as well playing the same exact thing, over and over again.
The whole game is divided into 7 different worlds and each of them contains four stages. The first one is considered more or less an introduction. The second one adds more opponents. Sub-bosses appear in third stage. Those are usually powerful beings and each of them comes with a fairly different set of skills, requiring different approach to clean stages. They can be killed, but attempting to do so can be quite tricky, considering their toughness.
In the final stage, you will confront the guardian heroines themselves. Similar to sub-bosses, ladies have different skills and attacks, becoming progressively more dangerous and difficult to beat as the game progresses. Personally, I found Eija to be the most challenging opponent, truly worthy of her character. Heroines can be defeated as well, but they are one of the toughest opponents existing, requiring a lot of effort. Regadless, as your main task is to clear all the tiles, beating them is not required, but purely optional.
Regarding boss fights, it's worth to remember about Rosetta's treasure hunting requests, if you want to earn her gratitude. As to why, I will leave it for players to deduce themselves
Art & Music
There is "music" in this game.
Jokes, aside - it's all simple FM-midi tunes. Those might have been good around thirty years ago, but not anymore. Regardless, they are fitting and create a good background noise for all the action.
Queen Eija is a lovely lady, but the bottom part seems incompatible.
What really does shine, though is the art. For a game of it's time, Yougen Tennyo managed to reach a peculiar mix between simplicity and utmost artistry. The majority of art, including character concepts was done by Minoru Murao (of Knights, Last Exile, Burst Angel and 707R fame, amongst other works), remaining nothing less than gorgeous. It's obvious Minoru was heavily inspired by Arabian Nights (visible in character designs and setting) and Art Nouveau with it's flowery patterns, thick outlines, minimal shading, subtly drawn faces and beautiful anatomy. All of this is a true feast for eyes to look upon. The unique mix between erotica and high art - the subtle embrace of delicate female beauty portrayed against the flowery plains, contrasting with the primal joviality of our dark-winged demon protagonist turned out to be a really tasteful and unique approach for a visual novel of this kind.
It's a shame the game is so old and as such, former hardware limitations prevented higher resolution graphics.
Because our protagonist is a an awful, awful person.
The cherry on the top.
If you're a fan of 100% consensual vanilla H, stay the hell away from this game, as some of the scenes might end in complete disgust to all things japanese, possibly combined with police knocking on your doors.
If otherwise, this - my friend - will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life, you might feel ashamed of but won't ever regret.
Regarding the last one with centauress Eija - spell stopped working ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
This is, obviously just a tiny portion of the game's h-art. If you want to see the rest, I highly encourage you - by all means - to play the game.
Not only you get beautiful gals, as they pant and tussle in ecstasy, there's a lot more in store for all the fans of dirty erotica. Our protagonist is a shape shifting dweller of the netherworld himself, capable to turn into a gigantic snake and command a whole flock of scale-covered familiars, ready to pursue his every single order. He is not afraid to use them to the fullest potential (don't click that link at work, seriously). The game offers a wide variety of heroines with different personalities, sexual experience and level of kinkiness, which results in a lot of funny situations (mostly for us, less for them), not to mention preceding sexual innuendos and dirty talking. As an seemingly inconspicuous but powerful apex predator - demonic avatar of lust and depravity - you will slowly drive your unsuspecting victims into a corner, devoid them of their dignity and work them up to new heights of carnal pleasure, they never experienced before.
Even tentacles in this game come as one of the most beautiful I've ever came across and quite cuddly in their own way
If you ever thought how females felt during the age of myth, play this game. Being forcefully taken against your own will is just the very beginning of a never-ending circle of perversion, our ancestors excelled at. Not only we loved to imagine how things are done within the celestial realm, but the cleverness behind the sex acts themselves could only equal to cunning tactics, our demigod brethren (and possibly sisters) employed to seduce their targets. Bulls, swans, sneks, golden rain, fog, treasure chests, spiders, mirrors, more sneks, wine, eagles, even more sneks, larks, mysterious objects(?) were all just a tip of an iceberg floating within a sea of wriggling snakes.
This game just loves snakes. I won't be surprised you too might start to like them afterwards.
I can't forget to mention how hard Yougen Tennyo is to obtain nowadays (if you're a collector) and how even more difficult is to make it run on any modern PC at all. Since the game is basically a self-extracting software CD from circa 2001, it does not recognize modern display standards. I had to hack the executable in order to make it work on a 16:9 screen, although it did manage to open properly on another machine running Windows 7 on a 5:4 monitor, in 1280x1024 resolution. I suspect a windows hooker, such as DxWnd might be able to run it as well. If you own the original CD, an optical drive is surely required.
If you're a fan of oldschool eroge, looking for something nice and not overly long nor difficult to play, this game - despite it's complete obscurity - is a true gem in the rough and shouldn't be omitted.
Gorgeous, highly stylized art
Six different heroines standing on your path, plus Rosetta and your would-be fiancée
Despite the themes, story is mostly light and comedic, akin to Rance games
Plenty of well drawn and varied h-cgs with pretty, fairy-like gals
You get to bang a haughty centauress 👌
Rosetta is cute af and she gets her screen time as well (provided you know what to do)
You get cucked
No catgirls (sub-boss in the penultimate map doesn't count)
The story can be considered shallow and characters could include more depth
The mini-game could use more variety in terms of mechanics
The game is a pain in the ass to run on modern systems, unless you own a retro pc
Lack of possibility to save, skip and fast-forward the text
the old style censorship with it's invisible weenies and huge mosaics gets really annoying at times
If resident lolis weren't enough, Narsemi's arc might be an actual deal breaker for a lot of people (YMMV)
You get cucked