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Review Database http://vndbreview.tigrimigri.com and Reviews of god forgotten VNs

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De-Ja VN Review

Foreword: I've wanted to play this game for a long time. I've always considered it to be the grandfather of all adventure visual novels, but only found time for it while doing year 1990 coverage. So this is Elf's first grand work and the first Elf work to have Hiruda as story writer. Game is amazing but at the same time there aren't that many japanese reviews and as many as zero English ones. How can that even be possible?! I've no answers. My best guess is that work is prior to internet era and Multi-pack (2004) only brought contemporary systems and graphics, so japanese didn't really bother to discuss a remake. Let's start already.

Title: De-Ja

Original Title: デ・ジャ

Developer: Elf

Release Date: 1990-06-15


Summary: You are Ryuusuke, archaeologist in pursuit of adventures and legendary treasure. One day you dream of finding a secret compartment in a pyramid filled with piles of treasures. That's going to be the discovery of the century! A naked woman appears and tells you not to take out the treasures. When you try to touch breasts, she turns into a monster. You wake up by the telephone ringing. A client brings you an antique cane with engravings on it. Those who possess this cane see the same dream every night with a golden hair girl. You take the cane to try to translate the symbols carved on it and end up in a real adventure yourself.

VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v2338

Game Type: Adventure Interactive novel / Chuunige

Story Length: Took me some 8 hours or so.

Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Tricky! I'd even say difficult.

Comments of Difficulty: First half of the game was steamrolled while after that you first get into situation where you need to use game manual shipped with the game to pass through puzzle, next there's an abyssal difficulty puzzle where you need to understand which symbol signifies which planet and then place them in a special order. It took me four days (1h per day) to solve that puzzle and in order to do that I had to load old save twice and go through all the dialogues VERY attentively writing down every detail and both walkthroughs that I found gave no real answer what to do. At some point I was able to find 3rd walkthrough that finally clarified things. So here is my 5 ring puzzle clarification for all the poor souls like me: 1) you need to talk to everyone and click everywhere till you get in a state when you can't exit the puzzle screen - only then the right answer will be accepted 2) Initially planet signs are set (and reset to this state after each bad try) this way: "Sun" · "Mercury" · "Venus" · "Earth" · "Mars" 3) You need to get signs to this state "Earth", "Sun", "Venus", "Mars", "Mercury" 「太陽」・「水星」・「金星」・「地球」・「火星」 4) The fastest way to do that is this: №1-up*2, №2-up*1, №3-intact, №4-down*1, №5-down*2. That's it! And it took 4 hours of my life.

Character Design Rating: 9/10. 

Story Rating: 10/10.

Protagonist Rating: 10/10

Game Quality: 10/10

Overall Rating: 9/10

Rating Comments: Isn't it obvious? Game is a masterpiece and the only flaw I can invent is that characters lack depth. But they don't need it in the first place. It's light adventure novel and not a charage/nakige. The overall rating is 9/10 just because it's an I-ADV and you need to click the same stuff and revisit the same places over and over - repetitiveness sometimes makes you miss really important info.

Structure: Game is one piece but you always see how % of story progress after each significant event.

Story: Story is not too big since it's an I-ADV and most of the time you need to click at everything some three times to advance the story. Mild spoilers may arise. So you get the cane for research. You see the dreams of blonde hair woman each time you sleep. You track down cane's seller and little by little find out that archaeological society is somehow connected. At the same time the backstory unfolds that recently archaeological society head was found dead and new one is keen on kicking you out. Once you get back to office only to find it turned upside down and cane missing. Your friend Gachako's house got rampaged as well. Since everything keeps pointing at archaeological society, you find a way to infiltrate it and eventually get into underground cellar with your cane and adjusting crystal ball. After that you're being threatened frequently by new archaeology boss Hyuga. Anyway, you get to translate the signs on the cane and set out to the airport. You wait for Gachako there and after a while you're being approached by man in black who passes a video tape. Kidnapped strangled Gachako is on it so you the rest of the game you search for her whereabouts, discover the site of mysterious blonde girl temple and set on a trip there to finally find out the inter-planetary inter-dimensional mystery concealed.

Characters summary: It's not a charage and thus girls exist there mostly to get info from. I actually referred to Gachako as just one of such girls. I only found it a bit odd that after each piece discovery you usually need to go to her place, think it over together and set further actions.


Gachako: Gachako is an easy-going cheerful girl that either always helps you with advice or just makes fun of you and gives her comments. She's fun and doesn't really have strict morals. She is a daughter of the murdered archaeology head and thus really interested in finding the truth behind it. But she actually shined only when at some point she joined you for a small time in your constant jogging around that town. Since Ryuusuke is constantly sexually harassing everything that has a skirt, it was real fun to watch the very same scenes but now with her intrusion and commentaries. Then she gets kidnapped and thus comes the recognition of her as main heroine. And she's going to be main heroine of De-Ja 2, so we'll sure see her soon again. I really loved that time when Gachako kept Ryuusuke a company since it really reminded Lipstick  ADV, Hiruda's previous game.


Protagonist: Ryuusuke is awesome! Actually, that's totally my favorite type of main hero. Grown-up who constantly harasses girls and makes fun of everyone else. So far my favorite one was Taichi from Cross Channel, but this time it's even more fun. What's more to aspire of protagonist?

Sexual Content: Low. There's one desperate housewife in the middle, couple illusions and just a bit more in the final. But those are are very short ones and a way to push even more jokes through.

Affection for the Characters: Sky high. Characters are most beautiful and charming. Sub-characters are mostly fun cartoonish faces. It's an adventure light story so don't expect any depth from characters, but oh my they are great. Here's a little example of mass scene.


CG Score: 10/10, naturally. Every single CG is a masterpiece


H-scenes: Since it's quite an old game (and remake of it), there weren't real sex scenes. Just girl naked. And that's much more fun. Or ojiisan naked. Don't ask. See for yourself.



Sound Score: There are only 11 compositions. But none is irrelevant or irritating. 8/10

Addictiveness: If only not I-ADV mechanics. I'm addicted, for sure. Can't wait for playing De-Ja 2 already.

Conclusion: Game that I enjoyed a lot. Good adventure story, awesome characters and lots of wild talk with loads of laughs. If you can bear I-ADV system clumsiness, a great experience is almost assuredly guaranteed.


19 titles selected and 22 smaller ones in the year 1989. Same as in 1988, more or less. A good half of those games were likable, but I felt that the quality level was especially high with three games - Hare Nochi Oosawagi!, Tawhid, Soft de Hard na Monogatari 2. Still Hare Nochi was too light-minded, Soft de Hard too difficult and earthly (I'd rather read it as manga tbh) while Tawhid was perfect and it gets the VN of the year 1989 title. 

First of all, let's try to distinguish what features year 1989 brought:

  • number games with multiple endings greatly increased
  • while still being interactive adventures, VNs started to have simplified command selection mechanics
  • simplified game mechanics led to higher game volumes and thus higher satisfaction with the story
  • most of year 1989 games are story-driven and it's the golden age for adventure theme in VNs
  • proportion of rpg games and elements got higher
  • school setting games got more numerous
  • science fiction clearly lost to mystery

Great year, overall. I like it that there are few formal detective investigations and more informal ones. Great animations and voices start to show up. Graphics finally got enjoyable with 90% of games and it's still far till Windows era. Ok, time to elaborate.

1. Angel Hearts (VNDB)


The secret organization of the school is feeding on the students. Main character gets a request from a newspaper department manager to destroy that organization and rescue newspaper members that never returned from this task.

First "elf" game (technically, it's third already, but I condemned first two as eroge) and it's sitting in oblivion. Time to fix that!

It's an rpg+stealth. All the enemies are girls and hero uses attacks like whispers, kisses and chest massage. Since what you need the most is full HP, you're going to run back to school infirmary after each fight.

That's definitely an erotic game. So what does it even do here? Just to show that it's 3rd elf game already and it's erotic centered, monotonous, dull and has bad visuals. CG usually is quite small, like a quarter of the screen, so it's not really much erotic. First 7 games of elf were erotic crap, but later ones of them had a tilt into RPG which probably led to Dragon Knight.

2. Burning Point (VNDB)


There's a bit of English info here and since it's detective story I'm not anxious to double check. But since it's Enix, it has to be good story rather than tons of footwork.

3. Cobra: Kokuryuuou no Densetsu (VNDB)


If you like space anime then you already know what to expect. Mad action and pure awesomeness. The game version had to introduce gameplay mechanics to torture players, but it's still a good animated story. Couple reviews found are located here

4. Destruction Joukan (VNDB)


Soft Studio Wing here. Epic story based on studio's very first black and white series. So epic that it could not fit into one game, so it's the first part of the dilogy.

TV broadcast was interrupted by unusual voice saying "Look at the sky at midnight". At midnight a sky object resembling an angered human face appeared on horizon and people seeing it dropped down with their mouths full of blood, but got up with superpowers. Darkness is coming and espers should become the warriors of light to stop it.

You play as a reporter tasked to investigate the appearance of the sky object that turned out to be absent on cameras and photos made at midnight.

Such atmosphere can only be attained by Studio Wing. Part one is introductory one. Tension rises and little by little seeds of darkness embrace the city. Let's wait for culmination in part 2.

5. Dororo ~Jigoku Emaki no Shou~ (VNDB)


Hyakkimaru is a young man who lacks 48 body parts because they were taken from him by demons before birth, as payment by his father, Kagemitsu Daigo, to obtain his wish to take over the country. When the baby boy was born he was missing 48 parts of his body, and thus was abandoned—thrown into a river. Hyakkimaru has grown up and now has obtained fake body parts so he can eliminate the 48 demons that were made from his body, and to retrieve his missing parts. Along for the adventure is the boy thief, Dororo, with whom he becomes friends.

Well, game basically retells the anime story with a different ending. And that anime a black and white one, year 1969, hardcore stuff. The only major difference is the ending. Unlike anime game's is colorful and it saved the unique graphics of original. Good action shounen story but I can't stand shounens sadly.

6. Dragon Knight (VNDB)


Game was quite a beautiful RPG with a charismatic hero which was still new for the time. We've got a pretty thorough english review on it here

7. Famicom Tantei Kurabu Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo (VNDB)


For those still interested in detective VNs link to reviews

8. Gaudi ~Barcelona no Kaze~ (VNDB)


While the whole world enjoying Olympics of 1992 in Barcelona a catalonian political unrest grows in the very heart of the city. You are consultant sent to settle matters with local separatists.

Setting was really far from most of gamers. Olympics in Barcelona terrorism and tackling with separatist movement lacked interest. Main hero as "information consultant" also rose lots of questions. You're neither detective nor fighter but rather a negotiator of some kind who must rely mostly on information manipulation. Depending on made choices, there were multiple endings. Graphics weren't good enough to be able to depict good scenery of the city. Very unusual game that could not find its audience.

9. Hare Nochi Oosawagi! (VNDB)


A formal request was passed from school principal to you as the student council president to investigate ghost matter in school. As you question victim highschool girls, a connection with a mysterious incident that happened 300 years ago comes to light...

Although the system was command select formula, there were very few flags to get so the pace was very good. You question cute witness girls, get close to the mystery, get an ero scene late into the game and then game literally says "to be continued".

Girls were totally different so this work can be described as an early charage. Although the investigation struggled to be conducted in a serious the atmosphere was rather a light comedy.

Anyway, this game made Cocktail Soft a serious player on eroge market and encouraged to work on similar games.

10. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo 3 - D.C. Connection (VNDB)


Third part in series. Will get some review excepts here

11. Kami no Machi (VNDB)


Kannai town in Yokohama became a ground for a major incident and turned into a limited zone. The lawless city of "Agarta" rose on its place. Two years aftere the incident a young man Yuuki sets for Agartha in search of his lover missed after the incident.

You gather ammo for your weapons and break through monsters to get into the mazed complex with couple comrades. It's a solid animated story with loss of comrades, joy of reunion and mystery of the major incident. It's said that game was in development for 3 years. It's quite sad that it was not especially popular.

12. Lipstick. ADV 2 (VNDB)


Gorou gets a request to deliver a suitcase to Osaka. However, a bomb is found inside and Gorou charged with being a terrorist.

So scenario writer changed. But surprisingly enough the charm of characters and the plot remained on high level. Whether Hiruda made a carcass for it or remaining staff was intact, but game is same funny. Same heroine accompanies Gorou with the sole change that she is now a college student. It suits her less so in part 3 she's going to be high school girl again. Still, since it's part 2 with relatively the same cast, the degree of freshness is poor and this time it's no revolutionary matter, but a very good one still.

13. Marusa no Onna (VNDB)


Wow, when I first saw gameplay videos, I thought it's a simulator of a usual working woman. It turned out to be game remake of a film Taxing woman - woman who excels at finding tax avoidance schemes. There are some minor differences with the film in details but you can't talk about the game without seeing the movie which I'm not really inclined to do.

14. Muteki Keiji Daidageki ~Shijou Saidai no Hanzai~ (VNDB)


So two detectives dig up that plutonium is being smuggled in the country and end up having all the mafia on the tail.

It's actually a sequel of kidnapping detective story of 1987. Game starts seriously but constantly drops into stupid situations and kidding then returns back to seriousness. It's both tackling contemporary politics and some monster may also appear all of a sudden. Game has fighting scenes, mainly punches and kicks. So genre is action parody or something like that. Game has almost all the lines voiced (!), so with listening all the dialogues length would supersede 7 hours.

15. Oishinbo Kyuukyoku no Menyuu Sanbonshoubu (VNDB)


Err... what? A game based on manga about cooking? Aim is to prepare the best banquet? Really? And it has English translation? That's a great news! So instead of digging it up i'd rather post review link

16. Seirei Gari (VNDB)


There's an english review and even english youtube walkthrough, so not interfering. Takes slightly over 2h to finish this horror adventure.

17. Soft de Hard na Monogatari 2 (VNDB)


In part 1 Hiroshi had to substitute ill father as a president of a small soft company and tear it from the claws of bankruptcy. This time Hiroshi returns to Mocha Systems after a while as scenario writer and new receptionist girl Ishida joins the company and claims to be Hiroshi's fan.

Soft de Hard na Monogatari 2 is novelware with some choices that determine branching. First versions were very difficult to capture and only in FM Towns version it's normal visual novel choices.

Game is great. Pictures are superb since they are scanned. Humor is top notch. The atmosphere of old soft developing company is unique and great. Lots of contemporary parodies make it even better. Plot matters little since it's mostly situation comedy

Well, I dumped part 1 erroneously. Now I get that nico video featuring 1h gameplay was not doing it to the game end. Now I think this game could really rival Lipstick ADV in 1988...

18. Tawhid (VNDB)


Year 2031. Main character is 28 year old ex-operative photographer who travels around the world while taking pictures of ruins destroyed by war. A 12-year old girl who joined you in Egypt is being chased by secret organization and even the farthest corners of ruins around the world won't stop them.

Champion Soft last game while on transition period to become Alice Soft. It was already brave to get Middle East into the setting. Each country had its own unique atmosphere. Egypt, Israel, Mongolia and Nepal are stages for each chapter and finally hero gets back to Japan. There's a vast attention to details and game can be enjoyed just by looking at the exotic views alone.

There is enough of both adventuring with exploration of ruins and escaping from the pursuit. Interactive command selection is simplified so pace is good. There are adult scenes since girl gets naked on the battlefield, but it's by no means an eroge. The most important feature about the game is the unique atmosphere that was not ever repeated by any other game. That makes game memorable years after play-through. 

19. Yami no Iyo Densetsu ~Joouzuka Satsujin Jiken~ (VNDB)


You're a spiritual detective Shura and being requested to help Metropolian Police Department to investigate murder of a man who was sucked all the blood off and death of a girl in a different prefecture.

It's a horror adventure, but atmosphere is not as dense as in Wing Studio works. At battle scene game almost turns into RPG since you have HP, MP that increase as you win battles. Commands to choose from are few and no need for a guide to complete it and the pace is good. All the characters are unique and likable. Quite a few ero scenes are present.

Overall a good story-driven VN with good length, interesting narration and high level of satisfaction.



Examined VNs that did not fulfill selection criteria:


1. 38 Man Kilo no Kokuu VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30m)



Block reason:Antique (could not find any useful text material on the game)


3. Arcshu ~Kagerou no Jidai o Koete~ VNDB

Block reason:Fandisc (it's an ADV mini games that feature characters from ARCS jrpg and previous Wolf Team works)


4. Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30m)


5. Idol Hakkenden VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45m)


6. James Clavell's Shōgun VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25m)


7. Kibun wa Pastel Touch VNDB

Block reason:Eroge

Short synopsis for VNDB:Main character is count Dracula and he proposes to a Japanese girl Umi. Response is put on hold till Dracula picks her up in the daytime. Three months later he visits her school as a male student to charm girls with magic and get Umi whereabouts from them.


8. Koube Ren'ai Monogatari VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h)

Short synopsis for VNDB:A love story unfolds while sightseeing in Kobe.

9. Lonely Heart VNDB

Block reason:Antique (No text info found).

10. Lupin III ~Babylon no Ougon Densetsu~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45m)

11. Meitantei Holmes - M Kara no Chousenjou VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45m)


12. Mephist VNDB

Block reason:Antique(no plot info found)


13. Misty Vol.1 VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (I'm always looking at length of one story if multiple present)


14. Misty Vol.2 VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (I'm always looking at length of one story if multiple present)

15. Paragon Sexa Doll VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 35m)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Two stars had military agreements to avoid conflict, but a war broke out from conflict on unmanned planet Alpha. Many sex doll robots were upgraded to execute military functions. Sex Doll Tina volunteered to avenge for her friend Barbara who got caught with spying charges.


16. Psychic Detective Series Vol. 1: Invitation - Kage kara no Shoutaijou VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25m)


17. Psychic Detective Series Vol. 2: Memories VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25m)


18. Review -Jashin Fukkatsu- VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h)


19. Tanteidan X VNDB

Block reason:Antique (Failed to find text info)


20. Teito Taisen VNDB

Block reason:Antique (Failed to find info on game and since it's just movie adaptation better watch the movie)


21. Zerø - The 4th Unit Act.4 VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (around 2h?) I'm not so sure now about its length, but considered that it's an old series and previous parts weren't too long, dumping that as well.


22. ZorkQuest: The Crystal of Doom VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30m)



Year 1988. 18 titles and 24 smaller ones. And number of titles increased both because games got longer and because information on more obscure games got scarce so I can't determine how long those are. Or maybe noone shares walkthrough videos because games got too big. It works either way. As soon as I get at least 2 games for each month I'm switching to monthly format. Well, year 1989 should be full year still.

Angelus, Lipstick ADV.,  Psy-O-Blade and Snatcher are main candidates for VN of the year 1989. And although I like a good story the most, I'd say that the winner in year 1989 is Lipstick ADV. It was so revolutionary for that time and marked the birth of "elf" games. And pretty sure that years to come going to be "elf" years anyway. I used to easily dispatch eroge since they used to be simplified. Now I'll need to carefully investigate each eroge in an attempt to catch the glimpse of greatness. And I owe that to Lipstick ADV.

1. Angelus ~Akuma no Fukuin~ (VNDB)


Another Enix masterpiece. Walkthrough that I watched was 1h 50m, but this work is worth it. Graphics and plot are great and what's even better - game seems to be a kinetic novel (or maybe I missed choices). Luckily there's an English review on the game so I'll just leave the link here instead of inventing a bicycle.

2. Harajuku After Dark (VNDB)


A corpse of a fashionably dressed man was discovered in the part and Harajuku police department started investigation. A a simple murder case developed into a major incident involving Harajuku's clothing industry.

A very boring, very thorough investigatinon of several cases. So far it's the first detective investigation VN that actually did not get English localization. This must be the reason!



Monochrome interactive investigation adventure. You are a detective in Los Angeles and need to investigate a murder case with a more veteran policeman. Man was  murdered in hotel room and had baseball chip in his pocket.

Thinking rabbit was well known for good adventure stories. Casablanca had a very good plot. This one is not an exception. Black and white Ameria was already stylish. Feature of the game is Joker command that could let you achieve unexpected results but could as well be wasted easily. There's less excitement than in Casablanca, but it's same fulfilling since it tackles with complicated human relationships rather than tricks.

4. Kiken na Futari (VNDB)


Another detective case. Should I rename this blog to smth like a hundred of detective VNs that I'd never want to play? Anyway, this game had quite a lot of remakes and later ones are especially affectionate. Here's a set of review links.

5. Kohaku-iro no Yuigon (VNDB)


You'd never believe. Detective investigation. This time in 1921 with its peculiarities. Doubt that someone would care, but i'd gather jp reviews in here with some translated excepts. 

6. Lipstick. ADV (VNDB)


Congratulate me on having the first eroge selected. Well, it's not a nukige or something, but rather a mix with a great plot and humor as well as a game that set standards for many-many years to come. That's actually a revolutionary game and because of that it had a great number of sequels. It actually has an English review from densetsu, but author could not understand japanese at all so could only judge visuals. So let's start.

So we play as detective Goro and investigate disappearance of some box with heirloom. But there's also high school girl Mami who is a member of school girl detective club who lives next door and accompanies us. The heirloom was easy to find, but on return the office was in chaos.

Game's well remembered because the scenario was made by creator of elf studio in next 1989. Despite embracing interactive adventure genre, story  has a great tempo, lots of humor and overall comparatively easy flags to trigger as well as main decisions being done only at the very end.

Why is this game revolutionary?

1. It's the first game that I know that used the contemporary opening with scene shots sequences and astonishing musical theme.

2. It's the first original game that actually empathized charm of characters rather than plot. Seeing a woman walking side by side with the main hero the whole game was a novely itself. 

3. It was the first erotic game where erotic content did not play a big role but rather was an element in the plot. And not having an erotic scene with Mami was a nonsense in bishoujo game.

4. Game had gallery collection inside the game called "lipstick".


7. Little Vampire (VNDB)


Miki is kidnapped by Dracula and Kentarou is on the quest to save her. Lighthearted RPG by Champion Soft, the earlier name of Alice Soft.

Game shares so much with its prequel Little Princess that it's hard to tell them apart without playing both. Same characters also used in many future games like Rance.  There's quite a lot of information about Little Princess and not enough about Little Vampire. So let's just leave it as it is.



Yet another Champion Soft game and again obscure one. Information is scarce even though plot looks good.

You are a high school student. One day classmate Miyuki suddenly lost memory. The investigation leads to his girlfriend who suspiciously disappeared a year ago.

So you search for items and use them little by little uncovering Miyuki's past. Game features money so you actually need to save it to buy essential items. Might be a nice nakige, but by that time Champion Soft was already very unpopular for making at first only eroge and then games with very difficult gameplay and little satisfaction. Thus rebranding into Alice Soft. But last Champion Soft titles remain obscure.

9. Maison Ikkoku Kanketsu Hen ~Sayonara, Soshite...~ (VNDB)


The game is based on the final events of the series and the OVA. 6 days overall and basically need to repeat main events of the original and for the rest of time usual Ikkoku stuff - setting up parties, improving mood of inhabitants with bribes, struggling with money. More of a fan work than original one. 

10. Onryou Senki (VNDB)


Soft Studio Wing new release. Nothing else needed to be said. After Shiro to Kuro unorthodox start and shock of Makai Fukkatsu and Hadou no Hyouteki expectations are sky high. And in many ways it lives to expectations. 

First of all, it's the longest game of this studio so far. Mechanics have been greately improved. Now there's only 4 actions with "look" action not needing to select an object, so the pace got higher. At special areas there are some special icons as well like computer at home and spell when u get demon banishing spell. The only remaining drawback that lots of backtracking needed to be done and sometimes up to 15 areas needed to be walked through to get to a needed area.

Oh, the plot! You happen to get into monster ambush on a street and since then are determined to prove existence of monsters. At first ghosts appear only for a few seconds but as game progresses they become permanent and agressive. You need to get to the bottom of ghost case and find the god responsible for outrage. Easy like that. 

The shocking part of the game was how real it looked (not literally, but game still looked great even though it used some 8 colors only). People used to deny existence of spirits, then spirits get coverage in mass media and people just adapt to them and tend it like an everyday problem. They even start counsel practices and set tour guides to make money on it and all are enjoying all the media fuss about their little town.

Game lasts 12 days (and nights). Struggle with the ghost god is impressive, just like in previous two games. Solid and memorable game if you got a stomach for this type of VNs.

11. Psy-O-Blade (VNDB)


Another very nice game. Since it's localized into English, here you go the link for reviews

12. Satsujin wa Tegami ni Notte (VNDB)


Little is known. It's the only game released by this developer and it's murder investigation story. Not a good start! But let's at least glance at the plot.

Main character is high school student who hears of his friend being fatally hit by train. He has 7 days remaining till school studies start and he intends to find out the truth behind this accident. And it does not really seem to be a light story. Serial murders, attempt suicide, main hero orphan. Serious stuff despite an unserious cover. We have enough of that outdoors.

13. Shadow Hunter (VNDB)


Another Champion Soft title. Guess what? Another interactive investigation. Another obscure one. Here's the little I got to know.

A famous writer announced his engagement and his bride started to get threats and blackmail. Main character is a detective set to identify the stalker and protect the girl. But as investigation proceeds a murder happens.

14. Snatcher (VNDB)


Hideo Kajima localized work. If you never heard about it, I'd strongly recommend reading reviews that are in abundance.


15. The Old Village Story (VNDB)


I would not depict it better than here

16. Waga Seishun no Youkai Yashiki (VNDB)


A group of four people gets locked into a mansion full of youkai ghosts. They move around together to find a way out.

Game has an ordianry plot and characters. It just cries outloud that it's an eroge, but it actually has no adult content at all. It's natural for this type of game to be interactive adventure, but it's plain very rare at this time adventure type surprisingly. The only amusing feature is that characters move as a team of four and talk among themselves a lot. No info on length. Might be pretty short.

17. Yokohama-kou Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (VNDB)


I'd lie to you if I told that I knew what this Jack Hunter was different from previous Jack Hunter. And I've no intention to figure out. Review links

18. Yoru no Tenshi-tachi ~Shitetsu Ensen Satsujiin Jiken~ (VNDB)


A sequel to Derringer. Derringer's purpose was to introduce Miki who was 13 years old. And it was rather short game, felt more like a promo material for next game to come. Also there should have been the 3rd Miki game to depict Miki gradually becoming an idol, but it was cancelled. In this game Mike is 19 and she has become an idol now. There are also several friends of Miki present, so it's a nice girl company to enjoy.

Hero is a detective investigating suicide case. Sister of the deceased girl claims that railroad crossing was the place that girl used to visit a lot.Hero is a detective investigating suicide case. Sister of the deceased girl claims that railroad crossing was the place that girl used to visit a lot.

It's the second game after Lipstick ADV. (Lipstick ADV. was issued first) where girl is not a capture object, but a full-fledged character to follow main hero. It was also the first attempt to make a mascot character, grandfather of all idol games.


Examined VNs that did not fulfill selection criteria:


1. Akira VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 25m)


2. Ankoku Shinwa: Yamato Takeru Densetsu VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (slightly less than 1 hour)


3. Byakuya Monogatari ~Winchester-ke no Matsuei~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 30m)

Short synopsis for VNDB:College student Hiroyuki Sato came to a hot spring resort and was shocked by western type mansion known as witch's house and decided to sneak in.


4. Chatty VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 40 minutes with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:The protagonist is condemned as criminal, but he manages to step into dimension transfer device and wants to find the real culprit to prove innocence.


5. Derringer VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes with walkthrough)


6. Dome VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 40 minutes with walkthrough)

7. Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (50 min with walkthrough)

8. Famicom Tantei Kurabu: Kieta Koukeisha VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 45m with walkthrough)


9. Gakuen Senki VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 45m with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Hero is student council president and everyday he solves requests from students. With each new request he approaches the secret behind this school. 

10. Gamma Force in Pit Of A Thousand Screams VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (35 min with walkthrough)

11. Jarinko Chie: Bakudan Musume no Shiawase Sagashi VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45 minutes with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Based on popular manga. First you help those who in trouble as Chie, then as a lost cat searching for way back and finally as Chie's father Tetsu with money being the main theme.

12. Kaguya-hime Densetsu VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (50 minutes with walkthrough)

13. Kimagure Orange Road ~Natsu no Mirage~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes with walkthrough)

14. Kujaku Ou VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes with walkthrough)

15. Lane Mastodon Vs. The Blubbermen VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 min)

16. Pro Yakyuu? Satsujin Jiken! VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 50 min)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Fictional baseball player is condemned as murderer. He has to hide from police and find the culprit to clear his name.


17. Project A-ko 2 VNDB

Block reason:Antique. Seems to be following strictly the sequel of anime version, but no guarantee on that since game info is scarce.


18. Ripple Island VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 10 minutes with walkthrough)

19. Soft de Hard na Monogatari VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 min with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:One by one deaths of patients happen in the hospital. The main character infiltrates it to solve a mystery.


20. Telephone Club Story VNDB

Block reason:Eroge. Well, maybe not the real eroge, but a pretty ordinary D-SIM with short etchi scene in the end of each girl part. Not worth it anyway.

21. Touhou Kenbun Roku  VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (around 2 h?). Well, my assumption is based on that game is famicom only and that platform does not really have save game option.

22. What's Michael VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 05m)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Cat Michael's beloved got lost and he searches around the town for her.


23. Yoru no Tenshi-tachi ~Shitetsu Ensen Satsujiin Jiken~ VNDB

Block reason:Eroge. It's rather a strong plot story with female companion rather than eroge, but infromation is little and game has explicit sex scenes so let it be in here for now. And I've also condemned its prequel Derringer as Eroge.

Short synopsis for VNDB:Hero is a detective investigating a suicide case


24. ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45m).



The year 1987 is very fruitful. Eroge take force, but they are still one-sided, so plot is their weak side still. A lot of anime adaptations and quite a lot of sequels. Famicom enters the stage and, though VN format fits quite badly for this platform, those few that get here get a good publicity due to platform popularity. There's a good portion of plot-oriented original stories, but those were a bit short. But investigation cases feel the best with interactive adventure domination and command select formula. It's no coincidence, that 3 of 4 VNs to pass selection were investigation cases. But the more interesting is the 4th work that stands out - that's Hadou no Hyouteki which wins the VN of the year 1987 title.  More about it below.

1. Adrenalin Connection (VNDB)


"I shall take revenge on the peaceful St. Eastern high school" - such letter arrived in school. The principal asks the new teacher to investigate the source of the letter. At the same time transfer students are being forced to drop out one by one because of bullying...


This is the only game every developed by Amorpheus company. I was not able to play this game since could not find a ROM for it. Although I really wanted to. Just look at the magazine ad - there's a very colorful company gathered in here. At least it would not be boring! I'll do my best to present information from japanese reviews on this game in a readable format.

Setting is close to real world but events turn around school girls and the idealistic vibe of "let's be together forver" spoils it a bit. The atmosphere of the game was very light, but story was unexpectedly bulky. Schoolgirls were unrealistically glamorous.


Multiple command selection helped to keep the good pace and concentrate on plot and the multi-ending was one of the first appearances in game. Graphics were of high standart considering hardware limitations of pc-98. Almost all the characters who talked actually had mouth animation. Sound would make you excited from the start of the game. Pity it could not have voices included yet. Every girl had her own ending. There were 5 endings overall.

Its existence in 1987 was a miracle itself. Rather than having outstanding advantages and features, it was rather the work without shortcomings. It's not really remembered as masterpiece, but it was one of first quality works to pave the road for next generation of quality VNs. 


2. Hadou no Hyouteki (VNDB)


Peaceful Japanese village. One day all members of "Church of the Messiah" were found brutally murdered. We play as journalist Shiro Kusanagi who is sent to make a reportage. More and more shocking details come up. Sectarians killed each other and a strange altar discovered. With all questions hung in the air Mr. Kusanagi being sent to shoot another story on appearance of a huge black tower in the middle of the Vietnamese jungle. Who coould have thought that those were the events of one chain...


I don't like horror stories. But reading about a good horror story is another thing. So let's investigate this outstanding work together.

This game has a great dark atmosphere. Death comes at every corner and you constantly get bad end on the screen. Bullets are scarce, enemies keep appearing and only a small hope keeps beating. System was finally well done. Comand selection implemented. Graphics are great and rendering in an instant. There is even animation at many scenes. Cruel shots are especially impressive. The use of multiwindow makes actions dynamic and it starts to look like manga. For example you get picture in the left upper corner then the next picture appers in the left lower corner and in serveral lines some shocking picture appears in the center of the screen so that about 50% of first and second one remain seen. That's genius. 

I'll retell the plot here just to get a grip on the game story. I won't tackle any characters or important details though. The whole plot intorduction actually happens in the game and jungle infiltration is 5th chapter already. You can't even land the jungle peacefully. You have to destroy boobytrapped vietnamese barricade and border patrol starts to use arms against you. Water surface glows and huge water worm attacks your boat. In the cave there's a dead body of another reporter. Further on skeletons with different weapons assault you and you running low on bullets. Having made it to a tower, monster attacks and he can't be even killed with bullets.



You get surrounded by feline monsters and skeletons with no weapons and no way back only to be miraculously saved by your fellow reporter on a military helicopter.

You gain consciousness in the hospital and get to know that a black tower now appeared right in the center of Shinjuku. Somehow inside Shinjuku turns out to be a new village with a manor. You get to investigate the manor which happens to be a training facility for espers. The tower awaits. Men in black open fire on visual contact. One of survivors advises to find Shirai, who is good at teleportation. Mansion now is heavily guarded. At the verge of being shot you get teleported to the gathering of men with unique abilities like telekinesis. Mansion now is being guarded by both military and ESP. You manage to break through only to be cornered again with it all disappearing by a whirpool of hallucination. The final battle of you and ESP against the mansion darkest secrets awaits. Who's the enemy and who's a friend? What's that altar with a sword? What was that whirlpool? What is black tower? What is that double edged sword? All the mysteries get answered. In a way.


3. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo 2 - Manhattan Requiem - Yami ni Tobu Tenshi-tachi (VNDB)


Another murder investigation. As part 1, was released in English. This part is not so lucky, though. Only couple of releases on different platforms had English, actually and those were the newer platforms. The real popularity was only on iphone platform. Pretty sure it's a good case, but totally out of my field of interest. Some review links gathered here

4. Shinjuku Chuuou Kouen Satsujin Jiken (VNDB)


Am I having a Deja-vu here? There's no surprise that detective investigation games require a lot of time to solve the case. Quite often it's a tedious occupation. There is an abundance of reviews of this game in English, so feel free to use a collection of them here


Examined VNs that did not fulfill selection criteria:


1. Anjela VNDB

Block reason:Antique. Not a single trace of this game in internet.


2. Dennou Suikoden VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (around 2 hours?) Very little information can be found. But considered that the the game is mostly humorous, it should fit into 2 hours.

Short synopsis for VNDB:Two journalists went to investigate strange incident but got into ambush. One of them got strange disease that kills in two months and got captured. To cure the disease it's needed to break through three gateways and reach the peak of a mountain. Based on Yōseiki Suikoden light novel series.


3. Dwelling VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 minutes with walkthrough)


4. Guin Saga ~Hyoutou no Kamen~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Based on first volume of Guin Saga novels. You are the survivor of the royal family and are chased by mongolian raids.

5. Hiatari Ryoukou! VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45 minutes with walkthrough)

6. Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 05min with walkthrough)

7. Imitation City VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (no exact numbers, but too little info since it was not popular and still had command input)

Short synopsis for VNDB:In 2017 rebellion of clones made with the use of biotechnology started and you get caugth in the middle of it.

8. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo - Kiss of Murder - Satsui no Kuchizuke VNDB

Block reason:Fandisc (alternative version of Manhattan murder)

9. Jesus VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 30 min with walkthrough)

10. Lagrange L2 PART2 D-SIDE VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 hour)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Game starts in the shuttle right after the end of Lagrange L2. The breath is relieved now but the first challenge is already there - the need to escape from missiles of approaching Zera enemy.

11. Makai Fukkatsu VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (35 minutes with walkthrough)

12. Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (35 minutes with walkthrough)

13. Project A-ko VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (50 minutes with walkthrough)

14. Seilane VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 hour with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:One day when rabbit Prill returned to the village he found out that all his firends were turned into stone with magic. Prill leaves on a journey to defeat the devil and save his friends.

15. Shin Tamatori Monogatari VNDB

Block reason:Fandisk

16. Soshi Hime Adventure VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Shoshi Hime is science fiction writer. After finishing writing a novel she was sucked into the novel and you're the only one who can save her.

17. Still Sword VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 hour 20 minutes with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:Medieval world is divided into 5 countries. Witch Incoma was jealous of the world beauty and imprisoned 5 princesses in their castles. Your are to rescued princesses and stop Incoma's ambitions.

18. Teki wa Kaizoku Kaizoku Ban VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 30m with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:I am a first class pirate. There was a call from my noisy boss to settle one matter. While on it, two ships of my old enemy appeared. Together with my alien cat Apro I was able to settle the incident. However, strange incidents started to happen one after another. Based on the light novel series.

19. The 4th Unit VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 30 minutes with walkthrough)

20. The Byouin VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 min with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB:One by one deaths of patients happen in the hospital. The main character infiltrates it to solve a mystery.

21. Timeparadox VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 hour 20 min  with walkthrough)

Short synopsis for VNDB: Girlfriend Aiko was mysteriously killed. Main hero hops in the time machine invented by his uncle and goes on a time journey to save her.

22. Touch VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 10m with walkthrough)

23. Urusei Yatsura VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 25m and i really lolled at link)




In the year 1986 I've discovered only two worthy VNs. So, how do I choose? Choice is a subjective feeling. VN of the year 1986 for me is Maison Ikkoku ~Omoide no Photograph~

1. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo 1 - Final Mystery - Murder Club (VNDB)

Another murder case VN. Interactive adventures dominated at the birth of VNs. And murder investigations are probably the most vivid examples of the genre. This particular game became the first in the series of J.B. Harold cases. Game was localized in English and sold over 20 millions copies in the West, so it has a great press coverage. That's why I'm not writing my review, but presenting a set of review links vndbreview

2. Maison Ikkoku ~Omoide no Photograph~ (VNDB)

Did you hear anything about Maison Ikkoku? Well, you must have. It had a huge impact on anime and manga of 1980s. It produced manga and 96-episode anime series, three live action films, anime film and 3 anime OVAs as well as this particular game in 1986. It's actually very sad that such ~100 episodes format slice of life warm comedies have not survived to our days. All the modern longterm on-goings are just shounens for kids.

Maison Ikkoku ~Omoide no Photograph~ is an original story based on this series featuring a story that could easily become 97th episode of tv series. If you watched even one work of Maison Ikkoku, you'd know already that first of all it's a humorous one. Main hero is a 20-year-old college applicant Godai. He failed college exams and took a year in order to prepare and enter a good college, not a crappy one. He is very limited in money so has to rent a room in a boarding house. The house is full of all kind of weirdos - barely clothed hostess Akemi, peeping tom and master of pranks Yotsuya and chatterbox and gossip-house middleage granny Ichinose and there are also dozens of situational characters. Kyoko Otonashi is kind and sincere woman who gets a job of being house intendant after the running of previous one. So the main themes of the works is Gosai's shy love towards Kyoko and the everyday carnival that the inhabitants set up. 


What? I just returned the girl her bra that I found! Accidentally!

The game brings this formula to its extreme though. You start the game as Gosai with 4820 yen and a strong desire to know what's depicted on the framed photo in Kyoko's room. That's the whole game. How difficult can it be? Well, it took me 5 hours. You actually manage to infiltrate her room and approach the photo for some 8 times (I've lost count, actually), but in the last moment something happens and you're forced to leave. Sometimes, new opportunities open up after that. Eventually Gosai gives up on infiltrations and gathers old photos of all inhabitants in order to push Kyoko to show her secret photo voluntary and it works. And since it's an Interactive Adventure, you get to examine everything and talk with anyone. And outcomes are fun most of the times. Game would rarely just say it's a ladder, but rather give Gosai's commentary on the matter. So, game is truly great, right? Not really.


Game often breaks the 4th wall and this particular joke about room 3 running through all the series.

Retrogames exist to torture players and this one isn't an exception. Let's start with something simple. Turbograft 16 version that I used did not have normal saves, but at any time you could go to the bathroom to see the hashed code of some 70 symbols that depicts your current progress and in order to "load" this game you need to print those 70 symbols... and not with a keyboard, but a joystick (virtual keyboard). Well, that's nothing compared to game mechanics. Basically, after each noticeable event (like room infiltration) all the inhabitants moods reset to angry at you. Yotsuya would lock you on the roofs and porches (which is an immediate gameover since you break legs trying to jump down). Akemi would hang around the bar preventing you from taking free booze and money loan from bartender. Ichinose... would pester you at every location in house Ikoku till you bribe her with food or booze. And this has to be done every time that you go to see Keyko's room... and in many many other cases. The main problem that you need to spend money on everything (even to phone someone) and you don't have money sources. You have those 4820 yen at the beginning and can take two loans - of 2000 yen and 3000 yen. Oh and you get 5000 yen for tutorship pretty late in game. Just in order to get to Keyko's room EACH TIME you need to bribe Ichinose with ramen - 120 yen - and sometimes booze - 2000 yen and Keyko with flowers - 1000 yen. And there are lots of non-regular expenses and bribes. For example, mandatory for completion maneki neko figurine costs 5000 yen. That's why I'd call this game simulator of student's life. You need to count every yen, use all the possible ways to get the items for free and for discounted price, pester your parents about bringing you food not make mistakes at all! Every mistake and you'd need to enter 70 symbol hash code again or it might actually be faster to start over. I praise emulator for ability to save game state.

So, you just need to save a lot and follow a walkthrough, right? Na-ah. Inhabitants of house Ikoku move around the house and are often not home and you need to trigger event to pass time - the only way I've found is to bribe one of inhabitant and get into his room - then time passes. There's a lot of stuff that we can't really influence - like bar granddad whose presence does not let you get free booze and loan. He is supposed to be out when you bribe Akemi... but he's almost always there in the bar and all you can do is pass time with events and try again later (then you'd need to bribe Akemi again, of course, and for that you'd need to bribe the ever-sticking Ichinose - you know the drill). Now I get it why there is English translation made in 2008 and all the reviews I found are based on old japanese versions. 

Game is still fun and addictive, but mechanics is the cornerstone that did not let me really enjoy such a great game. Since I've got a habbit of giving out scores - I score it as 7/10 - my special score reserved for occasions when I actually cherished the experience but I'd not recommend it since you probably would not like it.


Examined VNs that did not fulfill selection criteria under spoiler


1. 1000-nen Oukoku VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


2. Alpha VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


3. Arion VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


4. Boukenshatachi Kenja no Yuigon VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB: Chinese style gag-comedy. You train in the mountains with your master. One day a mysterious stranger hands over a golden a key. And so the adventure starts...


5. Casablanca ni Ai o Satsujinsha wa Jikuu o Koete VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB: June 1945. Chicago newspaper female reporter Jerry Randolph gets a letter from missing school friend saying that friend's father Mr. Edgar was conducting a dangerous scientific research. Jerry hurries to that adress only to find out that Mr. Edgar is stabbed and the research is a time machine. Jerry undertakes a time travel to year 1916 to get to the root of mystery.


6. Christine VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


7. Cosmo Angel VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


8. Cream Lemon - Star Trap VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


9. Day Dream VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB: The theme is visit of aliens. There are three scenarios to choose from: "driver", "policeman".


10. Dead Zone VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (20 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


11. Erika VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


12. Final Lolita VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


13. Five Sweet Dream VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


14. Gall Force - Eternal Story VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


15. Galppo Club VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.

16. Golques VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


17. Hokuto no Ken: Violence Gekiga Adventure VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (55 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


18. Kudokikata Oshiemasu VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


19. Luna City Satsujin Jiken VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 10 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


20. Seijo Panic VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


21. Seijo Densetsu -Five Holy Girls- VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


22. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Asuka Hen~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


23. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Rinne Tensei Hen~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (25 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


24. Suishou no Dragon VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


25. Toki no Tabibito VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (20 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB:Based on the events of anime work with the same title. Time Stranger is the story of several teenagers getting transported back in time through Japan's history, and getting mixed up with samurai shenanigans.


26. Youkiden VNDB

Block reason:Eroge.


27. Nichiyoubi ni Uchuujin ga…? VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB:Absurd story based on a novel. A reporter and photographer are sent 20 years back in time with the help of mad scientist to write a special article. That brought attention of aliens who attacked from Andromeda.


28. Pop Lemon VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (50 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB: Game is a gag comedy. Main hero aims for a true pedometer. He sets on a journey to get "Eros", the source of power of lolicon.



Just a formal entry to say that year 1985 was not yet a time for VNs.

I'm still waiting for the time of story-oriented mixes, not gameplay-oriented ones. The three bigger games were gameplay mixes. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai is basicly another investigation type game while Lupin Sansei and El Dorado Denki are heavy rpg mixes. Of course, without walkthrough they'd reach much further than 2 hours because old games  had redundant mechanics and were especially torturing for a player. I'm not much of a retro-gamer. But if I see a dense story and thorough character, I can adapt to any gameplay. I'll keep seeking in year 1986.

Shortlist of non-eroge VN-mixes examined under spoiler.


1. Abyss II ~Tears of Emperor~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 


2. Dezeni World VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 


3. El Dorado Denki VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 40 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 


4. Harry Fox ~Yuki no Maou Hen~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (40 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 

Short synopsis for VNDB: Mother Fox died of hunger in the snowfall. Little Fox was found and nursed by girl Mari.


5. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 30 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 


6. Lupin Sansei ~Cagliostro no Shiro~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1h 30 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 


7. New Godzilla VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (0 h 55 minutes completion time with walkthrough). 

Short synopsis for VNDB: The aim is to repel Godzilla and prevent the Soviet missiles from launching. The story is divided into three parts and proceeds according to the film events.


8. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~ VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (1 h 00 minutes completion time with walkthrough).


9. Tankentai 2 - Makyou Amazon no Okuchi ni Kogane Densetsu o Mita! VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (0 h 40 minutes completion time with walkthrough).

Short synopsis for VNDB: Game is a parody on famous Japanese geographical TV show. It is reported that gold is found on the Amazon river with the aim of raising TV rating and expedition is sent there alongside TV unit.


10. Will: The Death Trap II VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (0 h 30 minutes completion time with walkthrough).



Surprise! Surprise! We got exactly one VN that fills the selection criteria. And it gets the VN of the year 1984 by default. So here it is.

1. Salad no Kuni no Tomato-hime VNDB 

With a little cheating this title makes into my list and becomes default VN of the year 1984! Hip-hip-hooray! The cheating is in that original game of year 1984 had 4 chapters and was slightly over 1 hour length. The NES version was overhauled to 8 chapters thus increasing gameplay time to some two and a half hours. Since game was localized into English, it has a great press coverage with dozens of reviews. This is why I'm not going to write mine. Here's the list of some of them vndbreview

And it strikes me now that i never bothered to explain the criteria. Actually this is not the full list of VNs from 1984. Titles that are known to be eroge/<2 hours/otome/yaoi/shounen ai/fandisk/demo/non-EN/JP at VNDB are excluded beforehand. Titles that don't have any info on them (or have info of >2 hours) and have non-erotic cover are included for investigation. By fandisk I also mean afterstories and side stories of main title (hello, Circus, that's done specifically for you!) as well as fan games devoted to the main title. The most difficult category to determine is eroge. It used to be just nukige, but definition grew much larger since then. Now it's also NSFW covers (I found only two exceptions from this rule when such a game had ok plot and actually low erotic content), high amounts of sex (exceptions happen), tentacle rape (found just one exception to this rule so far), high amounts of rape, rapist protagonist (hello, Rance, I'm so sorry) and description that mentions sex or sets a too cozy conditions for it. So mistakes are bound to happen, eventually.

Under spoiler are all the VNs that had little info on VNDB and that I had to look through to know they don't fulfill the selection criteria:


1. Abyss VNDB

Events take place in 3001. You were in the middle of the confidential "ABYSS" space mission when got abducted by the Space Crime Syndicate and got memory erased. You need to know where you are and transfer coordinated to the mother ship in order to destroy Shinjigate Base. With walkthrough it took 17 minutes to beat it. Without walkthrough it would take eternity since command input syntax is very specific.


2. Again VNDB

There are 7 short stories. Each story is a life we live to become Holy Spirit in the end. All stories vary in gameplay: there is rpg story, surgery opperation, puzzle etc Finally all stories get connected. Takes about one hour to finish.


3. Akujo Kamakiri VNDB

Game is based on the events of the movie of the year 1984 with the same title. Something about execution of a murder to gain insurance money. Game does not have much text and most of the time it's the items rendering one by one over and over...


4. Alice VNDB

The work from creators of Lolita and Lolita 2 and could be naturally called Lolita 3, but this time there is story motive of Alice in Wonderland included. Alice opens the book, follows the bunny into the hole and gathers notes to decipher JAWON which is a key to get out of this world. She even kills a dragon, lol. 3 acts are short, less than 1 hour total.


5. Ankoku-jou ~Souzou-shin Gyarian no Fukkatsu VNDB

The game is an adventure part of the series of jrpg games. Dark apostle wants to become the ruler of the world with the help of legendary mirror of Laval. In this grand adventure featuring 9 chapters and over 460 split screens you need to defeat him. It was the hugest adventure of the time, but gameplay was quite boring and lacked originality. At the walkthrough I watched game was beaten in 26 minutes and really there was very little text and images changed each other with great speed. Under 2 hours is not my case.


6. Corridor VNDB

King sends three princes on a journey so that the prince who gets the most wonderful journey becomes his successor. The player prince is searching for the legendary cursed castle to become next king. Basically, this can be called the first adventure visual novel since you get text and images (usually separately - one or another) and often get to make a choice among 1-6 variants. There are lots of bad endings as well. All endings should be cleared in less than an hour with little effort.


7. Demons Ring VNDB

Game is basically about mazes. That's what shows us opening of multiple corridors (I think the first opening in VNs, no music ofc) and that's how it really is. Crawley, the king of Jeremiah was destroyed by demon king Salone. Now that his son Dumrin is of age, he sets off to avenge his father. There are mazes of the house and of the undergrounds. Game uses new technology to render full screen in just one and a half seconds and this game is the perfect show off of that technology. That's why there are so many maze screens which would need over 10 seconds to render as of late and now just 1.5. Game's beaten in some half an hour.


8. Doukyuu ~Kaisou Densetsu~ VNDB

Game is a fantasy based on legend of Doukyuu - a yokai of a mirror during 8th century (Nara period). Very little information can be found on this game, actually, so next.


9. Eiyuu Densetsu Saga VNDB

Dragon assaults village and girl is needed as sacrifice to calm him down. In order to help your sister you set off to find the holy sword and face dragon at the sacrificial site far in the north. The graphics are superb compared to other games of this year. Also you only choose from commands instead of typing them. Half an hour is quite enough to get to the end.


10. Godzilla VNDB

Game is based on the first Godzilla movie. There are three parts - first you investigate the incident - then you pursue the monster and invent what to do with it and finally you confront Godzilla with oxygen destroyer. Game's quite lackluster for year 1984 - still low screen rendering and still command input with mediocre graphics. Beatable in an hour or so.


11. Harry Fox VNDB

Little fox child caught a disease called Romus disease. Mother fox remembers a story from old woman that a certain mushroom cures this disease and sets off on a journey to a Shinto shrine where those mushrooms grow. Mother fox encounters various dangers o the forest. I've countered 10 animals, one hunter and a swarm of bees. Scenery is very bright, screen is rendered vertically and very fast like in Eiyuu Densetsu Saga. Text shows on the same screen as image and there are some really cute animals, including fox itself. Sound effects show up when needed and they're better than usual short beeps. Well, that all makes this game the most enjoyable ride so far. Really short though, 20 minutes is enough. Here's an example of  one of cuter animals - tanuki.


12. Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu VNDB

Another murder investigation from the same authors as Portopia Renzoku Satssujin Jiken (1983). Screen renders slow but picture is made very simple to make the pace good. You get to choose from 9 commands, so tedious, but not too much. So, the story. A corpse of a man is discovered at Harumi Wharf, Tokyo Bay (game features real geographical locations). The main character, police inspector, investigates the identity of the victim with his subordinate Kuroki and tracks the source to Hokkaido island. Second and third murder cases occur one after another. What's the purpose of the criminal? Actually, what happens next differs with pc88 and later versions. It takes at least an hour to execute a proper investigation, but 1h 30m should be enough for a native reader. So I would not want to consider the  game for the game of the year. Still, a very realistic and persuading setting. I can see the appeal here.


13. Jigoku no Renshuu Mondai VNDB

The main character is a lower angel who entertains an exam to become senior angel. It's a practice exam in the hell surroundings. You talk to different people in hell layers - Cleopatra, Hitler, Dracula, John Lennon, Napoleon, Merlin Monroe - walk around lake of blood and mountain of needles and answer the quiz. Depending on your actions on the way to exit, you gain score. 60 is needed to pass the exam. If someone gains 100 points and sends the proof to the developer, his name will be published in the magazine. That was promissed. It seems impossible to gain 100 points, but imagine the competition! Game is short and tedious since you need to input commands manually.


14. Kaitei Gunkan VNDB

Game's based on 1963 year japanese film about submarine. It is divided in two parts: first you search for an enemy with command input and then action based underwater battle. Game's graphics done in basic so they are... both bad and slow to render and paint. Quite short.


15. Kaze no Tani no Naushika VNDB

Game is based on the anime work of the same title. You manipulate main character Nausicaa with numeric keyboard, collect items, shoot, ride your vehicle. There seems to be several different games for different platforms, but the game was so crude and ugly that there's a legend that the director Miyazaki was so furious that he banned gamefication of any of his works ever again. It was crude for year 1984. When I look at picture now I just wish I wont see nightmares featuring that. It's not long.


16. Keiko-chan no Himitsu VNDB

I failed to regonize an eroge from that cover picture, but it is. Your tutor Keiko disappeared from the room. You need to find her out to continue love lessons. So there are various items in the room which lead to ero scenes. Dumped for being eroge.


17. Kidou Senshi Gundam Gundam Daichi ni Tatsu VNDB

Game covers episodes 1 and 2 of the anime work with the same title. Command input is used. Action is quite good, but commands are way too specific like get beamrifle, get namarme, catch sayla etc. Quite impossible to figure them out without walk through even if u seen that title. Very short.


18. Lagrange L2 VNDB

Federal military research ship "Gallia 201" was destroyed by a mysterious missile attack in area L-2 on the way home from Mars back to Earth. The only survivor escaped by jumping with a spacesuit in the open space. Out of pure luck he was found and dragged by nearby ship... Wow, this game is so serious and difficult. Basically you wander at the space station with an aim to fly away on a spaceship. Some tasks are timed which is insane with command input. With walkthrough done within 40 minutes.


19. Miko to Akemi no Jungle Adventures VNDB

Miko and Akemi went on a long-awaited African trip, but their airplane crashed. Now you need to lead them out of wild jungle with dangers on every corner. Game features scoring system depending on how much you do before leaving the jungle. You need to escape the animals that you encounter. Game's short.


20. Nanako SOS VNDB

Game's based on anime work of the same title. Characters ask you questions and you need to answer them in katakana. This is a game for hardcore fans of the anime that I've never even heard of (probably because it's old anime for younger kids). Command input in katakana was a crazy idea. Native speakers reviewing the game had great trouble getting it through because of very specific command input. 30 minutes was enough to finish it with walkthrough.


21. Office Love no Tehodoki ~For Lunch Time~ VNDB

You're a section manager of a company. So the only free time you have is lunch time between 12-00 and 13-10. There are three co-workers whose attention you can pursue. Command input made this game very difficult. Game's quite short.


22. Shin Taketori Monogatari VNDB

The game is a gag parody on japanese Taketori legend. The purpose of the game is to discover anything at any opportunity and have fun. There are three difficulty levels and multiple endings. Game features some nude scenes. Slow rendering of every screen makes gameplay painful. An hour should be enough to see most of endings.


23. Shiro Densetsu VNDB

It is the land of conflict. Red and blue people fight each other day after day. White people appeared - "We shall rule this land". Can you proclame leadership over the land as a white man? I'm not joking, setting is that horrible. And since you're being thrown into the game without even this little  knowledge. What you do looks quite random - anyway, you need to get to village elder and then revive some god after a maze of caverns. Everything else is optional, but there seems to be a lot of such optional secrets. Command input and slow rendering dont make things easier. Quite little information on this game means it was not exactly popular or good.


24. The Death Trap VNDB

Some african "B country" kidnaps a famous scientist who can produce biological weapons and you're on spec op to rescue him. First game made by Square with scenario produced by future FF creator and the most financial successful game at that time selling over 500,000 copies. Command input still present, but screen renders from left to right and quite fast. Graphics is top notch for the time. Game features half screen as your outlook, half screen as map (always present) and text at the bottom. So what made this game so popular? My guess is the seriousness of approach. Serious story - briefing at headquarters - flight on a helicopter - using a parachute - map movement - two separate branches of how to get to the scientist - it all looks professional compared to amateur games of that time. Only Eiyuu Densetsu Saga had graphics same good, but had quite plain gameplay and weird screen sequence (like you get 5 slightly different pictures in color one by one, then the rest disappears and only main one stays). This game is a part of a trilogy so I guess we'll be hearing of this title in following years issues.


25. Time Secret VNDB and Time Tunnel VNDB

In these games you can go back and forth in time to different eras to solve puzzles. In addition there are battles and you have hp and attack stat as well as weapon attack stat. The story was actually great. In first game, Time Secret, you needed to discover the weakness of alien "Danak" race in order to save the colonial planet "Farras" in 2552 AD. In Time Tunnel story picks up where Time Secret Ended. Your time machine collapsed and your are taken prisoner at space station. You need to use this planet Time Tunnel technology to go back in 2552 AD and fight off Danak invasion. Time Tunnels has as much as 4 endings including a bad end. 100 and 140 screen splits respectively, both take less than an hour. Even though the story is good, realization is dated. Command inputs and slow screen rendering again.


26. Wingman VNDB

Wow. This game is as if it came from future. This is definitely professional level of work. CG, faces, battles, different weapons, constant use of sound effects. And the creator is Enix company. Now i know why FF series were a success. Because professionals from Square (The Death Trap) and Enix were there. Ok, where shall we start... Wingman is a popular manga and anime hero. This is a story of Aoi, a girl who escaped her dimension to protect "Dream note" and hero of righteousness "Wingman" who is to protect Aoi. There are four fights and after each fight you learn new fighting techniques. Well, it does not seem to affect the story even if you lose all of them. Story is original side story of anime, but lasts only some 40 minutes. Maybe I've got a thing for retro haircut drawings, but Aoi here is supercute.




27. Zarth VNDB

And another game of Enix. Inferior technology (quite long screen rendering speed at MSX), but otherwise very impressive. People at that time could not believe that such beautiful pictures could be achieved with primitive MSX. And Zarth came 3 months earlier than Wingman. So the survivors of nuclear world war wake up 100 years later from cryogenic sleep. But now the regenerated Earth is in danger again - you need to go to the Moon space station and get rid of nuclear weapons. This game is often referred as Mirika, because everyone remembers the magazine ad with her beautiful face while Mirika appears in game only in opening and never again - such a bummer! Zarth should have been the final part of tetralogy, but first three parts were never finished. Good game with good action, but buried by inferior technology and manual command input. 30 minutes is all that it takes to save humanity, so too short.







What title says. I'm actually going to start to reviewing VNs from the very start of their existence. The earliest found entries are from year 1983. The choice of VN of the year 1983 is actually very easy because i'm not treating seriously VNs under 2 hours length and all the 9 reviewed VNs were too short. I'm not claiming to have played them all, but there are video walkthroughs and information in abundance in japanese. So here we go.

Dezeni land (VNDB)

Basicly, Dezeni land is a text quest with background images. You have to type every your action. Like turn west, throw pot, look showel, get fireball, kill bat knife etc etc. The aim of the game is to find a legendary treasure hidden in Dezeni land and safely escape.The game features a lot of areas of an attraction park. Youtube video features how the game is beaten in 7 minutes, so I stopped here since I'm only interested in games over 2 hours in length. The game has no sound.

Lolita (VNDB)

You play a game similar to Janken and when you win the girl takes off piece of her garments. Needless to say, game is really short, can be finished within 10 minutes, so a pass. Sound presented only by abrupt sounds from time to time.

Lolita 2 (VNDB)

A sequel to Lolita, but this time the game is a text adventure with command input. But as the story comes to a certain stage there are images of the scenes to show up. At some point you need to find the girl in school while not being detected by police officer and attack the girl. Game is short. A pass.

Mio no Mystery Adventure (VNDB)

You get caught in the rain and hide in the mansion. Upon entry you hear "I've got a present for you - It's your death!" Now you got to solve puzzles, defeat devil, the master of the house and find a way out. Game is interactive text adventure with manual commands writing. Game's beaten in 12 minutes with a walkthrough.

Ooku Maruhi Monogatari (VNDB)

This game turned out to be an eroge. Main character is a female who infiltrates Ooku castle in Edo period and becomes witness to scenes happening there. Again, too short to matter.

Portopia Renzoku Satssujin Jiken (VNDB)

Very good quality game for this year. Probably because it was not original version, but adapted for contemporary pcs version. You don't need to write commands, but to choose out of  several variants. You investigate, gather evidence and solve the case, naturally. With a walkthrough, 30 minutes is all that you need, so a pass.

Shijigen Shoujo Ridia (VNDB)

And interactive adventure again. You are a member of science object investigation team and are on a mission to investigate the mystery of Bermuda. You end up in a parallel world and continue investigation. There aren't too many choices in there, but the story is quite long. Not long enough. of course. Takes 1h 10m to beat it.

Star Arthur Densetsu I (VNDB)

In 3826 Jamil leads an invasion against Galactic Federation and destroys one planet after another. The main character Start Arthur is searching for the legendary sword to crush Jamil ambitions. Again, too short.

Star Arthur Densetsu II (VNDB)

The story picks up where part 1 ended. You obtain the legendary sword. A hologram of a two thousand year old wiseman sends you to Orion with the newly obtained weapon and your adventures on the way there take the whole game time. Slightly over 1 hour.




I used to like VNs rated. To such extent that whenever I could not find an english localized VN review with a rating, I wanted to make a review with a rating myself. And usual vote ratings aren't reliable since anyone can vote for any rate, even having dumped the actual VN. As of late my opinion on this matter changed drastically. What a review actually needs instead of being structured one (like this my old review) is just to transfer impressions, VN core, noticeable flaws and afterthoughts. This way author does not need to retell the same things in several parts and review brings more useful information and wastes less time for writing. Majority of blog authors that I enjoy reading write in free style without ratings. At the same time ratings and some structure are almost always present in amateur reviews. Hence is the poll question. So here is my flawed structured review on the game that noone ever heard of and will certainly never will (and I'd never picked that out of free will). Some kind shepherd translated this VN into English, but never bothered to actually hack the game, so translation only exists as a word document. Now I know that it was not a good idea since there turned out to be some 100 branches with vastly coinciding text and a lot of confusion with search.

Foreword:  The novel under review is Anaheim Girl's Love Story by short doujin-maker studio Fan-na and it's here only because it miraculously managed to stretch the dialogues to 10 hours and because there appeared a person to actually translate all those talks and because the only review I found is fuwa-fuwa review on yurination with no score given - thus all three conditions miraculously coincided and here I am trying to figure what this game is about. I only appreciate platonic yuri relations, never ever watched anything of Gundam series and greatly oppose doujins and nukige - oh, well, that clearly puts me out of target group, but at least it's going to be unbiased.

Title: Anaheim Girl's Love Story

Original Title: アナハイム・ガールズ・ラブストーリー

Producers: Fan-na

Release Date: 2009-12-30 (English translation published 2013-02-10)

VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v6924

Game Type: Yuri story
Summary: A girls' love story between two Anaheim Electronics engineers. It also chronicles the development and construction of the fourth unit in the Gundam Development Project (GP-04 Gerbera), and its subsequent alteration into the Gerbera Tetra as seen in the "Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories" anime.
Story Length: Medium (10-30 Hours)

Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy

Comments: There is basically only one partner and all three endings are outcomes of decision what to do about her her.
Character Design Rating: 4/10

Story Rating: 3/10

Protagonist Rating: 2/10

Game Quality: Low

Overall Rating: 2/10

Rating Comments: Well, I do not know where to start. Story is plain, protagonist is baka-baka shoujo, all the photoshopped backgrounds and sprite models are crap.
Story: 80% of the game as nothing but small talk and 20% of the game is forced development in attempt to embrace events from Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories. The most exciting thing from those 80% of the game is probably sneak peek at Gundams  - Gundams have about 50% of overall game CGs and always drawn good. If only that quality could be spent on backgrounds and character sprites. I got only the general idea behind all the Titans, Federation, Gerbera Tetra, Zeus and things like that that i've zero awareness of so I see very little logic in actions of main characters and all the drama composed looks very forced.
Characters summary: So there are only two main characters, there's also Marion as a failed main character, two side-characters and a bot that plays probably the most important role in the game. Oh well there is also boss character and Chinese colleague girl, but those are mostly dialogue fillers.
Saotome Rinne is just a baka-baka shojo character who has to be a protagonist and thus be an invalid without brain, without will and without wits. Well, most protagonists need to be this way so that the story could unfold in any way creators want. To reabilitate this characters creators nominated her twice as an annually best junior Gundam engineer. So forget that she's a no-brainer, she's just only good for engineering. Most of choices are phrased by her thoughts and thus look almost the same - Oh no, I want but i can't... I need to say no this time but... But, but... You can't always guess where she's actually going to get with this or that phrase. In the first 80% of the game her choices do not mean much anyway, whether she says yes or no she still gets laid.
Sophie is our second main character. She's already an experienced engineer. Kind, reserved. But authors really needed a fast developement so there was not any space for acquaintance or roleplay. The very second time she meets Rinne, Sophie just kisses her right ahead. Senpai, why did you kiss me? Oh, well, I just wanted to cheer you up. IN YOUR FACE. Worst development ever
Marion is a stub character. This is the only CG she ever got apart of one h-CG. Arrogant and sharp-tongued, just a generic bi@ch. Her only purpose for this game is small talk and attempts to avert Rinne from Sophie by temptating her.
Haron is actually a swiss-knife of the game. He starts as just a cute robot mascot only saying "Ha-ron!" but as the game switches to active phase he just does everything because all the heroes are so useless. He spies, gives advice and even defends his masters. Whenever  autors needed some development, they just threw Haron in. Why do they even need all those various Gundam models when this omnipotent creature like that does all the work. Oh right, Gundams just look cooler and they can hold blasters.
Sexual Content: High
Between the small talk scenes heroines cuddle all the time with the very same HCG repeating over and over with only small adjustments. HCGs look very solid, but by the look at everything else it can be said for sure that they consumed all the budget and efforts. There's even kind of animated HCG scene in shower with every drop of water animated (the very single use of animation in the game)! That's the very spirit of doujin works - they only aim to make memories of HCG scenes.
Affection for the Characters: None
CG Score: 6/10.
CG of this game look very cool but sample CG are totally the same on every internet board because one thing - those are actually almost the only CG that game has. The game lacks not only non-h CG but even HCG get repeated over and over with just some small change. Out of five characters two secondary characters got zero CG and Marion who actually can be called one of the main characters since she has a h-scene and an ending featuring her - Marion got exactly ONE non-HCG and ONE HCG with two slight variations. So 50% of CG are hcg of two main characters and other 50% are pictures of gundams standing, gundams flying, gundams shooting etc. My biggest complaint is not really CG, but character sprites and backgrounds. Character sprites are surrounded by thick black marker which makes them absolutely artificial and literally drawn. All the backgrounds are just photoshopped real photos and thus leave very bad impression.
Music Score: 8/10. I dont really have any complaints with the music. There were some 30 variations of BGM, two with actual singing. Overall they vary by mood quite ok and do not irritate, but do not really affect the gaming process much.
Addictiveness: Low.
Conclusion: A must for all the yuri-lovers. A pass for everyone else.
  • HCG are good
  • There aren't too many yuri VNs, especially this bold type
  • Gundam fans may be thrilled with such undercover of Gerbera alteration events
  • Game has 10 funny omake stories and seiyu freetalk
  • Plain Story
  • Irritating background and character sprites drawing
  • Very random actions of heroes
  • Bland and clishe characters

Blog purpose 

Well, I've been around VNs for about 15 years. As far as I can remember, my first game was MS-DOS Three Sisters Story, what we know now as San Shimai. At that time such games were the first erotic games along with Snake games and Poker ones and were referred as forbidden fruit. That game was a shock - what should have been a light experience turned out to be a really difficult story. All the characters were so nice that I really did not want to blackmail their father and looked for ways to stop my brother from revenge. Risa was so young that the only feeling I had was to protect her. The scene of fire and confrontation with brother was very well set. So what's the blog purpose? I'll get there... eventually...

So over this time I've played a lot of VNs, mostly in japanese with Translation Aggregator and sometimes with machine translation just because I missed VNDB appearance and kept thinking that TLWiki had the full list of english translated VNs... how I was WRONG. I've even looked through all the titles on Getchu just to pick several companies which art I especially liked. One of those games was Katahane by Tarte and I just played all games of that company since I'm kind of completionist (like I've watched over 1000 anime titles till had absolutely nothing left to interest me, watched all the doramas that interested me at d-addicts wiki etc etc) and those were very weird games, but at least I got a quite different outlook. So, the purpose of the blog? I know, I know, any time soon I'll be there...

So my purpose is to know absolutely all of VNs great stories. But I see some difficutlies in there (you see them too, right?). Anime has only about 3500 TV titles (and there's just a handful of really interesting OVA) and the majority of them have subs, so watching 1000 tv seasons of anime is not that big of a problem. So what should I do with over 20,000 novels of average 10 hours length with my still limited knowledge of japanese and greatly limited time? I've got and easy answer - just get rid of bad VNs and read good thorough reviews on the plot of good VNs. Phew, case closed... Well, not really. So the purpose of this blog... no, not yet! But I promise it wont take long!

So VNDB actually discovered the world of translated VNs for me but description tells us quite nothing about the game, only about the synopsis and no matter how many times i reread it, I don't seem to understand anything about the game. And discussions either show the everlasting 0 or some unanswered question and almost never a review, let along a thorough one. And since there are a lot of VNs there without the needed tags, I can completely miss some titles, which is inappropriate for such a completionist. Reviews are scattered around multiple blogs and forums and google tends to forget to render a great deal of them. Visual novels are virtually books, books = stories, that's the most important aspect of them and can't be ignored. So I really need a review section on VNDB. And since it might not come in our lifetime, I've promissed ( https://vndb.org/t950.310 ) to make my own vndb for reviews till such section comes to life. And here it is http://vndbreview.tigrimigri.com

Since I've zero experience with web design I had to use a ready solution - semantic mediawiki (and grind through that). There are quite some annoying technical restrictions which are gracefully avoided in VNDB and no beauties of custom css and such, but it does the job and allows me to gather reviews and show the result in a comfortable way. That's what really matters. Even though it's on a free hosting with free domain I really hope you can add some links of reviews and impressions in there as well since I can miss smth from 98,000 posts of VN talk in here.

And since I hate to waste other people's time here's my review of one of antique VN oddities Cosmology of Kyoto to make the whole post useful.


Cosmology of Kyoto 

Foreword: Today's patient is Cosmology of Kyoto. There are quite a lot of English reviews of the game, but although the general idea behind them is overall praising - none actually gave any kind of evaluation score and that's something that i'm going to fix here.
Title: Cosmology of Kyoto

Producers: Soft Edge & Yano Electric

Release Date: 1993 (english version 1994-08-01 for Mac OS)

VNDB Linkhttps://vndb.org/v14314

Game Type: Unique eduactional story on Heian period in Japanese history
Summary: Step into the mind of an ancient Japanese person in the Heian period in ancient Kyoto. Live their fears, fight their demons, and understand their history and legends by actually experiencing them first hand.
Story Length: Medium (10-30 Hours)

Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy

Comments: The Story is more or less easy to grasp as there are only few actions that actually needed to be taken to get the endgame notion. What makes it this long is slow adaptability to interface, game mechanics and great the abundance of exploration options.
Character Design Rating: 8/10

Story Rating: 10/10

Protagonist Rating: 5/10

Game Quality: Varies

Overall Rating: 8/10

Rating Comments: I am most assuredly going to be blamed for setting such a low rating to a unique educational spiritual and revolutionary game for the time of its issue, but i believe i have some good points to support my choice.

First things first - mechanics of the game. Cosmology of Kyoto is and interactive adventure and most of the time we spend wondering the streets. Turning only allowed by 90 degrees. There are only three things that are worth mentioning here. We need a katana to defend from multiple vagabonds. We need to learn Sutra to defend from demons. We need special outfits to be allowed to special places.


The example of extinguishing demons with Sutra

There are several other objects that have limited utility. Some items are just needed to be given to the right person. Money is good to learn rumors. Mirror useful to see what garments u have on. I've only found one utility for the bow - to shoot at flying kimono in one of the events, but there might be more.
Nothing can surprise the inhabitants. Moreover some 80% of them turn out to be either demons or possessed.
Events, CG and animation are great but events and reading through encyclopedia take only couple hours of pure time, and the number of hours of seeking for anything on the streets take hours and hours. Game really takes it slow and that's something that contemporary consumer is not accustomed to.

Character Summary: There are only several named characters in the game and all of them are covered well by encyclopedia. Half of them are mad, the other half are priests and warriors who  actually help us defend from devils in some events. Protagonist has no character at all. Despite the fact that we create our body and face at the beginning of the game - with each death we're given a random body.


The most useful character in game



Encyclopedia is the single thing that's absolutely fabulous
Sexual Content: None
Comments: The only couple times the naked woman's breast actually appeared on the screen the woman was eaten alive or strangled to death the very next second. Those several women that actually showed interest in the protagonist were in a few minutes time decapitated/torn to pieces/cut through.
Affection for the Characters: None
CG Score: 10/10. The game actually looks amazing for the year 1993. Pretty much every creature and person is animated when you approach them close enough. The game boasts 256 colors and the actual picture still looks more or less decent.

Music Score: 5/10. I failed to hear any music. It might be due to the fact that i failed to find Mac PC to play in original and used DosBox for that. But as for voices, all the dialogues are voiced (but not the protagonist) and voicing quality is good.


Some hell layer. Human eating his own brains is quite a mild example of what's happening there.
Addictiveness: Quite Low. When you beat the game since there are only couple dozen events in the game and apart of that it's just aimless wandering around the streets with an ugly interface and talking to beggars trying to know something new.
  • Unique atmosphere of medieval Japan
  • A well made built-in encyclopedia that holds information on all the locations, all the named characters, all the events background and what not.
  • Great events and actual pictures. I think i've seen about a hundred of different demons with their unique faces and bodies. The scenes and very vivid and memorable, especially those of seven layers of hell.
  • Game claims to be educational and contains quite a few historic figures.
  • Most of the time is spent in aimless wondering
  • Game fails to exhort educational function due to the fact that all historical events are greatly folklorized and fails to play entertainment function since apart of rare events there's nothing really fun about it.
  • Interface and controls are very simplistic for the interactive adventure exploration game
  • Several bugs that make the game freeze. E.g. there are two cool old men, one 800 and another 900 years old who know absolutely everything in the world, but while speaking to them game always crashes.