VN of the Month February 2000 - Phantom of Inferno

The only masterpiece of February 2000 is Phantom of Inferno and thus it's the VN of the Month. I already made full video walkthrough of the game, but it got wiped with the channel, and I'm not doing it again.

1. Uzumaki ~Denshi Kaiki Hen~ うずまき ~電視怪奇篇~ [000203] Dall

A visual novel adaptation of Junji Ito's 1998 horror manga, Uzumaki, for the Bandai Wonderswan.
So platform is WonderSwan...ok...

2. Metamorphose ~Fifth Entrance of For Season~ メタモルフォーゼ~Fifth Entrance of For Season~ [000204] Giga

Main character is a thief who infiltrates a mansion. There he meets shrine maidens Yukino and Yuu sisters. The sisters are attacked by a demonic woman. Hero manages to protect the sisters with the help of a previously stolen item. However, such magic powers have a hidden secret...
Game involves concept of time, so just triggering events at different time may have a different effect. It's needed to avoid danger zones that cause alarms ring. There is also the need to use small animals to enter tight places. Giga has very uneven production results (especially when games made without Team Baldrhead). The scenario here has a distinctive kusoge feeling, and weird gameplay averts even more.

3. Rainy Blue ~6 Gatsu no Ame~ Rainy Blue ~6月の雨~ [000210] R.A.N Software 1
The protagonist and his childhood friend, Ao, both aspired to become artists, but her life was tragically cut short by a car accident. While the protagonist was despairing from the loss of his friend, a small doll that Ao had once given him came to life. The doll, named Aoi, encourages him not to give up on his life and his dreams of art.
The protagonist and his childhood friend, Ao, both aspired to become artists, but her life was tragically cut short by a car accident. While the protagonist was despairing from the loss of his friend, a small doll that Ao had once given him came to life. The doll, named Aoi, encourages him not to give up on his life and his dreams of art.
First of all, it's a nakige. Secondly, it's from a very good company that brought us Hajimari no Kisetsu and Silver Moon. It's the last game of this company and the one of the biggest by impact. What I like most about this game is that it is not really about girls. Girls are merely catalysts for recovery and that's why girl parts and H-events aren't really important. There is a unique message in all of the three routes and there's also a true route. But I see a tendency of overdramatization. I can't really sympathize to a hero who was on the brink of attempting a suicide. Also although the text is good, the middle of the game is serious and uneventful which makes it boring for consequent playthroughs. If you have a thing for nakige, it might easily be a masterpiece. But I don't, so it was a good try, but no.

4. Web no Naka no Kanojo ~Password ni Himerareta Nazo~ Webの中の彼女 ~パスワードに秘められた謎~ [000210] Serene

Main character is a university student. He uses internet just for nanpa, but once got interested in the ruined village sinking into the dam by accident. Strange things start to happen around the hero - first he starts to receive intimidation letters, then his informant suddenly dies...
As of now it's only known that it's a suspense adventure. Will update if get the game.

5. 2nd LOVE 2nd LOVE [000212] Force 1

Aizawa Kiyoshi has recently lost his childhood friend Kazuki Hikaru to a traffic accident. Not still quite feeling the reality of the situation, a certain day he awakes to see Hikaru in his room. 
Only she didn't have the size of a normal person, but was only about 25 cm tall.
"Well, I can't return to school like this, so I'll be in your care for a while!"
So their strange cohabitation starts...
There is a really good English review.

6. Cave Castle Cavalier [000218] Dall

Kingdom Iritutus is located underground. Main character gets a mission to clear eight levels of the dungeon, prevent devil resurrection and regain peace for the kingdom.
It's an RPG with map exploration. There are 5 endings overall including bad ones. Graphics by 奈留-san is probably the biggest appeal point. The difficulty of dungeon battles is tremendous and each floor takes over an hour, but there is autobattle for easy encounters. There are a lot of H events scattered on the way, but the overall number of CG is small, just 52. There is no voicing.

7. Meitantei Conan: Karakuri Jiin Satsujin Jiken 名探偵コナン からくり寺院殺人事件 [000225] Banpresto

Ran and Conan plan to meet Heiji at a cafe, however the train has had problems and he is late. While they are sitting there, a worker named Miki Tosawa accidentally dumps juice onto Conan. Miki then invites them over to her house and tells them that she actually was planning on going to the famous detective Kogoro Mouri for help, because her sister Satomi has disappeared without telling her where she was going. Conan puts together some clues that lead them to the book store where Haibara helps them locate a guidebook to a really old temple where they think the sister has gone. Then, later, joined by Kogoro and Heiji, Conan, Ran, and Miki set off for the temple in search of the missing Satomi.
Only for series fans

8. Aoiya Masshigura 葵屋まっしぐら [000225] SofthouseChara

After graduating from high school, hero succeeded hot springs inn "Aoiya" that was previously managed by his parents. However,  business conditions have deteriorated with the rise of rivals. As a result all of the employees with an exception of childhood friend Yonagawa Kasu have left. He managed to rebuild the inn with financial help of his acquaintance. 
Will he bounce back and blow new life in Aoiya?
It's an ADV with SIM elements. It's still more of an ADV since state of ryoukan depends on text choices rather than management.  Difficulty level is low. Atmosphere is calm and relaxing. There's a comedy touch. There are only three heroines and overall volume is not big. Game is not voiced.

9. D+Vine [Luv] [000225] Abogado Powers 1 2

You play as an adventurer named Hyde. He's been dungeon explorer for a short while now. The desire to do so is because within many of these places lay remnants of the "Old World". Upon coming across a town named Arvil, he is told of a nearby cave that no one has yet looted for the monsters that guard it. This doesn't stop Hyde, and he soon stumbles upon something he wasn't expecting within the ancient cave--a woman!? This mystery-girl is going to really complicate things...
There are English reviews for this game.

10. Echo [000225] FAIRYTALE HARDCOVER

During the earthquake a young man fell under the ground and lost memory as a result. He injured his arms, but was found and taken care of by a girl. The girl only knew that earthquake happened. Together they try to survive and get back to the ground.
The last work of Fairy Tale HARDCOVER, experimental division for horror stories. This work lives up to its fame. You need to play the game 14 (!) times to complete it... Each time we meet some girl and by the end of the route hero gets to remember or understand something and new branch opens up. Clearing the game once takes 16 hours... so it's a game of exhaustion. Text speed is slow and non-changeble and skipping is poorly implemented. However, meaningful part is not that big, half of the work can be scrapped without any harm done. H scenes should not be skipped since the psychological enlightenment happens usually at that time and you would not understand the result. Game also featured 3D sound and some moments are transferred to the player only through it. There is only one save slot and saving only allowed at special times which sometimes happen with gaps of couple hours long. And it used to freez pc after several hours of running. So completing this game is one of big challenges and those very few people who managed to get to the final consider it as one of huge achievements.

11. Follow Me Koisuru Kimochi Follow Me 恋する気持ち [000225] Palette

When first love comes, it's hard to convey own feelings to the partner. Main character receives an anonymous love letter. There are five girls who could be the sender, so hero begins his investigation. 
This is the very first work of Palette that we know so well and love a lot. But even though it's the first work of Palette, there are exactly zero Japanese reviews. Why? The game is really simple. Very simple synopsis, quite simple graphics, no voicing. There's not a single selling point and emphasis is made on sentimental feelings. It's a nice first shot, but there's just not much to talk about.

12. Holmes! Decchiage Meitantei Holmes! でっちあげ名探偵 [000225] Janis

Yuki Kano is a student who calls herself a descendant of Sherlock Holmes. She tries to solve mysteries that happen at school together with her partner Yuki Matsumoto who she calls Watson. 
Her method is to use deduction to prove guild of a girl and then force that girl to making love. There are 4 cases in total in the main part. 
Basically the chapter usually starts with incident occurrence, followed by information collection, suspect accusation and either H event on success or failure if the wrong person is chosen. It looks pretty sick to parody great detective franchises of the time like Kindaichi or detective Conan and present it in such a light-minded form.

13. Moe ~Moegiiro no Machi~ Moe ~萌黄色の町~ [000225] Unison Shift

Winter. Hero lives peacefully in his own pace. But with so many girls around him gradually a new feeling is born.
I just can't believe my eyes. The same Union Shift that we know for bitterest utsuge series started with something like this. There are eight heroines and there are two endings for each one. One playthrough is one hour. Lack of volume and thus lack of depth is the biggest flaw.

14. Moonlight ~Omoide no Hajimari~ MoonLight ~おもいでのはじまり~ [000225] Clear

School that hero attended is going to be closed down. There are only two months left to say proper goodbyes to the classmates. 
Every hour of this time with the most important people should be cherished.
Debut work of Clear, but a high quality one. There are five heroines. The first half is for flagging and the second for dates and endings (there are bad endings in case of poor choices). Difficulty level is quite high. The atmosphere is quite special and a bit dark thanks to the feeling of loss. Text is good and easy to read. All the characters are quite attractive. Imitation of Kanon is felt in the picture, structure and text (game even takes place in winter as well). Also protagonist only transferred to this school the previous semester and it's really difficult to believe that he already has bad feelings about abandoning school. Characters are properly linked around the different routes. So it's a very solid start, but in the end game's a charage and Kanon imitation, although a good one, and thus not a masterpiece. 

15. Phantom of Inferno [000225] Nitroplus 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Phantom of Inferno is a story detailing the life of a 15-year-old Japanese boy who is kidnapped after witnessing the killing of a reporter. After being kidnapped his memories of his past life are erased and is given the choice to join Inferno or die. He makes the only choice he can to join and is given the name Zwei and will study under Ein. She is also known as Phantom since this is the title given to the organization's top assassin.
I don't think this work needs introduction. The first game of Nitroplus became a blockbuster and even was imported to the west market in English. It's the best game of early Nitroplus games. I still believe that it lacks depth, but there's so much coolness in this work that it'd be enough for a dozen of action games. But as I read reviews on this game the scores weren't too high and DVD format and its system was to blame. Some had trouble with disappearing subtitles, some with subtitles fonts and some with the password system which sometimes goes without another password for two-three hours straight. So I thought that people should stop reviewing game system and start reviewing its content, so I've made my own video playthrough of the game with both English and Japanese subtitles, all five good endings and a clear structure. I'll try to use this work for study purposes thanks to double subtitles. So here is the link to my video playthrough.

16. Road Love Story ロードラブストーリー [000225] Corett

Ryo Uehara was on summer vacations when the elementary school girl living next door rang the doorbell. She explained with tears that before the summer vacations she had a quarrel with boy  Yura Yuta and then he changed schools so they could not properly make it up. 
Hero takes boy's photo and jumps into a bus to begin his search.
It's a travel adventure. There's a lot of map movement. Somehow, all those movements are exhausting and asking the same questions about the boy all the time does not make it more interesting. The whole synopsis looks unreal and the original aim of finding a boy very soon gets behind. It's not necessarily a bad game, but it's difficult to find appeal points in it.

17. Senjutsu Youhei Shidan Brave Blade 戦術傭兵師団ブレイブブレイド [000225] To Be

400 hundred years ago the continent was ruled by demon kings, but eventually he was slayed with the help of holy sword Brave Blade. Now hero who is mercenary captain acquires this blade. 
A girl requests help from a tyrant. Hero sets to investigate and on the way he discovers and frees girls who are possessed by evil dresses "R-Enhance". No remorse for the tyrant!
Tactical turn-based strategy with rules reminding some difficult board game. There are 16 chapters with adventure, simulation and free action parts in each. There are permanent companions and mercenaries who appear just for one battle and have to be paid anew. Early part is bland and later on fights take just enormous amount of time. Rules are difficult to grasp and aren't explained so there's a long learning by mistakes. Story is ok, but this breaking armor of girl generals does not let it flow seriously.

18. Tsukiyo no Hitomi wa Kurenai ni 月夜の瞳は紅に [000225] Discovery

Masato is a sophomore student in Kaori high school. He confesses to the girl of his interest, but gets rejected. In grief he occasionally breaks the seal of a shrine and releases vampire Kiko. She is hungry for human blood, but Masato sees a cute little girl in her and eagerly gives away blood. Later he notices he can use special abilities. He wanders around the town in search for assistance and new love... 
During the game Kiko becomes transparent and comes behind the hero. The main character will master the three abilities of Kiko:  
"Fascination" (creating a good impression on a girl), 
"people perception" (you see girls icons on a map) and "Future sense" (can hear Kiko's opinion on what's going to happen with each of the choices). Text is very rough and not fun to read. Other than Kiko routes look bland. There is a comedy touch to the story, but it's not remotely enough. First playtime is around 5 hours.

19. Tsukushite Agechau 尽くしてあげちゃう [000225] Trabulance

Main character is hooligan who spends school days fighting and now is hospitalized due to a minor incident. A cute girl visits him there. 
Other girls get jealous and a fierce girl battle for the hero begins.
Easygoing and short love comedy. There are 5+1 heroines and playtime is around 3 hours. Game series involves somewhat aggressive girls behavior. Story is quite simple, nothing really stands out, but there's a constant feeling that something is lacking.

BLOCKED

1. Nurunuru Shiru Jigoku 2000 ぬるぬる汁地獄2000 [000201] Soft Circle Courreges
Slimy series are back! Now with irresistible love for swimwear girls!
Nukige

2. Hexa ~Nikuyoku no Hatsukakan~ HEXA ~肉欲の二十日間~ [000202] Societa Daikanyama
Main character takes the same train home every day, because there are always same six cute women in the same train. He likes to see how their appearance changes daily. However, his fun is about to end in 20 days with transfer to another town. And he takes the courage and becomes proactive towards them.
Nukige

3. Bishoujo Ren'ai Mahjong Series: Karan Koron Gakuen: Pure Love Hen 美少女恋愛麻雀シリーズ 華蘭虎龍学園 ぴゅあらぶ編 [000202] J-Wing 1
Main character wants to find love, and for that he challenges three new girls in mahjong.
Girl stories have following titles: "When cherry blossoms dance", "You are through the camera lenses" and "The thought of young age".
Card game

4. Iemoto 家元 [000204] Zero
Main character inherits a mystery flower arrangement facility that originated 600 years ago. The art of making flower bowls is nurtured there, but women take the place of vases... In a month's time his father is going to die, and main character is expected to express himself well with the new art.   
Nukige

5. Cherry Works ~Boku ga Imouto o Daita Riyuu~ Cherry Works ~ボクが妹を抱いた理由~ [000210] Guts!
A guy went with his step sister to see about joining the art club. What they came upon were the club members having fun. To keep their secret, the club president decided to make the brother/sister's rumored close relationship closer. To do that, he will teach them how to have fun. How well he can do that will have different results.
Nukige

6. Hana no Kioku Dai 5 Shou 花の記憶 第5章 [000210] Foster
Collection of five short erotic stories.
1. Office lady find satisfaction on a date or right at the workplace.
2. Tour guide finds several different opportunities for sex on a trip
3. Girl conducts a survey through different flats, and some inhabitants get very excited
4. Kendo club girl either gets assaulted at school or gents into gentle relations at home
5. School nurse harasses a girl during health check or enjoys fantasies
Antology + Nukige

7. Hidden ~Himerareta Yokubou~ Hidden~秘められた欲望~ [000210] Unicorn-A
Main character got a part-time job at the SM bar. Soon he got interested in SM under influence of the mistress Rie. There are three girls for training, each able to become either M or S. 
Nukige

8. Saiinjutsu 催淫術 [000210] Beenyan
Harada is a weak-willed student and virtually under the thumb of Minayo, the beautiful but oddball president of the school's Occult Club.
But this situation will change dramatically when the male protagonist starts experimenting with a mysterious pendant he accidentally discovered amidst the old paraphernalia of the Occult Club...
Nukige

9. Started Dirge [000213] Guerilla Corps
John Swift is a Japanese-English half who lives in London. He encounters Ares boy in the  neighborhood and they gradually become close friends. One day Ares family gets shot down by bandits while Ares getting kidnapped and probably also killed afterwards. Many years ago boys reunite, but they are not the same anymore...
This episode starts as John receives a warning from Ares. A few days later a woman Jessica appeared before his eyes. 
Yaoi

10. Luvllatio*Maniax [000217] AnotherRoom
Main character is only interested in blowjobs. One day he receives an email from the supervisor of a blowjob specialized adult website "LUVLLATIO". That email changes his life completely.
Nukige

11. Iinari いいなり [000218] Zero
Main character begins experimenting with Mizuki who he met on a sex friend search website. To what extent a pure innocent girl can be corrupted?
Nukige

12. Yuukai Reijou Choukyou 誘拐 令嬢調教 [000218] Gondola
Main character confines different types of girls and starts their training. With time they begin to recognize and accept the pleasures of M. 
Nukige

13. Maze メイズ~迷図~ [000224] Bishop
Koichi Hirose is an ordinary salary man. He reunites with his former classmate Risa who works as a customs officer, but also manages an SM club. Koichi suffers a shock upon approaching SM world for the first time, but gradually his dark desires started to awaken.
Koichi his several cute co-workers at the office and unconsciously he starts to treat them as his slaves which brings a disaster... 
Nukige

14. P.S. 3 ~Harem Night~ P.S.3 ~ハーレムナイト~ [000224] Uran
Main character is an administrator of the secret web site called "PS" or "The Net". From his student years to his professor days he's been skillfully manipulating women turning them into slaves. Now he's going to train a new group of slaves thus forming his epic harem.
Nukige

15. Future Doll 未来人形 [000225] Spiral
One morning an android girl bursts into main character's apartment. Hero is a very lucky man - he is chosen out of a million people to test new bio android prototype "Future Doll". This special android type adapts to master's character and can perform all wife duties. The testing period is 30 days, but if it is a success, hero can get hmiself a wife forever.
Nukige

16. Genzai ~Innocent Guilt~ 原罪 ~innocent guilt~ [000225] Uran (Studio Kuon)
1930s, a certain European country. Lord Sir John F. Wright is a huge asset owner but has a nice personality. He lives together with his grandson Will F. Wright who is game's main character. Will F. Wright has the same disease as his grandfather and curses his fate for this limited lifespan. Main character hates everything in this world and secretly aims at insulting the girls that his grandfather cares for.
Nukige

17. Henai 偏愛 [000225] Vanilla
In the darkness of a sleepless nights the events of ten years ago come to mind. That was the time when main character tried to bind his sister-in-law for the first time raising her affection for him. 
Now hero works as teacher on practice. He did not even dream that working in school would grant him such a wonderful opportunity to practice his bondage skills.
Nukige

18. Karei 家隷 [000225] Sorciere
Main character wants to protect his company on the verge of bankruptcy. In order to do that he has to follow the will of Takagi who financially supports him. What Takagi wants main character to do is to train three women as obedient slaves. 
Nukige

19. My Fairink Yousei Byakuya Monogatari Myフェアりんく 妖精白夜物語 [000225] Light Plan
One day hero finds a fairy falling unconscious in the forest. He takes her home. Fairy tells her story that she fell in love with a human and now wishes to gain a human form with magic. Hero wishes to cooperate and supply magical powers by providing sexual magic. This way their unusual cohabitation begins.
Nukige

20. Shiyouzumi ~Condom~ 使用済 ~CONDOM~ [000225] Guilty
All people have "desires" and "dreams". From silly ones, to grand ones. For many people, that dream or desire is sealed deep inside of them. However, they are still there, waiting to be fulfilled.
Five people appear, each with dreams and desires. Will they get the chance to fulfill their desires?
Nukige

21. Triangle Heart ~Love Love Omochabako~ とらいあんぐるハート ~ラブラブおもちゃ箱~ [000225]
Fan-disc for Triangle heart, featuring new short stories, mini-games, accessories etc. Also includes a new character.
Fandisk

22. Departures [0002] Ochanomizu Electronic Manuf
Starting from tomorrow I shall travel with mercenary Tudus and fulfill my dream of adventures!
Doujin. Game is free and flash-based. But it was eventually released with heroines voice and graphics aren't bad at all (backgrounds are photo based though). They go on adventure and meed five different girls. There are seven endings overall. Length is actually substantial, over 10 hours. There aren't good reviews of it.

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