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kivandopulus

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kivandopulus last won the day on September 3 2017

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  1. Japanese equivalent of notable OELVNs?

    Doki Doki Literature Club! feels like One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~ since you await a very light romance comedy and it indeed starts this way, but ends up something very different. Analogue: A Hate Story reminds me of DOOP as you're stuck in a close space inside the spaceship trying to uncover a mystery. Sakura Spirit resembles Toushin Toshi II for me as both provide a rewarding RPG system with sudden bursts of naked girls.
  2. Liaison リエゾン ~liaison~ [Bell-Da]

    Foreword: Bell-Da as a company has come a long way in visual novel industry, but prior to Liaison there were only terrible macromedia flash tasteless short games. But Liaison managed to turn the tides by presenting a solid story about working adults that kept my attention for over 4 hours till the end. Title: Liaison Developer: Bell-Da Date: 1998-07-16 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8155 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dflf6As2eww&index=55&list=PLENAECnNmAq_3TQ0rXcu0n95aygm3PPQU Synopsis: Kusanagi Daisaku came to Tokyo to attend art university with a dream of becoming a painter, but he clearly lacked talent. One day he meets two women in jewelry store and that casual encounter greatly influenced his life and his upcoming biggest masterpiece. Structure: No division, but choices determine the path of one of the two main heroines or the side heroine. Length: 4 hours Game type: Love triangle story with some NTR tilt Difficulty: Flags are evident and there are usually only two variants to choose from. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 5/10 Story rating: 4/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 5/10 Rating comments: Probably the lowest rating among my reviews. The reason is that I felt betrayed by the story. The first two hours were wonderful and it was not clear where it all was going, then the poor plot became evident, but it was too late to turn back. I still rate characters quite high here as they are memorable and have great voicing. Protagonist: Kusanagi Daisaku is a university art department student. The worst thing about him is that he mostly moves with the flow and after one professor tells him he does not have talent, Kusanagi gives up and gets depressed. It's not fun to look at such a hetare protagonist. Characters: So there are three heroines with enging. Long purple hair Jun and short violet hair Minako work at the same jewelry store and compete with each other in sales every day. There's also childhood friend from hero's hometown Shiori who appears only during short stay of Kusanagi at his hometown and also visits him briefly afterwards once. Characters are quite well done as they don't belong to any archetype and are full of inconsistencies and own troubles. When I don't have clear preference I go for the main heroine and that seemed to be Jun since she had the most of troubles from the start. But the most delivering character for me was Kusanagi mangaka brother Naru. He's an egoistic man, but full of surprises and funny moves. He really invigorates the cast. Story: Since I rated the story as low as "4" I don't need to hold back. Kusanagi is an absolute failure as a man and protagonist. The story starts with an already stupid twist that Jun phones him while working on her sales list of customers, but instead of saying clearly what she wants she invites Kusanagi to the building which turns out to be jewelry shop. Cunning! He comes only to be offered to buy diamonds and miserably retreats. Then by a weird twist of fate Jun skips work with her friend to go to a countryside and they meet Kusanagi in person again even though Kusanagi was not shown going on a trip or anything. The next day Kusanagi decides to visit jewelry shop again and noone seems to care that he comes just to talk and never to buy anything. Somehow that ends up with a date with Jun. And Minako is so obsessed with sales competition with Jun that she decides to... stalk on Kusanagi and get him to karaoke to seduce him before Jun does so. Is there any logic in that at all? Of course Minako boasts of that at work to her rival which becomes the source of cheap drama. Then the real drama in the figure of former Jun boyfriend Daimon, SM relations apostate, appears. So it's a pretty normal relations story with cheap drama, drawbacks and restoration cycle. Former lover kindnapping of Jun and its resolution bring an end to the game. Humor: There were quite a lot of funny moments. While seducing at karaoke Minako asked Kusanagi to guess her cup size. There was a variant of "W" to which she says "What? World cup? Stop fooling around already!". CG and Sound: A very good number of high quality CG. There are only few CG that look weird. BGM is solid as well. Overall comments: I expected the game to move towards artist profession self-realization and creating of a real masterpiece, but there was not even remotely enough time devoted to art. What I got instead is not sophisticated cheap drama without much basis behind it. Even in this state the game is really entertaining for a good half of it thanks to view zapping between the characters, funny sub-characters and fast pace. Later on it does not get worse, but it gets too repetitive and evident to my liking.
  3. Touchuukasou 冬虫夏草 [Petit]

    Foreword: Game had hardy any characteristics but "degraded Kizuato" and I did not plan to make a review of it. However, it managed to keep my attention till the end for over three hours. So maybe it's not really bad? Title: Touchuukasou Developer: Petit Date: 1998-07-17 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15352 Youtube walkthrough:https://youtu.be/adRAHxJVaBo Synopsis: In a rural town there has been a series of murders recently. Part of the bodies was lost as if it had been eaten by someone. Toshio Hiyama moved to this town 10 years ago and he was constantly bullied due to his introverted nature to the extent that there might be even another will lurking inside his consciousness... Structure: There are three heroines each with a route. The whole story takes three days. Length: 3 hours Game type: Action mystic beast transformation type. Difficulty: Very easy, there's basically just one big decision for each heroine to flag. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 6/10 Story rating: 8/10 Game quality: 5/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: In my classification that's a masterpiece. Game is integral. It has simple but clean story-line, nice memorable characters, cool battles and most amusing BGM support. Protagonist is too ordinary though and game quality is lacking due to a really old engine with NO keyboard support and with 5 second freezes on BGM change. Protagonist: Hiyama Toshio is pretty much an average high school student Joe who sees strange drams. We don't see his face, so that's it for him. Characters: There are four main heroines. Short brown hair Yuka is your cute and caring imouto. Short black hair Makoto is your shy childhood friend who you meet after 10 years time. And long red hair Akane is... your fun-buddy, without any obligations. Fourth one is short gray hair girl, but she makes a very short appearance in core game time, so can't tell much about her without playing her route. I only played Makoto route since I'm not a fan of imouto and free love. Furthermore, Makoto seemed to have some early memories important for the plot. It turned out that those memories weren't exactly about Makoto, so any heroine of preference can be enjoyed without loosing much on the story. As for Makoto, her route is very sweet and there's a very nice satisfying ending after the battle. At some point she even abandons her shyness and confesses her circumstances which are rather curious. So I'm very impressed with her route, but I don't like other heroines roles and not ready to manually mouse click through their routes. Story: Events develop very fast here. Toshio and Yuka arrive to the school and barely have time to get acquainted with a newcomer Makoto when they get assaulted by a hooligan Shinichi. That's followed by promise to share bento with Makoto daily, some quality time with Akane and yet another same hooligan assault. The next day starts with a hooligan team trap that leads to a massacre. And lastly heroine specific part with a date ensues followed up by old enemy big fight finale. And something to put under a spoiler as well. CG: Very few from the start, but quite numerous closer to the ending. Sound: Somehow I really enjoyed the tunes and the voicing. Everyone but protagonist voiced. Themes: 1) Game is a bit simplistic and fast paced to suggest multiple themes, but the main theme of the game is werebeasts. It goes back to the story about 200 years before about how the wild dogs got massacred and how a shrine and a clan grew from that event in order to commemorate those beasts. There's a huge stone in the shrine connected to the event and it's the touch of the stone that actually raised the wild urges in males of the blood. It's actually very nicely pictured that the memories of clan ancestor are alive in Toshio Hiyama. Those memories and the mystery of the girl shown at the very first scene of the game were the main attraction point for me. 2) What's right - to suppress the beast origin or to seek more power? Unexpectedly, game definitely chooses the second in contrast to Kizuato. In Kizuato hero is being judged of ill-behavior just for his dreams and headaches. In Touchuukasou hero is just destroyed in a bad ending if he tries to suppress his emotions. On the other hand, hero is the only suspect in the massacre where two people died and... he gets away with it very easily. So it's a very simple answer - kill or be killed. Overall comments: Game is not well known and is trashed for being Kizuato clone. And I strongly object to that. Games have absolutely different approach to the beast state. I actually give the preference to Touchuukasou for having an integral fast-paced story with adorable characters over the painfully crumbling structure of Kizuato where nothing big happens in ANY of the routes. Touchuukasou has lots of charming sides and I played the main heroine route to the end. However, I don't see how other heroines can contribute to the story and CG actually confirm that as there are mostly only additional fight CG and HCG of other heroines. [Petit] has grown a lot over the years and I call its last two games Sweepers and Touchuukasou masterpieces. It's really sad to see story-driven works of unique charm overpowered by charage/moege.
  4. Foreword: Game first arouse my interest as alternative version of Subarashiki Hibi. Then I tried to get the glimpse of it by watching hentai OVA... and it was the worst hentai OVA I ever seen, so I was really infuriated since it did not say much about the game. Finally I've picked it up while investigating year 1999 and it struck me as something more serious than a nukige, especially after seeing those demon mind-screw CG. And it's been a while since I enjoyed a visual novel that much. Title: Tsui no Sora Developer: KeroQ Date: 1999-08-27 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v3246 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8vJwICEnwWJOz0Yf6ycKz3 Synopsis: Our guy got waked up by his childhood girl for school. Once they got to their classroom, they found out that a girl classmate jumped from their school roof yesterday. Soon, people started talking about end of the world on day 20th. Some even went crazy, lead by one guy. You get to see the events first through our guy's eyes, then his childhood girl's and two more people. Structure: There are two routes - for Kotomi and Ayana, then there's the route from Kotomi point of view, then the retro-route from Zakuro eyes, then villain route from Takuji viewpoint. And it all finishes with epilogue route for Kotomi and Ayana. Length: 7 hours 30 minutes. Game type: Mindscrew end of the world theme ADV. Difficulty: Easy since there are only 3-4 decisions to make. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: I did not expect such high scores. Characters aren't voiced, but somehow they manage to feel alive. There are so many protagonists in this game that the rest of characters are easy to understand and remember. If it was only for Yukito, protagonist would get a full 10. Story does not seem anything special on the first glance, but with each route it opens up new depths and raises new questions making it a very integral, memorable and personal experience. I can't rate game quality good for the lack of CG, unvoiced heroes and macromedia director engine. Protagonist: Yukita makes the perfect protagonist for me. He cites Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Bible all the time. He looks like a hooligan, but is absolutely faithful and reliable even though he tries to shrug it off with crude words. He's pretty much the only one who stays calm, trusts in logic and comes to everyone's rescue. Kotomi is Yukita's childhood friend. She is quite nice as a heroine, but when she becomes protagonist we get to see her constant hesitations and anxieties. It's a pain to see her crying "I don't know anything anymore", thinking "I must be alone and get stronger" and running away from Yukita at school. Zakuro is the classmate of Yukita and Kotomi. At the beginning of the game she's already dead having jumped from the roof. But her story was the most impressive one for me. But more of it in the story part. Takuji is the villain of the game. A shy small boy who at the same time wants to peel everyone naked and sentence to death. He's really cool as protagonist for having all kinds of hallucinations that make the game a mind-screw. Characters: Who do we have left? There's classmate Otonashi Ayana who has her own route, but is not a protagonist for she's the most mysterious character in the game and her manner of thinking should not be revealed. There's also classmate Yokoyama Yasuko who enters the same kendo club as Kotomi, but at the same time really sympathizes Takuji end of the world ideas. Yasuko brother is the biggest supporter of Takuji as well. There's also guy Ozawa that bullied Zakuro, but at the beginning of the game he's dead. There's a magical girl Riruro, but her existence is under a huge question, hehe. We also have medical department teacher. Story: I can't really tell about the story without some spoilers (although I'll try to hide heavy spoilers under a banner), so be aware. I. Game starts from Yukito perspective 7 days before the disaster and he can opt for either Kotomi or Ayana as the main heroine. The choice only determines couple short scenes of each heroine and determines whether Kotomi H event opens up or not. The contents remains the same. First two days are spent in mass neurosis as classmates keep jumping from the roof and rumors about the end of the world keep spreading. Then there are two days of open conflict of Takuji with the school that result in dangerous cult creation. Next two days are notable for Kotomi kidnapping by the Takuji group and her rescue by Yukito. The final day is not clearly shown. II. Then starts the route of Kotomi which is exactly the same route, but from the eyes of Kotomi. She's there mostly to add girlish thoughts to the narration and of course to show her two days of captivity and torments (read: H events) while kidnapped. So it's kind of non-important fan-service route. III. Well, when you think that the game is over, the next route opens up. And instead a week before the disaster we go to two weeks before the disaster to the body of Zakuro. She got raped and made photos of by bully Ozawa one day and from that time was blackmailed into intimate relations daily. But once she gets a letter saying "Rejoice, your torments will end tomorrow". Since it's the most impressive route for me I'd only tackle it under the spoiler banner. IV. The seven days before the disaster are shown yet again, but from the eyes of main villain Takuji. We get to see how his ideas are formed, what pushes him, how he recruits allies and eventually names himself the savior of humankind. From that point it's hard to determine delusions from truth as he sees monsters, magical girl Riruru, her spirit father and gets instructions from them, but most of the time he seems to just be talking with the graffiti wall. He starts as savior of humanity, but through demonic teachings soon recognizes the need to purify humans before the final skies by killing them. The longest and weirdest route, but at the same time it still feels light. V. Epilogues sheds light on events after the day X and give more questions than answers. HEAVY PLOT SPOILERS INSIDE CG: Too few! But characters standing sprites usually look so good that the lack of CG is not that grave. Sound: BGM includes few, but atmospheric short cycled compositions and there is no voicing at all. Humor: Apart of this funny moment of skirt flipping there was one real joke. Yukito and Ayano stay at the roof. Ayano asks "- What book do you hold in hands?" "- Kant" " Why would you need a book about girl's genitalia?" "Wrong! It's not about that!" "So it's called just CAN'T? Why would you need a book about impotence?" Then he tries to tell her Kant and Wittgenstein theories. "Wittgenstein? Is that the male apparatus?". I don't remember any more moments, but for me it's important to have at least one funny memorable moment. Themes: There are a lot of themes. 1) Is the end of the world possible? Yakuto tries to find an answer in Kant, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard and Bible books. He uses Kant's antimony to make a conclusion that the beginning of the universe is not provable and thus there can't be the end of the world. 2) The war between light and darkness forces to impede/fasten the end of the world - is it real or imagination of fanatics? One certain route is devoted just to this theme. 3) Who actually saved the world? Was it Zakuro, Ayana or maybe even Takuji? All three came to contact to the higher essences and could influence that. Of maybe the world never needed to be saved and those are just superstition and ignorance? We have to figure it for ourselves. 4) The separate question is who is Ayana? Her every word is mysterious. She does not have parents, but she's always present at the most gruesome events late at night at the school. 5) What this game is even about? Again, you decide, the first two collages of screenshots allow to treat the game as spiritual mind-screw, youth criminal drama or eschatological religious confrontation of heroes and devils. Overall comments: I have not read Subarashiki Hibi and can only judge it by reviews and vndb. But what I see there is that the core of the plot and the characters are absolutely the same. SubaHibi was enlarged immensely to fit the modern demand, but such detail would not be possible without this little weird gem from the 1990s.
  5. Kuon no Kizuna 久遠の絆 [FOG]

    I only glanced at Origin about five years ago and the erotic scenes with the demons only disgusted me back then. But now I have to admit that Origin is much more appealing than the native game since ero scenes spice up the monotonous narration, there are quite a lot of new CG which look much better than the old dry style CG and because there are plot injections. I heard that the endings actually differ a lot and that's a welcome change since native ending is same boring as the whole game. But overall, yeah, I'd pull even Origin out only on a rainy day.
  6. Kuon no Kizuna 久遠の絆 [FOG]

    Foreword: There is a good number of English reviews on this game (1 2 3 4), but those are all kinda short and non-structured. Now I know why and mine won't be an exception. You'll know why soon enough as well. Title: Kuon no Kizuna Developer: FOG Date: 1998-12-03 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v2773 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq-CHIuWBfnU3DYzNCEcLjcV Synopsis: This story starts out from the perspective of a high school student. One day a transfer student comes to his school, and tells him she’ll kill him. At the same time, he starts seeing weird dreams and people mysteriously gets killed in his city. Soon he realizes that them two are incarnated personalities of a man and a goddess that fell in love 1000 years ago. Since then, they have been trapped in a cycle of reincarnation and a battle against an evil god. Length: Took me 66 hours for all routes. Game type: ADV with choices and couple easy battles. Difficulty: I followed walkthrough, so not too sure on difficulty. There are some fake choices, but there are also choices that lead to game over. And there are a LOT of choices, so it must be quite difficult. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 6/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: This is one of the most ambitious projects I've ever seen. Just imagine - 66 hours. 66 hours of not raising stats, killing monsters or chasing girls over and over. 66 hours of pure text reading time. There's nothing like that in the 1990s and it won't be beaten till 2000s. You know, in many Japanese reviews of the time volume is a very important factor and there's often such criteria as cost-efficiency. Visual novels cost a lot and compared to solid books they used to lose all the time. But everything changed with Kuon no Kizuna. It became a paragon for both volume and visuals. I liked protagonist and characters enough, but they don't become cozy. They remain transcendent beings piercing the veil of time in an epic story, not really likable characters who I could respect for their characters or decisions, that's why it's 7/10. The story is indeed epic, but it does not go smoothly. We jump from reality to three periods all the time and the shifts aren't really explained, they just happen. I also did not like it that the first half of the story is pretty much the same for all three heroines and we just have to read it three times with little variation. That makes story only 6/10. But the quality of the game is superb, especially with full voice (excluding the protagonist though). The graphics are stunning and visual effects amazing. No complaints with the quality. Protagonist: Mikado Takeru is a strong protagonist as he constantly has to protect those who are dear to him and he's the only one who can oppose demonic forces thanks to his demonic heritage. He's a one man army and hardly ever gets any help from the side. He'd be more realistic with voice, but he's quite cool even as he is now. Characters: There are three heroines who have their own routes. Takahara Mayou is our mysterious transfer student who greets Takeru for the first time with words "This time I will definitely kill you". Itsuki Shiori is a childhood friend who Takeru lives with under the same roof. Tokiwa Saya is the class teacher. Story: The rant part. So each heroine has her route... but it's the same route, at least for the first half of it. In the second half some periods are developed for each heroine, but still there's a very strong feeling that you're watching the same story and it irritates a lot. There are four periods: Heian, Genroku, Bakumatsu, and the present. Present and Heian are really the same and those are the most boring parts, especially Heian. Heian focuses on a an ancient period of Japanese history where nothing really happened for dozens of years and that's why it's full of myths and legends - because there was nothing to do there. In Kuon no Kizuna Heian is when beasts invasion starts and it differentiates just a bit in the end depending on the heroine chosen throughout it. I especially liked Bakumatsu period for meeting and fighting alongside Shinsengumi (and sometimes against) and kunoichi. But there is a great problem with these periods - they aren't really connected to each other. People can die there or love there and in next period everything starts from scratch. That creates the feeling of multiple stories and I really dislike that genre. Nothing really happens throughout those stories, then beasts arrive, the short drama and it's over. Heroines aren't really able to hold attention. But what's worse, the heroine of your choice have play very small role till the very end of each part. But then comes the fantastic Special route №1 that arrived later with remake as an attempt to tighten the crumbling main story. Special route №1 lasts for some 7 hours, holds a totally new epic story with really great enemies and is a great ending for all the characters, so I can't praise it enough. The Special routes №2 and №3 are there for comic relief after all that superserious narration. So overall the story really sucks, repeats itself in routes and has poor tempo. But the great special route makes up for it. CG: Just fantastic. See for yourself. Sound: I really appreciated full voicing and beautiful BGM. That kept me from sleeping. Overall comments: This game was created to surprise the imagination. It has huge length and astonishing visuals, but there still was no culture of such huge coherent stories - thus the multiple periods format with lousy links between them. Dialogues are long and not too meaningful, fights are inevitably dull and poorly written, heroines fail to catch attention and the absence of humor makes it all a real torture. The sudden jumps between periods only add to the confusion. But this game bears a huge importance for the industry as it made long story-driven visual novels without gameplay elements viable while only dating SIMs, charage and nukige governed the ball.
  7. Updated

    Will be gradually updating old posts and filling this post with links when finished. VN of the Month December 1998 - Kuon no KizunaVN of the Month November 1998 - Exodus GuiltyVN of the Month October 1998 - SampaguitaVN of the Month September 1998 - With You ~Mitsumete Itai~VN of the Month August 1998 - Shiokaze no MemoryVN of the Month July 1998 - luv waveVN of the Month June 1998 - One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~VN of the Month May 1998 - DiaboliqueVN of the Month April 1998 - Love EscalatorVN of the Month March 1998 - EVE: The Lost OneVN of the Month February 1998 - Doukoku Soshite...VN of the Month January 1998 - Machi VN of the Month December 1997 - Universal Nuts VN of the Month November 1997 - Moon. VN of the Month October 1997 - Sweepers! VN of the Month September 1997 - Comic Road VN of the Month August 1997 - Kaeru nyo Panyon VN of the Month July 1997 - Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1: Nijiiro no Seishun VN of the Month June 1997 - Zoku Hatsukoi Monogatari ~Shuugaku Ryokou~ VN of the Month May 1997 - To Heart VN of the Month April 1997 - Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~ VN of the Month March 1997 - Ruriiro no Yuki VN of the Month February 1997 - Yatsu no Na wa Diamond VN of the Month January 1997 - Rookies VN of the Month December 1996 - Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO VN of the Month Noveber 1996 - Mashou no Kao VN of the Month October 1996 - Bounty Hunter Rudy VN of the Month September 1996 - Sakura Taisen VN of the Month August 1996 - Be-Yond ~Kurodaishou ni Mirareteru~ VN of the Month July 1996 - Kizuato VN of the Month June 1996 - Es no Houteishiki VN of the Month May 1996 - Rouge no Densetsu VN of the Month April 1996 - Harlem Blade ~The Greatest of All Time.~ VN of the Month March 1996 - Mujintou Monogatari 3 - A.D. 1999 Tokyo VN of the Month February 1996 - DIES IRAE VN of the Month January 1996 - Ryuuki Denshou Dragoon VN of the Month December 1995 - Lilith VN of the Month November 1995 - Eve: Burst Error VN of the Month October 1995 - Trouble Chaser Dai 4 Wa - Saishuukai VN of the Month September 1995 - Mime VN of the Month August 1995 - Isaku VN of the Month July 1995 - Kuro no Danshou: The Literary Fragment VN of the Month June 1995 - True Love ~Jun'ai Monogatari~ VN of the Month May 1995 - Koihime VN of the Month April 1995 - Mugen Yasoukyoku VN of the Month March 1995 - Cybernoid Alpha VN of the Month February 1995 - Doki Doki Pretty League Dai 3 Wa - Minami no Umi no Kai no Maki VN of the Month January 1995 - Doki Doki Vacation ~Kirameku Kisetsu no Naka de~ VN of the Month December 1994 - Xenon ~Mugen no Shitai~ VN of the Month November 1994 - File: Kokubou Soushou Jouhoukyoku Jouhou Rouei Taisakubu Josei Jinmonin VN of the Month October 1994 - Gao Gao! 3rd ~Wild Force~ VN of the Month September 1994 - Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~ VN of the Month August 1994 - Shinsetsu Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou VN of the Month July 1994 - DESIRE - Haitoku no Rasen VN of the Month June 1994 - Necronomicon VN of the month May 1994 - Tokimeki Memorial VN of the Month April 1994 - AmbivalenZ -Niritsu Haihan- VN of the Month March 1994 - Mirage 2 - Torry x Neat x Roan no Daibouken VN of the Month February 1994 - Dragon Knight 4 VN of the Month January 1994 - Fuzoroi no Lemon VN of the Month December 1993 - Demon City VN of the Month November 1993 - Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou Vol. 2 VN of the Month October 1993 - Nooch 2 Remy no Gyakushuu VN of the Month September 1993 - Youjuu Senki -A.D. 2048- VN of the Month August 1993 - Houma Hunter Lime Dai 03 Wa VN of the Month July 1993 - Bunretsu Shugoshin Twinkle Star VN of the Month June 1993 - Can Can Bunny Extra VN of the Month May 1993 - Nova VN of the Month April 1993 - Quintia Road 2 VN of the Month March 1993 - Marine Philt VN of the Month February 1993 - Cosmology of Kyoto VN of the Month January 1993 - Mamono Hunter Youko: Tooki Yobigoe VN of the Month December 1992 - Koroshi no Dress 3 VN of the Month November 1992 - Dracula Hakushaku VN of the Month October 1992 - Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna VN of the Month September 1992 - My Eyes! VN of the Month August 1992 - Kiss VN of the Month July 1992 - Phobos VN of the Month June 1992 - De-Ja 2 VN of the Month May 1992 - Kurutta Kajitsu VN of the Month April 1992 - The 4th Unit - Wyatt VN of the Month March 1992 - Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki VN of the Month February 1992 - Joker II VN of the Month January 1992 - Himitsu no Hanazono VN of the Month December 1991 - Gidyy VN of the Month November 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 5: Nightmare VN of the Month October 1991 - Rance III - Leazas Kanraku VN of the Month September 1991 - Cosmic Psycho VN of the Month August 1991 - Kimi Dake ni Ai o.. VN of the Month July 1991 - Nike VN of the Month June 1991 - ELLE VN of the Month May 1991 - Ginsei Senshin Guynarock VN of the Month April 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 4: Orgel VN of the Month March 1991 - Jesus II VN of the Month February 1991 - Akagawa Jirou no Yuurei Ressha VN of the Month January 1991 - Dragon Eyes VN of the Year 1990 - De-Ja VN of the Year 1989 - Imitation wa Aisenai VN of the Year 1988 - Lipstick. ADV VN of the Year 1987 - Hiatari Ryoukou! VN of the Year 1986 - Gall Force - Eternal Story VN of the Year 1985 - Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~ VN of the Year 1984 - Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu VN of the Year 1983 - Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
  8. To Heart PSE [Leaf/Aquaplus]

    Foreword: It took me a while to get interested in this grandfather of all modern charage and moege. It took even longer to finish all the routes. I doubt I will ever pick a moege for review, but I need to see fundamentals with my own eyes. There are quite many reviews found, but only one of them (7nightstranslations) actually was reviewing a finished game, but still it was too short and only touched a few heroines. I'll have a word about each heroine at least. Title: To Heart Developer: Leaf /Aquaplus Date: 1997-05-23 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v18 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8UD0quvrBnBr1LySRroX7Z Synopsis: In this game, you play as Fujita Hiroyuki, a high-school student who seems to have more interest in romance than in his studies. In his school there are several pretty girls, and his goal is to be nice to one of them, to make the right decisions when talking to her, and ultimately to win her heart. Structure: Game lasts roughly two months from beginning of March to beginning of May with events happening almost daily. Length: Took me 34 hours for all routes. Game type: Map selection ADV. Difficulty: Only the two main heroines routes are tricky, the others are easy. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 5/10 Story rating: 5/10 Game quality: 8/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: Let's say honestly - from modern point of view game is trash. It's a very generic school moege without plot or any interesting character development. It's a torture to go through and there's little satisfaction in beating the game. So why did I rate it as masterpiece? The whole point of charage and moege is in characters and this game indeed has two very nice character stories. About that in proper section. Protagonist: Fujita Hiroyuki is a very generic high school protagonist who can't sneeze without our command. Characters: There are 10 characters for capture. I rate the routes from best to worst in the following sequence: Multi > Shiho > Ayaka > Aoi > Tomoko > Lemmy > Akari > Kotone > Rio > Serika. Serika is our ojousama with interest in magic. Her route is one of the most boring ones, but what actually makes it unbearable is that she does not talk. Well, as I counted, she said 8 phrases overall with most of them being one word phrases. Her final like included as much as three words! "Fujita-san, suki...". It's surprising how she even continued to stand up after such long phrase. Really, her seiyu should be omitted from credits. The whole route I was feeling that I read 1997 year original work without voicing. Rio is a poor girl who has to earn money for mother's operation and to take care of her younger brother at the same time. It's the weakest story plot-wise since Fujita did not actually move a finger to help her, only encouraged her to work harder at all her jobs. What a bastard! Kotone is our esper. Fujita first tries to persuade her that she's a normal girl without powers and when fails at that wants her to teach him to gain same powers. He fails at that either the very minuscule drama resolution of the route really leaves unsatisfactory feeling. Akari is the main heroine, but she's too much of a failure. First of all, her sprites aren't all beautiful. Secondly, it's kind of a rule that childhood friend should be of genki type, but Akari just nags and cries. The main feature of her route - drums, drums, drums - is changing hairstyle! What kind of drama move is that? Akari does not have her own will and that leads to pretty ugly resolution. Lemmy is totally cool half-american heroine, but her route is one of the weakest, it's basically not about Lemmy, but about her big crazy family. Tomoko is our diligent class representative megane type. It's pretty cool how her snobbish attitude averts class members from her. Even Fujita only gains bad gazes in return at every move. But as her circumstances become evident there's quite a lot of sympathy towards her in the end. Aoi is our cute martial artist. There's nothing even to add here. Route is full of cuteness and trainings resulting in impressive match. Ayaka is our cool martial artist, sister of Serika. Ayaka is the mature version of Aoi and is the only character not available from the start - first Aoi and Serika routes need to be beaten. Ayaka route is pretty cool is there's a change of pace from the school grounds - heroes spar daily at the riverbank. Ayaka is both genki and free spirit. Her sprites are often weird, but voicing is perfect. So Ayaka takes the third prize. Shiho is our second main heroine as her presence pierces all the other routes and because she's main friend of Akari. Shiho route is also very tricky to trigger since it's the route that has little to do with love and is entered upon meeting seemingly illogical prerequisites. Shiho is of genki type. She also is a rumor house and the queen of karaoke. The three songs she sings during her route are very impressive - those are old opening theme, new opening theme and totally new song. The main feature of Shiho route is love triangle and she's the total opposite of Ogiso Setsuna from White Album 2 if you know what I mean. But what delivers the most is the ending - absolutely cool and mature one. Multi is the true queen of the game. Her route is compressed to just 8 days and thus feels the most integral. She's an android of new type. Almost every scene with her has some cute element or situation, so it's the only route that I could read without distractions. It's the only must have route to play, so would not want to spoiler here. Story: None. Choose the portraits of the target heroine and give good answers when needed. The rest depends on the route. CG: Each heroine has about 10 CG in PSE version which is quite enough. Sound: BGM is fine and praised a lot, but after so many routes it really started to irritate. Voicing is mostly great. Overall comments: Now that was a short review. Can't say I enjoyed the game, but I definitely feel like I understand eroge history better now. Could not get it before why Comic party anime had so many references to Multi doujins. It's the first fundamental charage and there are some inevitable mistakes made, but at least two routes are worth reading to get to understand the media better.
  9. How can we make visual novels more popular in the west?

    I probably have the most exotic view on how to make visual novels popular. My answer is treat readers like intelligent adults by providing the most interesting stories the media has to offer. And translated VNs are suffocating for their seemingly large, but in fact very limited number of quality works with interesting stories. So naturally my attention falls to untranslated works. But that alone raises multiple issues - awareness, availability, language barrier, erotic scenes. I'm trying to raise awareness by giving small overviews to as broad range of visual novels as possible starting with the oldest. That provides description for obscure games and creates a solid timeline-based structure to see actual evolution of the media. Availability is another issue. How to make visual novels available from the browser? By providing video playthroughs! But visual novels aren't your usual games. They usually last for 30+ hours and require concentration which is ruined by bashing commentaries of let's players in my opinion. Language barrier is probably the gravest issue. Learning Japanese takes at least three years of diligent study and there's the need to read right now. Before 2014 google translate neural update I could not stand machine translation - excite, baidu, old google, honyaku, atlas are all just a joke so I had to read slowly through edict + mecab parsing. But google translate update made machine translation viable, so I feel absolutely comfortable reading with it. I perfectly understand what's being said out-loud without any translation and it's characters who usually move the plot, but I don't want to struggle through protagonist uneventful lines as well as narrator descriptions. Erotic scenes are easily eliminated with video editing. I usually make it perfectly clear that such scene ensues by giving 5 second censored footage and then skip scene entirely. From my experience in less that 1% of visual novels such scenes actually provide crucial for plot information. For the same reason we have censored versions of visual novels published now in Steam and those don't really stop being good games at all. Even Maitetsu that had the whole point of the game in fully animated erotic scenes managed to get to Steam so that we could assess its other sides. I actually had to drop the game as soon as I stumbled upon the first such scene, the disgust was that high - but now I will finally be able to play (or watch) it one day. My point is that limiting ourselves to nukige, translated works and the mess of EVN is not the only option. In order not to sink in this swamp we have to nurture refined tastes by reading such outstanding story-focused works as DiaboLiQuE, Luv wave, EVE: The Lost One, EVE Zero, EVE TFA, ELLE and some less perfect, but still very curious obscure species that I provide at my channel.
  10. Heh, my evaluation numbers fall quite accurately to your grade, really: Awful - 4 and lower Imperfect - 5 Mediocre - 6 Impressive - 7 Outstanding - 8 Brilliant - 9 Masterpiece - 10
  11. Yougen Tennyo

    Game incorporates too many traits that I dislike, but it's great to have a full understanding of what awaits prior to diving in! Thank you!
  12. Non-yuri VN blogs/sites worth following?

    I'm collecting visual novel reviews sources to fill in my reviews database (except for yuri, otome, BL) with the overall number surpassing 100 already. But active ones are very few. Here are the non mentioned active ones: https://otakuoverdrive.com/ https://awesomecurry.wordpress.com/ http://jhipst3r.blogspot.com/ https://vengilikes.wordpress.com/
  13. Viper-F40 [Sogna]

    Foreword: Why review a Sogna game? Aren't those just short mindless animated H episodes? Those were my thoughts as well. And that was actually true for the earlier series. Then something happened in 1994. Instead of the usual numbers alongside "Viper", game Viper-GTS appeared and it was a one-story episode based on earlier V6 short story. Then followed titles with numbers, as usual till Viper-BTR which is a one story game based on short V12 story. But same as GTS, BTR is indeed ero-centered. And that concludes PC-98 era for Viper games. First Windows Viper is Viper-CTR ~Asuka~ which is as usual based on another previously featured short story in V10. And I actually consider Viper-CTR ~Asuka~ "almost" a masterpiece. Its only problem is that it only takes 50 minutes to clear it, but it's stuffed with four H scenes. So why I'm retelling information that's easy to get from VNDB? It's because Viper-F40 is a totally different game and it's absolutely wrong to measure it by past Sogna experience. First of all, Viper-F40 has only one big story. That's not a new thing, of course, after GTS, BTR and CTR. But it is not based on any previous short story which means the setting and characters are created anew. And now the main part - the game takes almost 4 hours. And that's at least three times longer than any previous Sogna game. And I aspire to prove my point by showing that contents-wise it's also an absolutely new game. Title: Viper-F40 Developer: Sogna Date: 1997-11-07 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v977 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GESdVh2RfTY&index=49&list=PLENAECnNmAq_3TQ0rXcu0n95aygm3PPQU Synopsis: A police investigation unfolds as detective Lilia and her freelancing friend Raika attempt to solve the mystery of three missing persons. Their investigation draws the ire of a small gang... Structure: Single route divided into 6 days. Length: Took me 3 hours 45 minutes Game type: Normal ADV with location choices. Difficulty: Easy - one single road route. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: The scores speak for themselves. An absolutely superb game where I only missed protagonists depth and additional sub-characters. Game's full voiced and animated and only inability to properly level down BGM volume gets a quality penalty for me. Story also gets a small penalty since it resembles EVE: Burst Error in too many ways. Protagonist: There are two protagonists in this game. And the game changes protagonists' perspective from time to time at certain points. First protagonist is a more traditional police woman Lilia. She has her small secrets like an affair at work but overall she's normal. That's basically our EVE Marina and she also works not just in police, but in special investigation unit. The second protagonist is female detective Raika and things have been running slow for her, so she agrees to try and help Lilia with the case. That's our typical Kojiroh, but in female form (since Sogna games need women!) - untidy, careless, but with a spark of detective genius. She also has an assistant Seela who is a daughter of police department chief. Raika used to serve in police, but quit it when the killer she caught was released due to killing under the state of affect. Both main heroes are nice and they interact in an amusing way, but they're not Kojiroh and Marina and the length of the game does not let to develop characters further. Characters: All the other sub-characters are males who represent police station. Pretty great characters. Police chief is a brutal old-school guy. Laboratory expert Lloyd is an intellectual who is surprisingly perceptive (he actually solves all the cases by himself). Police office clerk Mark is the guy Lilia dates, quite a charmer. I really like it when the game has strong male staff. Story: Game starts quite slow with some not so exciting disappearance case, walking around the town and questioning the people. And all that hardly bears any results so Lilia asks Raika for help. And Raika basically does all the same - visiting the same areas and talking to the same people. She finds some clues, but basically stalls as well. Then Lilia recieves a letter with threats delivered to the police office - the demands are to stop this investigation. And then Seela disappears which is seen as implementation of the threats... It would be a spoiler to say anything more, cut exciting part of the story only begins from that moment. I've counted three big plot twists and treacheries alone. And now the main reason why F40 can't be treated as other Viper games. There is no erotic content for the whole first half of the game which is over one and half an hour. Is not a good enough reason? Then what you say to this - both first main H scenes are shown not as fun interlude, but as disasters with actual deaths of characters happening as a result. It's a very serious drama that traumatizes both main characters. But it's also not an nakige as things smooth up a bit towards the end of the game. It's a very serious story touching difficult social matters. Theme: Main theme of the game is the same as in Eve: Burst Error, but explicit explanation can easily become a spoiler. CG: I'm fully content with the number of CG. Due to the game relatively big length there is no animation in every scene and sometimes only months are animated, but that's more than enough. Sound: I already complained about inability to decrease sound level. Well, there is such config option with three different volume tabs, but decreasing any of it lowers down the overall sound in the game, but not voice of BGM sound. Game is fully voiced, but I found couple unvoiced scenes, like dialogues during memories recollection. Also I'd like to not that there is no narrator in the game and narration consists of dialogues that are all voiced. Overall comments: I would not consider F40 to be a degraded clone of EVE: Burst Error. In the end those are absolutely different stories with only archetypes of protagonists and main theme being the same. Sogna has a unique approach that is implemented in dialogues driven story and high animation level. There are so many twists in the story that I happened to blame the same persons for criminals then rehabilitated then blamed again for several times. But there aren't extra scenes in the game. If some seemingly unnecessary scene is shown, it has some meaning - and it's satisfying to notice those short scenes upon watching the game for the second time. As I see it, Viper-F40 is Sogna's attempt to go away from fanservice works towards serious stories. Whether Sogna succeeds in it or not we shall know from its remaining games and hopefully my reviews of them.
  14. Foreword: I really can't stand multiple stories visual novels. But this is C's ware work and the first story was really sweet, fast (just one hour long) and only included several non-significant choices, so I went for other two stories as well. And I promised myself that I would write a review on any game visual novel that I play to the end and that takes me over three hours to finish. So here it is - my first and hopefully last multiple stories visual novel review. Title: Ai ga Mie Hajimetara Developer: C's Ware Date: 1997-06-27 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v2014 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sV_PLFkOIo&list=PLENAECnNmAq91tN-XYUjNz3EOx6KQw6s0 Synopsis: 1. Vice. Katsuyuki is a vampire detective who is a big fan of beautiful women. One day he saves girl Azusa from nanpa guys and she clings to him temporarily as she has nowhere to go. At the same time Katsuyuki is offered a new case by a hot babe. Even thought the case looks like an easy one, there is something fishy about it... 2. B.B. Bridal breaker is the profession of Shin. He specializes in ruining other people weddings for money. There is little demand for his specialization and he accumulated quite a debt. Finally a new job shows up and he dives into a whirlwind of complex human relations during the wedding ceremony. 3. Kyoto love affair. Kyoto, 2052. Kagura is a demon hunter serving in the Department of the Temple government, Demon specialization Section 1. She's in love with a noble Hayato, but his social position is too high for her to have any prospects for him. One day Miyano, one of shrine maidens to goddess Amaterasu, telephones Kagura and offers an opportunity to participate in a divine test with a chance of becoming a goddess as an outcome. Kagura grasps the chance immediately as it's her chance to gain superior social status and confess her feelings to beloved Hayato! Length: Took me 7 hours Game type: First story is normal visual novel with fake choices, the other two stories are command selection visual novels. Difficulty: First story is a breeze. Second story is a horror as there are at least 7 endings and with command selection formula and lots of locations to visit it's very difficult to notice any branches and there is NO walkthrough around... Third story turned out to be one-way road with command selection and fake choices, so easy. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 6/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 6/10 Rating comments: Stories aren't really bad, but length is unsatisfying. You just get comfortable with characters when the new story starts. There are three protagonists and while Katsuyuki and Kagura make great protagonists, Shin from the second story is a sore loser and he's plain miserable at times. The same stands for characters - some are superb, some average and some have too little screen time to shine. I rate quality as average for the too loud BGM that has only two states - on and off - as well as for relatively small size of pictures and just for format of multiple stories. Impressions: So here I don't really get how to make a proper formal review for three stories, so I'll just write of my impressions as I moved on. First story is called Vice and that title does not look appropriate. Well, from the very beginning we see how Katsuyuki pays for women and his inner voice constantly tells him to attack Azusa, but the story is not really about it. The story is about tender relations of a mature detective and a mysterious girl who has nowhere to go. It really looks cute how Katsuyuki constantly tries to send Azusa to her home town and how she finds dozens of reasons to prolong her stay or to return back to his apartment under various pretexts. The whole situation looked VERY much like that of Koriroh and Pudding in the beginning of Eve Burst Error. Also the drawing looked so warm and so familiar as it's something in-between Eve Burst Error sharper style and Eve Lost One smooth animation style. I had to turn off BGM after the first 10 minutes since I wanted to hear Azusa cute voicing properly. But Vice is also a great action story from the second half of it. The whole story only takes one hour, so I see no reason spoiling it. First story really hooked me and I thought that if the other two stories were same fast, bright and easy, then why not seeing it to the end! Second story started plain horribly. For first 20 minutes the guy just stays at his littered flat, sleeps, dreams and has pretty paranoiac thoughts. Then he finally gets a call and gets to the wedding and here I discover that it's suddenly command selection now and I need to click through all the look, speak, think over and over again as well as to pick the locations that I want to visit manually. I'm no stranger to command selection, so I pressed on. Then after some talk with couple characters I just went back to the dining hall, filled my belly with delicious food and upon returning to the corridor I was told that the time was up and I failed which followed with a bad ending. And that ending was saying ending №7! I was hugely shocked by both the fact that there can be time limit on my actions and by the huge number of endings in just one of the three "short" stories! Tried to find a walkthrough and there was none! And I know how horribly difficult it is to try and find different endings in command selection game. Eve ZERO taught me that all right! So I decided just to do things right and not waste time and get at least one good ending. And that was no easy feat. I stumbled into bad endings couple more times before grasped the happy ending with the bride girl. But there are two more girls who you make H with during the main route and who are destined to have their own endings. I've no idea how to get to their endings though, so it ended for me with the bride ending. This second story also required quite a lot of bruteforcing as only visiting all locations and exhausting all the options allows to move further and that must be repeated multiple times. So even though the girls were much to my liking in the second story, the gameplay and the horrible protagonist definitely weren't. I was quite sure that the final third story would be just a one hour breeze since the second story was supposed to be the main one. And C's Ware managed to turn everything upside down once again. The third story turned out to be the main one out of the three and it also lasted the record 3.5 hours. C's Ware no baka-a-a! So third story is more like a mix between first and second story. It has few, cut very cute characters and easy to understand plotline just like Vice story, but at the same time it's of command selection type and you need to go through the same five locations over and over exhausting all the options to move forward. Then finally the day finishes and the next day the routine continues. There's no aim in Kagura actions. We just go around outside of the Amaterasu yashiki. And only on the 7th day or so suddenly the trial time arrives followed by game over. But the third story is the main one not just because it's the longest. It has two absolutely fabulous heroines - protagonist Kagura and shrine maiden Miyano. Both are fully voiced with just a gorgeous voicing. They fool around all the time creating a really top notch comedy mood in the air. The talking demon sword and gossiping maidens make up for a huge number of comedy situations and comments. Third story is a great pleasure to read if only not for the constant checking the same areas over and over. The only good japanese review just skips the first two stories entirely and gives a thorough analysis on all the references on other works found in this third story. Overall comments: So overall I enjoyed the stories united by the love birth theme, but just can't approve the short stories format where many elements have to be sacrificed and H events must be stuffed up tightly. C's Ware again managed to produce a superior game that was too difficult for the general public to like and had faults not in the game elements, but in systems. That BGM that can be either ON or OFF really hurts the game evaluation as you either have to sit in the silence waiting for the characters to speak again or to listen to fantastic BGM that roars and suppresses all the brilliant seiyu work. But it's the C's Ware I love - with bugs, system shortcomings and really challenging gameplay, but nurturing real gems inside that stay hidden from the general public and show up only for you.
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