Foreword: I heard about this game couple years ago that it actually had a decent plot, and around the same time got acquainted with the anime version. It's been my longtime wish to show that nukige may have a decent story, but is this exactly that case?
December 2000 is a total ripoff. I have zero interest in almost all its games except for Never7 -The End of Infinity- which ends up to be the VN of the Month. But for review I'd rather choose some nukige over Never7, and that game for review is Dorei Ichiba.
Foreword: I actually knew nothing about the game apart of KeroQ background as a company. There's just one review of the game that blames SCA-JI writing as "feels amateurish and he didn't even try to write characters that would feel fitting to the setting" and theory-crafting as "it wasn't detailed or insightful enough to be interesting alone". I'm speechless. This is an absolutely genius 10/10 work and probably the best visual novel I ever read. The only possible explanation for low scores for Nijuuei is in case of playing PC non-voiced version. I have to admit that my experience of PC version was not too joyful either - the palette was too dark and without voicing I could barely focus attention on characters and the flow. But PS1 version was an absolute revelation for me. This review is based on PS1 version of the game (but screenshots are from PC version due to better resolution).
The main shock this month that the number of blocked games surpassed the number of passed games for the first time and instantly by 50%. The only masterpiece of the month is Nijuuei . I also made 1/4 playthrough of Parallel Harmony ... but it was absolutely senseless to go on.
Foreword: Won't lie, I only picked this game since the other notable titles of the month were gameplay-centered. But this one is a mystery story centered around time travel which makes it stand out among the rows of typical charage in October 2000.
Baldr Bullet is the definite winner as VN of the Month, but I'm not up for a gameplay game. But then the question arises - what to review from October 2000? The obvious candidate is Bloomers 2000 , but it also has gameplay elements and its content is quite ambiguous for youtube. So my choice is Kaichuudokei - a lesser known school mystery horror.
Foreword: C's Ware chuunige is always welcome by me. There are only couple Japanese reviews with mediocre scores, but knowing C's Ware... they must have prepared a new exhausting system like Kazeoto or Vist that most of people could not even pass through. Welcome to the elitist club review, since I made it to the end and have much to say about it.
Foreword: This game has too many girls with guns for me to miss. Sorry in advance for for guns-only gallery! Honestly, Ragnapolice surprised me with quality police story and meaningful heroines. This is a full scale 8/10 masterpiece for me.
There are four masterpieces this month - Tsukihime , Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ , Pure Mail , Gin'iro . Production-wise the most thrilling game is Sense Off, but I opt out for a chuuni whenever possible, so the winner is Tsukihime. I played it in the past, so won't be replaying now. But I still need something for a full rakeview this month. And this month is unusual as I'll be reviewing not game of the month, but some other gameRagnapolice which also turned out to be a masterpiece. Review incoming.
This game has a good spoilerless review (1) and several mentions on reddit (2345) that all claim the game to be a "legendary" eroge renowned for its metafiction-heavy plot" "sometimes seen as a predecessor to games like Ever17" and to have "exciting plot", "saddest and most beautiful H-scene" resulting in being "emotional during reading it". So my only question at this point is "ARE YOU FREAKING BLIND, PEOPLE?!"
Foreword: I only started this game to find references to Phantom of Inferno, but it's high quality entertainment, and it does not let you go easily. Instead of just links to Phantom of Inferno, I enjoyed a colossal multi-culture reference mix, but about that further on.
Foreword: There were three particular reasons to choose Purepure for review. First, because May 2000 disappoints me with the range of games - most games are either charage, or nukige, or gameplay focused games. Secondly, I see Purepure similarities with Shunpuu Shoujo that I love gently. The third reason is that I see this game to be very different from previous Ange games. I'll try to elaborate in the main part and give my reasons for nominating this game as game of the month in conclusion.
Quite a bland month with few games. There aren't masterpieces this month, but I still need to choose the game of the month that I would record on video. So I need to choose something without gameplay elements, too much insult and not too evident plot. The only game that suits my demands is Purepure, and thus it's the game of the month that deserves a video playthrough.
Foreword: I have a difficult history with Liar-Soft. Their games amaze me, but I usually get really confused by them as well. Like I really liked Forest, but it's so overburdened with meanings and layers that you never know if you grasped it all or not. But Hiragumo-chan that's probably the closest thing to our game disappointed me both times I tried to play it. All I knew that Gyousatsu being the second game of the company (it does not mean first one was not crazy) was already crazy. Crazy good or crazy bad?
There is a hospital where almost noone is ill, and everyone spends days peacefully waiting for examination day... There is a proper review ( 1 ), so I intended to skip this game entirely. However, I got a request and thought why not, what could possibly go wrong with a game that got an average score of 8.29 on vndb? Actually, everything went wrong right from the start. The genre is heartwarming hospital themed nakige, or so I determine it. I really detest hospital theme and nakige. I would never be able to play Kana little sister, for example. But hey, at least I can find interest in comedy, characters, songs and those fun events at CG, right? I really failed to see traces of comedy in Treating2U. Characters aren't really something that stands out here. In Masami route that I played I could not see her appeal at all, just a traditional Japanese widow, who could just wear kimono as well. She looks to me like an addition to her son Tatsuru, not like a main heroine at all. Japanese reviews also don't rate her route highly, and I admit that for me someone like green-hair scar face girl Ikuno would be a much better choice.
There is a normal Japanese family - a rock star priest, a fox goddess and their son ghost... ok, maybe not so normal. Anyway, there's a fantastic review ( 1 ) on this game already, so I can have a free style review for a change just to put something along with a video.
So following that review... first things first - game has no bugs on win98, all icons are in order - everything is perfect. But since the game can't run install on newer Windows, we indeed have to copy contents to the disk folder, launch reg file (need to edit it to change cd drive letter) and speech volume up tool. The full guide is here ( 2 ). Just in case - the link for the volume up tool is ( 3 ). So the only little inconvenience that we need to tolerate on newer Windows is that icons get messed up. It's not that much of a deal, right?
Foreword: I have very high evaluation of the games of the series and since this is the only Windows game of the series (I'll play Lipstick ADV.4 as well just out of spite, but it's universally despised by the fans of the series), I just had to play it. It took me quite some to realize that wish, but finally it's there. Welcome to the Lipstick ADV world!
Foreword: I never wanted to play this game, but got a request to make a playthrough recently, so agreed to do that since I was quite curious to see how much the original differs from the remake and why actually PC98 version is described as kamige by some reviewers (1) while remake being trampled to dirt. Title:Ai Shimai ~Futari no Kajitsu~ Developer:Silky's Date: 1994-09-30 VNDB link: https://vndb.org/v1836 Youtube walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=u8udgdLjN0U
Synopsis:A sincere older step-sister and a curious younger step-sister are doomed to become love slaves. One day, a house wife named Yukie has a traffic accident. She is ordered to pay a large settlement to the other party, Taketo, the son of the owner/president of Nogawa Industries. Unable to make the settlement payment, Yukie allows Taketo to have her sexually. At the same time, Takato's father, Nogawa, approaches Yukie's step-daughter, Rumi, and blackmails her. His evil scheme even reaches for Tomoko, Yukie's younger step-sister.
Structure: 10 branches with endings, some of which are bad endings and some almost identical. Game takes part during 5 days of Taketo father trip overseas - during that time Taketo must settle the incident. Length:2.5 hours Game type: Nukige. Difficulty: Quite difficult due to big number of branches, guide recommended Character Design rating: 5/10 Protagonist rating: 2/10 Story rating: 2/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 5/10
Rating comments: Even posting a nukige review is a high enough score for such a game, so 5/10 is not that bad. There's no real story and MC is just pure evil golden boy. But character design and graphics overall (including animated pieces) are really nice and all.
Protagonist: Taketo can only compete with cruelness with his father, corporate bigwig. Basically he has zero morality, so easily forges documents, drugs the opposite party and blackmails everyone. Don't think there was ever a trace of his humanity depicted anywhere in the text.
Characters: Main heroines are sisters Rumi and Tomoko, but their mother Yukie and secretary Yumi also play a very big and picturesque part in all this mess and all possible variations including 3P and 4P. Characters are cute, but not developed at all. What I disliked the most was that the interaction between the sisters is minimal, they remain schematic pieces.
Story: It's really all in the synopsis. Taketo's father gets into a crash and imposes dealing with its consequences on his son Taketo (in exchange for giving him pocket money) instructing him using harsh methods and using women weaknesses. And Taketo does just that - invites Yukie to the company office where drugs and binds her making lewd photos of her and forcing to sign a 5 million yen debt receipt. With that document and photos he goes straight to each of the girls at school, violating them as he wants in exchange of partial debt lifting. After 5 days father comes back from the overseas trip and finds out his safe cracked. Basically all the endings differ by the person who cracks the safe and the person who actually gets the safe contents in the end triggering all kinds of good/bad endings.
CG: Game hugely lacks non-HCG. It should probably be noted that pc-98 version does not contain censorship. Instead it just... lacks detail in some parts which was quite mainstream way of censorship in 1994. Sound: BGM... I definitely remember there was BGM and I even waited for two minutes for the intro piece to finish. But overall I guess I did not pay enough attention to that.
Title and Themes:Title reflects the brainless story - only the fruits of those two love sisters matter here.
Overall comments: I really did not know what to write about here, so let's keep this at minimum volume. Silky's had a great success with Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito and with that established a standart of multiple branches, multiple endings for further generations. Ai Shimai is their next game, so it's natural that it was meant to reap the success of that new experimental structure. But while Nonomura Byouin no Hitobito is an intriguing mystery game, Ai Shimai is made as a brainless nukige where multiple branches structure looks redundant. They could prolong the game time from 5 days to like 10 days to include all combinations of participants and add some bad endings, but instead they developed these 10 almost identical routes that don't even have logical endings. Like in one ending hero gets hit on the head and receives the best possible ending as a result and in other cases he gets to jail after the very same loosing consciousness instead. There's no effort made in any branch, so it all looks like a very spontaneous development. I'm just happy Silky's stopped spamming the same structure in their future games in favor of more variety. But Ai Shimai original is not all that bad compared to its remake that's a parade of ugliness. So is this game bad? Yes. But is this game good and significant enough to get a review? Absolutely yes.
Foreword: I did not have much hopes about the game, but its introduction came upon me as a whirlwind. Mechanical dolls? Knights without soul? Three armored musketeers? Great demon king in person? A parade of deaths? Those were only a few things encountered in first 10 minutes of the game. Game has a very strong start and a strong ending with some nice battles and character development in-between. What's not to like here?
Synopsis:A world devastated by the battle of gods. The surviving people created inanimate "carbon humans" by using the relics of Gods and sealing the soul within. For several hundred years the war lasted. Now carbon knight needs to deter the restoration of the once sealed demon king.
Structure: 13 short days. Length: 4 hours for one playthrough Game type: Eschatological fantasy. Difficulty: At least moderate, since there are a lot of choices and I only got lonely ending while there are happy endings with a girl as well. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 5/10 Story rating: 9/10 Game quality: 7/10 Overall rating: 8/10
Rating comments: Overall score might be even 9 if I got some substantial epilogue that should exist in some girl ending. The lonely ending I got was too abrupt, but actually cool in itself. Characters are funny and cute enough. They look simple at the first glance, but each of main heroines carries a huge secret behind her back, so I like how their personalities played out. Protagonist is very straightforward, but he's probably needed like that for story's sake. Game quality suffers from big loading times between the scenes. Autoskip function is implemented very poorly. Backgrounds are mostly implemented in 3D, but that's rather a feature than a shortcoming here since those look immersive. But as for the story, it seems ordinary fight the demon king tale, but bears much more in it as it goes, so I rate story very high.
Protagonist: Isaak is shown almost always irritated and/or shouting. He is too straightforward and short-tempered. He's not the most pleasant MC to deal with, but he's not voiced, so he can grimace as much as he wants in silence.
Characters: There seem to be two main heroines - long red-hair Sheckly and short violet-hair Fortita. Sheckly is our usual child friend, tender and caring. Fortita is much more mysterious since she's very short and never aging. She's actually a carbon knight, soulless relic created to fight demonic invaders. She serves to Isaak and his father. There is also father Balzak's fighting buddy girl Gina who gets a H scene if willing. Possibly she can also get her ending, but according to very few and very poor CG gallery that exists for the game good ending confirmed only for Sheckly, just don't cite me on it. There are lots of very colorful side-characters as well. Everyone but MC is voiced, so it's never really boring.
Story: So the game starts in a whirlwind of events. Demon king and his army demolish the city and kill the populace. The three armored musketeers are the only ones who try to oppose the demons. Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita try to escape a group of mechanical dolls. Next we're shown the dialogue between the demon king and the three musketeers and how a mechanical doll comes out with three corpses of Sheckly, Isaak and Fortita pierced. Isaak's father who is one of the musketeers goes berserk and demolishes the demon king... Then Isaak wakes up and those events seem to be a dream on the demon king invasion three years ago. Isaak is dreaming of becoming carbon knight master and goes on a journey with Sheckly and Fortita. There they confront demonic underlings who predict the resurrection of the demon king once all his body parts scattered around the world are collected again. These events take roughly first 15-20 minutes of the game, so I would not consider them a spoiler. As you can imagine, all the demon parts are destined to be collected for a grand confrontation again. But what I especially liked was that the battles of carbon knights and demons started out quite plain, but kept on with more and more increasing numbers of fatalities on both sides nearly wiping all the characters in the game. That was absolutely terrific and unprecedented since the time I saw GANTZ. Just so you know, there's much more to the story than just a series of battles. Every hero has a huge secret and uncovering those secrets make the game really exciting. Ending is surprising as well.
System: So I decided to devise an optional system section since there are issues that don't fall into other sections well. So here I wanted to rant why I only got lonely ending and not going to pursue true ending with a girl. First of all, I value initial game experience very much - and each consecutive playthrough is a torture for me, especially without a guide. Secondly, I know that I like lonely ending the best since it's so cool, a real mortal combat. Lastly, game has very poor skipping feature that has to be turned on in the menu and you can't really stop it till there's a new choice or till a new scene starts. And each scene loads for some 10-20 seconds. It's really not fun doing it again. There are actually two more issues - big number of selections and very poor save implementation. Each time you load, you're thrown away very far back, so it's hugely inconvenient.
CG: Absolutely terrific CG. Just loving it with all my heart. So much detail. Sometimes the blend of 2D and 3D looks weird, but mostly it's in harmony. But the best part in the art is dresses of girls. These dresses show so much skin that they look like the prototypes for all the modern Korean mmorpgs. Truly hilarious and breathtaking.
Sound: BGM is decent, but not too memorable.
Title and Themes:Game does not tell us much about carbon knights from the start apart of the fact that Fortita is one. But carbon knight theme gets a huge development in the last third of the game and finishes with the absolute domination of this theme, so it's a good choice.
Overall comments: So Carbon Knight has its flaws lying mostly in technical part, but they don't belittle its advantages. I consider it to be the first traditional fantasy chuunige and a huge masterpiece of the time.
Foreword: Not the type of work I read usually. But game managed to conquer my heart with its opening song, as well as wonderful and various BGM. Actually, I would call it foreground songs rather than background music since those songs shine during the whole course of the game due to the fact that game's not voiced at all. But of course music alone can't be enough to keep attention. Shunpuu Shoujo has very beautiful unique art style and quite intriguing synopsis about celestial girl emerging in human world - such common synopsis was a base for lots of great visual novel stories of the past. But enough preface, let's begin. I'm sorry for the excessive number of screenshots - it's done because game has no CG gallery available online.
Synopsis: Takuma Takuma is a college student. One day a girl Sari from another world appears before him. She said that she appeared to purify the conscious body possessed by Takuma and the should live together till that time. Takuma friends and girl classmates aren't really happy about that. Where shall the future take him?
Structure: 13 small chapters. Length: 3-4 hours Game type: Celestial beings on Earth comedy Difficulty: Easy. Game offers a choice from time to time, but those are either flavor choices or additional CG triggers. Character Design rating: 8/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 5/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 7/10
Rating comments: I always ask myself first whether the game is of masterpiece level or not. And if it's not, it can only get as much as 6. And I've come to a conclusion that it's a masterpiece, albeit minor. Character design is astonishing, but characters don't get too much development. Protagonist is ok, but in the end he's just a passive girlish student. Story is on par with Viper-GTS level, so decent, but nothing too complicated or notable. Game quality gets a huge penalty for absence of voicing and overall small length.
Protagonist: Takuma main feature is that he looks so girlish with his small slender body and long pink hair. That looks a bit weird, but only till HCG come in action. Seeing two small angels on the screen cuddling is quite heartwarming. Overall he's a passive graduating student and can't really move narration by himself.
Characters: Story does not have branches, so there is only one main heroine Seiri there. But there are also two lively side-heroines - childhood friend that attends the same college and lower grade student who looks up to protagonist as a teacher. Yes... even though Takuma is a college student he somehow participates in practice as teacher for lower high school students. It's relations between these four characters that form the basis of the game and become the stage for lots of humorous situations. Apart of those four characters there are also two more heavenly beings and lots of sub-characters.
Story: I rated story the lowest - as 5/10, so I'm not truly content with that. Takuma finds Seiri jumping from the portal and getting to know the cast takes first 5 chapters. Then first celestial being appears and brings some cheap drama followed by bouncing back and merry chapters again. In 10th chapter second celestial being arrives bringing more drama and finishing on Christmas eve sweet date. The very ending is curious though as it gives an answer on the future awaiting protagonists since the default situation is quite sad - Seiri is bound to return to her world and live forever while Takuma has to grow old like any mortal. Happy end is very satisfactory.
CG: CG here are so gentle and cute. I don't think I've seen art style like that anywhere before. It surely is a treat after today's absolutely the same polished art style dominating in both anime and visual novels.
Sound: BGM is an important actor in the game. For the first hour I was just listening to the BGM rather than enjoy character interaction. Soundtrack is especially cool because there is lots of singing in it.
Humor: Humor here is not high quality, but rather in form of funny faces, character sprite emotions, chibi action CG etc. Most of such CG depict someone hitting someone else or such. But same as with CG, even chibi style here is very cute and actually only half-chibi since it's the same body that's deformed and head is proportional to the rest of the body.
Title and Themes:Title can be roughly translated as "spring breeze girl". I don't think there's a special meaning to it, but Seiri is really so pure and shiny that she's like a breeze among other games' heroines.
Overall comments: Game's actually better than description above. It has special charm that can't be felt without seeing for yourself. It has unique magic due absence of voicing and unconventional CG and BGM. I'm really glad that Aquarium recovered from the ugly art of its first works Carrot Time and Pretty Cat ~Lily and Kyle no Daibouken~. But I also like that the company does not forget its roots - just look at the very first screenshot - it's Nyantaru Pu himself from Toki no Moto e! I'm happy to see Aquarium made it in the 2000s and will look forward to seeing its further eleven works.
Foreword: I have not put a 10/10 score in a while. Psyclone is a classic cyberpunk story with sophisticated plot and great cast of characters. For genre fan it's an ultimate treasure. But game's not hookable, so I had to manually copy each line from the script for video playthrough. It was absolutely worth my time and I hope it can be worthy of yours.