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If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck

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kivandopulus

There are two masterpieces this month - Air and Gensou Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Harmonia no Kenshi.  My hate for Air is too big, so I'd nominate any other candidate besides it, so my initial choice is Gensou Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Harmonia no Kenshi as VN of the month.

1. Omakase☆Demakase Angel!! ~Chocolat to Milfy Shukufuku Shichau zo~ おまかせ☆でまかせ え~んじぇる!! ~ショコラとミルフィー祝福しちゃうぞっ~ [000901] Triangle
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Main character wakes up and sees two celestial girls from his dreams. Both girls want to pass angel exam. The exam condition is only one - to make one person happy. 
Girls can become either of small or normal size at will. It's called sequel only to reap the good memory of first game. Content is nothing fancy this time, but don't expect loli here either.

 

2. Air [000908] Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
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Kunisaki Yukito's deceased mother left him with the doll and her last wish that Yukito look for the "girl in the skies" because it is his destiny to save her. Only half-understanding what his mother meant, Yukito has been traveling across Japan, vainly searching for this myth-like girl his mother told him about. His latest destination is a small, sleepy town where summer has just arrived; and his encounter with a young girl named Misuzu there sets the wheels of destiny turning....
There are lots of reviews. Not my type of the game AT ALL. This is a watermark game for Key and it's either loved or hated by reviewers, very polar reviews. I won't deny it a masterpiece status though.

 

3. Bless ~Close Your Eyes, Open Your Mind~ [000908] BasiL
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Main character left his hometown following his parents job needs. He had to part with a girl who often came to his dreams ever since. Ten years later he returns to this town and tries to find that girl whose image is blurred in his memory. His former friend suggest trying to search for her on the Internet using an online chat "Masquerade".
Internet chat was still fresh back then. Quite a short story (one month), but with good atmosphere and tempo. There are roughly 10 days for flagging, and the rest is personal routes. Synopsis is pushy though as mysterious girl calls for hero to bring her salvation in dreams. In some routes development is forced. Game is rough to be called a masterpiece, but it's a nice short game to play.

 

4. Hana Monogatari・Natsu 花ものがたり・夏 [000914] Kababo
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Main character is the son of girls school president. He spends the summer administering the girls dormitory. Even though it's summer time, seven girls remain the building. Can this situation lead to a new feeling to be born?
Quite a normal girl chasing game. There are some 35 days each divided in morning and evening parts. It's only possible to chase one girl at a time, so need to choose her whenever possible. Oh, and game has flowers in title since flowers are mentioned in each day beginning. Can't call this game special though.

 

5. Horohoro ほろほろ [000914] LiLiM
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Main character returns from medical study in United States only to have his family killed in front of him. He is accused of killing his family for property, but eventually released for the lack of evidence. His heart becomes shut since then. In such circumstances he needs to do a college research for three months.
Game is quite simple. Hero hits rock bottom and welcomes any sympathy towards him. Game takes three months and content is normal, not dark. 

 

6. Pure Angel -Tatta Hitotsu no Negai no Tame ni- Pure Angel −たったひとつの願いのために− [000914] Aquarium
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Main character is driven out of the dormitory and has to stay at a cafe with a condition to help around the place. Several girls already stay and work here as well. Girl in maid uniform asks to rely on her in everything... what's her motivation?
Quite an ordinary setting. There is one month to form romantic relations. Story has fantasy elements, but it's quite strange that maid identity is revealed quite early. Work feels heavy, but if you like one of the girls it should not stop you.

 

7. Aegenelles no Hanayome エーゲネルスの花嫁 [000915] Mesa
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Main character is a crown prince of a small kingdom. Parents choose a suitable candidate who he never even seen in real life. In opposition to this decision prince swears to find a girl to love himself in the castle town. It's three weeks before coronation and wedding ceremony... 
There's not much to say about the game. Girls from different backgrounds and with different problems are gathered here. Quite fun, but not with enough depth. The limit is five movements per day, so save/load ensues.

 

8. One's Own (or very) [000915] To Be
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Main character observes how his classmate becomes suddenly hospitalized after school medical examination with symptoms of unknown disease triggering memory loss. He starts to visit her, but begins to notice numerous contradictions and inconsistencies. Hero initiates his own investigation that keeps creeping him out.  
The aim of the game is to solve the mystery of the incident and help the girl. Location is the hospital, and H scenes are quite dense. That's pretty much all that's known, and I'm not going to uncover another hospital "mystery".

 

9. Gensou Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Harmonia no Kenshi 幻想水滸外伝 Vol.1 ハルモニアの剣士 [000921] Konami 1 2 3 4
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Nash Latkje, the protagonist controlled by the player and an agent of Holy Harmonia's Southern Border Defence Force, has been assigned to obtain information to either verify or disprove a rumour concerning the appearance of one of the 27 True Runes in the Jowston City States. During his travels, he encounters Sierra Mikain, a female vampire, who decides to accompany him on his journey. As a result, he soon becomes entangled in the larger conflict involving the events of Suikoden II.
I never played the RPG, but watched this kinetic novel with great pleasure. There are English, and I rate this game as masterpiece.

 

10. Eye's Only ~Sono Kagayaki wa Mabushisa ni Michite~ eye’s only~その輝きはまぶしさに満ちて~ [000922] ainos
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It's spring time, and Yousuke is entering university. In these three months until summer vacation, he meets some interesting girls and starts to have a relationship with them.
Game's main feature is wide-spread animation that's used even for general scenes. But that also sets the limits of the game - limited number of heroines, short branches. As a result it's only remembered by everyone for its animation in H scenes as the only notable memory of the game.

 

11. Wafers ~Ohime-sama wa Kyou mo Kiken deshita~ うえはぁす ~お姫様は今日も危険でした~ [000922] SofthouseChara
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To escape from being forcefully married against her will for the sake of her country, the royal princess Chris ran away carrying only whatever money and valuables she can managed to carry. Naturally, pursuers chased after her. Being only a single woman, evading her pursuers would be hard. While thinking her next course of action, she saw the protagonist' car abruptly stopped, and she took out her gun. And thus begin the princess and protagonist' adventures. 
Meanwhile, there's a military secret hidden inside one of the belongings the princess took with her, one that's important for a certain someone and threatens his advancement. There are also documents detailing business dealings with the Mafia too. From the pursuers that starts to become bloodshot, the chase has begun.
I tend to block card games, but it's not just a primitive card game. It's more like a board game with the aim to get to the end of the road, and cards only help to manage the enemies. It's game over if enemies catch up to the hero for a certain number of times. Every turn cards are replenished, plus it's possible to buy cards during events. Game has zero reviews, because it's plain weird. SofthouseChara had a very difficult past.

 

12. Love Hina: Totsuzen no Engage Happening ラブひな 突然のエンゲージ・ハプニング [000928] Sega 1 2 3
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After having failed the Tokyo-U entrance exam, Keitaro Urashima is nowhere near achieving his goal of entering Tokyo University and meeting his fabled "promise girl". Or is he?
After catching a glimpse of his latest bad scores, Granny Hinata decides to send a real Tokyo-U student to help Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi pass. Her name is Mizuho Fujisawa and she bears more than a passing resemblance to the girl Keitaro made a promise to several years ago. Furthermore, she is so confident that she can get Keitaro to pass, that she makes this wager: If Keitaro can't pass under her tutelage, he will get to marry her.
Just who the heck IS she?
There are two English reviews.

 

13. Yume no Tsubasa 夢のつばさ [000928] KID 1 2
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Your dream is to fly, and you’ve spent years restoring an old plane, hoping that you will be able to fly in the sky just like your father. However, one day, after a test run you find a mysterious girl collapsed near the runway. Who is she? And why is she here? Even though you don’t know anything, you let her stay at your house, and a chain of events have begun to turn…
There is a short English review, but I'm not a KID fan to dig beyond it.

 

14. For Season 2 ~Utsuriyuku Kisetsu, Wasurenai~ For Season.2 ~うつりゆく季節、忘れない~ [000929] Giga
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Suddenly close friend asked main character for a favor - to substitute him as a tutor for some time. Protagonist can't refuse to his best friend request. What kind of young students await him?
Again, three girls, again tutorship. Period is half a year. During weekdays it's study mode, during weekends it's holidays travelling mode. There's also the need to buy items and put them on students tables - gross! And it's already such alienation degree to the setting that I can't go on.

 

15. Gaisen! Ichijiku Kanchou! 凱旋!無花果艦長! [000929] BeF
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Main character is appointed as a captain of a submarine with the only aim to avoid any crisis. However the vehicle gets hit by a torpedo of enemy submarine "Harukaze". Captain ignores commandment's orders and brilliantly uses has tactical skills and numerous inventions. For the glory of Japan!
Almost kinetic bakage. All player has to do is move inside submarine and sometimes make some choice that does not have much meaning. Still it's more erotic than fun.

 

16. Gakkou no Kyaa! ~Sennichi Gakuen Shinbunbu no Teinou Kaiki Eigateki Sekai~ 学校のきゃあ!~千日学園新聞部の低能怪奇映画的世界~ [000929] Black Light
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School yellow pages newspaper covers psychic phenomena and strange cases inside and outside the school. It has a colorful cast. Main character is sent as a spy to this school club. Is it possible for a normal person to compete against monsters and conspiracies that await him in the evenings?
It's multiple-endings adventure of 5 chapters. In ADV part we gain favorability of the girl of choice and hold dialogues with her. In investigation part we... investigate around the school. There are a lot of time limited choices that can easily result in a bad ending. The atmosphere of the game resembles B class horror movie about occult black comedy. Quite a solid unusual scenario... but not for everyone.

 

17. Heart & Blade [000929] C's Ware
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Osamu, the protagonist, is a student whose family descent from a lineage of samurais and owner of a Dojo of kendo.
He was studying and training at the United States, but now is time to go back to Japan.
At this house, where he must protect a sacred milenium old tree, he meets a strange girl who resembles someone he met a long time ago.
But his problems are just starting. His father got him a fiancee from a rich and traditional family, his blond classmate from United States came all the way to Japan after him, and his older female cousin came to help at the dojo.
What is more strange, monsters started to appear in the City. Osamu must wield a sword and fight them to protect the sacred tree and his friends.
A chunige from C's Ware? YES, PLEASE! Review incoming.

 

18. Innocent Eye's [000929] Unison Shift
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The protagonist Natsume Shinitirou is an assistant researcher working at the Neurosciences Institute. 
He studies biology and genetics, and sometimes even parapsychology. 
But then one day, a sudden explosion levels the institute. To save a trapped girl below he goes down to the restricted floors below. Where he meets the heroines of the story and uncovers the real purpose of the institute...
Utsuge is not my thing at all, but I still tried to force myself to play it. The result is poor not because it's utsuge, but because it has minimal story. All the events happen in the same huge laboratory complex. There are also gameplay elements of finding items and using them properly. It also does not really suit for a video with many H events and loli heroines. Both the story and the heroines routes are unimpressive. Even though game is utsuge, there is a happy ending.

 

19. Kaitou Z ~Anata to Heart o Nusumimasu~ 怪盗Z~あなたのハートを盗みます~ [000929] Ciel
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Kaitou Z is an antique shop holder on the surface, but also a gentleman thief who breaks into houses and uses hypnotism widely. One day he is asked by one girl to steal a film from some office. He steals the film, but what's the meaning of this ridiculous film?
It's a real-time thief simulator in limited time circumstances, that's why there aren't reviews of it. There are many different steal missions. Both lack of information gathering and time limit bring game over.

 

20. Loveless ~Owaranai Monogatari~ LOVELESS ~終わらない物語~ [000929] Voice
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Around the year 200 AD a girl was born as the first 'qualified person' in human history. She went on a journey to find the species as herself. She met three friends during the following 1800 years trip. And together they went on journey again to find the 5th person. He turned out to be the first man from the 'qualified person' species and the protagonist of this story. The existence of five qualified persons at one place and time attracted a monster called "a heteromorphic person", and their fateful encounter is drawing near.
Game is mostly about training SIM, map movement and then difficult battles where you have to defend 90% of time. The atmosphere is good, but the the length and the mechanics not so great. There aren't too many H events.

 

21. Revolution [000929] Waffle
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Three important figures in the kingdom are kidnapped by the Revolutionary organization on their way back to the kingdom from abroad study. The organization forwards insane demands giving only 24 hours to comply before execution of all three figures. Prince "Ash" is hurriedly summoned to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, only 8 hours are left... 
It's an action game with H events on the way. After certain time passes, insult scenes with the kidnapped girls are shown. Can't evaluate the gameplay properly since it's not the genre I like.

 

22. Seikan Megami Senki Metal Doll 星間女神戦記メタルドール [000929] Cenote
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Confrontation between the Tauros faction and the Leo faction becomes extremely fierce after a  mysterious explosion of the huge mother ship. Main character is sent from the Earth to investigate the situation. 
It's kind of tactical strategy SIM in space, but the system and battle mechanics are worst ever. H scenes usually come after each battle. There is only one save... Game's universally condemned as kusoge.

 

23. Yaminabe Aries ~Asu e no Chousenjou~ 闇鍋Aries~明日への挑戦状~ [000929] Circus 1 2
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This game consists of three separate stories. Two of them, "Katomai" (カトマイ) (doesn't have any H-scenes) and "Sana" (紗菜) side stories, are directly related to Aries. 
The third one, "Tail Tale", is about furries/kemonos.
Tail Tale's summary:
In a world consisting of floating continents, there exist races of kemonos with different fur colours. One of the races is known as "Mao" (マオ族). At the east and the west edge of the continent, there are two villages- "Bastalk" (バストーク) and "Zarpat" (ザパト) respectively.
The protagonist living in Bastalk, Rick, looks much forward to being able to build an aircraft (there are none in that civilization) in order to explore a new world. On a very day, while Rick is picking herbs for healing his sick younger brother, Nap, he crossed paths with a girl living in Zarpat, Run. And the life of Rick is going to be changed forever after this encounter... 
I'm no fan of multiple stories format and especially of Aries series. There is some information in English since game is partially localized.

 

BLOCKED

 

1. M’s If it is true… [000901] Maboroshi Ware
Two persons are attacked at a southern island - one is found hit with a blunt object and another one kidnapped. The investigators got a clue to the incident, and winning in mahjong is needed to unwind the case further.
Card game

 

2. Uzuki ~Inyoku ni Michiru Tsuki~ 疼き~淫欲に満ちる月~ [000901] Beenyan
In the heavy rain boy is running. He is chased by murderers, and he does not know why. He runs into a mysterious house in the forest... 
Nukige

 

3. Katekyo ~Akaruku Tanoshiku Koku Ecchi~ かてきょ ~明るく楽しく濃くエッチ~ [000908] Melody
Main character wants a girlfriend. One day he receives a flyer promising to teach how to win a girl in just a week. He attends the course. Fun times begin now!
Nukige

 

4. Onee-chan Video SE おねえちゃんビデオSE [000908] Segue Laboratory
Begin with an interview, lead it to an intimate scene and listen to impression at the end either in kansai or normal dialect!
Nukige

 

5. Oshiete Teacher おしえてティーチャー [000908] for
Main character is a teacher in a girls school. At the same time he shares the dormitory with the girls. He is confessed to by a female teacher, and needs to give a reply within two weeks. Who will be by his side at that time?
Nukige

 

6. Saimin 催眠 [000908] Yukari
Main character enters a university after a year of ronin study. He starts going out with a girl living in the next room. But everything changes when he meets a fortune teller in the town...
Nukige

 

7. Sexy Magic Kunoichi Gakuen SEXY MAGIC くノ一学園 [000908] H・WORKS
Popular OVA heroines return in this puzzle filled eroge. 
Nukige

 

8. Tamashi Hime 魂姫 [000914] Pinky Soft
A writer comes to a mountain onsen ryoukan in search of inspiration. There is no electricity there, but laptop suddenly starts up with a strange noise, and a girl appears on the display. As she disappears, heavy feeling starts to fill the heart, and various mysterious phenomena begin to happen.
Nukige

 

9. Hatsujou Karte ~Hiiro no Ryoujoku Niku Omocha~ 発情カルテ ~緋色の凌辱肉玩具~ [000922] 13cm
Doctor comes to a hospital full of nymphomaniac patients requiring special treatment.
Nukige

 

10. Sweet Pleasure [000922] Cronus
Main character is a famous special coach. One day he receives a request for guidance from a famous private girls' school, and knowing the beauty of its students he cannon say "no".
Nukige

 

11. Yurushite ~Yuuki Hitomi no Baai~ ゆ・る・し・て~結城瞳の場合~ [000922] Noise
Two girls explore a newly inherited mansion. However, mysterious powers deviating from common sense swirl inside the mansion. Main character is to pursue the escaping girls in the maze of the mansion and insult them vigorously.
Nukige

 

12. Princess Play [000923] Studio Neko Punch
Main character is the third prince of a small country Ipushia sandwiched between superpowers. One day a veiled woman comes and requests to train a certain girl as a slave. The reward is independence of Ipushia. There's no guarantee in woman's words, but the reward is well worth the task if the woman speaks truth. 
Nukige

 

13. Cherry boy Innocent girl [000929] Libido
Main character got used to bullying from different girls during his school years. Sometimes they even tease him enjoying his reaction. This is a story about difficult relations with such girls.
Nukige

 

14. Collection ~Shuushuu Sareta Akumu~ Collection ~蒐集された悪夢~ [000929] Complet's
Main character learns how to record and edit dreams of other people. Will such experience be akin to reality?
Nukige

 

15. Cruise クルーズ [000929] Janis
Main character is invited on a luxurious cruiser voyage. His first objective is gain trust of a certain VIP passenger. His second objective is to train first class girls into entertainment servants.
Nukige

 

16. DEEP/ZERO [000929] Selen
A novice nurse comes to the hospital. Doctor smiles at the appearance of a new prey as he established slave-master relations with all other women in this institution already.
Nukige

 

17. Hakoten Jan ハコてん雀 [000929] ZyX
Main character works in sales department of Mahjong organization. He needs to bright the light of mahjong to families, institutions and even wastelands. Who will he choose as opponents? Of course, only beautiful girls!
Card game

 

18. Shinpu no Oshigoto 神父のオシゴト [000929] Soubi Kenkyuujo
Main character gets a temporary job of a priest in a school of missionary system. Girls believe that he's the real priest and confess all the sexual problems to him. It looks like this job is not bad after all.
Nukige

 

19. Souzokubito 相続人 [000929] Interheart Co., Ltd.
The struggle between relatives begins after death of the wealthy head of the house. Three girls who are closest in inheritance line are confined in a grim pavillion. Can they safely escape the mansion?
Nukige

 

20. Worm [000929] REALDEAL
Main character is a genius doctor. One day a nurse from his hospital is brought to him after collapsing naked at the bar toilet. She survives, but bizarre organisms emerge from her lower abdomen. A request comes to research these "worm" organisms, and it leads to an experiment held 16 years ago. Soon more women become infected...
Nukige

 

kivandopulus

Foreword: This game has too many girls with guns for me to miss. Sorry in advance for for guns-only gallery! Honestly, Ragnapolice surprised me with quality police story and meaningful heroines. This is a full scale 8/10 masterpiece for me.

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Title: Ragnapolice

Developer: Air Plants

Date: 2000-08-25

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v10746

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmpkFM-7C7k

Synopsis: An investigator is dispatched from the Space Police Agency headquarters to the South Area Department. His name is Ryouma "Gold Wolf". He is attracted to a woman detective Margaret there. A shooting incident occurs, and Margaret is killed as a result. Ryouma stands on the trail of revenge and starts his private investigation of this case. 

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Structure: There's some kind of prologue and 60 days afterwards (we gain freedom of movement on 8th day)

Length: 10 hours

Game type: SF police story

Difficulty: Very easy, but it takes time to get used to the system of multiple cases

Character Design rating: 8/10

Protagonist rating: 7/10

Story rating: 9/10

Game quality: 7/10

Overall rating: 8/10

Rating comments: I can't hide my fascination with the game. I liked the short case stories, liked even protagonist, because he has face and is quite fiery. Graphics can look a bit odd, but with time looks very organic as well. My only complaints are about quality of some CG, partial voicing and absence of true route with distinctive truth about Margaret fate.

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Protagonist: Ryouma "Gold Wolf" is cool. He constantly opposes his commanders to support his ideals and opinion, and usually manages to prove his point of view. He's a good partner, too. 

Characters: There are as many as 9 routes and endings in the game - 8 for each heroine and one for partner Alex - no, no, no shounen Ai included, even though last CG might look a bit this way. Alex story is hard boiled one about penetrating criminal organization and surviving in it, but I did not include it in my video walkthrough, just a part of it with a bad ending. Among the 8 heroines there are some with not so thrilling stories, like the princess who runs away from the palace and hides at Ryouma room, but every story is curious and easy to watch. Usually heroine endings opens up upon finishing two cases related to that heroine. My favorite heroine is your side-partner Claire. She's cute, feisty and looks great in wedding dress with an assault rifle, hehe.

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Story: So we sort of figure out identity of Margaret killer in Claire route, but there's no flashy ending to it, just unwinding current police case, and that's it. But Margaret story is referenced in every heroine route, so maybe Claire route is not the only one fill the puzzle. In the same Claire route we sort of oppose our elder brother who tried to fire Ryouma after incident with Margaret. The stories in the police cases are various : bombings, car thefts, guns smuggling, narcotics etc etc. The shooting mini-game is nice, but I it was buggy for me playing at a virtual machine. Anyway all the sluggishness of minigame disappears after couple of defeats. 

CG: Each of 9 routes has 10 CG, so overall number seems to be 90, which is ok'ish. Some of CG have weird eye drawing and distorted faces, but overall everything's cool. HCG are only at the very end of each girl route, and that is the best option for me.

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Sound: All the important scenes are voiced, only daily routing and dialogues are usually not voiced, and I'm ok with it. BGM is not too inventive and irritates if you spend too much time at one scene. 

Overall comments: Ragnapolice does not look too much enticing, but somehow all the heroines here have distinct individuality. There's no need to reread the same main route, so there's no usual aversion for me to do sub-heroine routes. I missed integrity here, and one true route would suit great here, but back at 2000 true routes weren't that common yet. It's an easy and interesting read, and that's something that I encounter less and less rare in visual novels.

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kivandopulus

 

There are four masterpieces this month - Tsukihime , Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ , Pure Mail , Gin'iro . Production-wise the most thrilling game is Sense Off, but I opt out for a chuuni whenever possible, so the winner is Tsukihime. I played it in the past, so won't be replaying now. But I still need something for a full rakeview this month. And this month is unusual as I'll be reviewing not game of the month, but some other game Ragnapolice which also turned out to be a masterpiece. Review incoming.

1. Canary ~Kono Omoi o Uta ni Nosete~ カナリア ~この想いを歌に乗せて~ [000804] Frontwing
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A young man moves to Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands, to live in Kagawa prefecture with his uncle who runs a sound studio. Attending the Kotohira Middle School as a student with an ear for music, the player engages in interaction with seven female students who play in the school band. Some girls specialize in vocals and others wield instruments in the pop section. Music provides the glue for possible friendships and amorous maneuvers. A supporting cast of other characters including classmates, teachers and your uncle also supply additional interaction and bolster the story-line. The bulk of the interaction leads up to the school festival where you and band members hope to create beautiful music together.
A charage with high quality of musical support, but it's not described why heroines like hero. The problem solving almost does not exist. It's almost like good hero exists by himself and nice heroines exist separately, and they can't really get along with each other well. There is just not enough satisfaction afterwards compared to the efforts involved.

 

2. Hohoemi o Mou Ichido ~Smile Again~ 微笑みをもういちど ~smile again~ [000804 Ume Soft] 1
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The story revolves around four childhood friends and their reunion five years after. You are a high-school student going through a story of growing up and falling in love.
This composition is starting to frequent a lot - student happy years and then reunion X years later. Map selection part is quite evident, but what's tricky is mingames that are hard to beat, but reward additional CG. There are as many as 8 heroines. Such a huge gap between student years and aftermath is quite fresh and heroines change a lot in those 5 years. One playthrough is short, just 2-3 hours. It's a charage, so don't expect a good scenario here.

 

3. Nemureru Mori no Ohime-sama 眠れる森のお姫さま [000804] Penguin Works
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Asturia, a world of swords and magic. An evil wizard kidnapped Princess Emilia, and the king sent an elite army to take her back, leaded by the princess' personal clerk, Irina. But their journey was full of danger, and Irina's destiny will change forever...
Game imitates RPG heavily, but remains a pure ADV with only text choices in battles and elsewhere. There are four heroines that are pretty easy to flag - it's enough just to choose them for conversation between battles and events. There is just one H event at the end for each heroine. Game is quite short (some 3 hours) 

 

4. Omoide no Kanata 想い出の彼方 [000804] PL+US
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Main character is contacted to visit his home town after five years of absence. How different will be the town from his sweet memories?
Work is built on contrast of memories with the changed landscape of the town. This mix of reality, fantasy and suspense is the main appeal point. Each of the heroines has her distinctive theme and it's often linked with death theme, so it's not your usual moege for sure. There are a lot of instant death choices in the latter part of the game. Branching happens very early in the game, so no repetitiveness of common route is felt. So it's a work with nice atmosphere, almost a masterpiece, really.

 

5. Sasurai no Ryourinin さすらいの料理人 [000804] Jupiter
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Protagonist is a world-wide known chef. This time he decides to cook for two weeks a western mansion on an isolated island. Six girls volunteer to assist him there.
It's a SIM mix. We need to cook and if the cooking suits girl's particular tastes, there's continuation in the form of some event. I still consider it a nukige for the number of H scenes and lack of any sense in the game beyond that. 

 

6. She is... [000804] Bell-Da
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Hospital in the suburbs. There is an internal struggle between the president and vice-president faction. President hires protagonist and vice-president hires Miu detective to find counterpart's weak sides. 
Cover inevitably suggests it's a nukige, but as a tribute to Bell-Da I won't block it. Basically we gather information and when we gathered enough valuable information the story proceeds to the next day. Difficulty is easy since there is no limit on movements during any day. There are five heroines with endings. It's still more of a romance game than a detective game. It's quite nice as each heroine ending only shows up a portion of truth and the overall picture only comes together when every ending is seen. So it can be called an above average Bell-Da game.

 

7. Elysion ~Eien no Sanctuary~ ELYSION ~永遠のサンクチュアリ~ [000810] Terios 1 2 3
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As the story goes, an old man lives on an island in a mansion near the ocean. He's reclusive, private and very wealthy. As the family physician, you are summoned to the island to care for the old man. The premise of the game introduction seems innocent and routine enough but the various characters you meet arouse suspicion and suspense amongst the different players inside the mansion.
The cast of characters include the codger's granddaughter, a groundskeeper, sinister men, and five maids dressed in frilly maid outfits that have a tendency to billow gratuitously.
The system is like Kakyuusei since we need to move on the map ourselves. DC/PS2 version is all about moe maids while PC version adds insult to the mix. There's a lot of love put into graphics which is superb for the year 2000. But the story is nothing interesting, so no use to play it for the plot.

 

8. Love Love Navigation ~Koi no Menkyo Koushuu~ らぶ2・ナビゲーション ~恋の免許講習~ [000811] Cocktail Soft
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Main character comes to a training camp on the southern island during summer vacation. He meets a variety of lovely girls there. They have fun every day attending classes together and going out to play. But won't study become neglected with so much love in the air?
The flow is good since it lasts up to the very last day of vacations where serious stuff starts to happen. Main character has a shifting personality depending on which girl he dates. The branching begins very early in the game, and after that there are only continuation/death choices. There is no plot, so it's pretty much an ordinary moege.

 

9. Once More Again [000811] Ail
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Protagonist is a miserable office worker in the mid-40s. He was too shy to talk to a girl and could only get married with a marriage arranged by his parents. But neither his wife, nor his daughter never respected him. 
One day such man gets a chance to go back in time and live his youth years once more again. How will his second life turn up?
Hero is a source of gags himself since he has a shy personality, but he is very stubborn in getting a girlfriend this time, getting in funny situations. The scenario is largely divided into two parts, and heroines get much more mature in the second part. The setting looks alien to me, so I rather see it as just another H-centered game akin to other Ail abusive games.

 

10. Penciller ☆ Kana ペンシラー☆カナ [000811] Ripe
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Eroge company Ripe is the stage. Main character becomes a new worker here. While working overnight, once a fairy from the other world appears before the hero. He gets transformed into a cute girl. His co-workers accept the change in appearance and give him a new name "Penciller ☆ Kana". So begins extraordinary life in the game company.
There is a normal game company routine - going to convenience store, eating and working take the bulk of game time with only occasional events. There aren't choices in the game apart of meal choice, so it's pretty much a single road changed only by cards flip. Choosing a certain card can trigger work/meeting event or some CG. And since events are kind of randomly chosen, they duplicate... There's no detailed setting given, and such everyday life bores really fast. All the H scenes are yuri ones.

 

11. Tsukihime 月姫 [000811] Type-Moon 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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The story begins in a recollection of a boy called Shiki in his childhood years. There he gains a power out of this world. What is the meaning of this power, and what can he do with it? This is his story of finding the missing pieces of the puzzle.
There are lots of reviews around, so I'm not picking up this game for video playthrough. It's definitely a masterpiece, but I don't like it when some game is only praised. What I personally found bad about is how complex the route structure is - I failed to trigger Arcueid route for numerous times, in the end having to resort to walkthrough. I also found it very weird how Arcueid and Ciel are so super-friendly with the hero when they meet him alone, but whenever all three of them meet, both girls get so angry that they immediately start to treat even hero with suspicion, easily writing him down as an enemy as well. That I could never understand, it felt alien to me since such meeting repeated over and over with the same outcome. Overall I got mostly negative impression from the visual novel, but the anime version which is blamed so much was a lot better for me. But Tsukihime is probably the first classic chuunige - an ordinary high school student receives a wonder waffle and gets in trouble because of that acquired trouble. This setting is going to be repeated numerous times, especially in anime.

 

12. Natsuiro no Apron 夏色のエプロン [000812] Uran
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Main character lives with his elder sister who does all the housework. But as summer vacations start, sister goes abroad. Hero has never washed or cleaned anything, so soon he finds himself in a pinch. He decides to bring one of his acquaintance girls to the house so that she does all the washing and cleaning again!
This exact setting I meet for the second time and its stupidity infuriates me greatly. It's not quite clear from the synopsis, but it's pretty much a nukige since hero starts to molest every girl that agrees to do cleaning for him. Game is focused on naked apron theme.

 

13. Remel [000812] Usagi Club
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Shuji gets into an accident resulting in memory loss. He feels like he enters the body of anothe person. While hospitalized he meets various people and gradually starts to come closer to understanding the truth behind his past.
This is actually a doujin game, but it's fully voiced, has cute characters and not a nukige-tilt plot, so it feels like a normal commercial game. There are four heroines and there's a system of hero and heroine thoughts that need to intersect. Happiness and sorrow is the main theme of the game. The whole curse story seems incomplete, and it's not evident what developers wanted to say. Text often feels childish, but is ok to read unless you can only read professional texts.

 

14. Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ [000818] Otherwise 1 2
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The protagonist of the story, Naoya, was hospitalised after getting in a bicycle accident. During his treatment, it is found that he exhibits a number of unusual brain wave patterns, and he is asked to move into a particular Cognition Dynamics Research Laboratory to undergo further testing, along with a handful of other young people who exhibit similar characteristics. With his newfound friends, Naoya takes classes, has fun and lives peacefully in blissful ignorance of the truth behind their gathering together.
While it is difficult to say much about the story without spoiling a good deal of the enjoyment, 'sense off' is not a title to underestimate, and in whichever route you end up going down, the story will quickly spiral into something far more intricate and detailed than you likely thought possible.
There are English reviews.

 

15. Camera Eyes [000825] Uncanny!
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Women assault murder cases continue to occur in various parts of Tokyo. Main character is policeman specializing in criminal psychology, and he has an ability to read memory of the criminals on the crime scene. He is in charge of this case and investigates it together with his partner. 
As you can see the setting is so comfortable to show lots of insult and voluntary H scenes as a part of recollection memory ability. The volume of the game is scarce, but there are a lot of choices. If not all of the flags are set, only bad ending awaits, so the difficulty is very high. Once a happy ending is reached once, there's no incentive to replay, just to get some additional CG. Little is explained and resolution comes out of the blue, so the overall expression of numerous H scenes followed by hasty resolution is not good. Backgrounds are very simple without character sprites, graphics is very mediocre.

 

16. Can Can Bunny 6 - I ♥ Mail きゃんきゃんバニー6 i・mail [000825] Cocktail Soft
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Imaginary city "Shibuya". Mobile phones received a universal spread, and main character decides to get acquainted with modern technologies after a year and a half of job hunting to get advantage at job interviews. After buying mobile phone he wins  navigation communicator called "Monaco" and a CD-ROM from  mobile phone manufacturer. It turned out to be a cute girl application!
What a depressing synopsis for a genki charage! We need to date by using e-mail and move towards date in real life. There are SIM elements. What disappoints that all the girls follow exactly the same pattern and even extra "Monaco" scenario is absolutely the same by the flow. Game feels to be creator-centered since there's little attention to how player would feel while playing. Maybe it's just inheritance to repetitive and difficult games from the 90s, but it does not really help much with evaluation.

 

17. Fifth -Twin- [000825] Rune
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The Ancient Documents of an angel's heart were stolen when the angel was only a child. The sacred angel's diary was found, but the last page was missing. What could have been written on it? The last page may include the secret of raising both angels to be White or Dark angels. Their destiny depends on you. You have a limited amount of time to decide how you will raise them.
We get to choose either of two girls, the magical element from four elements and start nurturing. After it's done there's ADV part with jobs from the Guild. Girl goes out for the day and tells stories about her daily adventures in the evening possibly triggering nightplay. Repeat till the time is out...

 

18. Gakuen Ojou-sama Kitan 学園お嬢様奇譚 [000825] C's Ware
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Sae Mikado is a genius girl who is good at everything since she were born, but she also have a supernatural ability she will put in use in her new academic life.
I love C's Ware, I really do. But it's monotonous raising SIM  with parameters as well which I just can't stand. Apart of it it's a yuri bakage (also with shota) with very weird story.

 

19. Inaori いなおり [000825] rúf
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Main returns from his trip with Yayoi. What he finds at home is funeral for grandfather and his testament that sets inheritance condition to marry a girl and live with her in this mansion. 
As usual, when it's not clear from the synopsis whether it's nukige or not, I try to elaborate. First of all, it's ruf which only issued nukige at this point. Secondly, game also has a longer title which can be roughly translated as "Inappropriate ~ Or how I stopped worrying and started to love five women at the same time ~". So the answer is yes, it's more of a nukige where protagonists tries to date five girls at the same time in an attempt to choose a wife. We choose the girl portrait on the map and trigger events, most of which are devilish ones. 

 

20. Kamiuta 神詩 [000825] Black Package
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Main character needs to remove spiritual stagnation which is the source of troubles and solve problems of the girls. Will he use family inherited techniques for that or try to relieve troubles intuitively?
It's another SIM as we need to do repetitive actions to advance treatment and increase levels till resolution is available. There are five attributes to raise - treatment, love, trust, ego, courage. Good luck raising them all to 10 for all the girls to see all the events!

 

21. Maya ~Madoromijima no Nemurihime~ MaYA ~微睡島ノ眠姫~ [000825] Noctovision
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The season is summer. Majima Masaharu who won a vacation trip invited his university's classmate, Seta Kiyohiko to participate in the tour. The trip is supposed to last seven days. The destination is a small island called Small-Sleep Island in the waters of Okinawa. They were supposed to stay at the pension named "MaYA" there. There were five invited people who also won the trip staying at "MaYA", other than Masaharu and Kiyohiko, four of whom are women. Majima's friend Kiyohiko is excited about the expectation that summer romance can be experienced on this trip ...
Synopsis is neutral, so let's dig deeper. Genre is suspense with someone threatening to take hero's life and also targeting girls as victims. We choose among girls portraits on the map and trigger events. Scenario is bad in the way that conversations are only loosely connected, and there is zero empathy as a result. Even one missed event results in inability to clear character. But it's not always clear where the character will appear next time, so it's constant save-load battle for each heroine. All the girls routes feel the same and there's no sympathy towards any of the heroines. 

 

22. Pure Mail -ピュアメール- [000825] 0verflow
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Kei has a difficult past with an abusive father and has problems socializing with people directly, so he chooses chatroom acquaintances over real people. But one day he discovers that his chat partner EVE is his classmate Midori, who has a crush on A,W - his internet alias. He falls in love with Midori but hides his idealized A,W identity from her so she would not be deterred by his real self, tainted by past and present events, and blackmailed into a slave-like relationship with the school's web mistress.
Game is a big hit with dozens of reviews. It's the first such bright appearance of hikki as main character on the stage. There are both pure love branches and extreme ones featuring S and M. The contrast of those branches along with the innocent title provoked shocking results. But there are negative sides as well - difficulty level is very high, and there's also a very irritating imouto hated by everyone. That alone can avert all the imouto-lovers. This is a game where Moe defeats eroticism, and that alone is worth the masterpiece title.

 

23. Ragnapolice ラグナポリス [000825] Air Plants
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An investigator is dispatched from the Space Police Agency headquarters to the South Area Department. His name is Ryouma "Gold Wolf". He is attracted to a woman detective Margaret there. A shooting incident occurs, and Margaret is killed as a result. Ryouma stands on the trail of revenge and starts his private investigation of this case. 
I foresee a disappointment due to mini-games and girl-centric case handling, but I'm too fascinated with armed girls to miss this game. I'm making a video playthrough of at least one route of this game, as well as a full review!

 

24. Gin'iro 銀色 [000831] NekoNeko Soft 1 2 3 4
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Giniro is a beautifully crafted fantasy tale comprised of four chapters. It is a bittersweet story of the legendary Silver Thread which is fabled to grant any wish to its holder...
There are four tragic stand-alone stories, and I'm not a fan of such composition. However, there are four positive English reviews, so I gladly agree to call the game a masterpiece. I'm not greedy.

 

25. Viper-GT1 ~Akira-kun to Issho~ VIPER-GT1~あきらくんといっしょ~ [000831] Sogna
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VIPER-GT1, subtitled "Be With Akira", taking place a few months after the story presented in VIPER-GTB's "Rise After", the player fills the role of a new Anne Mitter's employee who attempts to woo the three current waitresses: Akira, Karin, and newcomer Makoto. Many other VIPER characters, both within the Rise series and otherwise, make cameo appearances.
I tried to make my video of it, but actually failed. First of all, it's the first Viper game that's made on a horrible macromedia engine, so forget about skipping etc. Secondly, I found no voicing. Thirdly, it's become SIM-like since you target just one of three girls and spend free time on some part-time jobs to gain strength or smth. Then monsters come and insult all the girls and you can't do nothing. So probably I failed to do smth specific, but there are zero walkthrough, and I'm not going to make one of this less than perfect game.

 

BLOCKED

 

1. Chijou 痴情 [000804] Front Hook
Former classmates meet at a mountain pension house. The waves of destiny pushed them further and submerged to the edge of dark desire. 
Nukige

 

2. FIRST|LIVE [000804] Amedeo
Suzuki Shion is a second-year student who attends Namiki Highschool, and leads a rather average highschool life: her older sister is a teacher in the school, she has a best friend, Akemi, and she has several cute male classmates, none of which she has a particular favoring for, but like most highschool girls, dreams of falling in love. Her hobby is writing songs, but she keeps it secret, having no faith in her small musical skill.
When she was a child, there was a time she had been bullied and a boy had come and saved her, and with a childish heart, promised to marry her. But now it is just a faded memory from childhood with a person who's name she can't even remember, and she thinks it was all just a dream. Pushing back the memory of that first love, she hopes to find a wonderful lover this time.
Then one day in October as she was walking to school, she is stopped by bullies on the way, and is rescued by an unknown boy, who she finds out is Kurosaki Touya, who is just transfering to her school. The event brings back her childhood fantasies, that perhaps they weren't a dream afterall.
Then by chance, one of her songs is discovered by Touya, and she is asked to help with recruiting students to form a school band and compose for them, with Touya as the vocals. Feeling flattered and compelled, she agrees. Will she find love with one of the band members along the way?
Otome

 

3. Ichibatsu 2 Hyakkai 一罰2百快 [000804] Brand
Protagonist decides to play Mahjong again with Akane as his new assistant. This time scene is girls' school with all kind of heroines as opponents. It's an undressing game, and after top and underwear stages there is punishment full voiced stage for each girl.
Card game

 

4. Rush ~Kiken no Kaori Crisis: 2014~ RUSH ~危険な香り CRISIS:2014~ [000804] h.m.p 1
You are a scientist who is currently working on a project to develop a powerful drug that would cure men of impotency. Even though you haven't yet found the perfect formula for the drug, there has apparently been a leak in the medical institution, since different people were reported to use an early version of the drug, which ended in some very strange side effects. Your task is to find out who (or what) is behind the leak. Concentrating on the task won't be easy, since you have a beautiful girlfriend, a sexy colleague, and later you also meet a lovely journalist who wants to find out the truth...
Nukige

 

5. Tokubetsu Jugyou 特別授業 [000804] 1
Main character becomes a temporary instructor to a famous girls school with strict discipline. He pretends to take his job seriously, but in fact he only lusts for flesh of the girls. 
Nukige

 

6. Top Breeder [000804] Ange
A human type pet has been recently developed and became a hit. Main character enters an "Official breeder license exam" that lasts 6 weeks in order to be able to discipline human pets. There is cat-girl, a dog-girl, a bird-girl and a rabbit-girl. But protagonist's girlfriend is getting jealous. Will the exam successfully come to an end? 
Nukige

 

7. Yokodori ~Omae no Mono wa Ore no Mono~ よこどり~おまえのものはおれのもの~ [000804] Zero
Have you ever been sick of a couple in front of you? Zero gives you a chance to destroy that couple and take away women in six different stories. 
Nukige

 

8. Back Stage [000810] Saphir
Main character is a newcomer music producer. With extraordinary talent he can make ordinary girls into popular idols in a blink of an eye! He practices not only conventional serious study session, but also gives energetic entertainment lessons.
Nukige

 

9. Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shouganai!! First Limit 好きなものは好きだからしょうがない!! FIRST LIMIT [000810] Platinum Label
One day, Sora mysteriously falls from the window of an upper floor in the school building. After being released from the hospital and returning to the school dormitory, his friend Matsuri announces that he has a new roommate, a very effeminate boy named Sunao who was their friend from childhood. The only problem is that Sora cannot remember him at all -- which upsets Sunao and turns him rather cold to Sora.
Mystified as to why he cannot remember his past or why he fell from the building, Sora is determined to get answers, which turns out to be no easy task when things such as a sexually-harrassing math teacher or ghost possession get in the way. Then there is also the matter of Sunao acting very strangely from time to time...
Yaoi

 

10. Idol Hakuraku Lesson IDOL剥落LESSON [000811] Studio Nabe Bugyou
Main character is a slightly devilish celebrity manager. He makes idols out of trouble girls with lots of complexes. There are three main disciplines - dancing, singing and acting - but the result greatly depends on the trust parameter nurtured in the girl.
Nukige

 

11. Ikenie 2 牲2 [000811] Hyperspace
Main character is a NEET hanging around an adult web site. He sends out emails pretending to be a computer profane medical student inviting girls to meet in real life. He receives a response from milhy84 and they start exchanging emails. One day she sends a letter saying "Hey... do you want to torture women?"  
Nukige

 

12. King [000811] Caroly
Main character is a son a business group chairman. But a series of conspiracies is launched against the group destroying it and putting chairman into coma from overwork. Protagonist discovers an ability to turn into his doberman dog with a nickname "king". This way he is going to crush the daughters of his enemies who caused the group collapse. 
Nukige

 

13. Kinki2 -Taboo- ~ Hospital Taboo ~ 禁忌2 -TABOO-~Hospital Taboo~ [000811] Succubus
A new nurse comes to a hospital where protagonist works. He knows her already being introduced three years ago, and her shy personality, delicate body and innocent face excite him. He has a key to a secret room in the hospital where he can do whatever he wants to her.
Nukige

 

14. Stay. -Fragments of Memories- Stay. -Fragments of Memories- [000815] APPLE Project
Doujin game inspired by ONE ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~.
Fandisk

 

15. Tokumei Kachou Ijuuiin Ginzaburou 特命課長 慰中陰 銀三郎 [000818] Digi Anime
Japan is devastated by the eruption of Mt. Fuji in 2010. A huge casino is built on the ruins of the city under JCP company. Main character is JCP intelligence agent tasked to prevent hostile companies plotting against JCP. Hero knows special technique from ancient India to make girls fall for him in an instant, and he utilizes it against females of the rival corporations to learn their scheming and secrets.
Nukige

 

16. Kenzan!! Momo-chan Zamurai 見参!!桃ちゃん侍 [000825] Aqua House
Heroine of justice "Momo-chan Zamurai" defeats all kinds of evil underlings one by one in quiz battles. But when she looses and gets insulted, can she arise and condemn evil as before?
Nukige

 

17. Kokoro... II コ・コ・ロ…II [000825] Aaru
Main character is blessed with beauty and has rich attentive parents. However... he has disturbing erotic dreams at night. What if these dreams are meant to happen in reality?
Nukige

 

18. Kyoukan 教館 [000825] Nanami Tougarashi Dan
A boy is very bad in studies and he is sent to a special cram school. Hell reveals before him - escape is impossible, students have to study from morning till night and teachers are very experienced and strict. However it's written with small letters in the bottom that all the teachers are females and they attend students 24 hours a day. Yeah! It may turn out much more interesting that it seemed to be. The girl who likes him decides to follow him and prevent any misconduct that may arise!
Nukige

 

19. Sensei 2 せ・ん・せ・い2 [000825] D.O. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shuichi Nakata is from one of the most powerful families in Japan. After the death of his father, he moved out to live with his childhood friend, an older girl named Kumiko. The two of them have lived under the same roof for so long that they're like brother and sister. As time passes she becomes a teacher, and Shuichi finds himself attending to the same school she teaches at. But when he learns that Kumiko is engaged to a teacher he hates, he crafts a devious plan to take her virginity before her new husband can, which catches more than one teacher in his sexual trap.
Nukige

 

20. Shiyouchuu ~W.C.~ 使用中~W.C.~ [000825] Guilty 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
You can choose one of five different female characters and play through, to see different scenarios from that character's point of view. Explore a cornucopia of forbidden themes as you assume the personalities of each of the characters and play through all parts of the interconnected story. It's a game that explores some of the more bizarre fetishes that can be found in an eroge.
Some say that it's the worst bishoujo game ever made – and it even got a perfect score of -50 over at Something Awful. We think it's a crazy ride through the darker side of eroge genre that many people can enjoy.
Ikumi-chan just can't control her bladder. Julyne is a clumsy nurse. Reika's a model with constipation problems. Setsuko doesn't know how to use a tampon. Shoko has too much time for love of vegetables. Water Closet tells each of their stories in graphic, erotic detail, exploring themes that usually go unspoken. Follow their stories in this fetishist's visual novel game that's fully voiced with the original Japanese, subtitled and translated into English.
Nukige

 

21. Tres Marias ~3 Nin no Sei Shojo~ トレス・マリアス~3人の聖処女~ [000825] Nikukyuu
A church on an isolated island. Main character receives a letter from this church asking for help to learn why the state of sisters became strange. Sisters turn out to be sexually aroused which is absolutely strange since sex is absolutely forbidden to them by doctrine. Hero investigates sexuality of the girls and decides to accompany it with sex education.
Nukige

 

22. The Guts! 2 ~Umi de Guts!~ The ガッツ!2~海でガッツ!~ [000831] Authoring Heaven
A construction size by the sea is delayed by yakuza interference. Will hero protect the contract and the staff in this confrontation?
Nukige

 

23. Photogenic [0008] Ritz software
A young model's journey through his first photo spread and finding love in the workplace.
Yaoi
kivandopulus

This game has a good spoilerless review (1) and several mentions on reddit (2 3 4 5) that all claim the game to be a "legendary" eroge renowned for its metafiction-heavy plot" "sometimes seen as a predecessor to games like Ever17" and to have "exciting plot", "saddest and most beautiful H-scene" resulting in being "emotional during reading it". So my only question at this point is "ARE YOU FREAKING BLIND, PEOPLE?!"

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Game is ridiculously boring and has NO appeal points besides quirky composition. Composition is ok since there are two stories plus some kind of diary. First it's needed to reach main endings in both of stories, then diary entries get revealed one by one, and finally you need to return to both stories and see the rest of opened endings. Now for the disadvantages:

  • Characters aren't voiced and have zero appeal. They aren't developed at all.
  • Protagonist "N" is not described at all, he persists being a stub of a character
  • There is no story in the game and that's why nothing really to spoiler. In the first game we just get to know who actually is "X" and in the second story nothing really happens at all, just winter suddenly comes, and everyone is free. All we get is seeing all the three absolutely not interesting girls endings which are supposed to be main reason I wasted 7 hours of my life on it. Nothing is explained!
  • Routes themselves are absolutely stupid. Basically from 23 endings about 20 are the same bad ones resulting in being stabbed or hit in the head or loosing memory. Why do I have to read the absolutely same endings for 20 times in order only to rarely get some hint out of them? Is it a game for M?
  • The horrible system does not let customize practically anything.
  • The horrible game engine pours tonns of garbage together with the text. I made over 100 substitutions and it still littered the screen with all kind of nonsense every now and then.
  • There are literally just 10 CG in the game, plus some 20 HCG. Any PC98 game wound beat that many times over without demanding so sit and read nonsense for 7 hours straight.
  • The backgrounds in the game take just 1/3 of the screen space. Is that even normal? I felt like sitting in a very small cage the whole game.
  • There are only one-two variations of sprites for each heroine. This is so stupid that I really thought that Hinata was pregnant till the very end of the game - her only sprite is THAT ridiculous.
  • It would be too cruel to criticize the game for having zero voicing at this point. But the game even does not have substantial sound and BGM support! All those few existing tracks were really irritating after seven hours of playing.
  • Why is this game even described as metafiction-heavy? There aren't any references to external sources, it's nothing but a fluke.
  • I see no way to play this game without a walkthrough since in many places it's needed to enter specific phrases in Japanese manually to see certain ending. It's ok with just "suki" or "aishiteru", but you need to guess 19 (!) numbers of the safe combination with only vague tips and finally once you need to enter "yumenoe" which I've no idea where it comes from at all. 

 

This review would be much milder if the reviews weren't so obnoxiously praising. It's not a bad game if you like mystery games with complex structure. There was never with so complex structure before, so it's a great example for all future ambitious games. But trying to compare Shoin with Ever17 is comparing an inventive doujin-ish B class game with an AAA title, totally unfair. Shoin can be called a girigiri masterpiece only because it brings new features, but not because it's an organic amusing game.

kivandopulus

There's not much to choose from this month. Shoin is the only masterpiece and the winner by default.

1. See in Ao See In 青 -シーンAO- [000706] Alice Soft 1
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Kyoya goes to Andrude Ocean School, which is also a large ocean city. Kyoha saved Kisaragi Miyu who lost conscience her memory three years ago. Since then, she has had a secret yearning to him. Her twin sister, Yumi, is helping Miyu fulfill her love, but her thought is wavering between Kyoya and her sister. They lost their parents and they've lived helping each other. However, one day, Yumi turns out to be a biological android that the parents made.
Alice Soft finally joins the romance novel chase. It's a game with absolutely beautiful graphics and nice futuristic setting. But at the same time it's built on a traditional Alice Soft engine that poorly suits ADV novels. There is both pure love and devil route, and I can't really stand the gap between them. Little is actually explained, so reader has to observe the action from outside. The routes are one way roads and have poorly developed drama in them. It's a work that's difficult to evaluate. There is an English review.

 

2. Yousei 妖精 [000706] Alice Soft
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Early 20th century, Western Europe. Protagonist has had success as a painter, but he feels a sense of emptiness in his life with each day repeating over and over. But one day a small winged fairy fitting his palm falls from the sky. He takes her home and finds a new source of inspiration in her.
It's a bonus game without any reviews. Not voiced, and I'm not interested enough to play it to the end.

 

3. Ambience [000707] Inspire
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Main character lives in a mansion with his maid Lease Frau who allows him to avoid socializing. One day he receives a letter from his cousin Liana who is forced to serve at king's court and who wants to spend the leftover time before separation together with main character...
Inspire games are unique in graphics and atmosphere. Again there is medieval Europe and memorable heroines. There are three heroines and their routes mostly about human drama and lots of H events. 

 

4. Hachigatsu no Nostalgia ~The Summer with You~ 八月のノスタルジア ~the summer with you~ [000707] BeF
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Main character comes help manage the pension house at the request of his distant relative. He lived there 10 years ago and now has very vague memories about that time. As he comes closer to the place, the faint memories emerge at the sight of familiar landscape.
Can't stand these nostalgic works. It's first BeF non-eroge work, and it can't boast depth. The volume is smaller than usual. The drawing is original and not too bad.

 

5. Half Vampire Saki-san ハーフヴァンパイア サキさん [000707] Kurumi
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With the law enacted 20 years ago monsters penetrated human society. However, the fundamental difference between people and demons persists and there is a lot of protest movement, so the government dedicates an entire city of the Kanto prefecture as a monster 's living area with full autonomy - Baharihara City. 
Main heroine Saki lives this city with her vampire father and human mother. She gets caught up in the rapist attacks and discovers powers of an old god inherited from her father vampire. However, the government of Baharihara City can't tolerate rivalry and plans to assassinate Saki. So starts the battle over Saki and the Old god in the Baharihara City.
This is a bakage with a heavy use of deformed character CG. Saki is supposed to be main heroine, but the viewpoint actually changes a lot of times. Play time is about 7 hours, and the tempo is good most of the time. But there are mini-games that mess with the tempo, especially shooter one with sloppy mouse controls. It's possible to focus on different girls, but the routes repeat for the most part, and thus it's not fun to 

 

6. Nakanai Neko なかない猫 [000707] Scramble House
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One day Naoki sees a dream that recovers forgotten memories. In the dream he kills his parents inspired by his sister-in-law.  
Naoki resonates with the girls who have "heart wounds". Will he be able to heal their and his own wounds?
Game starts with a blood scene and is built on this contrast of a shocking start and movement to a happy end. Story is told from the 3rd point of view. Story is relatively short and differs with every choice - it's much better than going through the same main route over and over again. There are a lot of insult scenes and bad endings. So returning to normal life is already enough for a happy ending.

 

7. Milkyway [000708] Witch
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Fed up with your lazy attitude, your parents depart on travel for an indefinite amount of time, leaving you with the responsibility of taking care of the family cafe and your little sister. With the help of your childhood friend, you rearrange the shop, and hire new people, hoping to avoid bankruptcy.
A bright restaurant-themed game. There's not such thing as skip unread text here, and also it's impossible to save on the choose location screen, which irritates a lot. Each heroine route is short, but there are a lot of characters, nine, I think. Can't really say much about a moege.

 

8. Maverick Max マーヴェリック・マックス [000714] Blue Gale
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Distant future. Max is a captain of the fastest space ship that delivers cargo between different start systems. He does not belong to the guild, so can take any kind of requests if he feels like, legal or illegal - does not matter. He has two assistant girls to accompany him. One day he gets a request to deliver a mysterious girl Matilda to a certain start. What awaits him there?
There are six heroines to capture. In the middle of the game and in the end of it there are two different mini-games at enemy attack scene - the latter one has RPG feel about it. Basically first half of the game is world depiction and heroine flagging while second half is conflict between Matilda and some shady organization. As a result the setting is quite good and with a lot of explanation and description, but the number of events is small. Overall the impact of the characters is smaller than that of the previous Blue Gale games Pile Driver and Treating2U.

 

9. Omakase Doukoukai おまかせ同好会 [000714] Rain Software
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Main character attends school theater club. Participants work hard together, and satisfaction from well done job can grow into something more...
A romance comedy with easy to understand school setting. There is full voicing, but speech volume is very bad. The number of CG is relatively small. Quite an average game that's still possible to enjoy.

 

10. Shinobu - Tsukikage no Meikyuu 偲-月影の迷宮 [000714] C's Ware BLITZ
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Sengoku. One day Huaga clan scrolls get stolen by Saiga clan. Three Huaga clan shinobi were sent to recover the scrolls, but failed. Now a legendary ninja exiled from the Huaga clan in the past is requested to take up the task.
Game screen may look intimidating, but it's more of an adventure game than an RPG, it just looks this way to imitate RPG experience. Story is action one, but ero-tilt and not exciting enough. Since it's C's Ware minor branch and no CARNELIAN present, the game does not interest me much.

 

11. Suki da yo! 好きだよっ! [000714] Ather 1 2
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True love or just true lust?
As one of the most handsome guys on campus, Jun has never had any trouble finding a girl who wants to have a good time, but while the sex is always hot, something just seems to be missing... love. Jun's search to find that special someone leads him to the Shinbashi sisters, his good childhood friends! Should he go for Reina, the gorgeous blonde who overflows with kindness? How about Rina, the perky and agile sports girl who's had a crush on Jun for years? And then there's the mysterious Mina, the fiery redhead with a sharp tongue and a hot body who's just reappeared in his life...
Three very different sisters, but all have the same needs and desires. Will Jun ever be able to pick just one?
Story is actually not as straightforward as in anime. Main character is taken for a molester in the train and has to resolve this misunderstanding at school. For the most of the game we just receive requests and fulfill them in some manner which rises favorability level of certain girls. But in the second part of the game father suddenly remarries and we get three sisters-in-law suddenly living under the same room. The period is relatively long - one year. Some unrealistic features as clones and ghosts are used. There are some bugs like voice accompanying wrong text is some parts. Overall an average game with much less H tilt than in anime version.

 

12. Twin Way [000714] Studio e.go! 1
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Takada is the main character, a karate club member with a few bad habits. He is getting frustrated with being compared to his brother at every turn who started a dojo of his own.
He makes some friends over the internet and after meeting them his life begins to change, gradually he gets closer with more than a few girls and soon he arrives at a crossroads, which way will he chose his life to go?
There is an English review.

 

13. Shoin, Aruiwa Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari. 書淫、或いは失われた夢の物語。 [000715] 1 2 3 4 5
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Two scenarios:
Shoin: You play as N, whose true identity is x, a serial rapist; with your latest job, you go to a hotel where three women, Hinata, Yukari and Misa, are staying, and you have to rape them. However, the first morning a note appears in your room, from somebody who claims to be x.
Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari: The protagonist Akira is staying in a hotel with his friend from college Misa, and along with two other women, Hinata and Yukari. A morning, when they wake up, they discover that they have been closed off from the outer world, and they are left with a message saying that they will be trapped "until the winter comes".
There are English reviews. Definitely a masterpiece and the best candidate for vn of the month so far.

 

14. Liberal リベラル [000720] Clio
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Main character is a college student who attracts misfortune. One day he receives a letter from a childhood friend asking to return to home town during fall vacations. He is welcomed warmly upon arrival. But this town has been cursed 100 years ago. Hero needs help five girls with different troubles to lift the curse from inhabitants and himself.
Period is just a week, and it's needed to form ties with one of girls by day 8 or it's game over. One playthrough is as short as two hours. Just one H scene for each of five heroines. Setting is not used to the fullest. Text interactions are only funny with certain characters. There is nothing immersive or exciting here, not even in the ending. 

 

15. Snow Drop [000720] Sweet Basil 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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Snow drop is a beautiful European herb known for bearing nodding white flowers that often appear while the snow is on the ground, despite the cold of winter around it. Filled with symbolism of "hope" and "consolation," the beautiful flower is the central theme in Snow Drop, the romantic wintertime bishoujo adventure from Peach Princess!
You are Minoru Sasazuka, age 19, a bit of a dreamer with a difficult tendency of not being able to make decisions when your heart is involved. A normal Japanese boy, trying to get into college, you've got a handsome physique that should make you popular with girls, but your occasional penchant for romanticism drives them away.
Invited on a winter dream ski trip with a group of friends, you head for a ski lodge for some winter skiing and fun. For you, it's a journey home, since you frequented this particular lodge since when you were young. With you are Kyoka, a very special childhood friend of yours, her stylish sister Keika, and your sister, Honami.
At the lodge, you enjoy the hospitality of the owner, Kasumi, a competent woman with a tinge of sadness in her eyes. Also at the lodge is the lovely Shizuka, the mysterious helper who has many secrets.
As the story develops, you are confronted with the reality that Kyoka, your friend since childhood, loves you. You've suspected this, but haven't ever been able to face this before now, with the magical and romantic winter snow all around you. At the same time, you are strangely attracted to the quiet and romantic Shizuka-chan -- which will you choose? Although many erotic temptations are in store in the quiet mountain retreat, and there are many paths you can choose, you must be true to your heart.
There are English reviews.

 

16. Calendar Girl カレンダーガール [000721] Foster
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Hero has a tedious personality, but once he says to himself "I want to have a girlfriend by summer vacations". He has sympathies for three nice girls around him...
Forster first pure love story! That's the new trend and they hopped in. All three heroines are very cute and voicing is good. But apart of that there is no impact. There is nothing special in hero and characters, and text is not particularly good either. Without the traditional Foster tilt to funny and unusual H events there's not much to talk about.

 

17. Drill Shoujo Spiral Nami ドリル少女 スパイラル・なみ [000721] Evolution
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Our lonely and bored guy decided to buy a maid doll robot. Since he can't afford a new doll, he ended up buying a prototype with a missing right arm. The store owner put in a drill arm as replacement. So, to get enough money to buy a normal arm for his maid, he let her work Monday to Friday to train her stats and earn some money. On Saturday and Sunday, he can take her to doll fights to win more money, or have fun with her if he bought parts necessary. If he defeat other dolls, they might like him too. This game is nice that even though you have one year, you can end the game early with most doll girls.
Evolution continues its experiments with gameplay eroge, and as I see it, not too successfully. There is pretty much nothing in the game but these two protruding elements.

 

18. Sentimental Graffiti 2 センチメンタルグラフティ2 [000727] STACK software 1 2 3
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The second game takes place in a world in which the first protagonist died in a traffic accident during his journey. The game takes place in a college town in which the original 12 girls have gathered to attend. The protagonist, Shiina Kouhei, is a second-year college student and a member of the Photography Club. He has been tasked with the job of finding his own model for the photo exhibition at the upcoming school festival, and thus turns to one of the now emotionally scarred girls in hopes of convincing them to become his model.
There are English reviews.

 

19. Hoshi no Furusato -Stardust Memories- 星の降る里 -STARDUST MEMORIES- [000728] Face
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Main character loses memory after an accident and returns to his hometown to regain his memory. Through conversations with cute girls there he starts to recover, but at the same time he realizes the promises he made long time ago.
Game is a true disaster. The talks are monotonous, the H events are sudden. Heroines are typical and blank. The quiz about little details from previous encounters is irritation. It's hard to find even a single appeal point here, not even the graphics.

 

20. Kirameku Shunkan きらめく瞬間 [000728] Black Light
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Main character breaks a leg in a motorcycle accident and starts to undergo three months treatment in the hospital. This hospital is admitted by students from the same school. He is found by his classmate who can't stop surprising how seriously ill people fight their problems with optimism every day.
Another Treating2U clone with an absolutely plain protagonist. The only surprising thing in the game is one boys love route.

 

21. Portrait ポートレイト [000728] Tesla
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Main character attends a religious school. As a member of arc club he has has hesitations sometimes. One day he reads a book and gets so much inspired by it that decides to make his new work with this book as a motif. Each day he works with girls on his work and each night he interacts with their hearts in his dreams.
Quite a unique work with a lot of reviews. There are 8 kinds of stories prepared for 4 heroines - one love and one insult for each. Game only takes 6 days, but the amount of text is large as there is both real world and the world of dreams. It's a serious scenario-centered psycho nakige, but also with insult routes. 

 

22. Pure Heart ~Sekai de Ichiban Anata ga Suki~ Pure Heart ~世界で一番アナタが好き~ [000728] Saga Planets
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In the future there is a boom of robotics and female humanoids AI-D are developed. Main character suddenly gets a large money from a contest and decides to buy his own AI-D android. How will his living together with a robot fare?
It's kind of a SIM game to cultivate a perfect female android in one year time. Schedule, training... you know the drill. AI-D is cute and all, but I won't ever understand SIM games.

 

23. Rimlet [000728] Tail
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Rimlet is a cafe with a calm atmosphere where main character starts to work as a part-time worker. The staff members and customers make his heart sing there. Can he heal girls troubles and make them smile again?
There are only three heroines and story is only good for one main heroine. Setting is thin and development is too fast.

 

24. Tsuioku 追憶 [000728] Purple
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Main character is a martial arts master who gets to live at a Shinto priest family together with three beautiful shrine maidens. But as memories of his previous life gradually wake up, he starts to treat the priest family members differently... with jealousy, affection, hatred.
A new purple game, but it is a different scenario writer from Lien, so scenario is not even remotely as good. The setting is focused on mystics, martial arts and past life, and this mix makes me feel bored already. There are three heroines both with good endings and bad endings. There are fight scenes in the game, but just few of them. Game is sometimes evaluated as Okinawa version of Kuon no Kizuna, and that's a very good comparison... same deadly boring.

 

25. Tsukushite Agechau 2 Nandemo Shichau no 尽くしてあげちゃう2 なんでもしちゃうの [000728] Trabulance
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Main character has rough appearance, but there are several girls around him who start to pay him a lot of attention. He wants just peaceful life with a girlfriend - but what will he get?
A continuation of an easygoing franchise with a distinctive ero tilt. The difficulty level is surprisingly high for such kind of game. Game is not voiced and there is not enough expression in text. Game is divided into two half - first flagging a girl and then living with her.

 

BLOCKED

 

1. Kumo Tsukai 蜘蛛使い [000707] Akubi
Main character gets a spider bite in an expedition. That infuses him with great lust and desire to abduct women. He has had his fun with expedition women and now comes back to Japan in search for more victims.
Nukige

 

2. Unbalance [000707] 1
The story revolves round a rich man's son, whose wife, Misato, died a year earlier in a traffic accident. After her death, the main character can only indulge himself in drinking. By chance, Misato's little sister, Mika, had a crush on him and one spring night, she could not stand to look at the main character wasting his life away on drinking, so she confessed her love to him in hope of taking over Misato's place in his life. 
As a result Mika sort of becomes a sex slave when the main story starts six months later, but it seems that the main character has not gotten over the death of Misato and he's quite bitter about it...
Nukige

 

3. Uragiri 裏切り [000707] Haoh
Main character enjoys face expression of deceived girls. He believes that people want to be betrayed by others. His past memories are deleted by "organization", and now he gets into trust of girls and then kidnaps and trains them without any moral hesitation.
Nukige

 

4. Bible Black -La Noche de Walpurgis- Bible Black -La Noche de Walpurgis- [000714] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
There’s been an ever-present rumor going around the school that there were some students that held satanic rituals inside the campus. However, the faculty is still tight-lipped over the whole subject. You play as a regular student who stumbles upon the very book the cultist used. You crack open the book, and begin stumbling upon the various powers this book has granted him. Now rumors are milling around you, and your best friend, some fellow cult-happy students, and a few of the school-staff start getting curious. How will you handle this evil power?
Nukige

 

5. Hentai Channel Abnormal TV 変態チャンネル アブノーマルTV [000714] STONE HEADS
Main character is a trainer for five applicant girls for hentai TV channel. Learn their preferences and approach accordingly while managing commercials in live braodcast.
Nukige

 

6. Houkai 崩壊 [000714] Omni-sha
There are a lot of women who have to uphold high moral standards at work. But the sexual desire is so strong in them that it is possible to collapse if keep everything inside. This is a web site for such women to convey their stories and share experience.
Nukige

 

7. Truth of Mind ~Kokoro no Yami ni Hisomu Akuma to Tenshi~ Truth of Mind ~心の闇に潜む悪魔と天使~ [000714] Serene
One day a rape case occurs in a theater that main character is guarding. Owner of the theater asks protagonist to investigate this case discreetly so that theater reputation does not suffer. Girls willingly cooperate with investigation, but then second and third rape cases occur as if criminal wants to ridicule the investigator. Will hero be able to catch the culprit and protect cute theater girls?
Nukige

 

8. Dear Daniel no Sweet Adventure ~Kitty-chan o Sagashite~ ディアダニエルのスウィートアドベンチャー ~キティちゃんをさがして~ [000719] Imagineer Co., Ltd.
In order to reunite with Kitty we need to clear the stages all over the world and get "love points". Upon accumulating love points it's possible to use various costumes and items, and enter a hidden stage. The more power-up items you get, the more high-score techniques of jump you can use, making it twice as easy to earn love love points. Mini games and communication function depend on love points.
Gameboy exclusive

 

9. Hello Kitty no Sweet Adventure ~Daniel-kun ni Aitai~ ハローキティのスウィートアドベンチャー ~ダニエルくんにあいたい~ [000719] Imagineer Co., Ltd.
In order to reunite with Daniel, Kitty needs to clear the stages all over the world and get "love points". Upon accumulating love points it's possible to use various costumes and items, and enter a hidden stage. If you change your costume to fit the stage, you can gain power, fly in the sky, swim in the ocean and use magic. Mini games and communication function depend on love points.
Gameboy exclusive

 

10. Masuo-san マスオさん [000721] Kurumi
Main character is going to marry a girl from a known family. That family has a tradition that the week before the wedding groom has to live with the bride's family. A lot of unexpected events can happen in one week...
Nukige

 

11. Ori no Naka no Watashi 檻の中のわたし [000721] Cage
Girl Nao is taken from an orphanage and has a happy childhood with father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. But it only lasts until the day her step-father abuses her on the exit from the bathroom. Nao decides to accept her obscene fate. Can she ever find true happiness?
Nukige

 

12. Ryuusei Tenshi Primaveil 流聖天使プリマヴェール [000721] Escu:de
Main character is an executive of a secret evil society that manages to capture the justice idol heroine. His job is to train her into an obedient slave. But there is another justice heroine still fighting the organization. It would be perfect to catch her and train into pet as well.
Nukige

 

13. Success! サクセス! [000721] Scoop
Tokita Hayato visits major manufacturers with his brilliant inventions, but can't find real investors. One day he stumbles upon his former classmate who invites him for an interview to a huge lingerie shop building. Hayato's bio gel invention becomes a huge success, but Hayato gets involved in power struggle between development manager and health underwear director. The tension rises high, and he'll need to cool it down to the best of his ability in a huge building full of passionate girls. 
Nukige

 

14. Hako no Naka no Etsuraku 匣の中の悦楽 [000725] Gaia 1
The player becomes a taxi driver and violates passengers, Seeing girl's breasts and beautiful legs through a rearview mirror can easily excite any driver. He stops the taxi where no one is and turns the taxi into a box of carnal desires. 5 different types of girls are your targets, and you can violate them not only in the taxi, but also at your house, or even at a park. 
Nukige

 

15. A la Carte アラカルト [000727] Actress
A collection of short stories chosen from the cafe menu:
1. Last mother
2. Dokan at your warehouse 「お蔵でドカン」
3. Chuki Choki Chiki Story 「ちゅきちょきちゅきなものがたり」
4. Distant blue sky 「遠い青空」
5. Voyeur Dog 「盗撮犬わおーん」
6. Wolf King 「狼王」
Antology

 

16. Maamoku Remix!! ~The Mah-Jang Remix~ まぁ黙 Remix!! ~The Mah-Jang Remix~ [000728] West Gate
Same as original game with an addition of some modes and features.
Remake

 

17. Mizu Tenbin ~Nageki no Namida~ 水天秤 ~嘆きの涙~ [000728] Apple Pie
In order to become a successor to the world's most prestigious conglomerate, main character must fulfill Don 's unusual desires which is to collect all kinds of female body liquids. It's a dark world here, and it's possible to dispose of opposing persons calmly.
Nukige

 

18. Yuki Zuri ゆきずり [000728] Aquarium
Tomoko is raised by a lady drowned in sex with random men, and as a result gets involved in adult games as well.
Nukige

 

19. Canon キャノン [000730] Digital Aniki
A fan-fiction VN featuring Ka*on's characters.
Fandisc
kivandopulus

Foreword: I only started this game to find references to Phantom of Inferno, but it's high quality entertainment, and it does not let you go easily. Instead of just links to Phantom of Inferno, I enjoyed a colossal multi-culture reference mix, but about that further on.

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Title: Age Maniax ~Isumi Yon Shimai Saigo no Hi~

Developer: Age

Date: 2000-06-03

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v444

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c74f8Wn4sRw

Synopsis: One day protagonist meets with four sisters, who due to certain events starts living in his house. But he has to go to Europe to follow a story, and they decide to go together with him. They make reservations in an old castle which had reports of a princess' ghost, a legendary wolf, a lake monster and a crashed UFO surrounding it. And this is not even the beginning of the events to unfold around the sisters ..

Structure: Game is roughly divided into four parts : prologue town, hotel, train, epilogue town.

Length: Took me five and a half hours to finish one playthrough.

Game type: Crossover bakage not only between Age titles, but with titles of other five companies

Difficulty: Easy since it's royal road, but as you can give preference only to one heroine at a time, couple more playthroughs will be needed to watch all CG

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Character Design rating: 10/10

Protagonist rating: 8/10

Story rating: 5/10

Game quality: 9/10

Overall rating: 8/10

Rating comments: I just can't ever rate bakage highly, and there are very few of them that I can call masterpieces. This is exactly that case. Crossover type has a lot of benefits - all the great characters from previous games are used, there are lots of cool ways to tie incompatible features from different games together, and there's no real need to bother for the story much. The whole first part of the game I was even rating the game as 9/10.

Protagonist: Masaki is not your usual high school boy. Instead, he's a grown-up who lives alone and works as a photographer while being a fan of super rangers franchise in his free time. But his personality is quite usual - reserved, kind, but reliable. We don't get to see his face, but he projects a solid impression. 

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Characters: Basically we jump through different games like mad, but Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu heroines accompany us all the way, so we can pay additional attention to one of three girls and get extra CG related to her on the way. But don't get me wrong, there are no main heroines here, and it's totally ok not to chase anyone and just follow the story normally. Shouko from Rasen Kairou also accompanies us the whole way, but she's here for the plot purposes, she sees her role to explain all the mysteries happening around in a scientific or logical manner. Charlotte from "D" plays quite an important role and remains the most mysterious character. Kaseki no Uta maids and their master Welka are important only for hotel part and somehow important for train part.

Story: After the whole band bursts into Masaki house there's not much time to lose, it's already known that Masaki is going to some Europe town for a photo mystery tour, and the girls decide to go together with him. The whole prologue is basically preparation for the trip. Now the glimpse of madness that's going on in the game - photographer Masaki forgets his camera while going on a photo sightseeing trip... Anyway, they are greeted by maids and led to the mansion. There's a number of mysterious legends that they listen to there, and actually get to see each one with their own eyes. Then all the characters are... let's say forced... to leave the mansion and as another twist of absurdity have no better plans than to board the Magic Arrow mysterious train. There's more exploration  and action in this part, and after facing some danger everyone gets home. Basically that's a very rough carcass. There is also mystery and intrigue as some forces set a conspiracy and are interrupted multiple times on their journey. There's a nice resolution of the conspiracy in epilogue in bakage manner.

CG: Have zero complaints. Loving CARNELIAN with all my heart.

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Sound: Almost all the female characters are voiced. Only some guest star heroines from the other games aren't voiced (like Aries), there's probably very good reasons for that. BGM is marvelous. My only tiny complaint that sound volumes aren't customizable, and BGM sometimes sounded loud and speech not so loud.

Title and Themes:  Here I'd like to talk about appearance of Ein and Drei from Phantom of Inferno. I'm quite sure it was difficult to use them due to copyright issues, but on top of that it was a difficult task not to belittle famous heroines from a serious games with the bakage jokes. And that task was accomplished 100%. They both appear three times and with the same cool phrases that look very funny at different situations. Ein usually appears when hero is searching someone crying out that person's name. Then appears Ein : "Don't call me by that name. I'm Ein, since old days till now. You are Zwei, my second half". And it's very funny when Masaki just says "Sorry, wrong person" and goes past. Drei always appears at high pitch moments with her phrase "That's the guy who made me a woman. What do you thing he's doing in America. He's a killer." And then scene goes on. That's pretty hilarious each time. They just come to the scene with their cool phrase and the music changes to a special sad one, and then they disappear, and it's normal music again. Those moments really make up for the atmosphere. Couple times Ein and Drei also said some phrase relevant to the current situation in the game, was not something special though.

Another cool theme in the game is power rangers. It starts as just a childish hobby of Masaki, but ends up a huge thing. 

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Humor: There's so much of very different humor which is a great relief after Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu boobs size constant repeats (in Age Maniax there is just one single joke on the matter). Most of jokes are built on absurd situations. Can't remember good stand-alone ones right now.

Overall comments: Age Maniax has great pace, great absurd humor and links to lots of different games from 0verflow, TopCat, Nitroplus, Circus, Abogado Powers and one superhero game I do not know. It not only managed to show that Fandisks can be fun if made properly as crossovers (the first visual novel crossover, actually), but it also managed to unite so many different games together. I consider it to be a very important game from historical point of view. It's also a good entertainment that relies heavily on the games from that era. Unfortunately, nowadays players do not know anything about the referenced games (except for Phantom of Inferno, probably), and that deprives the game of a huge chunk of its charm.

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kivandopulus

There are two masterpieces this month - Age Maniax ~Isumi Yon Shimai Saigo no Hi~ and Hateshinaku Aoi, Kono Sora no Shita de..., but the winner is Age Maniax, one of the most entertaining bakage I've played so far. As usual, I'll pour all my admiration in a review coming along with the video playthrough.

1. Lavender [000602] For
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Main character suddenly acquires an unstable "predictive ability" that he can not control. He has to see near future against his will. So started the days full of bliss where the the scent of lavender drifts everywhere on a soft wind. 
Game can be described as a moege. It's short, impressive cute. There are five girls including one devil girl from the other world. So it all depends whether you can stand moege or not since the girls have the appeal here.

 

2. Rakuen Meikyuu Pet 楽園迷宮PET [000602] Speed
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Year 2007. Main character gets a media CD after he spends a night with her. She promises him some work, but instead he gets hunted by various people and organizations willing to take possession of that CD.
Scenario base is not bad, but the seasoning is not right. The choices are timed here and actually require reflexes. Characters aren't too attractive and only main heroine story makes sense. It's not clear why game is set in 2007 since no futuristic elements are involved. 

 

3. Teito no Yuri 帝都のユリ [000602] Sweet Basil
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Showa 10th. The "Emperor" reigns for many years while recession continues and natural disasters break out. At the same time the Teito Tokyo faction that seeks reforms grows in power. 
All all-girl military unit that vowed to protect the emperor hear a rumor that that the ruler is obstructed and can not rule anymore. They decide to organize a coup d'etat to protect the emperor. 
That triggered a chain of dreadful events that verged the country in chaos for three months. 
As usual, Sweet Basil manages to produce an intriguing story swarmed with nasty H events at the same time. This time the charm in military struggle and all the yuri events. I like good stories, but I absolutely could not enjoy Rinkaiten ~Critical Point~ due to abuse of H events, and this game is very similar in that way. All kinds of voluntary and non-voluntary dark H events take place at war, and that totally devalues the story. Every heroine has her route.

 

4. Age Maniax ~Isumi Yon Shimai Saigo no Hi~ アージュマニアックス ~伊隅四姉妹最期の日~ [000603] Age
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One day protagonist meets with four sisters, who due to certain events starts living in his house. But he has to go to Europe to follow a story, and they decide to go together with him. They make reservations in an old castle which had reports of a princess' ghost, a legendary wolf, a lake monster and a crashed UFO surrounding it. And this is not even the beginning of the events to unfold around the sisters ...
What bunch of weird crap. But I'm much more interested in the girl on the scree - this is Drei from Phantom of Inferno. What the hell is Nitroplus character doing in the Age game?! I even secretly hope this month won't have a superior game, so that I could make a playthrough of this strange game.

 

5. Ao no Tobira Shiro no Kagi 青の扉 白の鍵 [000609] Cyc
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You're on your way to becoming a sports coach, but then you get into a car accident and get hospitalized. There you meet girls and reflect on your past life.
There are five heroines to capture during one month period. Heroines feel real. But here there's no songs and no quirk of Treating2U, it feels heavy overall. And I was traumatized even by Treating 2U...

 

6. Kioku no Umi Kara ~Watermark~ 記憶の海から ~Watermark~ [000609] Loze
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The graduating class of a village school. It consists only of main character and four girls. Soon they fly away from the nest leaving only memories behind. But four years from then the class gets to meet again.
The game of occult theme at the time of alumni association. The four heroines are of typical archetypes. All the sentimental crap really irritates me. Depiction is thin, so it feels a bit flimsy.

 

7. Maid in Bunny めいどいんばに~ [000609] Eushully 1
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The game is pretty much like a fairy tale, and takes place in a peaceful kingdom. The heroine (yes no hero this time) of the game is called Elena, one of the many maids in the castle serving the royalty. What makes Elena special besides her clumsiness and pure (yet cute) innocence is that she is the exclusive maid who takes care of Prince Galu. The 2 of them have a close relationship which makes other maids quite jealous.
Anyways, Elena and Galu was chatting in the garden one day. In the meantime, a mysterious lady came to the throne claiming that she is the dark race and wants to take over the castle (yes it's kinda pathetic but remember, it's a FAIRY TALE). She turns the King into stone. When the Maid Head realizes the problem, she starts to attack the lady. However, the Maid Head's thunderbolts renders useless because the lady had the ancient relic to protect her against magic attacks. Realizing the trouble, the Maid Head decides to ring the alarm to summon all the maids in the castle to hit the lady with brooms etc since that's phyical attacks rather than magical attacks.
Just when Elena and Galu heard the alarm, a Succubus as well as the mysterious lady popped out of nowhere wanting to hold Prince Galu captive. Elena tries to defend the prince but fails. Galu decides to give in since he doesn't want to see Elena get hurt. The succubus then carries Elena in the air and flew out of the castle to get rid of the maid. A slip in the hand made Elena free fall into the ground from the air.
In the meantime, Revea, a royal magician who lives outside the castle sees the invasion of the Dark race. She tells her student Yuri the white mage, to go and find the legendary hero and save the kingdom. Yuri leaves and finds Elena climbing up from the ground where she fell from the sky. At the same time a bunch of monsters popped out of nowhere. When asked by Yuri if she has any weapon, the only thing Elena has is a feather duster. Yuri then uses his magic to enlarge Elena's duster, making her be able to slap the monsters and destroy them. With this enlarged duster as her weapon, Elena along with Yuri have to find a way to get back into the castle (which is now protected by a force field) and save Prince Galu.
There is an English review.

 

8. Yasoumu 夜想夢 [000609] Melody
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A night park connects reality and illusion. Unnoticed by majority of people there is an door here that leads to illusion world. What kind of things can happen there?
Game is similar to Kurayami 2. There are different scenarios. The consistency of each scenario is low and there are a lot of bad endings. The H scenes feel alien to the stories and thus clumsy. It's mostly a stylistic thing.

 

9. Maykick Online [000615] Zenos
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In the end of the 21st century humanity starts to develop artificial life forms. The first secretly developed pack of androids were all beautiful women, and scientists refused to send them to fight. Authorities dispatched mercenaries to kill the androids, but mercenaries were so fascinated that supported androids instead. Instead of participating in military conflicts androids were set to participate in new a fighting sport game. Main character needs to train such android woman to become the queen of the ring.
It's not exactly a nukige, but a raising SIM with H elements in between. Bo-oring. 

 

10. 8th Angel ~Shuumatsu no Tenshi~ 8TH ANGEL ~終末の天使~ [000616] Eye 1
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World is in crisis, and in order to save it you must find and awaken eight angels. To do so, you will have to defeat as many monsters as you can while you develop your relationships with the seven female angels and with your sick step sister.
There is an English review.

 

11. Bluelight Magic [000623] light
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Hero sees a strange dream, and it urges him to visit his three cousins. Seemingly ordinary girls turn out to have superpowers. They are being targeted by a mysterious organization...

Once again a serious story is faked in favor of numerous unlockable short routes (just 5-6 days!). All the routes roughly have the same contents. Game produces a mixed impression. It has wonderful opening, gas, great sound and graphics, but at the same time has bugs, system deficiencies and poor quality text with not much story development. It's a huge step from amateurish White Angel, but can be of interest only as a charage with gags.

 

12. Enamel Panic!! エナメルパニック!! [000623] F&C
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Main character is a reincarnation of a legendary hero. He has no choice but to save a different world by collecting crystals, rescuing damsels in distress and defeating the demon king.
Scroller games are no my thing. At all.

 

13. Seiryaku ~Koukyuu de no Himegoto~ 性略 ~後宮での秘め事~ [000623] Mutation
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Continent drowned in the flames of war. The king of "Jin" country falls ill and his eldest son takes over. He urgently needs to get a wife to become a proper ruler. Six neighboring countries instantly send their bride candidates. If he gives a clear preference to one of the girls, the rivals will assassinate her the same day. He needs to resolve the situation peacefully while keeping his affairs secret. 
It's evident that China is taken as prototype. Character design is specific and overall very nice. Difficulty is reasonable, but it's difficult to foretell assassinations, so lots of loading is required. The game is mostly about secret dates in original atmosphere, so don't expect real story here.

 

14. Setsunai せつない [000623] Marimo
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It's high school love bloom season. Will hero find his love this year?
Game is labeled as kusoge everywhere. The main reason is redundant and repeating scenario. Game takes place during 14 days, but actually has events only for 2-3 days. Tempo is just super bad. Apart of that there are several heroines to flag and enter individual branches. 

 

15. Roommate Novel ~Satou Yuka~ ルームメイトノベル 〜佐藤由香〜 [000629] Datam Polystar 1 2
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It is summer and your parents left on holiday for all of August while leaving you alone with the house. One month complete of freedom. When suddenly destiny throws in a grain of salt. Sometimes one prefers to pass there evenings in the company of good friends and even a girl that you hardly know, meet the famous Sato Yuka!
At this point I'm deeply confused by the number and similarity of these Roommate games - this one seems to be the sixth (!) There's a nice English guide for those willing to know more of the game.

 

16. Ameiro no Kisetsu あめいろの季節 [000630] ZyX
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Hokkaido. Main character lives with two older sisters Yuuko and Kasumi. He learns that he is not blood related with his relatives. Siblings have feelings for each other, but keep it secret. But one day hero's father returns from overseas trip with a new family...
The feature of the game is that it's possible to be played from three points of view - protagonist, Yuuko and Kasumi. Love triangle resembles author's previous work Liaison. Psychological depiction is good, but no much evolution is felt. The number of choices is large with lots of fake ones. Overall it's a solid private story, especially notable for providing woman point of view.

 

17. Fuurin no Uta 風輪の詩 [000630] Soubi Kenkyuujo
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Main character is a university student who sees the same dream every day. The dream depicts his breaking up with his lover two years ago. Guilt and regret feelings make him ride a bike and go on a trip somewhere his memories can't reach him. What will he encounter in this journey?
The first game of Soubi Kenkyuujo is of doujin level. Picture is rough, scenario has no meaning, and there is no skip function. 

 

18. Grand Finale ~Final Funfair in 7 days~ グランドフィナーレ ~Final Funfair in 7 days~ [000630] Lily-Z
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After working almost the whole summer to make money for a seaside trip with his girlfriend, she left him because she longer love him the way she used to. While depressed and roasting in end of summer heat, he got a call from his childhood girl. It seems their local fun park is going to close in 7 days and they need him to help out there. Since he can never refuse her, he starts working as a cleaner in the park. While cleaning, he can chase one of 7 girls. They are his childhood girl, park manager, girl who lost her brother, English girl, horror house doll, alien girl and guardian angel. Will he be able to find lasting love?
This is a charage, so you need to like a particular girl to enjoy the game. Atmosphere and picture is nice. Difficulty is easy for each girl. H scenes are a bit rushed. Nothing in particular except for one thing... ending. There only drama endings for the girls, at least I could not prove otherwise.

 

19. Hateshinaku Aoi, Kono Sora no Shita de... 果てしなく青い、この空の下で… [000630] TopCat
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"Our school will be closed down next year." I know that.... There are only six students (I'm one and only male student...!) A train station will be constructed here. Anyway, what should I do until the school is closed...? We'll get separated next year.... As I look up the sky, the blue sky is spreading as if lapping me over. What am I doing next year...?
This is going to be the most difficult game overview for me this month, because it's not my type, but it's a big mystery work with dozens of contradictory reviews and a great opening that has 70k views. It's being called a classic nostalgic title and sometimes even Hayao Miyazaki work in the world of eroge. Graphics is not appealing, but there is a charm in it. The theme is childhood friendship and trust in each other. There are five girls each with her own mystery. If all the good endings of each girl is reached, bonus after-story scenario opens for each heroine. Work is divided into four parts corresponding Spring, Summer, Fall and Winder with first ones being bright ones and the final parts containing drama. What I want to say is that this work suits well newcomers to the genre and most of positive scores come from there. The more experienced players say that mystery is satisfying only for the first route played and the rest are absolutely foreseen, and the novel with evident ending ends up boring. Text is easy to read, and it also can be seen as disadvantage for mature players who have seen lots of such rural sentimental stories. Each element in the game is good, but it's too classic to bring new emotions. So it's definitely a masterpiece of its time, but it the type of game that gets mentally older with each year passing.

 

20. Lens no Mukougawa... レンズの向こう側... [000630] Mina
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Protagonist is a college student who has eyeglasses fetish. One night he sees a dream of an unfamiliar woman gazing at him near a big tree. He goes to the tree and finds strange glasses at the excavation site near the tree. When he wears the glasses he hears the command to dedicate women to the glasses, and one wish will be granted in return. And the moment the first girl wears those glasses... 
Don't expect a serious story here, the best thing we get is solving the problems of each of three heroines. It's glasses fetish work with three different types of glasses to choose for each heroine. There are three heroines with an ending and four heroines just for occasional H event. But CARNELIAN is responsible for art, so art is super-cool, as usual.

 

21. Nakushita Jikan e 失くした時間へ [000630] Ciel
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Main character is 28 years and he now returns to his hometown. He is shocked to know that his former lover committed suicide two years ago. He gets into an accident and gains an ability to turn time back. Now he can save his first love or opt for absolutely new acquaintances.
Quite a normal school charage, just with a more serious protagonist than usual. There are few impressions, but the existing ones are mediocre.

 

22. Sakuranbo Kaigan さくらんぼ海岸 [000630] Fairytale 1
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Your grandmother has got a house at the beach but she doesn't need it, so you can have it. You have the idea that you could use it during summer vacation as a restaurant. Of course you will meet many girls (and a boy) who would love to work for you in the restaurant.
There is an English review.

 

23. Senjuuya 千秋夜 [000630] Riot
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Protagonist's parents are working a lot, so he has to take care of his sister. She drags after him everywhere and enters the same school and college. He wants some private space and has plans for this winter, but first he needs to do something about his sister.
Scenario is the weakest point of the game. Little is explained and dialogues progress separately, often without realizing who talks to whom. Sometimes game looks really funny because of that. Imouto fans would probably like this game, but there are many heroines besides the sister as well.

 

BLOCKED

 

1. Marchen Maid Jigoku めるふぇんメイド地獄 [000602] Archive
The mansion has three maids who only live for their master. However, working hard every day is very tiresome, so when the master is not looking, they take a break. In one of those occasions, they pick a white book from the library, but when they open it, they get sucked inside the book and become trapped in a strange wonderland, in which they will be exposed to a lot of erotic situations without taking off their maid uniforms.
Nukige

 

2. Mou Suki ni Shite Kudasai ~Ryoujoku to Kusari to Himitsu no Ana~ もう好きにしてください~凌辱と鎖と秘密の穴~ [000602] System Rose
There is an old western mansion on the hill of a small fisherman's town. It is owned by a chairman of a certain company. Main character is the son of that chairman. He lives in the mansion with four women servants. As of late he starts to pay them a lot of attention in attempt to record juicy moments on the camera.
Nukige

 

3. Dancing Cat's Dancing Cat's [000609] Dreams 1
In Dancing Cat's (sic), the player takes the role of an ambitious businessman named Kazuhiko. He founds a company named PiPit that focuses on show business. He has two goals in mind: first, hire talented dancers and singers and do everything possible to beat the competition; second, conquer the hearts (or probably just the bodies) of the seductive women who surround him...
Nukige

 

4. Kokudouou ~Doura II~ 黒瞳皇~瞳裸II~ [000609] Studio Jikkenshitsu
Main character is the king of a small country sandwiched between two major countries opposing each other. After his father dies both countries try to impose their princess candidates. Main character does not want to anger any side, so he stales the time promising marriage to each side. But the day of taking decision grows near.
Nukige

 

5. Oyako Donburi 母娘どんぶり [000615] Beenyan
This summer is different from previous ones, not only the temparature but also my mind and body. Shintaro has a beautiful mother and pretty younger sister who have been living with him. But this summer is somehow different.... One day, when he enters a bathroom to have a bath, there is a sister, Tomoe. She gives a shriek and runs away. This is the first time for him to see his sister as a woman. And when he soaks in a bath, Tomoe comes in to apologize for what she did to him and she says she will wash his back....
Nukige

 

6. Close 2U ~Saigo no Natsuyasumi~ Close 2U~最後の夏休み~ [000616] Aka-chan Club
Twin brothers dream of becoming wind surfing professionals. Together with three other boys and six girls they go on a tropical island. This may be a summer when dreams come true.
Nukige

 

7. Karu Mesu かるめす [000616] Dall
Main character is a god who makes women squirt. He conquered women in many dimensions already, so this one must capitulate before him as well.
Nukige

 

8. Chat Shiyou yo! チャットしようよ! [000623] Black Package
Nanpa SIM in the form Internet chat. Use boards, emails and chat to try to pick up girls outside internet!
Nukige

 

9. Dennou M Dorei - Reimi 電脳M奴隷・麗美 [000623] Guilty
During university, Kazato Reimi was a pop cyber idol because of her talents. 
After graduating from college, she retired from being an idol and established a computer game company, Reimyck, and as the president she has worked to make game software.
However, Reimyck has faced a crisis because a big title game had a virus and stopped releasing.
Saiki Junko, Reimi's partner, asks Reimi to meet Wakura Kenzo, a president of George Electronics to receive financial support. If her financial plan seems good, he will await her payment. There is no way for her to refuse this proposal because of this crisis.
Nukige

 

10. Depaga ~Service Angel~ デパガ~service angel~ [000623] Janis
Depaga are top class workers of huge department stores. But what's hidden from the eyes of buyers is lots of training. Main character must become an instructor of useless newcomer girls and make first class universal workers out of them to fill any role from waitresses to elevator girls.
Nukige

 

11. Ing 陰具 [000623]  Merlot
Main character inherits an adult shop. Together with his sister-in-law he needs to repay all the debts in just one year. 
Nukige

 

12. Kazoku no Kizuna 家族の絆 [000623] Bind
Main character prepares to enter a famous university. On his 20th birthday he learns that his mother and two sisters are not blood related to him. He decides he can't trust his family anymore. And since trust is impossible anymore the best course of action is to make obedient slaves out of them.
Nukige

 

13. Lovely Angels Peropero Candy 2 Lovely Angels ぺろぺろCandy2 [000623] Mink
The stage is Image club where one can order various situations for sex. Main character walks inside by mistake but is unable to forget about this place afterwards.
Nukige

 

14. Mirror [000623] Alloe
Main character falls from a cliff during a ski trip. He miraculously survives and being unable to climb up the cliff he walks into a lodge in the woods. He stays for the night, but at night the master of the house gets killed. He's unable to leave the house till the killer is found, so he decides to investigate the matter himself.
Nukige

 

15. Nie 3 [000623] Hyperspace
Three girls compete to be the bride. Main character needs an enduring wife, so he organizes a series of severe compatibility tests.
Nukige

 

16. Sadistic Wedding ~Yogosareta Junpaku~ Sadistic Wedding ~汚された純白~ [000623] Kurumi
Four different girls feel disbelief towards men since attempted rape cases at school. Main character shall help them master their behavior and overcome the complex. 
Nukige

 

17. Toilet no Megami-sama トイレの女神様 [000623] Authoring Heaven
Goddess is supposed to come this new moon night to collect all the semen that poor men have been saving. In order to confirm this legend main character searches around various public toilets in the city. 
Nukige

 

18. Eden III [000630] Forester
Ellen is stationed at the moon base. The aliens attack the women at the base. Humans who get aware of aliens presence start to fight back with weapons. Eventually aliens take their original form and flee. Meanwhile Glenn sneaks into the base, gathers materials to create his own rocket and struggles to return to the Earth to conquer it and become world leader.
Nukige

 

19. Kangatari 神語 ~かんがたり~ [000630] Euphony Production
Main character is leading an ordinary school life. But then one day a student is found in the form of the living vegetable - organs are functioning normally, but there is no consciousness. Such living vegetables start to increase with each day. At the same time the unrivaled protagonists gets beaten by another boy who somehow acquired superficial powers. There's some great conspiracy unwinding, and school administration seems to be involved.
Nukige

 

20. Keibiin ~Yuuganda Shokumu Nisshi~ 警備員~歪んだ職務日誌~ [000630] Interheart
Main character is a guard in a department store. All the shoplifters should pay for their crimes, this way or another...
Nukige

 

21. Material Girl マテリアル・ガール [000630] Komaya
Protagonist celebrates an anniversary of relations with his girlfriend. It's the real honeymoon of their life. But in the process of experiments it's possible hurt partner. Will they stay together forever?
Nukige

 

22. Sei Cosplay Gakuen ~Game Bunkou~ 聖コスプレ学園 ~ゲーム分校~ [000630] STONE HEADS
Popular Tokyo cosplay shop issues a game featuring itself. It's possible to work as a part-time worker there, build up relations with cosplayer girls, get into romance relations with them and even invite girls to school for some hot action! 
Nukige
kivandopulus

Foreword: There were three particular reasons to choose Purepure for review. First, because May 2000 disappoints me with the range of games - most games are either charage, or nukige, or gameplay focused games. Secondly, I see Purepure similarities with Shunpuu Shoujo that I love gently. The third reason is that I see this game to be very different from previous Ange games. I'll try to elaborate in the main part and give my reasons for nominating this game as game of the month in conclusion. 

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Title: Purepure

Developer: Ange

Date: 2000-05-26

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v13524

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMpR_BlLqDc

Synopsis: On the moonless night the hero stumbles upon a strange girl. She speaks of herself as master of ceremonies that was kicked out due to being useless. She ends up living with the hero. What's there behind her past?

Structure: Game is divided 14 days with 10 days for setting flags and four days for displaying outcome.

Length: 3-4 hours

Game type: Celestial artifacts girl mystery

Difficulty: There is only a dozen of choices, so easy, I guess. But there are other branches as well.

Character Design rating: 4/10

Protagonist rating: 4/10

Story rating: 5/10

Game quality: 4/10

Overall rating: 4/10

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Rating comments: Such ratings from me only mean one thing - game is an absolute disaster. I choose the game for the story and its serious development, and story was somewhat okish, but can't point out anything else. 

Protagonist: Nothing special. His presence is not felt at all.

Characters: There are five heroines overall, but I see no reason to play any route but the main heroine Saki.

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Story: Story is quite a copycat of Shunpuu Shoujo except for the fact that Saki is not a celestial being herself, but she possesses mysterious sacred mirror and hand-band. The whole flagging part and a good half of "route" path is just water with absolutely unexpected ninja H events on the way. The actual drama finishing part has the same conflict as Shunpuu Shoujo which saddened me a lot, but without the cool angel buddy and humor. The conflict is almost non-existent and resolution is unnatural. I know there is also a bad ending in the game, but I can't possibly see how it can mend anything wrecked so much at that point. 

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CG: There aren't many CG in the game, some 80sh with HCG occupying over half of the number.

Sound: BGM was quite pleasant, but repeated itself too often. I doubt there are even 10 tracks here. No voicing at all.

Humor: I failed to find any humor in the game even in situations where CG are meant to be funny.

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Overall comments: So Purepure is horrible to my taste. What strikes me the most is how it's different from previous Ange games. Ange games were never high quality ones, but they were based on curious stories and had a special style, mostly graphical, so that I could guess Ange game almost without fail. This game feels like it could have been produced by any lesser known company, just an average game with an average story and drawing, nothing special about it at all. The main question is why Purepure is the game of the month May 2000 then. Just because it's the only story-based visual novel of May 2000. I can't stand moege or hospital nakige. But May 2000 has a big title "Natural 2 -DUO-" that's better in every way! That's true, but I value story the most. Purepure was not a waste of time in that regard. Natural 2 would be a total waste, and I'm especially disgusted with the games that have both pure love and devil routes with the same heroines. Thus we have what we have in May 2000.

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kivandopulus

Quite a bland month with few games. There aren't masterpieces this month, but I still need to choose the game of the month that I would record on video. So I need to choose something without gameplay elements, too much insult and not too evident plot. The only game that suits my demands is Purepure, and thus it's the game of the month that deserves a video playthrough.
 

1. Costume☆Paradise ~Cinderella Rhapsody~ こすちゅうむ☆パラダイス ~シンデレラ狂想曲~ [000512] Rhapsody
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A huge entertainment theme park "Cinderella" is build on an island in Tokyo Bay aimed to "fulfill all people's dreams". Hero is a medical college student who works here as a part-time emploee. The hourly is sky high, but he is required to cosplay along with the girls. He overcomes  embarrassment and starts to pay attention to the cute girls around him.
It's mostly a comedy. It's possible to chase pure love or step the devil path. Not particularly interesting, but quite unique and memorable.

 

2. Marionette Company 2 Chu! マリオネットカンパニー 2 [000518] Micro Cabin 1
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In the game, you play a student in a high school - I believe you're supposed to be the same guy from part 1, as you keep on having memories of the Marionette from the original game. One day, you stumble upon a pair of abandoned marionettes, one called Marine and the other called Maria. You take Marine under your care while a rival and all-together obnoxious classmate called Arese takes Maria under hers'. Arese is under the impression that marionettes are nothing more than robots with a heart made of computer circuits, but your experience with part 1, where you apparently managed to raise the original marionette to near human form, has you convinced otherwise, and you intend to prove Arese wrong.
Finally focus has been shifted from training to adventure in sequel. We mostly run around getting the elements from shops or elsewhere, from those elements we gather upgrade parts. We choose the parts ourselves, so can tune up marionette appearance. It's basically a galge now with lots of events triggered by upgrades. There is not just one girl now, but it's possible to target other ones. Duration has been cut from 6 months in prequel to just one month. 

 

3. Kakuriyo no Mon 幽世ノ門 ~かくりよのもん~ [000519] Air Plants
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In the ancient times gods created three worlds and gates between them separating human world from ghost worlds.
Yagami has no parents and lives with his grandfather. He comes from an ancient demon hunter birth-line who have guarded the gates between the worlds for as long as the world existed. Yagami is one of five guardians of different elements - he is the the master of fire. After meeting one girl his live starts to change rapidly.
At least there is some story. So I started it. This is mostly a comedy. It starts with the hero, girl Moe and a bodyguard come to skyscraper and they start to explore it room by room finding all kinds of crazy cults inside the rooms (including H events there). When they get to one of the top floors eventually there's some master that teaches us about five elements and which element offsets what. Well, I've spent over half an hour there and still can't make through it, so it's a drop. I've looked at the screen of this pentagram already, drawn it myself, nothing really helps - there must be a time limit which is not shown. Anyway, game has serious system flaws. First, there is autoplay, but it kind of stops after scene sequence and I have to click manually on. There is voicing in the first scene, but actually no voicing on. Sound levels are non-adjustable and bgm roars like mad luckily ending in some 30 seconds each time. Game is a comedy, but up to that point I did not find jokes and situations funny at all. As it's reported in the only review found battles are same torturing further on - enemies attributes change constantly over time and you need to counter it with the right element within time limit each time. What a bothersome game. First playthrough time is only two hours.

 

4. Oni no Sumu Sakura 鬼ノ棲ム桜 [000519] AnotherRoom
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The university college mystery research group tries to recreate the events of a legend that happened 300 years ago. At that time young priest arrived at "Touchou Shrine" and was a witness of 60 villagers massacre from the hands of a demon. That priest managed to defeat the demon in the end. 
The research club has a bullied member who's going to have his revenge this night. As the bells ring only red moon envelops the screams of the girls. Only unstoppable desire and murderous intent governs this night so that the legend gets repainted.
The synopsis is not your usual nukige stuff, so I need to elaborate. It's pretty much a nukige, but with killings. And it is such, because the scenario is really bad - the outline is drawn vaguely and pretty much nothing is explained - like why or how the character was bullied. The content is thin as it basically follows the same pattern of insult - kill each time. 

 

5. Shinobi no Hana ~Kunoichi Shimai no Chousen~ 忍ノ華 ~くノ一姉妹の挑戦~ [000519] Aqua House
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Main character is an unsuccessful detective who struggles to catch a gangster girl.
One evening he hears a rumor that the legendary thief is going to rob the art museum at night. When he arrives at the destination he finds there the Kaito group of female ninja who accumulate wealth to revive the ninjutsu art. The mystery gradually deepens.
And another bakage. There is also dungeon crawl and combat. Full-voice. Despite the relatively big number of girls, there is only one happy ending with the main heroine. Last boss is undefeatable without applying the patch. The content lacks the impact compared to other notable bakage of the same time.

 

6. Shoujo Circus 少女サーカス [000519] Evolution
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Main character lived with his mother who just died. At her funeral he gets a letter from his disappeared father inviting to join a small circus team. Hero joins the team and admires the cute girls there. However, a few days later father collapses from overwork and hero has to run the circus till his father recovers. Can he manage this difficult task?
Since cover and synopsis are neutral enough, let's talk about the content. It's a SIM - you need to earn as much money as possible, and quite ero-tilt with nasty pictured H events. 

 

7. Start [000519] Bell-Da
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Daydreaming about his childhood girl at work gets a frypan on his head from the same girl. Thus starts this girl chase game. He can go after 5 girls, while bringing up stats that the girls like. Most girls know/love him from before, he just have to get close to them to find out. Hope he can start a new life with the girl he loves.
Ugh, Bell-Da is known for a long history of producing ero-centered works and this one is not really an exception. At least there is a rasing SIM part here. 

 

8. Seikai no Monshou 星界の紋章 [000525] Bandai Namco Entertainment 1
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Linn Jinto's life changes forever when the Humankind Empire Abh takes over his home planet of Martine without firing a single shot. He is soon sent off to study the Abh language and culture and to prepare himself for his future as a nobleman — a future he never dreamed of. Or wanted.
Now, Jinto is entering the next phase of his training, and he is about to meet his first Abh, the lovely Lafiel. But Jinto is about to learn that she is more than she appears to be. And together they will have to fight for their very lives.
Anime was popular enough, but releasing the game on PS as a space strategy was doubtful at the least. 67 different space battles! There are two main routes and three endings overall.

 

9. St. Luminous Jogakuin 聖ルミナス女学院 [000525] Xing Entertainment 1
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A dating sim adaptation of the 1998 original anime by Genco.
When his grandfather dies, Kaihei inherits the post of chairman at an eccentric private girl's school which emphasizes the personal freedom of its students. But he arrives to find that one of the students has gone missing. As he investigates Melina's disappearance more students vanish, strange events occur and his position is placed under increasing pressure from teachers and parents.
Hero puts lots of hidden cameras and cross-dresses to find out the source of girls disappearances, but it's a ps1 game, so it's gonna be clean. Conversation card system is introduced with only three cards possible to be used per encounter. We also manage money since we're given a budged of 30 million yen and we're constantly pestered to spend money on various projects. It looks like the game is built on anime success alone.

 

10. Avaron [000526] Zone 1
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The hero's name is Adalk. One day, his mother dies, telling him that he had been adopted - he was found as a little baby in the town's streets, with a strange symbol engraved on his clothes. Adalk is determined to find out the truth about himself. But first of all he needs some money, so he begins to work as a mercenary, receiving quests from town inhabitants. Before long he hooks up with some pretty girls, each with her own agenda, who will accompany him on his travels.
Avaron is a re-vamped version of Youjo Ranbu 2. It has the same graphics, music, and gameplay system. The story was somewhat altered and expanded; the characters join your party more easily and give more information about themselves. Compared to "Youjo Ranbu 2", "Avaron" has more dialogues, but no voice acting. Cut scenes were re-done, with more full-screen pictures. During battles, party members' attacks are now displayed as anime-style pictures of the characters performing the attack, instead of the simple graphical effects of "Youjo Ranbu 2".
There's nothing really to talk about since it's mostly graphical renewal.

 

11. Cartagran -Shoujo Shuryouki- CARTAGRAN -少女狩猟機- [000526] Soleil
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Hundreds of years have passed since humankind was destroyed by "Aka" beasts that appeared out of nowhere
Dr. Georg and his assistant Alicia are living alone and conducting research of producing "new human beings" that would be able to  eradicate the monsters.
But shortly before the prototype "Mizuki" is completed, the lab is attacked by a powerful armed group. Mizuki is going on a journey  in search of a powerful monster to extract the necessary organ to save his creators and future humankind...
Game is low-cost and pretty mysterious. There aren't any normal reviews around and comments only say it's unsatisfactory. We play as Mizuki. There are five episodes and multiple endings. There are fights in first person dungeon crawl way. There is HP pool and commands that need to be chosen within time limit. Scenario is quite awful and unenjoyable. Systems are very bad. There are quite many insult elements throughout the game. Still the character design and cool protagonist make me curious...

 

12. Hello Again [000526] Active
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Togo Heiji is a problem kid who is suddenly transferred to a special school where children with superpowers are brought up. What will be his school life like there?
Genre is moege. Game takes 3 weeks and about 3 hours to beat for the first time while consequent playthroughs only take one hour. It's mostly a comedy work and text is ok. There are 6 heroines and 6 endings. Second half of the game has more serious approach and some drama development. Heroines are likable and CG are good, though rather few.

 

13. Kitamakura Hakase no Yuuutsu 北麻鞍博士の憂鬱 [000526] Project-μ
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At the end of the 20th century humanity is facing an unprecedented crisis, however most of people are unaware of it. Main character Dr. Kurashira has a genius mind, but he is treated as mad scientist, because he knows the truth of the world... He tracks down school girls who possesses excellent genes in order to pass them to the future generation. But will girls cooperate?
As you could have guessed, it's stalking and insulting girls for the sake of humankind. Overall length for all scenarios is just around four hours. There are five characters for H events - an android assistant, three girls and a boy. But it' s a gag comedy and there are a lot of ironical descriptions scattered around. So nice debut work overall, will look forward to their following releases.

 

14. Natural 2 -DUO- Natural2 -DUO- [000526] Fairytale 1
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Twin sisters, Chisato and Kuu, lost their parents, and they were adopted by an old man. Then they met Shoma. Shoma was living with his grandfather because his parents were going to get divorced. Chisato was a tomboy, while Kuu was a crybaby. They both liked Shoma.
10 years have passed since then. Shoma gave up his dream to become a violinist and worked as an editor of a music magazine office. To hear the grandfather’s death, he went to the house and he had a reunion with the two girls who had become beautiful women...
It's a galge without story. Text is surprisingly good and there is no inconvenience while reading. There are raising SIM elements incorporated. There's both pure love route and devil route for heroines. Pure love part feels a bit short overall. Devil part results in turning the partner into a slave and there is no happy ending after that (which is good imho). Overall feeling that it's an ero-centered work, but not necessarily a nukige.

 

15. Purepure ピュアピュア [000526] Ange
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On the moonless night the hero stumbles upon a strange girl. She speaks of herself as master of ceremonies that was kicked out due to being useless. She ends up living with the hero. What's there behind her past?
Work is mainly a comedy with some serious resolution in the second half. There is no voicing. Quality of the game is quite low.

 

16. S.N.O.W [000526] Xuse
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The hero is a producer. His close friend dies and hero decides to take over his project and promote new idol band "SNOW". However, members of this band are all problem children. Will the project be a success?
General route dill band disband takes 5 hours and individual routes afterwards only 30 minutes each. There is a training SIM part in the common route. The final concert before breaking up is well done. There is a happy ending for each heroine, but there are bad endings as well. Game is full-voiced except for protagonist. H element is weak, just one scene for each. Pink hair girl calls the hero onii-chan and turns out to be his real sister eventually.

 

17. Soyokaze no Uta ~Breeze Passed Us By~ 微風の詩 ~Breeze passed us by~ [000526] Tomato
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Hero is on the last summer vacation in his school life and he still does not have a girlfriend. Pull yourself together, gather savings, learn girls tastes and forward you go!
It's all in the synopsis. It's a common SIM. There is just one savepoint. It's not clear at what time girls get to which location so lots of research needed. Money is scarce and travelling around the town costs money so it's easy to find yourself unable to return home. It's realistic, but too troublesome. It becomes monotonous fast. I thought those kinds of games were left in the 1990s.

 

18. Last Scene ~Boku ga Kimi ni Dekiru Koto~ Last Scene ~僕が君にできること~ [000529] Maika
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Our guy became a doctor in order to try to find a cure for his girlfriend's disease. Now that he is a doctor, he found out that she only has seven days to live. Will he try to find a cure with some nurses' help, spend time with her at a seaside hotel, or resort to drastic measures?
Lots of animation is promised but animated sequences are few. There is just one save which is inconvenient for multiple endings and there are some 24 endings. There are endings for each taste and at least 7 of them are good. Overall impression is ok, but there are quite many dark routes.

 

BLOCKED

 

1. Gansha de Go! 顔射でGO! [000512] WhiteBear
Adult cumshot shooting game where it's possible even to shoot down a UFO and get a secret photo for that.
Nukige

 

2. Pin-Up ピンナップ [000512] Hyperspace
Three girls live in a house with the main character. They were captured separately, but remain in the house by their own will. They walk in underwear all days long provoking main character to inventively use lots of items scattered around the house to insult them. 
Nukige

 

3. Ryoujoku Bus Tour 凌辱バスツアー [000518] Zero
It's a bus tour and what started as a cheerful adventure in a few hours turned in a fierce manhunt. 
Nukige

 

4. Paradox ~Hakai no Rasen~ Paradox ~破戒の螺旋~ [000519] Deep Zone
Main character lost his parents early and now lives with his sister. He starts to see his sister as a woman, and to extinguish this feeling he starts to attack and insult other girls. Where will that bring him? Can a broken heart be cured?
Nukige

 

5. Yobai Mania 夜這いマニア [000519] Waffle
Choose one of three male characters and infiltrate a mansion. Avoid the traps and guards to pave the way to the cutest girls of the town.
Nukige

 

6. Hida 秘打 [000524] Dennou Club
A software to learn blind typing skills. Isn't it easier to master blind typing when sight concentrated on girls on display? There is a practice scenario 『くの一くるみ、がんばるもん!』 and a full difficulty scenario 『勇者スカーレット、大地に立つ』.
Nukige

 

7. Atelier アトリエ [000526] Miyabi
Main character aims to become the best oil painter of nude models. With time he realizes he does not have enough talent and stops drawing. Half a year later he is called by his professor and urged to draw a painting for the art exhibition a month later. To do that hero needs to relax and follow his desires.
Nukige

 

8. Ningyou no Hako 人形の匣 [000526] Pias
Maria arrives at a certain mansion seeking her brother-in-law Makoto sold there for debts. The mansion owner is a powerful figure with connections in both financial and political circles. There is a ritual of adulthood held in the mansion after which person becomes a mindless doll. The same fate seems to have befallen upon Makoto brother. Maria is going to have her adulthood ceremony soon, and all the mysteries should uncover at that time... 
The story is available first only from Maria point of view, and them from Makoto point of view as well.
Nukige

 

9. Scandal スキャンダル [000526] Kurumi
A wealthy mansion owner dies one day. Police sees it as an accident, but insurance company demands an additional thorough investigation. Main character is an investigator who arrives at the mansion to get wife and daughters testimonies and to assess the situation with his own eyes during two weeks period. Hidden murderous intentions, conspiracy, astounding propensity and numerous traps await him. Can he find out the truth?
Nukige

 

10. Tenshi no Kobako 天使のこばこ [000526] light
Fandisc of White Angel game. Contains wallpapers, event CG, sprites CG, short stories for heroines and a mini game 「いちごのお料理バンザイ!」.
Fandisc

 

11. Unmei no Furiko ~Pendulum of Fate~ 運命の振り子 ~Pendulum of Fate~ [000526] iMAGE CLUB
A casual town built around a coeducational school. Main character lines in the shrine on the outskirts of the town. There is a poorly known Norther Europe prophecy that this weekend a great danger should befall upon the world. Will hero be able to save the humanity or the Earth is doomed?
Nukige

 

12. CROSS script CROSS script [0005] Ritz software
There are two popular male idol rivals. Choose one of them and and enjoy five stories that happened to each of them while remembering to keep stats high to win the competition . 
Yaoi
kivandopulus

Foreword: I have a difficult history with Liar-Soft. Their games amaze me, but I usually get really confused by them as well. Like I really liked Forest, but it's so overburdened with meanings and layers that you never know if you grasped it all or not. But Hiragumo-chan that's probably the closest thing to our game disappointed me both times I tried to play it. All I knew that Gyousatsu being the second game of the company (it does not mean first one was not crazy) was already crazy. Crazy good or crazy bad?

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Title: Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure

Developer: Liar-soft

Date: 2000-04-28

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v5096

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcrG01XXMAU

Synopsis: End of Edo period, Kyoto.

Hero becomes a part of a newly-formed Shinsengumi unit. He is to protect Kyoto from the evil hands of Kinno (Kyushu) and develop relations with squad female members such as Hijikata and Okita.

Despite the real historical period, events are mostly comical and beyond time limits. For example, heroines often appeal to human rights protection. Depending on the value of real "absurdity" parameter in the game you can get rid of the great devil coming to Kyoto with a 88 mm cannon, cyborgs or panda samurai.

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Structure: No real structure

Length: One route took me two and a half hours. But there are a lot of characters and routes.

Game type: Samurai theme bakage

Difficulty: Very easy, apart of quizzes. Could not answer even the easiest level question which rank Adolf Hitler had during first World War. I would not call that an easy question!

Character Design rating: 7/10

Protagonist rating: 6/10

Story rating: 6/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 7/10

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Rating comments: Truth be told, game turned out to be better than I expected, thus the score. It's not just a bakage. Main character and heroines are solid enough. There is a good mix of absurdity and story, and most of jokes are based exactly on absurdity elements. I actually found myself smiling four times during one route, and that's a good result. Character route I played surprisingly had quite satisfactory love story elements. It really made me ask myself - wow, I wonder what the other routes are like. There's a neat epilogue that tells the further story based on your choices. Considered the number of characters, the good and bad endings and different degrees of absurdity for the ending, the replayability is great here.

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Protagonist: Shimada Makoto  is pretty cool as protagonist with his carefree attitude, but I don't know what historical figure served as his prototype, so he was no special for me.

Characters: Again, I only remember three members of Shinsengumi - Hijikata, Okita and Kondou, so they made the most sense to me. I choose Okita, of course, since she was supposed to be the captain of the unit and because she had the biggest problem of the characters. Okita story was nice and tender, but the epilogue surprised me even more. 

Story: Hero comes to Edo from Kyoto without money, but luckily he stumbles upon Shinsengumi unit and becomes a recruit there. For some time he just goes on patrols with the member he prefers the most, and then it's time for the clash with enemies who oppose the Shogunate and want to obstruct elections. 

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CG: First let's say that there aren't standing sprites in the game. Instead, there are squares with faces. It does not look good generally, but here there is a lot of interaction expressed by movement of these squares - squares clash, chase each other etc, so game feels really lively as you see all the actions happening through squares movement. On the other hand there are few CG because of that since a lot of stuff is possible to show just with square movements. But those CG that exist are quite impressive for me.

Sound: I know there is BGM in game since there is an Omake in game with 20 compositions, but my sound card failed to play it on any Windows version I tried from Win98 to Win10. I was not sure if the trouble was on my side or not, and I was half a way through the game when I recognized there 100% must be BGM. Could have done it on a tablet that usually is much better with sound in old games. Voicing is really partial... only for important events. Was not quite enough, but at least we know how each girl sounds.

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Humor: Here are couple examples that made me laugh. First time was when hero was sent to buy juice for everyone in vending machine outside, and there was even a dialogue line "What, a vending machine?!", but I did not want to raise absurdity level for my playthrough. The second time was when hooded monk Benkei appeared as one of the more powerful enemies. That was really funny for me since those historical figures are about seven hundred ages apart.

Overall comments: This game is just nor for a Westerner. It has tons of specific humor that tackles specific situations from Japan history. It was a nice experience though, a gulp of fresh air compared to other visual novels from the first half of 2000.

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kivandopulus

Updated

Finished updating old posts.

VN of the Month April 2000 - Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure

VN of the Month March 2000 - Eve Zero    

VN of the Month February 2000 - Phantom of Inferno    

VN of the Month January 2000 - Lien ~Owaranai Kimi no Uta~

VN of the Month December 1999 - Elemental Arts

VN of the Month November 1999 - Parts

VN of the Month October 1999 - Silver Jiken

VN of the Month September 1999 - Kazeoto, Chirin

VN of the Month August 1999 - Tsui no Sora

VN of the Month July 1999 - Mamatoto ~a record of war~

VN of the Month June 1999 - Kanon

VN of the Month May 1999 - Comic party

VN of the Month April 1999 - Lipstick Adv.EX

VN of the Month March 1999 - Captain Love

VN of the Month February 1999 - Campus ~Sakura no Mau Naka de~

VN of the Month January 1999 - Ikusa Megami

VN of the Month December 1998 - Kuon no Kizuna

VN of the Month November 1998 - Exodus Guilty

VN of the Month October 1998 - Psyclone

VN of the Month September 1998 - With You ~Mitsumete Itai~

VN of the Month August 1998 - Shiokaze no Memory

VN of the Month July 1998 - luv wave

VN of the Month June 1998 - One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~

VN of the Month May 1998 - Diabolique

VN of the Month April 1998 - Love Escalator

VN of the Month March 1998 - EVE: The Lost One

VN of the Month February 1998 - Doukoku Soshite...

VN of the Month January 1998 - Machi

VN of the Month December 1997 - Universal Nuts

VN of the Month November 1997 - Moon.

VN of the Month October 1997 - Sweepers!

VN of the Month September 1997 - Comic Road

VN of the Month August 1997 - Kaeru nyo Panyon

VN of the Month July 1997 - Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1: Nijiiro no Seishun

VN of the Month June 1997 - Zoku Hatsukoi Monogatari ~Shuugaku Ryokou~

VN of the Month May 1997 - To Heart

VN of the Month April 1997 - Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~

VN of the Month March 1997 - Ruriiro no Yuki

VN of the Month February 1997 - Yatsu no Na wa Diamond

VN of the Month January 1997 - Rookies

VN of the Month December 1996 - Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO

VN of the Month Noveber 1996 - Mashou no Kao

VN of the Month October 1996 - Bounty Hunter Rudy

VN of the Month September 1996 - Sakura Taisen

VN of the Month August 1996 - Be-Yond ~Kurodaishou ni Mirareteru~

VN of the Month July 1996 - Kizuato

VN of the Month June 1996 - Es no Houteishiki

VN of the Month May 1996 - Rouge no Densetsu

VN of the Month April 1996 - Harlem Blade ~The Greatest of All Time.~

VN of the Month March 1996 - Mujintou Monogatari 3 - A.D. 1999 Tokyo

VN of the Month February 1996 - DIES IRAE

VN of the Month January 1996 - Ryuuki Denshou Dragoon

VN of the Month December 1995 - Lilith

VN of the Month November 1995 - Eve: Burst Error

VN of the Month October 1995 - Trouble Chaser Dai 4 Wa - Saishuukai

VN of the Month September 1995 - Mime

VN of the Month August 1995 - Isaku

VN of the Month July 1995 - Kuro no Danshou: The Literary Fragment

VN of the Month June 1995 - True Love ~Jun'ai Monogatari~

VN of the Month May 1995 - Koihime

VN of the Month April 1995 - Mugen Yasoukyoku

VN of the Month March 1995 - Cybernoid Alpha

VN of the Month February 1995 - Doki Doki Pretty League Dai 3 Wa - Minami no Umi no Kai no Maki

VN of the Month January 1995 - Doki Doki Vacation ~Kirameku Kisetsu no Naka de~

VN of the Month December 1994 - Xenon ~Mugen no Shitai~

VN of the Month November 1994 - File: Kokubou Soushou Jouhoukyoku Jouhou Rouei Taisakubu Josei Jinmonin

VN of the Month October 1994 - Gao Gao! 3rd ~Wild Force~

VN of the Month September 1994 - Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~

VN of the Month August 1994 - Shinsetsu Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou

VN of the Month July 1994 - DESIRE - Haitoku no Rasen

VN of the Month June 1994 - Necronomicon

VN of the month May 1994 - Tokimeki Memorial

VN of the Month April 1994 - AmbivalenZ -Niritsu Haihan-

VN of the Month March 1994 - Mirage 2 - Torry x Neat x Roan no Daibouken

VN of the Month February 1994 - Dragon Knight 4

VN of the Month January 1994 - Fuzoroi no Lemon

VN of the Month December 1993 - Demon City

VN of the Month November 1993 - Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou Vol. 2

VN of the Month October 1993 - Nooch 2 Remy no Gyakushuu

VN of the Month September 1993 - Youjuu Senki -A.D. 2048-

VN of the Month August 1993 - Houma Hunter Lime Dai 03 Wa

VN of the Month July 1993 - Bunretsu Shugoshin Twinkle Star

VN of the Month June 1993 - Can Can Bunny Extra

VN of the Month May 1993 - Nova

VN of the Month April 1993 - Quintia Road 2

VN of the Month March 1993 - Marine Philt

VN of the Month February 1993 - Cosmology of Kyoto

VN of the Month January 1993 - Mamono Hunter Youko: Tooki Yobigoe

VN of the Month December 1992 - Koroshi no Dress 3

VN of the Month November 1992 - Dracula Hakushaku

VN of the Month October 1992 - Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna

VN of the Month September 1992 - My Eyes!

VN of the Month August 1992 - Kiss

VN of the Month July 1992 - Phobos

VN of the Month June 1992 - De-Ja 2

VN of the Month May 1992 - Kurutta Kajitsu

VN of the Month April 1992 - The 4th Unit - Wyatt

VN of the Month March 1992 - Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki

VN of the Month February 1992 - Joker II

VN of the Month January 1992 - Himitsu no Hanazono

VN of the Month December 1991 - Gidyy

VN of the Month November 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 5: Nightmare

VN of the Month October 1991 - Rance III - Leazas Kanraku

VN of the Month September 1991 - Cosmic Psycho

VN of the Month August 1991 - Kimi Dake ni Ai o..

VN of the Month July 1991 - Nike

VN of the Month June 1991 - ELLE

VN of the Month May 1991 - Ginsei Senshin Guynarock

VN of the Month April 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 4: Orgel

VN of the Month March 1991 - Jesus II

VN of the Month February 1991 - Akagawa Jirou no Yuurei Ressha

VN of the Month January 1991 - Dragon Eyes

VN of the Year 1990 - De-Ja

VN of the Year 1989 - Imitation wa Aisenai

VN of the Year 1988 - Lipstick. ADV

VN of the Year 1987 - Hiatari Ryoukou!

VN of the Year 1986 - Gall Force - Eternal Story

VN of the Year 1985 - Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~

VN of the Year 1984 - Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu

VN of the Year 1983 - Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken

kivandopulus

There is a hospital where almost noone is ill, and everyone spends days peacefully waiting for examination day... There is a proper review ( 1 ), so I intended to skip this game entirely. However, I got a request and thought why not, what could possibly go wrong with a game that got an average score of 8.29 on vndb? Actually, everything went wrong right from the start. The genre is heartwarming hospital themed nakige, or so I determine it. I really detest hospital theme and nakige. I would never be able to play Kana little sister, for example. But hey, at least I can find interest in comedy, characters, songs and those fun events at CG, right? I really failed to see traces of comedy in Treating2U. Characters aren't really something that stands out here. In Masami route that I played I could not see her appeal at all, just a traditional Japanese widow, who could just wear kimono as well. She looks to me like an addition to her son Tatsuru, not like a main heroine at all. Japanese reviews also don't rate her route highly, and I admit that for me someone like green-hair scar face girl Ikuno would be a much better choice.
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There is one technical issue that absolutely obstructed my gameplay and impression of the game. NO VOICING. It's strange to complain for me - the majority of games I ever reviewed had no voicing. I played every PC-98 visual novel, and none of them had voicing. Blue Gale just had to cut their budget, but story does not become worse just because heroines aren't voiced, right? It would be right if the game had a story. All it has is several human dramas, and the key word here is Human. It's basically a charage - how can a charage be without voicing? I absolutely fail to see humans behind the heroines in this game, just some characters I feel nothing towards. There are six heroines to capture in this game - I really felt it was an excessive number. The whole common route is so long and torturing, because there are too many heroines, and each of them needs to make a certain number of appearances.

But there are other cool elements in this game. There's an absolutely cool protagonist who sings real songs! Even songs could not help the game at that point when you're already 6 hours through the game with not a single word said and either under the same few BGM or in complete and total silence. Main character is kind, adult, cool looking and is good with children. It seems to me he's praised so much, because heroines that bad in this game. Why would I want to watch at an adult man playing with children for couple weeks in the hospital? Common route is what determines a good game. Here common route is long, but is hardly worth talking about - just a playground to get acquainted with the girls. The heroines routes here are much better and really present a unique story each time, but it's just my principle to play only one route for a normal charage without true ending.
The game is just a combination of factors that I can't stand, and because of that I'm unable to rate it properly.

kivandopulus

There is a normal Japanese family - a rock star priest, a fox goddess and their son ghost... ok, maybe not so normal. Anyway, there's a fantastic review ( 1 ) on this game already, so I can have a free style review for a change just to put something along with a video.
So following that review... first things first - game has no bugs on win98, all icons are in order - everything is perfect. But since the game can't run install on newer Windows, we indeed have to copy contents to the disk folder, launch reg file (need to edit it to change cd drive letter) and speech volume up tool. The full guide is here ( 
2 ). Just in case - the link for the volume up tool is ( 3 ). So the only little inconvenience that we need to tolerate on newer Windows is that icons get messed up. It's not that much of a deal, right?

NO.

As a result the icons for SAVE and GHOST functions get exchanged. It's very easy to get acquainted with saving on ghost icon, we play as a ghost, anyway. But this way SAVE icon gets absolutely forgotten. This icon stays crossed out for 99.99% of time, but this is absolutely the most important icon in the game, because it gets active in 0.01% of time at the most crucial moments in the game. If I knew that from the start, I would not have to tear my hair out while redoing all the routes of all the characters over and over and each time either getting somewhat awkward endings or failing to set the flags for a girl. I followed three different walkthrough VERY diligently and each time had a failure as a result. By the way, the best walkthrough with all the choices and very comfortable table outlook is here ( 
4 ).

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So here's the deal. One of such most crucial moments is on the screen. In this scene we finally get all the flags for the girl and enter the first love event marked with a heart on the map. In this event Minamo is sleeping... that's pretty much it. But... her skirt gets a bit wrinkled so that pants are seen just a little bit. Trust me, this is the most crucial event of the route. So hero enjoys the peaceful view when two boys approach, share the joyful news with each other and take out a digital camera while looking for the most beneficial angle... There are no options, nothing. Just as any other event that we've seen before so far. So hero cries out of helplessness since he's a ghost and can't really help Minamo. Boys get the photo and run away happily. Minamo continues to sleep happily. A weird event, but it's ok. The problem is that after the event Minamo absolutely disappears. We just pass days aimlessly and fly to the skies on the 49th day. Game over. I could not understand what was going on for a long time trying different approaches prior to the even. But I only understood it while skipping scenes on Win98. There is a ghost icon in place of SAVE there and during skipping the scene it suddenly stops in the middle of the scene, just at the spot the screenshot is. Why would a game stop skipping the text in the middle of text scene? The answer is that there are moments when main character Shiro needs to concentrate his psychic power in order to manipulate objects in physical reality. When we click this icon at this very moment, Shiro fixes the skirt, boys run away and Minamo wakes up noticing Shiro who hurriedly explains the situation in order not to be blamed for it. And later on Minamo admits that she understood that Shiro loved her exactly at the moment when he fixed that skirt expression his care and desire to protect this way. So with this hint all the routes finally become a piece of cake.

 

Now to the contents. I give the game 8/10, it's that good. It could easily be 9/10, but the sectional voicing and a bit of fault in the system affect the impression. There are four heroines for capture - kendo club osanajimi Akira, shy diligent student who is afraid of ghosts Wakaba, merry single Psychic Sience club member Minamo and a ghost girl who supposedly ended her life by hanging - Yuzu. The game tries to follow To Heart structure, so that we get up, go to school and constantly get on a map of the school in the morning, noon and evening with girl figures at different sections of the school. Clicking on each girl triggers an event. And majority of those events are funny ones. There are also some events that we don't need to choose. What I mean is that such structure allows to pump the game with a great number of cool funny small stories and in that the game excels. For the biggest part of the game it's a comedy, but the very end is not so funny - hero dies. Well, I mean he was dead from the start, but on 49th day (35th day in game time since Shiro only regains consciousness 2 weeks after initial death) the soul link with the body finally disappears and the soul has to fly to the skies. We get to know about the time limit on the 45th day (31st day in game time). So what's the drama? Hero has to fly away. But that was known from the start. Hero is dead before we even start reading. We can guess he'll have to go eventually. But we still feel sad when we're said so on the 45th day and when we actually have to do it on the 49th day. So I don't consider this game to be a nakige in any way. Someone wants a happy end with a girl and a ghost living together and dying in one day? That's weird. Hero must resurrect? Well, it's not some fantasy, and furthermore the body is wrecked and buried over two weeks ago. So it's not a conflict, not a drama, we just see the story to the end and the girls who got attached to Shiro saying him farewell. And all the girls do so with a smile and gratitude. Futhermore, Shiro is promissed to be reincarnated and in some epilogues we actually get a hint of our grown-up girls feeling something very familiar in that young school boy... but it's not that kind of a game. Moreover, there is a ghost girl Yuzu and we get a perfectly happy ending with her. Two ghosts find a way to be eternally happy. But for my video walkthrough I chose Minamo. That girl is too cute and cool to miss. Moreover, we actually get to see three personalities of her. Her usual ghosbuster genki self, a cursed doll gentle personality (don't ask, better see for yourself) and the cat-girl personality that can't leave anyone indifferent. Don't get me wrong, other girls routes are very good and touching as well, but those are tilt towards nakige a bit more. Game's very nice. Give it a chance, and you'll like it.

kivandopulus

Foreword: After single story editions of F40 and F50 I was curious whether next games follow the set trajectory or move elsewhere. The following single story game is Viper-GTB, so...

Title: Viper-GTB ~Rise After~

Developer: Sogna

Date: 1999-12-22

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v10121

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Synopsis: The long awaited sequel to the VIPER-V16 story, VIPER-GTB's "Rise After" chapter takes place almost four years after "Rise". Her family abducted, Saki returns to Anne Mitter's to enlist Akira's help in a daring rescue. In the course of saving them from the domineering aquatic queen Irear, Akira herself is captured. Offering to rescue her are a small band of extra-terrestrials, led by the mysterious Tarma whose true intentions are not revealed until its too late. Trading Karin, Saki, and Seed to Irear in exchange for the strongest woman on Earth, Tarma claims Akira as his newest slave. Fellow champion martial artist Makoto, arriving at Anne Mitter's to avenge a recent defeat at the hands of Akira, becomes embroiled in the plot, soon following Tarma's companion Narsha to the spaceship, where she and the warriors of the underground race lay siege to the craft. The fate of other strong women across the galaxy now rests with Akira and Makoto.

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Structure: None

Length: Took me over 3 hours because of gameplay elements

Game type: SF/Fantasy erotic adventure

Difficulty: Very easy, one way road. There are two bad endings though, so need to save at least sometimes.

Character Design rating: 6/10

Protagonist rating: 7/10

Story rating: 1/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 4/10

Rating comments: Well, the spread is almost the same as in Viper F50, just worse. The main component for my score is story. If I evaluated the game by different criteria, result would be different as well. This time there are too many H events and basically zero story. Instead of story now there is repeating, exhausting, time wasting gameplay. It's worst design to make up for just one hour story with enemy encounters literally every 10 steps in the maze. I'm not just disappointed, but infuriated, indeed.

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Protagonist: Akira is best known Sogna fan-service character. And authors capitalized on her all the way through the game. She is omnipotent and in all kind of weird situations. Even my screenshot spread shows that other characters are quite non-existent.

Characters: Karin is with us, as usual, but most of H scenes without Akira belong to evil girls who are plenty here.

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Story: Keith (the main bad guy of prequel) got kidnapped by the water tribe. The whole gang goes underwater to save him. They beat the boss queen at the underwater complex and save Keith, but on the way back Akira gets kidnapped. The gang gets reinforcements in the form of several strange martial artists and they again go to the very same underwater complex to save Akira... and they actually do so, but the strange martial artists spoil all the cards, and the situation gets very messy... which only gets resolved by the third expedition to a different underwater complex... Is that even a story?

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CG: Animations mostly.

Overall comments: Game is really bare. No real theme or story. Humor is mostly of erotic nature. Horrible averting gameplay, unexpected game-overs (there's no option to replay, start from the start if no save!) and lots and lots of H events. That's all what this game is about and this is the only kind of review it deserves.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I was really impressed with Viper F40, claiming that was a masterpiece. It's only natural I'd take on Viper F50 which is same SF single detective story. Is it a masterpiece as well?

Title: Viper-F50 ~Mirai Tokusou Bureiban~

Developer: Sogna

Date: 1999-04-23

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v7490

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Synopsis: The sequel to the "Future Investigator Bravan" story told in VIPER-V12, VIPER-F50 continues the tale of Bravan and his partner Anri as they fight against the forces of Donarghe and its army of mutants. Colonel Gel returns with a plot to defeat Bravan by capturing Anri and fellow investigator Shine. However, Gel's plot for world domination unknowingly hinges on the faith and abilities of her young protégé, Mari.

Structure: None

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

Game type: SF police patrooling story

Difficulty: Very easy, one way road.

Character Design rating: 6/10

Protagonist rating: 7/10

Story rating: 2/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 5/10

Rating comments: 5/10 is a very low score for me and that means one thing - I'm disappointed. Compared to F40 game is on the same engine, with similar character designs and animations. But story-wise, it's a huge step back. Length got cut 2.5 times. All the "detective" legwork around the house is limited to 4 locations that you check over and over - Shinjuku, beginner school, junior school, high school, and that's it. Story got so thin that it's almost non-existent. It looks like Sogna started with a great idea to make great stories out of previous short multiple stories issues, but on the way just went with the flow and started to make just a bit longer single same silly stories instead. 

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Protagonist: Bray-Ban is the main character here. He can transform to some kind of SF power ranger at will. He's kind, compassionate and reliable. Well, since he's male character, he's the only one who stays undefeated. He is voiced and looks ok, so I'm quite content with him giving 7/10 to protagonist.

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Characters: Anri is green hair assistant who can not use the biosuit. Shine is red hair partner who can use biosuit. Both characters and the only villain aren't drawn cute and are difficult to sympathize with. That's why 6/10.

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Story: SPOILERS. The cornerstone of such low score. So Bra-Ban patrols the schools when he finds donage monster assaulting a girl. He fights donage, but girl tries to kill him, and that attempt is only prevented by partner Shine showing up and destroying girl's weapon making her flee. Next assistant Anri finds herself useless and upon discovering the next of donage under junior high school, she goes exploring it unarmed and alone (can it be more stupid?) getting caught by donage. Shine and Bra-Ban decide to split to cover more territory while searching for Mari (Why??). Shine finds Anri, but blackmailed into disarming and stripping under Anri death threats. Bra-Ban saves both girls from monsters. Bra-Ban is assaulted by the same brainwashed school girl Mari who attacked him in the beginning. He manages to cut off her weapon filled with explosives and calm her down only for her to be killed by donnage queen Gel-sama. Bra-Ban descends into donnage den alone (story does not teach him anything) and gets into Gel-sama trap. A girl in Shine costume shows up and saves Bra-Ban - that girls happens to be Anri who put on Shine suit. The end. This story is beyond redemption.

CG: There's mostly animations, not CG. But can't complain here.

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Humor: There is one nice character in the game. It's donnage stag beetle monster. He retains his human feelings and behaves like a grandpa to Mari. He defends Mari before Gel-sama, then tries to attack Bra-Ban first in order not to traumatize Mari. Upon defeat he conveys to Bra-Ban that Mari would have explosives in her weapon secretly inserted by Gel-sama, and that information allows to pacify Mari. So these geezer talks of Stag beetle donnage deliver quite a lot. All those superhero ranger banters also were funny at times.

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Title and Themes:  There aren't real themes. One semi-theme is sacrifice as Anri put on suit her body could not handle to help friends. The other semi-theme is humanity as Mari regains her humanity and Stag Beetle donnage retains his humanity up to the end.

Overall comments: I believe Sogna had a serious failure with this game. Moreover, I think that Sogna made wrong conclusions from such failure. As it looks to me now, instead of producing more serious stories it decided to leave stories at a bakage level, but add cuteness instead. But I will only know for sure after I play Viper-GTB.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I have very high evaluation of the games of the series and since this is the only Windows game of the series (I'll play Lipstick ADV.4 as well just out of spite, but it's universally despised by the fans of the series), I just had to play it. It took me quite some to realize that wish, but finally it's there. Welcome to the Lipstick ADV world!

Title: Lipstick Adv.EX

Developer: Fairytale

Date: 1999-04-23

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v7334

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq_wBpUoznkGk-MxcM3tBVDt

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Synopsis: Hidaka Koume heads a detective club at an all-girl school. Ichijou Megumi is a detective who got dragged by Koume to be a councilor for the club. Everything starts with stolen underwear at school, but then girls start to be assaulted with a knife right at the school and terrorist acts start to happen around the city. At that moment Megumi gets quite an ordinary surveillance order that turns out to be a much bigger deal. Is it possible that terrorist acts and mysterious case are connected somehow?

Structure: 7 acts with the zapping system of switching between two protagonists.

Length: 10 hours

Game type: School detective story

Difficulty: Very easy, but it seems to be possible to miss couple CG.

Character Design rating: 10/10

Protagonist rating: 9/10

Story rating: 9/10

Game quality: 9/10

Overall rating: 9/10

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Rating comments: Game's absolutely marvelous. Luxurious graphics, full voicing including protagonist, bright palette, absence of character sprites in favor of CGs, intriguing story and quite many mysteries that get unwrapped one by one. So, why not a perfect score? There are some flaws. Story is mostly developed by Deus Ex Machina even though each of protagonists eventually manage to find a clue to the culprit. Between the chapters there are often girl assault events shown right at school, but for some very convenient reason all the girls just keep silent about that till the very last chapters. The ending part is quite pressed with events as we get from total despair and no clues to finale in a mere hour. Ending is too convenient and there is no epilogue (although there are CGs in the ending which show the future of heroes, so it's suffice for an epilogue). Game mechanics is a bit troublesome during the major part of the game as you need to visit some 15 locations and click through all the objects. It gets especially tiresome with people as you need to click on their mouth, face, hair and costume a lot of times till the dialogue goes on - and it's hearing all the same "Don't look at my face/hair/suit so much" over and over again. But I happily clicked through all those moments and some of the plot moments that were in the following as well (since you never know when new dialogue starts - after clicking on face/hair or suit for the tenth time or more). But, believe it or not, all those shortcomings aren't really enough to lower the score. I just did not feel satisfaction from the rushed ending and that hurt the aftertaste.

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Protagonist: Let's make it clear - game was meant to be a new Eve: Burst Error/EVE: The Lost One. It shares a lot of similarities with that great predecessor. But at the same time game had to be in the vein of past Lipstick ADV games. Ichijou Megumi is very similar to Kojiroh. He holds a one-man detective office, also rents it and constantly has problems with money. But Megumi is really young and much less charismatic that Kojiroh. He's also not a genius and spends too many evenings drinking at the bar (how? at the start of the game his wallet only has 930 yen). In the end he makes a stupid mistake of leaving his office door open and he can't recognize a woman who wore big sunglasses even if he sees her everyday. On the other hand Koume is a traditional heroine of Lipstick ADV games, genki long red-haired girl. She also does not show any signs of genius detective unable even to pacify the only two members of detective club besides her. So each day they spend oh a whip following wishes of its member Rie. Koume was able to obtain her clue by doing the very basic police actions that police absolutely neglected to do. Koume part is much bigger than that of Megumi, because it's devoted to relations between many girls in school, I think eight is the number. It looks organic and nice, but it was really difficult to say where the game was going till the 6th chapter. 

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Characters: As I mentioned, there are some 8 girl characters at school and one woman outside of school, plus some male characters - bartender, police detective, school teacher. But since there is just one route, it was difficult to tell which heroines were important and which weren't. In the end only Koume detective club companion girls had an important role - genki and light-hearted Rie and serious reserved Aki, who is not interested in playing detectives and got dragged to this club by Rie. There's also girl Risa who plays a huge part as a rival of Kouka for Megumi and later on as a witness. And there is another girl who plays a big role because all the serious events start with her death. 

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Story: So the outline is set in the synopsis, but I'll try to elaborate without spoilering too much. First two chapters are just fooling around and improvised dates. Someone steals underwear at school, so it's just jokingly search for the pervert. But then one girl which both protagonists met a lot of times during first chapters, is suddenly found dead in peculiar circumstances. There are about two more chapters just about the shock and despair after that event. But actually only Koume was able to find the clue of the culprit. Megumi found his own clue, but to his own case he was given as a part of his job, and those two cases turned out to be parts of one bigger case and bigger person. The whole bombs part is an inheritance from old Lipstick ADV series and looks quite alien here. The reason for bombings remains vague unlike the murder which has a thorough explanation in the form of culprit diary which we again very conveniently are just led to. So it's not a good a good detective story, but a nice mystery with great characters and valid emotional aspect.

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CG: 295 CG. We're difficult to be surprised by this amount with modern games often having 300+, but 295 is a huge number for a game from 1999. I especially liked that there aren't really normal H scenes in the game. Most of the HCG are very episodic and just parts of very brief events between the chapters. So it could very easily be an all-ages game.

Sound: I like the basic midi sound for being ... expressive, but I enjoyed CD-DA BGM even more in the end. Good tunes and great full voicing.

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Humor: There aren't real gags here, but dialogues are often very funny in the beginning and those connected with light-headed Rie later on.

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Title and Themes:  So what does EX in title stands for? In my opinion it was meant to mean that unlike predecessors it has very explicit X content, but X could also mean it's the 10th game of the series, so EX was chosen instead. Another question is why the game was not just called 4th part. In my opinion it's because main heroes are different from Gorou and Otomi, even though the archetypes of the characters are quite the same. 

Overall comments: Lipstick Adv.EX is not a kamige, but is a very delicious treat if you don't expect serious mystery out of it. Point and click sequences may be irritating at times, but bear with it and you'll get one of the best visual novels of the 1990s.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I never wanted to play this game, but got a request to make a playthrough recently, so agreed to do that since I was quite curious to see how much the original differs from the remake and why actually PC98 version is described as kamige by some reviewers (1) while remake being trampled to dirt.

Title: Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~

Developer: Silky's

Date: 1994-09-30

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v1836

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=u8udgdLjN0U

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Synopsis: A sincere older step-sister and a curious younger step-sister are doomed to become love slaves. One day, a house wife named Yukie has a traffic accident. She is ordered to pay a large settlement to the other party, Taketo, the son of the owner/president of Nogawa Industries. Unable to make the settlement payment, Yukie allows Taketo to have her sexually. At the same time, Takato's father, Nogawa, approaches Yukie's step-daughter, Rumi, and blackmails her. His evil scheme even reaches for Tomoko, Yukie's younger step-sister.

Structure: 10 branches with endings, some of which are bad endings and some almost identical. Game takes part during 5 days of Taketo father trip overseas - during that time Taketo must settle the incident.

Length: 2.5 hours

Game type: Nukige.

Difficulty: Quite difficult due to big number of branches, guide recommended

Character Design rating: 5/10

Protagonist rating: 2/10

Story rating: 2/10

Game quality: 7/10

Overall rating: 5/10

Rating comments: Even posting a nukige review is a high enough score for such a game, so 5/10 is not that bad. There's no real story and MC is just pure evil golden boy. But character design and graphics overall (including animated pieces) are really nice and all.

Protagonist: Taketo can only compete with cruelness with his father, corporate bigwig. Basically he has zero morality, so easily forges documents, drugs the opposite party and blackmails everyone. Don't think there was ever a trace of his humanity depicted anywhere in the text.

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Characters: Main heroines are sisters Rumi and Tomoko, but their mother Yukie and secretary Yumi also play a very big and picturesque part in all this mess and all possible variations including 3P and 4P. Characters are cute, but not developed at all. What I disliked the most was that the interaction between the sisters is minimal, they remain schematic pieces.

Story: It's really all in the synopsis. Taketo's father gets into a crash and imposes dealing with its consequences on his son Taketo (in exchange for giving him pocket money) instructing him using harsh methods and using women weaknesses. And Taketo does just that - invites Yukie to the company office where drugs and binds her making lewd photos of her and forcing to sign a 5 million yen debt receipt. With that document and photos he goes straight to each of the girls at school, violating them as he wants in exchange of partial debt lifting. After 5 days father comes back from the overseas trip and finds out his safe cracked. Basically all the endings differ by the person who cracks the safe and the person who actually gets the safe contents in the end triggering all kinds of good/bad endings.

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CG: Game hugely lacks non-HCG. It should probably be noted that pc-98 version does not contain censorship. Instead it just... lacks detail in some parts which was quite mainstream way of censorship in 1994.

Sound: BGM... I definitely remember there was BGM and I even waited for two minutes for the intro piece to finish. But overall I guess I did not pay enough attention to that.

Title and Themes:  Title reflects the brainless story - only the fruits of those two love sisters matter here.

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Overall comments: I really did not know what to write about here, so let's keep this at minimum volume. Silky's had a great success with Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito and with that established a standart of multiple branches, multiple endings for further generations. Ai Shimai is their next game, so it's natural that it was meant to reap the success of that new experimental structure. But while Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito is an intriguing mystery game, Ai Shimai is made as a brainless nukige where multiple branches structure looks redundant. They could prolong the game time from 5 days to like 10 days to include all combinations of participants and add some bad endings, but instead they developed these 10 almost identical routes that don't even have logical endings. Like in one ending hero gets hit on the head and receives the best possible ending as a result and in other cases he gets to jail after the very same loosing consciousness instead. There's no effort made in any branch, so it all looks like a very spontaneous development. I'm just happy Silky's stopped spamming the same structure in their future games in favor of more variety. But Ai Shimai original is not all that bad compared to its remake that's a parade of ugliness. So is this game bad? Yes. But is this game good and significant enough to get a review? Absolutely yes.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I did not have much hopes about the game, but its introduction came upon me as a whirlwind. Mechanical dolls? Knights without soul? Three armored musketeers? Great demon king in person? A parade of deaths? Those were only a few things encountered in first 10 minutes of the game. Game has a very strong start and a strong ending with some nice battles and character development in-between. What's not to like here?

Title: Carbon Knight

Developer: Palette

Date: 1998-09-25

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v10914

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq_kUzzqmi57545i6p5b_Dwl

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Synopsis: A world devastated by the battle of gods. The surviving people created inanimate "carbon humans" by using the relics of Gods and sealing the soul within. For several hundred years the war lasted. Now carbon knight needs to deter the restoration of the once sealed demon king.

Structure: 13 short days.

Length: 4 hours for one playthrough

Game type: Eschatological fantasy.

Difficulty: At least moderate, since there are a lot of choices and I only got lonely ending while there are happy endings with a girl as well.

Character Design rating: 8/10

Protagonist rating: 5/10

Story rating: 9/10

Game quality: 7/10

Overall rating: 8/10

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Rating comments: Overall score might be even 9 if I got some substantial epilogue that should exist in some girl ending. The lonely ending I got was too abrupt, but actually cool in itself. Characters are funny and cute enough. They look simple at the first glance, but each of main heroines carries a huge secret behind her back, so I like how their personalities played out. Protagonist is very straightforward, but he's probably needed like that for story's sake. Game quality suffers from big loading times between the scenes. Autoskip function is implemented very poorly. Backgrounds are mostly implemented in 3D, but that's rather a feature than a shortcoming here since those look immersive. But as for the story, it seems ordinary fight the demon king tale, but bears much more in it as it goes, so I rate story very high.

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Protagonist: Isaak is shown almost always irritated and/or shouting. He is too straightforward and short-tempered. He's not the most pleasant MC to deal with, but he's not voiced, so he can grimace as much as he wants in silence. 

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Characters: There seem to be two main heroines - long red-hair Sheckly and short violet-hair Fortita. Sheckly is our usual child friend, tender and caring. Fortita is much more mysterious since she's very short and never aging. She's actually a carbon knight, soulless relic created to fight demonic invaders. She serves to Isaak and his father. There is also father Balzak's fighting buddy girl Gina who gets a H scene if willing. Possibly she can also get her ending, but according to very few and very poor CG gallery that exists for the game good ending confirmed only for Sheckly, just don't cite me on it. There are lots of very colorful side-characters as well. Everyone but MC is voiced, so it's never really boring.

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Story: So the game starts in a whirlwind of events. Demon king and his army demolish the city and kill the populace. The three armored musketeers are the only ones who try to oppose the demons. Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita try to escape a group of mechanical dolls. Next we're shown the dialogue between the demon king and the three musketeers and how a mechanical doll comes out with three corpses of Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita pierced. Isaak's father who is one of the musketeers goes berserk and demolishes the demon king... Then Isaak wakes up and those events seem to be a dream on the demon king invasion three years ago. Isaak is dreaming of becoming carbon knight master and goes on a journey with Sheckly and Fortita. There they confront demonic underlings who predict the resurrection of the demon king once all his body parts scattered around the world are collected again. These events take roughly first 15-20 minutes of the game, so I would not consider them a spoiler. As you can imagine, all the demon parts are destined to be collected for a grand confrontation again. But what I especially liked was that the battles of carbon knights and demons started out quite plain, but kept on with more and more increasing numbers of fatalities on both sides nearly wiping all the characters in the game. That was absolutely terrific and unprecedented since the time I saw GANTZ. Just so you know, there's much more to the story than just a series of battles. Every hero has a huge secret and uncovering those secrets make the game really exciting. Ending is surprising as well.

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System: So I decided to devise an optional system section since there are issues that don't fall into other sections well. So here I wanted to rant why I only got lonely ending and not going to pursue true ending with a girl. First of all, I value initial game experience very much - and each consecutive playthrough is a torture for me, especially without a guide. Secondly, I know that I like lonely ending the best since it's so cool, a real mortal combat. Lastly, game has very poor skipping feature that has to be turned on in the menu and you can't really stop it till there's a new choice or till a new scene starts. And each scene loads for some 10-20 seconds. It's really not fun doing it again. There are actually two more issues - big number of selections and very poor save implementation. Each time you load, you're thrown away very far back, so it's hugely inconvenient. 

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CG: Absolutely terrific CG. Just loving it with all my heart. So much detail. Sometimes the blend of 2D and 3D looks weird, but mostly it's in harmony. But the best part in the art is dresses of girls. These dresses show so much skin that they look like the prototypes for all the modern Korean mmorpgs. Truly hilarious and breathtaking.

Sound: BGM is decent, but not too memorable.

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Title and Themes:  Game does not tell us much about carbon knights from the start apart of the fact that Fortita is one. But carbon knight theme gets a huge development in the last third of the game and finishes with the absolute domination of this theme, so it's a good choice.

Overall comments: So Carbon Knight has its flaws lying mostly in technical part, but they don't belittle its advantages. I consider it to be the first traditional fantasy chuunige and a huge masterpiece of the time.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: Not the type of work I read usually. But game managed to conquer my heart with its opening song, as well as wonderful and various BGM. Actually, I would call it foreground songs rather than background music since those songs shine during the whole course of the game due to the fact that game's not voiced at all. But of course music alone can't be enough to keep attention. Shunpuu Shoujo has very beautiful unique art style and quite intriguing synopsis about celestial girl emerging in human world - such common synopsis was a base for lots of great visual novel stories of the past. But enough preface, let's begin. I'm sorry for the excessive number of screenshots - it's done because game has no CG gallery available online.

Title: Shunpuu Shoujo

Developer: Aquarium

Date: 1998-10-30

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15331

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq-u71AkUIovdrTzdPdIL0j9

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Synopsis: Takuma Takuma is a college student. One day a girl Sari from another world appears before him. She said that she appeared to purify the conscious body possessed by Takuma and the should live together till that time. Takuma friends and girl classmates aren't really happy about that. Where shall the future take him?

Structure: 13 small chapters.

Length: 3-4 hours

Game type: Celestial beings on Earth comedy

Difficulty: Easy. Game offers a choice from time to time, but those are either flavor choices or additional CG triggers.

Character Design rating: 8/10

Protagonist rating: 7/10

Story rating: 5/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 7/10

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Rating comments: I always ask myself first whether the game is of masterpiece level or not. And if it's not, it can only get as much as 6. And I've come to a conclusion that it's a masterpiece, albeit minor. Character design is astonishing, but characters don't get too much development. Protagonist is ok, but in the end he's just a passive girlish student. Story is on par with Viper-GTS level, so decent, but nothing too complicated or notable. Game quality gets a huge penalty for absence of voicing and overall small length. 

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Protagonist: Takuma main feature is that he looks so girlish with his small slender body and long pink hair. That looks a bit weird, but only till HCG come in action. Seeing two small angels on the screen cuddling is quite heartwarming. Overall he's a passive graduating student and can't really move narration by himself.

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Characters: Story does not have branches, so there is only one main heroine Seiri there. But there are also two lively side-heroines - childhood friend that attends the same college and lower grade student who looks up to protagonist as a teacher. Yes... even though Takuma is a college student he somehow participates in practice as teacher for lower high school students. It's relations between these four characters that form the basis of the game and become the stage for lots of humorous situations. Apart of those four characters there are also two more heavenly beings and lots of sub-characters.  

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Story: I rated story the lowest - as 5/10, so I'm not truly content with that. Takuma finds Seiri jumping from the portal and getting to know the cast takes first 5 chapters. Then first celestial being appears and brings some cheap drama followed by bouncing back and merry chapters again. In 10th chapter second celestial being arrives bringing more drama and finishing on Christmas eve sweet date. The very ending is curious though as it gives an answer on the future awaiting protagonists since the default situation is quite sad - Seiri is bound to return to her world and live forever while Takuma has to grow old like any mortal. Happy end is very satisfactory.

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CG: CG here are so gentle and cute. I don't think I've seen art style like that anywhere before. It surely is a treat after today's absolutely the same polished art style dominating in both anime and visual novels. 

Sound: BGM is an important actor in the game. For the first hour I was just listening to the BGM rather than enjoy character interaction. Soundtrack is especially cool because there is lots of singing in it.

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Humor: Humor here is not high quality, but rather in form of funny faces, character sprite emotions, chibi action CG etc. Most of such CG depict someone hitting someone else or such. But same as with CG, even chibi style here is very cute and actually only half-chibi since it's the same body that's deformed and head is proportional to the rest of the body.

Title and Themes:  Title can be roughly translated as "spring breeze girl". I don't think there's a special meaning to it, but Seiri is really so pure and shiny that she's like a breeze among other games' heroines.

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Overall comments: Game's actually better than description above. It has special charm that can't be felt without seeing for yourself. It has unique magic due absence of voicing and unconventional CG and BGM. I'm really glad that Aquarium recovered from the ugly art of its first works Carrot Time and Pretty Cat ~Lily and Kyle no Daibouken~. But I also like that the company does not forget its roots - just look at the very first screenshot - it's Nyantaru Pu himself from Toki no Moto e! I'm happy to see Aquarium made it in the 2000s and will look forward to seeing its further eleven works.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I have not put a 10/10 score in a while. Psyclone is a classic cyberpunk story with sophisticated plot and great cast of characters. For genre fan it's an ultimate treasure. But game's not hookable, so I had to manually copy each line from the script for video playthrough. It was absolutely worth my time and I hope it can be worthy of yours.

Title: Psyclone

Developer: Vanilla

Date: 1998-10-30

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15546

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8KWBAvVAymrEDxV6nl3B0E

Synopsis: Psyclone is a cyber-reality city accessed by using bio-interface. Recently it has been under attack of crackers causing anomalies and hurting people, so its inventor "Postman" along with his comrades "Bee", "Peepin Sam" and one of the crackers "Saiko" try to find the source of attacks. At the same time in the real world many young girls get missing in the slums. How can these cases be connected? 

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Structure: There are about twenty micro-chapters, but those are numerated in any manner. 

Length: 5 hours

Game type: Classic cyberpunk story.

Difficulty: Easy. Each time you get a game over, you can press try again and get just before the wrong choice.

Character Design rating: 10/10

Protagonist rating: 10/10

Story rating: 10/10

Game quality: 8/10

Overall rating: 10/10

Rating comments: It's been so long I put any game a full score. Game is perfect composition-wise and characters-wise. But game quality gets a huge penalty for rhytmic but lacking excitement BGMs, non-full size CG (HCG are almost full size). There were also technical difficulties - inability of hooking and game error on windows switch, but launching with Dxwnd and using the text script ripped from the game did the trick in the end.

Protagonist: Postman is a great protagonist. He inherited rights on bio-interface after his deceased father, but he created Psyclone all by himself. Furthermore, he managed to save his father's memories before the brain death, so his father is alive in the form of talking head in the real world and a full-scale actor in the net. The real name of Postman is Thomas Post Stroker. He's got a face and both knowledgeable and cool. 

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Characters: The characters names correspond to the picture above - upper names row to the upper characters and lower names to the row below.

There are two main heroines. First one is Postman's comrade "Bee" who is known for being a fast and tough user. She uses both forms of male and female in Cyclone. Her real name is Vi Rubins. She tries to behave rough like a boy, but she is so sincere and protective over Postman that she managed to totally win my sympathies. For example, in one of the bad endings she keeps nursing Postman in the vegetable state after he got his brains fried in the cyberspace. She also saves her virginity for Postman despite behaving all tough and being mocked by Saiko for that. I could not force myself to look at Saiko ending after seeing Bee's one.

Saiko is a supercute and supertalented cracker. She has a lot of in common with Postman as they both are regarded as otaku with an affinity to old tech. She's energetic and of modern views. She's a very nice person, but I don't like it that her ending requires intimacy twice during the main course of the game.

There is also a third main heroine, but she stands aside of both primary heroines. Kelly is a police inspector with a very important role to play. All I can say is that her ending goes on top of the primary heroine ending and may either happen with any of the heroines or may not happen at all.

But look at this cast. There are also plenty of cool characters. Ange with her bright clumsy personality brings a lot of comic relief into the game. Peeping Sam is one of the coolest hackers with a terrific voicing. Postman's father is not presented here, but he is a worthy addition to the team, both for his constant fights with Postman and for his activity in cyberspace. That's a really great cast in here.

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Story: I don't feel like giving spoilers this time since the story is absolutely worth of reading yourself, but here is what I can share in addition to synopsis. Postman dives into the cyberspace to track the cracker and confronts Saiko there, but she turns out to act all by herself and not connected with the other cases of attack or kidnappings. So she decides to cooperate with the team to find the real culprit. At the same time Postman is being followed by a Cybertech corporation worker Ange who consistently offers to sell the rights for bio-interface. Upon overhearing a policeman we get to know that policemen have to fill quota of bringing two girls per day. So we need to investigate three major facilities - Saiko's information shop where she got information from, police station and Cybertech. And that's absolutely all I can tell without major spoilers.

CG: There are not as many CG as I hoped for and it's a pity that CG only take like 1/3 of screen space. But I really like the old-school style and the quality of each CG.

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Sound: BGM is rhythmic, but without real melody - that can be both plus and minus. Voicing is truly great (only protagonist not voiced).

Humor: Humor in this game is not in the form of gags, but rather situational. Ange is the main source of humor situations. I especially liked how she was offered some tart and each time she sincerely exclaimed "Ah, oishiso!!!", but then remembered of the number of calories and rejected the offer. But the fun part was that the same situation was repeated several times during the talk. And she has such a light windy personality that we easily believe that she sincerely rejoices each time forgetting about previous cases.

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Title and Themes:  I always try to guess the meaning behind the title of the game. And this time there are so many meanings in the title. Psyclone = Psyclone city + Saiko + Psy + Clone. Game incorporates the best cyberpunk ideas, but manages to tell an absolutely unique story.

Overall comments: I praised the game enough, but how could such a wonderful game be overlooked by Japanese audience? Game's got just one impression that's not even accessible now via web archive. I guess game graphics are to blame. In 1998 users could only try to assess the content by the box and box only features non-flashy images and weird phrases like "Cracker", "Bio Interface", "Texture Ripper". And that cost 8800 yen which was the cost of a top-tier game. Whatever the reasons are, game is just too big to be forgotten and I'll give remaining Vanilla games special attention.

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kivandopulus

Lofty Form [Aaru]

Foreword: This game's synopsis shattered my imagination from the first second and only the rarity of the game stopped me from playing it at once. Did my high hopes of the game come true? You'll know soon enough.

Title: Lofty Form

Developer: Aaru

Date: 1997-11-28

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15188

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq-EjfsuBaQRr6x65QIhzOeO

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Synopsis: Yakushiji Shion is the eldest son from the clan that punishes bad people. But after he assassinated Empire's shadow Kurobe Akiyoushi, it is regarded as a rebellion against the Empire. He gathers the clan and moves towards the North. Every day they are attacked by pursuers. At the same time he is chased by the girl Hiramatsu Yae who fell in love with Shion.

Structure: No real structure or branches.

Length: 6 hours

Game type: Samurai story with some fantasy elements.

Difficulty: Very easy.

Character Design rating: 6/10

Protagonist rating: 8/10

Story rating: 6/10

Game quality: 5/10

Overall rating: 6/10

Rating comments: Game has quite low production values, but the story was decent and I struggled between 6 and 7 as overall rating almost till the end. I can't deny the coolness of main character Shion who speaks like 5 times during the game total, but the story in the end started to obtain various flaws and ended in a fluke which is unacceptable for a masterpiece level game, thus it's 6.

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Protagonist: Yakushiji Shion is pretty much everything in this game and half of game's (10?) CG show how cool he is. He speaks only a few times in the game with very short one-word phrases and most of the time we just see "..." whenever he is asked anything. That adds mystery. But he's so cool mostly because he's the only strong character and basically he defeats any enemy with just one strike. And we're being hinted that his clan might possess the secret of immortality which raises evaluation of Shion the Immortal even further.

Characters: There is a bunch of characters who accompany Shion. Notably his step-brother Koriyama and step-sister Sayaka. Both of them were found and brought up by Shion's father. Next there a girl Hiramatsu Yae who tags along after she's saved from the hands of country's general who was set to making her a slave doll. There's also the princess girl and the spy girl who accompany the party at the certain point of narration. There is a good number of enemies, but to my regret enemies aren't really charismatic and for the most time that's just some masked ninja.

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Story: So the country of narration has not had wars for some 10 years at least. Everyone enjoys peace and noone carries weapons anymore. Yakushiji brothers on the other hand keep wearing weapons and bring self-justice to the villains of the country. It's going all right till they murder the great commander and first general of the army who lived in vice. But empire did not want to announce the fact of his death and instead sent remnants of warring clans to punish Yakushiji brothers. Yakushiji clan leader understands that killing general-commander will lead to consequences and because of that he sends his sons to the North and tells the reason of it only to Shion who is not really talkative. So first half of the story takes the journey to the North and that's all I can say without spoiling. More under a spoiler banner.

Spoiler

So... as it turned out the only reason to go North was to get the approval of local shrine maiden to become the successor of the clan. There is also something about gaining immortality this way, but it did not really help Shion in the confrontation with all the villains at once upon arriving back to Yakushiji clan village. Shion got his body pierced with spear and his right hand cut off. The companion of that shire maiden is a talking cat... who turned out to be the God of cats. She later could transform to human form with cat ears as well as ferocious fighting cat form. Among the ninja villains there were also God of Mountain and God of Wind in form of mutated beasts. But the main enemy of Shion is fully bandaged mummy-like warrior Ma Lu. And he turned out to be a created in laboratory human with the aim to create an immortal soldier. That Ma Lu wrecked the body of Shion really bad upon the first confrontation cutting his right arm. And in the final confrontation they were just looking silently at each other for a long time, then Ma Lu said follow me and led him to his master allowing Shion to kill him, because Ma Lu discovered some inconsistency in his master's plan. What's even that about? First authentic samurai story, then fantasy elements and finally underground laboratory genetics? As I see it the story went to hell midway. Also it's absolutely unclear how Shion managed to escape first battle with Ma Lu. Basically we were shown that Kuriyama was preparing explosion in the village to get away, then we're shown how shirine maiden says her cat that she has to go, otherwise that person will... Then she puts on a rucksack and goes away instead of teleporting or smth. Next scene is two months later Shion recovering at princess mansion and a bit later Shrine maiden arrives. Reader is clearly taken for fool with all that mess. And it's not the only occurrence. We're hardly ever shown the outcome of the fights. It just ends and we move on...

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CG: For the first 2/3 of the game there are zero CG! There are some small CG which are like 50x50, but that's not even remotely enough. Then we get to see two almost the same CG of Shion fighting and the end gets packed with like 10 CG in succession. That's a very weird CG placement that leaves a very poor impression of the main story events.

Sound: Only BGM and in traditional Aaru style - after melody's over it does not cycle and up to the next story shift there's only silence to accompany you.

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Humor: There is none, if you don't consider humor those eternal games in silence with "..." repeated over and over by different characters. But one case was so absurd that it made me laugh. Koriyama follows rogue Makino to some house and finds there Makiho and two just killed warm corpses of a man and a woman. But Makiho says it was not him and just left. Then Koriyama is asked by a street girl to kill rogue Makino. Koriyama asks what are her proofs. 

- He treated me poorly and commited me on many different occasions.

- Uh-huh.

- He killed Rutarou.

- Uh-huh.

- He killed both my parents.

- Uh-huh.

- After that he killed governor of the town Kirishima.

- No way! A governor? What a horrible person.

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Themes:  I always try to guess the meaning behind the title of the game. Lofty form - what's that even about? Apparently lofty means of imposing height, thus lofty form means something like "high style". The synopsis indeed features high style narration, but the form and the essence are two different matters and should not necessarily coincide. So after all it's only form that remains lofty here.

Overall comments: I probably placed too much hope in this game. Its low production values and plot inconsistencies described under spoiler did not let me really enjoy the game. But it's still a plot driven samurai story with a very impressive protagonist and might be worth your attention.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: I was prejudiced towards this game after reading Japanese reviews blaming it for scrapping story in favor of H-events, but in reality the setting, plot and characters left me no choice but to get to the ending.

Title: Rougetsu Toshi

Developer: Softhouse Bonbee Bonbon

Date: 1997-12-26

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15347

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX9cGamwbB8&list=PLENAECnNmAq9uoqPyBvnAsL7316x1C3bc

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Synopsis: Tokyo at the end of the century got completely blocked from the outside world due to transformation of Kanto plains and emergence of black fog that blocks radio waves. The raise of shady organizations and appearance of strange dreams make people uneasy. Hero acquires mysterious power to oppose those threats.

Structure: There are six chapters roughly one hour long each.

Length: 6 hours

Game type: Mystery end of the world chunige type.

Difficulty: Just one route with some commands to choose action and location.

Character Design rating: 9/10

Protagonist rating: 8/10

Story rating: 9/10

Game quality: 8/10

Overall rating: 8/10

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Rating comments: My rates reflect my hesitation between 8 and 9 as final score. Game felt like a firm 9 during the most of its course and and only in the last third some of its flaws became evident after grasping where the game was finally going. I expected even more epic ending and at least some sort of epilogue. Otherwise it would be 9 since the game is of surprisingly high quality with individualistic characters, old-school charming design and a well-rounded story.

Protagonist: Akira Myouji is an average high school student who starts to see strange drams. However he has a formed personality and no real weaknesses thus he has a cool aura. He does not look for H events, but is rather coerced towards it or does it out of necessity. The reason is that crystal bearers have to compensate their negative destructive energy with some positive life creation act... oh well, at least there's some kind of justification.

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Characters: There aren't main heroines in the game. There is childhood friend Asuka, her best friend Kuriko. There is also police special female team with the following cast: leader and descendant from ancient monsters fighting clan Suzuka, reserved blue long hair beauty Aoto, undercover transfer student Yuka, eccentric burly personality Mai and undercover Health room nurse Shiho-sensei. There are also side characters - strange library girl Kuko and school teacher Biho. Needless to say, they all get H-scene and sometimes much more than one. Most of the characters are grown-ups and everyone is memorable and attractive. My favorite character is Kuriko. We first meet her when she gives Akira a tour around the school - and while at it she badmouths pretty much everyone and gives skeptical comments on everything. Then she suddenly starts to avoid Akira and has a fight with Asuka and in the end Kuriko turns out the the most mysterious person with a huge role to play in the story.

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Story: Story can actually be described in couple sentences. Akira visits school and sees strange wet dreams about opening of the first game at night. One day he sees TV news broadcast about monster rampaging on the main square and hurries there to protect his friend who might be there. As police forces get thrown back by the monster, Akira manages to create a spirit gun and kill the monster with one shot. After that he's drafted to a special police division of spirit gun users unit and together they try to uncover the mystery behind school girls disappearance and prevent opening of the rest of four gates and the end of the world that ensues after all five are opened. But actually there's much more in this game than this dry outline, like development of relations with different characters and side-lines like the fate of the hooligan band or identity of woman who comes in the dreams or mystery behind Akira power (he can't control it and fails to use it when he wants to). Add to then the apocalyptic dark setting of isolated Tokyo standing on the brink of destruction by monsters or environmental disasters and you get more a less a full picture.

CG: Great number of CG and I absolutely love the style and design.

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Sound: Only girls are voiced. BGM is notable, especially the piano composition by the end of the game.

Theme:  Title of the game can be roughly translated as "hazy moon city" and the moon plays a big role in it, especially in the second half. There is almost no sun in this world and outside scenery is inevitably dark, but by the end of the game the end of the world happens literally by the Moon sucking Tokyo city in. That's a great sight and decent metaphor.

Overall comments: Game turned out to be a big deal and a serious chunige story. It lacks the multiple routes diversity or the philosophical basis of the events, but it's an epic apocalyptic adventure story and game tells it brilliantly and logically. Just don't expect complex elements and Rougetsu Toshi will definitely attract you with its dark charm.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: Bell-Da as a company has come a long way in visual novel industry, but prior to Liaison there were only terrible macromedia flash tasteless short games. But Liaison managed to turn the tides by presenting a solid story about working adults that kept my attention for over 4 hours till the end.

Title: Liaison

Developer: Bell-Da

Date: 1998-07-16

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8155

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dflf6As2eww&index=55&list=PLENAECnNmAq_3TQ0rXcu0n95aygm3PPQU

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Synopsis: Kusanagi Daisaku came to Tokyo to attend art university with a dream of becoming a painter, but he clearly lacked talent. One day he meets two women in jewelry store and that casual encounter greatly influenced his life and his upcoming biggest masterpiece.

Structure: No division, but choices determine the path of one of the two main heroines or the side heroine.

Length: 4 hours

Game type: Love triangle story with some NTR tilt

Difficulty: Flags are evident and there are usually only two variants to choose from.

Character Design rating: 7/10

Protagonist rating: 5/10

Story rating: 4/10

Game quality: 6/10

Overall rating: 5/10

Rating comments: Probably the lowest rating among my reviews. The reason is that I felt betrayed by the story. The first two hours were wonderful and it was not clear where it all was going, then the poor plot became evident, but it was too late to turn back. I still rate characters quite high here as they are memorable and have great voicing. 

Protagonist: Kusanagi Daisaku is a university art department student. The worst thing about him is that he mostly moves with the flow and after one professor tells him he does not have talent, Kusanagi gives up and gets depressed. It's not fun to look at such a hetare protagonist.

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Characters: So there are three heroines with enging. Long purple hair Jun and short violet hair Minako work at the same jewelry store and compete with each other in sales every day. There's also childhood friend from hero's hometown Shiori who appears only during short stay of Kusanagi at his hometown and also visits him briefly afterwards once. Characters are quite well done as they don't belong to any archetype and are full of inconsistencies and own troubles. When I don't have clear preference I go for the main heroine and that seemed to be Jun since she had the most of troubles from the start. But the most delivering character for me was Kusanagi mangaka brother Naru. He's an egoistic man, but full of surprises and funny moves. He really invigorates the cast.

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Story: Since I rated the story as low as "4" I don't need to hold back. Kusanagi is an absolute failure as a man and protagonist. The story starts with an already stupid twist that Jun phones him while working on her sales list of customers, but instead of saying clearly what she wants she invites Kusanagi to the building which turns out to be jewelry shop. Cunning! He comes only to be offered to buy diamonds and miserably retreats. Then by a weird twist of fate Jun skips work with her friend to go to a countryside and they meet Kusanagi in person again even though Kusanagi was not shown going on a trip or anything. The next day Kusanagi decides to visit jewelry shop again and noone seems to care that he comes just to talk and never to buy anything. Somehow that ends up with a date with Jun. And Minako is so obsessed with sales competition with Jun that she decides to... stalk on Kusanagi and get him to karaoke to seduce him before Jun does so. Is there any logic in that at all? Of course Minako boasts of that at work to her rival which becomes the source of cheap drama. Then the real drama in the figure of former Jun boyfriend Daimon, SM relations apostate, appears. So it's a pretty normal relations story with cheap drama, drawbacks and restoration cycle. Former lover kindnapping of Jun and its resolution bring an end to the game.

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Humor: There were quite a lot of funny moments. While seducing at karaoke Minako asked Kusanagi to guess her cup size. There was a variant of "W" to which she says "What? World cup? Stop fooling around already!". 
CG and Sound: A very good number of high quality CG. There are only few CG that look weird. BGM is solid as well.

Overall comments: I expected the game to move towards artist profession self-realization and creating of a real masterpiece, but there was not even remotely enough time devoted to art. What I got instead is not sophisticated cheap drama without much basis behind it. Even in this state the game is really entertaining for a good half of it thanks to view zapping between the characters, funny sub-characters and fast pace. Later on it does not get worse, but it gets too repetitive and evident to my liking.

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kivandopulus

Foreword: Game had hardy any characteristics but "degraded Kizuato" and I did not plan to make a review of it. However, it managed to keep my attention till the end for over three hours. So maybe it's not really bad?

Title: Touchuukasou

Developer: Petit

Date: 1998-07-17

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15352

Youtube walkthrough:https://youtu.be/adRAHxJVaBo

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Synopsis: In a rural town there has been a series of murders recently. Part of the bodies was lost as if it had been eaten by someone. Toshio Hiyama moved to this town 10 years ago and he was constantly bullied due to his introverted nature to the extent that there might be even another will lurking inside his consciousness...

Structure: There are three heroines each with a route. The whole story takes three days.

Length: 3 hours

Game type: Action mystic beast transformation type.

Difficulty: Very easy, there's basically just one big decision for each heroine to flag.

Character Design rating: 7/10

Protagonist rating: 6/10

Story rating: 8/10

Game quality: 5/10

Overall rating: 7/10

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Rating comments: In my classification that's a masterpiece. Game is integral. It has simple but clean story-line, nice memorable characters, cool battles and most amusing BGM support. Protagonist is too ordinary though and game quality is lacking due to a really old engine with NO keyboard support and with 5 second freezes on BGM change.

Protagonist: Hiyama Toshio is pretty much an average high school student Joe who sees strange drams. We don't see his face, so that's it for him.

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Characters: There are four main heroines. Short brown hair Yuka is your cute and caring imouto. Short black hair Makoto is your shy childhood friend who you meet after 10 years time. And long red hair Akane is... your fun-buddy, without any obligations. Fourth one is short gray hair girl, but she makes a very short appearance in core game time, so can't tell much about her without playing her route. I only played Makoto route since I'm not a fan of imouto and free love. Furthermore, Makoto seemed to have some early memories important for the plot. It turned out that those memories weren't exactly about Makoto, so any heroine of preference can be enjoyed without loosing much on the story. As for Makoto, her route is very sweet and there's a very nice satisfying ending after the battle. At some point she even abandons her shyness and confesses her circumstances which are rather curious. So I'm very impressed with her route, but I don't like other heroines roles and not ready to manually mouse click through their routes.

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Story: Events develop very fast here. Toshio and Yuka arrive to the school and barely have time to get acquainted with a newcomer Makoto when they get assaulted by a hooligan Shinichi. That's followed by promise to share bento with Makoto daily, some quality time with Akane and yet another same hooligan assault. The next day starts with a hooligan team trap that leads to a massacre. And lastly heroine specific part with a date ensues followed up by old enemy big fight finale. And something to put under a spoiler as well.

Spoiler

Both Toshio and Shinichi turn out to be werebeasts. After their clash on the school grounds the two human guys from the Shinichi gang get massacred - it's not clear by whom from the two beasts though. And after the heroine specific part and the date, she gets kidnapped by Shinichi. The grand werebeast finale battle happens at the shrine site. In Makoto route after that the shrine monk says there's the way to fix that werebeast disease - by making love at shrine site with a girl from this dog clan lineage. Makoto and Akane are definitely from this clan, but I guess Yuka must be as well since she's Toshio imouto. In the epilogue a child is born out of that night heroes are bringing him up happily. Other heroines routes tackle the problem differently.

CG: Very few from the start, but quite numerous closer to the ending.

Sound: Somehow I really enjoyed the tunes and the voicing. Everyone but protagonist voiced.

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Themes:  

1) Game is a bit simplistic and fast paced to suggest multiple themes, but the main theme of the game is werebeasts. It goes back to the story about 200 years before about how the wild dogs got massacred and how a shrine and a clan grew from that event in order to commemorate those beasts. There's a huge stone in the shrine connected to the event and it's the touch of the stone that actually raised the wild urges in males of the blood. It's actually very nicely pictured that the memories of clan ancestor are alive in Toshio Hiyama. Those memories and the mystery of the girl shown at the very first scene of the game were the main attraction point for me.

2) What's right - to suppress the beast origin or to seek more power? Unexpectedly, game definitely chooses the second in contrast to Kizuato. In Kizuato hero is being judged of ill-behavior just for his dreams and headaches. In Touchuukasou hero is just destroyed in a bad ending if he tries to suppress his emotions. On the other hand, hero is the only suspect in the massacre where two people died and... he gets away with it very easily. So it's a very simple answer - kill or be killed.

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Overall comments: Game is not well known and is trashed for being Kizuato clone. And I strongly object to that. Games have absolutely different approach to the beast state. I actually give the preference to Touchuukasou for having an integral fast-paced story with adorable characters over the painfully crumbling structure of Kizuato where nothing big happens in ANY of the routes. Touchuukasou has lots of charming sides and I played the main heroine route to the end. However, I don't see how other heroines can contribute to the story and CG actually confirm that as there are mostly only additional fight CG and HCG of other heroines. [Petit] has grown a lot over the years and I call its last two games Sweepers and Touchuukasou masterpieces. It's really sad to see story-driven works of unique charm overpowered by charage/moege. 

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kivandopulus

Foreword: Game first arouse my interest as alternative version of Subarashiki Hibi. Then I tried to get the glimpse of it by watching hentai OVA... and it was the worst hentai OVA I ever seen, so I was really infuriated since it did not say much about the game. Finally I've picked it up while investigating year 1999 and it struck me as something more serious than a nukige, especially after seeing those demon mind-screw CG. And it's been a while since I enjoyed a visual novel that much.

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Title: Tsui no Sora

Developer: KeroQ

Date: 1999-08-27

VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v3246

Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8vJwICEnwWJOz0Yf6ycKz3


Synopsis: Our guy got waked up by his childhood girl for school. Once they got to their classroom, they found out that a girl classmate jumped from their school roof yesterday. Soon, people started talking about end of the world on day 20th. Some even went crazy, lead by one guy. You get to see the events first through our guy's eyes, then his childhood girl's and two more people.

Structure: There are two routes - for Kotomi and Ayana, then there's the route from Kotomi point of view, then the retro-route from Zakuro eyes, then villain route from Takuji viewpoint. And it all finishes with epilogue route for Kotomi and Ayana.

Length: 7 hours 30 minutes.

Game type: Mindscrew end of the world theme ADV.

Difficulty: Easy since there are only 3-4 decisions to make.

Character Design rating: 8/10

Protagonist rating: 8/10

Story rating: 10/10

Game quality: 7/10

Overall rating: 8/10

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Rating comments: I did not expect such high scores. Characters aren't voiced, but somehow they manage to feel alive. There are so many protagonists in this game that the rest of characters are easy to understand and remember. If it was only for Yukito, protagonist would get a full 10. Story does not seem anything special on the first glance, but with each route it opens up new depths and raises new questions making it a very integral, memorable and personal experience. I can't rate game quality good for the lack of CG, unvoiced heroes and macromedia director engine.

Protagonist: 

Yukita makes the perfect protagonist for me. He cites Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Bible all the time. He looks like a hooligan, but is absolutely faithful and reliable even though he tries to shrug it off with crude words. He's pretty much the only one who stays calm, trusts in logic and comes to everyone's rescue.

Kotomi is Yukita's childhood friend. She is quite nice as a heroine, but when she becomes protagonist we get to see her constant hesitations and anxieties. It's a pain to see her crying "I don't know anything anymore", thinking "I must be alone and get stronger" and running away from Yukita at school.

Zakuro is the classmate of Yukita and Kotomi. At the beginning of the game she's already dead having jumped from the roof. But her story was the most impressive one for me. But more of it in the story part.

Takuji is the villain of the game. A shy small boy who at the same time wants to peel everyone naked and sentence to death. He's really cool as protagonist for having all kinds of hallucinations that make the game a mind-screw.

Characters: Who do we have left? There's classmate Otonashi Ayana who has her own route, but is not a protagonist for she's the most mysterious character in the game and her manner of thinking should not be revealed. There's also classmate Yokoyama Yasuko who enters the same kendo club as Kotomi, but at the same time really sympathizes Takuji end of the world ideas. Yasuko brother is the biggest supporter of Takuji as well. There's also guy Ozawa that bullied Zakuro, but at the beginning of the game he's dead. There's a magical girl Riruro, but her existence is under a huge question, hehe. We also have medical department teacher.

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Story: I can't really tell about the story without some spoilers (although I'll try to hide heavy spoilers under a banner), so be aware. 

I. Game starts from Yukito perspective 7 days before the disaster and he can opt for either Kotomi or Ayana as the main heroine. The choice only determines couple short scenes of each heroine and determines whether Kotomi H event opens up or not. The contents remains the same. First two days are spent in mass neurosis as classmates keep jumping from the roof and rumors about the end of the world keep spreading. Then there are two days of open conflict of Takuji with the school that result in dangerous cult creation. Next two days are notable for Kotomi kidnapping by the Takuji group and her rescue by Yukito. The final day is not clearly shown.

II. Then starts the route of Kotomi which is exactly the same route, but from the eyes of Kotomi. She's there mostly to add girlish thoughts to the narration and of course to show her two days of captivity and torments (read: H events) while kidnapped. So it's kind of non-important fan-service route.

III. Well, when you think that the game is over, the next route opens up. And instead a week before the disaster we go to two weeks before the disaster to the body of Zakuro. She got raped and made photos of by bully Ozawa one day and from that time was blackmailed into intimate relations daily. But once she gets a letter saying "Rejoice, your torments will end tomorrow". Since it's the most impressive route for me I'd only tackle it under the spoiler banner.

IV. The seven days before the disaster are shown yet again, but from the eyes of main villain Takuji. We get to see how his ideas are formed, what pushes him, how he recruits allies and eventually names himself the savior of humankind. From that point it's hard to determine delusions from truth as he sees monsters, magical girl Riruru, her spirit father and gets instructions from them, but most of the time he seems to just be talking with the graffiti wall. He starts as savior of humanity, but through demonic teachings soon recognizes the need to purify humans before the final skies by killing them. The longest and weirdest route, but at the same time it still feels light.

V. Epilogues sheds light on events after the day X and give more questions than answers.

HEAVY PLOT SPOILERS INSIDE

Spoiler

So let's start with the Zakuro route. The next day after receiving letter her offender Ozawa jumps out of the window right in the middle of the class. She hurries to the trash bin to recover the letter and it instructs her to meet the sender at the station. There she meets two cute young girls who say that they were blackened in the same manner. But through humiliation they recovered the memories of the past and shared those with Zakuro now. They are the warriors who keep reincarnation through the time to combat the end of the world. They have postponed it multiple times in great battles of the past, but in order to get enough strength for that they need to revive with superpowers. The next day they all gather at the roof of the school and are deadly terrified to jump down. But as the window of the possible reincarnation presses down, they take each others hands and jump from the roof... the end. Just WoW. The slice of life drama turns into affectionate eternal war of light and darkness, but only IF if you believe in that. They can be as well idiot fanatics to throw away their lives in vain - you decide.

Next is Takuji route. He organizes mass orgies and kidnapping of Kotomi. But what delivers the most is his imaginary talking to the magical girl Ririru and same imaginary sex with futanari Ririru and then futanari Ayana. He makes about a hundred people commit suicide by jumping from the roof, then confesses his love for Yakuto and jumps down the room himself. So here's where SubaHibi yaoi roots originate. Really crazy route where he compares himself to a famous dictator.
The epilogue shows us that nothing really happened after the Doomsday. But as they sit in the cafe on the 20th June Ayana kisses Yakuto, bids him farewell and suddenly Kotomi appears at her place. Kotomi says that it's 1st September and she's never heard of Ayano girl. And as Yakuto and Kotomi decide to stay forever an eternal sadness pierces that promise. 
In Ayano epilogue they talk with Yakuto about the essence of world, its beginning and ending and make love.

 

CG: Too few! But characters standing sprites usually look so good that the lack of CG is not that grave.

Sound: BGM includes few, but atmospheric short cycled compositions and there is no voicing at all.

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Humor: Apart of this funny moment of skirt flipping there was one real joke. Yukito and Ayano stay at the roof. Ayano asks "- What book do you hold in hands?" "- Kant" " Why would you need a book about girl's genitalia?" "Wrong! It's not about that!" "So it's called just CAN'T? Why would you need a book about impotence?" Then he tries to tell her Kant and Wittgenstein theories. "Wittgenstein? Is that the male apparatus?". I don't remember any more moments, but for me it's important to have at least one funny memorable moment. 


Themes: There are a lot of themes. 

1) Is the end of the world possible? Yakuto tries to find an answer in Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard and Bible books. He uses Kant's antimony to make a conclusion that the beginning of the universe is not provable and thus there can't be the end of the world. 

2) The war between light and darkness forces to impede/fasten the end of the world - is it real or imagination of fanatics? One certain route is devoted just to this theme.

3) Who actually saved the world? Was it Zakuro, Ayana or maybe even Takuji? All three came to contact to the higher essences and could influence that. Of maybe the world never needed to be saved and those are just superstition and ignorance? We have to figure it for ourselves.

4) The separate question is who is Ayana? Her every word is mysterious. She does not have parents, but she's always present at the most gruesome events late at night at the school.

5) What this game is even about? Again, you decide, the first two collages of screenshots allow to treat the game as spiritual mind-screw, youth criminal drama or eschatological religious confrontation of heroes and devils.

Overall comments: I have not read Subarashiki Hibi and can only judge it by reviews and vndb. But what I see there is that the core of the plot and the characters are absolutely the same. SubaHibi was enlarged immensely to fit the modern demand, but such detail would not be possible without this little weird gem from the 1990s.

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