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kivandopulus

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kivandopulus last won the day on September 3 2017

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  1. Foreword: I have a difficult history with Liar-Soft. Their games amaze me, but I usually get really confused by them as well. Like I really liked Forest, but it's so overburdened with meanings and layers that you never know if you grasped it all or not. But Hiragumo-chan that's probably the closest thing to our game disappointed me both times I tried to play it. All I knew that Gyousatsu being the second game of the company (it does not mean first one was not crazy) was already crazy. Crazy good or crazy bad? Title: Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure Developer: Liar-soft Date: 2000-04-28 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v5096 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcrG01XXMAU Synopsis: End of Edo period, Kyoto. Hero becomes a part of a newly-formed Shinsengumi unit. He is to protect Kyoto from the evil hands of Kinno (Kyushu) and develop relations with squad female members such as Hijikata and Okita. Despite the real historical period, events are mostly comical and beyond time limits. For example, heroines often appeal to human rights protection. Depending on the value of real "absurdity" parameter in the game you can get rid of the great devil coming to Kyoto with a 88 mm cannon, cyborgs or panda samurai. Structure: No real structure Length: One route took me two and a half hours. But there are a lot of characters and routes. Game type: Samurai theme bakage Difficulty: Very easy, apart of quizzes. Could not answer even the easiest level question which rank Adolf Hitler had during first World War. I would not call that an easy question! Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 6/10 Story rating: 6/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: Truth be told, game turned out to be better than I expected, thus the score. It's not just a bakage. Main character and heroines are solid enough. There is a good mix of absurdity and story, and most of jokes are based exactly on absurdity elements. I actually found myself smiling four times during one route, and that's a good result. Character route I played surprisingly had quite satisfactory love story elements. It really made me ask myself - wow, I wonder what the other routes are like. There's a neat epilogue that tells the further story based on your choices. Considered the number of characters, the good and bad endings and different degrees of absurdity for the ending, the replayability is great here. Protagonist: Shimada Makoto is pretty cool as protagonist with his carefree attitude, but I don't know what historical figure served as his prototype, so he was no special for me. Characters: Again, I only remember three members of Shinsengumi - Hijikata, Okita and Kondou, so they made the most sense to me. I choose Okita, of course, since she was supposed to be the captain of the unit and because she had the biggest problem of the characters. Okita story was nice and tender, but the epilogue surprised me even more. Story: Hero comes to Edo from Kyoto without money, but luckily he stumbles upon Shinsengumi unit and becomes a recruit there. For some time he just goes on patrols with the member he prefers the most, and then it's time for the clash with enemies who oppose the Shogunate and want to obstruct elections. CG: First let's say that there aren't standing sprites in the game. Instead, there are squares with faces. It does not look good generally, but here there is a lot of interaction expressed by movement of these squares - squares clash, chase each other etc, so game feels really lively as you see all the actions happening through squares movement. On the other hand there are few CG because of that since a lot of stuff is possible to show just with square movements. But those CG that exist are quite impressive for me. Sound: I know there is BGM in game since there is an Omake in game with 20 compositions, but my sound card failed to play it on any Windows version I tried from Win98 to Win10. I was not sure if the trouble was on my side or not, and I was half a way through the game when I recognized there 100% must be BGM. Could have done it on a tablet that usually is much better with sound in old games. Voicing is really partial... only for important events. Was not quite enough, but at least we know how each girl sounds. Humor: Here are couple examples that made me laugh. First time was when hero was sent to buy juice for everyone in vending machine outside, and there was even a dialogue line "What, a vending machine?!", but I did not want to raise absurdity level for my playthrough. The second time was when hooded monk Benkei appeared as one of the more powerful enemies. That was really funny for me since those historical figures are about seven hundred ages apart. Overall comments: This game is just nor for a Westerner. It has tons of specific humor that tackles specific situations from Japan history. It was a nice experience though, a gulp of fresh air compared to other visual novels from the first half of 2000.
  2. Updated

    Finished updating old posts. VN of the Month April 2000 - Gyousatsu♥Shinsengumi Hitokiri Bishoujo Adventure VN of the Month March 2000 - Eve Zero VN of the Month February 2000 - Phantom of Inferno VN of the Month January 2000 - Lien ~Owaranai Kimi no Uta~ VN of the Month December 1999 - Elemental Arts VN of the Month November 1999 - Parts VN of the Month October 1999 - Silver Jiken VN of the Month September 1999 - Kazeoto, Chirin VN of the Month August 1999 - Tsui no Sora VN of the Month July 1999 - Mamatoto ~a record of war~ VN of the Month June 1999 - Kanon VN of the Month May 1999 - Comic party VN of the Month April 1999 - Lipstick Adv.EX VN of the Month March 1999 - Captain Love VN of the Month February 1999 - Campus ~Sakura no Mau Naka de~ VN of the Month January 1999 - Ikusa Megami VN of the Month December 1998 - Kuon no Kizuna VN of the Month November 1998 - Exodus Guilty VN of the Month October 1998 - Psyclone VN of the Month September 1998 - With You ~Mitsumete Itai~ VN of the Month August 1998 - Shiokaze no Memory VN of the Month July 1998 - luv wave VN of the Month June 1998 - One ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~ VN of the Month May 1998 - Diabolique VN of the Month April 1998 - Love Escalator VN of the Month March 1998 - EVE: The Lost One VN of the Month February 1998 - Doukoku Soshite... VN of the Month January 1998 - Machi VN of the Month December 1997 - Universal Nuts VN of the Month November 1997 - Moon. VN of the Month October 1997 - Sweepers! VN of the Month September 1997 - Comic Road VN of the Month August 1997 - Kaeru nyo Panyon VN of the Month July 1997 - Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol. 1: Nijiiro no Seishun VN of the Month June 1997 - Zoku Hatsukoi Monogatari ~Shuugaku Ryokou~ VN of the Month May 1997 - To Heart VN of the Month April 1997 - Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~ VN of the Month March 1997 - Ruriiro no Yuki VN of the Month February 1997 - Yatsu no Na wa Diamond VN of the Month January 1997 - Rookies VN of the Month December 1996 - Kono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO VN of the Month Noveber 1996 - Mashou no Kao VN of the Month October 1996 - Bounty Hunter Rudy VN of the Month September 1996 - Sakura Taisen VN of the Month August 1996 - Be-Yond ~Kurodaishou ni Mirareteru~ VN of the Month July 1996 - Kizuato VN of the Month June 1996 - Es no Houteishiki VN of the Month May 1996 - Rouge no Densetsu VN of the Month April 1996 - Harlem Blade ~The Greatest of All Time.~ VN of the Month March 1996 - Mujintou Monogatari 3 - A.D. 1999 Tokyo VN of the Month February 1996 - DIES IRAE VN of the Month January 1996 - Ryuuki Denshou Dragoon VN of the Month December 1995 - Lilith VN of the Month November 1995 - Eve: Burst Error VN of the Month October 1995 - Trouble Chaser Dai 4 Wa - Saishuukai VN of the Month September 1995 - Mime VN of the Month August 1995 - Isaku VN of the Month July 1995 - Kuro no Danshou: The Literary Fragment VN of the Month June 1995 - True Love ~Jun'ai Monogatari~ VN of the Month May 1995 - Koihime VN of the Month April 1995 - Mugen Yasoukyoku VN of the Month March 1995 - Cybernoid Alpha VN of the Month February 1995 - Doki Doki Pretty League Dai 3 Wa - Minami no Umi no Kai no Maki VN of the Month January 1995 - Doki Doki Vacation ~Kirameku Kisetsu no Naka de~ VN of the Month December 1994 - Xenon ~Mugen no Shitai~ VN of the Month November 1994 - File: Kokubou Soushou Jouhoukyoku Jouhou Rouei Taisakubu Josei Jinmonin VN of the Month October 1994 - Gao Gao! 3rd ~Wild Force~ VN of the Month September 1994 - Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~ VN of the Month August 1994 - Shinsetsu Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou VN of the Month July 1994 - DESIRE - Haitoku no Rasen VN of the Month June 1994 - Necronomicon VN of the month May 1994 - Tokimeki Memorial VN of the Month April 1994 - AmbivalenZ -Niritsu Haihan- VN of the Month March 1994 - Mirage 2 - Torry x Neat x Roan no Daibouken VN of the Month February 1994 - Dragon Knight 4 VN of the Month January 1994 - Fuzoroi no Lemon VN of the Month December 1993 - Demon City VN of the Month November 1993 - Ooedo Tantei Kamiya Ukyou Vol. 2 VN of the Month October 1993 - Nooch 2 Remy no Gyakushuu VN of the Month September 1993 - Youjuu Senki -A.D. 2048- VN of the Month August 1993 - Houma Hunter Lime Dai 03 Wa VN of the Month July 1993 - Bunretsu Shugoshin Twinkle Star VN of the Month June 1993 - Can Can Bunny Extra VN of the Month May 1993 - Nova VN of the Month April 1993 - Quintia Road 2 VN of the Month March 1993 - Marine Philt VN of the Month February 1993 - Cosmology of Kyoto VN of the Month January 1993 - Mamono Hunter Youko: Tooki Yobigoe VN of the Month December 1992 - Koroshi no Dress 3 VN of the Month November 1992 - Dracula Hakushaku VN of the Month October 1992 - Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna VN of the Month September 1992 - My Eyes! VN of the Month August 1992 - Kiss VN of the Month July 1992 - Phobos VN of the Month June 1992 - De-Ja 2 VN of the Month May 1992 - Kurutta Kajitsu VN of the Month April 1992 - The 4th Unit - Wyatt VN of the Month March 1992 - Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki VN of the Month February 1992 - Joker II VN of the Month January 1992 - Himitsu no Hanazono VN of the Month December 1991 - Gidyy VN of the Month November 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 5: Nightmare VN of the Month October 1991 - Rance III - Leazas Kanraku VN of the Month September 1991 - Cosmic Psycho VN of the Month August 1991 - Kimi Dake ni Ai o.. VN of the Month July 1991 - Nike VN of the Month June 1991 - ELLE VN of the Month May 1991 - Ginsei Senshin Guynarock VN of the Month April 1991 - Psychic Detective Series Vol. 4: Orgel VN of the Month March 1991 - Jesus II VN of the Month February 1991 - Akagawa Jirou no Yuurei Ressha VN of the Month January 1991 - Dragon Eyes VN of the Year 1990 - De-Ja VN of the Year 1989 - Imitation wa Aisenai VN of the Year 1988 - Lipstick. ADV VN of the Year 1987 - Hiatari Ryoukou! VN of the Year 1986 - Gall Force - Eternal Story VN of the Year 1985 - Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~ VN of the Year 1984 - Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu VN of the Year 1983 - Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
  3. Treating2U [Blue Gale]

    There is a hospital where almost noone is ill, and everyone spends days peacefully waiting for examination day... There is a proper review ( 1 ), so I intended to skip this game entirely. However, I got a request and thought why not, what could possibly go wrong with a game that got an average score of 8.29 on vndb? Actually, everything went wrong right from the start. The genre is heartwarming hospital themed nakige, or so I determine it. I really detest hospital theme and nakige. I would never be able to play Kana little sister, for example. But hey, at least I can find interest in comedy, characters, songs and those fun events at CG, right? I really failed to see traces of comedy in Treating2U. Characters aren't really something that stands out here. In Masami route that I played I could not see her appeal at all, just a traditional Japanese widow, who could just wear kimono as well. She looks to me like an addition to her son Tatsuru, not like a main heroine at all. Japanese reviews also don't rate her route highly, and I admit that for me someone like green-hair scar face girl Ikuno would be a much better choice.There is one technical issue that absolutely obstructed my gameplay and impression of the game. NO VOICING. It's strange to complain for me - the majority of games I ever reviewed had no voicing. I played every PC-98 visual novel, and none of them had voicing. Blue Gale just had to cut their budget, but story does not become worse just because heroines aren't voiced, right? It would be right if the game had a story. All it has is several human dramas, and the key word here is Human. It's basically a charage - how can a charage be without voicing? I absolutely fail to see humans behind the heroines in this game, just some characters I feel nothing towards. There are six heroines to capture in this game - I really felt it was an excessive number. The whole common route is so long and torturing, because there are too many heroines, and each of them needs to make a certain number of appearances. But there are other cool elements in this game. There's an absolutely cool protagonist who sings real songs! Even songs could not help the game at that point when you're already 6 hours through the game with not a single word said and either under the same few BGM or in complete and total silence. Main character is kind, adult, cool looking and is good with children. It seems to me he's praised so much, because heroines that bad in this game. Why would I want to watch at an adult man playing with children for couple weeks in the hospital? Common route is what determines a good game. Here common route is long, but is hardly worth talking about - just a playground to get acquainted with the girls. The heroines routes here are much better and really present a unique story each time, but it's just my principle to play only one route for a normal charage without true ending.The game is just a combination of factors that I can't stand, and because of that I'm unable to rate it properly.
  4. Lien ~Owaranai Kimi no Uta~ ~終わらない君の唄~ [Purple]

    I'm already tracking March 2000... which kinda means I've skipped Treating 2U already. Not exactly my kind of game and not sure if can add much to a pretty good review that we have. But if there is a demand, I'd of course make a video playthrough of one route, probably Masami since she's the boy's mother.
  5. There is a normal Japanese family - a rock star priest, a fox goddess and their son ghost... ok, maybe not so normal. Anyway, there's a fantastic review ( 1 ) on this game already, so I can have a free style review for a change just to put something along with a video.So following that review... first things first - game has no bugs on win98, all icons are in order - everything is perfect. But since the game can't run install on newer Windows, we indeed have to copy contents to the disk folder, launch reg file (need to edit it to change cd drive letter) and speech volume up tool. The full guide is here ( 2 ). Just in case - the link for the volume up tool is ( 3 ). So the only little inconvenience that we need to tolerate on newer Windows is that icons get messed up. It's not that much of a deal, right?NO.As a result the icons for SAVE and GHOST functions get exchanged. It's very easy to get acquainted with saving on ghost icon, we play as a ghost, anyway. But this way SAVE icon gets absolutely forgotten. This icon stays crossed out for 99.99% of time, but this is absolutely the most important icon in the game, because it gets active in 0.01% of time at the most crucial moments in the game. If I knew that from the start, I would not have to tear my hair out while redoing all the routes of all the characters over and over and each time either getting somewhat awkward endings or failing to set the flags for a girl. I followed three different walkthrough VERY diligently and each time had a failure as a result. By the way, the best walkthrough with all the choices and very comfortable table outlook is here ( 4 ). So here's the deal. One of such most crucial moments is on the screen. In this scene we finally get all the flags for the girl and enter the first love event marked with a heart on the map. In this event Minamo is sleeping... that's pretty much it. But... her skirt gets a bit wrinkled so that pants are seen just a little bit. Trust me, this is the most crucial event of the route. So hero enjoys the peaceful view when two boys approach, share the joyful news with each other and take out a digital camera while looking for the most beneficial angle... There are no options, nothing. Just as any other event that we've seen before so far. So hero cries out of helplessness since he's a ghost and can't really help Minamo. Boys get the photo and run away happily. Minamo continues to sleep happily. A weird event, but it's ok. The problem is that after the event Minamo absolutely disappears. We just pass days aimlessly and fly to the skies on the 49th day. Game over. I could not understand what was going on for a long time trying different approaches prior to the even. But I only understood it while skipping scenes on Win98. There is a ghost icon in place of SAVE there and during skipping the scene it suddenly stops in the middle of the scene, just at the spot the screenshot is. Why would a game stop skipping the text in the middle of text scene? The answer is that there are moments when main character Shiro needs to concentrate his psychic power in order to manipulate objects in physical reality. When we click this icon at this very moment, Shiro fixes the skirt, boys run away and Minamo wakes up noticing Shiro who hurriedly explains the situation in order not to be blamed for it. And later on Minamo admits that she understood that Shiro loved her exactly at the moment when he fixed that skirt expression his care and desire to protect this way. So with this hint all the routes finally become a piece of cake. Now to the contents. I give the game 8/10, it's that good. It could easily be 9/10, but the sectional voicing and a bit of fault in the system affect the impression. There are four heroines for capture - kendo club osanajimi Akira, shy diligent student who is afraid of ghosts Wakaba, merry single Psychic Sience club member Minamo and a ghost girl who supposedly ended her life by hanging - Yuzu. The game tries to follow To Heart structure, so that we get up, go to school and constantly get on a map of the school in the morning, noon and evening with girl figures at different sections of the school. Clicking on each girl triggers an event. And majority of those events are funny ones. There are also some events that we don't need to choose. What I mean is that such structure allows to pump the game with a great number of cool funny small stories and in that the game excels. For the biggest part of the game it's a comedy, but the very end is not so funny - hero dies. Well, I mean he was dead from the start, but on 49th day (35th day in game time since Shiro only regains consciousness 2 weeks after initial death) the soul link with the body finally disappears and the soul has to fly to the skies. We get to know about the time limit on the 45th day (31st day in game time). So what's the drama? Hero has to fly away. But that was known from the start. Hero is dead before we even start reading. We can guess he'll have to go eventually. But we still feel sad when we're said so on the 45th day and when we actually have to do it on the 49th day. So I don't consider this game to be a nakige in any way. Someone wants a happy end with a girl and a ghost living together and dying in one day? That's weird. Hero must resurrect? Well, it's not some fantasy, and furthermore the body is wrecked and buried over two weeks ago. So it's not a conflict, not a drama, we just see the story to the end and the girls who got attached to Shiro saying him farewell. And all the girls do so with a smile and gratitude. Futhermore, Shiro is promissed to be reincarnated and in some epilogues we actually get a hint of our grown-up girls feeling something very familiar in that young school boy... but it's not that kind of a game. Moreover, there is a ghost girl Yuzu and we get a perfectly happy ending with her. Two ghosts find a way to be eternally happy. But for my video walkthrough I chose Minamo. That girl is too cute and cool to miss. Moreover, we actually get to see three personalities of her. Her usual ghosbuster genki self, a cursed doll gentle personality (don't ask, better see for yourself) and the cat-girl personality that can't leave anyone indifferent. Don't get me wrong, other girls routes are very good and touching as well, but those are tilt towards nakige a bit more. Game's very nice. Give it a chance, and you'll like it.
  6. Viper-GTB ~Rise After~ [Sogna]

    Foreword: After single story editions of F40 and F50 I was curious whether next games follow the set trajectory or move elsewhere. The following single story game is Viper-GTB, so... Title: Viper-GTB ~Rise After~ Developer: Sogna Date: 1999-12-22 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v10121 Synopsis: The long awaited sequel to the VIPER-V16 story, VIPER-GTB's "Rise After" chapter takes place almost four years after "Rise". Her family abducted, Saki returns to Anne Mitter's to enlist Akira's help in a daring rescue. In the course of saving them from the domineering aquatic queen Irear, Akira herself is captured. Offering to rescue her are a small band of extra-terrestrials, led by the mysterious Tarma whose true intentions are not revealed until its too late. Trading Karin, Saki, and Seed to Irear in exchange for the strongest woman on Earth, Tarma claims Akira as his newest slave. Fellow champion martial artist Makoto, arriving at Anne Mitter's to avenge a recent defeat at the hands of Akira, becomes embroiled in the plot, soon following Tarma's companion Narsha to the spaceship, where she and the warriors of the underground race lay siege to the craft. The fate of other strong women across the galaxy now rests with Akira and Makoto. Structure: None Length: Took me over 3 hours because of gameplay elements Game type: SF/Fantasy erotic adventure Difficulty: Very easy, one way road. There are two bad endings though, so need to save at least sometimes. Character Design rating: 6/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 1/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 4/10 Rating comments: Well, the spread is almost the same as in Viper F50, just worse. The main component for my score is story. If I evaluated the game by different criteria, result would be different as well. This time there are too many H events and basically zero story. Instead of story now there is repeating, exhausting, time wasting gameplay. It's worst design to make up for just one hour story with enemy encounters literally every 10 steps in the maze. I'm not just disappointed, but infuriated, indeed. Protagonist: Akira is best known Sogna fan-service character. And authors capitalized on her all the way through the game. She is omnipotent and in all kind of weird situations. Even my screenshot spread shows that other characters are quite non-existent. Characters: Karin is with us, as usual, but most of H scenes without Akira belong to evil girls who are plenty here. Story: Keith (the main bad guy of prequel) got kidnapped by the water tribe. The whole gang goes underwater to save him. They beat the boss queen at the underwater complex and save Keith, but on the way back Akira gets kidnapped. The gang gets reinforcements in the form of several strange martial artists and they again go to the very same underwater complex to save Akira... and they actually do so, but the strange martial artists spoil all the cards, and the situation gets very messy... which only gets resolved by the third expedition to a different underwater complex... Is that even a story? CG: Animations mostly. Overall comments: Game is really bare. No real theme or story. Humor is mostly of erotic nature. Horrible averting gameplay, unexpected game-overs (there's no option to replay, start from the start if no save!) and lots and lots of H events. That's all what this game is about and this is the only kind of review it deserves.
  7. Foreword: I was really impressed with Viper F40, claiming that was a masterpiece. It's only natural I'd take on Viper F50 which is same SF single detective story. Is it a masterpiece as well? Title: Viper-F50 ~Mirai Tokusou Bureiban~ Developer: Sogna Date: 1999-04-23 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v7490 Synopsis: The sequel to the "Future Investigator Bravan" story told in VIPER-V12, VIPER-F50 continues the tale of Bravan and his partner Anri as they fight against the forces of Donarghe and its army of mutants. Colonel Gel returns with a plot to defeat Bravan by capturing Anri and fellow investigator Shine. However, Gel's plot for world domination unknowingly hinges on the faith and abilities of her young protégé, Mari. Structure: None Length: 1 hour 30 minutes Game type: SF police patrooling story Difficulty: Very easy, one way road. Character Design rating: 6/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 2/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 5/10 Rating comments: 5/10 is a very low score for me and that means one thing - I'm disappointed. Compared to F40 game is on the same engine, with similar character designs and animations. But story-wise, it's a huge step back. Length got cut 2.5 times. All the "detective" legwork around the house is limited to 4 locations that you check over and over - Shinjuku, beginner school, junior school, high school, and that's it. Story got so thin that it's almost non-existent. It looks like Sogna started with a great idea to make great stories out of previous short multiple stories issues, but on the way just went with the flow and started to make just a bit longer single same silly stories instead. Protagonist: Bray-Ban is the main character here. He can transform to some kind of SF power ranger at will. He's kind, compassionate and reliable. Well, since he's male character, he's the only one who stays undefeated. He is voiced and looks ok, so I'm quite content with him giving 7/10 to protagonist. Characters: Anri is green hair assistant who can not use the biosuit. Shine is red hair partner who can use biosuit. Both characters and the only villain aren't drawn cute and are difficult to sympathize with. That's why 6/10. Story: SPOILERS. The cornerstone of such low score. So Bra-Ban patrols the schools when he finds donage monster assaulting a girl. He fights donage, but girl tries to kill him, and that attempt is only prevented by partner Shine showing up and destroying girl's weapon making her flee. Next assistant Anri finds herself useless and upon discovering the next of donage under junior high school, she goes exploring it unarmed and alone (can it be more stupid?) getting caught by donage. Shine and Bra-Ban decide to split to cover more territory while searching for Mari (Why??). Shine finds Anri, but blackmailed into disarming and stripping under Anri death threats. Bra-Ban saves both girls from monsters. Bra-Ban is assaulted by the same brainwashed school girl Mari who attacked him in the beginning. He manages to cut off her weapon filled with explosives and calm her down only for her to be killed by donnage queen Gel-sama. Bra-Ban descends into donnage den alone (story does not teach him anything) and gets into Gel-sama trap. A girl in Shine costume shows up and saves Bra-Ban - that girls happens to be Anri who put on Shine suit. The end. This story is beyond redemption. CG: There's mostly animations, not CG. But can't complain here. Humor: There is one nice character in the game. It's donnage stag beetle monster. He retains his human feelings and behaves like a grandpa to Mari. He defends Mari before Gel-sama, then tries to attack Bra-Ban first in order not to traumatize Mari. Upon defeat he conveys to Bra-Ban that Mari would have explosives in her weapon secretly inserted by Gel-sama, and that information allows to pacify Mari. So these geezer talks of Stag beetle donnage deliver quite a lot. All those superhero ranger banters also were funny at times. Title and Themes: There aren't real themes. One semi-theme is sacrifice as Anri put on suit her body could not handle to help friends. The other semi-theme is humanity as Mari regains her humanity and Stag Beetle donnage retains his humanity up to the end. Overall comments: I believe Sogna had a serious failure with this game. Moreover, I think that Sogna made wrong conclusions from such failure. As it looks to me now, instead of producing more serious stories it decided to leave stories at a bakage level, but add cuteness instead. But I will only know for sure after I play Viper-GTB.
  8. Lipstick Adv.EX [Fairytale]

    Foreword: I have very high evaluation of the games of the series and since this is the only Windows game of the series (I'll play Lipstick ADV.4 as well just out of spite, but it's universally despised by the fans of the series), I just had to play it. It took me quite some to realize that wish, but finally it's there. Welcome to the Lipstick ADV world! Title: Lipstick Adv.EX Developer: Fairytale Date: 1999-04-23 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v7334 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq_wBpUoznkGk-MxcM3tBVDt Synopsis: Hidaka Koume heads a detective club at an all-girl school. Ichijou Megumi is a detective who got dragged by Koume to be a councilor for the club. Everything starts with stolen underwear at school, but then girls start to be assaulted with a knife right at the school and terrorist acts start to happen around the city. At that moment Megumi gets quite an ordinary surveillance order that turns out to be a much bigger deal. Is it possible that terrorist acts and mysterious case are connected somehow? Structure: 7 acts with the zapping system of switching between two protagonists. Length: 10 hours Game type: School detective story Difficulty: Very easy, but it seems to be possible to miss couple CG. Character Design rating: 10/10 Protagonist rating: 9/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 9/10 Rating comments: Game's absolutely marvelous. Luxurious graphics, full voicing including protagonist, bright palette, absence of character sprites in favor of CGs, intriguing story and quite many mysteries that get unwrapped one by one. So, why not a perfect score? There are some flaws. Story is mostly developed by Deus Ex Machina even though each of protagonists eventually manage to find a clue to the culprit. Between the chapters there are often girl assault events shown right at school, but for some very convenient reason all the girls just keep silent about that till the very last chapters. The ending part is quite pressed with events as we get from total despair and no clues to finale in a mere hour. Ending is too convenient and there is no epilogue (although there are CGs in the ending which show the future of heroes, so it's suffice for an epilogue). Game mechanics is a bit troublesome during the major part of the game as you need to visit some 15 locations and click through all the objects. It gets especially tiresome with people as you need to click on their mouth, face, hair and costume a lot of times till the dialogue goes on - and it's hearing all the same "Don't look at my face/hair/suit so much" over and over again. But I happily clicked through all those moments and some of the plot moments that were in the following as well (since you never know when new dialogue starts - after clicking on face/hair or suit for the tenth time or more). But, believe it or not, all those shortcomings aren't really enough to lower the score. I just did not feel satisfaction from the rushed ending and that hurt the aftertaste. Protagonist: Let's make it clear - game was meant to be a new Eve: Burst Error/EVE: The Lost One. It shares a lot of similarities with that great predecessor. But at the same time game had to be in the vein of past Lipstick ADV games. Ichijou Megumi is very similar to Kojiroh. He holds a one-man detective office, also rents it and constantly has problems with money. But Megumi is really young and much less charismatic that Kojiroh. He's also not a genius and spends too many evenings drinking at the bar (how? at the start of the game his wallet only has 930 yen). In the end he makes a stupid mistake of leaving his office door open and he can't recognize a woman who wore big sunglasses even if he sees her everyday. On the other hand Koume is a traditional heroine of Lipstick ADV games, genki long red-haired girl. She also does not show any signs of genius detective unable even to pacify the only two members of detective club besides her. So each day they spend oh a whip following wishes of its member Rie. Koume was able to obtain her clue by doing the very basic police actions that police absolutely neglected to do. Koume part is much bigger than that of Megumi, because it's devoted to relations between many girls in school, I think eight is the number. It looks organic and nice, but it was really difficult to say where the game was going till the 6th chapter. Characters: As I mentioned, there are some 8 girl characters at school and one woman outside of school, plus some male characters - bartender, police detective, school teacher. But since there is just one route, it was difficult to tell which heroines were important and which weren't. In the end only Koume detective club companion girls had an important role - genki and light-hearted Rie and serious reserved Aki, who is not interested in playing detectives and got dragged to this club by Rie. There's also girl Risa who plays a huge part as a rival of Kouka for Megumi and later on as a witness. And there is another girl who plays a big role because all the serious events start with her death. Story: So the outline is set in the synopsis, but I'll try to elaborate without spoilering too much. First two chapters are just fooling around and improvised dates. Someone steals underwear at school, so it's just jokingly search for the pervert. But then one girl which both protagonists met a lot of times during first chapters, is suddenly found dead in peculiar circumstances. There are about two more chapters just about the shock and despair after that event. But actually only Koume was able to find the clue of the culprit. Megumi found his own clue, but to his own case he was given as a part of his job, and those two cases turned out to be parts of one bigger case and bigger person. The whole bombs part is an inheritance from old Lipstick ADV series and looks quite alien here. The reason for bombings remains vague unlike the murder which has a thorough explanation in the form of culprit diary which we again very conveniently are just led to. So it's not a good a good detective story, but a nice mystery with great characters and valid emotional aspect. CG: 295 CG. We're difficult to be surprised by this amount with modern games often having 300+, but 295 is a huge number for a game from 1999. I especially liked that there aren't really normal H scenes in the game. Most of the HCG are very episodic and just parts of very brief events between the chapters. So it could very easily be an all-ages game. Sound: I like the basic midi sound for being ... expressive, but I enjoyed CD-DA BGM even more in the end. Good tunes and great full voicing. Humor: There aren't real gags here, but dialogues are often very funny in the beginning and those connected with light-headed Rie later on. Title and Themes: So what does EX in title stands for? In my opinion it was meant to mean that unlike predecessors it has very explicit X content, but X could also mean it's the 10th game of the series, so EX was chosen instead. Another question is why the game was not just called 4th part. In my opinion it's because main heroes are different from Gorou and Otomi, even though the archetypes of the characters are quite the same. Overall comments: Lipstick Adv.EX is not a kamige, but is a very delicious treat if you don't expect serious mystery out of it. Point and click sequences may be irritating at times, but bear with it and you'll get one of the best visual novels of the 1990s.
  9. Good VN youtube channels

    My channel preaches hardcore systematic approach towards visual novels. Niche project, but hopefully useful one.
  10. Foreword: I never wanted to play this game, but got a request to make a playthrough recently, so agreed to do that since I was quite curious to see how much the original differs from the remake and why actually PC98 version is described as kamige by some reviewers (1) while remake being trampled to dirt. Title: Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~ Developer: Silky's Date: 1994-09-30 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v1836 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=u8udgdLjN0U Synopsis: A sincere older step-sister and a curious younger step-sister are doomed to become love slaves. One day, a house wife named Yukie has a traffic accident. She is ordered to pay a large settlement to the other party, Taketo, the son of the owner/president of Nogawa Industries. Unable to make the settlement payment, Yukie allows Taketo to have her sexually. At the same time, Takato's father, Nogawa, approaches Yukie's step-daughter, Rumi, and blackmails her. His evil scheme even reaches for Tomoko, Yukie's younger step-sister. Structure: 10 branches with endings, some of which are bad endings and some almost identical. Game takes part during 5 days of Taketo father trip overseas - during that time Taketo must settle the incident. Length: 2.5 hours Game type: Nukige. Difficulty: Quite difficult due to big number of branches, guide recommended Character Design rating: 5/10 Protagonist rating: 2/10 Story rating: 2/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 5/10 Rating comments: Even posting a nukige review is a high enough score for such a game, so 5/10 is not that bad. There's no real story and MC is just pure evil golden boy. But character design and graphics overall (including animated pieces) are really nice and all. Protagonist: Taketo can only compete with cruelness with his father, corporate bigwig. Basically he has zero morality, so easily forges documents, drugs the opposite party and blackmails everyone. Don't think there was ever a trace of his humanity depicted anywhere in the text. Characters: Main heroines are sisters Rumi and Tomoko, but their mother Yukie and secretary Yumi also play a very big and picturesque part in all this mess and all possible variations including 3P and 4P. Characters are cute, but not developed at all. What I disliked the most was that the interaction between the sisters is minimal, they remain schematic pieces. Story: It's really all in the synopsis. Taketo's father gets into a crash and imposes dealing with its consequences on his son Taketo (in exchange for giving him pocket money) instructing him using harsh methods and using women weaknesses. And Taketo does just that - invites Yukie to the company office where drugs and binds her making lewd photos of her and forcing to sign a 5 million yen debt receipt. With that document and photos he goes straight to each of the girls at school, violating them as he wants in exchange of partial debt lifting. After 5 days father comes back from the overseas trip and finds out his safe cracked. Basically all the endings differ by the person who cracks the safe and the person who actually gets the safe contents in the end triggering all kinds of good/bad endings. CG: Game hugely lacks non-HCG. It should probably be noted that pc-98 version does not contain censorship. Instead it just... lacks detail in some parts which was quite mainstream way of censorship in 1994. Sound: BGM... I definitely remember there was BGM and I even waited for two minutes for the intro piece to finish. But overall I guess I did not pay enough attention to that. Title and Themes: Title reflects the brainless story - only the fruits of those two love sisters matter here. Overall comments: I really did not know what to write about here, so let's keep this at minimum volume. Silky's had a great success with Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito and with that established a standart of multiple branches, multiple endings for further generations. Ai Shimai is their next game, so it's natural that it was meant to reap the success of that new experimental structure. But while Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito is an intriguing mystery game, Ai Shimai is made as a brainless nukige where multiple branches structure looks redundant. They could prolong the game time from 5 days to like 10 days to include all combinations of participants and add some bad endings, but instead they developed these 10 almost identical routes that don't even have logical endings. Like in one ending hero gets hit on the head and receives the best possible ending as a result and in other cases he gets to jail after the very same loosing consciousness instead. There's no effort made in any branch, so it all looks like a very spontaneous development. I'm just happy Silky's stopped spamming the same structure in their future games in favor of more variety. But Ai Shimai original is not all that bad compared to its remake that's a parade of ugliness. So is this game bad? Yes. But is this game good and significant enough to get a review? Absolutely yes.
  11. Carbon Knight [Palette]

    Foreword: I did not have much hopes about the game, but its introduction came upon me as a whirlwind. Mechanical dolls? Knights without soul? Three armored musketeers? Great demon king in person? A parade of deaths? Those were only a few things encountered in first 10 minutes of the game. Game has a very strong start and a strong ending with some nice battles and character development in-between. What's not to like here? Title: Carbon Knight Developer: Palette Date: 1998-09-25 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v10914 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq_kUzzqmi57545i6p5b_Dwl Synopsis: 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. Structure: 13 short days. Length: 4 hours for one playthrough Game type: Eschatological fantasy. Difficulty: At least moderate, since there are a lot of choices and I only got lonely ending while there are happy endings with a girl as well. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 5/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: Overall score might be even 9 if I got some substantial epilogue that should exist in some girl ending. The lonely ending I got was too abrupt, but actually cool in itself. Characters are funny and cute enough. They look simple at the first glance, but each of main heroines carries a huge secret behind her back, so I like how their personalities played out. Protagonist is very straightforward, but he's probably needed like that for story's sake. Game quality suffers from big loading times between the scenes. Autoskip function is implemented very poorly. Backgrounds are mostly implemented in 3D, but that's rather a feature than a shortcoming here since those look immersive. But as for the story, it seems ordinary fight the demon king tale, but bears much more in it as it goes, so I rate story very high. Protagonist: Isaak is shown almost always irritated and/or shouting. He is too straightforward and short-tempered. He's not the most pleasant MC to deal with, but he's not voiced, so he can grimace as much as he wants in silence. Characters: There seem to be two main heroines - long red-hair Sheckly and short violet-hair Fortita. Sheckly is our usual child friend, tender and caring. Fortita is much more mysterious since she's very short and never aging. She's actually a carbon knight, soulless relic created to fight demonic invaders. She serves to Isaak and his father. There is also father Balzak's fighting buddy girl Gina who gets a H scene if willing. Possibly she can also get her ending, but according to very few and very poor CG gallery that exists for the game good ending confirmed only for Sheckly, just don't cite me on it. There are lots of very colorful side-characters as well. Everyone but MC is voiced, so it's never really boring. Story: So the game starts in a whirlwind of events. Demon king and his army demolish the city and kill the populace. The three armored musketeers are the only ones who try to oppose the demons. Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita try to escape a group of mechanical dolls. Next we're shown the dialogue between the demon king and the three musketeers and how a mechanical doll comes out with three corpses of Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita pierced. Isaak's father who is one of the musketeers goes berserk and demolishes the demon king... Then Isaak wakes up and those events seem to be a dream on the demon king invasion three years ago. Isaak is dreaming of becoming carbon knight master and goes on a journey with Sheckly and Fortita. There they confront demonic underlings who predict the resurrection of the demon king once all his body parts scattered around the world are collected again. These events take roughly first 15-20 minutes of the game, so I would not consider them a spoiler. As you can imagine, all the demon parts are destined to be collected for a grand confrontation again. But what I especially liked was that the battles of carbon knights and demons started out quite plain, but kept on with more and more increasing numbers of fatalities on both sides nearly wiping all the characters in the game. That was absolutely terrific and unprecedented since the time I saw GANTZ. Just so you know, there's much more to the story than just a series of battles. Every hero has a huge secret and uncovering those secrets make the game really exciting. Ending is surprising as well. System: So I decided to devise an optional system section since there are issues that don't fall into other sections well. So here I wanted to rant why I only got lonely ending and not going to pursue true ending with a girl. First of all, I value initial game experience very much - and each consecutive playthrough is a torture for me, especially without a guide. Secondly, I know that I like lonely ending the best since it's so cool, a real mortal combat. Lastly, game has very poor skipping feature that has to be turned on in the menu and you can't really stop it till there's a new choice or till a new scene starts. And each scene loads for some 10-20 seconds. It's really not fun doing it again. There are actually two more issues - big number of selections and very poor save implementation. Each time you load, you're thrown away very far back, so it's hugely inconvenient. CG: Absolutely terrific CG. Just loving it with all my heart. So much detail. Sometimes the blend of 2D and 3D looks weird, but mostly it's in harmony. But the best part in the art is dresses of girls. These dresses show so much skin that they look like the prototypes for all the modern Korean mmorpgs. Truly hilarious and breathtaking. Sound: BGM is decent, but not too memorable. Title and Themes: Game does not tell us much about carbon knights from the start apart of the fact that Fortita is one. But carbon knight theme gets a huge development in the last third of the game and finishes with the absolute domination of this theme, so it's a good choice. Overall comments: So Carbon Knight has its flaws lying mostly in technical part, but they don't belittle its advantages. I consider it to be the first traditional fantasy chuunige and a huge masterpiece of the time.
  12. Ever played a VN twice?

    No. Oh, wait, I played ELLE / エル twice, just because I liked it the first time and played it for the second time just to make a video of it.
  13. Shunpuu Shoujo 春風少女 [Aquarium]

    Foreword: Not the type of work I read usually. But game managed to conquer my heart with its opening song, as well as wonderful and various BGM. Actually, I would call it foreground songs rather than background music since those songs shine during the whole course of the game due to the fact that game's not voiced at all. But of course music alone can't be enough to keep attention. Shunpuu Shoujo has very beautiful unique art style and quite intriguing synopsis about celestial girl emerging in human world - such common synopsis was a base for lots of great visual novel stories of the past. But enough preface, let's begin. I'm sorry for the excessive number of screenshots - it's done because game has no CG gallery available online. Title: Shunpuu Shoujo Developer: Aquarium Date: 1998-10-30 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15331 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq-u71AkUIovdrTzdPdIL0j9 Synopsis: Takuma Takuma is a college student. One day a girl Sari from another world appears before him. She said that she appeared to purify the conscious body possessed by Takuma and the should live together till that time. Takuma friends and girl classmates aren't really happy about that. Where shall the future take him? Structure: 13 small chapters. Length: 3-4 hours Game type: Celestial beings on Earth comedy Difficulty: Easy. Game offers a choice from time to time, but those are either flavor choices or additional CG triggers. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 5/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: I always ask myself first whether the game is of masterpiece level or not. And if it's not, it can only get as much as 6. And I've come to a conclusion that it's a masterpiece, albeit minor. Character design is astonishing, but characters don't get too much development. Protagonist is ok, but in the end he's just a passive girlish student. Story is on par with Viper-GTS level, so decent, but nothing too complicated or notable. Game quality gets a huge penalty for absence of voicing and overall small length. Protagonist: Takuma main feature is that he looks so girlish with his small slender body and long pink hair. That looks a bit weird, but only till HCG come in action. Seeing two small angels on the screen cuddling is quite heartwarming. Overall he's a passive graduating student and can't really move narration by himself. Characters: Story does not have branches, so there is only one main heroine Seiri there. But there are also two lively side-heroines - childhood friend that attends the same college and lower grade student who looks up to protagonist as a teacher. Yes... even though Takuma is a college student he somehow participates in practice as teacher for lower high school students. It's relations between these four characters that form the basis of the game and become the stage for lots of humorous situations. Apart of those four characters there are also two more heavenly beings and lots of sub-characters. Story: I rated story the lowest - as 5/10, so I'm not truly content with that. Takuma finds Seiri jumping from the portal and getting to know the cast takes first 5 chapters. Then first celestial being appears and brings some cheap drama followed by bouncing back and merry chapters again. In 10th chapter second celestial being arrives bringing more drama and finishing on Christmas eve sweet date. The very ending is curious though as it gives an answer on the future awaiting protagonists since the default situation is quite sad - Seiri is bound to return to her world and live forever while Takuma has to grow old like any mortal. Happy end is very satisfactory. CG: CG here are so gentle and cute. I don't think I've seen art style like that anywhere before. It surely is a treat after today's absolutely the same polished art style dominating in both anime and visual novels. Sound: BGM is an important actor in the game. For the first hour I was just listening to the BGM rather than enjoy character interaction. Soundtrack is especially cool because there is lots of singing in it. Humor: Humor here is not high quality, but rather in form of funny faces, character sprite emotions, chibi action CG etc. Most of such CG depict someone hitting someone else or such. But same as with CG, even chibi style here is very cute and actually only half-chibi since it's the same body that's deformed and head is proportional to the rest of the body. Title and Themes: Title can be roughly translated as "spring breeze girl". I don't think there's a special meaning to it, but Seiri is really so pure and shiny that she's like a breeze among other games' heroines. Overall comments: Game's actually better than description above. It has special charm that can't be felt without seeing for yourself. It has unique magic due absence of voicing and unconventional CG and BGM. I'm really glad that Aquarium recovered from the ugly art of its first works Carrot Time and Pretty Cat ~Lily and Kyle no Daibouken~. But I also like that the company does not forget its roots - just look at the very first screenshot - it's Nyantaru Pu himself from Toki no Moto e! I'm happy to see Aquarium made it in the 2000s and will look forward to seeing its further eleven works.
  14. Psyclone サイクロン [Vanilla]

    Foreword: I have not put a 10/10 score in a while. Psyclone is a classic cyberpunk story with sophisticated plot and great cast of characters. For genre fan it's an ultimate treasure. But game's not hookable, so I had to manually copy each line from the script for video playthrough. It was absolutely worth my time and I hope it can be worthy of yours. Title: Psyclone Developer: Vanilla Date: 1998-10-30 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15546 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq8KWBAvVAymrEDxV6nl3B0E Synopsis: Psyclone is a cyber-reality city accessed by using bio-interface. Recently it has been under attack of crackers causing anomalies and hurting people, so its inventor "Postman" along with his comrades "Bee", "Peepin Sam" and one of the crackers "Saiko" try to find the source of attacks. At the same time in the real world many young girls get missing in the slums. How can these cases be connected? Structure: There are about twenty micro-chapters, but those are numerated in any manner. Length: 5 hours Game type: Classic cyberpunk story. Difficulty: Easy. Each time you get a game over, you can press try again and get just before the wrong choice. Character Design rating: 10/10 Protagonist rating: 10/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 8/10 Overall rating: 10/10 Rating comments: It's been so long I put any game a full score. Game is perfect composition-wise and characters-wise. But game quality gets a huge penalty for rhytmic but lacking excitement BGMs, non-full size CG (HCG are almost full size). There were also technical difficulties - inability of hooking and game error on windows switch, but launching with Dxwnd and using the text script ripped from the game did the trick in the end. Protagonist: Postman is a great protagonist. He inherited rights on bio-interface after his deceased father, but he created Psyclone all by himself. Furthermore, he managed to save his father's memories before the brain death, so his father is alive in the form of talking head in the real world and a full-scale actor in the net. The real name of Postman is Thomas Post Stroker. He's got a face and both knowledgeable and cool. Characters: The characters names correspond to the picture above - upper names row to the upper characters and lower names to the row below. There are two main heroines. First one is Postman's comrade "Bee" who is known for being a fast and tough user. She uses both forms of male and female in Cyclone. Her real name is Vi Rubins. She tries to behave rough like a boy, but she is so sincere and protective over Postman that she managed to totally win my sympathies. For example, in one of the bad endings she keeps nursing Postman in the vegetable state after he got his brains fried in the cyberspace. She also saves her virginity for Postman despite behaving all tough and being mocked by Saiko for that. I could not force myself to look at Saiko ending after seeing Bee's one. Saiko is a supercute and supertalented cracker. She has a lot of in common with Postman as they both are regarded as otaku with an affinity to old tech. She's energetic and of modern views. She's a very nice person, but I don't like it that her ending requires intimacy twice during the main course of the game. There is also a third main heroine, but she stands aside of both primary heroines. Kelly is a police inspector with a very important role to play. All I can say is that her ending goes on top of the primary heroine ending and may either happen with any of the heroines or may not happen at all. But look at this cast. There are also plenty of cool characters. Ange with her bright clumsy personality brings a lot of comic relief into the game. Peeping Sam is one of the coolest hackers with a terrific voicing. Postman's father is not presented here, but he is a worthy addition to the team, both for his constant fights with Postman and for his activity in cyberspace. That's a really great cast in here. Story: I don't feel like giving spoilers this time since the story is absolutely worth of reading yourself, but here is what I can share in addition to synopsis. Postman dives into the cyberspace to track the cracker and confronts Saiko there, but she turns out to act all by herself and not connected with the other cases of attack or kidnappings. So she decides to cooperate with the team to find the real culprit. At the same time Postman is being followed by a Cybertech corporation worker Ange who consistently offers to sell the rights for bio-interface. Upon overhearing a policeman we get to know that policemen have to fill quota of bringing two girls per day. So we need to investigate three major facilities - Saiko's information shop where she got information from, police station and Cybertech. And that's absolutely all I can tell without major spoilers. CG: There are not as many CG as I hoped for and it's a pity that CG only take like 1/3 of screen space. But I really like the old-school style and the quality of each CG. Sound: BGM is rhythmic, but without real melody - that can be both plus and minus. Voicing is truly great (only protagonist not voiced). Humor: Humor in this game is not in the form of gags, but rather situational. Ange is the main source of humor situations. I especially liked how she was offered some tart and each time she sincerely exclaimed "Ah, oishiso!!!", but then remembered of the number of calories and rejected the offer. But the fun part was that the same situation was repeated several times during the talk. And she has such a light windy personality that we easily believe that she sincerely rejoices each time forgetting about previous cases. Title and Themes: I always try to guess the meaning behind the title of the game. And this time there are so many meanings in the title. Psyclone = Psyclone city + Saiko + Psy + Clone. Game incorporates the best cyberpunk ideas, but manages to tell an absolutely unique story. Overall comments: I praised the game enough, but how could such a wonderful game be overlooked by Japanese audience? Game's got just one impression that's not even accessible now via web archive. I guess game graphics are to blame. In 1998 users could only try to assess the content by the box and box only features non-flashy images and weird phrases like "Cracker", "Bio Interface", "Texture Ripper". And that cost 8800 yen which was the cost of a top-tier game. Whatever the reasons are, game is just too big to be forgotten and I'll give remaining Vanilla games special attention.
  15. Lofty Form [Aaru]

    Foreword: This game's synopsis shattered my imagination from the first second and only the rarity of the game stopped me from playing it at once. Did my high hopes of the game come true? You'll know soon enough. Title: Lofty Form Developer: Aaru Date: 1997-11-28 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v15188 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq-EjfsuBaQRr6x65QIhzOeO Synopsis: Yakushiji Shion is the eldest son from the clan that punishes bad people. But after he assassinated Empire's shadow Kurobe Akiyoushi, it is regarded as a rebellion against the Empire. He gathers the clan and moves towards the North. Every day they are attacked by pursuers. At the same time he is chased by the girl Hiramatsu Yae who fell in love with Shion. Structure: No real structure or branches. Length: 6 hours Game type: Samurai story with some fantasy elements. Difficulty: Very easy. Character Design rating: 6/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 6/10 Game quality: 5/10 Overall rating: 6/10 Rating comments: Game has quite low production values, but the story was decent and I struggled between 6 and 7 as overall rating almost till the end. I can't deny the coolness of main character Shion who speaks like 5 times during the game total, but the story in the end started to obtain various flaws and ended in a fluke which is unacceptable for a masterpiece level game, thus it's 6. Protagonist: Yakushiji Shion is pretty much everything in this game and half of game's (10?) CG show how cool he is. He speaks only a few times in the game with very short one-word phrases and most of the time we just see "..." whenever he is asked anything. That adds mystery. But he's so cool mostly because he's the only strong character and basically he defeats any enemy with just one strike. And we're being hinted that his clan might possess the secret of immortality which raises evaluation of Shion the Immortal even further. Characters: There is a bunch of characters who accompany Shion. Notably his step-brother Koriyama and step-sister Sayaka. Both of them were found and brought up by Shion's father. Next there a girl Hiramatsu Yae who tags along after she's saved from the hands of country's general who was set to making her a slave doll. There's also the princess girl and the spy girl who accompany the party at the certain point of narration. There is a good number of enemies, but to my regret enemies aren't really charismatic and for the most time that's just some masked ninja. Story: So the country of narration has not had wars for some 10 years at least. Everyone enjoys peace and noone carries weapons anymore. Yakushiji brothers on the other hand keep wearing weapons and bring self-justice to the villains of the country. It's going all right till they murder the great commander and first general of the army who lived in vice. But empire did not want to announce the fact of his death and instead sent remnants of warring clans to punish Yakushiji brothers. Yakushiji clan leader understands that killing general-commander will lead to consequences and because of that he sends his sons to the North and tells the reason of it only to Shion who is not really talkative. So first half of the story takes the journey to the North and that's all I can say without spoiling. More under a spoiler banner. CG: For the first 2/3 of the game there are zero CG! There are some small CG which are like 50x50, but that's not even remotely enough. Then we get to see two almost the same CG of Shion fighting and the end gets packed with like 10 CG in succession. That's a very weird CG placement that leaves a very poor impression of the main story events. Sound: Only BGM and in traditional Aaru style - after melody's over it does not cycle and up to the next story shift there's only silence to accompany you. Humor: There is none, if you don't consider humor those eternal games in silence with "..." repeated over and over by different characters. But one case was so absurd that it made me laugh. Koriyama follows rogue Makino to some house and finds there Makiho and two just killed warm corpses of a man and a woman. But Makiho says it was not him and just left. Then Koriyama is asked by a street girl to kill rogue Makino. Koriyama asks what are her proofs. - He treated me poorly and commited me on many different occasions. - Uh-huh. - He killed Rutarou. - Uh-huh. - He killed both my parents. - Uh-huh. - After that he killed governor of the town Kirishima. - No way! A governor? What a horrible person. Themes: I always try to guess the meaning behind the title of the game. Lofty form - what's that even about? Apparently lofty means of imposing height, thus lofty form means something like "high style". The synopsis indeed features high style narration, but the form and the essence are two different matters and should not necessarily coincide. So after all it's only form that remains lofty here. Overall comments: I probably placed too much hope in this game. Its low production values and plot inconsistencies described under spoiler did not let me really enjoy the game. But it's still a plot driven samurai story with a very impressive protagonist and might be worth your attention.
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