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kivandopulus

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kivandopulus last won the day on September 3

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  1. VN of the Month September 1998

    I've only appreciated With You ~Mitsumete Itai~ and Yume no Saka this month. The former is still a normal school romance VN while Yume no Saka is something unique that probably won't have a similar rival ever. I consider Yume no Saka to be the game of the month September 1998 and there will be a review explaining why. 1. Carbon Knight カーボナイト [Palette (old)] VNDB A world devastated by the battle of gods. The surviving people created inanimate "carbon humans" by using the relics of Gods and sealing the soul within. For several hundred years the war lasted. Now carbon knight needs to deter the restoration of the once sealed demon king. Story has H-events densely packed. Save function returns you to the start of the day and one day is a very long period. It goes like a normal ADV with periodical choices of where to go or what to answer. 2. Doki Doki Pretty League: Nekketsu Otome Seishunki ドキドキプリティリーグ 熱血乙女青春記 [Xing Entertainment] VNDB In this game you play a coach for an all-girl baseball team. The game plays like a managerial game where you have to keep track of the schedule, add practice time for the girls and play games to advance in the series. But to keep the team happy you must also make sure they have a good social life as well as a well thought out training regime. There are a lot of games in this baseball manager franchise. They look pretty much the same to me and there's no will to look for differences. 3. For Season ~Meguriyuku Kisetsu no Naka de~ For Season ~めぐりゆく季節の中で~ [Giga] VNDB You are hired as a family tutor, and you pick three girls of your choice (from five) as your students. In six months time (July to January), you are to assist these three girls in getting into University. There is an English review of this game. 4. Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Blank of 3 Years 機動戦艦ナデシコ The blank of 3years [Sega] VNDB A follow up to the Kidou Senkan Nadesico anime, this game covers the events that occur in the storyline between the end of the series and the movie. There is enough English information on the game. 5. Lag ラグ [Aaru] VNDB 2022 AD. Hero is the strongest fighter in history. He was ordered by his father to find a girlfriend in three years time and train her into a fighter. He needs to attend the school of fiercest fighters from all over the country. But his power gets sealed and he needs to start from scratch. Fighting ADV genre has given us quite a good number of games. System-wise it's nothing special, command selection. We choose type of training each month. Once you get enough experience with training, you can level up. Each week we can choose to see some girl or do smth else on free time. Battles lasts for 10 turns with selection limited to attack, defend and provoke. But games lasts for 3 years which is a LOT. RPG element tries to shake off repeatedness, but succeeds only partially. Quite an ordinary fighting adv, but with good character growth and battle mechanics. 6. Light My Fire -Hajimemashite- LIGHT MY FIRE -はじめまして- [Take] VNDB Hero is a teacher during daytime and DJ at night time. Main heroine is the daughter of religious cult guru. Hero acts to prevent destruction activities of this religious cult. DJ battle adventure simulation game as it describes itself... wth. This doujin game is a huge mess.Why teacher would fight religious fanatics... Why it suddenly turns into a sex game... Why the teacher reconciles guru and his daughter and joins the religious cult as a senior executive eventually?! It all looks like a bad joke. And on top of that game is music-based and there's a nice DJ battle minigame. Doujin crapocalypse is coming... 7. Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan 御神楽少女探偵団 [Human Club & Nude Maker] VNDB Mikagura Shoujo Tanteidan is an adventure game that tells a story of Mikagura Tokito was the director of a detective agency in the Taisho era but disappeared after an accident. Three girls who adored him continue his work - they are Tomoe, Shigeno, and Chizuru. Talk to every character in each screen until each scene is solved. That pretty much sums it up. There rest depends on whether you like cute girls unwinding cases in Taisho era. 8. My Girl マイガール [Jam] VNDB You start the game already with a girlfriend, Miki. During the school year, you'll meet other two girls, and you must choose between chasing one of them or sticking with Miki. There is an English review of this game. 9. Mystic Mind ~Yureru Omoi~ Mystic Mind~揺れる想い~ [Family Soft] VNDB Depending on gender choice the game will differ in who you meet - males or females. The game begins when the player's character is transferred to a private high school where he will meet the other main character of the game, and the game will start there. The game features different endings depending on the player's choices and character development during the gameplay. So now it is up to the player to succeed in finding love or not. Oh my, half-otome game. Those that try to please everyone usually get a generic game as a result and this is no exception. A raising sim that I can't see any outstanding features in. 10. Nurse Call ナースコール [Mei Full House Karen] VNDB A girl died during operation without telling her feelings. Fumiura Yuya starts to hear her faint voice from then on. Will he be trapped with the ghosts of the past or see a sign of new life? There are three heroines, but scenario is the same so there's no meaning in it. Game is also really short. 11. Omoidezaka 想ひ出坂 [Ume Soft] VNDB A landscape with a nostalgic atmosphere. A woman is always standing on a slope behind the scenery. ... This is the mysterious dream that comes every night. The hero returns to his home town as a practice student and recognized the girl of his dreams in Tamiya Maika. While still wondering about this connection, he gets to know that the teacher was killed in the arts classroom. He sets on the investigation to find out the truth behind the incident. Multi-route multi-ending command selection ADV. There are 10 girls and 10 happy endings. First half of the game is usual school slice of life while only second one is murder investigation. Even though solving the case is easy, the flags are vague and getting all the endings is very tough. 12. Onegai! Renhou おねがい!蓮宝 [Blue Bell] VNDB Hero is waiting for graduation and attends photo club. He has fear of women. One day photo club manager assaulted him after drinking party. Now he's finally set on overcoming his fear of women. Normal mahjong game with weird synopsis. As you win you can buy items in various shops. There is story mode and pure mahjong mode. 13. Rakuen no Natsu 楽園の夏 [Ange] VNDB Hero is a 3rd grade high school student in a small rural town. He is surrounded by childhood friends and lives happily. By summer vacations he starts to think about future and long-life relations. There are many heroines and depending on places you chose to go, branching happens. August 15th is the summer festival day and it's the day of erotic ending. 14. With You ~Mitsumete Itai~ With You ~みつめていたい~ [Cocktail Soft & F&C] VNDB Long time ago, a man and a woman made a promise, stating that although they were destined to be lonely souls, they should always remain together. But by a cruel joke of fate, they were separated and sealed into two jewels that were hidden for generations. Manami, who left the country 6 years before, has found one of the jewels while traveling. He will return to Japan to meet with their friends from childhood. This will entail a meeting of the two jewels again, for the second jewel seems to be owned by his father. There is an English review of this game. 15. Yami no Mitsuryousha 闇の密猟者 [Jade] VNDB Protagonist with three girls go in the mountains to draw a sketch, but they get lost and it starts raining. They see a villa and come inside to get dry. Younger sister gets hungry and they start seeking for provision but find an arm cut from the elbow in the basket instead. Systems is clumsy as in every work based on macromedia. No skip function, pseudo 3D and slow screen motion. Text is really bad and scarce. Story is of dark origin with much rape and it's a single road. Opponent is multiple personality killer demon. 16. Yume no Saka 夢の坂 [acute] VNDB Dream slope is a hill near student dormitory. According to old legend monsters used to appear from there. They were exterminated by a travelling samurai, but as he was leaving he predicted that evil would rise again on the slope. Heroines with heart and mind wounds get caught by the dream slope. Each heroine story is unique. Another feature of the game is that there are not really good endings. I'm intrigued to some extent. I'm giving it a full review.
  2. VN of the Month August 1998

    What a dreadful month. Pretty much every game is flawed as I see it. Ochita Tenshi ga Utau Uta has the smallest flaw of all - it's really short. 1. Ano Ko Doko no Ko あのこどこのこ [Success & HAMSTER Corporation] VNDB Anokodokonoko is a dating simulation board game released by Success in 1998 that features 2 main game mode: - Story mode: Only one player game. In this mode there is a strong element of simulation. The hero (the player) has the purpose of meeting with the girl, and make her fall in love with him, the game in this mode features different events. - Party mode: This mode can be played by up to 4 human players. This mode is more focused in the board game style but without squares and dices, since the game is also playable in the story mode game maps and is a sort of a competition between the human characters to win and know who between them got more friends or dates with the different girls. A boarding game even without any story. Nothing to discuss, really. 2. College Terra Story カレッジテラストーリー [Uran] VNDB The story picks up off where HighSchool Terra Story ended. You are, again, Keisuke from the first game and you are now attending college. Keisuke is intrigued with a pop idol rock star named Hiromi, who also happens to attend the same university as he does. The six girls from the first game(Misa, Rina, Mimi, Aki, Chiho and Mao) are also back and you can continue their love stories from where they left off from the first game if you choose to do so. There is an English review of the game. And releasing it just two months after prequel already tells a lot. 3. Homura no Matsuri 火焔祭 [Sorciere] VNDB Freelance writer Kengo Sakuraba visits a lonesome hot spring town. The four sisters who manage the inn welcome him warmly. However, there is something strange in this town. What exactly is hidden there? Another game resembling Kizuato of Leaf. Each scenario is short (30 minutes) and despite game features multi-scenario... different scenarios are actually the same with a different character ending. General impression is that content is too thin and there is nothing to gain from it. 4. Izayoi 十六夜 [Tiare] VNDB Kusanagi Yorokuya comes from an ancient family. He transfers to another school to locate spiritual abnormality that broke through the barrier and also to investigate night school "seven wonders". One of the last JAST games with its traditional gameplay during daytime. We go around town and campus during the day to gather info. And at night we move inside school with the partner of our choice. School night usually features a battle with some spirit and since the balance is very bad you'll definitely die in the Prologue for the first few tries. There are strict limitation for events density and order so several playthoroughs are needed, but the game lacks the appeal to go through the battles more than once. 5. Ochita Tenshi ga Utau Uta 堕ちた天使が詩う歌 [Pias] VNDB The story starts off in a modern world and you, the player, are in school and the school nurse asks you to investigate a murder. There is an English review of this game. 6. Sumomo Hakusho~Anata to Itsumade mo すもも白書〜あなたといつまでも [Desire] VNDB "Sumomo Hakusho" is comprised of a Adventure game component, whereas the main character is in the Art Club (Pottery dept.) preparing for the upcoming Culture and Arts Festival for the school. During that time, he can attend to school life, and in the after-school hours, he has a choice of going to different places in the school and help out different girls. Of course dating them goes next...and endings are pretty much of the standard storyline. Game has an English review. 7. Umibe de Riichi! 海辺でリーチ! [MYCOM] VNDB Kaitto Asari, captain of the Mahjong Club, is enjoying his summer vacations in a training camp he was asked to participate in. However, there are also five cute girls in the camp! Will Kaito become closer to them thanks to mahjong? Playing mahjong on the beach with girls in swimsuits - that's enough to make a game! Several mahjong modes are possible to choose from. And lots of fanservice ensues since it's a non-eroge work.
  3. VN of the Month July 1998

    There aren't real competitors to Luv wave this month. I'll discuss it in a full review. 1. Akagawa Jirou: Yasoukyoku 赤川次郎 夜想曲 [Victor Interactive Software & Marvelous Interactive] VNDB This adventure game is adapted from Akagawa Jirou's classic mystery novel Yasoukyoku – Hon ni Manekaereta Satsujin (Nocturne – Books that beckon murder) that contains two separate detective stories. The stage is set in Nonomiya Library, a mansion hidden amongst the trees in a darkened forest where a collection of books related to death are stored. Sound novels are best suited for literary adaptations, that's why sound novels often have a unique book feeling. Hero takes a part time job to to organize some mansion's huge library in a month. He finds some book - investigates how the book appeared in the collection - incident occurs - solving it - moves on. It's a mix of horror game and detective game. There are about 10 endings for each episode with only couple of those being good ones. 2. Code R コード・アール [Quintet] VNDB Players assume the role of a young man who is thrust into the middle of trying to date and patch up relationships with various women while racing bad guys on the side Game has an English review. 3. Dream Generation ~Koi ka? Shigoto ka!?...~ ドリーム・ジェネレーション ~恋か? 仕事か!?...~ [Reindeer] VNDB A graduate student from Shiomidai Highschool, Toranosuke-kun, came back to the town a year later. After attending the class reunion with his old friends, he decided that he has to do something about his future... What he really wanted to do? After a year later, what he wanted to be...? Based on the path that he will choose from now on, his life is probably going to change. At the end, he will probably find his dream and his life partner, right...? Quite a usual dating SIM of classmate type. System is simplified so actions are only possible on weekends. Quite low budget little known work. Partial voicing and lousy storyline don't help. Main feature of the game is that you can choose out of three occupations and that it is very realistic. 4. Hoshi Furu Umi ni ~Koi no Sanjuusou~ 星降る海に ~恋の三重奏~ [Blue Bell] VNDB At summer vacation Makoto Ozawa invited his five classmates and friends - six people - to go on a trip to the beach together. During those three days that they spend in this trip they will develop a spiritual bond at this magical seaside. I really fancy serial works and this is one of them. Yuki Furu Kisetsu e ~Omoi, Anata ni~ is the prequel and it had male Sawaki Shinichiro as protagonist. He goes with his girlfriend Miyashita Chiyo and it's impossible to capture her for that reason. And in this game protagonist is totally different - Makoto Ozawa. Many heroes are old acquaintances as well. But this work is even more obscure than the prequel. 5. Kisetsu o Dakishimete 季節を抱きしめて [Sugar and Rockets Inc. & SCEI] VNDB Spring. Tomoko has always been a great friend of mine since we were young. Though I only thought of her as my buddy, she seemed to have different kind of feelings for me. One day, when we are walking along the cherry blossom trees, we find a girl lying unconscious underneath a tree. It's a girl whom I had a big crush on in high school - a girl who was killed in a car accident.... There is enough English information on the game. 6. Liaison リエゾン ~liaison~ [Bell-Da] VNDB Kusanagi Daisakusa came to Tokyo to attend art university with a dream of becoming a painter, but he clearly lacked talent. One day he meets two women in jewelry story and that casual encounter greatly influenced his life and his upcoming biggest masterpiece. First of all, it's been a long time to meet Bell-Da work here. Even though last works mostly had proper covers they were all very erotic works. This one is borderline as well, but at least synopsis is kind of safe. Multi ending adventure featuring 5 endings. There are four heroines, but Hideo and Minako go as a pair and captured together. Full voice (except for protagonist). Heroines have painful past, but they don't show it off. A nice feature is changing view perspective - from time to time it switches to heroine. 7. Luv wave ラブ・ウェーヴ [C's Ware] VNDB September 2039. XINN, the computer virus that shutdown the world's computers, threatens us again. You, detective Kaoru, must solve who and why, with your new cyborg partner, Alice. However, haven't you met her before? This game stole my heart right off the bat. My beloved C's Ware made something akin to Ghost in the Shell?! Yes, please! I'm making a full review of it soon. 8. Mei King めい・king [Nikukyuu] VNDB Cain, a shepherd, frees some spirits of a certain place and rescues the princess who was captured by the mountain cabin. As a benefactor of the princess's life, he receives the land and lord title from the king as well as appointment as princess's fiancee candidate. The condition for the marriage is to develop the most advanced entity in 5 years period. This famous Japanese strategy has zero votes at VNDB and 0.67/5 score at gamefaqs, just laughable. Strategy part is building and maintaining the city, growing reputation and some daily routine work. But it's not about strategy only for sure. Based on the answers to the initial questions you get initial partner girl and lots of other partners are met further on. The density of H-events is pretty high. This game is definitely more fun gameplay-wise than sim-city. The only problem that it's long... 5 years is a huge period. All city stats are maxed by the end of 3rd year and there's little to do next than to watch same battles, festivals and events. 9. Metsu 滅(めつ) [Poison Breath] VNDB You and your fiancee were driving in your car one night when you were attacked by two people wearing scary masks. They then raped your fiancee, and kill you... and needless to say, you're not happy. After the two thugs leave, taking your fiancee with them and leaving your dead body behind, your soul encounters the ghosts of 3 girls that have also died tragically at the hands of those 2 thugs. With their help, you manage to reanimate your dead body Your primary goal as one of the walking dead is to rescue the person that you love from the bad guys, and take your revenge at the same time. Game has an English review. 10. Mujintou Monogatari 4 無人島物語4 [KSS Inc.] VNDB A plane crashes into the sea, but the protagonist survives and reaches a seemingly deserted island. He teams up with other survivors and explores the island. This is a remake of Mujintou Monogatari with exactly the same synopsis except for protagonist name. But original was a pure SIM/Strategy - this one has huge tilt into RPG instead. So it's a logical continuation of the R series, new generation only knew R game anyway and X series was not good for PS1 releases. But since it's still 4 and not some RR, it's also aimed to pose a challenge to the players comparable to the first three DOS games. And the challenge it is - there are a lot of capture pages for this game since mechanics are quite advanced. Another change is that game's played in real time. You need to command three groups in real time and there does not seem to be a pause. It's also easy to lower the mood of certain characters and it would affect the ending directly. So overall a successful revival of the old series. 11. Ojou-sama Tokkyuu お嬢様特急 [MediaWorks] VNDB Ultra luxury limited express "Vega" crossing Japan in 15 days from August 1 to 15 from Hokkaido to Kyushu stopping at each station for 24 hours. The main character rides this express and goes to a trip without destination. What awaits him? Game is all-age so full-scale tourist sightseeing was added to stir up the interest. Train sequences change with tourist spots one by one and most of the activity is finding out girls and talking to them. It's good as galge and tourist attraction, but not good as text and story oriented work. 12. Rinkaiten ~Critical Point~ 臨界点 ~クリティカル・ポイント~ [Sweet Basil] VNDB In the early 21st century, a sudden shortage of food and energy sparked World War III, a massive conflict that saw the deaths of millions and brought the population of Earth to 15% of its prewar level. Years later, an uneasy calm has descended on humanity, although a state of war still technically exists. Four power blocs that share control of the Moon and the earth, each looking for a weakness they can exploit against the others. You are Captain Leiji Osumi of the Free Alliance Space Force, formerly a fighter pilot in the War. Your past is haunted by a terrible incident that caused you to change careers, transferring to the top secret intelligence division. When a series of technical problems on the Free Alliance Moon Base D-02 hint at sabotage, you are dispatched to get to the bottom of things, under the cover of "Technical Advisor." The military learned long ago that women are better adapted to lonely assignments in space, and so the base is staffed almost entirely by females. Arriving at the base, you discover that an inexplicable sexual insanity has gripped its normally professional staff, prompting further investigation. Are these strange occurrences connected with the sabotage somehow? You have to untangle the mystery and get things back on track before one of the other power blocs notices that anything is amiss and tries to attack. Game is localized and has lots of English reviews. I've blocked and unblocked this game for at least three times, but it has some merit apart of H-scenes, so it will do. 13. Touchuukasou 冬虫夏草 [Petit] VNDB In a rural town there has been a series of murders recently. Part of the bodies was lost as if it had been eaten by someone. Toshio Hiyama moved to this town 10 years ago and he was constantly bullied due to his introverted nature to the extent that there might be even another will lurking inside his consciousness... Multi-branch, multi-ending ADV. There are four main heroines with their branches. Heroines are very appealing but there are frustrating bugs that damage savegame all the time and there are also game crashes on load. Game really resembles Kizuato from Leaf as there are also normal people dwelling a beast inside. So there are a lot of dark scenes. There are also branches when the hero moves between the worlds. So it's a very worthy game if you're ready to struggle with the saves backups. 14. Yuuwaku Office Ren'ai-ka ゆうわくオフィス恋愛課 [JAMP] VNDB In the vein of Tokimeki Memorial, the game follows the protagonist's love affairs inside an average Japanese company. Raising SIM with work romance as theme. It's unusual for a game to be adults oriented. Stage is toy company so lots of cuteness is provided. It's not a work with high integrity, but heroines are different and there's a good chance everyone would find one to like.
  4. Anniversary 2017

    I try to observe active VN reviewers and I must say that noone of them is reviewing fresh untranslated works - only random past works. Joyjason used to investigate couple works he liked monthly, but he's been on hiatus for about three months and now seems to be posting irregularly. There used to be such culture for some time in early 2010s. For example, I was totally astonished by the number of English reviews of Flyable Hears after its release. It's an insane quantity for an untranslated work. Anime and VNs have the same source of inspiration. It's my firm belief that anime gets only better witch each new season and so do VNs. Time dimension is the best way to look at new works since this way you get an organized material and only this way you know that nothing is missing. Just looking at big works creates a sense of uneasiness, but looking also at smaller works and noticing why they are bad is much more satisfying. And playing only localized works is a dead end anyway. So great job in both reviewing and organizing community effort for leftover works that you can't process alone. Much appreciation to Dergonu!
  5. VN of the Month June 1998

    I consider Double Cast to be VN of the Month June 1998. The suspense story is surprisingly interesting and some endings are quite fun. It's also the most integral part of the whole series. Why not One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~? It's an entertaining read I enjoyed protagonist jokes on the girls. Nagamori Mizuka is the most fun since Kouhei sets her up on daily basis. I have to admit that I've only seen Nanase and Shiina routes. Nanase route is quite commonly recognized as a comedy route and the weakest in story. And next I actually aimed for Nagamori route and somehow bumped into Shiina Mayu paired route instead. The worst route ever. She is delinquent who barely speaks - she's a horrible character to pair up route with and she mercilessly wrecks Nagamori as likable character in it. Speaking of talking - two other heroines have serious problems with speech and another one is blind - is this Katawa Shoujo or smth? Too many weirdos at once, no separate roots for girls and absence of intelligent conversations is what killed the fun for me. 1. Angel! えーんじぇる! [Triangle] VNDB Hero is an angel apprentice who can not pass the promotion test to angels even though his lover Shirley is already an angel. The chief angel chief decided to impose the final special examination on the hero. Its contents is to go down to the Earth, do good things and earn 100 points in 6 days. If those conditions aren't met the hero will be expelled from the Heavens forever. His powers on Earth are limited to transformation into a strange stuffed animal figure. He appoints two school girls Mikoto and Makoto as his own apprentices and hurries to do the good deeds worth 100 points. Full voice fun bakage! There are choices during the conversation and depending on those Makoto and Mikoto gain empathy and that directly affects the ending. At important moments Makoto and Mikoto use magic that you pass to them. H-scenes depend directly on the magic you give them. Due to this fact many playthroughs are needed to discover all variations of CG. Slight inconvenience that saving is only possible at the beginning and end of each chapter, but skip function makes it easier. Story is not serious, but moves in a good tempo and contains five chapters stylized to look as anime episodes. It's a big hit among bakage due to high production values and attractive parodies. 2. Double Cast ダブルキャスト [SCEI & Production I.G] VNDB The game begins with you, the main character, waking up at a fountain to the face of a pretty girl. You are a high school boy, and this girl has helped you out of the garbage where you had passed out in a drunken stupor. (Talk about first impressions!) As it turns out, she cannot remember anything about herself except for her name, Akasaka Mitsuki. Since she has no place to stay, you offer your own, and so begins your unusual relationship with this spirited girl. When your film club finds itself in need of a female lead, Mitsuki joins in, and from there the main story begins to unfold. There is enough English info, but it's very dry, so let's spice it up. Full voice full animation interactive movie. Game starts as a heartwarming story, but since the middle turns into a suspense horror. Game is all about discovering endings - there are 27 of them plus one special if you discover all 27. Few options and endings are available at first but more and more options are added with discovered endings. Skipping and choosing episode to start with help, but still a guide is almost a necessity to find some of them. Surprisingly interesting game with high production values, but only for PS1 and PSP. 3. High School Terra Story ハイスクールテラストーリー [Uran & Success] VNDB Basically, you have about three and an half months to finish the game with one girl. Each day, you start out at school and you have a parameter with three sections: Studies, Athletics, and Art. Depending on how you build up this parameter and how you inter- act with the characters, the story will change. You also receive love points if you answers questions by the girls you interact with correctly. You do not freely move in this game, it directs you by your parameter and how you answer questions with the girls. You can choose which girl you want to finish the game with by using that method. You also earn money and you have a meter that tells you how tired you are. There are two good English reviews on the game. 4. Kimi ni Steady キミにSteady [D.O.] VNDB Hero is a senior in high school sctudent. He spent summer vacations on part-time job and did not create any memories. Now he intends to definitely find his love by Christmas. Pure love romance school adventure. Game period is 4 months and you move around the game and trigger events. Game system looks like classmate, but it's made much easier for newer generations. Like triggering events does not advance time and important events are clearly show on the map. But still for newer generation the game remained too difficult. Actually, difficulty varies from very easy to next to impossible. Game relies on minigames a lot since each girl has her own mini-game and there are also games at game center. Still, the characters aren't really cute and the character designs have not gone far from Youjuu Senki. Game was in production for two years and grew old even before release. 5. Koi no Floating Mine 恋のフローティング・マイン [Active Soft] VNDB Life is always hard for a student who have to transfer to a new school, especially the fact that you need to start everything over. But there are always exceptions... Especially if you meet a bunch of pretty girls! There is an English review for this game. 6. One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~ ONE ~輝く季節へ~ [Tactics] VNDB One's story revolves around Kouhei Orihara, the main protagonist, who suspects that at some point his current life will change while living a peaceful daily routine. Due to this, he begins to seclude himself in the Eternal World, a world within his mind. The game's main recurring motif is a focus on the Eternal World, a mystical alternate space which is never clearly explained, and the details of which are unknown. Game is localized and has many English reviews. 7. Saikai ~Sotsugyou Ryokou '98~ 再会 ~卒業旅行’98~ [Saint] VNDB School life is over and classmates go on a graduation trip for four days to Okakura pension house What kind of memories will the hero build over this trip? First things first - I blocked the prequel for it having a yaoi scenario. Well, here there's also one yaoi scenario, but aestetics is not yaoi-distorted and most of love interests are girls so I'll let it slip. So it's quite a typical romance game. You move around, hit flags for the first days and on the third day you can confess to your love interest with a H-scene following on 4th day. There are 8 heroines to capture (rather 7+1 non-heroine). Each girl has both pure love and eroge sides of scenarios to pick up. 8. The Grand Hotel ザ・グランドホテル [Apollon Create] VNDB Meg and Alice graduated this spring and they are best friends. They are trying to find job at the Luxury Hotel "Grand Hotel". The final exam is to pick up the debts from long-standing patrons. However, all the patrons are weirdo. Will they be able to adapt? Game is ADV with some SIM elements like money. So you wander around the rooms and ... practically anything can be inside. It's a parody game on the verge of sanity. One of the endings even says that hotel was a training ground for space mission and they both go to space. So it's probably an eroge, but a merry one. 9. Update あっぷでーと [Pinpai] VNDB Main character registers on the meeting web site by friend's advice. Will he be able to find his love and meet her in real world? Well you write a letter and choose a topic for beginning, middle and end. And if you mail suits girl's character, she responds. You can keep sending replies of fair, good or best quality. Then if everything is ok there's a meeting of net friends in a real life and then a possible date. There are two H-events for each character. The most fascinating route is of protagonist's ex-girlfriend as the story unfolds her dark net past.
  6. Foreword: I don't believe Alice Soft - they can only make eroge and bakage. But this game was highly praised overseas. Who knows, maybe it's the game that can overcome my aversion. Title: Diabolique Developer: Alice Soft Date: 1998-05-28 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v2261 Synopsis: In this world, here are two kinds of intelligent beings. One are humans and the other are Diaboliques. Diaboliques possess power, violence, intelligence, and eternal life. Their life form was categorized into four levels, the lowest division lacking intelligence, reproduction ability and beauty and the fourth being very intelligent and able to change form. For thousands of years, human race has been suppressed by the danger of diabolique. However, a legend has passed on through generation that there's diabolique that kills its own species. This diabolique was Azulite - one of the only five Lord Diabolique (the ones of highest category). Being known as the "species killer," Azulite has come up to kill diaboliques. At here, he met a girl named Letticia. Her innocence and tragic background has attracted Azulite, and soon Azulite fell in love with her. However, the two lovers were separated after Letticia was killed. They promised to see each other when she was reincarnated. Carrying with the promise, Azulite once again set off on a journey looking for Letticia. Structure: There are roughly five big parts corresponding to five different time periods. Length: 16 hours Game type: Command selection adventure Difficulty: Easy. Story is one way road and bad ends are possible only if make a bad decision in battle. Even then the game kindly suggests to load from the beginning of the battle rather than finding your earlier savegame. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 10/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 10/10 Rating comments: Two games in a row with a 10/10... either my standards are that low or the games are that good. I actually stand for the latter. My only complain to game quality is that it's not voiced and music only lasts for couple minutes and fades before the next scene is reached. And I did not particularly like the way the five Lord Diaboliques were presented. We get short scenes with them between the main Azurite story parts and only by the mids of fifth final part we're told their names and their governing elements. So through the game they are just random guys and when we get acquainted to them, there's already a climax part pending. I'd like to get more of Lord Diabolique characters. Protagonist: Azurite is absolutely fabulous as a protagonist. He lost most of his memory, but he knows that he's the strongest of Lord Diaboliques. He remembers he's searching for something and wanders around killing his kin and getting food and shelter for that. He travels in a human form and he looks like a very tall elf with his long hair, slender body and big sword. But in this cruel world drowned in blood he's the only gentelman. He's very polite, kind, good-mannered and modest. He never drawn his sword against any human no matter how bad he's bullied or hunted (well, not in human state at least he-he). And he's a one-woman man. From the moment he met Leticia in humiliating conditions he felt a deep sympathy towards her. He's never laid an eye on any other woman and when one woman throughout the story tried to force herself on him, his manhood could not react at all. He's very loyal and that makes the story unique. Well, he's quite sensitive too and he can afford to cry when he's with Leticia. He's a great cook and at mornings he always greets Leticia in an apron and with a ladle inviting her to have breakfast. Characters: Each of the five story parts has its own set of characters. I adore party adventures and story part 2 and 3 were about adventuring in two different parties and that was absolutely cool. I really liked those different party members with fancy characters, but they don't play significant role. Only Leticia follows throughout all the parts (actually, even she's absent in one part) and enemies. There is also Aria girl that has an important role in 4th and 5th story parts, so let's look at those two girls. Leticia: Well... she's different. Part 1 shows us canonical abused scary girl. Part 2 is an absolutely different, bold and picky personality and a different appearance. Part 3 is again totally different from those two, but I would not like to spoil here. In Part 4 she's absent and in Part 5 she's basically canonical Leticia again, but she remembers all the previous reincarnations as well. Well, she's quite a typical heroine like in many single heroine stories. Sensitive scared crybaby who knows next to nothing about the world and that gives Azurite an opportunity to act protective and teach her basic facts about the world. But as for me, Part 2 and Part 3 Leticia reincarnations are much cooler, totally different personalities and great stories. Aria: She's a usual native Indian girl, curious and brave. She recovers Azurite body when he falls into a trap and takes care of him while he recovers. But Azurite falls into the same trap for the second time (well, he's not wisest man) and she dies stepping up and getting all the blows that were ment for Azurite. That's an inevitable spoiler because there's not point discussing Aria as human. Azurite makes a misfortune (intelligent creation) of her she stays protecting those ruins and waiting for Azurite. Well, that's the biggest charm about this girl. She's becomes a killing machine, but she regains her memories - she looses humanity, but she has intelligence and senses. She's condemned to wait for Azurite for hundreds years in that dark den and eventually he comes... not alone, but with Leticia. There's a very touching scene of jealousy risen inside Aria towards Leticia and that and her damned fate make her a very memorable character. Story: Story is superb throughout first four story parts. There's a lot of diabolique fights, lots of death, lots of adventuring. Part 2 and 3 features adventuring inside two different parties and that's just the best moments of the game. Part two is also a perfect slice of life on top of that. So we get to know Leticia in part 1 and eventually lose her. In part 2 after 60 years we discover her soul in a different girl and eventually lose her. At this point I already thought I knew what would happen in leftover parts. But part 3 is totally shocking - there's no Azurite in it, there's no Leticia in it - main three characters are a pub girl, a huge warrior woman and pub girl's brother who wishes to go adventuring and joins that huge warrior woman. For two hours the story lingers and you start to put up with the fact that's it's a totally different story when - BAM - Azurite appears in a totally unexpected way - BAM - Leticia appears and the chapter shortly ends. Ok... now I adjusted my expectations and the leftover stories were bound to be the same Azurite is searching for Leticia, but in other humans forms, easy as that. And fourth chapter gives another shock - there's Azurite in his usual for throughout the whole chapter, but Leticia does not make appearance in this chapter at all - not her soul, pretty much nothing! Just wow. So fifth chapter should finally be about meeting of two heroes, right? NOT. For one and a half hour you watch a slice of life about 7-year old reincarnated Leticia and her 7-year old friends. And I'd like to assure you that watching a slice of life about 7-year old first graders is not fun in any way - that was the most torturing part of the game. But fifth part is the longest one (about 5 hours long), so there is enough time for heroes union and new confrontation setting and final resolution. I'll tackle the fifth chapter in Themes more. CG: There's a lot of CG, actually. I'm totally satisfied by is quantity and quality. Here are some gore CG for the taste of it. There's a lot of CG, actually. I'm totally satisfied by is quantity and quality. Here are some gore CG for the taste of it. HCG: Believe it or not, but there are only two and a half hentai scenes in the game. Two scenes for 16 hour long gameplay. I'm sorry, is this really Alice Soft? Well, it is. In order to make up with just two H-scenes there are a lot of half-naked/naked shots. A lot of enemies are drawn the way to amplify eroticism. There are a lot of flashbacks and occasional nudity scenes, so don't worry, it's very much Alice Soft, just adapted to fit the pure love eternal reincarnation story. And the only Azurite and Leticia H event is one of the most memorable in my gaming experience. There's no music and no voice during that. Only the rising and fainting gusts of wind are heard. The scene is maid as manga scrolling strips overlapping each other with up to 4 small screens deployed at one time. Very beautiful and touching. Sound: Sound is my biggest complain. I'm used to unvoiced games, that's ok. But each bgm fades after some two minutes and during the rest of the scene there's dead silence so I really often had to check whether I forgot to turn on sound or something. Actually, there are also nice sound effects during actions, but everyday life scenes lack them a lot. Themes: So first four chapters were pretty much brainless merry adventures with some sad resolutions. I loved those the most. But then came final fifth chapter and game suddenly turned into a nakige. The great diabolique/human war broke out and our heroes are hunted from both sides as well as by four Lord Diabolique. Leticia shakes in hysteria crying that's she's tired of running and hiding asking to leave her alone. Azurite is totally depressed as well because he can't give anything besides his feelings to the woman he loves. Those are very depressing scenes that last throughout the whole fifth chapter. But at the same time a lot of serious questions are raised. 1) Time brings change. Leticia was hiding in the forests with Azurite for 11 years and now she's 18 and she's tired, she wants a normal life. Feelings alone aren't a solid basis of relations. 2) What's better - to reincarnate, lose memory and start anew or to keep on living? Surprisingly, I feel like the game says that reincarnating even with memory loss is much better. First four chapters are a vivid example of it. It used to be a great romance story, but once heroes got together and Leticia turned 18 things have changed. She'll soon get old and die of boredom in the forest. Bearing the burden of past lives memory is already difficult. So when fire kings visits her alone in the forest and suggests to wipe her memory she's pretty much ready for both memory wipe and even death and reincarnation since reality has turned into such a heavy burden. 3) What's good and what's evil? Diabolique Lords are almighty cruel creatures that enslave humans, but with the story flow we start to see their characters, their griefs, their losses and they aren't seen as evil anymore. Humans used to be on losing side, but with the invention of firearms the balance shifted and humans started to kill even 24 Diaboliques getting very close to hunting Diabolique Lords. While diaboliques mostly used humans for sex pleasures, humans started to torture diaboliques just for the sake of revenge and those tortures were inhumane. At fifth chapter we're given the ultimate choice - shall we support the Diabolique Lords or shall we keep on hiding and fighting diaboliques. Supporting Diabolique Lords leads us to the first game ending with Azurite regained memories and power of Lord Diabolique of darkness and Leticia happily living with him. This is not a true ending, but I don't see it as a bad ending either. Humans with their lowly desires are hardly better than diabliques. While they were weak, they used to humiliate their own kin. And the story of Leticia in Part 1 is a vivid example of that. Now they got the power and they start to torture and humiliate even diabolique gods. Under diabolique lords dominance the Earth survived for thousands of years and they never really cared much about the humans, never tried to wipe them. And there's big question whether the human dominance going to be better. Azurite understands that and he chooses the third way. No spoilers. Humor: I don't really need humor to enjoy the story, but it can be a very nice addition to the story. In this game those seldom humor moments present were of Alice Soft bakage heritage. Here's one example of its "humor". Chapter 2 Leticia takes Azurite's clothes and gets to wash it while Azurite sits covered with a blanket. He wants to get breakfast and set coffee, but Leticia notices that it's dangerous and he could get a scorch. Azurite suggests that he wears an apron to prevent that. -But you don't have anything to wear, all your clothes is being washed! -I can wear an apron as I am! -NO! PLEASE! NO WAY! Overall comments: Atlach-Nacha was the first game of Alice Soft to shake my beliefs in Alice Soft as a sucky company. But it's Diabolique that made me surrender and shake off all the grunts. Diabolique is really an astonishing adventure and pure love story. It's ever surprising, mysterious nature keeps the thrill on all the time and I finished this 16 hour story in just two sittings. It has plenty of touching moments and an ultimately satisfactory ending. It's a waste to bury such story just because the game is old, has command selection gameplay and meciocre sound support. You can always glimpse on the game through my video playthrough as well.
  7. VN of the Month February 1998

    My utmost desire is that everyone would use machine google translation with ITH+TranslationAggregator today already. To popularize that I even make video playthroughs with just machine translation. Since April 2016 google machine translation has finally become bearable. Onomatopoeic and distorted phrases still need minimal thought filtering, but proper sentences are handled gracefully. There should be no fear that some parts would remain unclear since it's possible to understand over 99% of meaningful information. It's possible to translate interface and menus with OCR tools when needed.
  8. VN of the Month May 1998

    Quite a busy month with lots of good games. As for me first Castle Fantasia is still too simplistic. Hajimari no Kisetsu is very nice, but I opt for adventure works when possbile. Reborn's Day is definitely not for everyone. I played White Album quite long ago (remastered version) and it was very plain - couple routes were nice, but nothing more. That leaves us with Diabolique as VN of the Month May 1998. I'm giving it a full review next time. 1. Akai Hitomi no Serafu 紅い瞳のセラフ [Bishop] VNDB Kogo and his lover Ai are in a relationship for two years, but they never were intimate with each other. Even when Kogo's parents go on a trip his suggestion is rejected by Ai. Kago tried to summon a love angel with a spell, but failed with it. As a result, love of this world was confined and in order to save love he needs to enter the spirit world, interact with its inhabitants and rescue love withing a limited time period. One way road with only bad ending on time limit expiration. Bishop is an eroge maker company, but this first work can actually be viewed as pure love story despite having some harsh content. 2. Castle Fantasia [Studio e.go!] VNDB You are a knight named Varu who has a very beautiful girlfriend and is very happy with her. However, one day their kingdom get involved in a war, and the girl's parents die in it. After some time, an unknown religious organization appears in the city. Varu's girlfriend is in such a grief after the death of her parents, that she decides the world has nothing to offer to her, joins the adepts of the new religion, and leaves the city. Varu becomes very depressed after this separation, but when he learns the religious group which took away his girlfriend became an evil cult that kidnaps girls and seeks resurrection of demons. But even more awful is the fact his ex-girlfriend is now the leader of this cult... There's an English review of it. 3. Diabolique DiaboLiQuE -デアボリカ- [Alice Soft] VNDB In this world, here are two kinds of intelligent beings. One are humans and the other are Diaboliques. Diaboliques possess power, violence, intelligence, and eternal life. Their life form was categorized into four levels, the lowest division lacking intelligence, reproduction ability and beauty and the fourth being very intelligent and able to change form. For thousands of years, human race has been suppressed by the danger of diabolique. However, a legend has passed on through generation that there's diabolique that kills its own species. This diabolique was Azulite - one of the only five Road Diabolique (the ones of highest category). Being known as the "species killer," Azulite has come up to kill diaboliques. At here, he met a girl named Letticia. Her innocence and tragic background has attracted Azulite, and soon Azulite fell in love with her. However, the two lovers were separated after Letticia was killed. They promised to see each other when she was reincarnated. Carrying with the promise, Azulite once again set off on a journey looking for Letticia. There is an English review on this work. But since this work is hardly known at all, I'm giving it a review soon. Another chance to challenge Alice Soft. 4. Hajimari no Kisetsu ~Izakaya Fuyu Monogatari~ はじまりの季節 ~居酒屋冬物語~ [R.A.N.Software] VNDB The protagonist's relationship with his girlfriend is not doing very well. She's even being courted by his boss! In an effort to rekindle their love, he takes her on a vacation to a ski resort. But will that be enough to win back her heart? Game has a good English review. 5. Konpeki Tou Kumiai 紺碧塔組合 [Outlaw] VNDB Master Ladrinado Oz traveled to the Emerald City adventurer guild headquarters to become a hero. Together with the seven companions their adventure begins. Even though it's SRPG, there aren't its usual elements like attack or defend stats or elements... mechanics take some time to get used to, like attacking is not profitable, but counterattack is much more favorable. Your enemies will include sailor schoolgirls, shrine maidens, swimsuit schoolgirls etc 6. Namaashi Club 5 x 5 生足くらぶ 5×5 [Jam] VNDB Game imitates a TV show in which 5 females and 5 males ask questions to each other, fulfill tasks, form sympathy and form a couple if the sympathy is mutual. There are five girls and five mini-games to win favorability. Game's pretty short. 7. Reborn's Day ~Tsukiyo no Dekigoto~ Reborn's Day ~月夜の出来事~ [Pinpai] VNDB Hero stayed at school on a full moon night. In the moonlight he saw the girls that were different from usual. They had scars due to their own weaknesses and desires that remained hidden at daytime. Will the hero be able to feel their wounds? Story is shaped as hero's monologue. Basically, there's little story. Hero wanders around the school in the evening and some events momentarily occur to him. Game is of fragmentary nature and ends with a fancy which is a waste for the unique atmosphere it creates. There are several heroine ends, but there are also some not pleasant bad ends. Text is good, but it's a sensualist thing rather than a coherent story. 8. Renkinjutsu no Musume 錬金術の娘 [Black Package] VNDB Hero was born in a rich house and he uses assets to finance extreme alchemy experiments to recover lost secrets. There are three students in this academy to take care of and try new inventions effects in dungeons with. So it's a raising SIM with items combinations. Visiting a private room with one of the three students is possible, but students coverage is thin. There's hardly any explanation at all. Not even of items do or when the next dungeon trip occurs and that's pretty bad since going in the dungeon without items is not good. No significant story noticed. 9. White Album [Leaf] VNDB You play a university student whose girlfriend from highschool, Morikawa Yuki, is starting to become a very popular idol singer. Unfortunately, her popularity puts a strain on your relationship; you must either try to maintain the relationship or find someone else. Game has many English reviews. 10. Yoi Sakura 宵桜 [Fuuro] VNDB Keiichi Kikuchi is a 3rd grade student who likes to read and talks to the flowers on the roadside. There is a girl who is afraid to confess her feelings to him, there are cats who attacks people at nights and there are other evils at school. Everything shall depend on the actions of the hero. Setting is a mess and game relies on it only occasionally. Period is 5 days and you just wander around the school and bump into events, then night times and you wander some more generating different kind of events. The invasion of cats, occasional scary events, indifference towards events nearby - it all looks very random and fragmented. There are many mistakes in the text. Girls endings aren't seen as happy endings. There are still many well depicted insult scenes so probably it was ment as an eroge.
  9. VN of the Month April 1998

    Sakura Taisen 2 is my personal favorite for the VN of the Month April 1998. 1. First Kiss☆Story ファーストKiss☆物語 [HuneX] VNDB At the beginning, First Kiss Story lets you name the protagonist. Since this stud gets to flirt with twelve chicks (most games stop at five or six), I named him "BIG ZIG". Like every other gal game in the world (...in Japan), some kind of unrealistic situation forces you to get unnaturally close to a bunch of unnaturally cute girls. In this game's case, your parents have suddenly decided to move one month before your high school graduation. That's obviously not a good situation for a college-minded kid, so your parents conveniently agree to let you live with your classmate Kana, her little sister Manami, and their unusually attractive mother. There is an English review of this game. 2. Keisei 傾城 [Ange] VNDB Tokugawa shogunate. Idyllic atmosphere of cherry blossom in spring. Each day passes like a dream around insults between prostitutes and their customers. I want to lift their burden and heal their wounds. Your love is waiting for you. Command selection ADV. Decadence and somewhat dark atmosphere of Tokugawa shogunate. There are two main scenarios - "Childhood familiarity" and "Daughter of Samurai" both lasting for about three hours. It's pure love story with individual ending for each heroine, although there are dark scenes as well. Ange always produced weird games and this is one of its best masterpieces. Only small volume and weak graphics are its flaws that prevent it from being a real masterpiece. 3. Mamoribito 護人 [Softhouse Bonbee Bonbon] VNDB Phantom beast world where furry inhabitants live exists as parallel to human world. Kisaragi Kyosuke is working in Tokyo in a major company. On his 25th birthday he was informed that he is no a guardian to keep the balance between two world and prevent interference. Is it possible for him to maintain the balance between these two worlds? Command selection ADV. There are five chapters and the gameplay time is also around 5 hours. This game really lacks a better explanation. Close to nothing is explained about phantom world, secret organization danger and even reaching the end does not really explain much. An attractive fantasy story with a half-baked feeling. 4. Oudou Yuusha 王道勇者 [Alice Soft] VNDB You are awaken without any memory of your past. You don't know where you have come from, you don't even know your name. You are found by a kind-hearted little girl who brings you to the best swordsman on the Western Continent. You live happily. But you know that you've had a life before that. You are determined to discover your true identity. You travel to the Eastern Continent, hoping to find someone who knew the real you. But you don't know yet that your story is entwined with the fate of the entire world... Oudou Yuusha is a RPG with the single hero (default name Zanba) fighting enemies, collecting treasure, and leveling up. Dialogues and cut scenes are displayed as text super-imposed on still anime-style pictures, like in Japanese adventures. Once in exploration mode, the screen is divided into a large auto-map, statistics screen, and a small window that shows pictures of the location the hero is currently in. The turn-based battles (occurring at set points) are viewed from a platform perspective, like in fighting games, with the health bars of the hero and the opponents displayed above. The hero can attack, use items, or charge to execute a stronger attack. There's an English review for this game 5. Roommate 3 ~Ryouko Kaze no Kagayaku Asa ni~ ルームメイト3~涼子 風の輝く朝に~ [Datam Polystar] VNDB Ryouko is now back in Japan after her home stay in the States. She starts by telling you how comfortable she feels to be back and so on. But why is that? Could it because you make her feel this way? She seems to think so. The system of the game is exactly the same as that of the prequel. And that's already enough to stop looking into it. Summer vacation had horrible inner time feature so you'd need to meet her around 4 p.m. of real time on some day - we don't have a week off to pull that out! You only can meet Ryouko at certain time of the day! It's not us playing the game anymore, but the game plays us. 6. Runners ランナーズ [Studio B-Room] VNDB Hero is a social studies teacher at a girls' school. He founded runners club and is going to raise champions in there. Raising SIM about jogging or running and on top of that with big randomness factor depending on dice. Difficulty is pretty high and reaching the end for the first time should take about 40 hours. 7. Sakura Taisen 2 ~Kimi, Shinitamou koto Nakare~ サクラ大戦2~君、死にたもうことなかれ~ [Sega] VNDB One year have passed since final battle of first game. During this year Ichiro Oogami was abroad and he returns to Kagekidan in the beginning of the game. Soon new enemies are showed themselves. Kokkikaigogyoushuu (lit. - meeting of five demons) and ther leader - Oniou (lit. - demon king) trying to destroy a peacefull life of Imperial Capital. At the same time two new members joined Kagekidan - ladylike half-Japanese/half-Italian Orihime Soletta and quiet and serious german Reni Milchstrasse. While game progresses it is appeared that Oniou is not a real leader of new enemies but he has his own mystery... Game has many English reviews 8. Sakurairo no Tegami 桜色の手紙 [Blue Bell] VNDB Shoji Kano thought to confess to the childhood friend Chiharu after passing entrance exams to the university, but failed to pass. A letter from distant relative and first love Mizuho arrives asking "Would you want to come and visit us?". The same letter comes to Chihary so they go together. Mysterious events will happen to them there. Story has a flavor of fairy tale since heroes start seeing mysterious girls under the sakura tree at night. The whole text is shaped as protagonist's monologue. Story lacks excitement and the highest point is anticlimactic. Chiharu root is the only true ending and other characters roots are seen as bad ending. 9. Sotsugyou 3 ~Wedding Bell~ 卒業3 ~Wedding Bell~ [Shogakukan] VNDB The game begins with the teacher, who is the player married with one of his students. The principal finds out and asks the student to be expelled from the school. The teache makes a deal with the principal that this secret life with his students will not be revealed to the public and he also promises that he will coach his students all the way to an A when they graduate. There is an English review for this game. 10. Tantei Jinguuji Saburou: Yume no Owari ni 探偵 神宮寺三郎 夢の終わりに [Data East Corporation] VNDB Jingūji is tormented by hideous dreams of his past. The mystery begins as Yoko unwittingly decides to investigate a requested case. Seventh installment of detective Jinguuji Saburou series that keeps bugging me since 1987. There's an English review of it. 11. Toki no Moto e 刻のもとへ [Aquarium] VNDB Star cat Nyantaru Pu together with star duck and star snowman come to Earth to buy a new game "Magical Blonde 2". But the clock go past 24 hours showing 25 etc hours, tomorrow is not going to come and so the game won't be ever released. Nyantaru Pu starts his investigation on time distortion. That's a very weird game. Both the general systems and gameplay systems are a mess. We walk around the city choosing locations on a map, fight, earn exp and money. Very few people managed to clear it even with walkthrough.
  10. VN of the Month January 1998

    I don't want to add links other than my wiki because it would overburden the text. There are up to 10 links for each game and giving all of them for each game is just unwise. But getting additional info if you get interested in the game - that's another thing. Some might want to check Japanese reviews - they are also there. And I actually used to have all kind of other sources links like wikipedia, game wiki, getchu, walkthrough, savegame, erogamescape, seesawiki - and I was amazed to know that all that all that is gathered already at egono.com japanese site, so now I'm posting just egono.com link of each game and it's of huge help, there should be egono link at VNDB too. One image can sometimes tell more than a page of text. I don't really care where I take the image - but it should reflect gameplay part of the game. If there's no gameplay, it should contain as many characters as possible to give a better impression on drawing and characters. Game overview without an image is just lifeless. Video opening/trailer can be a great inspirational material and additional tool to show drawing/gameplay. By 1998 very few games have an opening so sometimes there's just first minutes of game start instead. I'd like to grasp a unique impression for each game - image+opening+synopsis+freestyle opinion so far feel ok for me. Omochikaeri here is the paragon I look up to with the major difference of impression/review rather than a preview. 2000's are going to have up to 40 non-eroge VNs released at certain months so info-dumping is inevitable even with such modest format.
  11. VN of the Month March 1998

    There are basically 7 SIM/Charage this month, one nakige, one detective and one adventure work. My personal taste usually follows adventure works and that's EVE:The Lost One as the game of the month March 1998. 1. Changing My Heart ~Kokoro o Kaete~ Changing My Heart ~心を変えて~ [Mesa] VNDB One winter day you're forcibly pulled by a bad friend to visit a Comiket in Tokyo. Will you spend your time there with the classmates, cosplayers or total strangers? Story takes one day... no good story can come out in one day. There are three acquaintances and two strangers to pick up. The flow is absolutely ordinary. A nice feature that you can decide on your clothes and girls clothes. 2. EVE: The Lost One [C's Ware] VNDB EVE: The Lost One is a sequel to Eve burst error. The events of the game take place three years after those of the first game. The player is able to control two characters - the female detective Kyoko and the mysterious Snake, as they try to solve a complex mystery full of betrayals and political intrigues. In order to complete the game successfully, the player will have to to experience it from the perspectives of both heroes, helping each other to gather clues and to unlock events. Kenno-san did not work on this sequel and the story was scrapped. It's not that the text is bad, but it's too different from original EVE and there are lots of small inconsistencies. Gamy system was slightly simplified as you don't need to travel manually through the screens. SNAKE part looks shallow compared to Kyoko's. Game still has high production values with fun dialogues, great voicing and lots of animation. Just don't compare it with the original. It's too cruel. 3. Imagination Love いまじねぃしょんLOVE [System Rose] VNDB The store manager escaped with 10 million yen and hero is forced as a new store manager and he needs to earn this sum within a month. Most of the staff left after the incident leaving you with only four sales girls. Contrary to the synopsis, it's not really a SIM, but rather an ADV. There are still three times of the day. Earning money is not difficult, but getting flags for girls is challenging. The feelings part is serious, but game's filled with a good portion of laugh. 4. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Jigoku Yuen Satsujin Jiken 金田一少年の事件簿 地獄遊園殺人事件 [Kodansha] VNDB In this case Kindaichi & Mijuki were having a discussion when they found that the police had found a man hanged in a park, so Kindaichi offers his help and goes to investigate the theme park and that's when the game starts. There are as many as 7 games released about this child detective Kindaichi. I have not watched even any of its 148 anime episodes and not going to. 5. Mitsumete Knight みつめてナイト [Konami & Red Entertainment Corporation] VNDB The player is a mercenary from the east travelling to the kingdom of Dolphan, modelled after middle-ages Europe. He had been hired to aid the war fought by the country, which will last throughout the following three years of the game, where the player will meet a number of the different characters and develop a relationship with them. There are English reviews of this game. 6. Pocket Love 2 ポケットラブ2 [KID] VNDB Two months after the prequel. It's the period when hero and heroines started to have feelings for each other. Sequel is praised same as original. The magical pixels are same intact. Number of heroines increased to 10 with 7 former ones and 3 new ones. 7. Roman Reine ロマンレーヌ [King Records] VNDB The world is guarded by the goddess Gertruz. The queen who governs this world is chosen from the best girl candidates. One of the candidates got ill and hero's nephew is going to try to become the next queen. Fantasy raising SIM to raise the best girl worthy of Queen's title. 300 days is the period (1000 days for other candidates), week by week. The events vary from fighting competitions to beauty contests. At first only 6 candidates are available, but with time all 12 open up. 8. Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 2: Irodori no Love Song ときめきメモリアルドラマシリーズ Vol.2 彩のラブソング [Konami] VNDB It is 17 days to the Culture Festival and your band (Irodori) is going to participate in the band contest. On this day while your are practicing a group of girls gathers around your band to talk to Takumi while you just ignore them and practice. After practicing Takumi meets his classmate Katagiri Ayako and goes over to talk to her. You will not know who she is at this time. Suzune will follow you on your way home. At this point you will learn that she actually has some feelings for you, but you will not realise it. During lunch time you go to the rooftop to write a new song (Tears Angel) to participate in the Band contest. After school you can walk around to meet the other girls. There is enough information in English about this game as well as one European language review. 9. Yuki-iro no Karte ~Karte von Schnee~ 雪色のカルテ~Karte von Schnee~ [Peach & TopCat] VNDB A small town in the mountains. Hero is a doctor who works there with a nurse. One day a girl affected by some incurable disease comes to this doctor after hearing about his prowess. There are three girls, each one with her own problem and sad past story. A girl who is poor and being affected by an incurable disease. A girl who closed her mind through parent abuse. A bad-looking little girl who was forcibly put in the hospital while parents participate in the election. Finally some quality nakige started to show up. Curing leads to a happy end while failing to do so leads to patient's death. Scenario is good, but hospital nakige is a genre not for everyone. 10. Zutto Issho ずっといっしょ [Beyond Interactive] VNDB The main game's hero has to start living by his own when his parents had gone due to a job transfer. He got an apartment and started living with a girl. The SIM part is repetitive and dull. The scenario is mediocre at best. But game is released for PS and has lots of animation and cute heroines.
  12. VN of the Month February 1998

    Kyouken Densetsu Crazy Knuckle 2 is the closest thing to a thrilling story this month. 1. Coach! Oshiete コーチ!おしえて [Nouvelle] VNDB New teacher was suddenly invited to a girls' school as an advisor to the athletics division. The final goal is to win the tournament! Is it possible to train six champions? Raising SIM with week as time unit. Apart of training routine there is summer and winter vacation training camps and various events. Period is one year. The biggest complaint about this game was that there is no H events in here, only peeping in the changing room etc. The worst part is that despite each heroine having unique profile, all the events and text are absolutely the same for each of them - zero personality. Also even with max stats (256) it's actually a game of luck whether you win tournament or not. A rare kusoge... 2. Doukoku Soshite... 慟哭そして。。。 [Studio Line & Sakata SAS] VNDB In this game, you play the role of a high-school student (whom you can name as you like). A bus takes him and his classmates to the school every day. But this time, just when the hero was talking to one of his classmates, the lovely girl Riyo, a car drove up to the bus, there was a sound of a crash, and then the hero became unconscious. When he woke up, he found himself, his classmates (most of whom were girls), and a couple of unknown people in a locked room in a strange mansion. Soon the hero realizes something terrible is going on in the mansion. People are being killed under mysterious circumstances, their corpses hidden; he finds a memo soaked in blood and a photograph. Will he be able to solve the mystery and to protect the people destiny brought him together with? There are three English reviews of this game. 3. Happening Journey はぷにんぐJOURNEY [Euphony Production] VNDB Masaharu is long in love with his childhood friend Yuki, but lacks the courage to tell her his true feeling. One day Masaharu's friend Takagi asks him to go on a ski trip together, telling him that he would also take Yuki for Masaharu, so that Masaharu would take Miki, his partner in their tennis club, for Takagi. Somehow their plan becomes known to other girls too, who start insisting on joining the trip - so the party now consists of seven boys and girls. Will Masaharu have a chance to tell Yuki his love during the trip? There is an English review of this game. 4. Houkago wa Fiancee 放課後はフィアンセ [Sweet Basil] VNDB Tadashi Wakita lost his parents in an accident at an early age, but thanks to the assistance of his uncle Kanno Rotaro, he is a high school student and lives in a house. Uncle dies and leaves a will that nephew must marry one of his three daughters in order to inherit his property and he must do it before the deadline. Depending on choices it can be either a pure love story or a tyranny story and choices aren't transparent at all. Game is not limited to three daughters, there are other, less profitable variants too. Each route takes about one hour and there is also a harem ending with five girls. Characters are cute enough, but H events are too frequent and dark side of the game constantly tries to pop up. 5. Kunoichi Torimonochou くのいち捕物帖 [Polestar Co.] VNDB Long ago, during the Edo period, those chosen to become ninja train in secrecy from youth, living in an isolated village to become a secret agent for the shogun. Here, a young girl is training to become such an agent; her name: Ran Sagajo. Along with her talking ninja squirrel companion Sasuke, she has begun a trip to Edo to continue her train You generally choose destination and wait for events to happen. Battles are played in the way that you select a command and opponent selects and you watch the outcome, much like the other VN fightings. When energy is accumulated to the max, a special move can be used. There are stats and places to train them. Game's appeal point is a good balance between animated story sequences and picturesque battles. 6. Kyouken Densetsu Crazy Knuckle 2 狂拳伝説クレイジーナックル2 [ZyX] VNDB Lunar shadow was a legendary ultimate fighting school, but its last descendant lived 80 years ago. Kusakabe Aoma is a bouncer of the street gang group in the city called Crown City. But he wants to get to know his true self. One day he arrives to the usual place, but instead of smiles of other members all he sees is a sea of blood. Compared to the prequel text has gone better. Scenario is the debut work of Arakawa Takumi who gave us Ayakashibito, Bullet Butlers and several other interesting works. There is a good balance of seriousness and comedy. The atmosphere gone even darker than that of the prequel. Fighting system got more difficult. Animation is widely used. H events are densely packed, pretty much with every battle. So a good entertainment work, but not more. 7. Mars Ball マーズボール [Studio Jikkenshitsu] VNDB Humans migrate to Mars, where the description of ancient sport is found in the ruins and it becomes the new craze - the Marsball. An ordinary salaryman gets fired and with his baseball experience in high school he tries his luck as a manager of a new Marsball team. Baseball game with card battles and quite high difficulty. Most of the time you train and once in a while there is match. H-events are hard to unlock with flags and are over in a flash. It's weak as love story, weak as H-story... then it's probably just a gameplay oriented game. 8. Misa no Mahou Monogatari ミサの魔法物語 [Sammy Corporation] VNDB Misa no Mahomonogatari - Heartful Memories tells the story of a young girl who got a mission from the queen of a magic world called Firimu, to travel to the human world, find a young girl and train her into a tarot magician so that she could defeat the evil forces willing to conquer both of the worlds. The game takes place in that high school and will last 4 years of training, the main character of the game is Misa and during that time period she has to train her abilities, meet different people and classmates, and face the evil that endangers the world. A raising SIM to train a justice magician girl. And that's enough already to stop discussing it. 9. Yume no Yukue Karuizawa Monogatari 夢のゆくえ 軽井沢物語 [Fair Dance] VNDB In Autumn wandering in the forest of Karuizawa of autumn leaves, I met a girl in a white dress living in an old villa. In winter three of my classmates and I came to ski and I had a vision of a girl in white dress again.. In spring I walked in the forest of Karuizawa to find a girl in white dress. And in the summer I shall wander between reality and daydreaming. Obscure work, mostly due to the fact that there is no save function in the game.
  13. VN of the Month January 1998

    1. 50% of titles so far did not even have synopsis on VNDB. After each post I fill in synopsis on VNDB, so it's definitely less different afterwards. 2. I'm mostly interested in gathering up English review links - each game title here has a link showing to http://vndb.review/XXX where actual links are gathered. From time to time i block or unblock smth, so blog is like a rough first view and most up to date information will only be on wiki. I used to post direct English review links separately prior to 1997, but that was time-consuming, so one wiki link it is. I started it as an incentive to create review corner at VNDB anyway and wrote that in VNDB suggestions back in 2016. 3. I read all Japanese reviews for unknown titles and retell them so that at least some opinion is given on top of dry synopsis. I actually play the game only if I like what I read, although I've a really huge backpack of VNs read. 4. I get an opportunity to look at evolution of genre and try to sum it up at the end of the year. 5. If that all still seems pathetic, hop in for full reviews. There will be lots of untranslated forgotten titles. P.S. This month is especially crappy since I don't comment on English reviews and two leftover ones are a badly made board game and series detective work that I can't force myself to even read on.
  14. VN of the Month January 1998

    My subjective choice for VN of the Month January 1998 is Machi - maybe it's the impact of 428 sequel. I've very difficult history with Divi-Dead as both times I tried it I fell asleep. No true ending is worth such boring gameplay. And I just can't appreciate dating SIMs without impact on story to evaluate Sentimental Graffiti properly. 1. Dice Kiss [Mei Full House Karen] VNDB It's two months before Xmas. The hero decided to find a girlfriend before Xmas. Board game. You throw the dice and move to some field where some event should happen. There are five girls to clear. It's plain tiresome to wait till you roll a good choice for your girl. And the dice rolls very slowly... 2. Divi-Dead ディブァイデッド [C's Ware] VNDB My name is Ranmaru Hibikiya. Today is my first day at Asao Private School... My uncle is the dean of this school. About a month ago, he paid me a visit and offered me enrollment at his school. Seeing I've been out of school for a long time, I accepted his offer. What was the catch? He asked me to keep an eye out for him. Bluntly, I was to be his spy...No problem. Well actually, there was a problem. Once I arrived, I started noticing some disturbing things. There was violence and misconduct happening on campus, not the usual past times at a private high school. As I got deeper into my investigation, I came across a possible correlation between an underground society and the unusual behavior of my peers. I realized that I could not trust ANYONE. There's just one last thing...After transferring, sometime between all the sexual escapades happening on campus, and my investigation, something horrifying happened to me. I... Join me in my quest to uncover the horrible secrets at Asao Private School.... and find out what fate holds for me... Game is localized and has many English reviews. 3. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Hoshimitou Kanashimi no Fukushuuki 金田一少年の事件簿 星見島 悲しみの復讐鬼 [Hudson Soft] VNDB The idol at the height of the popularity got involved in a scandal scandal. Idol manager Tachibana Yufu was searching for the truth of it and was found dead. The police asserted Yufu's death as suicide, but there were two people who had suspicions in that. One was former idol and Yufu's best friend Katsuragi Yo and another one Yufu's fiance Takuya Asagiri. The two of them decided to take revenge at a leisure facility "Hoshijima" where the stakeholders gathered, but there was a also present a grandson of Kaneda detective Kanedaichi and his friends .. The purpose of the game is to commit a perfect crime - a murder - and get away with that. It just has everything that I can't stand. 4. Machi 街 [Chunsoft] VNDB Machi is a story of 8 unrelated protagonists, all with their own problems and objectives, all living in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan. The story spans 5 in-game days and is told through a huge number of live-action still photographs. The protagonists are varied, including a high school playboy, a gamer geek police officer, a struggling actor, an ex-Yakuza man, a TV scriptwriter and many more. Each of the protagonists lead a completely different story that even defies genres, with one story having a lighthearted comedy style while another having a dark, ominous tone. The player must play all of the stories in parallel, jumping across different protagonists, and backtracking to re-select branches which not only affect the active protagonist, but also other protagonists through often bizarre twists of causality. Since its release in 1998, Machi has amassed a cult following among Japanese Sound Novel players, causing a yearning for a sequel for years which did not come to fruition until 2008 which had the release of the spiritual sequel, 428: Fusa Sareta Shibuya De. There are good English reviews for it. 5. Sentimental Graffiti センチメンタルグラフティ [STACK software] VNDB The protagonist, Tanaka Ichirou, is a high school student who, prior to the spring vacation of his third year, receives a letter simply stating "I want to meet you." During middle school, his frequent transferring of schools allowed him to form unique relationships with various girls. In order to search for the sender of the letter, he travels nationwide to various places, and meets the 12 girls of his memories once again. Game has at least three English reviews and a lot of information in English
  15. VN of the Year 1997

    What a tiresome year. First Windows year had too many obscure games with tiny bits of information to get. Crude graphics, bland plotlines, typical dating sim gameplay. But all in due time. Let's prolong the chart. VN per year Year Total Listed Blocked 1991 75 40 (53%) 35 (47%) 1992 80 49 (61%) 31 (39%) 1993 121 46 (38%) 75 (62%) 1994 155 61 (39%) 94 (61%) 1995 180 58 (32%) 122 (68%) 1996 183 83 (46%) 100 (54%) 1997 202 91 (45%) 111 (55%) Numbers don't show anything extraordinary - a very mild logical increase in numbers. Shift to Windows has not had an influence on the quantity so far. As for the quality, that's another thing. Let's see what year 1996 brought: Industry got tilted too much to romance games reaching over 50% of total number. At the same time the number of works with an impact on story decreased drastically. Some of the old titans could not adapt to Windows reality in 1997 - those include Elf/Silky's and Abodago Powers. At the same time there is an influx of new brand names with low price low quality games. The number of titles with a theme song and an opening increased significantly. Genres battle still goes on, but simplification process comes to either ADV or ADV with some features. There's still hardly any game with autoplay, so player's active commitment is expected. There was no major game in 1997. You cant just say "1997 year is X". Pia Carrot 2 is probably the closest one to a major game. It sold the best, but it's hardly a masterpiece, just a game with the best production values. Let's count the masterpiece level games of 1997: Atlach-Nacha Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~ Comic Road Moon. Rookies Ryouki no Ori Dai 2 Shou Tales of the Nights ~Yumekyou no Miko~ Zoku Hatsukoi Monogatari ~Shuugaku Ryokou~ Just eight games. And the split is very bad - x2 PC-98 games, x1 RPGs, x2 console games which leaves only Atlach-Nacha, Moon. and Ryouki no Ori Dai 2 Shou as three dedicated Windows masterpieces. There's almost a feeling that Windows platform is not for the quality story works, but for mass product. There are three works that I put above others - those are Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~, Moon. and Atlach-Nacha. But the latter two are atmospheric, but dark and depressive works. Atlach-Nacha is Japanese answer to western Cthulhu while Moon. is rather a convenient story to show all kind of torture, rape and humiliation. And what about Canaan? It's a continuation of the most heartwarming game of 1994, Gao-Gao 3. If there was no Desire the same 1994 year, it might easily become the game of the year. Cannan is direct continuation of Gao Gao 3 which means it automatically inherits the merits of part 3 and adds new development in the story as well as a new hero. Yes, it's PC-98 game, but after year 1997 I'm starting to think that PC-98 era was really cool. And in order to share this wonderful experience of Gao Gao 3 and Canaan, I'm making Let's Play series of them. The game of the year 1997 is Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~.
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