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VN of the year 1988

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kivandopulus

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

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

1. Angelus ~Akuma no Fukuin~ (VNDB)

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

2. Harajuku After Dark (VNDB)

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

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

3. JACK (VNDB)

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

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

4. Kiken na Futari (VNDB)

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

5. Kohaku-iro no Yuigon (VNDB)

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

6. Lipstick. ADV (VNDB)

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

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

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

Why is this game revolutionary?

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

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

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

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

 

7. Little Vampire (VNDB)

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

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

8. MISTY (VNDB)

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

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

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

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

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

10. Onryou Senki (VNDB)

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

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

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

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

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

11. Psy-O-Blade (VNDB)

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

12. Satsujin wa Tegami ni Notte (VNDB)

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

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

13. Shadow Hunter (VNDB)

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

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

14. Snatcher (VNDB)

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

 

15. The Old Village Story (VNDB)

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I would not depict it better than here

16. Waga Seishun no Youkai Yashiki (VNDB)

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

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

17. Yokohama-kou Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (VNDB)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Examined VNs that did not fulfill selection criteria:

Spoiler

1. Akira VNDB

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

 

2. Ankoku Shinwa: Yamato Takeru Densetsu VNDB

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

 

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

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

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

 

4. Chatty VNDB

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

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

 

5. Derringer VNDB

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

 

6. Dome VNDB

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


7. Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken VNDB

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


8. Famicom Tantei Kurabu: Kieta Koukeisha VNDB

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

 

9. Gakuen Senki VNDB

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

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


10. Gamma Force in Pit Of A Thousand Screams VNDB

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


11. Jarinko Chie: Bakudan Musume no Shiawase Sagashi VNDB

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

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


12. Kaguya-hime Densetsu VNDB

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


13. Kimagure Orange Road ~Natsu no Mirage~ VNDB

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


14. Kujaku Ou VNDB

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


15. Lane Mastodon Vs. The Blubbermen VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (30 min)


16. Pro Yakyuu? Satsujin Jiken! VNDB

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

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

 

17. Project A-ko 2 VNDB

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

 

18. Ripple Island VNDB

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


19. Soft de Hard na Monogatari VNDB

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

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

 

20. Telephone Club Story VNDB

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


21. Touhou Kenbun Roku  VNDB

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


22. What's Michael VNDB

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

24. ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle VNDB

Block reason:<2 hours (45m).

 


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