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Random VNs: Ouzoku

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For a lot of old fans, this is Softhouse Chara's defining masterpiece... and with good reason.  It has superb, complex gameplay that rewards careful forethought and strategic thinking and more than thirty unit types to play around with, running from common infantry to dragons.  It also has a solid story with decent storytelling (though, true to Softhouse Chara form, it isn't the focus of the game).

First, I should say that the first time I played this game, I seriously screwed up in my early unit choices and ran out of money halfway through.  About the time Qoenis becomes available during the main story, I ran out of money and most of my 'normal' (generic) units were dead before I noticed.  I managed to drag things out to the end and barely beat the game, but I can't say that I actually enjoyed the process all that much.  As such, I never rated the game, because I came to the conclusion that at the level of Japanese I was reading, I wouldn't be able to master the battle system (also, I was doing it without the walkthrough). 

In this, my second playthrough, the first thing I did was purchase three supply units (the best healer units, in the shape of a horse and wagon) and concentrated on putting together a solid attack force for three full squads.  This worked out far better than my previous playthrough, which was miserable, to say the least.  This time, once I got access to Dungeon 2 and grind-maxed three full squads of units (including a Black Knight and two Dragons for the firepower for each) I was basically able to ream the rest of the units in the game (though I tended to rearrange things for lower costs during side-mission and ones that only  needed two squads). 

In other words, i went around happily breaking the game balance in precisely the way I've done with every other Softhouse Chara game I played, lol.

In any case, some comments on the story... I'll be straight with you.  This game's story falls more than a little behind Eushully's Ikusa Megami series and most of its related games.  The best parts of the story are during the formative stages and the epilogue, with most of the rest being consumed with raping heroines into loving (pfft) submission in a style reminiscent of Bunny Black.  In fact, Darcs and Jin have almost identical personalities, which shouldn't surprise anyone, lol.

I will say that the ending scenes were nice, in that they provided a short after-story for all the characters whose endings I'd fulfilled the conditions for.  A lot of them made me rofl.

Overall, it is easy to see why this game is a classic... depending on how you play it, you can either sit back and enjoy strategic battles where a single slip-up means ruin, or you can play it as an evil, overpowered, balance-broken overlord of the battlefield who knows not defeat.  This is standard to SofthouseChara, since in most of their games, they've built a way to make the game easier into it, while making it difficult on the surface. 


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