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VN of the Month April 2000

kivandopulus

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I've waited for this day with terror since it's going to show whether this blog going to have a purpose after year 2008 - first clash with Micchi blog and notably his fool's day edition targeting April 2000! And the results are quite satisfying so far. Micchi highlighted 13 works and has one work that I can't allow to include because it's Tinkerbell work that produces only camouflaged nukige. But I include 11 more works that Micchi does not have. So for now I'm quite content with the result - there are a lot of obscure works Micchi misses and that's why there's probably a reason for this blog even after 2008. So in April 2000 I consider these four (!) games masterpieces: Castle Fantasia ~Erencia Senki~, Rumble ~Bankara Yashahime, Fukakutei Sekai no Tantei Shinshi and Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure. Basically those are RTS, bakage, bad Dreamcast port and a "serious bakage" from Liar-Soft. I totally prefer that serious bakage which makes this strange game the VN of the Month April 2000 - Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure.


1. Angel Reason ~Tenshi no Iiwake~ エンジェリーズン ~天使のいいわけ~ [Spica] VNDB

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School life is over in a few months. With parents gone overseas it's a great opportunity to make memories with the school's idol. 

Wizards, ghosts, robots and rabbits coexist at this school. Something must happen in such a perfect environment! 

A rather mysterious work - and mysterious here means beyond the scope of understanding. First of all - all the endings are bad. Secondly, it goes totally crazy from the second part. It has lots of moving screens and is just fun by watching alone. But in the end it's just a school bakage+galge. You basically just pursue one of the girls without any story. I tried to play it, but I really need at least some additional story to go on. Just girls got too boring and the number of girls is quite big, like 6.


2. Aries Aries -アリエス- [Circus] VNDB

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\A fallen angel studying in a "special angel school" to become independent has to go to earth to study the behavior of regular humans.

This particular angel doesn't understand love well, and comes to live a happy campus life with the protagonist to better her understanding of it.

Well, I hated this game for a long time even without knowing anything about the game just because it spawned such a huge number of side stories and fandisks. Now knowing the contents I can only cite Zen from Micchi blog: "Aries may quite possibly become the worst game ever made, to the point I cannot decide which is worse, Aries or Card Captor Sakura. I honestly cannot see a company getting away with a game like this unless there are a lot more lonely pedophiles in the world than I could have possibly imagined. I for one shall pray to every god and demon I can think of for the next nine years if necessary in the hope of burning this company to the ground before they can visit any more of such misery upon the world."


3. Asu Wa Koishite あすは恋して~Prime Beat Planet [Unbalance] VNDB

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Yoshizo moved to the town to continue study there. What conceal the memories of the forgotten past? 

Number of characters is 12. There is some free time after school and on weekends when we can initiate conversations, but each type of story only available at corresponding day of the week. Remembering all the types of stories for all 12 characters is a good training for the memory! Eventually characters may give you dream glass that contain pieces of your forgotten memories. All girls are also from different zodiac signs. Quite an average dating SIM without any story.


4. Castle Fantasia ~Erencia Senki~ キャッスルファンタジア ~エレンシア戦記~ [Studio e.go!] VNDB

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The year 1247 of the Holy Calendar, the Erencia Kingdom was invaded and occupied by Illumina Kingdom.

Eight years later, Faizeru, son of the Erencia Kingdom consul, returned as the leader of Fenrir, the best mercenary group in the continent. As he landed at the harbour of the occupied hometown and is asked to join the rebel group Erencia Liberation Army, the second Erencia War commences.

The scenario value is great, but battles last long, so it isn't suitable for an impatient person. During battle each unit behaves in real time, and the player issues commands according to situation. The flexible strategy helps to fulfill victory conditions such as person's rescue and guard, and extermination of enemies. Battles aren't really difficult and don't need tactics. After the battle there is conversation stage with heroines belonging to the unit that can deepen friendship ties. Depending on choices and battle outcome multiple plot branches take off. So... game's very amusing, I'd say a masterpiece and first Studio e.go work to compliment.


5. Fugue ~Kimi to Boku no Uta~ Fugue ~きみとぼくのうた~ [C's Ware BLITZ] VNDB

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Masaki happens upon his classmate Futaba who ran away from home. She forces him to come with her to a closed-down school in the countryside. He then noticed that there were many other runaway girls who lived in there.

The only review found affirms that it's a short game in an abandoned school with three girls. Coversation is loose. I know it's C's Ware BLITZ, but looks like they don't really stand up to the fame of parent brand. If only there was some quirk...


6. Fukakutei Sekai no Tantei Shinshi 不確定世界の探偵紳士 [Abel Software] VNDB

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Agyou Souma, the protagonist, is the IDLA Class A Detective. IDLA stands for International Detective License Agency. It's a highly respectable agency that evaluates and classifies a detective based on one's ability as a detective, from Class A to Class F. There are only 30 Class A detective in the whole world and there are only 2 Class A detective in Japan.

IDLA also collects all kinds of requests and offers them to the detectives to work on it. Its base is located in London. Of course, Souma is the type of person who most likely won't accept any cases from the IDLA.

He is a stoic, brooding man of few words, his incredible observation and deduction skills are tempered by his abysmal luck. He can't even step out for a cup of coffee without the cafe being robbed, or cross the street without walking into a firefight between two rival gangs. Still, what can he do? Life goes on...

Over the course of the game, Souma works on four separate (but simultaneous) cases, each of which contains a unique storyline that is independent of the others, and meets a vast array of characters. If he clears all four cases with time to spare, a more complex, fifth case is presented.

There are two English reviews of this Abel Software game. I wanted to play it too even despite the genius boy detective setting, but my pc version does not have voicing in it and this game is known for some very good seiyu. All the Enlgish and Japanese reviews agree on the point that this game is a masterpiece.


7. Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure 行殺♥ 新選組 人斬り美少女あどべんちゃ~ [Liar-soft] VNDB

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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.

If this game was released by some shady brand it would be blocked. But it's Liar-soft title! And a supercrazy one! Moreover, I'm going to block next Liar-soft title Bloomers 2000 for fetishism, so I'll try to pour all my love on Shinsengumi. I opened web.archive introduction page of the game and there's so much love in there that I'm really shocked. It has about 12 pages about different aspects of the game including lots of history ones. There's a very fun opening here. But let's get to the game already. Story is full of absurd. Lots of parts aren't explained and there are crazy shifts from one topic to another. But it's not just pure entertainment, there are a lot of historical figures and there's a lot of history involved. As you can see on the screenshot there are like seven parameters (but most of them are ignored, lol) and there's constant need to meet different people and improve popularity. You can borrow money or can sit without money - it actually does not matter at all. A serious quiz is used while borrowing. Heroine is determined by first several choices, so capture is rather easy. One playthrough is also short enough. That can be expressed in short as Serious bakage. Absurd? Yes, but it suits perfectly for this game. There's an absolutely magical atmosphere created. So is this a masterpiece? YES! But only if you are ok with historical parodies, if you know Japanese history (or watched couple shinsengumi doramas) relatively well and if you can understand specific Liar-soft humor. Too many "If" but luckily I totally fit in here.


8. Hana Kasumi 花霞 [Pink Post] VNDB

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Hero is a student in Tokyo university and he's taking part-time job as home tutor. He soon realizes that both heroines who take his lessons have feelings for him, but they are too shy to confess. They study diligently in hope to enter the same university as the hero and confess then. However...

Scenario unfolds slowly, then manages to confuse greatly, confuse immensely and ends abruptly with solving everything. The problem is that hero becomes uncontrollable and does really stupid things. The only good points of this game is graphics and not bad music.


9. Heartful Memories ~Little Witch Parfait 2~ ハートフルメモリーズ 〜Little Witch Parfait 2〜 [Kuroneko-san Team] VNDB

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The protagonist, Perky, has only his name to remember, but nothing else in his memory to confirm his true identity. He is found unconscious by Parfait Sucreal near the Crabell Waterfall outside Florelmos. When Parfait allows him to recover in her house and informs him about Florelmos, as well as herself, she takes Perky to the wise witch to see if she knew anything about Perky.

Unfortunately, the wise witch says she is not able to claim his identity but that he owns 500000 gold in return for keeping her keeping his sword for him. Until he collects the money by 6 months, the wise witch tells Parfait to allow Perky to stay in the Black Cat Market.

New Little Witch Parfait title. That's fourth game of this franchise done within a year. A formidable persistence.

 

10. KoiYoubi 恋ようび [Actress] VNDB

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Day of Love is about Haruki, the main character, that knew about a girl named Maho when he was young, but forgot about her when he was older, which had made her angry when she asked him years later when he's in high school. So to get back at him for not remembering, she dresses up as a guy and lives in the same dorm as him using the alias Mao.

There are at least four English reviews for this localized to English game.

 

11. Love Mate ~Koi no Rehearsal~ LoveMate ~恋のリハーサル~ [Mink Co., Ltd.] VNDB

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Kazuto is a new teacher at a prestigious girl’s school and was asked to be the drama club’s advisor. He had heard many great things about the drama club, so he was nervous accepting the position. However, afterwards he found out that there’s only one member in the club and that it is in danger of becoming disbanded. So they have to try to recruit as many students to save the club! To recruit students, you have to go around the school, interacting with girls and being able to relate to their interests. There’s lots of girls to ask to join, so it’s up to you to decide on whom you want to join the club. 

I do not trust Mink - almost all their games turn out to be ero-centered. Here we're supposed to gave a pure love romance game. Very low difficulty, no story and lots of heroines. It's a light comedy. But the selling point of the game is interactive touching system during H-scenes. Mink can't be trusted indeed...


12. Magical☆Antique まじかる☆アンティーク [Leaf] VNDB

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Leaf’s newest game is a business SLG+ADV. After the protagonist’s parents left one day to find more antiques overseas, he took over running the family antique shop. Later he meets Sophie, who comes from the magic world, and she helps out at the shop. 

Gah! Two games of little witch parfait type in one month! There's an English review and Micchi commentary on the game which should be enough.


13. Memories Off Pure メモリーズオフ~ピュア~ [KID] VNDB

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Memories Off: Pure game takes place a few years prior to the events in Memories Off. Tomoya and Ayaka are neighbors who communicate with each other through their bedroom windows and who attend the same junior high school with Yue.

There's an English review of this game.


14. Miracle Temptation!! みらくるテンプテーション!! [Escu:de] VNDB

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Saburou is in his 20’s and works at a perfume company, living a normal life (without a girlfriend though). One day, he heads out with one of the part-time girls, Misa, since it was her birthday and he bought her a present. The next day, girls kept coming on to him… something must have happened to make him so suddenly popular. With some research, he found out that it must be because of some type of pheromone. Was it because of something he drank or maybe the flowers he bought for Misa?

Game is not voiced. There's no real story. Type is dating SIM with some twist. Nothing really remarkable.

 

15. Persiom -Yakusoku no Tsudou Basho- PERSIOM‐約束の集う場所‐ [Alice Soft] VNDB

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PERSIOM takes place in a dungeon that leads to Hades and hell. Even though it is extremely dangerous, heroes enter to find treasure and make lots of money. Oh, and you can also capture female monsters. 

There is an English review of this game.


16. Phantom Knight Mugen no Meikyuu II ファントムナイト 夢幻の迷宮II [Software House Parsley] VNDB

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Several months after the battle of Desert City, the desertification of the earth is growing. People call this phenomenon "phantom  phenomenon." 

Main character is an elite knight who gets into a survey team to fulfill royal mission.

Well, system and the content is pretty much like the prequel. But here there'a automatic dungeon generation.


17. Princess Memory プリンセスメモリー [Cocktail Soft] VNDB

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In the sunny world of Eden, there is a cave that is always changing and full of monsters. Our protagonist finds a girl named Felia, who lost both her memories and her ‘heart’. He helps her to regain her memories and form.

Yet another RPG and again with automatic dungeon generation. The number of events is very small. RPG system is quite simple, but it's enough to enjoy the gameplay. There's just one H scene per heroine in the very end so it's more of an RPG.


18. Rumble ~Bankara Yashahime~ バンカラ夜叉姫 [Penguin Works] VNDB

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There was a hero once who saved the school from violence and it returned to a peaceful routine. His name was soon forgotten.

Nowadays there's a new threat and those who still remember that hero try to find a new hero for this task. And the search is finally over. That's you!

Type is ordinary ADV. Game story is inconsistent, but it's normal for a comedy game. Systems are very poor and skipping is troublesome. There's excessive number of characters without significant meaning. There are 5 heroines, each with a separate ending. Battles are done in command selection mode and relatively easy if follow the pattern. About 80% of the 10 hours scenario length is awesome due to very strong comedy elements. It's a masterpiece, but only if you don't mind gag games and broken characters.


19. Sakuranbo Station さくらんぼステーション [Mer Rouge] VNDB

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Transferring into portside private school Seiouga Gakuen, the protagonist meets new friends and enjoys the school life. As spring comes about, his feelings for his classmate become more than just as friends. Since Mer Rouge consists of only female staff, this SLG is supposed to be portray the female perspective and the heroine’s actions more realistically. 

Characters are cute and CG are nice, but length is too short - one girl path is over in like 30 minutes. There are many girls, but still.. Text is very bad. It's a doujin game sold as a serious work.

 

20. Shin Ruriiro No Yuki ~Furimukeba Tonari ni~ 真・瑠璃色の雪 ~ふりむけば隣に~ [Ail (Team Riva)] VNDB

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After losing both his parents, Hiroshi decides to rent a room in a mansion owned by the parents of his childhood friends Kotobuki and Youko. The rent was surprisingly cheap, since it was haunted by a ghost. But Hiroshi is the science club leader and doesn’t believe in ghosts. On the day he moved in, a hole opened in the floor, but he ignored it and went to bed. Woken up by a nightmare, he found a pot in the hole. He broke open the seal on the pot in curiosity and a girl came out, introducing herself as Ruri the yuki-onna.

PC-98 game was a hit and this is a safe for sales remake. There are quite many heroines. Many call this game a masterpiece, but there is not enough in the story department for that. All the important events are poured in the final part of the game.


21. Sho-Ki 將姫 [C's Ware] VNDB

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The story takes place at a highschool (featuring all kinds of pupils, including robo- and catgirls).

The players character (Kichijouji Kai) loves to play mahjonng and wants to become a regular member of the mahjonng-club of the school. 

However, at that day, when he went together with his classmate Ekoda Shoko (who secretly seems to have a crush on him) to the mahjongg-club, they arrive at a scene of horror:

All the regular member of the club lie around in the room, unconscious. The tables are all broken in half. Everywhere in the room, there are mahjong-tiles scattered on the ground. Some people are even pinned to the ground with counting-sticks.

So, suddenly, the whole mahjonng-club is reduced to him and Shoko. 

Because two people are not enough for a decent game of mahjong and in order to rebuild the mahjong-club as well as to investigate, who did that to the former mebers, Kai and Shoko start to challenge members of other clubs in mahjong. If these other club members lose, they have to join the new mahjong-club and have to tell them everything they know or suspect about the incident.

I'm over-enjoyed to say that this C's Ware game has an English review and I don't need to play mahjong.


22. Snow Memoria ~Wasureenu Omoi~ Snow Memoria ~忘れえぬ想い~ [Air Plants] VNDB

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A 100 year long war raged between two countries. The princess of one of the countries went missing, causing a ceasefire, which led to the end of the war. At around this time, Liolet saved a girl with amnesia named Colleen from some bandits, who treated him like her older brother. Her feelings for him began to grow with every passing day.

First half is a comedy, while there is much more serious development in second half. Text is only good during the daily routine scenes and is a headache for serious depictions since those aren't adapted for visual novel format. Second half feels a bit rushed. H scenes are  bland. 

 

23. Tsubasa no Hatameki ~A Sound of her Wings~ 翼のはためき ~A Sound of her wings~ [Shape Shifter] VNDB

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Yuzawa Yuuki is a pessimist. He thinks that life is meaningless since everyone is going to die one day.

Before the Christmas he meets a mysterious "angel" girl Mika. She claims that she came to save Yuuki from his desperate state. He doubts her sanity but decides to play along. After that self-proclaimed "devils" appear. Some of them aim to claim Mika's life, others are here to tempt Yuuki.

Yuuki's long and unforgettable Christmas night begins.

Game is short. There are some four stories and each playthrough opens up a new one. All routes are cleared within three hours. The only good point about it is Tony's CG and not bad text. It's not voiced. Protagonist is weird so it's difficult to sympathize with him. If only the volume was bigger.



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