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?
Title: Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.