VN of the Month March 1992 - Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki


Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki is the VN of March 1992.

1. Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kinsenka Kyo Ezara Satsujin Jiken 山村美紗サスペンス 金盞花京絵皿殺人事件 [920306] TOSE Software 1
While on a trip to Kyoto a restaurant review writer decides to investigate the murder of a woman from a rich family.
As far as I know all the games of TOSE Software are based on real life novels, so reality and unexpected turns is what they excell at. It has all the ordinary stuff like questioning and exploration, but there's also an element of 3rd sight view, zooming and lots of point and click action. This point and click actually brought the most damage since it was not comfortable and it hurt the tempo. A solid plot and enjoyable Kyoto views, but overall it's a modest work.

2. Otogirisou 弟切草 [920307] Chunsoft 1 2 3 4 5
A couple gets lost in the wood and decides to spend the night in the abandoned mansion.
A classic horror tale that even made its way to PlayStation 1. There are quite a few English reviews on the game here.

3. Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki 卒業写真/美姫 [920312] Cocktail Soft 1 2 3
Sotsugyō Shashin / Miki consists of two Japanese-style adventure games that were not released separately before. Both focus on the theme of high-school romance.
In Sotsugyō Shashin, the player takes control of a male high-school student. Unable to form a solid plan for his future studies, he is more interested in romantic relationship, and attempts to make things right with his schoolmate Hiromi Kamura before the graduation ceremony takes place.
In Miki, the protagonist is Shinji Fujisawa, who attends the high school of the peaceful mountain village Tsubana. During a kagura dance performance, a time slip occurs, and he and his schoolmate Ayumi are miraculously transported to the feudal Edo era. Shinji's soul enters the body of the young blacksmith apprentice Shingo Benibana, and he attempts to change the tragic events of the past involving Shingo's love to the beautiful Miki.
There are English reviews, but they fail to grasp the uniqueness of the work. First of all it's all ages work, but it's mentally suitable for adults the most. Secondly, it's a rare work to cry of drama content right from the box cover. Graduation photo is the main work here. Even though heroes have tender feelings for each other they have to part and treasure their graduation memories. PC-Engine version introduced multiple endings, but totally contradicted the original atmosphere. Miki story is there to offset Graduation photo. The theme of first work is sadness about not being able to change past, but Miki actually is a story about travel to the past and changing dramatic events that used to happen and it all ends with a happy ending. At the same time both works are beautiful and have good sound support which makes the whole play a pleasant trip.

4. Mamono Hunter Youko - Makai Kara no Tenkousei 魔物ハンター 妖子 魔界からの転校生 [920313] TamTam Co., Ltd. 1 2 3
108th Devil Hunter Mamono Youko gets transported to another dimension with her classmates Shoma and Chokako. Somehow this world inhabitants are familiar with the guests.
There is a nice English review here and since it's not original story, but an anime side-story, it looses much of its appeal.

5. Phantasy Star Adventure Phantasy Star Adventure [920313] Sega 1 2 3 4 5
The player's character is an agent in the town Paseo on Motavia. The year is 1268 A.W. The player's character receive a letter while on base from a long time friend Ken Miller. Ken is a scientist currently studying on the ice planet Dezolis. The letter is rather cryptic and only says the following: "How are you? I have succeeded in the discovery of the century. You must come and see it."
The player make plans to travel to Dezolis and find what Ken is so excited about. After take the space shuttle to the planet, you travel to the town of Carsonville. There, you discover that Ken invented a machine that can transform humans into immensely powerful beings. Because of the implications of such an invention, Ken is kidnapped and his device is confiscated. As an agent, the player must solve this mystery. Ken's sister, Lila,assists the player during the investigation.
There is enough information in English.

6. Tenshin Ranma 天神乱魔 [920318] Elf 1 2 3
Angels and demons are determined to decide human race fate by evaluating the abilities of a school boy Takami placed inside a dungeon swarmed with monsters. Yet another school student Yuima realized possession of magical powers and she is going to help Takami and destroy the rules once and for all.
Finally a game without an English review! And an Elf game besides. It's a dungeon-crawler and only available for old platforms. Whether you choose boy or girl - they meet early in the game and venture deeper together. The game linear and it makes it very tedious to run over all of the shrines just to advance some talk. Every enemy attack was animated and while usual monsters had just two types of attacks, bosses might have much more. The mechanics were kept as simple as possible - only basic stats, very few armor and weapon types, few spells etc. And you can only equip main character but not your companion. So it is a nice mediocre game, but its mechanics prepared ground for one of the most famous Elf titles - Words worth.

7. Fushigi no Umi no Nadia ふしぎの海のナディア [920327] Gainax 1 2 
14-year old French inventor boy Jean travels with runaway circus actress Nadia to reveal the secret of her pendant.
Gainax lost 80 million yen on anime series without rights to gain profit on it. But it had the rights to make games on the franchise... and it made as many as seven (!!!) game releases under this franchise to get balances even. And so finding information in this mess was not easy, but there seems to be quite many English reviews on this exact interactive adventure game of 1992, so let's enjoy them together.

8. Martial Age マーシャルエイジ [920327] Tenshindou 1 2
Masahito is a Japanese teenager who studies martial arts. However, instead of studying, he prefers to chase pretty girls. Finally, after a quarrel with his father, Masahito leaves his home. Accidentally, he bumps into Keiko Yashima, the principal of Yuai girls school. She tests Masahito in combat, and against all rules, accepts him as the only male student in the school. Naturally, our hero uses this opportunity to "get lucky" with his all-female school mates...
Tenshindou debut work, but I actually rate it as masterpiece. The story is not much as you mostly meet girls and challenge them for a fight and that remaining 1% of the game is the actual tactical fighting mini-game. The basic tactic with the nine opponents is weakening hits, then a hit to a crucial area (restoring hp during battle is ineffective and a waste of turn). The game is notable for H events mostly. The text is dense and Tenshindou does miracles with 16 colors in skin drawing. Anyway, the impact was big.

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