Archive – Assassin, Cheater, Gangster, Thief – Which criminal will you marry?

March 17th, 2014

[EDIT: Ah, my Arabian's Doubt post! Looking back at this, I would still say most of this, except for the gameplay - it's actually a lot more varied than many otome games, lol. This was one of my first so I didn't realize how common straight visual novels would be. Also the production values - I would give it a lower rating than before, because some things are not user-friendly, and IIRC the combat part is kind of cheesy in terms of graphics and sounds.]

Originally posted on my IGN blog on 2007/11/09

That’s the old skipping rhyme adapted for this otome game :P .
You are Princess Eileen of the country Gilcatall, a desert nation whose primary export is thieves, killers, and con men. The king, Eileen’s father, clawed his way to the throne by beating out all the other crooks who wanted the position, and now wants his only child, you, to follow in his footsteps. Problem is, Eileen wants to be ‘normal’. She wants no part of the outlaw lifestyle which is regular in Gilcatall, even though she’s been brought up trained in the criminal arts – lockpicking, stealing, fighting, etc. Her parents summon her one day and tell her she needs to pick a fiance, and since she doesn’t have one in mind, they’ve made a list of six potentials. Desperate to avoid such an abnormal situation, she makes a deal with her parents – if she can beg, borrow, or steal 10 million gold in the next month, they’ll let her off and she can live her life how she pleases. If not…they will pick her future husband. The six suitors have instructions to accompany Eileen if she asks them, but not to help her, since that would be too easy.

Now I don’t know about you, but this is the first time I’ve played a love simulation where the capturable characters are not just ‘bad boys’, they’re all hardened criminals in one way or another. And these characters, while they all have good points, are no Robin Hoods who steal from only evil people and help the innocent – they’ve all killed people and are capable of being totally ruthless. Your choices are:

  • Curtis Nile – the best assassin in Gilcatall and probably the world, and creepily mild and unassuming
  • Shark Brandon – a shady salesman who will sell anything to anyone for the right price
  • Stuart Sink – ready to take over from his father as the head of the capital city’s north area, even if he has to kill his father to get him out of the way
  • Tyrone Bail – the heir to control of the city’s south area, he looks and acts like a gang thug
  • Robert Cromwell – a professional gambler who owns the city’s biggest casino and thrives on uncertainty and risk
  • There’s also your tutor, Lyle, who seems normal but has a dark past roaming the world with Robert and amassing a fortune by criminal means, and a weird pair of guests, Maisen, a self-professed prince, and Michael, the demon who owns his soul.

    Interesting group to say the least!

    The gameplay is nothing special. You have 25 days to go out and kill monsters for money and items. The fights are rudimentary – keep your HP up long enough to kill the monster. Non-combat play is pretty much picking an area and companion (one of the suitors), trying to win money at roulette (the other main way of earning money), or visiting the bar. You improve your relationship with the guys by fighting with them, and at certain levels events happen. There are apparently 3 endings for each character – one where you make enough money, one where you don’t, and one if you make the money and get to Level 5. I’ve only gotten 2 endings for most of the characters, but they were both interesting.

    The gameplay is not why you should play this game. The characters are – they have more depth than the average otome game characters, they’re interesting, and there’s a lot of events and CGs. Playing through each character gives you more background and context for the whole situation, and it’s actually quite fun to find how the princess can fall in love with ‘bad guys’ – because though these guys can be loving to people they care about, none of them are ‘nice’. The princess herself is also refreshing – Eileen’s not quiet, not beautiful, not nice, and though she hasn’t actually committed crimes, she’s the daughter of a crimelord and her upbringing shows it; her idea of ‘normal’ is not what you might think.

    The production quality is alright – it’s quick and easy to save and load, and you can skip previously seen dialogue quickly. There’s not much variety in locations and monsters, but that didn’t bother me.

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    Archive: Heart no Kuni no Alice – Part 1

    March 10th, 2014

    [EDIT: Ah, my first time playing Alice. I only got through one route (Blood), and it took so long I never did anthoer. But this game was definitely innovative for its time in terms of character designs and having a distinctive heroine, and it tried different things with the turn progression. The beginning of Quinrose's Alice dynasty!]

    Originally from 2008/06/08

    PC & PS2 game by Quinrose

    So I still haven’t finished my first Alice character route, but I have enough to talk about just describing the game, so I’m going to start there.

    You know, Quinrose might just be my favourite otome game developer. Their heroines are always smart and non-doormatlike, their heroes are definitely not stereotypical, and the premise is always interesting.

    In Heart no Kuni no Alice, you are a young lady who acts politely in front of her beloved sister, but who is actually pretty cynical. Her father ignores her and her tutor whom she was in love with fell for her “perfect” sister. As a result, Alice doesn’t trust people much. One day she and her sister are out on their lawn, and Alice falls asleep while waiting for her sister to go get a board game.

    She’s woken up by a sound and sees a white rabbit run by wearing clothes. In the original Alice in Wonderland, she follows the rabbit down a hole…here it’s not quite like that. Alice determinedly ignores the rabbit while he tries to get her attention, but he eventually picks her up and drags her down the hole with him.

    They fall for what seems like forever. Alice is understandably pissed off at this weird rabbit guy who kidnapped her, and he seems to know all about her, even how she recently broke her heart. He makes her drink this potion (by kissing her) which sends her to sleep.

    When she wakes up, she doesn’t know where she is, though she sees that she’s in a tall tower. A man comes along and realizes that she’s from another world, but has no sympathy for her – he just shoos her out to find her own way.

    From that point, you decide where to go – you can go to the Heart Castle, the Amusement Park, or the Hat Estate. Depending which you choose, you’ll end up staying there.

    The rest of the game is mostly deciding where to go during each turn. Depending on the time of day (day, evening, or night) you may or may not be able to meet the person you want to. In this land, the time doesn’t go normally from day to evening and night, it changes randomly, so you never know what time of day will come next. You can get hourglasses that change the time of day to whatever you want.

    When you visit a character, it raises their affection for you, and eventually you get progression scenes. For each character there’s about 20, as well as other events that occur You also sometimes have to raise other character’s affection to progress in a route.

    While this sounds like a pretty basic visual novel, and it is, really, there’s a lot more material and CGs than in most others I’ve played. Plus, the number of characters available is pretty high – ten, well technically eleven, but two are twins and are pretty much one person. The world itself is fascinating – the three ‘areas’ (Amusement Park, Heart Castle, and Hat Estate) are all trying to win control of the whole land, and it’s anarchy – Alice almost gets killed when she first meets most of the characters.

    All the characters are really interesting and have their own appeal:

    The Mad Hatter (Blood Dupre)CV- Konishi Katsuyuki: A mafia boss who’s crazy about tea and acts very laidback.

    The March Hare (Elliot March) CV- Mogami Tsuguo: The loyal right-hand man to Blood, he’s sweet but will kill people without hesitation, and denies emphatically that he’s a rabbit (he has rabbit ears). He also insists that he doesn’t like carrots, though all he eats is carrot-flavoured food.

    The Bloody Twins (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) CV- Fukuyama Jun: Two boys who guard the Hat Estate’s gates, they almost kill Alice when she first arrives. All they care about is money and fun (i.e. killing people)

    [b]The Queen of Hearts (Vivaldi) CV

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    Archive: Another Otome Game Port to DS!

    March 3rd, 2014

    [EDIT: I don't seem to have these archive posts in order, but I don't think it makes too much difference really. Reading over this one, it makes me laugh thinking I wondered which game would be more popular...spoiler, it's Hakuoki! Though to be fair, Bakumatsu Renka Shinsengumi did surprisingly well when it first came out for the PC, considering the industry was in its infancy. It might be the grandmother of all otome Shinsengumi games!]

    2008/06/23
    Yup, just got my August B’s Log and Bakumatsu Renka Shinsengumi (originally for the PS2 EDIT: Sorry, I think it was originally for PC, tecknikully[face_coffee] ) is being adapted for the DS by D3. I’ve played the game, and it’s great – pretty historically accurate as otome games go, lots of characters, and many emotional rollercoasters – especially for those of us who aren’t that familiar with the details of the Shinsengumi members. This is one game where you’ll likely cry as much as you’ll laugh.

    There will be new events and conversations for this version, and the game will be voiced, but it might not be full-voice as it was for PS2.

    Release date is set for Fall 2008, so keep an eye out! Ooh, I just realized that’s the same timeframe as Hakuouki, Otomate’s Shinsengumi game…[face_worried] Which one will reign supreme??

    Here’s a pic of all the main characters, the player character is in the bottom right corner:

    Hijikata, Okita, Harada Sanosuke, Saitou, Yamazaki, Kondou, Yamanami, Toudou, and Nagakura.

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    Japanese Games for Girls

    February 28th, 2014

    [EDIT: This was the first, or one of the first, posts on my old blog at (blech)IGN. I took them all down a while ago, and it was a pain let me tell you, but thought some might be interesting to post again here. So here's the first one, from SEVEN years ago, geez I've been doing this a while.]

    2007/03/26
    This is an intro blog for what will probably be my main blog topic – japanese videogames for girls. Why am I focusing on those? Well, I?ve become kind of a collector of them, and I haven’t found much else online about them, so I thought it would be an interesting focus.

    The Japanese market for female-targeted videogames is so much more developed than the western one. Remember about 10, or even 5 years ago, when comic books for girls were almost nonexistent in English? Back then, the western fanbase of Japanese comics for girls (shoujo manga) was small, but it grew and grew until finally English publishers took notice and started translating some titles, and now the whole genre has exploded – go into almost any bookstore and you’ll see at least 20 titles available. Well, it’s kind of like that for videogames now.

    I don’t think the explosion will be as big as the comics boom, partly because there are already several games here that girls love, and partly because the genre even in Japan is much smaller than its manga counterpart. But I do think it will happen – especially since there are so many games that have corresponding comics series that are getting popular. And let’s face it, haven’t you thought that there’s gotta be something in videogames, besides Barbie, just for girls?

    [EDIT: Well, we still haven't gotten the big boom, but otome games are definitely picking up steam, and even if we don't get most Japanese games over here, there are lots of mobile games being translated, and lots of original English games being made as well.]

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    Upcoming posts!

    December 7th, 2013

    I am not dead, and I’m playing games! November was really busy at my day job and of course with Sparkler too, but I’ve been playing a bunch of games and want to do some posts!

    First up will be a review of Exorcism of Maria Complete Edition (Danzai no Maria), but I want to fully complete it before I do a review – it takes a long time! Other posts I want to do:

    I hope it will be a post-filled December!

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    September 2013 News!

    September 27th, 2013

    Man, I’ve been horrible at the news lately! I just read the August entry (really July news) and noticed it cuts off after three items >.>;; . My only excuse is work, that thing I do to be able to afford buying all those magazines and otome games. Keeping up with my day job and Chromatic has been so busy that I have no energy to blog even when I have time.

    So, what did I miss between then and now? Well, sit down, because there is lots of news to tell!

    Minus 8 – I was surprised to see  that this was from Otomate, becuase it seemed like a quirky indie game. But Otomate, for its faults, are always up for trying a new gameplay dynamic and artstyle. In this game, there are eight heroes, who all have some sort of complex.

    And now the September news:

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    Fall Game Videos

    September 23rd, 2013

    LAst post I did was a preview of fall games – and here are their ads and/or OPs in case you want to see what they’re like! Some didn’t have much choice – Hanasaku Manimani I couldn’t find a good video for at all unfortunately.

    EDIT – Can’t believe I forgot Dot Kareshi II!

    Meiji Tokyo Renka

    Thu 9/26/2013 – Seishun Hajimemashita!

    Hyaku Monogatari

    Fri 9/27/2013 – Exorcism of Maria Complete Edition

    Dousei Kareshi Butterfly Lip

    Kamigami no Asobi:

    Diabolik Lovers Fandisk – More, Blood

    New Edition Heart no Kuni no Alice

    Glass Heart Princess: Platinum

    Snow Bound Land

    Jewelic Nightmare:
    This might my favourite video of the bunch!

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    Fall 2013 Preview

    September 5th, 2013

    Lots of games coming out this fall and leading up to New Year’s!

    First, the BIG release of this summer for any otome game fan who can read this blog (i.e. English speakers!) – Aksys Games, who previously adapted Hakuoki for the PSP, are releasing an English adaptation of Bakudan Handan, calling it Sweet Fuse At Your Side. I really enjoyed this game - although the art style is really different from many otome games out there and not as ‘pretty’, all the characters were very distinctive (no worries about mistaking one for another if they change their hairstyle!), and I found the story to be engaging when I played it last year. Plus the gameplay is pretty fun – it’s not as difficult, but kind of in the same vein as the Ace Attorney series. It was released a couple weeks in the US, and (in my local store) just got to Canada last week, so go support English otoge adaptations! You can also buy it on the Playstation Network Store (I think).

    September has several long-anticipated games, Seishun Hajimemashita! from honeybee [EDIT: This is now being released in October!] and using the same artist as Starry Sky, and Brothers Conflict Brilliant Blue, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it does a lot better than Passion Pink because of the anime (though it’s not on Crunchyroll, which I thought it was, huh). There’s also Meiji Tokyo Renka, which started from a drama CD series and is set in historical Edo. And I can’t leave out Uta no Prince Sama Music 2! It’s out tomorrow!

    For October, Kamigami no Asobi is probably the biggest title this month. How long have we been waiting since that first video showed up? Two years? It’s the first game Hakuoki artist Kazuki Yone is illustrating since Hakuoki/Hakuouki, and her art is beautiful so everyone’s very excited. Most of the character designs aren’t my cup of tea (still beautiful though), but the seiyuu are really good (Hosoya Yoshimasa as Loki!) and I’m definitely going to pre-order this and play it as SOON as I get it.

    Diabolik Lovers FD More, Blood – For the fandisk there’s a new group of vampires in town, the Mukami brothers – even hotter than the original guys!

    Alice in the Country of Hearts – New Edition – this is the new prettied up andsomewhat simplified first game of Alice, in a pure visual novel style that doesn’t require 100+ turns. I say bring it on!

    And November has a bunch of releases too, so first the new titles:

    Snow Bound Land: The beautiful new otome game from Otomate that takes the heroine, Gelda, through several fairytale based lands to save herself, her childhood friend Kai and three other men who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time when Kai tried out a mirror that could ‘grant wishes’ which caused them all to change in different ways.

    Hanasaku Manimani: The heroine is a high school girl who time slips into the Edo period, and meets people as she works at a pleasure house. The stories are full of bittersweet love, and may not necessarily have happy endings? It’s coming out for the PSP and the PS3 from 5pb.

    Jewelic Nightmare: On a moonless night, the heroine visits an old castle in a ‘dream’. There she finds five jewels in the form of young men, and is told to find the jewel that suits her by the next full moon. Unfortunately, the men all have bad personalities. At the same time, in the waking world, the heroine meets five young men who greatly resemble the jewels, but have totally opposite, wonderful personalities. Are they the same people or not? If they are, which one is the ‘true’ personality?

    Glass Heart Princess: Platinum, the fandisk for GHP, is out this month too – I loved the original and am definitely buying this!

    I’m thinking I should do a video post soon, and gather all these together, hmm…

     

     

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    O*G*A Mini-review

    August 7th, 2013

    I’ve played through O*G*A a couple times now, finishing one route. Overall I’d say it’s fun, but definitely on the short side.

    The time period of the game only really covers a few days at school where the heroine is recruited as manager, and then a week of training camp on an island (hence the game’s name, The Hunter Falls in Love on an Island.) When you’re on the island, there’s another school team of three guys who your team has already beaten (in one of the drama CDs I think), who are there to help you train, as well as a mysterious pair of twins who don’t belong on an official team but are obviously very good, and a top player from a pro team.

    The love system is pretty unforgiving – because I made one wrong choice near the end, I got a generic ending the first time. Though to be fair, there’s often one crucial decision near the end of a route, I also didn’t have full affection because of only one other decision I made wrong earlier. It’s made harder because you should win all of your games (except one near the beginning that’s a forced lose) to get the best ending.

    The minigame of oni-gokko is not too difficult once you get the hang of it, although sometimes you get bad luck. You pick three players (one site recommends using the same team throughout for some reason related to extras), and your target should always be on your team (since he gets stronger as his affection goes up, it makes sense anyways). You first choose the players, then four strategies that can be switched between during the game using the right keypad. You can customize these, but don’t forget to have at least one where the players are resting (otherwise their energy never refills and they get really slow). The four actions that can be done are attack(red), defend(green), support(purple), and rest (blue). Oh, and a match is called a “Hunt”, and all the players are Hunters.

    Every day you choose where to go and who to talk to, have an event with them where you usually have a Live2D chat with them which can increase your affection level, then meet up with everyone and play a game. If you win that game, you get an evening event with the whole group.

    The last game of the camp is against the twins and the pro. I won it pretty easily the first time but lost the second time – but then got some extra dialogue which basically had me win anyways. I’m not sure if I would get anything extra if I won fair and square.

    There’s no epilogue back at school or anything, so the end feels a bit abrupt. You do get some extra scenes by doing challenges in the ‘Special’ section – I haven’t played any yet.

    Since I’ve only done one route I won’t comment on the characters. I will say that the Live2D for the one guy I finished, Ougaki, was a bit creepy – but I think it’s because of his character design. He’s the one with huge eyes and bags, which are emphasized even more in Live2D.

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    B’s Log News

    August 4th, 2013

    For whatever reason all the news was pushed back past page 90 of this month’s B’s Log but hey, whatever!

    Shinobi Koi Utsutsu Situation CD Cover

    Shinobi Koi Utsutsu Situation CD Cover

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