Foreword: I've wanted to play this game for a long time. I've always considered it to be the grandfather of all adventure visual novels, but only found time for it while doing year 1990 coverage. So this is Elf's first grand work and the first Elf work to have Hiruda as story writer. Game is amazing but at the same time there aren't that many japanese reviews and as many as zero English ones. How can that even be possible?! I've no answers. My best guess is that work is prior to internet era and Multi-pack (2004) only brought contemporary systems and graphics, so japanese din't really bother to discuss a remake. Let's start already.
1987 has become a great breakthrough for visual novels. Text parser has been made obsolete by command selection and quite many games that amplify text over gameplay or graphics have showed up (even though the graphics have evolutioned immensely as well). But the most innovative and engaging game of 1987 is Hiatari Ryoukou adapted from anime by Toho. That's the first galge in modern sense - it's about daily routine and chasing one of the girls with lots of sunshine and comedy scenes. The charm of characters is overwhelming and gameplay is quite easy and infectious. If only it could be hooked...
There's actually a harsh competition here, but no obvious winner at the same time. I don't want to nominate NES titles, because this platform is not really suitable for the genre. Maison Ikkoku was nominated by me previously, but in the long run it's a NES game again and it's not particularly entertaining. Wingman 2 and Little Princess are way too short. J.B.Harold is a detective genre that I can't stand. Casablanca does not have a normal release. Boukenshatachi is mostly a parody with some jokes difficult to understand already and text parser ruins it all. But I was really shocked by production values of Gall Force - Eternal Story. It has pure command selection gameplay, really nice dialogues, lots of CG and plenty of action scenes as well as worthy sound support. That's what VNs should be like and that's why it's the VN f the Year 1986!
Did you hear anything about Maison Ikkoku? Well, you must have. It had a huge impact on anime and manga of 1980s. It produced manga and 96-episode anime series, three live action films, anime film and 3 anime OVAs as well as this particular game in 1986. It's actually very sad that such ~100 episodes format slice of life warm comedies have not survived to our days. All the modern longterm on-goings are just shounens for kids.
Masterpieces of the year 1985 include: 1. El Dorado Denki 2. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai 3. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo 4. Abyss II ~Tears of Emperor~ 5. Dezeni World 6. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~ So there are very few VNs in 1985 and even fewer account for masterpieces. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai was obviously a favorite after Horii Yuji won the previous two years, but the game lacks the mystery and fills it with lots of fanservice. El Dorado Denki gets a pretty devastating review. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo is an eroge that I would strike out if it weren't in the 80s. Abyss II and Dezeni World still use text parser. So why not Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu first title? The story is fresh and serious. There is only command selection. That's definitely not the worst option and a good read!
First of all, Death Trap is not included in the masterpieces list because it does not feel exciting to me. But we're still left with as many as 10 masterpieces on our hands! Lots of novelties and good stories this year, but the VN of the year 1984 is Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu. And one of the reasons for that is that this work both used command selection AND allowed to use only a short list of commands. Another reason is that the game feels very realistic both in characters, dialogues and landscapes. The mystery is great as well since the three consecutive murders seem completely unrelated. No other work in 1984 is same engaging. It just feels like a professional AAA class game like no other game of 1984.
Foreword: Cross Fire just hit my comfort zone completely.I prefer profound but few heroine characters. And there are only 5 characters in the game plus the protagonist. A chatty friend classmate, a teacher and three heroines and that's it.I prefer kinetic novels and this one has a forced playing order with just a handful of choices.I like a good story and detest chara-ge. Story here is great - at first it's just Rena who stands out and sets to protect protagonist against the nightmarish monsters. But as the story unfolds mechanized units of mysterious organizations come into scene and main characters reveal inner abilities to fight the aggressors. What's really cool is that there are no school scenes apart of transferred student introduction and frequent lunches on the grass.I really prefer all-age games and this one quite few eroge scenes and only by the end. Those scenes can be easily omitted since they do not become turning points and the story unfolds as usual.How could I rate such a comfortable game low? It turned out I could! And here is why...
Foreword: I've still to find medium to large english translated VN without evaluation so current review has nothing to do with it. The review object is VN Carnival made by FlyingShine in 2004, the very same developer who made the best VN ever Cross † Channel in 2003 and the worst screwup in VN history Swan Song in 2005. So where did things go wrong? Why the perfectly reasonable work led to Swan Song where one totally unreasonable decision totally overthrown the sense of reality and then second even more foolish decision killed the story and the game leaving only anger at heroes at the closing lines? I hoped to find the ultimate answer to that question in this midterm work Carnival and I actually found it. Carnival is closer to Swan Song as it is story-based with little to none charage elements, there is a big main plot line with only side character routes and bad ends. Because of this reason it's very difficult to speak about it without spoilers. On one hand, very few readers would take on this virtually unknown and forgotten work, but on the other hand Carnival is plot-based and somewhat mysterious work that's not going to bring any fulfillment if you know the plot twists and with mystery revealed from the start. So I'm making two parts of this review - first spoiler-free and then after red attention sign spoiler-heavy one.
Foreword: Errant heart is a kickstarter project and despite being finished for 3 months now there's still no review to be found let alone evaluated one. The studio that produced it consists of just two men inspired by Type-Moon projects mostly. There's one article that put hopes especially up claiming this game to be revolutionary among the VNs and that authors did not need to compromise. And i'm going to review this game without holding back.
Foreword: So this is the second review of the Project get every single medium and long length English VN evaluated. The novel under review is Anaheim Girl's Love Story by short doujin-maker studio Fan-na and it's here only because it miraculously managed to stretch the dialogues to 10 hours and because there appeared a person to actually translate all those talks and because the only review I found is fuwa-fuwa review on yurination with no score given - thus all three conditions miraculously coincided and here I am trying to figure what this game is about. I only appreciate platonic yuri relations, never ever watched anything of Gundam series and greately oppose doujins and nukige - oh, well, that clearly puts me out of target group, but at least it's going to be unbiased.
Foreword: This is the first review of the blog and the first review as a part of the Project get every single medium and long length English VN evaluated. Today's patient is Cosmology of Kyoto. There are quite a lot of English reviews of the game, but although the general idea behind them is overall praising - none actually gave any kind of evaluation score and that's something that i'm going to fix here.