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kivandopulus

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kivandopulus last won the day on September 3

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  1. It's going to be pretty much my first off-topic post, but I feel the need to inform on the matter why all the links are inaccessible. My free hosting (http://tigrimigri.com/) died on me on November 6th and I've been waiting for it to show up ever since. I can't do monthly overviews without it since I initially fill in data through the wiki. I don't really have any backups save for very early crude version so I felt reluctant searching for a new home. But it's finally the time and I've tried some free services only to find out that I need a paid hosting. First my requirements. I needed Semantic Mediawiki with a bandwith over 5gb. Here is my list of free services with evaluation why they did not work for me. 1) http://www.shoutwiki.com - they provide semantic mediawiki extension only on request, but I sent that request over a week ago and there's still no answer and ticket status directs at 404 error since the very beginning so I guess that's it. 2) http://referata.com/ - it returns error on the very basic create template choice so it looks abandoned for some time 3) https://www.gamepedia.com/ - has Semantic Mediawiki in its extensions but hosts only wikis on one certain game, not other around gaming wikis 4) https://byet.host - is actually the only service that I was able to comfortably test semantic mediawiki after the collapse, but it has quite strict policies and my fresh semantic mediawiki has been banned twice already - for load spikes (I ran shell scripts to upload pages from .csv files faster) and for some 2ch/4ch content (I guess links to vndb.org were considered as that since there is literally nothing else on that wiki). There are tonns of noname other free hosts who actually are byet resellers. They are easily identified by unlimited everything for free, the same signup pattern and nameservers actually looking at byet. 5) https://x10hosting.com/ - can't say much about it, since it says right away at signup that signups from my country are not allowed, unwise to try and violate that. 6) https://www.heliohost.org/ - i tried to register on both available servers and it's it's just unmanagable with very slop operating speed on a fresh installed mediawiki 7) https://viewen.com/ - they look legible, but they demand to like and share them every month on facebook and stay constantly in touch. Upon registration they provide a list of eight (!) segments where you need to give out pretty much all your personal data, vow to worship them as facebook god and some other sections that I did not read up to. Can't stand that much intimacy from a hosting. Their TOS is quite strict as well, so such site as vndb on semantic mediawiki could fall under child porn, scripts abuse and copyright infringement. 8 ) https://aws.amazon.com/ - they refused to accept my card information - guess it's because they are USA-centered. 9) https://www.000webhost.com - they're well known for leaking millions of private data records recently but even without noticing that there are some obvious shortcomings. There's an automated script only for wordpress site, otherwise manual uploading the site and configuring database needed. There's a lot of negative feedback about sudden violating the terms of service notices, so Semantic wiki with its background data update services would be in the vanguard of violation. 10) http://www.host-ed.net/ - company is an old one and there are a lot of issues piled up around it - the most pressing one for me is that PHP version is as low as 5.4 and only quite old mediawiki versions would be able to start here. 11) https://www.freewebhostingarea.com/ - php version is only 5.2.6 and most of pages go into 404 redirects 12) https://www.5gbfree.com/ - site's down for last few days, probably dead. In past I tried it and I remember some severe limitations like inability to have own domain name. 13) https://googiehost.com/ - actually a reliable choice, but I had my first Mediawiki there and once a month mediawiki was just dying with pages loading for 5 minutes/initiating an error. Support ticket improved the situation each time, but after several months of such torture I moved out afrom there. 14) https://www.atspace.com/ - has some real limitations on the MySQL database with just 30mb storage and only 15 tables allowed. That's actually it. All the others are the resellers or/and offer too little disc space (I need at least 300-400mb) or severe limitations on bandwidth/database. So far I've set up with one of the the cheapest possible web hosting (and I'll be making .xml exports of all pages periodically) and I really hope I would not ever need to make a 1$/month web hostings review after this free hostings review.
  2. Vist [C's Ware]

    Foreword: It's a C's Ware story game so I'm in. I have not read reviews prior to playing the game. I followed three different walkthroughs though - and still failed to get even a single happy ending. You can read about my torments below. Title: Vist Developer: C's Ware Date: 1999-12-02 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v6108 Length: 20 hours. Game type: Map selection ADV. Difficulty: Pretty insane. Some mazes are ridiculously difficult and twice I failed to find a way within an hour and had to precisely follow walkthrough. Another my huge disappointment is that I failed miserably to get any happy ending. So here how it was. I followed walkthrough accurately for the first time aiming for Rin ending. For some reason I got only a normal one no matter how many times I reloaded the last two battles. Then i dug two more walkthroughs and one said that simultaneous capture was possible so I flagged every heroine twice and saved before the final 3rd flagging... and no matter how many times I followed that choice to the end I still got only same normal ending. So my guess is that 1) simultaneous capturing is impossible and it's needed to strictly not flag any other girl 2) you probably need to make sure you win all the battles (it's very unclear in the game whether you actually got hit or made a successful counter-attack) 3) C's Ware turned into complete sadists after very very torturing Kazeoto, Chirin. There are a lot of choices and hundreds of map and items interaction so even with skipping whole playthrough for the heroines ending scene is going to take at least two hours (more like three). And there are EIGHT heroines! There's just one CG for this final scene so it's a very short one. After a full day of replaying trying to get good ending I just got so sick of the game that I don't the will to keep trying. Synopsis: Takuto, the protagonist, is a sickly highschool student with a heart disease. His father is a scientist and researcher who is traveling overseas. Even thought he is alone in home, his neighbor and university student Rin come visit him every day, and every night his father call him and they talk by phone. But one day, his father stops calling and they lost contact. Takuto wonders if something happened to him and contacts the laboratory where his father works. But the staff members dont' know anything. Takuto is worried, until one day a strange girl called Eryu appears in his house with a letter from his father. "I'm sorry ------" - Says the last words of his father. And something who don't look to be human starts to approach the hero, who little by little get caught in the case of the bizarre murders. Structure: There are 5 chapters each containing on average 8 days. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 7/10 Game quality: 8/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: I'm biased here since watching all the good endings could melt my heart a bit. But overall characters don't look too likable. Out of 8 heroines I liked Reiko the scientist woman the most and she's pretty much a standard office lady. So there aren't really likable characters. Protagonist is too weak at first and in the second half he fails to control himself repeatedly and looses memory of what happened more than once. Can't really say that he's moving the flow of the story. Game looks and feels quite cheap - mostly thanks to character design and only female cast voicing. Don't get me wrong - CG and interactive part are awesome. Game also has a number of very colorful enemies and side-characters... but they are males and thus not voiced. Story was a firm 9 up to the last fifth chapter where it suddenly changed the location and got too cryptic leaving a lot of loose ends behind. Protagonist The transformation from a weakling into superhuman was quite well done. He's beaten bloody for the first half of the game by other hooligan students and is only occasionally saved by girls who happen to be around. What differs him from other students is his high metabolism and ability to stay close to the infection fog without being infected. What I like about him is how he takes the beatings by the hooligans. He hardly says a word and just tolerates everything with the thoughts "If I do as they want the beatings will only get worse". Apart of that he hardly knows and does not have his own will - it might be for the best since it's easy to associate oneself with him. Characters: As I've mentioned there are a lot of cool bad guys in this game. Later game is based on fights, but there is only one capable of fighting heroine.Apart of the bad guys there is one very impressive "Scarred man" - he's basically of the same source as yourself and thus he just terminates his enemies. You hardly manage to fight one beast and then just walk and see rivers of blood and guts left behind that person. He showed up at different moments in the game and was a great guy to look up to. But again, last chapter prepared a hasty resolution for him as well and this trump card was poorly played. Since there are 8 heroines it's supposed to be a gal game? Well, absolutely not. Every girl has three flags and flagging is basically done by the end of 4th chapter. There are no girls in 5th chapter (well, almost), but after the final battle the girl suddenly appears and you see her ending with just one CG and some phrases. It can hardly be called a "route" and especially an "ending". It's a story game. What's nice in the heroines is that three of them are grown-up ladies in their 30's and the other half are of the same or close age to Takuto. So there is a childhood friend, a meganekko, a hooligan girlfriend, a mysterious girl who is sent to you from your father, a half-native african girl, scientific researcher, news reporter and some superstrong mysterious woman. Story: So for the story. The most stunning fact is that first two chapters last for 18 days and literally nothing happens during that time. You just go to school and go to sleep at home, that's it. What's that - a slice of life? Whenever I got slightly bored with it I just rewatched the cool opening and and kept on waiting. Chapter 3 is where girls start to show up and story finally starts to form. By the end of Chapter 4 the story is over and heroine route is finalized. I would actually prefer finishing the story there with maybe one additional fight. But it goes on in some forgotten African country laboratory. But it's actually Chapter 4 that gives us all the answers. Chapter 5 throws genetics, superhuman entity, clones and superficial myths together and only tells us the story of our father (and mother?). There are only couple locations here, development is hasty and there's little meaning in what's going on anymore, then it gets even more confusing and - bam - battles - battles - the end. Battles are done pretty well so you only choose the part of enemy to attack or the defend action for each turn. Enemy may choose to block one of these three parts and counter-attacks if you choose the same body part. Saving helps, but there are also some tricks involving using special items against special enemies. Some enemies attack animations are pictured clearly, but some can't be seen in advance. Some don't have attack animation and they retaliate every round. It's quite ok as it is. So my greatest complaints are to the story and especially this final chapter. Also the first four chapters were quite lively for the most part with frequent mysterious events happening. Chapter 5 has a totally different, decadent atmosphere - grim music, cold pictures and the hero who does not care about his survival, but needs this last chain to break. Ending is the most important part of the game and here it's just wrecked mercilessly which inevitably hurts the evaluation a lot. CG: Character designs are not too exciting, but CG truly are. Somehow HCG are especially beautiful. Sound: Only female voicing. BGM is fine, at times slightly irritating. Themes and symbols: As you might have already guessed, the story does not feel integral. There are a lot of actions and cool scenes, but there is not much talk behind them. And there is no afterthought either. The mind is blank and is helplessly trying to put the pieces together rather than think it over. Overall comments: It's a good C's Ware game and I'm in no way disappointed. The impression reminded me the one after most of Nitro+ earlier games - WTH was that just now? It's not a bad way, but it does not suit C's Ware. Previous games had a satisfying resolution, but here I got only main answers while the fates of the side-characters and even their true nature remained in the dark. A true route would really fit here well. So I'll try to remember Vist and a colorful breathtaking game with a vast amount of beauty and gore.
  3. EVE: The Lost One [C's Ware]

    Foreword: If you do not know of EVE:Burst Error, you better stop here right now and go watch video playthrough of that gorgeous game. EVE the Lost One is a direct sequel to that game and there will naturally be spoilers on the prequel content. That being settled - I did not pay much attention to the Lost One right away and did not review it properly while observing year 1998. Japanese reviews failed even to give an outline of the plot and were generally not too favorable. Only after playing it myself I found out the perfect answer "why" and that will be covered below. Title: EVE: The Lost One Developer: C's Ware Date: 1998-03-12 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v2708 Length: 21 hour. Game type: Command selection ADV. Difficulty: Easy but command bruteforcing required at times Synopsis: 3 years after EVE:Burst Error. Prisia is the new queen of Eldia but her rule is challenged by radical nationalists headed by archbishop. Marina retired from investigator duty to become newcomers instructor. Kyoko is the newcomer investigator just after severe course of training and her first task is investigating circumstances of death of a young scientist.. Snake is a mysterious figure who is blackmailed to find "memories" of former Eldia king to bring back to life sleeping EVE/Mayako Mido. Somehow everyone hunts for the "memories" and the truth lies in Eldia. Structure: Game takes place from June 2nd to June 6th, then from June 9th to June 10th with an epilogue on June 16th. Character Design rating: 9/10 Protagonist rating: 9/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 10/10 Overall rating: 10/10 Rating comments: I like it when the game is easy to evaluate. I try to find flaws whenever possible and now just can't find anything. It's not a flaw, but my tiny complaint is that protagonists aren't as fun as Kojiro/Marina pair. Those two were just insanely charismatic. Kyoko compared to Marina is quite a plain investigator young woman and her messy hair really hurt her image. Snake does some very ambiguous action, but overall is not a bad guy - still compared to the endlessly funny Kojiro Snake does not stand a chance. But there is one huge BUT. The japanese reviews are mostly based on the initial Sega Saturn version and game evaluation is average. But Sega Saturn and PC version have one HUGE difference - PC version has Marina route crammed in from June 4th to June 6th. This is a huge 3-hour story that gets all the loose ends together and not only that! Marina investigates together with Kojiro, so we're provided with loads of fun scenes and awesome comments. Marina route flips the table and gets the game from just a good straightforward adventure story category to the perfect sequel and eternal masterpiece one. Protagonist:Kyoko I already tackled on protagonists in rating comments so will elaborate a bit. Kyoko is ok, she is normal. She is a diligent investigator, but she does not mind quality girl-time going shopping and relaxing idly all day long.with a cup of coffee au lait. Her first case investigating the death of a young scientist gradually reveals that he was connected with the former Eldia mad king "memories" that everyone started searching. She's does not have that much sex appeal, so there are much less funny jokes and commentaries on the way compared to Marina in Eve:Burst Error. To the left of her is Yuji, a quiet student with a part-time work. He only wants a quiet life, but reluctantly helps her couple times and gets involved into a big game facing charges in crimes himself. For a good half of the game he gets to accompany Kyoko, so her side of the story gets a social boost and feels good. Protagonist:SNAKE This picture is the best view we get of him during the opening and I would not like to spoiler his identity which remains unknown up up to the middle of the game. The first minutes of his route show us how he places a bomb and blows up clothes boutique in a big trade center. How can this monster be protagonist?! But almost right after that we get to know that the instructions to create a hand-made bomb that were sent to him were deliberately diminished the effect with the listed amount. It was supposed to break one chair at maximum. So SNAKE was contacted via pc by some ADONIS who showed him the recording of him setting the bomb in the trade center and blackmailed him into getting "memories" of the Eldia former mad king. It's still very difficult to sympathize with this character since he continues to take some Characters: This is not a galge and there aren't character routes so there's little point in talking about characters individually. At first sight I thought they were overall less likable than those from Eve:Burst Error - it has very cute Mayako, libririan girl, young Himura, affectionate Yayoi, mysterious prime-minister Lloyd. Here there are less characters, but they are shown in development and gain lots of appeal as story unfolds - bartender student Mina, alcoholic Monica, Rena and her president mother, turned on dolphins Ayano, ever-young Natsumi - they are all a curious bunch. And of course the game shares a good number of common characters like Chief, Himura, Prisia, EVE, crazy ministry supervisor woman. They create a pretty cozy atmosphere. Story: That may be considered a spoiler, but I'm going to draw a very faint structure of the work since I failed to find it in japanese reviews. Game is roughly divided into two storylines. The first half is about finding "memories" and discovering why everyone needs them (there is more than one reason, actually). The second half is three days after first story is over. It's about the sudden spread of biological infection all over the world and the key points here are also Japan and Eldia. Both stories are closely connected and second story relies heavily on the events of the first half. And in PC version there is also Marina story which takes the last two days of the first "memories" story. Marina and Kojiro get to find the real culprit over the caused crimes and even investigate the studies that laid foundation for the events in second story. Without Marina story it would not be really a coherent narration and I can totally understand Japanese reviews based on Saturn version. CG: I've checked all the CG again and - surprisingly enough - there's ain't much to show since most of those 150 CG are for story related events or items rather than for characters to show off. Sound: Everything is voiced except for the acting at the moment protagonist. BGM is very good. Humor: Actually, there's not so bad humor in here not even counting Kojiro funny streak. Humor is event-based and this type of humor I find the best. So here are the three occasions that come to mind. Oh and I did not find not a single Bill Clinton joke here! That's an accomplishment in itself! (Those who played EVE:Burst Error will get what I mean). 1) At some point of the story Kyoko has to hide, but she's greatly disappointing by the fact that her friends drew a beard over the wanted posters. 2) There's a small serious meeting discussing the ADD project and how it gets into effect. Yuji who is not strong into genetics adds the bottom drawing and when he's asked what it means, he answers: "anus". It was very unexpected ease of tensions and that's why it was pretty great. 3) Only the dolphin saw the criminal and it's invented how to transform dolphin thought impulses into an image to the fax (PC-98 game My Eyes! nervously smokes in the back). Now the dolphin lies in the bathtub and here's what we get when he ask him to picture the event he recently seen. Just awesome! Themes and symbols: It's more of a straightforward game that tries to explain everything under the question so that there was no afterthought behind. - One of the strongest motives of the game is that of the sacrifice. Eldia is full of patriots, that's one thing that does not change. - There's a very nice developed theme of siblings separated in the early childhood. Overall comments: It's a surprisingly interesting game series full of vivid characters, animations and it's just a really twisted story with lots of deaths. If command selection gameplay looks troublesome - just watch my video walkthrough of the game. I'm really weak to good game series, so I'm getting to the bottom of it. The next stop is Eve:The Fatal Attraction. a
  4. Refrain Blue リフレインブルー [Elf]

    I don't feel eligible to write a full review since I only listened to the voice parts of the game. And the reason for that is that the game is unhookable by any instruments. No threads are found at all. Still I'm confident enough on the grappled content to write my thoughts of it. First things first: game has very poor systems. 1) Full-screen only. My try to launch it in window-mode with Dxwnd succeeded, but menu top started to fly separately from the main windows and mouse cursor started being distorted in space so full-screen is the only comfortable way to play. 2) There is no skip function. The closest thing to it is CTRL which draws a full wall of text and you need to press CTRL separately for each such wall of text which amounts to thousands of hits of this key. 3) Sound volume is outrageous. Voice is way too low and sounds and bgm way too loud even when voice maxed up and other sounds minimized. I had to pull sound volume to the limit of speakers to hear voices well, but each time BGM stroke there was a shock feeling. BGM only sounds for one minute and calms down so that minute was the most painful time over and over again. Maybe it was different for win98 but no compatibility helps. By the way, installer only launches with win98 compatibility. 4) CG viewer is one of the worst I ever seen. Out of five heroines it shows CG of two first heroines fairly well and there's the beginning of 3rd heroine and there's no way see the rest with game means. That being covered you can probably guess my irritation with the game even though the game was not started yet. But there are some positive sides of the game: 1) Full voiced, including protagonist. 2) Beautiful clean graphics. 3) Good structure - 2 girls available from the start, then consecutively three more girls open up and then there's the true route. 4) Longevity - all six routes take about 40 hours of time to read properly. Let's touch the story a bit. Matsunaga Yoshihiro is a young man given the task of watching over a group of students from Touyou School on their summer break to a beach. One of the students, Morisawa Nao, has had sadness in her heart from her past - something Yoshihiro can relate to, having his own issues arrising during the trip. That's the rough synopsis with the only remark that it's for anime made the next year. Morisawa Nao is the main character only in anime. In the game she's just one of five ordinary heroines. She's one of the two started heroines, so I guess she's chosen for the main part in anime since first two days mostly focus on those two starter heroines in game while the path to the next ones is branched off much further. Morisawa Nao is a much better choice over the other starting heroine Iwasaki Chinatsu since the former one is much more attractive and has the most dramatic story among all the non-true heroines. I don't really feel like covering heroines or even the true route heroine since I like the anime short version much more than those routes. Conclusions. New Elf is different. Old Elf works were challenging and playful. This work is stripped of any playfulness and it's a mere imitation of other successful nakige with true route structure. Heroines routes are vastly meaningless and only true route has some meaning. The locked forced structure makes us play the same story for six times with the branching only done by the middle of it without a good skipping feature. This monotonous flow is extended to excessive 40 hours without any satisfying conclusion. Shizuka is the most bashful heroine, but her route included childhood memories scene of her sitting and covering the head with hands while other children get in a round-play and sing the exact "Kagome" song from Kazeoto, Chirin. I get that it's not C's Ware that invented the song, but it looked just like a shameless plagiarism to me. So one more faint question remains - why the hell this crap of a game is VN of the Month November 1999?! Well, with all the flaws of this work it's the modern type work with nice characters and true route. When I look at other November 1999 VNs there are even more irritation factors like SIM, bakage, hetare protagonist, H-focus, shortness or lack of info. Refrain Blue is the only one that's not defiled by those factors. And it's not that bad of a story, just overextended one and lacking in excitement. This is actually the 2nd case after Interlude (2003) where I liked anime version much more than the game. Interlude changed the plot to clear the mess of a setting and Refrain Blue just gathered the most interesting heroine path together with true route, cut everything else and set the table with a nice one hour long work. If you want to taste Refrain Blue, just watch the anime version, really.
  5. VN of the Month November 1999

    The VN of the Month November 1999 is Refrain Blue. Why? I'd better tell that in my review of it. 1. Essence Lost エッセンスロスト [R.A.N.Software] VNDB One week before graduation from school the hero falls asleep at the part and upon waking up gets a feeling that he lost something. A hunger for love rises in him and he won't waste this week. Period is actually only four real days. Some heroines personify love of the past and some love of today. Hero does not have a personality at all and he changes drastically from one route to another. Game flow is quite usual, as a normal galge. There are devil scenarios as well with dark themes dominating. There are a lot of bugs and flags are just non-identifiable. The events and endings are exactly the same for the heroines, just CG differ. It's quite a short game. 2. Folk Song フォークソング [Rewnoss & Arkham Products] VNDB This is a story of three girls and three boys that attend the high school in a rural town. This is no place for emotions, but empathy will open hearts of these three pairs to each other. Game has a good atmosphere, mostly thanks to the artist Koike Sadaji who did ~The world is drawing to an W/end~ of Abogado Powers just lately. And same as that work there's a lot of charm and uniqueness in this work, but the lack of volume strikes it all out. Full length is just a few hours. Otherwise it's a harmonious, calming and touching story with an atmosphere as if from Miyazaki works. 3. Futari ふたり [Uran] VNDB A girl appears before the hero who just proposed to his fiance. She has come from the future as a volunteer in time travel experiment. Time machine gets damaged in the process cutting the way back to future. he time machine got wrecked and the girl lost his way to return to the future. Will the hero successfully marry his fiance or get interested in time traveler? Yet another work of Uran - 3rd one in two months already. It's obvious that there are two heroines here. Game is mostly a comedy with many deformed drawings. Engine is written on Visual basic and has no options. Text is not good, but tempo is great and length is sufficient, around 7 hours. 4. Gojuusou 五重奏 [NOCTOVISION] VNDB St. Orpheus Institute of Music. The quintet aims to participate in a prestigious music festival and conquer it. For that it's important to refine the hearts to produce impressive melodies as well as get musical techniques and knowledge. The participants are young girls with their troubles, conflicts and reasons. They will need to have their anxieties of mind lifted in order to play in unison. Well, it's a SIM, although parameters aren't much emphasized as flags. Schedules on weekdays and free time on weekends. Skipping is difficult to use and one day takes very long, so even one playthrough is painful. Systems are primitive with nothing but save/load. 5. Hoshi no Pierce 星のピアス [Actress] VNDB 2100 A.D. Main character studies in the space university on the Earth and comes to Mars' residential dome to prepare for the final exam. He is assigned to a group of the best students to help each other as the exam focuses on the importance of communication. How will this month pass in a company of beautiful girl student fellows? Every movement takes one hour from 12 hours in each day. There are some obligatory classes so just chasing girls is a no go. There's a distinct minigame for each heroine. Quite an ordinary work that's set in uncommon setting. Oh, and unlike first two works of "Actress" H-content is quite weak - it's a pure love game. 6. Kijin Soushi 鬼神草紙 [Jade] VNDB Kazuya Hyodo in Tokyo learns that his father is gruesomely killed. Without much confidence in police he starts looking for the killer himself. Kiyoshi Saki in Kyoto finally gets a permission from the boss to investigate a serious case - he is set to follow the series of bizarre murders. Two distant incidents get linked in one deadly dance. There are a lot of choices and wrong choices lead to numerous bad endings. Demons and esoteric rituals are the the main theme. The viewpoint between the characters changes forcibly. Story lacks depth. Voice acting is especially bad. 7. Lovemation ラブメーション [I’s9] VNDB Hero recently graduated. He had a job offer waiting, but it was cancelled. He looks through job vacancies magazine and applies for an animation production company since the anime he watched in the past was quite fun. However anime production turns out to be a very severe exhausting process with running over eccentric weirdos all the days and having to rush everyone day and night and constantly being on the verge of deadline. However, there are also people of unique personality here. Whenever he relaxes after work there all kind of situations possible, even serious love development. Will animation be completed? Can you get the girl you like? Everything depends on you during these two months. Every morning hero goes to a company, receives instructions from seniors and decides the action for that day. The story begins from the state when the original production is almost finished, but there's a a lot of room for animation and production improvement. Girls can be pursued at any time in the story development, but neglecting the job can lead to poor results. There aren't any reviews on the game. 8. Majokko Mariel'n 魔女っ娘マリエルン [Escu:de] VNDB Main character is a ronin student. If he fails to enter university this year he'll need to inherit his family ramen shop. One day he meet again with his junior high school first love Iori and reunites with her. However, on another day a girl comes down from the sky on a broom and she is followed by another girl. Hero is caught up in a dispute, and turned into a small animal (ferret) by the magic. The first girl escapes and second girl Mariel, remains. Mariel explains the circumstances - he has to live in this form for a while till she finds a way to dispel the magic. There are three heroines - Mariel, former girlfriend and Elma, another good witch. First half is comical, but second part is serous, so the overall balance is good. There are five chapters and there's a shooting game at the end of each chapter. Text is slow to draw and it contributes to monotonous feeling. There are around 10 flags so it's a bit difficult to grasp the right ones. Elma root is the best, but hardest to flag. 9. Refrain Blue リフレインブルー [Elf] VNDB Matsunaga Yoshihiro is a young man given the task of watching over a group of students from Touyou School on their summer break to a beach. One of the students, Morisawa Nao, has had sadness in her heart from her past - something Yoshihiro can relate to, having his own issues arising during the trip. Elf returned late for the party. I need to blind play and review this game myself in order to evaluate the state of Elf affairs. 10. Ribbon 2 [Bonbee!] VNDB As winter changes autumn there is premonition of new changes and new acquaintances in the air. There are nine heroines and period is one October month. Capture is easy since the maps with the heroines are highlighted with ribbon image. There are some limited choices during conversations with heroines. Protagonist is a lumpy hetare who avoids heroines and in some routes he's just unintelligible. Each route has its own theme and main hero is forces into it. The flow is morning-school trip-lunch-after school-night. There's no real link with the prequel apart of the fact that they're both classic galge. Overall impression is good since routes vary from each other, there's a good atmosphere and there's a strong friendship theme. 11. Ryouki no Ori -Dai 3 Shou- 猟奇の檻 -第3章- [Penguin Works] VNDB In one local office of Mirai TV a few problems occurred over several weeks. The female news casters expression is too sexy and nasty during evening news. However the ratings skyrocketed with male viewers looking forward to continuation. Other media filed complaints and a serious investigation was launched. Hero is hired as a newcomer to soften the tension. What is the purpose of the crime?Who is the culprit? Only you can solve it .... Wow, the return of bizarre cage series after a big pause. Map choice ADV. Compared to previous two titles the colors and the atmosphere got darker as the killings continue. System is inherited from previous parts, but time limit sections are much less demanding. Two mistaken answers are needed for a bad ending spawn and there aren't many bad endings. Difficulty level is high. There are six heroines and they are cute. H content level is the highest in the series. 12. Soukoku no Nocturne 蒼刻の夜想曲 [PL+US] VNDB Modern Tokyo. Hero attends music university and meets a girl who can neither talk nor remember anything on a street. He calls her Rumi and takes her home. One day vampire Sheri the Nosferatu appears before the hero, but she is driven off by female hunter Aisha. Rumi is linked to those two people and gets involved into conflict between them. Finally a story work. There are three heroines and Rumi is not seen as a main heroine since she is weak compared to her counterparts and has to rely one someone. Well there is True Ending only for Rumi. Game's very rare. 13. Tantei Jinguuji Saburou: Tomoshibi ga Kienu Ma ni 探偵 神宮寺三郎 灯火が消えぬ間に [Data East Corporation] VNDB An injured young man suddenly takes refuge at the detective agency. Investigation of two cases becomes complex as they are gradually woven together. There's an English review of the game. 14. Tina wa Seirei Tsukai ティナは精霊使い [Pinpai] VNDB Rahel is a professional swordsman. He takes a job to hunt bandits since it's well paid and takes a female companion with him. He has to cooperate with the female group of bandit hunters "Arabian Knights". Setting is arabic-like world. There are five heroines. Operation is mouse only. It's a very simple RPG - no parameters, no items, no money, no random encounters. There are from 3 to 5 people in the party in battles, but final battle gets the number to 11. Story is quite fascinating. H element is above average. 15. Tokimeki Memorial 2 ときめきメモリアル2 [Konami & KCET] VNDB Tokimeki Memorial 2 takes the basic story of the first game where you are playing a male student through his 3 years of high school but this time when you first play you start out as a kid who then later moves away. There are many English reviews. 16. Twinkle Revue トゥインクルレビュー [Fairytale] VNDB You play the role of a active manager of a production company. One day your boss orders you to go out and find the "star of tomorrow." So you go to a talent development institution called Twinkle Actress School. Your job is to sneak into there undercover and find potential candidates. The only person there who knows your true identity is your ex-trainee Sanae who is now the dorm director. Besides her, there are 5 girls that catch your attention: Nozomi who is Sanae's niece, Mayu who is the sister of a really famous star, Hiziri whose voice can make her a famous singer, Shizuya who has a great potential to be a beautiful model, and Mamiko who is talented in voice acting. You will stay for 3 weeks, and during your stay you will take lessons with girls and communicate with them and get as much data as possible so you can report to your boss. There is an English review. 17. Wagamama Calamity わがままカラミティ [Rune] VNDB The goddess Karamichi spread chaos over the continent until buddhists from magical kingdom sealed her powers. With the destruction of that kingdom the competition over the Stone of Magic and thus continent hegemony has begun. Glenn gets hired by one of the sides and he leads his employer to the victory. Tactical strategy. There is a hexagone map with units to move by turns. There is a card minigame during the battles. There are seven countries overall, so six to compete with. Difficulty is easy and length is short. H element is above average due to spoils of war in conquered land.
  6. Since there are so many reviews of it, there's no need in full review, so I'm just explaining my choice for this game to be the game of the month October 1999. The game is painful with a lot of text, characters, interaction with the scenery, puzzles and seemingly unrelated cases. Up to the middle of it I really struggled through painfully. Game is about five cases of a heinous crime unit 1. But what's cool about it is that it's not about finding and catching the culprit. Those are just stories that have a beginning and some resolution, mostly sad resolution, actually - pretty much failing the case. Case 1 is about a swat team being massacred by some legendary criminal Kamui and eventually finding this Kamui as a totally emotionless shell of a human. Case 2 suddenly shifts the focus to some homeless children who live in the shelters - one of the boys is lost and we discover the story about his disappearance. Case 3 is about two syndicates rivalry and kidnapping of one syndicate's director. Case 4 is about illegal surveillance and streaming of private moments of life of a pop idol. Case 5 returns us to the mystery behind Kamui and all the cases finally get connected into one satisfying resolution. The gist of the story is presented in a fairytale told by one of characters and since it has great importance and great charm I'm giving the direct dialogue: - You know, recently... some people say fantasy is like brainwashing. Giving kids sweet dreams for the purpose of controlling them. - When you put it that way, that sounds right. - Originally they were pretty messed up stories. - Like "messed up" how? - Realistic stories, without all the happy stuff. - Well, that sure sucks. - That's why they got turned into happier stories. - Is that all? - No. Here's where it starts. So anyways, when I was a kid, there was this fairytale I heard. It's an old folktale from my hometown, but... - Hm. - Once upon a time, there was a princess. A beautiful princess. A terrible giant serpent fell in love with her. The serpent ruled the land ... no, he had taken over the land. - He invaded it? - Yeah. The serpent turned the king into stone. The greedy serpent wanted the princess... So he took her away... - Pretty standard shit. Go on, go on. - Then came a band of heroes. To rescue the princess they ventured to the huge castle. - Well of course. I'd do the same thing. - The heroes combined their powers and fought the serpent. And then... - What happened? - They defeated it. - Fuck yeah!!! - Everything was fine and good. - Is that the end? - Well, mostly... - What the fuck? That's just a normal-ass fairytale. That sucked. - You liked it, right? - No, that's no good. There's no twist. - It's not over yet. - What? - Think of the story I just told you. It's been tweaked to make it nice. The realistic parts have been obfuscated. - Well then what the hell happens? - The princess was dead... - What the fuck?! What do you mean? - She was killed by the serpent. - Man, FUCK that serpent! The fuck kind of story is that? - And one more thing... There is no serpent. - No? Why not...? That stuff comes up in stories all the time. - Of course there isn't. There's no such thing as a "giant serpent" - Well. yeah... - It wasn't a serpent, but a human. The heroes were people, too. Humans killed another human, for revenge. - That's just a crime... - Yeah... Fairytales are crimes. The unrealistic fantasy that happens in real life is crime. Rereading this dialog after finishing the game actually bears a lot of sense, it's the shortened version of the game's theme and meaning. The game does not really tell much directly and there's still the need to think up the rest of it, just like in this dialogue. Let's get to the bad points. It's long (over 15 hours), slow-paced, low on events. It does not have voicing. It's mostly in sepia tone. Art is of specific and quite shy style. It's quite hard to guess who's talking since you just get the sentences appearing in one window one by one. It has a lot of interactivity. There's one hundred-questions spree with only 10 seconds for each answer and questions are mostly on history-sciences-media topics. Interface and controls are confusing. Dialogues are dodgy and make no sense. Characters treat each other poorly, trade in homophobic and sexist slurs. There are some puzzles. Game can be repetitive - at one case you need to search 80 separate and identical rooms in order to find five items. Now to the good ones. Game is great because it has cool charismatic characters each with distinguishing personality. Characters-like it reminds me the Unit from Ghost in the Shell the most. The atmosphere is quite like that as well. Heroes smoke, curse like hell and talk in a cryptic way. The dialogues are just awesome with constant verbal abuse towards each other. But as for the story twists and mystery it resembles Metal Gear Solid series the most, as for me. What makes a masterpiece for me is being memorable, no matter how many suffering it brings in the process - just need to treat them as trials. And there's no need to get tortured - there are a lot of great video let's plays of it without the commentaries. But in the end we get a mature, rich in details story that leaves much for the afterthought and lots of precious memories to cherish.
  7. VN of the Month October 1999

    The game of the October 1999 is Silver Jiken. I wanted to write in couple sentences why, but I failed at that miserably and I'd better post a non-structured review of it in order not to overburden this post. 1. Days Innocent [Inspire] VNDB Mutsuki and Kaede are girl cousins who were very close at childhood friends but have not met for almost 10 years because Kaede illness and transfer. Now Kaede joins other girls in the study and her heart flies to tender their wounds. Somehow I feel that this game should stay in the list despite quite a big number of H yuri scenes. It's a game of special atmosphere. There is no main character and the story is told from 3rd person perspective. Well, there isn't a story, but rather a collection of event-stories. Map is show and time goes in real time and from time to time character icons show up and there's an even upon clicking. There are five girls. The main line is how weak and lonely Kaede joins the study with other girls and gets supportive with their problems. It's more of a nakige than a yuri work and can be immersive. One playthrough is about 4 hours. 2. Fifth Fifth ~フィフス~ [Rune] VNDB A mage found a magical girl and decided to raise her. He trains her in Earth, Water, Fire and Air magic with some help. She has the potential to become an angel, demon, or even human. How his treats her will determine what she becomes. Yet another training SIM. Now the loli version. Actually it's much closer to ADV this time. In ten days there's a devil/angel branch and after 25 days game's over. There are a lot of events scattered around. The amount of text is small. There is no voicing. 3. Gekko 月光 [Uran] VNDB Hiroshi and Yukiko were going out at school. After graduation Hiroshi went on to university in Tokyo and found a new girlfriend. They meet again in seven years at alumni gathering can't get enough of each other. However Yukiko gets leukemia and gradually weakens day by day. The game was quite famous in Japan as some critics put it as the nakige of the year 1999 shamelessly pushing Kanon and Kana out. So first chapter is about junior school, second chapter is about new love Izumi and third chapter about Yukiko illness. It's a love triangle and medical nakige mix. I don't appreciate nakige, but medical sickness ones are the worst in my opinion. And only this third sickness story is voiced - that's cheap. There are choices, but they are totally ignored and story just goes in linear manner and it goes to quite crazy level - you may refuse to go to the meeting place with Izumi and you may refuse to date her, but game still would associate you as lovers. Hero is just an indecisive failure. It's probably another work that people either love or hate since evaluations vary from kusoge to kamige. 4. Heart ni Hi o Tsukete... ハートに火をつけて… [Fairytale] VNDB A beautiful female fighter Ayaka Shimada appeared like a comet in the female fighting sports world and got a nickname "Fighting Goddess". She had a legendary trainer whom she owned her success. Two years later she finally stepped down from the pedestal. New stars show up with the feeling "I want to be as strong as Ayaka!" and it's coach job to fulfill those dreams. This game is quite ero-centered so I struggled a lot whether block it or not. Training is simplified and battles are fightings are done through cards. But there are quite many H-events in each of the six heroines routes. It's closer to the romance game than a raising SIM, to be honest. 5. Kasumi Yuugi かすみ遊戯 [Purple] VNDB With the advancing technology, man is able to create realistic man-made humanoids. One variation of such is the virtual brothels, one of which is called Karma. Such places are so expensive that spending one night there costs a month's salary. You as the player of this game, luckily got a freebie guest pass to this virtual brothels. There you meet an overly cute robot called Kasumi, and she is who you will spend your night life with. However, your guest pass can only last for ten visits... Will you be able to stay with Kasumi forever? There's a good English review on the game. 6. Limit 168 リミット168 [Sweet] VNDB You have arrived on a mysterious island with no memories. Searching for something that helps you remember, you meet a group of lonely girls... There's an English review of this game. 7. Maina ~Haja no Ketsumyaku~ 舞菜 ~破邪の血脈~ [Kappa Dou] VNDB Yoichiro comes from an old religious family, but he's unaware of his roots even though he has a potential. His parents worry about the decline of the clan and they decide to marry him on a talented spiritualist Mai even though he already has a fiance Yuko. The demon is aware of Yoichiro potential and he tempts Yoichiro through his classmate Taeko. Game is quite dense with H events and story does not really hold much. Even upon choosing an option leading to bad end you can go on from last decision. 8. Niji-iro Season Sarigenaku 虹色シーズン さりげなく [Peach] VNDB This is the world of sword and magic "Paiona". Three races occupy it. There is "sword and magic school" in Sao Paolo, the central city of Paonaa. It is a prestigious school where freshmen are only accepted once in three years. At this school "Red Moon Battle" is held every three years when the red moons rise. The winners are recognized as wizards. Four girls participate in the contest to become real witches. It's something like Sotsugyou ~Graduation~ but in fantasy world. Main hero is actually the teacher that's entrusted with teaching these four heroines. It's a very loose scenario with sudden H events and demon group appearing by the end just to be defeated instantly. The game is actually short and takes one hour to finish. Graphics is the only selling point of the game. 9. Omoide no Photograph 想い出のフォトグラフ [Airyu] VNDB Yuichiro Ino is a photographer who does not sell well. This time he has to take a job of photographer assistant to get the views of Kyoto. He rides the Shinkansen and gets to Kyoto where he meets four beautiful girls. ADV with mini-games. Taking pictures is also organized as a minigame. There's no text skip and message speed is not adjustable, so it's a very painful game. Second half is actually about how the hero gets involved in a murder, but the story is sloppy. Period is only three days so development is forced. Enjoy Kyoto views and the girls, quite average game. 10. Prismaticallization プリズマティカリゼーション [Arc System Works] VNDB Prismaticallization is a dating sim, whose hero is a highschool senior named Shoji. He finds a strange object when he's invited to a summer resort by his classmate Akemi. The object causes him to repeat a day, but seems slightly different. The same day repeats over and over, but there are some decisions that you can make which affect the next day like the decision whether to keep or leave an item - somewhat like in YU-NO. It's more of an experimental work, but it has much charm about it. Several mysteries remain unsolved. Very few things are explained and players lack information all the time. 11. Psycho Rhythm [Vision] VNDB Five scientists died in the explosion upon conducting an experiment. Among them were Samba Hiroshi's parents. He lost parents at the age of 12 and was taken in by the neighboring Imino family. He lost memory and only faintly remembers being in the laboratory just before the tragedy happened. After graduation we started working as assistant detective in the Imino family and the first job is Left Eye case. Over 60 victims were found with their left eye gouged. Imino family head found the clues to it and was killed while investigating abandoned port warehouse. Samba is set to reveal the conspiracy behind this case and secret ESP's organization that manipulates unknown power with unknown purpose. Game's based on a very weird engine. The battles in the game are done in turn-based mode with several parameters to take care of - stamina, soul and E.S.P. Each card has attack points, defense points. Upon some condition E.S.P. skills are allowed to use during the attack. As for plot... it's very trashy... I hope the chosen CG alone tells well to what extent. 12. Pure Mind ~Prelude to Harlemblade~ [Giga] VNDB You play the role of Rian, who lost his memory and was taken care of by a mercenary called Will since 3 years ago. Since then Rian joined Will's mercenary group to work and got pretty popular, especially among girls. Now, Will orders Rian to help stop the war between 2 foreign countries, and through this journey Rian will gradually recover his memory. After Will gives you the task, you have the freedom to choose 1 of the 3 main heroines by finding them in your town. Later, a knight (female) who is one of the 2 warring countries will join you. There's an English review of this Giga game. 13. Refrain Dream リフレイン・ドリーム [Mu] VNDB The main character is a graduating high school student. On Christmas Eve he confesses his feelings to his childhood friend. She passes him the ring saying that she will come to him when he remembers. In a dream a mysterious girl comes to him saying that he should get the paired ring in order to fulfill his hopes. Paired ring is divided into many pieces and scattered around the world and some pieces are hidden in the world of books. You can gain access to the world of each book by buying the needed book at the antique shop. Different girls need different books. You start with the ability to read three books overnight and that will increase with time. If you choose wrong books, you may fail to meet the girl. There are 8 heroines. So it's a SIM with multiple girls and endings. 14. Renegade Renegade レニゲード [Uran] VNDB Rail has a faint feeling for his childhood friend Tina. Tina gets mysterious power and is chosen as chief of the temple because of it. From that day Rail feels that there's impenetrable wall between them. One day Rail meets a woman Luana who is a messenger from the temple and who requests to cooperate to protect Tina against the new king who desires to eradicate the rival in the temple. Rail gathers a team to oppose the king. Game has no reviews and only after trying it I understood why. No skip. Speed is non-adjustable. Font of previous lines gets blurred all the time. Despite the synopsis there are no RPG elements here. There are a lot of choices, each of 2-3 lines. Battle is shown only to pick which girl to help. So it's an eroge with quite pleasant fantasy story, but horrible system with no options is a huge drawback. 15. Revive... ~Sosei~ REVIVE... ~蘇生~ [Harvest] VNDB The protagonist of the game, a high-school student, finds himself and other characters (mostly female high school students) trapped in a marine research facility. Exploring the abandoned building, the hero discovers the research staff died under mysterious circumstances. Was this a murder committed by a human being, or some sort of an unknown evil force? The hero does not have much time to think, since whatever took the lives of the scientists also threatens to murder them... System is akin to prequel Doukoku Soshite with navigation on an isometric map with traps, puzzles and timed sequences. It's definitely much more difficult and fancy than the prequel. There's not much of the story and gameplay does not have fresh feeling anymore, so overall impression is worse than that of the prequel. 16. Silent Duel [Scramble House] VNDB Jinba high school is a prestigious school where political and business elite children study. A small passenger ship "Silent" is a place for a student party. Hero is preparing the party in the course of his part-time job. The next morning after the party a female teacher is discovered abused and killed. The crew hurried towards the ground, but other incidents happen one by one involving girls assaults. Hero is requested to help the investigation by the teachers. You move around the boat, get testimonies and investigate. One topic of conversation takes 10 minutes and time is limited. The theme of the work is "fight to protect" and not only against the criminals but also from self. There are five heroines. Graphics is ok and there's a solid feeling from the game, but it has specific content. 17. Silver Jiken シルバー事件 [Grasshopper Manufacture & Active Gaming Media Inc.] VNDB 1999 - the "24 Wards". A string of mysterious serial killings plagues the city. The detectives of the 24 Wards Heinous Crimes Unit have their eyes on one man: Kamui Uehara, legendary serial killer and assassin of a number of government officials 20 years prior in the now-famous "Silver Case". However, nobody knows who - or what - Kamui really is. Has he really returned? Who is this infamous serial killer? Game is localized and has dozens of reviews. 18. School Quest ~Heroine~ スクール・クエスト ~ヒロイン~ [Hyperspace] VNDB Let's fall in love with three heroines at school and around the town. School - part-time job and lots of schedule management. Raise the three parameters - money, strength, experience - and go on a date. Girls have two parameters - experience and the level they like you. Moving around town is as if came down from RPGmaker, totally ugly and by squares. There's no story besides making it with the girl, but since it's a SIM, it should stay. 19. Sta★Gra -Star Graduation- スタ★グラ -Star Graduation- [Active Soft] VNDB 2027. Aliens came to the Earth and for a year a group of them will study as international students for a year. They aren't much different from humans apart of some features like wings and tails - and they have special abilities. Main hero is student council chairman and he needs to help them socialize. Another SIM. There is a set of parameters like curiosity, intelligence, physical strength. There are five heroines. Hero needs to organize his schedule for each week. On weekends the only option is to rest or to go on a part-time job. There are a lot of fixed events like sports tournaments or national holidays, so it gets repetitive on consequential playthroughs. Basically we only need to raise specific parameter so specific value and one of girls will automatically take the bait. Since heroines are aliens, they follow some archetype - cat, maid, angel, raccoon, fish. Otherwise nothing out of ordinary. 20. The Ren'ai Simulation ~Natsuiro Celebration~ THE 恋愛シュミレーション~夏色セレブレーション~ [HuneX] VNDB You're a high school student enyoing summer with your best friend Kimi. One day of August, she receives a call from her father, telling her to go home in 21 days. You then start enjoying those last days together... There are 10 heroines. And you create them yourself... there are tools for it. Apart of that there are parameters and lots of actions to fill the schedule. So it's a very basic level SIM with ability to create own event situations. 21. Zero Jikan e... ゼロ時間へ・・・ [Easy Mode] VNDB A gigantic meteorite will fall on the Earth in 3 days destroying it forever. At this time one amateur astronomer's photo of the comet tail initiated a series of full-scale riots and mayhem. How will you live three last days in such a world? Another end of the world story. Command selection ADV, but creator tried to make it as user-friendly and speedy as possible. The is some gunpowder in some of heroines stories, but they are too short to have an impact. There are some 20 endings. Well, there is some unique atmosphere of lawless ruined Tokyo, so might be to someone's taste. 22. Zoku Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan ~Kanketsuhen~ 続・御神楽少女探偵団~完結編~ [Nude Maker & Human Club] VNDB Zoku Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan - Kanketsuhen is the sequel that finishes the story of Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan. The game features some action sequences in which the player has to press a directional button or an action button to pass it and advance in the game, if the player fails he will have to repeat the action sequence again. The only new feature is mentioned in the synopsis. There quite a lot of interesting and fun cases here as well, but the impact is much smaller than that of the prequel. So if you like Taisho era atmospheric detective stories, nothing should stop you from playing it. Opening is pretty much the same as that of the prequel, just some eyes changed.
  8. Foreword: It's a C's Ware game and these guys have not let me down even once. Unlike Re-Leaf which has quite a clear synopsis and multiple endings, this work is much more mysterious. I thought I'd get just another rural slice of life with some side mystery, but what I got was an ancestor of Cross†Channel with a global anomaly and looped story. Title: Kazeoto, Chirin (I'd translate it as "Sound of bells in the wind") Developer: C's Ware Date: 1999-09-10 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v4332 Length: That's tricky. Some 5 hours for first playthrough, plus some 4 hours more to get other routes to the end. It actually took me more that 15 hours due to a complicated walkthrough and confusion of the true routes. Game type: Global mystery rural story. Difficulty: Medium when you get how it's organized. For me it was very high since even choosing locations in wrong order can lead to falling out of heroine route. Synopsis: Satoshi, the protagonist, and his best friend, are both college students who came back to their old town to spend their summer vacation. But residents suddenly start to disappear without any reason. The most optimistic versions are that people are being spirited away or aliens abduct humans or that an ogre comes down from the mountain or that yakuza sell people into slavery because of debts. Hero does not care till the closest people to him start disappearing as well. Structure: Game takes place for 8 days from July 31st to August 8th when the Obon festival is held. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 8/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: It's a good game with great atmosphere, main idea and nice events. But heroines aren't charming enough. Out of six heroines I liked only Ageha, because she's a diligent student, hard-working keeper of a boarding house, loving older sister of Kanako and tsundere-ish at the beginning and very reasonable later on. Protagonist is a university student, but he's quite passive and he does not care about disappearings till his friends get missing, so it's a minus for him. Game quality is high, but I had to undergo through a lot of repetitiveness since heroines don't have their own routes and the difference is mainly just in several choices. If you watch my video walkthrough, you won't see that repetitiveness since it's cut there, so I hope you get to like this game even better. Protagonist: Satoshi-san is your ordinary megane university student. As he admits himself, he just goes with the flow and never really gives attention to studies. When Ageha asks him to help with the university summer homework on maths, Satoshi says he's in humanitarian division and that he "avoided" math entrance exams to the university somehow. And he has amnesia and is trapped in the eternal loop of 8 days, so he has all kinds of memory flashes all the time which does not help to concentrate on something. To the left is Satoshi and to the right is his brother Bozo (such is name when he's called in game) which i ended up calling Boshi and synopsis writer on VNDB called him Takeshi. Bozo is more of a playful type. He's fast to know the news and always eager to help. Characters: I wanted to talk about heroines in bulk, but there's no good joint CG, so let's run through them separately. First of all, there are no separate character roots. Secondly, there are no romantic feelings at all here - all H events happen on August 6 out of desperation of two last people in the world. Six main heroines routs are paired by two: sisters Ageha+Kanako, sisters Satomi+Shihori, nurse Midori+patient Ayane. It's difficult to call even those branched routes separate ones since the flow is the same aside from several events and the people who get to disappear first. Ageha is a diligent university student, keeper of a boarding house and a kind sister to Kanako. She's depicted as an angry comic person in the beginning of the story since Satoshi has not payed for the stay for quite a long time, but she gets to be the most attractive character for me - responsible, intelligent, kind. Kanako is a school student, but she runs the soba dining hall almost by herself. She's cheerful and childlish. Ayane is the most mysterious person since unless we follow her route we get to see her just once occasionally. She visits the local doctor since she's having pains, but the doctor claims that those are psychological ones after the death of her husband. She's the oldest of characters and she has a complex about here age - she even calls herself obaasan. Well, but she's the most experienced one and she's actually quite a nymphomaniac. Midori is the nurse in the local hospital. Since she's the most typical character, the writer really tried to pull her out of her role giving her lots of very nice events (in the sunset etc) outside of her working clothes, in casual - at those times she's cheerful and likes to set pranks. Satomi is Satoshi's cousin. She's always together with Shihori and they have the coolest CG together. Again, the writer tried to give her traits discerning from her sister. So Satomi is cheerful, creative, and workaholic, but she's quite irrational. Shihori is Satoshi's cousin. The more rational of the two, but she hates cooking and working - more of a city girl. Together with sister they came for several days to rest and see their cousins and their theme is to get out of the town as soon as politeness allows. Hibiki is the joker of the game. She only appears on sunset before the end of the day to say some cryptic stuff about the time, the universe etc. Her route is the true route that opens up after clearing all the six heroines. A lot of questions are getting answered in it, so any additional information would be a spoiler. Story: Satoshi and Bozo don't have real plans. They just wander around the town that's very ordinary rural town without any discerning feature. There's an Inn, a Soba shob, a souvenir shop, a marketplace, a river bank, a bridge, a clinic, a shrine, a bus stop, a small square with a bronze statue and that's it. Then their cousin sisters arrive and they get a full-scale investigation of the time once more. Here and there there is information that some people get missing, but it's usually neglected as people might just go to hot springs or somewhere. Then their important person disappears (who - depends on route) and start searching around. Eventually everyone disappears but Satoshi and one girl by the day of the Bon festival and after visiting this spirit festival the world resets. That's the loop that keeps on repeating. Composition-wise Cross†Channel is better since the hero works towards getting out of the loop by trying to remember things or writing them down in the diary. Here Satoshi is the same each time - first he's pulled in some merry adventures and then he's on the brink of despair. Through next five routes it's monotonous gameplay since very few events change and there's a lot of movement on the map, so skipping is not fast. Hibiki route that comes with everyone cleared finally puts some dots and breaks the loop without any active actions from Satoshi side. Thus Cross†Channel wins by all the parameters - the charm of characters, the humor, the protagonist, but it is a perfect 10 by my standards, but it came four very saturated years later and had some predecessors - including this work - to fix its flaws. CG: Well, I loved its CG. Heroines are gorgeous there. Best to see for yourself. HCG: What I appreciated was that every heroine got only one H-event (with some exceptions) - in the end of her branch. Those events are short and involve mostly talking in the beginning and in the end so it's the best type. Sound: Full voicing except for Satoshi protagonist. Just as in Chiruhana the tunes in the first half of the game are absurdly merry, some sound like parade ones. And C's Ware still can't get sound volumes even since both BGM and Voice for different occasions differ a lot. Themes and Symbols: 1) Unfortunately there's nothing deep in the main theme of the game - that's just remembering the truth about his deceased mother and thus breaking the loop. Well, there is some cool twist in it, but I won't spoiler. 2) What's much cooler is the mystic atmosphere that's created. There are sounds of bells heard all of a sudden in this town - some say it's the air, some invent more fancy explanations like plazma. And at some point it gets clear that each time the bell rings a person disappears and then it gets scary. This goes very well wit the Obon festival theme - the most pagan and spiritual festival celebrated. There a lot of impact in spirits roundelay. And when your heroine gets sucked it in it's horrifying. 3) There is a bridge in the town. When Satoshi asks what's on the other side of it - noone can answer. Well, that's weird, but we get to forget about if till the situation with the disappearings gets critical. There's a great scene when Satoshi and Bozo set off through the bridge... and the bridge ends and beyond it there is nothingness. Just insane. What's happening? Is this world not real? AM I ALIVE? That's just a wonderful mindscrew. 4) But the deepest theme is quite unnoticeable. It's when doctor says that he wants this damned rural town to disappear with all of the inhabitants. This hate grew strengthened in him each day. He wanted to break free of it, but was forced by his parents to return after studying. He even had a girlfriend in Tokyo and they had to divorce because he needed to return to this dump. And this is scary, because it's a social reality. Japanese society in some places remains quite archaic. Oldest son has to inherit the house and even the profession of the father and devote his life to whatever miserable life his father had. Well, in case of this game it was not the Doctor who was the source of the disapperings and notes it himself - at first only outsiders and tourists started to disappear and if it was in his power the whole basis of the town should have rot with its core inhabitants. Overall comments: This game is very good. It has very nice characters, great global mystery and unique strong atmosphere. It's not an S-class work like Eve:Burst Error, but this little cursed game is definitely a masterpiece for me, something that has an ability create memories.
  9. VN of the Month September 1999

    For me the best VN of September 1999 is Kazeoto, Chirin. There's such well known game as Memories Off as well, but a I place a good midscrew over a good slice of life in most of cases. 1. Album no Naka no Hohoemi アルバムの中の微笑み [Curecube] VNDB You as male main character returns to japan after completing your Europe ART studies. As a rich man's son you were allowed to travel around to seek education around the globe. Now that you have completed your quest its time to return to japan... and marry Satsuki, your preset bride to be. There is a problem, you have got a maid that's been following you most of your life. She likes you. After arriving in Japan, you soon became the art teacher of an all girls school. Now 3 more girls join the wagon and they all want a piece of you alright. Who would you chose? There is an English review of this work. 2. Berries ~Kagayaku Kisetsu ga Owaru Mae ni...~ Berries ~輝く季節が終わる前に…~ [Pocket] VNDB Summer. Yuusuke Sugihara runs with a father a family restaurant "BERRIES". One day Yuusuke wakes up and finds a letter on the desk saying that his father went surfing and that Yuusuke should be store manager in his absence. What kind of memories will he gather by the autumn? Pocket tried to get into the pocket of gamers and put such high price for this usual setting game - 9,000 yen - that there is still not a single proper review of the game. What's known is that the game has terrible systems, but quite normal content. Still, it' feels more like a doujinshi in a box rather than a professional work. 3. EA Mind エアマイン [LiLiM] VNDB Near future. Private Maritime Academy is governed by students and its head is student council which consist only of women. All the male students study in oppression there. Main character deliberately transfers to this school in order to set male dominance there. Frankly speaking, only first part is about domination since in the second part he chooses one of girls' paths. You move around the map and trigger events and fights. Fighting is led till you embarrass opponent enough winning in hit/block game for five rounds. There are five girls to capture. Atmosphere is light and there are enough funny moments. Game period is 10 days and play time is around 5 hours. 4. Entrance エントランス [TinkerBell] VNDB Tomoya Kamijo returns to his hometown after 12 years. He has no clear aim and during university course "Learning ways to create a future" he learns his due course. There are four heroines. All the characters are linked to the psychology department and this game was supposed to be as close to reality as possible, it's written in a manner of a book. That's all that's known and I bet the price of 8,800 yen has played an important role in that. Pretty soon Tinkerbell will drop all those psychology movements and will only be making hardcore eroge. 5. Guardian ガーディアン [Aaru] VNDB Our guy woke up in a dungeon without his memory. What will you have him do? Live life unknown, or go to town and find out who he is? This may sound like a role playing game, but it is a pick your choice adventure game with 90 different endings. Oh well this kind of games again. 90 endings and stories are ultrashort (some 5 minutes) and follow some typical pattern. It's enough to entertain, but I'd want smth more. 6. Kazeoto, Chirin かぜおと、ちりん [C's Ware] VNDB Satoshi, the protagonist, and Takashi his best friend, are both college students who came back to their old town to spend their summer vacation. In their village, Satoshi came back to his small house that is now an inn since his mother died. But there was some event going on there. "People will disappear" - a strange woman says to him. Residents suddenly start to disappear without any reason. The most optimistics came with the opinion that many people are being spirited away. And no one can avoid that. The hero decide to look into the matter. "Do not try to solve this case without us" - said his friend Takashi to the half-hearted hero. I've actually already written a full review of this work and will publish it next time. 7. Kimi no Kimochi, Boku no Kokoro 君の気持ち、僕のこころ [JAMP] VNDB Main hero is a high school student adept in sorcery. He's got the power to possess other people & even animals bodies. You don't really possess others as you can't control them - you just peep from their eyes. There are three main heroines, but you can haunt pretty much anyone at any time, so it's very tiresome to try out all the combinations and see if it works. There was no manual released at that time so it was a game of guesses. Difficulty is skyhigh because of that. There are also some technical questions like a very long load time. Heroines aren't attractive enough and it's not clear what's the target auditory of the game. 8. L L-エル- [TopCat] VNDB The story takes place in the two weeks right after the protagonist graduates from university. There's nothing to add to the synopsis. The guy studied so hard that he never seen the city he was studying at and only after graduation went breaking bad. There are eight characters overall. Capturing one heroine takes some hour while not accustomed to the system and some 20 minutes afterwards, so there is a feeling that the content is thin. 9. LOE ~Legend of Enomoto~ [Aaru] VNDB Our guy received an invitation to enter a contest to win a very rich man's inheritance. The contest consist of quizs and games. Other contestants will compete with him. He can either do it alone or with someone's help. Forget about the story here. There is more to the synopsis in here, but the story does not lead anywhere. It's puzzles + H events and since it's reported that the quantity of H-events is ordinary, I'll leave it be for now. 10. Little Witch Reinette ~Swan no Namida Rhapsody~ リトル・ウィッチ レネット 〜スワンの涙ラプソディ〜 [Kogado Studio] VNDB It starts with a magical competition mentioned in original Little Witch Parfait. Now from Reinette point of view. It's been just five months since releasing the original. So, did you even wanted to be a magical girl and create wondrous recipes? Well, I did not. 11. Maboroshi Tsukiyo まぼろし月夜 [Sims] VNDB The player takes the role of Takashi Tanaka who one summer night meets a ghost of a girl in the park, and this ghost starts living with him in his apartment. The ghost can enter other people's bodies too... Usual trigger events on the map system. The period is two months. The appeal point of the game is the background of the ghost heroine. She died in Taisho era and is a typical Yamato Nadeshiko. There's a huge culture gap that's the scene for many jokes. There are a lot of colorful characters who are interested in this ghost for various reasons. You can easily shift to one of them, but you need to exorcise Ayame spirit for that, then it's an ordinary galge. But if you pursue Ayame, there's more of the story and as many as two endings prepared. 12. Megami no Haka 女神の破瓜 [Studio Jikkenshitsu] VNDB Goddess of Salvation is spreading chaos, devastation, conspiracy, rebellion in the fantasy world and it's not clear whether it's for destruction or creation. Carmine controlled by the spirit of the goddess is looking for a shrine maiden holding "the beads of gods". The player takes role of an inquisition officer who aims to eradicate the rebellion spreading around the country and to suppress those who receive the trust of the heretic Goddess of Salvation. Game's is noticeable for a heavy dark fantasy atmosphere. There's quite a lot of infodumping. In the first half main character moves the story but later on he just moves with the flow. There is no good ending. It may be quite close to being an eroge, but it's impossible to know since the game's is very rare. 13. Memories Off メモリーズオフ [KID] VNDB It's a surprisingly bittersweet tale about a guy named Tomoya Mikami who actually was dating the girl of his dreams, Ayaka Hizuki, for a long time...only to have her die tragically a good while before the game starts. The game even begins with Tomoya having a flashback about Ayaka whilst walking to the train station to get to school. On the train, as usual, is Yue Imasaka - a close friend of Tomoya and Ayaka who pretty much grew up with them. The gist of the story is that Tomoya feels that he's spent enough time grieving over the loss of Ayaka and is ready to try his hand at love again and hopefully find another wonderful girl to make beautiful memories with. Game has English reviews. 14. Snow White [Eden] VNDB A small town between the sea and the mountains. The last school year passes by and main hero has time before Christmas to settle his feelings. Hero suffered from consequences of his parents divorce and only partly recovered from that by the last year of school. There are 8 girls. There's a month of time. Both pure love and devil mode are available for the girls. 15. V.G. MAX ヴァリアブル・ジオ MAX [Giga] VNDB A game in which the V.G. waitresses are rendered as super deformed (chibi) style characters. Includes the original six V.G. contestants, as well as Satomi Yajima from Advanced V.G., Tamao Mitsurugi from Advanced V.G. 2, Yumiko Watanuki from V.G. II and new character Masako Houjouin. It's the franchise that comes from the pre-windows era and it's at least the third title in the V.G. fighting series (not visual novel fighting, but real fighting fighting), but it must the first one with substantial ADV part. It's the first such mix with very active fighting action gameplay. There are H insult scenes present. V.G. MAX is said to be of better quality than the predecessors and holding a new interesting character, but overall a very average passable game.
  10. VN of the Month August 1999

    There's not much to talk about this month. L no Kisetsu: A piece of memories is the only masterpiece of August 1999. Alas, it's only for PS1 and its sequel for PS2, so it's difficult to hook. 1. Baito e Ikou! バイトへ行こう! [Bags] VNDB You as main character, gets a winter vacation that you will not forget. Living somewhere on the world, with your parents on vacation, a period of around 2 weeks of solitude is given to you. During this time you will be able to roam around your area and meet new girls. Game has an English review. 2. Hajimete no Otsukai ~first adventure of little witch~ はじめてのおつかい ~first adventure of little witch~ [Force] VNDB Main character is a black cat Georges who lives with a witch in the forest house. One day master brought a little human girl Apple. 100 years passed and master decided that Apple should see the world. The cat was sent with her to bodyguard and counsel her. And so they set off. Cat can not talk to the girl so he uses cries and gestures, but he's perfectly understood. There are five stories that take the period of another 10 years. In one of them prince is met and helped so in a sense it might be called a romance story with the prince. Total length is only about two hours. Story lacks integrity since we just wondering around and then it's the end. The feature of this game is that H-events are seen from a point of view of woman. 3. Kaleidoscope ~Bankakyou~ カレイドスコープ ~万華鏡~ [Ange] VNDB Shogo decided to spend university summer vacations doing a part-time job. He gets a job in Kodoin family mansion where a doll-like girl with emotions closed to the world lives. Shogo manages to gradually return here to senses and gets involved into a plot to claim family's heritage. At the same time Shogo's girlfriend visits the same mansion as tutor. How will Shogo settle all that? Multiple endings story (without bad ones). Gameplay is fully decisions driven. And it looks quite stupid that according to the decision events start to happen instantly without any context built up. There is a decadent atmosphere of madness inside the mansion and some disturbing events are happening there. 4. Kanojo no Kimochi 彼女のキモチ [Wedding Cake] VNDB Main character is a high school student who is good at basketball and who has a girlfriend. But as graduation approaches he gets fatigued of his girlfriend. Older memories call him and he is going to pay a visit to his other acquaintances. There are three heroines. Hero is difficult to sympathize with. Events are depicted very unrealistically. 5. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo 3: Seiryuu Densetsu Satsujin Jiken 金田一少年の事件簿 3:青龍伝説殺人事件 [Digital Frontier] VNDB In this case Kindaichi & Mijuki go to an island and they are in the Seiryu Hotel and when they are in the reception a murdered happened in the elevator, Kindaichi & Mijuri helped police inspector Kenmochi solving the case. The game featured 4 different cases in the Seiryu Hotel. The third case of our boy detective. After reading that my attention got completely lost. 6. L no Kisetsu: A piece of memories Lの季節 A piece of memories [5pb. Games & Tonkin House] VNDB Main character works for school newspaper. One morning a student falls unconscious and after that the number of victims of the strange illness increases. The newspaper staff decide to start own investigation and find out what causes the illness. Despite the synopsis it's a fantasy or rather both fantasy and reality since there are two plot lines with different heroes that move separately in each world, but are heavily connected. Somewhat like in Guity Exodus. Difficulty degree is not high, but to reach the best ending it's important to keep affection level of characters high and for that to use proper lines. There are four main heroines and some sub-heroines. There are questions to those sub-heroines routes, but main heroines routs are great. There are multiple endings and first playthrough is going to be a bad end, just accept it. There's a lot of animation and just an awesome opening. So it's a high quality galge with a good plot - that alone makes it a masterpiece since most of its competitors settle with ordinary plots and focus only on relations. 7. Ningyou no Kizuato 人形の傷跡 [Child Dream] VNDB It is the end of the year in December. Asumi has lost complete contact with her elder sister who goes to a graduate school in Tokyo. Worried for her sister's safety, Asumi travels alone to Tokyo to find her – but no trace of her could be found. Her sister wasn't in the laboratory where she had been assigned to, nor at her apartment. Asumi is at loss as for what to do… What has happened to her sister…? Asumi is determined to find out. What she doesn't know, however, is that she is in imminent danger… and there are frightening facts awaiting her. Game is localized and has English reviews. 8. Pinocchia no Miru Yume ピノッチアのみる夢 [Plus&Plus] VNDB You can choose between a male and female protagonist, and play as a doll/puppet maker who's about to starve to death on Christmas Eve due to the inability to make a "pinocchia", a doll that looks and acts like a real human being (but isn't truly alive), and make enough money to feed yourself. As you slip into unconsciousness, you plead to any higher being that's listening to grant you a pinocchia, willing to give your life in exchange.... and wake up the next morning, with a "new-born" pinocchia in your hands. A raising SIM. Gender is decided at the age of 5 and one of three personality types is determined at the age of 14. Romancing only allowed in the very end if you raise her/him good. There are 12 different endings (6 for each gender, good/bad for each personality). There are some mind-blowing fantasy events and some minigames to diffuse the raising process. 9. Tatakae! Princess たたかえ!プリンセス [Triangle] VNDB Hero is a boy who likes inventing just as his genius parents who live abroad. One day a mysterious capsule with a girl inside it falls from the sky. She is a princess of some star in the Universe. In her royal family there's a habit of practice as a servant on other stars, but she failed the first attempt and came to train to the Earth where invasion level was low. Still doubtful, hero allows her to stay with him in the mansion and he's got no complaints with her cooking and cleaning. She even starts to visit the same school as his cousin. Then one day a shady figure shows up at the mansion... The number of episodes is 5. Play time is around 5 hours. The system and the flow is totally the same as the earlier two works of Triangle - Angel and Cowboy babe. H element is quite high, but it's a gag bakage comedy first of all.
  11. VN of the Month July 1999

    Of course Kimi ga Itsetsu is much better known as 2011 title. And 1999 version and 2011 are actually very different in that 1999 involves a lot of map movement and has different characters and routes structure while 2011 one is kind of brushed to the contemporary standards. There's a nice article on the changes. But I just follow VNDB whether it has versions smashed together like this one or separated like YU-NO or Ruriiro no Yuki or Ryouki no Ori, so I won't be returning to Kimi ga Itsetsu.
  12. VN of the Month July 1999

    Wow, there's a mortal combat between such titans as Team Baldrhead, Alice Soft and Studio e.go this month. Well, Men at Work is the second RPG offspring of Studio e.go and it's just too simplistic to compete yet. Baldrhead is also the first part in the series and suffers from some technical problems and short duration. Mamatoto ~a record of war~ on the other hand is quite a polished rpg that even has English patch and it is the VN of the Month July 1999. 1. 7Days Girl [Pocket] VNDB Hero knew girl Hime when he was a child. She had a soft old-fashioned character. Now he meets her in Tokyo and she's totally different. It turns out that Hime suffers from personality disorder and each day of week she's a different person - seven in total. Hero asks gets a permission to look after Hime for a month to try to heal the distortion. Can he change Hime in just 4 weeks of living together? All that is left to the hero. Well, the personality that gets the most favorability wins. The conditions for the True End are very strict. Game systems is bad in the way that the speed is very slow. A well balanced work with a fresh concept. 2. Baldrhead ~Busou Kinyuu Gaiden~ BALDRHEAD~武装金融外伝~ [Team Baldrhead] VNDB It's the future where the technology is being over-used and at the same time conflicts between countries and religion occur which causes a loss in theory and technology. The world is now in corrupted towns with ruins of ancient technology everywhere. The story takes place in future Japan,and the hero of the game is an ex-mercenary called Bloody Baldy who earns his living by being an armament banker... Baldrhead is a linear adventure game with 2D action-shooter elements. There is an English review of this game. 3. Be With! [Jewel] VNDB Hero has not had his hair cut for three years due to fear of having ears cut off. When his sister finally managed to cut his hair, girls in the school started to look at him with interest. What kind of future will he choose? Game is quite short, but it's fully voiced (apart of protagonist) and quite funny. There are five heroines and they are strong willed and quite nicely outlined. Through several choices you choose a girl/several girls and there's an ending. Graphics is quite unusual. But the most disappointment is in the systems. There aren't options at all and BGM is deafening with all those beats. BGM is like 10 times louder than voices so it's quite difficult to discern phrases while it trumpets. 4. Dearest Vampire ディアレスト・ヴァンパイア [Air Plants] VNDB Our guy is 1/8 vampire. His grandfather asked him to take care of a dead friend's family, which include four sisters and one brother. So now, in the first two months, he can chase after those four sisters, his maid, childhood girl, rival's sister or another vampire. The chasing is easy since he can check a location to see who is there before going, one advantage of a vampire I guess. In the later two months, he has to find a way to tell the girl he loves that he is a vampire and has to go through some obstacles to win her. Game play is not good as it follows the same pattern: Good morning → Map move → Event → Date management screen → repeat from the next day . The whole game period of four months is divided into the first half (until harvest festival dance) and the second half which is actually division into general route and choosing a heroine and heroine routes. There are also mini-games. Clear is difficult since there is a random element in events generation and in order to capture a girl the whole chain of events must be triggered. The work is centered around love obstacles - hero has an evident race difference and girls have their own themed obstacles. There are six main heroines and two sub-heroines. 5. Girl Doll Toy 2 ~The Messenger~ Girl Doll Toy 2 ~使者~ [Uran] VNDB For five years since the events of the prequel Erica has been living peacefully with Satoru. Satoru left the laboratory shortly after creating Erica. Following his notes the laboratory was able to create Erica Version 2, but the result was poor and director proceeded to illegal means. Meteor shower was launched to mount Fuji and at the same time Erica started to suffer from brain disorder. What caused the illness? Will Satoru be able to find the cure? Well, there are zero reviews for this game, but it's basically the third game in the franchise with totally the same heroine, so I guess everyone got tired of it by the third game. The suggested mystery is not appealing at all to check it out. 6. Hakanai Omoi ~Anemone~ 儚想 ~あねもね~ [Pearl Soft] VNDB The city where the old and the new live together. Hero lost parents early and last year his grandmother also died. Since then he moved to distant relatives. Occasionally a mysterious memory of a girl crosses his head and the level of confusion gradually rises... Play time is around 8 hours. Everyday scenes are substitute by the need to say something funny and those pseudo fun sequences last for a very long time, just to eat up players time. Then it gets only more confusing and ends with a fluke. Characters are totally unmemorable. Protagonist is one big hetare with amnesia. Even in the end he can't decide anything ... "because all the friends are precious to me". And it's a linear game with choices only for additional CG, so you can't decide on anything. A surprisingly tiresome story without any appeal points. 7. Heisa Byoutou no Megami-tachi ~Goddess of Close Ward~ 閉鎖病棟の女神たち ~Goddess of Close Ward~ [Archive] VNDB Our guy wakes up in a hospital without remembering anything. It seems he fell from a pedestrian overpass to the street. He is now in a hospital ward with 3 nurses and a female doctor. Can he remember his past and does he even want to? It's a very confusing scenario. The theme is madness. There are many memory pieces flashes, but it does not get into integral story. Even in the ending there is no impact. The degree of H is medium. 8. Heroine ヒロイン [Cherry Soft] VNDB Our guy transferred to a new school. He is just in time to save the school theater club from being canceled. He gets to pick his heroine out of 3 girls for their next play. He also has to set schedule for set building, customs making, and practicing. Well, no matter, he still has time to chase the 5 club girls and 2 others. We need to pass preliminary theatrical competition and then participate in the main event and for that need the right choices. Parameters and schedule are still here, so there's a lot of work to do. Three obligatory parameters must reach 100% by the contest or it's game over. The story is orthodox and very thin. There are a lot of events to try and fix that. There is a huge number of choices - each between three lines - even on the most trivial matters, so clearing is difficult. 9. Hyper Broken ~Tamashii no Chikara~ Hyper Broken ~魂のチカラ~ [Escu:de] VNDB The protagonist thinks that he is the strongest fighter around his school, until he got totally trashed by a new rival. If that wasn't bad enough, his sister got murdered and he was left for dead in his burning house. He got saved and found out that he has the potential to become the strongest person on earth. Will his girlfriend and other friends be able to keep him from the revenge-driven dark side of his power? Poor Escu:de - it started with a very plain romance work and now fills the shoes of another visual novel fighting. What differs it from Crazy Knuckle 2 is very high production values and engaging and moderately difficult battles. Hero is very colorful and is voiced which creates a very solid atmosphere. Game uses songs very efficiently at crucial moments. Considered the limitations of the genre Escu:de managed to produced a paragon visual novel fighting. 10. Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu ~Primary~ 君がいた季節 ~Primary~ [Age] VNDB Masaki has 4 childhood friends – Yayoi, Michiru, Marika and Akira who are all sisters, they let him stay in one of their family’s apartments since he doesn’t live with his family. Masaki’s hobby is photography and one day, he meets a famous photographer who lets Masaki become his apprentice. Time passes, and Masaki also gets a girlfriend too and life couldn’t be any happier for him. However, one day he is asked to go to America to work in the huge photography business over there but he thinks that having a long distance relationship would be incredibly hard. He now has a life-changing decision to make – does he follow his dream or does he stay with the person who he loves most in this world? There is an English review of this game. 11. Koi no Sweet Tart wa Ikaga? 恋のスイートタルトはいかが? [Love Gun] VNDB There is a coffee shop "Gerbera" on the bank of a beautiful lake in Tokyo. Cute girls are serving as waitresses and establishment is famous for its homemade cakes. Hero is a university student who works here part-time as a waiter. This summer will be most entertaining! The biggest difference of this game from other cafe games is that the number of characters is very small - just four heroines. At least it allows to build up a lot of unique events and advancements for each heroine. Branching starts right after welcome party and even dialogues change with increased favorability. Yayoi is the main heroine and she has the longest route of all. There is a good and a bad ending for each heroine as well as a lonely ending. 12. Mamatoto ~a record of war~ ママトト ~a record of war~ [Alice Soft] VNDB You (Nanasu) are the prince of Mamatoto. You go out and conquer other nations in order to conquer the world. There is stability/stalemate, so none of the nations can actually take over the world because if they start a war with another country, a third one might have an advantage. Mamatoto is different it has zero territory to worry about. The problem is, it doesn't have much of a population either. So you don't really have an army, thus for many years, Mamatoto, the moving fortress, has been hiding in the monster lands. You, Nanasu, who has studied magic really hard has recently invented magic to create these magical soldiers. These soldiers are made via cards which you can obtain via battles. So the more battles you fight, the more cards you collect, and the more troops you have in reserve. So now, Mamatoto, the fastest moving fortress in the world, started its move to conquer the world. Mamatoto's goal isn't to get territory - it's to take out governments. Game's localized - there's an English and a Polish review. 13. Men at Work! メンアットワーク! [Studio e.go!] VNDB The game takes place in a Middle-Age western European town. At the daytime it is a very active and joyous town. However at night it's another story. After sun sets, monsters will lurk all around town which raises concern about the safety of the townspeople. As a result the town has set up a guild of hunters who go around at night and kill these monsters. Most of these hunters are doing so for money, and they rarely reveal their true identity to anyone. The player takes on the role of Wil, who in daytime is a geeky part-time history teacher, but at night is a strong hunter. There's an English and a Russian review. 14. Sei Inma ~Ijimete Inku-chan~ 聖☆淫魔 ~いじめてインクちゃん~ [Desire] VNDB Takahiro is a novice teacher. A demon suddenly appears before him saying that she's half angel and half demon and she does not qualify to enter either faction because of that. The strange cohabitation and rigorous training begins. Will she grow into an angel or a demon? A raising SIM. Both angle and demon ways are possible. Game's strange that it does not have time limit. Otherwise a normal training SIM with parameters and play time around 3 hours. 15. Sorceress Empire ソーサレス・エンパイア [Blue Bell] VNDB The era when magic declines gradually and is about to be replaced by science and technology. But there are still "demon" race monsters living on the outskirts of the empire and organizing skirmishes at border guards. Hero is a battle magician responsible for three failure students. They have personal conditions that prevent them from learning normally. You have a year to train them into excellent witches. There's a good dozen of parameters to track. As girls grow, they can summon a powerful monster that can participate in battles. Difficulty is easy and it's ok to train all three girls simultaneously. Despite the emphasized personal drama of each girl, the training method is almost identical, the difference is only in ADV sequences. It's a very good attempt to revitalize boring raising SIMs. 16. Triangle Heart 2 ~Sazanami Joshiryou~ とらいあんぐるハート2 ~さざなみ女子寮~ [Ivory] VNDB Makihara Kosuke works as a substitute janitor of woman dormitory, “Sazanami So”, while the regular janitor, who is his aunt, travels abroad. The contract term is almost over, but he has one thing worried about. Among the member of the dormitory, only Jinnai Mio doesn’t open out to him and doesn’t try to eat his dishes. Then, he makes the former janitor’s favorite dish to let her eat. Moege. There is map movement to trigger events. Characters are cute and atmosphere is relaxed. But there are 12 heroines and the number of CG for each is small. Period is one year and intervals between the events are quite large. Play time is some 5 hours for first time and about 2 hours with skip for the next ones. The impact is less than the previous work. Nothing really stands out and such games are soon to be forgotten. 17. Utsusemi うつせみ ~空蝉~ [Black Package] VNDB Our guy trains with a famous author. As a test for him, he is sent to gather info from a performance group, with the author's daughter tagging alone. There seem to be rumors about how this group gets their donations. If he can chase one girl per chapter, he will find out what this all has to do with a big fire 18 years ago. Taisho era. The flow is like this: first movement → lunch break (information exchange with the teacher) → second movement → evening automatic event → night. There are many H scenes with different characters, but romance relations are only possible with one heroine which is set right from the first chapter. One playthrough is less than 10 hours and all the mysteries are only poured in the last chapter that lasts about 30 minutes. There are multiple endings, including a bad one. But generally it's a one-way road with couple opportunities for mistakes. There is no distinguishing feature to call it a masterpiece, but overall a very solid work with beautiful CG centered on Tasho era.
  13. VN of the Month June 1999

    The VN of June 1999 is Kanon. Not because it's well known - that's irrelevant. But because I've found a route in it that I totally liked. I'm talking about Mai route, the demon hunter. The main funny part coupled with night school hunt were a cool mix. The three-sided friendship of Mai-Sayuri-Yuuichi was just perfect, because the bonds between the girls were so firm and that they understood each other completely compared to Yuuichi who doubted them often. There are night evil spirits fights, lots of swordplay, cool and always right Mai - what's not to like here? I did not notice forced drama or sleazy relations there. Well, the last hour of Mai route was horrible, because nothing happens apart of childhood memories and desperate attempts to squeeze a tear by endless repeats of the same things. I safely ignored the last hour and thus saved only good memories about Mai route. I'm not going to explore other heroines routes since I'm not ok with their personalities and/or mental health. So hip hip hooray to Kanon, the great devil hunter story or at least so I remember it for. I'm absolutely assured that the main power of Key is in creating very enjoyable drama-free general routes and heroines routes and especially endings fall into being forced nakige. 1. Adam: The Double Factor [C's Ware] VNDB Marina and Kojiroh have returned! Kojiroh's Scenario- A woman, who introduces herself as the President's Secretary, appeared in Kojiroh's office as a client. The woman's request was to have Kojiroh as her boss's bodyguard, whose life is in danger. Kojiroh took the case and went to meet President Ando... And the daughters Mika and Miki. Kojiroh asks Ando why his life is in danger, but Ando refuses to answer... Kojiroh has been dragged into the problem without knowing the reason. Marina's Scenario- Marina, who has been reinstated with the Cabinet of Investigation, took the case of investigating the successive murders in Japan by Chief Kono's request. As the investigation goes along, Marina finds a sole survivor, who is the daughter of one of the victims, and went to see her. Her name is Yuka. Throughout Marina's investigations, the time to decide to help Yuka or not to will come... All the while serving to protect Yuka... Game is localized and has English reviews. If everything goes ok, I'll prepare reviews for the full series of Eve games except for the original well known Burst error. 2. Amai Kankei 甘い姦計 [Logg] VNDB Hero is given an envelope by a mysterious woman in front of school. Inside is a handgun ... He is surprised and hides the gun for the time being. If there is a gun involved, it's destined to shoot sometime... Basically this is further degraded variation of Heart Work Symphony of Destruction. Same gun involvement, same short scenarios with same multiple ends. The major difference is that Logg work is weaker in H department. 3. Chuu Shite... チューして… [Kur-Mar-Ter] VNDB Kiss? Yup. It means draw one month close to another month. Why people kiss? I do not know, but ... I tried it yesterday Does it tickle? Yup. My mouth was licked as if it was going to be eaten Fuwa ... So, let's try it. Yup… - And that girl pulled her lips towards me and closed her eyes. ADV with map choice. There are five heroines. It's quite ero tilt. Routes scenarios are bad as if they come from a bad Hollywood movie. It's light themed but leaves an irritated feel. 4. Fresh! ~Teens Memory~ Fresh! ~ティーンズ・メモリー~ [Bell-Da] VNDB You play the role of Narusawa Daisuke who is now living with your grandfather and just got transferred to a new high school and meets new people. From time to time you will switch perspectives from Daisuke to the girls so you can understand what they are thinking and more importantly how they are feeling deep inside their hearts. This means that not only will you make decisions for Daisuke but occasionally for the girls also. There is an English review of the game. 5. Hyakka Ryouran 百花繚乱 [Nihon Plantech] VNDB Hero was about to live the last months before graduation peacefully when he was forced to transfer to all-girls school where his father was a chairman. What will happen to the only male student in all-girl school? A hundred flowers... quite a shouting title. There are only four heroines though, each with 2-3 endings. This is a comedy with strange not really funny jokes. The characters are very eccentric. Hero is an imbecile whose hobby is to sleep and whose super ability is to sleep anywhere with any circumstances. Oh, and he's mega rich. Game's short - 2 hours for first playthrough. 6. Ikinari Mujintou!? いきなり無人島!? [iMAGE CLUB] VNDB Uninhabited island. Blue sky, coral sea and white sand beach. Our ship sunk and we were drifted to it. All we can do is wait for help. But just waiting is boring. There is even a girl who always wanted to live like this once. Anyway, our uninhabited island life begins. Mujintou Monogatari fame does not let competitors sleep soundly. Here's another work with survival element reduced to minimum and love element increased shamelessly. The routine is done by command selection and there's a lot of routine early on. The number of game events is small. As for H-events, there's only one per heroine who are five overall. Length is small and the aim "to wait" is not the best motivation. Very ordinary game, though a lively one. 7. Kana ~Imouto~ 加奈~いもうと~ [D.O. & Takayashiki Development] VNDB You have a sister by the name of Kana, who is 2 years younger than you are. You are an important figure to her; you have always watched over her. You have always taken care of her and loved her. Kana is also an important figure to you. It's not love or like, but it's something special. You care about her a lot and you feel that you have to protect her. You wish for her eternal happiness, but you just don't know how you feel about Kana. Yet. . . Game is localized and it got a large number of reviews. 8. Kanon [Key] VNDB Yuuichi Aizawa, a high school student, returns to a town that he last visited 7 years previously to live with his aunt and cousin. For a reason he’s not quite sure of, he can hardly remember anything about his last visit, but initially this doesn’t seem to worry him too much. The day after he arrives he goes into town where he (literally) bumps into a girl named Ayu Tsukimiya, and Yuuichi’s memories slowly begin to return. Game is localized and has many reviews. 9. Lost Mind ~Yuganda Sekai~ LOST MIND ~歪んだ世界~ [Active Soft] VNDB You're Mina, a housemaid. You've lost your memory and serve at a household together with other maids. Which is SLG part, as you need to clean up the house, wash etc. trying to keep everything below a certain dirtyness level (100) without exhausting yourself. The other maids aren't necessarily your friends and with lots of woman around there are plenty of chances for yuri action (but it's not limited to that). Needless to say there is also a secret to uncover... Events vary according to parameters. Player sees the story from the viewpoint of main heroine. Only the ending is going to explain the meaning behind "irregular world" in the title. Game is divided by chapter and chapters names vary by the decisions made, so there is some replay value. So there is some intrigue in the story, but high difficulty level and monotonous gameplay stand in the way. 10. Maid Hakusho メイド白書 [Sweet] VNDB All Japan Maid Championship will be held in 3 months and you need to choose your champion out of four candidates and train her into the best maid Japan ever seen. Aww, another maid SIM. You set maid's schedule and train them in various maid specialties like cleaning and cooking or more exotic ones like dancing and English conversation. But other three rivals are strong and in the nighttime you also need to obstruct other three maids using variety of attacks killing their motivation to compete. This maid obsession is getting kind of nuts. 11. Room with Lina ルームウィズリナ [Episode] VNDB Lina Kanzaki helped main hero when he was got drunk under the rain. She continues to live in his house with some purpose. By becoming friends he will know the secret of Lina. Some innovative SIM that introduces lots of excessive instruments like all kinds of schedulers, address books, notepads etc. 12. Shanghai Gensoutan Teito Kitan Gaiden 上海幻想譚 帝都奇譚外伝 [deeps] VNDB Several months after events of Teito Kitan ~Doushi Tantei no Jiken Memo~. Kudo was staying at Iwasaki residence in Shanghai with Aya when they were assaulted and Aya kidnapped. Iwasaki tells Kudo that the attack was done by members of "The Legion Party", a secret society that appeared in Shanghai lately. Kudo takes maid Masha as assistant and starts investigation. This work is same obscure as its prequel. There are three scenarios plus a bonus one after all cleared. Game system is same bad as of the prequel. Memory leak noticed. Game was made as a result of the call to create more beautiful works with beautiful music about Taisho era - aesthetic side dominates here. Story lacks excitement, but atmosphere of Shanghai before the Second World War is quite lovely depicted. 13. Stay With... ~Karen ga Kureta Kisetsu~ Stay With… ~カレンがくれた季節~ [Tenshindo] VNDB Kazuya steals an android girl that was going to be disposed of. In couple days android suddenly starts to move and talk - so they start living together. However, android Karen 's secret is is concealed in the depths of a mysterious organization. Jeez, synopsis copied entirely from Girl Doll Toy ~Tamashii o Kudasai~ from 1997. Music and drawing are beautiful and full voicing is luxurious. But voice sound level is unstable and story is too short and weak. This work is of very low price segment. 14. Twins Story: Kimi ni Tsutaetakute... ツインズストーリー きみにつたえたくて・・・ [Panther Software Co., Ltd.] VNDB Sixteen years age is an unforgettable time of school life full of chatting with friends and searching for love. At such time hero has to start living with his annoying twin sister while parents stay abroad. The best year of life begins now! System-wise quite a typical D-SIM, but with PS1 title animation charm. There are 12 heroines to capture which is a LOT. In addition to usual parameters there are internal parameters that change according to conversations. So clearing is very difficult. At least there is not BAD END and even if you fail miserably you're forced into ending with Nami girl. One playthrough is slightly over 10 hours. Twin sister is the main attraction of the game but her story is not really special. 15. You & I [Tiare] VNDB Hero was absent at school due to traffic incident. Now with a new semester he finally comes to school and starts to feel interest from girls in his class. A new feeling is being born. Pretty much nothing is known about the game apart of the fact that there are six girls and their personalities. All of them are school students, so it must be a normal school love story. 16. Yuuhi no Naka de Kimi wa 夕陽の中で君は [Saba] VNDB The games story starts when YOU the main character, Male, goes into a town for a vacation. During the Vacation wild things started to happen and from it you find the person that you loved for soo long. There is an English review.
  14. Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia

    Nitroplus was my first love since it presented a very different view from the mainstream. It looks like I've seen most of 2000s works of it, but I deliberately targeted cyberpunk works. Somehow I did not find any deep themes in those works and Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia can be called the summary of its earlier years - bright action trash. It's traumatic for me to touch Nitroplus games, so every review is appreciated. And something tells me that even Tokyo Necro won't heal those wounds.
  15. VN of the Month May 1999

    There should be no two opinions about this, Comic party rocked May 1999. It's very difficult for a SIM to gain my approval, but all the elements fit here perfectly. So far there have not been more than a couple of doujin games released, but this game has woken the devil of 2000s. 1. Akatsuki no Ganshou 暁の岩礁 [System Rose] VNDB Main character is a teacher at a private girls' school. One day he and his students set off on excursion to Yokohama port and then by luxurious liner "Ingleb" to Hong Kong. However, they fall into a trap set by someone just before departure. Can they safely survive? There are nine girls and each has her own unique survival route to follow even though they all start off the same prologue. One route takes roughly one hour. There are a lot of time limit events with bad end prepared. Some routes involve mini-games. The gags are surprisingly mature and best fit for the age of 30s. So it's very difficult to stuff something more than a suspense action scenario and a hasty H-event in one-hour route and that's exactly what this game is. 2. Comic Party こみっくパーティー [Leaf] VNDB Early April, Kazuki Sendō is invited by his friend, Taishi Kuhonbutsu, to come with him to Tokyo Big Sight. He is surprised to see thousands of people waiting in line to get in. Apparently they're at Comic Party, a giant dōjinshi convention. Once inside, Kazuki meets some of the dōjinshi artists and is surprised to find himself enjoying their work. Taishi convinces Kazuki to draw dōjinshi after their visit because he recognizes Kazuki's skill as an artist, but Kazuki's childhood friend Mizuki tries to talk him out of it because she believes otakus are smelly, dirty, and disgusting. Her reasoning doesn't help because Kazuki already made up his mind and begins to draw his first dōjinshi. Game has lots of English reviews. 3. Girl Doll Toy Gaiden Azami Girl Doll Toy 外伝 AZAMI [Uran] VNDB Protagonist is a Treasure Hunter who comes to a foreign land to get Miron 's treasure, but is reported and arrested by archaeologist Yuki. Hero agrees to cooperate and gets released - together with Yuki they get on an adventure. Story is good, but system is troublesome so it can't be really recommended. Uran got turned on Doll Toy and he's getting the third game in this franchise just in July 1999. That's all that's known about this game and there's no motivation to check it out. 4. Marionette Company マリオネットカンパニー [Micro Cabin] VNDB In Marionette Company your character happens to come across a broken android girl (called "marionettes" in the game) weakly crying for your help inside a cardboard box abandoned in dark alleyway. You of course decide to pick the poor thing up and repair her to the best of your ability. However there's still much work to be done on her to make her as "human" as possible. There's an English review of this game. 5. Mujintou Monogatari RR 無人島物語RR [KSS Inc.] VNDB Events take place on an uninhabited island around Hawaii. There is electricity and basic facilities ready. Resort love story begins now! Game's gone pretty far from its origins. There is no superficial element of prequels and there is basically everything ready and it's even a resort... really... it's survival game series, not a vacation rabu-rabu, for god's sake! Battle gets really like jrpg. This is one of the last games in the series and I think everyone got tired reinventing the same setting for the 10th time. 6. Pythian ピュティア [Studio e.go!] VNDB The world collapsed, before that, people would actively researching Psionics. In the new era, people who with psionics power became decadent aristocracy and dominate the continent for years. Rebellion broken out and took over, soon neighbouring country took the chance to invade. Protagonist suffered amnesia, believing that artefacts have a link to his memory recovery, come to the capital to investigate surrounding ruins amid the chaos. SRPG. There are 15 chapters, each with 0 to 3 battles. Game balance is not the best. Story is very difficult to grasp - it's not integral enough and some plot twists look really random. Game features special undressing system. 7. Sakura Biyori さくら日和 [May-Be Soft] VNDB Ronji Mizushima failed to pass entrance exams and moved to Sakura Heights boarding house to study as ronin. He chose this place because the rent was cheap and landlord was a beautiful woman. It turned out that it was inhabited only by women and thus his life in an apartment full of women begins. I should probably have blocked this game because it's a borderline eroge. It's mostly remembered by the description on the box "How much ecchi can SLG contain"? And the answer is a LOT. Even though it's a raising SIM, all the girls are nymphomaniacs. Still it's most unusual for such boring genre as a raising SIM to be H-oriented, so I'll let it slip for now. There are some 8 heroines and also guests who make only occasional appearance. We take care of hero's weekly schedule for 11 months. There are four parameters to worry about. 8. Seisen Ren'ai Yuugi 聖戦 恋愛遊戯 [Rare] VNDB Frontier planet "XIAN" far from the Earth. There are no planetary governments and the two major conglomerates of Ron and Zoroa dominate and prosper by free trade. Ryuta graduated from the military academy and came to Shan, the land of memories of his deceased father. He was welcomed by Ron Ron, the general commander of the army, and was invited to the Mayfa Corps Base, which is the headquarters. In the meantime president Ray Long suddenly dies. At the same time unknown identity enemies attack the base. Ryuta picks up three young ace pilot girls and tries to organize defense. From now on they are being swallowed by the war... Tactic strategy mix. Only one girl pilots the mecha and it depends on favorability. In battle there are three types of robots: proximity type, middle range type, and long range type. Enemy turns take quite a long time. When girl attacks, you gain favorability, when she suffers damage or you're far from her, you lose favorability. One playthrough is about 8 hours. 9. Suzu ga Utau Hi 鈴がうたう日 [Tactics] VNDB A small town along the sea. A slight tide smell in the air ... in such a town I met a girl. Gir's name is Suzu. That small incident changed the boring summer and turned it into an irreplaceable season that I won't be able to forget till the rest of my life... Split with Key was devastating for Tactics. Their new game has the same systems as "One". The text is quite bad, but some gags are ok. You need to choose places on a the map and check if it triggers some event, so it's not really fun. Game period is 20 days. One playthrough is just 3 hours. There's no voicing. Characters are... I don't know, but anything but cute. Only Suzu route has some meaning in it, but it's not good either. A very plain and much more inferior game than "One". 10. Venus Revolution ヴィーナスレヴォリューション [Abel Software] VNDB Once per several hundred years the Gods summon a human to their domain for eight days to study human nature. Main character is such a summoned man. Different Gods represent different elements and main character is given cards representing different elements to use wisely in conversations. I tried to play that since it was Abel Software... and it's plain horrible. It's just a hundred megabytes in size, ugly, with only mouse control, no skipping or even instant text drawing and with zero options at all... After small introduction you're thrown on a map where you can visit different Gods and use conversation cards... That's basically it, with clever use of cards and diligence you should gain any God's trust. And now the most important thing... this work is not made by Abel directly, it was made by "Art Club" company and only published by Abel Soft group, so it should not really be considered an Abel game.
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