VN of the Month July 1991 - Nike

Nike is the VN of July 1991. I also value Cybernetic Hi-School Part 4 ~Ape Hunter J~ high, but in the end it's just a bakage with quiz mixes.

1. Nike ナイキ [910705] Cocktail Soft
In 2526 pilot Nike (22) with co-pilot girl Miho (17) are participating in interstellar space race after winning the race the previous year. However the princess of the host planet Athena got kidnapped and Nike is going to search for Athena while participating in the race.
Cocktail Soft new title! And again a great one. Fully story oriented work in SF setting. And my recollection of "Redline" anime with similar setting is still fresh so I got hooked right off the bat. The set of selection commands is not predefined bat varies according to the situation. Choice needs to be done within time limit and many choices lead to game over. All kind of adventures await - both planetary and space ones. Kindapping, evil cult, space monsters, ship arrest, planet destruction. Game has all of it and much more. Events change each other with a high pace and in-between we get to communicate with our two cute heroines. Athena is regarded as a pure princess while Miho is an attractive pal-racer and Nike gets sandwitched between the two of them. And this time it's played out in a more fun way than in Artemis. Sadly, there is a single ending for this game and there is no place for Miho in it. This game is a top class story and it's a real shame it never got released on newer machines.

2. Dragon Knight III ドラゴンナイトIII [910706] Elf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Takeru had just finished the events of DKII when robbers took all of his possessions and clothes. The epic quest this time is to get some money. And while on it the mayor has an assignment for which he's willing to pay in gold.
Game is localized and has enough information in English.

3. Pocky 2 ~Kaijin Aka Mantle no Chousen~ ポッキー2 ~怪人赤マントの挑戦~ [910710] Ponytail Soft 1
School newspaper club led by Miki investigates various cases of item disappearance and girls harassment and pranks that got frequent at school.
Longer, cuter, simpler version of prequel. But while graphics were considered advanced in 1989, in 1991 8 colors with 200 horizontal lines was already archaic, so the impact is gone. Kumiko-chan is the main heroine but from time to time viewpoint changes to Miki-chan and Tomoko-chan. The mysterious Red cape had many opportunities to set pranks to school girls and to three main heroines, of course. It's not a big work and only takes 6 days in game time.

4. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo IV -Yuuko- 天使たちの午後IV -ゆう子- [910710] JAST 1
Strange events have started to happen at all-girl Sophia High School - strange sounds, strange smells and strange pupils appearance. The principal requested the new teacher to investigate. Yuko-chan from literature club will assist him in that.
It's 4th part of the series. Now most of H scenes mean bad end. So plot line is relatively serious. We establish platonic relations by the end of the game with Yuuko which is totally new for the series. Yuuko admires the new teacher and their conversations is the major bright spot in the game. The atmosphere is actually different from previous three games. It's a valid mystery detective case and protagonist is a valid teacher (ok, using sex for interrogation was not really what teacher does). The resolution of the case was an aggressive and abrupt one, so satisfaction level remained low. But text rendering speed is a real torture and in 10 minutes I failed even to finish the first talk with the director...

5. Artemis アルテミス [910712] Birdy Soft 1
Notos and Ing were separated by an ambush of a giant woman-snake. Ing fled for his life and found shelter in a village. But soon all the village girls disappeared. Ing now has to find them and carry out plans for revenge on snake-woman.
Birdie Soft in its blossom. Beautiful CG, different color lines, mouth and eyes animation. Although drawing is uneven, some faces and bodies look non-proportional and ugly. Game is based on a conflict of two heroines and the hero sandwiched in between. And since there is just one ending the hero is being torn apart between commoner Luna girl and mysterious adventurer Elutia girl. Another prominent feature is that the hero has a face and often is seen from the side, so player does not have to sympathize with him. But since game focuses on human relationships a lot, the plot gets lacking behind. And since the setting is as if taken from a fantasy RPG game, the overall impression suffers a lot.

6. Branmarker ブランマーカー [910712] D.O. 1 2 3 4
Island got infested with monsters kidnapping inhabitants. All kinds of warriors set to end monster infestation but noone returned back. Now it's time for your group of warriors to try luck.
Quite an ordinary JRPG with turn-based fights, recovery at inn, armor gathering and of course grind. It's the third strategy game of D.O. already and they finally play it safe with just a fantasy setting, not entertainment park invasion or school fight for principal daughter. Shammy girl is main hero, she is both proficient in magic and light weapons. Vega boy joins later and he's full-scale warrior without any mp. The H-element is presented by finding princes and her multiple maids in peculiar situations. But the fact is that main hero is the girl cuts any H-scenes to the level of just nudity. But balance and graphics are good. And the atmosphere is somewhat relaxing compared to usual epic rpgs, so appearing of a sequel was not much of a surprise.

7. Legend of Killcool Legend of Killcool [910712] Soft Plan
During the ancient war of humans vs demons the goddess descended and erected mountains to protect the humans. But demons kept living beyond the mountains. The black demon built a black tower threaten the human kingdom.
Main hero is a warrior who receives a task to rescue human princess confined in the black tower. To open the seal he must find red, yellow, blue, green and black orbs.
A doujin exploration game. There are buttons for moving N, S, E, W, but no map or any means of direction, so a manual map is supposed to be drawn. There are occasional battles. The game resembles Eiyuu Densetsu Saga the most. There are tiny bits of animation at times.

8. Manami no Doko made Iku no? まなみのどこまでイクの? [910713] Wendy Magazine 1 2 3
In the beginning of summer school girl Manami received a letter saying that she was chosen to stop a criminal syndicate in her town. After that she meets a masked man Black Pack who guides her to the underground activities.
There is an English review.

9. Quintia Road クィンティアロード [910719] Communication Group Plum 1 2 3
In 1944 German pilot got into air vortex and appeared in parallel magical world of Quintia. He was greeted as god and was requested to use his aircraft to defeat monsters.
Plot is not the strongest side of this work. But Quintia Road does not get boring. There are all kind of monsters to take care of and there are also 5 princess in this kingdom to harass. So it's really fun and fresh work that does not stop to thrill. Commands are simple, there are almost no puzzles, graphics are great. Battles seem difficult since they afford an abundance of commands, but actually battles are scripted and so whatever you do they will proceed in its own way. The feature of this game is full-mouse control. And this control is so full, that no keyboard control allowed. Naturally, it's not too convenient.

10. Cybernetic Hi-School Part 4 ~Ape Hunter J~ 電脳学園4 ~エイプハンターJ~ [910720] Gainax
In 2006 the people had just one anxiety - "Monkey". Elimination of ozone layer by ultraviolet rays after 1980s caused ape mutation evolution. Mutants were intelligent and since they started to look like humans they secretly infiltrated human society. Thus appeared ape hunters - specialists in identification and "processing" of monkeys.
You are such ape hunter and you've just received a request from school director to reveal monkeys in the school. The only way to check it is undress the subject and find evidence of his red ass and tail.
Oh my, that's the whole point of Gainax. Take a laughingly crazy setting and make it even crazier, totally surreal. Oh and don't forget fanservice. Few Gainax works had none of it since creators were otaku themselves. First three parts were very short and simple quiz+adv+strip games. So is the 4th part as well, it's just longer and has more fancy setting. It's not Adv with quiz elements, not vice versa. Quizes were hard for that time and nowadays they seem even harder even though there are just three variants. Game was sold with a booklet describing the fake history since the end of 80s till 2006 and many questions based on that fake history, naturally. Game is full of stupid characters and yet it's crazy fun, or should I say funny craze. Such is this work in the zenith of Gainax power that it can be considered a masterpiece.

11. Sweet Emotion スウィートエモーション [910720] Discovery
There are five scenarios presented from different viewpoints and connected with each other. Together they let us approach the truth about Slan murder.
Debut work of Discovery which is actually a new division of Birdie Soft so graphics is the best of the best. Partial animation makes it shine even more. I tend to block short multi-story VNs, but in this case every episode is connected and they all lead to a logical end. We also have to change protagonists all the time - we get to be a victim, a witness and a detective. So in Part 1 we play as a victim to be killed. In Part 2 we are students who found Slan corpse in Part 1. Part 3 is when we step up as a detective. Part 4 is journey to the land of the dead to get to know circumstances of death from Slan himself. Part 5 is resolution of the case by the detective. The work loses its charm when we get to know murder circumstances by the middle of the story. So story is not particularly good and H scenes are kind of too frequent. So quite a typical Birdy Soft work.

12. Kounai Shasei Vol.1 - Yonimo H na Monogatari 校内写生 第1巻 世にもHな物語 [910726] Fairytale X-Shitei 1
"Kounai Shasei 1" opens with a text introduction that describes a miraculous Girls' High School that can be accessed by sailing through the Indian Ocean or walking along the Silk Road - a school that even the famous Marco Polo allegedly describes in his memoirs. This establishes the humorous tone of subsequent narrative, which has little to do with history and a lot to do with pretty high school girls. The game has no real story, being instead composed of five unrelated vignettes, short episodes that feature a sexy high school girl, a male protagonist (named "God" by default), and various comical and erotic situations under different circumstances: meeting in a school, haunted house, crowded train station, etc.
The series is the face of Fairytale X-Shitei. Dumb, but cute and occasionally fun.

13. Kounai Shasei 2 校内写生2 [910726] Fairytale X-Shitei
As hero returns the fee to the town chief he hears a story about a masked girl who attacks men at night. He is promissed 50,000 yen if he brings the chief the mask taken from the girl. And so the hunt starts.
Based on manga. Being a part of Kounai Shasei series there's no doubt it falls into another bakage H plotline. But at least it's an attempt to put up a coherent story and not just throw in a bunch of mini-stories.

14. Kounai Shasei 3 校内写生3 [910726] Fairytale X-Shitei
The confrontation between Sailor suit warrior Akko vs. Pretty masked girl on the school grounds where the hero studies as a student.
The part with the most original content ... to the point that hardly anything makes sense. Well, this series is not here for making sense, but rather for invoking reflexes.

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