If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck
Foreword: I don't review anthologies and fandiscs, but this time I have to deviate from this tradition for the fandisc of the game of the year 2000.
Synopsis: Among other accessories there are two stories:
1. 『イルとスイの日常』"Il and Sui everyday" is about Il and Sui exploring outer world and own sexuality.
2.『砦に帰す』"Return to the Fort" is about Aya group expedition sent by Iga ninja to investigate an ancient Yagyuu fort five years before events of Nijuuei.
Length: 1 hour + 2.5 hours
Game type: Mythology samurai horror mystery.
Difficulty: None. Just one fake choice.
Character Design rating: 6/10
Protagonist rating: 7/10
Story rating: 9/10
Game quality: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Rating comments: "Return to the Fort" story really impressed me. It restored several loose links in the original game and developed some existing themes. "Il and Sui everyday" is a banal fan-service story, I won't touch it in any way in this review.
Protagonist: "Return to the Fort" has very curious approach to protagonist. Main protagonist is experienced expedition leader boy Kiriha. It's a convenient position since we can talk to everyone and coordinate their activities. But when the story dictates it, protagonist can be changed. Sometimes we don't even know who is our current protagonist hidden behind generic "Man".
Characters: There are several female heroines, but most of them don't get enough screen time to even remember their names. Aya is the main heroine, and it's especially wonderful that her mystery from the original game gets solved here, even two mysteries. Can't even hint, though.
Story: The very beginning is a group of ninja sent by Iga ninja clan getting to the fort in the wilderness with a lot of losses. Something's killing them one by one, presumably something from the fort. But as they sneak into the fort, it turns out to be empty... that's literally the very beginning. There's a lot and lot of development from this point.
CG and Sound: Great CG and finally voicing. Manga strips for action scenes are as cool as ever.
1) Both Nijuuei and Nijuubako are released on the same day, 30th November, but the years are different. I seem some playfulness in releasing both games on the same date.
2) Aya is not the only character from Nijuuei in "Return to the Fort", so it feels totally like a prequel, not like an individual character story.
3) "Return to the Fort" not only tells the story of Aya and another character from Nijuuei, but it's also a detective story, a horror story, an action story and the story of cursed sword Muramasa.
Overall comments: Surprisingly lovely game as a result. Good mix of genres and lots of references to the original game. That's the way fandiscs should be - additional story-focused piece rather than worthless fan-service.
Foreword: Assassins... hackers... I expected the second luv wave or Phantom of Inferno from this game. It proved to be quite different...
Title: Assassin Ann
Synopsis: Four young people have the dream to stand on American stage. They set up dance team "J-RAP" and practice each day. of wanting to stand on the American stage, home of dance. They set up a dance team "J-RAP" and were striving for lessons every day. One day main character gets to know that another team member Ann is actually an assassin of a mysterious organization "Gopher". She asks protagonist for help, but he refuses due to strong sense of justice. He gets caught up in the struggle between "Gopher" organization and emerging religion "Tsunoda kai". And direct danger approaches members of "J-RAP".
Structure: 3 days
Length: 1.5 hour for first playthrough, 30 mins for consequent 7 ones
Game type: Pseudo-action erotic thriller
Difficulty: Easy, only three choices for two variants each, and each branch leads to a different ending.
Character Design rating: 1/10
Protagonist rating: 1/10
Story rating: 1/10
Game quality: 1/10
Overall rating: 1/10
Rating comments: Game's a joke.
Protagonist: Kensuke is a protagonist whose presence is not felt at all.
Characters: There aren't heroine routes. Characters here have very little screen time, and they manage to waste a large portion of that time for spontaneous H events.
Story: First thing that surprised me in synopsis is rap-band. Does such thing even exist in real world? Rappers don't really need a group, and a group of rappers can't read rap together. This is definitely not a rap band in the game. But we get to see in the opening and the ending the gigs of this band played by real life actors (and maybe even real musicians). And those are one of the most sore gigs I ever seen. Horrible song sung with hypocritical looks. But as game goes on every trace of story gets lost in spontaneous H events every odd minute and just absurdity of everything happening. Half of that little time devoted to the story protagonist just investigates dossiers of his future enemies via pc. The rest is a super forced development with some crazy characters like the monastery nun. When I tried to think what this game reminds me ... it's LIGHT MY FIRE by Take in 1998. Same musicians as main characters, same new religion threatening to conquer the world, same total absurdity of everything happening and same flood of H scenes.
I recorded only one "branch" because other branches are totally the same except for H event with a different heroine or routes with just Bad endings, branches purely for additional H events.
CG: There are quite a few cool ones, but they can't mend anything. The ratio of non-HCG to HCG are 1 to 4... Animated multi-staged H encounter with Ann only adds to the one-sidedness.
Overall comments: I can only repeat that game's a wicked joke. It tries to mimic luv wave and Phantom of Inferno with lowest level content and not a single element to enjoy.