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kivandopulus

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  1. Foreword: The culmination of the series and the biggest jewel Four-Nine ever produced. I'm late with the review since I wanted to finish recording video playthrough first. Title: Canaan ~Yakusoku no Chi~ Developer: Four-Nine Date: 1997-04-18 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8697 Synopsis: The fourth entry in the GaoGao series is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as the two previous games. In the future, a failed biological experiment caused widespread mutations, leading to a total separation of human civilization and the mutated tribes of "animal people". The events of the game begin shortly after the end of the previous installment. Human civilization is nearly destroyed; the remaining humans live in shelters, dreaming of the "promised land" Canaan, somewhere "near the end of the world", where there is enough food for everyone and where mutants can't enter. The game has two protagonists: a human boy who has lost his parents and who swears to himself to find Canaan, and Wolf, the mutant hero of the previous game, with his colorful female companions. Eventually their paths cross - but will they able to understand each other and bring peace to the troublesome world?.. Structure: 29 parts overall varying in length from 3 minutes to 2 hours. Length: 15 hours Game type: Command selection adventure Difficulty: Easy and even easier than in before. No need to bruteforce all the commands to advance, dialogues are enough to proceed usually. Character Design rating: 10/10 Protagonist rating: 10/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 10/10 Rating comments: All the shortcomings of Gao Gao 3 are eliminated here: no more command bruteforcing, optional (and less painful gameplay-wise) H-events, story is not bounded to a strict structure, but feels as a natural adventure. I can't put 10 for quality since it's PC-98 game with no voicing, but besides that just perfect. Protagonist: Same Wolfy boy (we're given official English spelling in the credits like that), but now also with a human boy Kite moving elsewhere in parallel with paths joining only by the end. Wolfy is same cool and optimistic person, but what's nice - there was a chapter of total despair even for him - that was a welcome character development to see. Kite is pretty much allusion to Gao Gao 2nd part protagonist - human boy who wishes to protect those he loves but fails to do that due to lack of power. "I want to become stronger" is his motto, but unlike part 2 here Kite actually becomes strong and at some point even assaults enemies on par with Wolfy - that was also a satisfactory character development. Characters: I've counted 25 humanoid characters in the game, aside of definite side-characters. Only four of them are males: Wolfy, Kite, Blue, Pr.Kayne. All the allies migrated from Gao Gao 3rd safely with some new ones and old acquaintances. It's enough to mention that there are as many as 12 people in our party at the time of the final battle. Just as in Gao Gao 3rd whenever you meet some new person, a long quee of questions to him follows, so every character is very well depicted as we get to know their past, their status and their wishes. This way is much better than having lots of mystery characters and getting to know them bit by bit by their actions. Enemies: are very cool. There are more guys with advanced tech and guns, there are robots, new war modified mutants. Just as before, human enemies are possible to negotiate with. Story: Kite is a boy who lives in one of the sealed shelters and one day sneaks out from there to try to find Canaan - the best place for people to live - he read about in the books. Wolfy party gets out of the Underground this time and walks the picturesque landscapes. At some point they find Kite's shelter, read his diary and burn up to find this land of prosperity Canaan as well. Kite saves a girl Angela from the crashed helicopter and they go seeking her "Fur", someone very close to her but unable to remember because of amnesia. Wolfy party finds the angel/bird girl Fur in a different crash place and she needs to find Angela. Soon Fur gets kidnapped and the story slowly, but surely unwinds. The biggest part of the story takes mutual alienation of mutants and humans. And only little by little, one encounter after another both species stop thinking in black and white terms. CG: There were much more CG compared to 3rd part. They are of better quality and overall make up for the rich story feeling. A lot of backgrounds are reused from 3rd part, but that seems natural as it's the same underground everywhere. HCG: I'm pretty sure there are less H-events than in 3rd part and all the female characters excluding only some enemies get their own HCG. But what I really liked is that there are only two compulsory events with Rabby in the beginning of the game and in the end of it and one compulsory event of Kite with mutant girl Mira. Mira is by the way one of the main characters this time, party of Kite consists of three persons usually: Kite, Angela, Mira. Optional H-events helped me to concentrate on the story and build up more empathy for the main characters rather than struggle through all the side-character pretty random and not important H-events. Sound: Only couple of old bgms migrated from Gao Gao 3rd and those are generic battle ones. All of the important battles, events and just actions have new much more elaborate midi melodies, which is really nice. Themes: Most evident theme is definitely of Canaan. We tend to ask about Canaan every passer-by with both protagonist. What's Canaan? Will we be able to find it? See it for yourself, but the answer is very satisfying. Another interesting Canaan side-story is that of Prof. Kayne - but I won't spoil it here. Another theme is that of coexistence. In Gao Gao 3rd there was not a single living human - only one human spirit Saison, but that was snobbish pc room maintenance specialist and he openly declared that mutants is the lower life form and has to be annihilated. By the start of Canaan both parties are ready to kill the other species enemies on spot and it takes a lot of effort to overcome that feeling. It starts from simple - "They can also be sad and cry" and goes all way through. The third important theme is that of creators and creations. Are we responsible for life of those who we created? Should we treat them as luggage and just make another clone instead? This theme is covered mostly by Pr.Kayne sideline. Another one is that of the reason of life. There are some suicides in the game and the gravest events happen because characters lose the reasons of their lives. Is it worth it to live on without the reason of life or is it possible to find another reason? Those are the questions raised. Originality: Since it's direct continuation of Gao Gao 3rd there's not much originality here. But double protagonist story lines is a fresh move which really helps with the information overdose in the beginning. Humor: I absolutely love the humor here. The old jokes don't have a strong presence, but occasionally show up and those moments are cherishable indeed. When a party of peddlers is asked whether they know about Ningen, they first take out a carrot, then green beans and then admit that they don't have any more vegetables reminding Ningen. Hit android with the pie joke is played out pretty cool too and the whole party was shocked that android did not stop functioning after that. The inventor of new meanings is only Iria now and she is hit frequently by Rabby, Leona and Dola because of that. Wolfy thoughts and comments are stingy as ever and the spirits in the party is always high. Overall comments: This is a very rare beast. A serious grown-up story in postapocalyptic world with the best possible humor, dozens of well-developed characters and many important themes raised. What else can one possibly want? It feels like an epic RPG story on par with Legend of Heroes - Trails in the Sky, but with zero RPG elements. There are other games with interesting stories, but this unique party atmosphere is not to be rivaled in any pure visual novels to come further.
  2. AGTH wiki Closed

    So far I can remember only one Windows game that ITH could not handle - that was "Interlude" . It's time to create ITH wiki with only couple of dozens of entries in it.
  3. VN of the Month May 1997 - To Heart

    I'm already astonished by the number of fan doujin works One ~To the Radiant Season~ produced (at least three!) and it's probably the first work to spawn fan doujin games at all - already watching a playthrough of it. Kanon has a power to change people - can't say it was for the good in my case, but it has such power. As for To Heart, this work is revolutionary because it's the first traditional moege. There is nothing like that in 1997 and for a good part of 1998. This work came ahead of the trend and stands out lonely for a long time. The closest thing to that was Kakyuusei, but it's a different genre and it has other love interests than cute little girls. In most of romance stories only imouto or childhood friend might be cute moe girl, but other girls were much more mature. To Heart has 10 heroines and all of them are cute moe girls in a lot of moe situations. It's a solid statement to the future that moe is not an occasional sidekick, but mainstream.
  4. Foreword: I've noted the series quite long ago, but only when approached 4th final work decided to play the prequel that's directly connected with 4th part. Review of Canaan is coming a bit later. Title: Gao Gao! 3rd ~Wild Force~ Developer: Four-Nine Date: 1994-10-29 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8696 Synopsis: Wild Force is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as the previous entry in the GaoGao series. A virus turned most of the Earth's population into mutants, and human beings continued living in artificial cities, separated from the rest of the world. This time, the story is seen from the point of view of the mutants themselves (the previous GaoGao games had human protagonists). These look more like fairy tale creatures (half-cats, winged people, etc.), and continue living on the wild, dangerous Earth, keeping close to their respective animal tribes. The protagonist of the game is a young boy named Wolf, who belongs - you've guessed it - to the wolf tribe. One day, exploring the wilderness, he stumbles upon a strange cave with lurking monsters. Together with a girl from the rabbit tribe and other fantasy creatures, Wolf discovers an advanced civilization, learn of the existence of human beings, and eventually becomes a hero who saves the new world from a grave danger. Structure: One route with 8 chapters. Length: 15 hours Game type: Command selection adventure Difficulty: Easy. Scene advances after brute-forcing all the commands in all available locations. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 9/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 9/10 Rating comments: I'd give it a perfect score, personally. But what keeps me from it is painful command selection brute forcing. Game is really long itself and did not need such extra longevity layer. Another minus is interactive H-scenes that can't be skipped and that take really much time with that painful scrolling up and down. Characters are cute and memorable, but in H-events they often have distorted faces, that's a bit unpleasant. Oh well, and since the game is for pc-98 only, it has only midi for sound. Otherwise, a perfect game with a perfect story. Protagonist: Wolf boy Urfy. He admits that he's given the name just after his tribe name, so if English version existed, he'd probably be called Wolfy instead. He has face. He is rational, skillful in sword art, supportive, tries to cheer up companions even in difficult situations. And he tolerated that Rabby tsundere bunny girl (she's named Rabby after the rabbit tribe...) the whole game absorbing all her hysteria. He never imposed himself with women (with one small exception during interrogation). He's the perfect guy. He is really unusual and he leads the story without being pushed by circumstances. Characters: There are really many characters in this game, so let's just present our most frequently met party members and enemies. First enemies. Enemies are rather cool. You would not believe it, but there was just one enemy that was bitter alienated and the others had their own reasons and could be debated with words, not swords. Allies are even more developed, of course. First we have baka twins Leona and Dora. They move usually as a separate unit and we constantly stumble upon them wherever we go. In the right upper corner is our acquaintance throughout the whole game - Rabby. She is total tsundere, blushing and shouting all the time. She is also a spiritual medium and she's the first to hear sounds or perceive traps. She's not of battle sort and on this CG she only fights because she has spirit of Ilia controlling her. Ilia is the warrior in the right lower corner. We first find her spirit that occupies Rabby body, but then occasionally get her old body. She's strong-willed, but reasonable. She's also breaking everything she touches. In the left lower corner is Nise. She's a gluttony-obsessed coward who can not even fly. We find her in the second chapter and she has little utility serving as a cute girls who's often crying and is afraid of everything. But she finds her use in one of the last chapters. Story: I'll give chapter titles with brief description of contents: 1) - Underground - Urfi stumbles upon Raby in a dangerous forest where people disappear and together they fall through the ground. 2) - Legend - The chapter takes takes place outside on the way to the capital city. In this chapter we save Nise as the only survivor of beast assault on the road. Then beasts attack and we fall underground and occasionally find Ilia spirit that embodies Raby. 3) - Resurrection - Capital city inhabitants takes us for saviors from legend and send us on a mission to recover the body of Ilia. After some adventures we succeed in that. 4) - Trap - Ilia is resurrected and we go to the village that was assaulted by the beasts. On the way back from it we get to the trap of one of the enemies. Next Ilia gets deadly wound by mysterious enemy. 5) - Ephemora - In order to save Ilia, Urfi with baka twins go to the witch Ephemora for ambrosia and after some adventures get it. 6) - Key - Time to get on a mission to save the world. The key to all mysteries lies under the temple where Ilia body was found. And underneath it is a high technology human ghost city where the answers to all the questions are found during next two chapters. 7) - Dark eater - no spoilers - Blue - no spoilers CG: Game was quite greedy for non-HCG throughout the game but under the credits roll it presented so many cool new CG that I'm ready to forget about that. I found great pleasure in graphics and non-HCG in this game. The game has its cruel and even guro parts with the whole villages massacred, heads thrown away from the bodies etc and I liked those a lot. HCG: I've counted it and there are 19 H-events in the game. That's it! 19! And all of them are interactive that you need to constantly choose different commands. So each such event usually takes several minutes of your time. And I'd say that 60% of HCG weren't pleasant due to distorted face features. Girls in this game are very proactive. They sneak into Urfi's room the same day they get acquainted. I was so happy to note that there were as many as three girl characters who never took interest in Urfi... but by the last chapter there was only one minor girl character left without H-event and that was a boarding house host girl without a sprite who had a husband she run business together. All the other female characters sooner or later had H-event. There were two more girls free from his charms, but one was a zombie-android creature and another one was heavily wounded on meeting her and died withing two minutes. So I wish there were much fewer H-events. Sound: There was only midi bgm. Quite nice bgm to not annoy during 15 hours. Themes: This work is a concluding one for all the series (since there was no 4th part in plans in 1994). It has big involving story and gives all the answers to all the questions of this part and previous ones. What happened to the humanity? Who are mutants? Who are demon children? Who are Dark eaters? Who are Light Eaters? Everything is explained in last two chapters, so it's a very satisfying work designed to be a grand finale Originality: This work is the origin of a new game genre - heartwarming party adventure. It is basically an epic party RPG that was stripped of absolutely all RPG elements and given command selection instead. There are a lot of battles in the game, definitely more than H-events, so over 20. And each battle is played individually, not through fixed commands. Commands vary for each battle and you can't move on till you brute-forced the needed commands. That makes realistic involving battles where most of the time you talk with your party members and the enemy and read in text as you advance or try to defend or invent some cunning strategy or even flee from battle. And this adventure is heartwarming because a lot of time is spend walking or attending city buildings where you mostly chat with your party members. That allows to develop really deep personalities and get to know everything of each other. Add here a very good text - it's very easy to read, it's involving and it has a lot of funny face animations and emotions. Humor: Apart of jokingly inter-character interactions there are actually a lot of very funny humor moments that are events-based or repeats-based. Here's an example of an event joke: the party flees from an overpowered opponent and uses consequently all the secret items acquited from the city - first makibishi spikes but enemy only jumps over them (one of party members actually gets into them which adds the fun), then a smoke bomb, but it does not help much. Then we search the bags and throw a pie into an enemy and enemy leaves us alone for the rest of the day! I adored the repeats-based humor moments as well. It's mutants world and when we first here word "ningen" (humans) party members give their variants. The coolest one was from Ilia that she ate it in salad - it's the red vegetable from the garden, a carrot (ninjin)! Then at the human secret facility we find a pc with an interactive chat program. The girl there calls herself Crazy-chan and to most questions answers "Don't know". To the question what is "ningen" she answers... a red vegetable from the garden! Ilia joyfully jumps up shouting I told you, I told you! Then Crazy-chan adds "That's a lie, actually" -Arr you little!!! The story with repeats goes long much further. At one moment the party starts to guess meanings even of known words they stumbled upon in secret human facility. Security door asked a number and the party is already discussing. It said Nampa! How shall we get it with the door?! No, it said Member! At one of the rooms we find the box of this developer's another game - Waku Waku Mahjong Panic! - we read the whole advertisement on the back of the box and get to discuss what Mahjong is. One of the variants is that it's the benefit that you gain after load is returned to you (margin). There are also cereals called Gao-Gao with a girl on it. I really liked these real world references without breaking the 4th wall completely. Overall comments: I liked this game a lot. It has everything a masterpiece game should have - thrilling big volume story, great cute characters including enemies, absolutely fabulous text, humor just to my taste and the unexpected and most welcome shift from fantasy to post-apocalyptic sci-fi like early Might and Magic and Wizardry series. The important note about this game that its pc-98 rom is very easy to find and it runs with any anex86 emulator version. This emulator does not require to tune it in any way and game text is easily acquired by default ITH hook. Google translate with Translation Aggregator gives a very good translation after its upgrade in the end of 2016. So no need to be afraid of scary PC-98 emulation. Good stories know no aging and should not be forgotten.
  5. VN of the Month February 1997 - Yatsu no Na wa Diamond

    Well, I think I tried it all. AGTH, ITHVNR, VisualNovelReader, Mozilla Rika-chan+Epwing, Offline dictionnaries like Atlas, OCR tools like ABBYY screenshot reader, smartphone camera google translate. Nothing can beat good old ITH+TranslationAggregator. Google translate (only after neural update in march 1996 - Asenheim project old google translate won't go) for the bulk of it and Jparser-Edict+Mecab for messy sentences.
  6. VN of the Month February 1997 - Yatsu no Na wa Diamond

    I don't know Japanese in the most important way - I can't read Japanese texts. After several years of interest in Japanese I'm quite confident in my grammar and speech recognition skills though. I tried watching Chibi Maruko Chan (English subs don't exist) series a year a go or so and constantly could not understand plot twists. Surprisingly enough, now there's no such problem. I was struggling with JParser(Edict)+Mecab and moved at a horrible speed all the time. In March 1996 google translate Japanese got a neural update and that changed everything. The quality was on par with JParser and handling of proper names became much easier. I think in May 1996 I registered first wiki variant at some free hosting in a desperate attempt to organize material on VNDB. Did I play all those listed games? No, because it's impossible due to technical and time reasons. How can you trust what's written if I did not play it? - You can't. I only translate synopsis and retell what's written in Japanese reviews and only then play something if I like what I read.
  7. VN of the Year 1996

    TLWiki is what formed my interest in VNs, anyway. I think I discovered it quite early and dashed through all the fully translated works in no time, mostly at work. For years I thought that this is the full compilation of translated into English visual novels, so went into free sail of untranslated works from then on. And I started with YU-NO as an appetizer since it was the smallest in size and with the most dated graphics. And that was actually the longest game there. I played without sound at work and tried to rush it, but school part ended and it went deeper and deeper in totally unexpected directions. Five years from then I'd definitely be able to enjoy it more now with luxurious sound and more appreciation for the text, but I cherish those memories as YU-NO takes a unique spot among them.
  8. Foreword: I hate bakage. And yet I'm reviewing yet another bakage. Why? Mostly because together with YU-NO, these are the last two works of the Great Elf/Silky's team, after that Elf is going to loose too many staff members and is going to rerelease old works for Windows, stamp eroge works alongside with slice of life works. No more crazy adventure spirit afterwards. It's a historical moment to visual novels industry. Oh and I liked the two hentai OVAs of it immensely back then. I'll assume everyone seen them since I'm going to compare these works. Title: Be-Yond ~Kurodaishou ni Mirareteru~ Developer: Silky's Date: 1996-08-30 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v1973 Synopsis: When I woke up from the darkness, I learned that I was the legendary Devil of Darkness, that was said to have the power to destroy the universe. The beautiful girls approach me one after another. My shout roars in space. When I pat a villain gently, he is discomposed into molecules... It seems that I have the power... But... am I really the Devil? Structure: There are 10 chapters and the branching at 5 good and two bad endings happens only in the last chapter. Length: 9 hours Game type: ADV with small command selection parts and couple minigames Difficulty: Moderate, actually. Without the guide I had no idea where the branching really happened and only achieved a bad end. Character Design rating: 9/10 Protagonist rating: 9/10 Story rating: 6/10 Game quality: 9/10 Overall rating: 7/10 Rating comments: It's my firm belief that I can only overall 8+ if I can recommend the game to anyone. The point is that I can't. This is one of the best bakage ever with a good story, great protagonist and memorable characters. It's just that I can't get satisfaction from bakage, even if it's the best bakage ever produced. And this game can easily rival this status. Protagonist: We don't get to know much of his past. He just woke up in the black demon form already. He remembers his name as Miyamouto Koujiro and he's definitely not a student. His actions are well-weighted. He's not aggressive since no weapon can pierce the armor of his body and most of aggressive actions he does unwillingly, just because someone else presses the joystick button - the joystick that manages his actions, even walking... Characters: All the characters share the same route with the only branching in last 10th chapter, so there is little emphasis on individual relations. But each of those characters are your adventure buddies and they are quite memorable so are worth taking a glance on. Ren holds a special place in the story. She's some kind of guardian and servant of the dark lord. She's the only female character that is not human. Her ending can be considered the true one since the dark lord keeps on going the old way, with only his servant on his side. She values the safety of her master the most and she lacks human traits for the most part. Eva probably has the leading female role. From the start she gives a "battle" to the black demon ship and looses not only 90% of her fleet, but also demon's missile hits the planet and then another planet damaging the other 5 planets of the seven start solar system which whithin a month also explode... triggering the solar system to explode... damaging the nearby systems... and Eva has to pay for the caused damage for the number of years close to eternity. Within her little powers she does her best to pursue the dark lord and actually manages to catch up to him three times! First time she's getting close with him due to overdose of a medicament, but gradually starts dreaming of him. What makes her special is the amount of hardships she suffers in her quest, majority of baka events happen to her. Fey is the third heroine we meet. She's a very poor bounty hunter without knowledge that the gun needs bullets or that there is a safety check. The crew saves her from one of the wild west style bounty hunter duels and she begs the dark lord to accept her as apprentice. She's a pilot of a huge mecha built by her uncle and sometimes is of use as such. Fey provides all the leftover baka events for the game. Amelia is the princess of one planet, but she runs away from the wedding with unloved groom and seeks refuge at our ship. She's the boldest one and has the biggest number of H-events. Chime is actually Amelia's mother (might be wrong on that) and the queen of some planet. She only has two plot H-events and not of much significance besides that. Kind and experienced. Vermouth is the captain of the fleet belonging to Chime. She only has one H-scene and some miscellaneous use for the story. Hard-boiled knight. Story: As in every bakage, story is not of much coherence. So we wake up from the noise that the surrounding fleet makes firing at us. Rei worries that it can bother our sleep and from the controlling gamepad launches a missile that destroys half of the universe. On the nearby planet we meet Eve who gets to know of dark lord's identity, picks up the gamepad and presses a button... which launches a missile that makes a huge hole sends her in the open space. Out of pity we teleport her back to the planet (without her clothes - it's a safety measure while teleportation as Ren says). Eve manages to find us two more times - not without the help of her super space police bycicle! Afterwards we visit several more planets without any real purpose and help other girls on those planets. Nine and a half chapters of pure bakage and grew quite tired of it by the fifth chapter. Tenth chapter suddenly presents an enemy rivaling our powers and some serious development with deaths, blood, branching and bad endings. CG: I've zero complaints about CG. They are numerous, beautiful and fun. What I especially would like to notice is that there are lots of full height models on CG which is so rare in today's VNs. Another flavor is the backgrounds. They are excellent with the most notorious are different planets backgrounds with lots of characters on them. They are drawn with love like on this screen. OVA comparison: OVA ep.1 loosely retells chapter 1 plot - loosely because it misses on several smaller events. The major differences that in game there is one more Eve ship penetration on behalf of the dark lord, but the most significant difference is that in OVA Eve does not recognize the dark lord identity and spend the night with him, but in the game she does regognize that in the end and sets into pursue. OVA ep.2 starts with chapter 2 and mixes some 5 more chapters together inserting its own plot line. Those events actually take place on three different planets and it just tosses them together, hurriedly adds Chime H-scene and ends without any reasonable conclusion. The game's much more satisfying on both the adventure and the endings. Sound: No complaints either. Lots of compositions of great style. Minigames: There are actually two minigames in 10th chapter. One is faking an rpg with an ability to attack and defend and the other one is shoot 30 appearing targets in 40 seconds. I barely passed both of those mingames from the third try. Overall comments: I can't remember a better bakage even from contemporary visual novels. It's possible to rant on characters and story, but it's essence is in baka events so I'm presenting CGs of some of them.
  9. My weaboo experience: the latter days

    I was often being told in school that I'm going to change. Twenty years later I'm still the same with only change that I take less interest in western games. Back in high school and university I read everything that could interest me from philosophy and social studies - and got disillusioned by them. It's my rational choice based on experience of prior generations to be a weaboo. That's why these beliefs are so hard to budge.
  10. My weaboo experience: the latter days

    Of course I'm a weaboo. But when I'm asked whether I'd want to live in Japan I say "No way!". Too many faults in its society : it's still isolationist one kraoushi (overwork) tiny flats expensive life huge time waste in transport horrible tv wit its variety shows and ads, ads, ads weird "rituals" both at home and at work But I can't feel appeal of western culture anymore. A bunch of well-off professional studios are making high-quality content for the whole world. And I'd rather see variety than quality. Among western movies, tv series, cartoons and games there's only couple of new things that get to interest me each year. But hey, there are indie works now with much variety - I can't stand both indie and doujin works somehow. On the other hand Japanese culture has been almost a bottomless source of inspiration. I'm no big fan of manga and light novels, but dorama is much more natural than any western series. My favorite game genre is RPG/SRPG/TBS and I've seen every western game of those genres, number is just not enough. Then I look at japanese works in those genres... a vast ocean that I fail to see the end of. Visual novels are mysterious for me as it can be virtually anything and its best species are breathtaking. As for anime, I'm absolutely assured that it's going to abolish crimes, because nothing can really outweigh missing new season works. I feel a definite cultural shift towards East in the air.
  11. Foreword: I erroneously marked this game as eroge and now it's the time to check out what it's really about. Title: Ushinawareta Rakuen Developer: Silky's Date: 1995-04-14 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v9147 Synopsis: College student Kojima Kousaku is promised a high payment for assistance in scientific expedition on a southern island. However, a storm breaks out and the ship suffers a shipwreck. The crew gets separated and they start to search first for bed and food and then find a strange temple in the jungle. Structure: Pretty much one route with minor branching. Length: 4 hours Game type: Mysterious island adventure. Difficulty: Moderate. Several saves will lead you to some happy ending, although getting all happy endings will probably require a guide. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 4/10 Story rating: 7/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 6/10 Rating comments: Game is thrilling and something constantly happening keeping you glued to the chair. So while playing it's totally fascinating, but the aftertaste is bitterish due to several shortcomings. Protagonist: Usual college student, nothing really outstanding. Characters: If we count only happy endings, they're only for the three girls. If count possible H-events, there are six characters. Characters seemed quite cliche to me - an active red-haired Ayano, a shy megane Yumi, professor young wife Shiori fills ojousama role, there's a blond american origin girl Monica and sexy mature professor secretary and partner Reiko, there's also the ingenious shaman girl Lira. They all share the same one-road story with minor branching leading to different girls happy ends - like go along the coast and that somehow means a happy end for Ayano, go by the forest and get the Shiori happy end. No meaning at all in that choice. Character design is great for all of them, but without voicing and with such small volume it's hard to start to feel sympathy. Story: The story is depicted quite shallowly. First acquaintance is with the local flora that can cause various effects on eating and fauna presented by tentacle monster beasts, who rape some girl, but never harm anyone leaving peacefully afterwards. Then we discover the jungle village where professor holds supremacy. He throws the crew in prison and makes them to participate in a ritual ending being trapped in a cave with tentacle monsters. Professor boasts that three years ago he made the first contact with the villagers of this island and they agreed to assist him if he can keep the tentacle monsters away. Somehow he managed to lock most of tentacle monsters in a cave. But most important are special fruits that grow in this location and turn humans into beasts - professor is going to use them militarily later. The crew manages to find a way to the inner temple of the cave with some high technology ancient device inside as well as a mutated monster to oppose. And couple events later the end. CG: The CG here are great but not too many for not a long game. Sound: Music was actually great. Lots of memorable tracks. What was especially cool is some midi sound that resembles a cry a lot and it's used in all the situations when a girl is in danger and she screams loudly. At that time music stops and after that some dangerous music starts playing - really good sound support. Overall comments: So game is thrilling, good-looking and memorable which is a lot. So here are the shortcomings the game is blamed for: 1. Heroines happy ends depend on quite a random looking choice and are difficult to get without guide. And those happy ends are a short talk and couple of HCG, not really satisfying. 2. The story is too short if all the 11 bad endings are cast away. So game has bad endings chasing in mind. 3. Repetitiveness of actions is big since heroines "routes" branch quite early. To sum it up, game is short so it tries substitute volume with repetitiveness, fake happy endings, lots of bad endings and artificial rise in difficulty. Read it once to the end and get some happy ending and you're going to get a very good impression. But get all of three endings and your evaluation might fall as you get close to nothing for much additional effort.
  12. Foreword: Cyberpunk erotic action police story made me really curious. I was very skeptical of the Sammies review since he spent too much money to get windows version and turned to hate this work. And so I went to check it out myself... Title: Merry Go Round Developer: Mischief Date: 1996-03-08 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v8807 Synopsis: Merry Go Round is set in Yokohama, in year 2197. The city has turned into an international megalopolis, where crime prospers, and where justice is pursued by lone vigilante fighters. The hero of the story is a private detective named Brian. The first case is about an assault on a prostitute in the brothel "John Wayne". Further investigation reveals that the assault is connected to other cases, some of which involve dangerous biological experiments. With the help of the policewoman Akane, the bounty hunter Ridley, and others, Brian begins to gradually see the whole picture... Structure: All the choices are meaningless, one road story, almost kinetic novel. Length: 4 hours Game type: SF detective investigation Difficulty: Easy. Character Design rating: 3/10 Protagonist rating: 5/10 Story rating: 5/10 Game quality: 4/10 Overall rating: 4/10 Rating comments: Wow, I ended up rating lower than the Sammies. Game shines about nothing. It's got great visuals and some great CG, but that's it, actual game does not develop on that great basis. Protagonist: Brian was supposed to tough bastard, but the cool CG with the gun that inspired me was actually the only good one. The other CG with the gun are just plain bad. Story: The story can be told in mere seven CG. And that's basically it. In-between the events there are numerous H-scenes while gathering information. Theme: Prostitutes. That's the real theme of the game. They are everywhere. They are the victims, they are the friends, they are the job givers, they are the only visitors of bars. Between the few action scenes it's the daily routine to lie on the sofa and go searching for information while finding nothing and triggering two H-scenes out of the blue. CG: All the cool CGs are presented, besides that there's little to look on. Female characters have mostly ugly character designs and CG. There was just a few good shots and then back to ugliness. I could not tell police woman Akane and bounty hunter Ridley apart, it's like the same face, really. And those are two main female cast characters. So unless you read names attentively it gets into a mess. Sound: I had zero sound. None of the emulators was able to reproduce that. Technical difficulties: They were too numerous. No music. Then Neko project emulator by the middle just split the screen on three screens and kept on broken as that so I had to shift to anex86 and click it to the middle again. I've wasted 5 hours debugging anex86 to find the text hexes and I found the huge pile of texts that contained all the texts all right but there was no thread to actively upload speech by speech. And that was strange considering that ITH was able to give out half of kanji for each line. So in the end I had to use screenshot reader OCR and that was very painful since there were just three lines for text and at times three screens were required to hold the full speech line. Overall comments: Game leaves a poor impression. Investigation takes not much time. Ending is abrupt since as soon as we kill Mardalene demihuman (girl on last CG), there is a brief talk with the professor hologram and abrupt game over. The CG accessible from menu afterwards are only HCG, which already reveals how the developers saw this game. Cut all the H-scenes and the game will drop to some two-hours length which is unacceptable for a story game. What I actually liked that all the H-scenes happen with random characters, not plot ones. There is just one scene with Ridley in the middle (when u save her from the dungeon which is ok) and behind the credits. Akane and Miku (Miku is actually a palm-size assistant) are left alone, so at least plot moves apart of H-scenes. So only the atmosphere of the game was good to some point, but frequently reused CG ruined even that small illusion and it ended up into a too small world to produce a significant impact story.
  13. VN of the Year 1995

    True, it's more of multi-ending adventure game than an eroge, but since I never played it I'd have to rely on Japanese reviews and those reviews are totally annihilating. If only there was a praising English review... Quite many nice games got blocked by formal attributes this year: Jealousy, Dangel, Viper-16, but those three don't really have a comeback chance. And I still can't believe I decided not to include Branmarker 2 to masterpieces...
  14. Libra of the vampire- Review

    After Clephas well-rounded review on the game I just could not believe those two are the same games.
  15. VN of the Month November 1995 - Eve: Burst Error

    I really hope you mean YU-NO since I don't think I played any other Kanno Hiroyuki stories. Personally I don't rate it too high as two side-branches were quite depressive to my taste. And the no-save but time warp system was cruel, even with the guide I misstep somewhere and did not get 100% CG. Anyway, I hoped to avoid discussing well known works. So it would not have anything but "there are many English reviews" there, hehe. Fixed Eve link, so far not even rereading so all kind of typos possible.
  16. VN of the Month October 1995 - Trouble Chaser Dai 4 Wa - Saishuukai

    Micchi blog mostly, some others. Whenever Giga comes out, Baldr series is praised, everything else rigorously lashed. Maybe my luck. Since Giga spawned as many as 80 works, I'll definitely have a chance to know it better.
  17. VN of the Month August 1995 - Isaku

    Great! I'm mostly just retelling Japanese reviews in short to find suitable games for me to play. Making conspectus is the only way to really understand and memorize information for me and I'm truly rejoiced if someone finds it useful.
  18. Foreword: This is Keno-san's scenario. He did not have much experience when we was thrown to produce scenario of the game that we know as Love Potion in two months time. Critics buried the game and that's why there was much more care in producing next game scenario - that was DESIRE, the game that I can't praise enough. The next year Keno wrote scenario for EVE burst error and on the wave of popularity moved to legendary Elf company where he kept working on EVE franchise and created another masterpiece YU-NO and then left for Abel company. He created a lot of wonderful scenarios after that but we're interested in Xenon ~Mugen no Shitai~ scenario. It was developed after DESIRE but prior to EVE. So it was the golden age for Keno and he was experimenting a lot, trying to further develop the already complex DESIRE structure. This resulted in Xenon -Phantom Limbs-. Title: Xenon ~Mugen no Shitai~ Developer: C's Ware Date: 1994-12-09 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v7474 Synopsis: Kōji, a Japanese high school student, experiences strange, recurrent life-like dreams. He finds himself in a space station inhabited by beautiful young women. As he tries to explore the dream realm he wakes up. His teacher, intrigued by his account of the bizarre adventure, urges him to travel back to the space station in his dream and report his discoveries to her. Eventually Kōji realizes that his dream and reality are tightly connected, and finds himself compelled to avert a grave danger. Structure: Three routes with 3rd route to have four branches for different heroines, then there is an extra small kinetic route or something like that. Length: Close to 10 hours, probably a bit less. Game type: Space mindfuck mystery Difficulty: Moderate. Flags are obscure so best to use guide. Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 8/10 Rating comments: Game is quite difficult to evaluate since there are two worlds with own sets of characters and there are even two protagonists (actually, even three) of varying charm. Not all the characters are cute, some look good only at CG. Game has great text but is lacking in some fields. Protagonist: Quite and ordinary japanese student on one hand and much cooler The Greatest and Toughest Space Pirate, Genius and Universe Champion on the other hand. I liked the latter much more! Characters: Megumi - real world girl, your lover and her papa is medical center sponsor Sayaka - real world government researcher Ryouko-sensei - real world psychiatrist Mai - real world Ryouko-sensei sister, participates in experiments as catalyst Ranfa - space ship mechanic Fal - space ship researcher Tracy - space ship captain assistant Bianca - space ship sleeping beauty in cryogenic chamber Story: It's not easy to tell this game's story without spoilers. And this game's charm is only due to this mindfuck state of mind in projects constantly. If I tell the contents of 3rd route, game will be stripped of half of its charm. So I'll only roughly retell first route. Game introduction shows Kouji being taken out of hypnosis state by psychiatrist Ryouko-sensei. And this scene is repeated like 10 times throughout the whole game and it's great for the atmosphere - sometimes it's real awakening, sometimes it's just a dream. After introduction we find ourselves in some hospital chamber, bump in some weird looking (some exposing uniform) girl then discover naked girl wired to some cryogenic coffin. After that Kouji wakes up in the real world (I'll call it real for now although it's not that simple). He's questioned by Ryouko-sensei about what he remembered from the dream. Outside of the room he is greeted by Megumi, who claims to be his girlfriend and lover. There is also some strict government official lady Sayaka who does not let us go into computer room. And finally there is Mai girl who is very worried about Kouji condition. And from there it goes chaotic. This real world is constantly shifting with the dream world where there are four different space ship crew girls await - mechanic Ranfa, researcher Fal, captain assistant Tracy and sleeping beauty Bianca in cryogenic room (actually, it's the different sleeping girl, first one in the dream was actually Fal). So Kouji gets thrown from one world to another, sometimes without warning - we share consciousness and even items while there, so basically we've found some media disk in one world and could find the device to play it only in another world. Furthermore, we hear voice of some man from time to time. In real world we try to know more about the hypnosis treatment we undergo and to get to the computer room. In the dream world there is even more action - we investigate the sleeping beauties, try to find out about our identity and once even blow the ship. As for identity - that's another interesting story. Some ancient ruins were found on some planet and first research team was sent to investigate the ruins. Noone survived. Second research team was sent to investigate the fate of the first research team and.... noone survived, except Kouji. So everyone urges us to remember anything but in vain. Then there is the sleeping beauty Bianca who eventually wakes up and blames Kouji of killing the whole first and second research teams. Then there are reports that actually Kouji was not listed neither in 1st, nor in 2nd research team... So the main question of the game is WHAT am I? That's just an amazing start, but actually game does not live up to this fantastic start to the end. First chapter ends when Megumi gets kidnapped and as we rush to rescue her we get caught by Ryouko-sensei and get another charge from the mind machine that burns 2000-30000 of brain fibers in Kouji's brain and in the dream world Kouji steals the shuttle and flies to the Eriteia planet with ancient ruins to meet with Ranfa who promises to give answers to all the questions - and we get first chapter end while man and woman promise each other to become new Adam and Eve while staying on some wasteland. That is a fantastic first chapter. But then starts the second chapter and... Kouji just cries off the bat - I'm the Great Space Pirate, Genius and Champion of the Universe! So the beginning of the chapter feels like a comedy with most of the real world girls trying to calm him down and treat his craziness. But the sad part here that this is real space pirate who changed consciousness with Kouji and came 6000 years from the future. He's cool, reserved and he first persuades Rouko-sensei into being his slave, then with her hands does the same with Ryouko-sensei's sister Mami, then proposes to his girlfriend Megumi to become his wife, actually, slave wife! And together they manage to confront Sayaka successfully after some violent scene and burning 30k more of Kouji's brain vibers. Third route finally gives some answers as we play as real-life Kouji on the space ship. Fourth route is just ero-bonus content, sadly. So what we have is awesome space mystery that gradually looses its mystery and turns into a set of ero-scenes. Theme: The recurring theme of the game is that of the dream. What is reality? Is it possible to percieve what's real and what's not? Game tells us a definite - impossible to perceive. The Confucius symbol of butterfly in human's dream is used a lot. Mai directly asks Kouji to be a butterfly in her dream. Since dream is as important as reality it's best to live a full life and take full efforts even in dreams. CG: There are very few event CG in this game and those few that exist are of bland palette. Sound: Actually, it was to my liking. Especially the theme of Greatest Space Pirate was awesome. It's some heroic march so when it starts merrily, you always know that Kouji now has a different personality. And I totally adored the voicing of Rafna... she's the youngest character and her seiyu just did a miracle here with the special voice and intonations. And Rafna got the cutest character design and CGs on top of that. Overall comments: Scenario is second to none and text is really good. Game mechanics are finally driven from commands selection to usual ADV type, so story can be enjoyed to a bigger extent. I can't recommend this game to everyone since it does not reach the level of other Mr. Keno's masterpieces. But I can totally recommend this game if you like the space mindfuck mystery setting or if like good writing. Personally, I adore Vladimir Nabokov's books. Of course he has well known masterpieces like "Lolita", but I can take any of his novels and open them at any part and just start reading - the text is so good, complex, multi-level and rich that I get great pleasure just from reading a couple of pages. The same goes to this work. The aftertaste might not be the best, but while you read there's much pleasure in the process.
  19. Hajimari no Kisetsu ~Izakaya Fuyu Monogatari~

    Great little review! I'm over-saturated with contemporary visual novels myself and seeking refuge in the vast unexplored land of 1990s with its great number of one-day companies and doujin circles. For some reason obscure retro visual feel more humane than popular localized ones.
  20. Another bakage from Alice Soft. I've no idea how to write reviews of such games. Guess a structured review won't go since there's nothing to discuss - there's no serious story or theme or interesting characters or anything worthwhile. All it has is bakage action, ero CG and lowest quality "variety" humor of stupid illogical events, not even sensible one. So I guess I'll just stuff it with images with some comments. There are four chapters. In first chapter Sati (red-haired wild one) gets a desire to achieve the famous resting pillow from a galaxy museum. She does not even care if it does not have such qualities. Because it has PINK BUNNIES on it! In second chapter they see some cooking show on a TV and... on a whim go to participate in galaxy cooking competition! First they kick all the opponents asses. Then they compete with the remaining ones. They set on a fish-man dish. But they lack the main ingredient and you know how to catch man-fish? You don't? Then see for yourself. But opponent is cheating! They're serving the dish on a naked girl's body! I would not show that CG since it's not entirely safe for work one, but just imagine that Sati is serving three small tarte pies that barely cover her shame parts. In third chapter Sait and Shiori read at some super V-DOS net a thread about a dream stone and - what the heck - go to the other side of galaxy to get it. In fourth chapter they are surrounded by space pirates ships and captured, but after intensive H-scene their robot friend Lambda throws them some activator and they transform in nearly invincible warriors. Only pirate boss could rival them, then they just did some merged transformation or something - go go transformers! THE END. I guess the selling point of the game is lots of doors that they encounter in 1, 2 and 4 chapter and behind most of those doors are "humor" events, like this bloomers cult or this interrogation officer. Or maybe someone finds this scene funny when yakuza space pirate infiltrates Funny Bee ship, but turns out to be a man of very gentle mind. I was kind of worried by "yaoi" tag this game has and game indeed has yaoi encounter in one of the rooms. But I should give the game its due, the only right answer in the scene is "KIMOUCHI WARUI!!!" and kicking their... uhm... spines... yeah, spines sounds good. So first of all I'm going to evaluate this came compared to Prostudent G. This game is so much better that I'm putting it 4.5/10 compared to 4/10 of Prostudent G. To tell the truth, this game is not bad if you don't mind bakage and can find some pleasure it this kind of event humor. It's fast-paced, with several types of mini-games, interactivity and great visuals. So compared to Prostudent G this game has the very same engine that only ports pc-98 version to Windows without enhancements. Finally in Funny Bee you don't get to rape the poor defeated side and it took only five years for Alice Soft to come to the idea that such outcome of battle is also possible! Secondly, protagonists here are much more likable. In Prostudent G we had a hooligan pervert with all the thoughts, all the speeches and all the jokes about lower body parts. In Funny Bee there are such stupid moments as well (like when you solve the safe puzzle on the belly of a giant racoon... the next move of Sati is doing him a fellatio just because it's safe and healthy - WTF?!) , but at least "humor" is events-based. The most significant difference is much faster pace and much cuter and funnier CG. And at least in Funny Bee there weren't mind-blowing events (warriors mode transformation looked quite organic for this setting) like summoning of giant mech or rebirths in various people that were in Prostudent G. As much as I would like to throw AmbivalenZ into the comparison, I can't stand rape after defeat there.
  21. Foreword: I've played it in on a whim. Looked into synopsis and just could not believe that Cocktail Soft would do a full-scale fantasy eroge with rapist hero as protagonist. Fortunately, my belief in this old company prevailed. Title: Demon City Original Title: デーモンシティ Developer: Cocktail Soft Release Date: 1993-12-21 Summary: Vagnard kingdom practices "True religion" to live without restricting own desires, so its capital got known as "Demon City". "Blue moon" cult has established believers base of over 300 people and king sets us, sex fighter Yuaranas, on a mission to turn five gurus of the cult back into "True religion". VNDB Link:https://vndb.org/v8675 Game Type: Icon selection fantasy adventure. Story Length: 7 hours. Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately easy. Comments of Difficulty: Story is one straight line, so I only had difficulties while searching for the town bard without a clue where to look for - first time i needed to look at the square fountain to find him... and the second time to talk to fountain... that was beyond logic. Another narrow point was the puzzle to set six books in the right order based on someone's words much earlier. Had to shamelessly google solution. Character Design Rating: 7/10. Story Rating: 8/10. Protagonist Rating: 8/10 Game Quality: 8/10 Overall Rating: 8/10 Rating Comments: Surprise, surprise! I never expected that kind of quality from a pc-98 game. Great backgrounds, great CG, wonderful story and even sufficient music. Structure: There are four main chapters, and also introduction and ending chapters that go do not fall in the chapters division. Story: I don't really know how to write without spoilers. I read all amaterasu reviews, but they all look alike and can be applied almost to any game since they dont tackle story in any manner at all. I prefer to reveal the story, create tension and keep silent about resolution. So we get quest from the king and gather information about the cult's next meeting. We get to this forest meeting, but get uncovered. In a short assault scene we evade throwing knives attack and even manage wound one of hooded figures in the arm before fleeing. In the daytime a local dancer girl shows up with an arm wound. From her we get to know the first crumbles of information on a 3000-year old mystery that surrounds the cult. Then we witness how local nun teaches city children of "love and purity" and thus uncover her involvement. Local blacksmith is brought a knife for repair and we identify the night assault throwing knife in this weapon. Knight captain girl admits it's her knife when we say we found it on the town square and thus uncover herself as cult follower. After that the story turns upside down with a lot of gore, treachery and total shift of objectives and enemies (even more than once). The ending is classy for a fantasy and satisfying. Characters summary: Characters are multiple and very cute, but aren't particularly deep, so the only person I can really talk about is protagonist. Protagonist: Absolutely fabulous. I don't think I've ever met such protagonist. He's been brought up as a sex fighter since childhood. As a result he's not interested in women at all. Majority of girl characters openly say let's make love before they say hello in this city of vice and every time protagonist ignores them. The most irritating is his 31st wife, but he ain't wasting forces on her, just handing her vibrator. Whenever it's possible with other girls, he also tries not to get involved much and actual coitus happened like only couple times. I just liked it that hero had a real aim to get princess as wife and rule kingdom. Very practical aim. For that he needed to become an aristocrat. And for that he undertook king's quest to convert cultists back to original religion. His actions were always weighted and logical, despite the seemingly stupid look on some CG. His actions can be considered rape, but not a single one was for pleasure. Each time there was a concrete aim driving him closer to fulfilling important political mission. So rape under necessity won't be considered an ordinary rape for me later on. Sexual Content: First time you search for an astronomy book in the library and the stupid librarian girl placed all books by matched color and rally hindered your searches begging for sex, so after some 10 rounds of search had to give up - and the needed book was shortly found afterwards. Second time you need to go to the night meeting in the forest and your wife just would not let you go, so reluctantly had to please her and move out. The next time you gathered a lot of evidence stating that dancer girl was in the cult but she kept rejecting anything, so needed to use interrogation techniques on her. Same goes for the fourth time - you get substantial evidence of the church nun participation in the cult and some interrogation techniques (with the use of special aphrodisiac drink) had to be applied. Next time girl thief stole our family sword and did not want to give it back, only some stimulation changed her mind. And then the knight girl, but only after we've found satisfactory evidence of her participation. Finally there's the princess and this is the only time of emotional treatment since memories of their childhood acquaintance wake up. There are also couple scenes where H-scenes are witnessed. Affection for the Characters: Low. The cutest characters show up only in several scenes and princess is not really lovable. CG Score: 9/10. CG aren't bad. I just never expected this kind of quality. They are of low resolution, but so were the devices at that time. I'm a big fan of quality gore scenes since they support atmosphere of the work immensely and here there was a lot of impressive content. Sound Score: At first two same melodies kept sounding getting irritating, but at final chapter there was an abundance of great music. Final impression is what only counts, right. Addictiveness: Low. Great story, but that's it. Conclusion: Cocktail Soft quite often present provocative settings, but the story each time dominated. The mids of the game may be repetitive with the same locations visited over and over for clues, but overall the tempo is good, probably thanks to good systems - there are just three commonly used icons - look, think, talk and quite seldom there is an option of what to look at or think/talk about. Usually command is applied to the whole screen - that cuts repetition in half. I also greatly appreciated that the game is totally serious without stupid jokes. A quality fantasy work with some really memorable moments and great charm.
  22. De-Ja 2 / デ・ジャ2

    Foreword: I liked De-Ja a lot so sequel was a natural choice. Title: De-Ja 2 Original Title: デ・ジャ2 Developer: Elf Release Date: 1992-06-25 Summary: After events of De-Ja you're the winner in life. You have fame, respect, money and the love of pretty Gachako. What else to wish for? New adventures and unveiling new mysteries, of course. You get intrigued by the story of "crystal skulls" and one mad archaeologist knows exactly how to find them... VNDB Link:https://vndb.org/v2349 Game Type: Command selection with elements of point and click adventure visual novel Story Length: 12 hours. Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy! Comments of Difficulty: You can see story progress in percentage. Difficulty was surprisingly subpar to prequel. The greatest planets puzzle was rather easy since the only information you got was light to the light and dark to the dark and it was repeated over and over. Compared to infodumping of prequel puzzle, it was a paradise. There was also the puzzle for piracy - the puzzle that you were supposed to clear only if had brochure shipped with the game. But unlike prequel, there was no randomization on this part, so in just 3-4 errors you inevitably make it to the finish and you don't even need to load game for that. Character Design Rating: 6/10. Story Rating: 8/10. Protagonist Rating: 7/10 Game Quality: 8/10 Overall Rating: 7/10 Rating Comments: Well, that's a harsh one! It's classic Elf adventure that we're talking about! But that's how I feel. I see every element as inferior to De-Ja either for a reason or sometimes because that's not fresh anymore. I felt bad about too many things. Length got almost twice as long. CG got really scarce. Protagonist stopped being that badass hooligan, Gachako got lots of bi@tch traits. And with all this huge length (some people claim to spend over 30 hours on it) very monotonous gameplay, quite an inarticulate story line and lack of really funny moments to cheer up in the mids of the journey. Structure: 100% division just as prequel. Story: Because of implemented command selection variant I may have missed some parts of it since you have to click at everything up to five times and while reading same lines over and over tend to skip even important parts. So one mad archaeologist makes us really interested into the crystal skulls story. But you soon find him dead in his own house almost simultaneously with his daughter. As you prove to each other that you're not the killers there's a natural desire to investigate the death together. With the safe deposit key found in his pocket you discover a green crystal skull inside the cash. With that you make your way to Palau temple and thread by thread approach the secrets of this temple and locations of two other crystal skulls. Archaeologist daughter get mysteriously killed in the process and with Gachako you manage to unwind this knot of secrecy only to discover the identity of the enemy and his plot just in the final of the game. I don't think I spoiled much, actually since there are lots of characters and details not even scratched. Characters summary: There are quite many characters here, but I found all of them (besides old acquaintances from De-Ja) quite dull. Girls were pretty, but I was shocked by their minor role as one-scene filler in the mids rather than original characters the prequel had. There is exactly one other girl that Hatsushiba Hakase got into relations with, the mad archaeologist's daughter. But she appears kind of late, disappears kind of soon and she plays an important plot role. Without spoilering too much, I'd just say that's she's not really mad archaeologist's daughter... a Gachako: Whoa! Miss Gachako got even more... how do you say it... mature. But as for me her character went awry. All she's saying all the time is "Say that you love me", such sleazy talk. She demands constant attention, behaves as if she owns Hatsushiba Hakase and bi@tches about everything. But the culmination for me was meeting her with another guy (archaeology institute worker from De-Ja) by chance. Her motivation was "You aren't paying me enough attention so I wanted to have fun and invoke jealousy". That's just boring, really. I just see here how netorare Elf is being born in this very moment. And it's not even close to the really intriguing relationships like in C's Ware "Desire". Just stupid woman stuff. Protagonist: So it's same Ryuusuke, but he's called Hatshushiba Hakase so often that original name rarely shows up. He's still cool and he's kinda totally pro sticking his hands everywhere. Just impression is not as fresh. But Protagonist is really a savior of this game. Sexual Content: Look at the picture and hereby try to believe that there is nothing going on with this girl. She's just a hotel owner. Not a scene... nothing. And now imagine that there are lots of other cute girls that play their minor roles that have nothing but the flirt. And now you know the sexual content of De-Ja 2. Apart of Gachako and that archaeologist daughter there is actually nothing. But there are as many as two H-dreams. So even this part is lacking. Affection for the Characters: Low overall. Women play too small roles and there aren't charismatic males. CG Score: 7/10. CG aren't bad. They are just way too scarce for this volume. Women are depicted with care, but you better remember this or that stance because you'll hardly be able to see another one. Sound Score: Voicing is good in multi-pack version. No protagonist voicing of course. Addictiveness: I'm rather spectical about this work. Technical Aspects: So game is command selection. And quite a determined one. It's not rare that you have to click everything up to 5 times to progress. It has point and click moments only to search the dead body or among the shelves of books or on a desk. It could easily be pure command selection, not much of a change. It's said to be such mix because players weren't ready to such bold jump to point and click on ELLE release. Pretty weak argumentation. There are animated objects like in ELLE, but they are scarce and they aren't fun when you select them upon the look menu and finding them out directly by clicking. So yet another step back from ELLE. Conclusion: It's not going to be game of the year 1992 of my choice. Most of Japanese reviews I read claim this game to be another masterpiece. It might be, actually true. All I rant about is that I was not thrilled since the beginning, then there was not a definite goal and not even a clear enemy, just some loose events that somehow manage to lead somewhere out of coincidence. Repeating choices mechanics did not let me enjoy the talk puns. I did not like the characters. And I especially did not like the ending where upon real 30 minutes time you're being told what this game was really about, what were the people and circumstances behind the so random events which somehow managed to lead to a final. It's like you played for 15 hours and did not even notice events were made up for it. How could I even notice that behind the randomness and foolishness. I'm sure this game can be enjoyed a lot if you find the story or the character of your liking. I failed to find an appeal point and little irritations piled into this review.
  23. A love for older VNs

    I'm keeping a whole blog here on fuwa to dig for old VN gems. So far the quantity of VNs with interesting/fun plot in late 80s - early 90s surpassed my boldest expectations.
  24. ELLE / エル

    Fixed color to silver (light grey it was, but, alas, still much strain to the eyes) as well as couple typos. Since i'm too bad with hooking emulator VNs, Windows renewed ones are all I can digest for now. But at least every Windows one is a merry encounter.
  25. Random VNs: A few thoughts

    Any requests considered, right? I have particular interest in chuunige and the VN that thrills me the most recently is Sabae no Ou. Can't make my mind about it without a proper review. It should not be total trash since it got sequel Sabae no Ou II. Just a thought to consider.
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