VN of the Month February 1996 - DIES IRAE

There aren't masterpieces this month. My personal favorite is San Shimai due to it being my first visual novel, but I rate DIES IRAE even higher and nominate it for VN of the Month.

1. Exciting Milk Dai 1 Wa エキサイティングみるく第1話 [960201] Silence
22nd century.
Humanity is prospering through the expansion of the Earth's development, but natural destruction has also become extreme.
One day Amon, a scientist who opposed the destruction of nature, decided to return to the Earth 150 years earlier via time machine and protect nature. Police opposed that as it could bring unknown changes and followed Amon.
In the 20th century school girl Kurumi heard from a classmate that an aircraft landed in the forest and went alone to the forest out of curiosity.
Milk is a police officer from future who landed in the forest colliding with Kurumi. As a result of the collision Kurumi body was seriously hurt and her soul was placed into Milk body until full recovery.
Now Kurumi transforms to Milk at wilk and back by wearing glasses. Will she find Amon?
Game's fully animated as other Silence works. But it's even shorter than previous animated games barely exceeding 10 minutes time. There's just one fighting scene and it all ends with Amon coming to Kurumi class as transfer student. Looking forward to part 2.

2. Angel Crysis エンジェルクライシス [960209] ZyX 1
You're part of an all female crew on a ship exploring some planet and the crew picks up a mysterious cargo crate from an underwater ruin.
There's an English review that tells us all that we need to know about this borderline work. And there was exactly a tentacle monster in the crate...

3. Guernica ゲルニカ [960209] Backspin 1 2 3
Long time ago, human passions caused the appearance of a monster tribe that has since become unwelcome in the human society. Years of bitter antagonism and violence followed as humans settled in the land of Galesnia. A thousand years later, a simple warrior named Grog enters a forest inhabited by monsters, and becomes gradually involved in a struggle that puts him in the forefront of the defense of Galesnia.
Fish shop holder to the rescue of the world! The guy was sleeping peacefully when at night the "Apostle of Salvation" child appeared before him saying that the barrier started to weaken and will be destroyed in 13 days and only Grog can prevent that! Quite a simple rpg with only 13 lvls and basic stats. You can hold up to 10 recovery items and you get one every time you visit an inn or hitting a bed. Game is linear. So it's not the brightest species of RPG breed.

4. Persona ~Ingyaku no Kamen~ ペルソナ ~淫虐の仮面~ [960209] Sorciere 1
A series of gruesome murders shocks Japan. Young women are kidnapped, tortured, and killed under mysterious circumstances...
The protagonist wakes up in what looks like a hospital, but is in fact a special psychiatric facility on a space station. The hero doesn't remember anything, not even his name. Three young women - Shelly, Elisa, and Aoka - will help him to find his memory, and he will gradually realize who he is and what is his mission.
You need to regain your memory within 38 hours or the space station explodes. What's the best way to regain memories? I guess Japanese have their unique opinion on that. There are parameters of the hero and depending on numbers one of five protagonist personalities show up. Yes, he has a deep personality disorder and can be anything from a good guy to a sadist. Time also ticking so it's a nice rush factor. There are basically just three rooms on the spaceship. So it's an original system and is not necessarily an eroge if you play out as a good guy and aim for the happy ending that does not even have a H-scene.

5. Valentine Kiss: Birthdays 2 バレンタインキッス ~バースデイズ2~ [960209] Silky's 1
Valentine Kiss is a dating simulation game, very similar to Birthdays, only instead of "conquering" a girl as a birthday present, the goal here is to "score" on Valentine's Day
Second installation of a difficult sim that's memorable to me mostly by the fact that it's Silky's game and not a full-scale eroge. UI is still charming but it came from the prequel with minor changes. Quite few things changed actually and some even degenerated like the number of heroines dropped from 8 to 4. Main difference though is that while prequel was just hard everyday work to earn love, this work has events in ADV mode and all your hard work is useless unless you flag events properly. Still the freshness is lost since it has been two years since the prequel and not much changed.

6. DIES IRAE DIES IRAE [960215] Family Soft 1 2
Heroines Kim and her side partners Kris and Lee are professional detectives and they have very opposite personalities. Kim on one hand is very cheerful and lively all the time, Kris is very serious and quiet. They are investigating a murder case that ends up being a much bigger issue, revolving gang members, the mafia and later on some sci-fi elements.
There's a nice English review that sheds light on this curious game.

7. Kanako 香奈子 [960223] Red Zone 1
Kanako is a young woman who has just graduated from college and is in a desperate need of a job. Finally, she is invited to a job interview in a large and successful company. However, the boss seems to ask too many personal questions and generally looks at Kanako in a weird way. After she has been introduced to her duties at the new place, Kanako decides to get to know the employees better, and in process learns their most intimate secrets...
Red Zone inevitably means ero-centered work. But graphics are nice and win version is fully voiced, even the thoughts of the heroine - that was unexpected and captivating. Her thoughts is the most funny part in the game as she comments emotionally on many occasions.

8. Magical Girl Pretty Sammy Kouhen 魔法少女プリティサミー 後編 [960223] AIC Spirits

Game includes two remaining episodes:
Episode 3. Friends
Episode 4. Leave it to Sammy!

A direct continuation of the first part, but not hookable

9. Shadowrun シャドウラン [960223] Compile Co., Ltd. 1 2 3 4 5 6
It is twenty-first century, and the humanity faces a difficult period that follows devastating wars and other disasters. Magic and technology co-exist, supernatural powers, mythical creatures, ghosts, cyberspace, where hackers meet and fight each other, street deckers which can be hired to do the dirty work, anarchy and struggle between mighty and corrupt corporations - this is the world of Shadowrun. Unlike the two other Shadowrun games which are set in Seattle, according to tradition, Shadowrun for Sega CD is set in the futuristic city of Neo Tokyo. The player controls a party of characters with different backgrounds: the street samurai Rikudo, the shaman girl Mao, the decker (a hired mercenary) D-Head (who also happens to be an elf), and Shiun, a former member of a mighty corporation. Their first assignment is to hunt down a ghostly warrior who has been disturbing a segment of the city for quite some time. As the player begins their investigation they plunge deeper into the dark world of intrigues and find themselves fighting on different fronts.
There are several great English reviews and there even might be a fan English translation according to some materials.

10. Escape! エスケイプ! [960229] May-Be Soft 1
In Escape, the player assumes the role of an ordinary teenager named Root. He is returning from a long journey, and just beyond the mountain, he can see his house. But fate had other plans for the boy: one step on the wrong stone, and Root falls through a dark pit into the underground world. Looks like it won't be simple for him to find the way home, because this world is populated by girls, each one of which wants something from him...
I've only seen Windows version and it's very simplified and plays like a normal visual novel with only occasionally choosing locations on the map. Characters are nice, but the story lacks excitement and all the time is spent underground. A fine game, but far from masterpiece level.

11. Kara no Naka no Kotori 殻の中の小鳥 [960229] Black Package 1
Foster, formerly a trainer of high-class prostitutes for a secret political group that used these girls to exert power over politicians, has has long been out of the game, as he and his cohorts were busted years back. However, Foster couldn't help himself and soon returned to his old profession. He began training new maidens, though this time with a distinctly evil bent, drawing the recruits into a sordid ring of discipline and bondage.
Maid slave training SIM. Main difference is that training is done in the form of a card game in an attempt to simplify SIM part.

12. San Shimai 三姉妹 [960229] JAST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
The one that started it all! I was just a boy when my father threw himself under the tracks of an oncoming train on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. He had been the president of a powerful trading company, but had been under siege by an enemy in a power struggle that I didn't understand at the time. With my father gone, it fell upon my mother to lead the family and try to pay off Father's debts. She wasn't up to the task, and was buried next to my father less than a year later. My older brother Eiichi and I were separated, then, passed around the family like unwanted guests. We had lost everything.
Last summer Eiichi appeared again on my doorstep. He had prospered in the years since I'd seen him, and had built a successful trading company. "Koichi," he said to me, "I found out who was responsible for our father's death: the current head of father's old company, Shoji Okamura."
When he asked me, "Will you help me avenge mother and father?" I agreed immediately.
So I became his hatchet man. My job was to approach the Okamura family, especially the three Okamura sisters -- sexy, grown-up Yuki, short-tempered but sensitive Emi and the innocent Risa -- and gather information on the Okamuras for my brother. After six months, I had gotten to where I was eating dinner at their house regularly. This allowed me to bug Shoji's office take documents out of his trash, and copy files off his computer. I reported everything to my brother faithfully.
I was never sure if the information I was providing was doing any good, but gradually, it became apparent that Shoji Okamura's business was failing. He grew more and more desperate, and one day he disappeared completely. The happiness of the Okamura family, who had taken so much from us, had been stolen piece by piece. My brother swore he wouldn't stop until Shoji Okamura was driven to the point of taking his own life, even if it meant pushing the Three Sisters into lives of prostitution and worse.
The only problem is, I had fallen in love with those same three sisters...
Game has many English reviews

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