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VN of the Month July 1997

kivandopulus

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So much pure love and light that I'm feeling sick already. Probably I'm really old fashioned, but I'm choosing Onii-chan e as the game of the month. It has some really crazy stuff and rural maniac atmosphere. Can't wait for the dating sims era to end.

 

1. Chikai no Essence 誓いのESSENCE [Black PackageVNDB

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Here is the president and teacher of a prestigious girl academy with over a century of history. Both his father and grandfather found their love inside these walls. What students will arrive this year? 

As you were returning from a walk...

"Nice to meet you, dear brother! I arrived one day earlier." 

My intuition tells me: "This year will be a different year." 

"We have not met for a long time, Arlise... I shall be your teacher."

Raising sim about teaching. There are 4 girls at start and two more join since the middle. Stats are raised by giving herbs. Herbs can be grown in the garden or it's possible to hire a butler later for that and pay him a salary. Game takes the title from one of the herbs name. Length is too short to see the depth in the heroines or the protagonist. Sound is also missing at times. Game has a good aura, but feels incomplete.


2. Daisuki だいすき [Gaga] VNDB

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Military school in the near future. We need to train the best pilots from these rookie girls. 

There are lots of stats, some are given from start from traits, the others are trained. There are as many as 99 certificates overall. Need to take basic sciences for the first year and then specialize. Saving is allowed only at the end of the term. There are lots of funny minigames that are used as a training means. Overall a very complicated game without much satisfaction for the torture.


3. First Step! ファーストステップ! [Bunny Pro] VNDB

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A high school with separate teaching of boys and girls with the border along a tall wall. One day and explosion occurs and it suddenly becomes a co-ed school. What kind of school life will they enjoy?

There are many heroines, each with its own ending. But the game feels empty with few events and over half of H-scenes are dedicated to peeing. Gameplay-wise it's similar to Graffiti from Petit, but with longer period and much fewer events. It has problem with scenes switch and text speed. A boring long game with poor usability.

 

4. Graffiti グラフィティ [Petit] VNDB

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Hiroki Takasugi parents were relocated and started to live with an incomprehensible sister.  He did not want want to move and his mother said he could stay at old place if he has a person he loves. Now it's time to find one and do it fast till the end of February.

Game feels like Memories Refrain and even shares some locations with it. There are three parts of the day and you need to move around the school and trigger events. There are only two months from 6 January to 22 February available for action. Graphics are somewhat obsolete already, but voice actors richness make up for it. 12 girls overall. Each girl has a mood and there are some tricky conditions to fulfill, so difficulty is above average. Well, time for triggers is generously depicted in the manual.


5. Hatsukoi Valentine  初恋ばれんたいん [Opera House] VNDB

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Love training simulation to enjoy high school life during a period of two years with childhood friends and new acquaintances, even a female teacher. Game features a unique system of leaving letters in the shoebox.

Game is memorable because you have to wait for quite a long time for a day to pass, takes about 20 seconds. Now take in mind that you need to pass two years... yeah. There are 24 date places, but reactions to those places are absolutely the same from girls. It has many other drawbacks like endless torture of stats growth as they fall down by 1 after each rest. Even letters system works in weird ways like you get short status answers and how would want that in response to a love letter? Girls are fine, but system kills gameplay completely, even with the use of guide.


6. Onii-chan e  お兄ちゃんへ [GuiltyVNDB

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Main here is an illustrator in Tokyo. One day he receives a telegram saying "Little sister is coming home." He was the eldest son, but he fled to Tokyo to escape rural life. Now he returns to the family house and many things have changed for the worse.

Mystery suspense adventure, or that what it's called by developers. Mysterious atmosphere is depicted well, but there's little of suspense here. The abandoned family members are on the verge of craziness. There is dark atmosphere everywhere and dark instincts prevail. There are multiple endings here, but the "good" ending is hardly any different from the bad endings as it does not solve any problems and hero is still being sucked into whirlpool of dark emotions. System is still command selection, probably to pump up volume. Due to such system it's really difficult to cover all endings without a guide. Only 5 save slots don't not help either. There is no fast skip function so reaching other endings is even more painful. So a pretty depressive rural story with a lot of dark motives.

 

7. Pocket Love ポケットラブ [KID] VNDB

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Hero's love interest is in the higher grade class. This year he gets in the same class with his childhood friend and she piques his interest a lot as well. He is not confident in his abilities, but this year he wants to find his love. Hopefully by Christmas ... 

This is the first dating sim for gameboy. There are stats and there is concept of money. So most of the time you raise stats and events happen if you meet the prerequisite. There are seven heroines altogether. Somehow despite just 4 gradations of color, characters are cute and mechanics are good enough enjoy this game while outdoors.


8. Shinseiki Evangelion Koutetsu no Girlfriend 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン鋼鉄のガールフレンド [Gainax] VNDB

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A shy female character, Mana Kirishima, starts at Shinji Ikari's school and immediately admits to finding him cute. Gradually, a relationship unfolds and they end up going on a date. It turns out, however, that she is one of three test pilots for the TRIDENT units, a new competitor to the Evangelions, similar to Jet Alone; thus the name Girlfriend of Steel.

Game is localized and has many English reviews.


9. Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1: Nijiiro no Seishun ときめきメモリアルドラマシリーズ Vol.1 虹色の青春 [Konami] VNDB

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The story behind the game is about a transfer student (that would be you) who joins a soccer team. He encounters this girl who laters turns out to be the manager of the soccer team. Her name is Saki Nijino.

It seemed that everything to be going fine when all of a sudden, the coach picks the starters for the team. You got very confident in yourself that you thought he would pick you. Yet, the coach only saw you as a beginner and you were not picked to be one of the starters.

This begins your relationship with Saki Nijino and also you start to get to know her friend, the first year manager (she is a new character but i don't know how to pronounce her name). Your relationship grows and grows with Saki because you train yourself infront of your house everynight with her helping you out.

Game has English reviews.


10. Tonari no Princess Rolfee となりのプリンセスRolfee [NEC Home Electronics] VNDB

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The official mascot of the PC-FX console is now the star of her own game. Rolfee is a princess of a magical land which is threatened by demons. So Rolfee and her family - including a cute little animal called Nyai - move to Japan. Rolfee has to go to high school, and she hopes to study well and make friends. Will she have success in the school? Will she be liked by her classmates? Will she not quarrel too much with her family? It all depends on the player!

Dating sim with Rolfee stats depending on main character actions. You mostly only choose maps and some events are totally random and those events can even force some ending. At some point Dark Demon appears and command selection battle begins. There are three endings overall. Rolfee is PC FX mascot character, so no need to pretend - game is made to ship it with lots of side goodies. So Rolfee fans were happy.


11. Virtua Call 3 バーチャコール3 [FairytaleVNDB

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Yoichi Asami was about to have another cold lonely summer vacation. One day he encounters a girl by chance and receives from her a cartridge called "Virtual Call" with which one can access a two-side videophone service. What kind relationship will he find there?

Synopsis is the same as part 2. The number of girls increased, but the impression of each character became thin. In order to open closed girls, need to clear the available six girls which gets really repetitive. Some characters were unable to clear which felt bad. It's quite a worthy franchise continuation still.


12. Wakusei Kougekitai Little Cats 惑星攻機隊りとるキャッツ [Family Soft] VNDB

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The galaxy is threatened by robotic enemies from a remote space. In order to stop them, giant combat robots were deployed to a space station under the command of Colonel Goofy Reagan. The combat robots are navigated by the best pilots, which happen to be cute teenage girls. Since the Colonel is very busy, he needs somebody to watch over the girls and train them. This somebody would be Major David Lowe, the protagonist of the game...

A raising sim, basically. You rise stats and then can fight in open space. Lots of minigames are used for training. So, another weird SIM mix with quite strange space fight mechanics.


13. Yakusoku やくそく [May-Be Soft] VNDB

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Sayama Yuichi is a college student who is being followed by mifortune. He lost parents in an accident and lost memory. However, his life changes completely with the appearance of girls of several girls in his life. Time has come to fulfill the old "promise"  given before memory loss. But what was that promise? 

It's an ADV with location choice. As a story it has very little to offer with one way road scenario and no satisfactory answers gained. Ending depends on your actions. Text, characters, story - everything is done loosely. So with the amount of H-scenes in the game, it's definitely an eroge, camouflaged for a story game. Well, at least old-school type released to PC-98 simultaneously, not another pure love moe stuff.


14. Yuukyuu Gensoukyoku 悠久幻想曲 [MediaWorksVNDB

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Enfield, a country revived 50 years after a tragic war. Our protagonist works in a general shop owned by a widow called Arisa, who helped him when he was lost. After Arisa has to pay a great fee to free the hero from prison for a crime he didn't commit, our hero will have two problems to solve: how will he pay back Arisa? And who's the real criminal? Maybe he'll find the answers by becoming part of the town...

So the hero has ten friends and in the beginning of each week you set three of them to work at some place. In order to raise favorability rating on friends talking is used. Heroine specific ending is achieved by choosing the right answer in four themed events. Game is different from most of galge because you aim for friendship, not for romance. On weekends there are different activities as well and you can train magical and physical skills. There is also some battle element included since you can participate in very easy Colosseum matches, but it's optional, just to earn money. So it's a very strange mix of RPG and dating sims. I can not understand the meaning of this game series. Why set an epic fantasy setting and strip it off all the adventures, epicness while filling it with routine and nothing but encouraging friendly talks. 



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