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General Forum -> General Discussions  ~  Caroline's All-Access Eroge / Bishoujo
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 5:15 am  Reply with quote
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(( Hey all,

Okay... I think I'll regret offering this, but... here goes.

Being as, right now, my anime review topic has some 170k views, I figured I might be convinced to do a second set of reviews. As an aside, you all are invited to post on my anime review page. I find it really odd that the internet, home of a gogleplex of opinions, I've only had a few posts that aren't mine.

Anyway, as well as keeping up with doing the anime, I was considering doing reviews of the Eroge / Bishojo job games I have... being as I have some 20 years worth... such as Divi-Dead, School Daze HQ, and Little My Maid, amongst others. If there is interest, I guess I could try to do one review a month. These will probably start out with larger pauses in-between, as I'll have to play / replay the games. Not to mention, a number of these games were designed to be played on older OS-es, such as Windows 3.0, and Win95.

So... is anyone interested I having me do this?

EDIT: Stupid me. Do forgive, I went back, and fixed a lot of the errors in the post. I hate the auto-finish feature of my phone sometimes. ))

Last edited by Caroline on Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Adept
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:03 pm  Reply with quote
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im interested Smile would love to here your opnion on some of those games

A fact of life: After monday and tuesday even the calender says WTF...
Kyle Stingray http://forums.pleasurebonbon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8106
Escape of The Blue Rose (Story)
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Jerin Nekros
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:08 pm  Reply with quote
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Definitely. Would also give me some other one's to look for that might be good.

My Fursona(updates occasionally) http://forums.pleasurebonbon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7537
"Revenge is a dish that is best served cold. It is very cold in space." - Khan (Ricardo Montalban) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:03 am  Reply with quote
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(( Well... I guess I'll get started on these as well. It'll be a few days before I post my first one.

Hrm... I guess I could do Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane, since I think I talk about it every now and again . ))
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:21 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Hey all,

Just a head's up. Don't think I've forgotten about this. I'm still trying to puzzle out how I want to go about doing these bishoujo reviews and whatnot, as they're different in format from doing movies. While a lot of them are more visual novels, a goodly number of them do have some type of interactivity with them. In the meanwhile, some quick thoughts.

Quick Thought 1) Okay, I'm going to skip over reviewing a lot of my older games from Cs-Ware / Himeya Soft... as... I'm pretty sure they're completely unavailable. (or would be very difficult to obtain legitimate copies of, and not bootlegs). I might do them later, as a bit of a throw-back or something, but... for now, I'll have to put them on the shelf... which is disappointing to me, as there were a couple I really enjoyed... such as Divi-Dead, Eve Burst Error, Kotobuki, and Maid's Story.

Instead, I'm going to focus on games and downloads you can get from places like :

-- MangaGamer

-- J-List / JAST-USA

-- DL Site

-- Robert's Anime Corner Store

-- The Right Stuf International

-- Steam

Quick Thought 2) If you have a particular Bishoujo / Eroge you'd like me to review, just let me know. If I have it, I will. If I don't, I will let you know.

Quick Thought 3) Don't ask me for copies of my games / downloads. If I can manage it, I'll provide a screen-shot or two, so you can get a idea of what the art is like.

Quick Thought 4) If there is an anime / manga or whatnot based off the game, or vice versa, I'll let you know about that as well.

Quick Thought 5) Eroge / Bishoujo games have been around for quite some time in Japan, and were released for all manner of systems. For example, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC. I'm going to limit my reviews to games available for the PC.

So... there you go. Any requests?

If no requests, I'll start with either Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane (from Nitro+ ) or maybe Little Witch Romanesque. ))
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:23 pm  Reply with quote
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((Okay all, as promised from one of the original posts, I'm going to review some bishoujo / eroge (i.e. adult) games as well. So, this will be the inaugural review. After this one, I'll probably figure out a way to do this better, or more enjoyable for you, my audience. Reviewing these are a lot different than reviewing a movie, series, or OVA. Anyway, I'm going to review the eroge visual novel Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane, by Nitro+. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

Deus Ex Machina; Demonbane has a couple of sequels, a prequel-sequel, as well as an anime based on an Al Azif story-path. Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane was also released as a "Mature" game on the PS2, after cleaning up a spot of the artwork to keep it from being an "Adults Only" category.

Kurou Daijuuji is a dropout from Miskatonic University, and down on his luck Private Eye living in Arkham City. One fateful day, the Hadou group hires him to find and recover a grimoire, any grimoire. Before he can ask any questions, large piles of money convince him to take the job. While doing a spot of investigation, and minding his own business, a girl literally falls from the sky, crashing into him. Within moments, thugs and miscreants from Black Lodge descend upon him and this girl, meaning to do both of them grievous harm. Thus, begins Deus Ex: Machina.

First a little game navigation and controls. Menus can be a bit tricky. While the game does have quick-key short-cuts, hitting "esc" doesn't close the menu. Instead, it brings up a "Quit Game" menu. The game is either semi-automatic (waiting for input from you to continue), or automatic (where it plays itself, having short pauses to allow for you to read the text.) You can also right-click the mouse, to re-read / re-play the script, up to what you have seen. There is no real organization to this back-page searching, so it can be a bit tedious if you're looking for something that happened a while ago. The game also allows for some sixty save spots, so plenty of ways to save at forks in the road. Overall, standard controls.

Gameplay is fairly basic. Being a visual novel style eroge, your input consists of when the story should continue, and event-choices. I will say, the jagged-edge-danger-shroud when you were given a decision gate was pretty amusing. Many of them surprise you during their timing, and some of them are very subtle on which path you are taking, depending on your answer. Also, I did like how you can scroll back through previous text. I also liked how you can play the game in window-mode, so, if you just want to listen to the music while you work on something else, you can. When in full screen mode, though, it plays on a 4:3 ratio, instead of the current trend to be 16:9 Widescreen. In short, pretty normal gameplay.

Artwork is a mix of 2D and 3D stills, and some 2D and 3D animated rendering. These shorts occur a couple of times during the first, couple of chapters, and then you really don't seem them much again. Still, they're well done, and pretty cool to watch. The animated 3D scenes can look a bit jarring; however, I think it fits, as they mostly come into play during bizarre events anyway. The 3D stills were mostly used for backgrounds / backdrops during 2D events. Overall, I enjoyed the artwork. There was a wide variety of locals, colors, settings, and events going on. The settings and backgrounds helped to frame the story, and, even though many were repeated, were highly detailed. The quality of artwork reminded me of the extra time and care put into something like a full-color graphic novel, such as "The Killing Joke."

The character designs I found enjoyable, with my favorites being Kurou and Al. And, yes, I do play favorites to characters who are done in an elegant, gothic, lolita style. (Al's seiyuu and scripting also made her a favorite for me.) Being an eroge game, there's a little bit for everyone. Each character has a distinct color palette which helps enhance and augment their personalities and traits. It was a bit disappointing to have so few costumes for the characters, though. Most characters only get two to three outfits, with a few only getting one. Given the length of the game, it would have been fairly easy to have an occasional costume change. Also, there are a couple of lolita-esq lead characters as well, which some audience might not care for. The occasional use of chibi-characters, such as when Kurou is in Magus Style, can also be a mixed bag. Overall, though, I find Nitro+ designs a pretty good cast.

Translation was spot on. JAST-USA used most of a fan-based translation, and then finished it and polished it up in house. The Japanese Seiyuu helped sell their characters as well, allowing for that little-by-little further immersion into the game. I will say, it was an odd dissonance hearing Ai Orikasa (the voice of Ryoko in the Tenchi Myuo OVA) play the voice of Nya. As a detractor, while the game is very long, it is not fully voiced. And it jumps between the two, sometimes feeling like it is doing so at random. Now, I've played other, longer games that are fully voiced (such as School Days HQ, Gloria, Divi-Dead, My Girlfriend is the President, and PrincessWaltz), and there is a voice patch that can be downloaded (as the PS2 game was fully voiced), so it just comes off as… confusing that the PC game isn't fully voiced. The fight scenes are generally voiced, and all the sex scenes are fully voice though. It's just… there are times during plot development that aren't, so… it felt unfinished.

Music and Sound do well throughout the game. Music varies all over the place, from jazz, to rock, to creepy chanting, to... other? And I don't mean "other" as in, "just all the rest", I mean "other" as, "I can't really describe it, as it feels so… alien." Which, I think was intentional. Often times I would just sit on a particular scene, just because I was enjoying the music so much. Sound effects were fairly standard fare. Still, it helped to set the scene and event, so they were adequate. While my soundcard is basic-fare, Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane did seem to use my headphones to good effect, allowing for a bit of echoing, and spatial awareness, which, in turn, added to the game.

For me, the big draw to eroge games is the story. And here is where Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane delivers. The story is long, multi-branching, engaging, and steeped full of horror and cthulhu mythos. Though, at times, it does have chapters that seem slower placed or jerkier than others. Anyway, given the length of the tale (some 40+ hours), characters are fully fleshed out and have time to evolve and mature. Villains become even more villainous. Heroes have the chance to be even more heroic. And, for those of you who come for the adult part of the game, Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane delivers here as well.

While much of the sex and bishoujo-scenes can be considered vanilla (i.e., sex you'd tend to see in an R or NC-17 movie), there are spots of fem-dom, bondage, mind-control, multiple partners, edging, and toys. I do like variety, and I appreciate that there is a goodly amount to sample from, during the entire course of the game. It also struck a chord with me how Al's character develops during these scenes as well. It some ways, it was very symbolic for her. Anyway, the game does have some rather, impressively-sized male schlongs, which… almost borders on gag penis level. I think it was to illustrate how powerful a mage certain characters were, but some people might find it more funny than anything. Overall, Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane does well for its sex scenes.

Overall, Deus Ex Machina: Demonbane is an engaging story with some very good sex scenes that overcomes its own hiccups and stumbles to put forth a grand horror tale.

Grade: A

p.s. Feel free to post any thoughts, comments, or requests. ))
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:55 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Alright, time for another, eroge review. For review number 2, I'm going to review Saya no Uta, Song of Saya, for the PC by Nitro+. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

As far as I can tell, Saya no Uta is a stand-alone story, with no accompanying anime, although it does have a 3-part manga. I do not believe the manga was translated into English. Welcome to Lovecraft Country, home of crumbling manors, ancient horrors, and things man was never meant to know. And… the unexpected setting of a eroge game. Be advised, this game is graphic, in unexpected and unsettling ways. Song of Saya is not for the faint of heart or the weak of sanity.

Fuminori Sakisaka was a remarkable, medical student, on the fast track… until a freak traffic accident slaughtered his family, and altered his perception of reality. Now he wades through a nightmarish purgatory of gore, nauseating stench, and maddening cacophony. Every day his sensory input becomes more disturbing as he attempts to make some revelation which will stop the hallucinations. If they are hallucinations. If… maybe the world truly does look and sound like this. Maybe… maybe before it was hidden, and now the accident has let him witness the truth as it stands. Masochistic. Violent. Disgusting. Chaotic. Vile. Until he meets Saya. While everything else has become an unimaginable torment to his senses and continuously devouring the few shreds of sanity Fuminori has left, Saya is normal. Soft… real… focused… calming. So begins our Lovecraftican love story.

As with Demonbane, menus in Song of Saya can be a bit tricky, if you're not used to the Nitro+ interface. Due to the nature of the story, and the imagery used to convey the story, it does give you an option of how you want the visuals to display… warning you of what is to come. Anyway, the game does have quick-key short-cuts, hitting "esc" doesn't close the menu. Instead, it brings up a "Quit Game" menu. The game is either semi-automatic (waiting for input from you to continue), or automatic (where it plays itself, having short pauses to allow for you to read the text.) You can also right-click the mouse, to re-read / re-play the script, up to what you have seen. There is no real organization to this back-page searching, so it can be a bit tedious if you're looking for something that happened a while ago. The game also allows for some sixty save spots, so plenty of ways to save at forks in the road. Overall, standard controls.

Gameplay is fairly basic. Being a visual novel style eroge, your input consists of when the story should continue, and event-choices. There are only a few forks in the road, but they are all critical to the outcome. As an aside, other games will have multiple forks, which do give the appearance of a "web" of possibilities… but they tend to blend back into each other, giving only a handful of actual outcomes. In Song of Saya the times forks come up are few, and they will affect the ending. I did like how you can scroll back through previous text. I also liked how you can play the game in window-mode, so, if you just want to listen to the music while you work on something else, you can. When in full screen mode, though, it plays on a 4:3 ratio. In short, pretty normal gameplay.

Artwork is done in a 2D style. Overall, I enjoyed the artwork, even though it was extremely unsettling and frightening at times. There was a wide variety of locals, colors, settings, and events going on, and all done in such a way that it had a very Jekyll and Hyde feel. When Fuminori was the center of attention, the visuals were graphic and horrible. When the other cast was acting, the visuals were normal. The contrast was highly jarring, and helped to frame the idea that something in Fuminori had come undone. However, it also leaves it up to you to decide if Fuminori is actually seeing the truth, or if it’s the rest of the cast.

The character designs I found quite good, with my favorites being Saya and Fuminori. With a smaller cast, your own, personal preference might be overlooked. The cast of this story are definitely in their mid-to-late twenties, as they are all in grad school or medical school… other than Saya, whose age is hard to pin down. One of the things I enjoyed about the art was that it had a horror feel to it. The illustrations gave off the sense of what you'd expect to be witnessing, if you were reading a graphic-novel. Each character had a distinct color palette and costuming which helps illustrate their personalities and traits. The costumes also felt organic in natural, in that you could expect someone to actually be seen walking to work or class wearing such an attire. As with Demonbane, it was a bit disappointing to have so few costumes for the characters, though. Especially given that the cast was so narrow and focused. Overall, though, I find Nitro+ designs a pretty good cast.

I enjoyed how JAST / J-List went the extra mile with the translation. Since Fuminori senses things different after the accident, the translation from the cast is… broken… and oddly capitalized and punctuated. As if you really are Fuminori. The only exception to this is Saya. She's the only one who's comments display as you'd expect. And, as per the Jekyll and Hyde art transformations, the same effect is done on the translation as well. When Koji, Yoh, and Omi are talking, everything displays as normal text. This little bit of garnish I approve of. It helped immerse you in the madness of the tale.

Voice work was solid. Each character was unique, and the entire story was completely scripted. Music and sound help to frame and develop the game. Both are done in a creepy, mysterious, disconcerting way that sounds right… but… doesn't, at the same time. In brief, it makes for a good match for the game. I did notice that it gets quieter when Fuminori is not the center of the story. What I mean is, the sounds and music and even voices seem much more grating, garbled, loud, and infuriating when Fuminori is the one conducting the narration. When he is out of focus, the music, voices and sounds are normal.

Now… as for the eroge part of the game, Saya no Uta is fairly minimal, and the scenes it does have are graphic. Appropriate, well done, and artful… but graphic. As such, I'm going to say they come off as a mixed bag, more than anything. Also, with such few scenes, even for a shorter game as this, you could also have not included them at all, and the end result would not have changed the game much. With it being advertised as an eroge game, though, I am going to doc the score… as Saya no Uta could have very well just been a horror game, similar in theme and story to Silent Hill 2, Rule of Rose, or the Clocktower series. In comparison, Divi-Dead, and even Demonbane, were also horror-eroge, and they were packed full of adult scenes and events.

I have never played a game like Saya no Uta. I have played other horror games, but never one which portrayed the madness and Lovecraftian mythos possibilities so vividly as to have me turn on all the lights in my house, and distract myself with something else.

Grade: B+/A- ))
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:45 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Okay, time for a third, eroge review. I'm going to review, Princess Waltz by Pulltop, and translated / released by Peach Princess. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

It looks like Princess Waltz is a stand alone game. I wasn't able to find any information on a Waltz universe, manga, or bishoujo anime. It is time again for the various nations to send their Princess to the tournament to determine who will be given the honor of marrying the Prince of Eldhiland. Such a tradition has lasted for 1000 years, and now which of the six nations will be deemed the most worthy? Well… all of this matters little to Fukamori Arata… that is, until Chris' sudden arrival.

Far away, in a mystical land, in an effort to keep rival nations from destroying each other, a Waltz was established, where the best princess from each nation would represent their nation, while being challenged by the princesses of the others. Whomever shall emerge triumphant from all these tests will have the honor of marrying the Prince, and becoming Empress. But… none of this really mattered to Fukamori Arata. He was content with his life. He has good friends, does well at school, and gets along very well with his step-sister and mother. Life couldn't be better for Arata. Except when he meets the new kid, Chris on the roof of school. Now Arata's world has been turned on its ear, and it's up to him to help Chris figure out what to do.

I picked up the physical DVD copy of Princess Waltz. It has a full-color dust jacket, with a pretty catchy front-page splash. The back of the dust-jacket gives a good intro without spoiling the game, and helps to frame the swords and sorcery fantasy setting. Inside is a small, instruction pamphlet. The DVD itself is silk-screened with a different action-shot of some of the cast. I will say, it did have trouble with Norton. I had to select the "approve" option in Norton, else it wouldn't allow me to open/play the game, since the play-file has a .exe extension.

Princess Waltz' story reminds me very much of OVAs such as Fate Stay Night, Dot-Hack, and Scrapped Princess. I don't want to go into it that much, as the twists and turns are pretty awesome. It was very engaging, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I greatly enjoyed and appreciated how the story highlighted some of the ideas of how dogma and history can be warped, even when you don't mean to do it, or aren't even conscious of the change taking place. I also greatly enjoyed the idea of being unbound… id est, instead of relying on "fate" or the "fabric woven by fate", you're who determines your own destiny and future. Anyway, overall, the story is definitely one of the strongest points of Princess Waltz.

The menus and controls with Princess Waltz are pretty easy to navigate and use. During game-play, the bottom bar of the screen acts as the taskbar. Left-click advances the story, while right click clears and restores the screen. The game has an auto-play feature, as well as a skip option (if you've already cleared an area that you are playing again.) The game has 100 save spots, and highlights your most recent save as "New". It also has a quick-save feature.

Gamplay is a bit different for Princess Waltz. For the most part, it is a visual novel, where your input consists of when the story should continue, and event choices. However, during the scenes where you are being challenged or dueled, things are a bit different. Overall, it's a dueling card game, where you try to break past an opponents defense using your own combos and skills. One of the things I found tricky is that I wasn't aware of when / how you could spend EXP that you earn during the fights. Fights become harder quickly, and if you don't upgrade your skills and abilities, the game can become frustrating as you lose. No where in the instructions or in-game play do I recall them explaining that part of the card battle. It also doesn't mention that your skill with Red / Blue / Green affects the starting values of the cards you are dealt. Enemy AI can be a bit simplistic, and you can exploit when the enemy is programmed to use specialty cards. Otherwise, the card battle is quick and pretty savvy. Overall, I'd have to say that the battle-phase is fun, in-spite of the couple of issues I had. And, that's the important part. A game should be fun.

It is weird not hearing your character be voiced, especially after playing Deus Ex Machina. But... it's also pretty standard to have a silent protagonist though. Anyway, the rest of the cast is fully voiced. The translation is extremely well done, especially with how long the game is. I think I counted maybe a handful of errors the entire game. Voice acting was fantastic. The seiyuu greatly added to their characters, resulting in such care as Liliana being a flamboyant personality, Shizuka being reserved and cultured, while Chris sounds like a young man wanting to make his own mark. All-in-all, solid work done by the actors and the translators.

Artwork is a 2D style. There were times where the scene sort of zoomed in on either characters or backgrounds. Also at points, it even has short animated scenes as well. A bit of the artwork was cell-shaded, while others was that odd, real-life-photo-to-animation style for some of the backgrounds. I thought the artwork was very well done. There were several scenes and locations used, and at varying times of day. The town, home, and school all felt real, even though they were all 2D. Overall, very enjoyable.

Character designs, color pallets, and costumes are all superb. My personal favorites are a tie between Chris, Shizuka, and Liliana. Overall, the character designs are focused on some of the "standard" effects of character personalities. So, since Angela is hot-blooded and passionate her color palate focuses on red, and her designs are intimidating, powerful, awe inspiring and fierce at the same time. In contrast, for most of the game Shizuka is shown to be conservative, even a bit modest. But… all that hides a steely courage and a loving devotion and protective nature to her brother. With all the attention to detail, I thought the character designs for the cast were all well crafted. The characters fit their portraits. I also appreciated that the entire cast had a number of different outfits, from school clothes, to everyday clothes, to dueling uniforms. For me, variety like this helps immerse me in the game, and it shows a dedication by the creators of the game to include themes like these to help flesh out the world.

EDIT: And, here's Liliana! (with Suzushiro peaking around her shoulder)

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/LilianaShock_zpsohj6f3hi.png.html] [/URL]

(I did say I would try to post some game images) END EDIT

Another very strong point for Princess Waltz is the music. It's just plain gorgeous. I was never tired of it. It varies from orchestral, to ominous chanting, to lighter-style-day music. Overall, I was greatly impressed with the sound-track, and found myself occasionally just turning the game on, to listen to the music while I worked on something else.

Now, the part I'm sure you're all waiting for. The eroge part of the game. Princess Waltz uses its erotic scenes very effectively in both advancing the plot, as well as cementing the relationship between characters. The story does play on the idea that through genuine, sincere relationships, your powers of combat and magic grow. And, I also liked the fact that, at first, Arata struggles a bit with this. While he has bravery, guts, and courage in spades… his combat prowess is… lacking. Until he finally understands what the Waltz is really about, and how to empower himself through friendships and love. In all, it is very sweet. And… very sexy as well. Once you do finally pick a girl… OH! Wait, I will warn you about one, tiny, thing. There is a hidden character. So… it might take a try to two, to get to spend time with one of the princesses. Anyway, when you do finally pick a girl, their personalities are reflected in their eros scenes very well. Some girls are considerably more comfortable with themselves and their bodies, while others are surprisingly self-aware and practiced. All-in-all, I enjoyed the romance and naughty bits.

In conclusion, Princess Waltz is a game that appears to be standard on the surface, but still waters run deep. It has an engaging story, an amazing plot, more twists than a pretzel factory, characters who grow and mature, wonderful music, and beautiful artwork. Princess Waltz is definitely a game worth picking up.

Grade: A+ ))
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:46 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Hey all,

A little bit of a teaser-trailer. First, a screencap of Rondo 2: Fortissimo at Dawn.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/Rondo2Start_zpsbhj5kc5n.png.html] [/URL]

I'll get a better one that has the main character later Razz

Right now I'm re-working my way through Rondo 2: Fortissimo at Dawn, by Tinkle Bell. I was about 30% into to the game (I'm guessing), when all my saved files were deleted during a clean-up / virus check... which was really annoying. So... now I'm going back to the beginning again. On the plus side, I've brushed up my Japanese since I've started, so... I can not pick up a bit more of what is being said by the characters.

As a teaser, Rondo 2 is wickedly addictive. The music, Tinkle Bell's art-style, story telling, characterization, and voice work is top notch, and continuously impresses. This is high-end eroge work at its best. And they're animated, similarly to eroge from ZYX, and games like School Days HQ.

Anyway, if you aren't familiar with Tinkle Bell, check out their stuff over at DL Site. http://www.dlsite.com/ecchi-eng/circle/profile/=/maker_id/RG01849.html

They no longer offer a coupe of the titles that the used too, but that's okay. They've left on a solid catalog of their more recent projects. While nothing is on sale (DL Site is having a 50% off sale on various doujinshi works), Tinkle Bell's eroge is at a 20% bonus points for DL-Site members.

Anyway, continuing with the teaser, even from just the intro and beginning (first ~30 minutes of playtime) Rondo 2 is very gothic, nightmarish, dreamy, hauntingly enthralling, sensual, erotic, and dangerously fantastic. It'll be a bit before I post a review-review, of it. In the meanwhile, I highly suggest you check out their trailer or trail version. You won't be disappointed. ))
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:56 am  Reply with quote
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(( Okay, time for our next, eroge game review. I'm going to review, Yume Miru Kusuri by Ruf, and translated / released by JAST USA via Peach Princess. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

EDIT 1: Hey all... me and not properly reviewing my work before submission. I've updated my review a bit with a gameplay edit, as well as a quick synopsis of the voicework. Mea Culpa for not including it as I should have.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/AyaMad_zpso7x9ql22.png.html] [/URL]

Aya, in her normal state of being pissed at you.

Yume Miru Kusuri translates as "A Drug That Makes You Dream". As far as I can tell, it is a stand alone game. I could not find any manga or bishoujo anime related to the game, nor any prequels, sequels, or Ruf-iverse related titles.

Kouhei keeps to himself. Being adopted, he never really formed serious or deep links with any of his classmates, and has generally been isolated from everyone. While this doesn't bother him, he has noticed an odd, audio hallucinatory starting to reoccur. Still, it's nothing to worry about. He just needs to finish one more year of school, and stay out of trouble, and maintain being a model student. Go to school, do well, keep out of harm's way, go home. Such is his life. Except for his classmate Aeka who is getting bullied… but wouldn't it be better to just stay out of it. Or Mizuki, the student board president, who badgers him for assistance. Maybe it would be better to just ignore her too. Then there's the crazy fairy-girl Nekoko… who is willing to trade magical favors, for a few dinners. So begins the story of Yume Miru Kusuri.

Gameplay and interface for "A Drug That Makes You Dream" is fairly standard for eroge visual novels. For the most part, the story plays out, prompting you, when it is time for you to make a choice with what to do. Menus and easy to navigate, and straight forward. I liked the fact you can play the game either windowed or full screen… though the full screen is in 4:3 resolution. Menu's also let you scroll through music scores, scenes, and graphics that you've unlocked. EDIT START: AH! I forgot to mention this the first time. While playing the game, you can scroll back through previous comments, and even replay them. EDIT END. Yume Miru Kusuri also offers a quick-save feature that seems uncommon in these sorts of games. Anyway, response is fast, quick, and what you would expect. Good marks for gameplay and interface.

One aspect of the game that, while it upset me in equal parts (as how close some of the trials and mal-adaptive tendencies of the cast were to myself), I felt was done very well was that the protagonist Kouhei isn't isolated, so much as he's isolationist. His actions and mental health aren't displayed as the cool kid who doesn't need anyone else, but, instead, as the timid teen who keeps to himself in order to maintain his image of "model student." As such, his social interactions aren't really healthy. In order to keep himself out of trouble, he doesn't want to help those who are in trouble… at least at first. For me, it helps to chip apart the idea of the self-assured lone wolf, and instead makes him the more realistic part of the mob mentality.

I enjoyed Ruf's artstyle for Yume Miru Kusuri. Each character has a distinct palette, though some of them are very subtle. I also enjoyed the variety of costumes each character received. There were enough to make the story seem more than a "one-costume-change" max sort of tale. Ruf also took a bit of an extra effort in facial expressions as well, allowing for more character, while using less resources. Backgrounds and events also varied from home, to shopping, to parks, to schools. Each done with the same thought process. What I enjoyed the most, though, was how Ruf made the visuals in dream-focus. For example, light through windows always looks like afternoon, and the sky looks like you're trying to find hidden shapes in puffy clouds. The effect helps submerse you into the story where the characters are trying to find their dreamscape, while dealing with some harsh realities. Full marks for the effort.

Music and sound I felt were mixed. While I enjoyed the background music, and it helped support the story, there were times where I felt sudden jumps from comedic to dramatic, or vice versa, could have used a better transition. The music also gets to bit repetitive, though I did enjoy the tranquil sound of "To the World of Dreams." I also did enjoy that each character seemed to have their own theme-music. Overall, though, I still felt the game could have used a few more, character specific scores to help completely frame the very different issues they are all trying to deal with.

EDIT START: Ah... blame me for trying to do this too quickly, while I'm on a sick day. Sorry about this, but I forgot to mention the voice work. Overall, voice work was well done. The main character is silent; however, the rest of the cast, minor characters included, are fully voiced. I did not recognize any of the talent, but that's more on me than their skill. Aeka sounded timid and quiet... like she just wanted to dissolve away, while Misaki was blunt and forward, and Nekoko was hyperactive in her voice style. Overall, full marks for having the acting help make the characters feel real to the audience. EDIT END.

And, now without further ado, the eros scenes. "A Drug that Makes You Dream" has a number of them in it, many at unexpected places and turns in the story. The scenes vary from racy, thrills, to tender sexuality, and match the personalities of their instigators very well. Ruf does very well in executing these parts. More importantly, many of the scenes are later reflected upon by the cast, and are used as developmental points of the plot, which is also excellently done. I also enjoyed how the scenes are spaced and timed, depending on whose pathway you're currently exploring. Overall, full marks for the eroge part of the eroge visual novel.

As a mixed issue, Yume Miru Kusuri does offer a bit of replay, but not a whole lot. There are three, pairs of endings for each female protagonist. Mildly compounding this issue is that the game itself is fairly short, and the game does clue you in to previous choices you've made... though… that could also help you, if you're trying for a specific pathway. Anyway, you could probably marathon through the entire game on a weekend, if you wanted. As a plus though, depending on what pathway you pick, during the beginnings of the game, you can spot a bit of foreshadowing about the issues some of the other girls have, when you to back to try a different path. For example, Aeka suddenly collapsing in class at the beginning of the game takes on a different light, after you've played the game through on her path, and then restarted from the beginning.

Another mixed bag would be the beginning of Yume Miru Kusuri is on the comedic slice-of-life end, which does contrast sharply with much of the interpersonal events later on during the game. Overall, the story does flow well; however, the occasional jumpy nature from comedic to dramatic, especially during the beginning of the game, can take you out of being an active participant in the story, giving the impression the story could have used one more review, to better transition between these parts.

As an odd aside, Yume Miru Kusuri does have a bit of an extra, in terms of its manual. The instruction / character guide is included as a full-color PDF, in the setup folder. Not as nice as a leaflet included in the game, but it was nice to include as a full-color PDF, instead of a cheap-o black-and-white. So, bonus points for that inclusion.

On a technical note, the game played fine on my laptop. I did not witness any slowdown, freezing, or crashing. I did not hear any music or audio problems through my headphones. However, it still seems that my laptop tends to play the music on the loud side, so I did have to dial that back on the config screen. Overall good technical marks.

In summary, Yume Miru Kusuri explores three, tormented and troubled teens, their tale with tortured troubadour Kouhei, and the togetherness that triumphs through tragedy.

Grade B / B+ ))
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:42 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Okay, it's been a month, and while I work on Lucky Star! for the anime review, I thought I'd post something here to the eroge game section. As such, I'm going to review, Little Witch Romanesque by Monochroma, and translated / released by JAST USA via Peach Princess. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

As far as I can tell, Little Witch is a stand alone game, and not part of a series or anything. It is available in two versions: the Adult version from JAST USA and the Mature version on Steam. I have both; however, I believe since I preordered the Adult version, I received the Steam version for free. I do not know if you purchase the Adult version now, if you'll get a key for the Steam version.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/InvisibilisComparison_zpswmzj7x4o.png.html] [/URL]

A comparison of the JAST USA adult version (left), and the Steam Version (right). Sorry about the stretched-effect on the right side.

Domino is a prodigy amongst the great mages, having graduated top of his class in such a short time. As befitting of his prowess and status, he's been granted the use of the Dark Tower, a relic from the Mage Wars generations ago. However, the mageocracy is a temperamental place. As such, since he's been granted the use of the Dark Tower, they've also given him the task of taking two… underachieving pupils, and try to make them into powerful witches within three years. Failure to do so will strip him of his title, and his grant to use the Dark Tower. Domino has the inborn talent and skills, and he hopes to mold best friends of Kaya and Aria into being great wizards as well. So begins the lessons of Kaya and Aria.

Gameplay and interface for Little Witch is along the lines of a raising / training simulation. Each week you are presented with at least a random week event. During the first, few months, you also get scripted events as various members of the cast are introduced. You can also get a week were you can train Kaya and Aria, have them learn a spell, or send them out on a quest. You can even "cheat" during the training sessions, by tapping the dice, or by using a particular room that emphasizes one of the five types of skill you need to learn a spell. You can also scroll back through previous comments made in the game, complete with chibi-busts so you know who was saying what. Menus are responsive and easy to navigate. Little Witch can be played either windowed or Full Screen on a 4:3 ratio. The game also comes with a pretty good tutorial, and offers quick hints on the weeks where you determine what happens. Once you complete the Adult game, it unlocks the music you've heard, the scenes you've watched, and four, new scenarios. Full marks for interface and gameplay.

I have to say, for not having any other games or visual novels by Monochrome, Little Witch has them giving me a very good first impression. The story is fantastic. It is a good blend of drama, comedy, slice-of-life, growing-up, whimsy, and mystery. I wasn't sure what to expect from the game, other than it being a raising / training simulation; however, the game is very fleshed out. One of its biggest strengths in story-telling is how well balanced the comedy and drama are, and how seamlessly the tale can switch from one to the other. With a total of twenty endings, each game feels original, and lets me find out more about each of the cast. Full marks for the story.

The cast of Little Witch adds to the game tremendously. Each character, while they have some story-tropes, is fully fleshed out, offering a wide selection of main characters and supporting staff. They all give off a unique vibe, and all have hidden depths depending on what story-paths you choose. I also enjoyed how the cast becomes some of the various teachers you can get during the game with each one offering a particular talent. There should be several characters that you find yourself enjoying. For main characters, Kaya and Aria, they are both very precious, youthful witches-in-training who really want to learn, and who learn very different styles of magecraft. Kaya tends to learn spells that are dramatic and flamboyant, while Aria trains on druidic and clerical styles of magecraft. Full marks for the cast.

Artwork can come off a mixed. It is very watercolor and pastel, with a high-fantasy aspect to it. However, the cast varies from lolicon to more curvaceous, which can bother some audience if they don't like loli-types of characters. I enjoyed all the character designs, though. Costuming was unique to each, and added to the characterization. Princess Fianna's wardrobe gave her a royal feel, while Olivia's emphasized her gladiatorial-combat style. Each cast member also had several facial expressions and poses, that echoed what was going on during the scene, such as spell-casting, laughing, or nervousness. Sets and locations varied from towns, to castles, to dungeons, to tea parties, to forests. Overall, for me, very good art.

As a note, the Steam version of Little Witch is rated Mature. As such, some of the artwork has been edited down, as shown above. Other scenes are cut from the game completely, such as how Mariella relaxes after she completes some of her architecture work. Oddly, it still leaves in much of the... more flirty, racier, and innuendo-laden script though... Steam just takes out the nudity and sexual situations.

Little Witch is full of un-lockables. Depending on where you take classes, who is teaching the courses, or other events, you can get wildly different conversations between characters. This, coupled with the twenty endings makes for a HUGE amount of replay. For all the time I've sunk into the game, I've only completed 6 of the endings. There are some "common" events that I still don't have. And, some of the pathways are subtly hidden… such as with the elf-adventurer Merrett.

There are a couple of unusual aspects of the game that I found myself really enjoying. First, I enjoyed how well Monochrome used Latin when determining spell names. I haven't seen Latin used this well in a long time. Next, while challenging, I also found myself actually liking the timed aspect of the game. You only have three years to train your pupils, and every action takes at least a week. As such, do you want to spend a week learning a new spell… or completing a quest… or getting a spot more experience to unlock different spells. Lastly, with how different Kaya and Aria are as pupils, and the types of spells they both can learn. While they start very similar, they quickly branch out, and it can become tricky to try to learn some of their top-tier spells. On a plus side, when you do learn these top-tier spells, you can then use them in later replays… you don't have the spell, but its effects can trigger during classroom sessions.

Music and Sound was fantastic! Background music was numerous, and I still haven't unlocked them all. I think some of them are related to what endings you can get. They all gave off a fantasy-vibe, an "on-the-adventure" accompaniment, or were a particular theme that would play for various members of the cast. They varied from synth, to drums, to flutes, to a mix of instruments. Sound was used well too, offering storms, fight effects, creepy doors opening, and the like. Music and Sound used both the Right and Left channel to full effects, allowing for stereo-sound and Doppler effects. Full marks for sound and music.

Following along with that, the seiyuu used also helped make the cast come alive. The seiyuu kept with the theme of the character, adding to the immersion. Mauresumo, the old knight of the keep, has a deep, bass voice, while Princess Fianna sounds aloof yet regal and kind, and Domino has that cocky-confident voice. Good work with the voice-casting, and from the seiyuus.

Now, what you've all been waiting for, the eroge scenes. Little Witch has a number of them. Many spells are displayed in a racy, nude and semi-nude ways, as shown above. When you unlock the eroge scenes themselves, they are pretty long and detailed, and offer a wide range of enjoyable, sexual, events. One thing I enjoyed was that there weren't really any "free" scenes. You get one between Domino and Tillet, but the others you do have to work for, in terms of completing quests, or going down a particular character's path. The extra episodes, that unlock after you complete the game, do offer more scenes, including more harem-like events. As an aside, again, many of the female cast are done in a lolita style. If that is not your cup of tea, some of the eroge scenes might not be to your liking. Overall, for me the eroge part of the game is fun, enjoyable, and varied.

As with Yume Miru Kusuri, Little Witch Romanesque does have a bit of an extra, in terms of its manual. The instruction / character guide is included as a full-color PDF, in the setup folder. Not as nice as a leaflet included in the game, but it was nice to include as a full-color PDF, instead of a cheap-o black-and-white. Steam includes the option of trading cards and achievements related to the game. (If you have Little Witch on Steam let me know. I have cards to trade.) So, full marks for both versions of the extras.

On a technical note, the game played fine on my laptop. I did not witness any slowdown, freezing, or crashing. I did not hear any music or audio problems through my headphones. I have the downloaded copy from both Steam and JAST USA. Both downloaded, installed, and played without a problem. Overall solid technical marks.

All-in-all, Little Witch Romanesque definitely gives you your money's worth. It has several, full stories, requires multiple play-throughs to unlock and see everything, remains challenging, and you grow attached to the various cast. Well done Monochrome.

Grade: A+ ))
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:27 am  Reply with quote
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(( Time for a quickie-review of my next eroge game. This time I'm going to review, "I'm going to break into the office of DLsite's distribution system, and have my way with all their mascot characters!!!", which is a mouthful of a name. For brevity, I'm going to call it "Assault on DL Site". Anyway, the game was done by Studio Ero House, and is available for download from DL Site. For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

Okay, this is going to be a quickie-review, as the game isn't deep at all. Assault on DL Site is a download-only game available from game distributor DL Site. The game involves you, the protagonist, deciding you've had enough of the antics and attitudes of the various mascots of DL Site, and are thusly going to raid their building in order to have… coerced sexual activities with them to teach them a lesson.

Game play is fairly basic. You wander around the DL Site office building beating up guards in an old-style Nintendo beat-em-up fashion, finding keys to various rooms, trying to beat the various DL Site mascots in order to have your way with them later, and earn money to permanently unlock the adult scenes. In some ways, the game did remind me of other eroge works like Tsuki Possession and Virgin Roster, since the initial reason of the protagonist is to have coerced sexual activities with the DL Site mascots. On a detractor, the game itself is fairly short, once you start collecting the cash and getting down how the fight controls work. Overall, very straight forward, and simple game play. On a side note, this is a game where it does pay to read the instruction manual included in the game.

Artwork, characters, and costumes for the adult scenes reminded me a lot of a Lilith and Pixy-Soft style; very well done, high on the details. As a mixed note, though, if you aren't familiar with the DL Site mascots, it might mildly affect your enjoyment of the game. On a second mixed note, the scenes, while good, are fairly by-the-book for a harem-type, assault game. As a third mixed note, the game happens completely in an office building, so the sets are fairly minimal.

While translated, Assault on DL Site only available with a Japanese audio track. The translation is well done. I will say, for whatever reason, I do enjoy listening to Japanese VA stars. While I cannot place any of the seiyuu used for the various DL Site mascots, they do a fantastic job at sounding erotic, sensual, sexy, eager, and perverted. On a mixed note, as mentioned above much of the scripting does have a familiar, eroge feel, in the comments made by the characters, their intimate interactions with the protagonist, and the types of sexual activities used. Overall, solid voice work and translation.

And now for the part that many of you are waiting for.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/Waiting_zpsipgjt1sc.png.html] [/URL]

DL Site mascots Diille and Elle patiently waiting… well… maybe not that patiently.

Assault on DL Site is interesting in that defeat of the mascots is what earns you the adult scenes. Assault does include two, "freebee" sorts of scenes, but you need to find them. The rest, you have to earn by beating the various mascots. And, the higher you go up in the DL Site office, the more difficult the mascots and the mooks become. Even then, to permanently unlock the events and artwork, you need to find / earn enough money to buy them from the quickee-mart outside the corporate office. The scenes themselves are pretty long and varied, have a number of mini-excitement stages, and a number of different types of female cast members from tsundere, to wickedly pervy, to a couple of ménage a trios. Overall, good work on the eros parts of the game.

For some quick, technical marks, menu's were quick, and easy to navigate. Sound, music, and voice track all played very well through my headphones. Game itself was responsive, and could be played either windowed, or full screen. Lastly, Assault on DL Site plays as a flash-game.

Overall a quick, forced-sex, game that has average gameplay, no real plot or characters, but good perverted scenes. Not a first-pick, but worth while to redeem your membership points on.

Grade: C+ / B- ))
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 4:33 pm  Reply with quote
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((All right everyone. Sorry about the delay, but going back to school is eating away at a bunch of my free time. Anyway, enough with the delays, here is another mini-review. For this review, we're going to go over an Umemaro product: Twin Succubus. It is available from DL Site (as are other Umemaro works.) For the review, I'm using my Sony Vaio Laptop with Logitech G430 headphones.

Shinnosuke Nakata is caught between a rock, and a hard place. Finding himself in the office of Chairman Ohara he is aghast that his exclusive, all-girl school supplies imperious Ohara a tribute of flesh. Nakata is trapped between lascivious, young, women who vie for his attention, and a powerful, old, man who wouldn't lose any sleep over having him removed. What will Nakata do?

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/TwinSuccubus_zpshazrimza.jpg.html] [/URL]

Twins, Kurusu and Kamira, ready for your decision.

Umemaro's games tend to more be interactive story / visual novel sorts eroge, over action, adventure, or puzzle solving. Twin Succubus follows this formula. The story itself is mostly told in first-person perspective as you follow the various interactions between Nakata, the Chairman, and the twin girls. It uses short, episodic 3d-art style movies to narrate the action and tale. During the story, branches become available where you can decide what action is taken next. There is only one ending, but a couple of pathways to get there.

One of the things I enjoy about Twin Succubus is the small details. For example, the eye color of both Kurusu and Kamira is yellow-golden. Yellow and gold eyes are usually associated with some sort of nobility and even divinity. Fingernails, hair, skin, sets, and uniforms all are polished with care. I especially enjoy how well Umemaro is able to do eye-contact. It's hauntingly erotic, in its, tiny, fine, tricks. I enjoy how Umemaro uses these small details to give clues, flesh out the erotic, and alude to various anime-story-tropes. Full marks for the attention to detail.

Umemaro is a 3d studio arthouse. As such, for those who more enjoy 2d shaded cel-style, or dislike 3d, it might affect their enjoyment of the game. For myself, as stated above, I think Umemaro does 3d extremely well. Animation is fluid, very detailed, and believably textured. For example, both girls' have porcelain-smooth, pale-skin (hinting at their age), while Chairman Ohara's skin appears leathery, pock-marked, and abused (adding to his creep factor.) There is a good amount of depth and perspective used, making the first-person immersion more complete. As an example, when the scene focuses on protagonist Nakata, the Chairman and his Assistant are framed in the scene but are shown just out of focus. As a mixed-bag, Umemaro does enjoy his girls to be fully endowed and curvy. If you enjoy slimmer, less busty girls, it may affect your enjoyment. A related mixed bag is that, while the uniforms are well done, they have an over-starched movement to them. Hair moves naturally and fluidly, but clothing is somewhat stiff. Overall, though, Umemaro designs characters, costumes, and sets to high effect, and one of the twins should be to your enjoyment.

Another big plus are the sheer number of video loops. You can stay on a various scene for as long as you want, depending on the types of sexual activities you prefer. Also, the build-up and climax scenes (pun intended) offer a number of different camera angles, allowing you the ability to direct the shot, or be the focus of the attention (also, pun intended.) The loops themselves are fairly long, ranging anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds. In addition, they are scripted well enough so as to appear seamless, when the player resets to 1 second. As an attention-to-detail, depending on what camera you are using, sound effects are adjusted as well. Full marks for the quality of the video and animation.

For voice work and subtitles, I enjoy how the cast sounds, and how they added that extra little flair. The twins sound innocent and exuberant, while the Chairman and his Assistant sound sinister and perverted. Translation, by DL staff, was very well done, keeping you fully immersed in the script. All-in-all full marks for voice work and translation.

Music and sound effects were alright. Music was adequate for its work, but easily forgettable as soon as you move onto the next scene. As for the sound effects, while nothing memorable, they did support the feel of the story. I'm thinking that the Japanese audience prefers… sloppy noises during sexual activity. As such, sound effects had that moist, mushy, damp sound to them. They fit… but… it bugged me at times. On a positive, Umemaro does include the effects of doors, squeaky, wood-on-wood squeals, and vigorous effects on folding chairs. So… I'm going to give this a mixed score. Sound and music were fine, but nothing remarkable.

A second mixed-bag would be Umemaro does have an Umemaro-verse of sorts. Similar to how the Fate tales are part of the Nasu-verse, Twin Succubus happens to be story 9 in this parallel Umemaro-verse. As such, some of the characters in this story were referenced or had roles in many of their other projects. You can also see various sets reused in this academy-office focused story. (For example, Sempai happens at the same academy, and the woman-in-green has her own story earlier in the cycle.) While Twin Succubus is a stand-alone tale, having seen/played those other games may add to the immersion of the audience.

For controls and interface, menu options and controls take a spot to acclimatize too. However, a self-tutorial is included. The tutorial and instructions do review how the player, menu options, and various screens work. And, if you've played any other Umemaro work, the interface stays the same. While playing the game, video-controls and video-play do stick at times. Scenes will end; however, every once and a while, the next scene or menu does not load properly. The game does not freeze, but you have to manually click for the next scene to load. I could not get a particular incident of this occurring to repeat, but it does happen, and it seems random at when it occurs. On a positive side, the select-movie menu tree does give hints as to various branches and trenches of story you can delve into.

Now, for what I'm sure you all have been waiting for, the eroge part of the story. I enjoy how Umemaro scripts out the numerous eros scenes. Here Umemaro does some of his best work. In this particular tale, they are mostly vanilla-style scenes with an ever-increasing hint of mind control. As mentioned above, the scenes themselves play on various loops, allowing you the ability to direct the camera, as well as the action. There are numerous scenes with both girls, allowing for a few replays of the entire story, as well as plenty of rewatching your favorite interactive parts. I enjoy Umemaro's style of girl, how they design and costume them, and how they direct their seiyuu. Kurusu and Kamira are bishoujo-anime tropes, for certain, but they offer that certain je ne sais quoi that I find enjoyable. Full points here for Twin Succubus.

Overall, a very interesting story, having some interesting turns, and a good amount of reply. Worth checking out, both if you're new to Umemaro works or have been a fan of them for some time. And… Umemaro does offer a kicker, so watch the credits.

Grade: B+ / A- ))
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:34 am  Reply with quote
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(( Hey all,

Just wanted to put down a short note. I'm working on a review of "Dungeon Traveler's 2" for here.

While it isn't an "AO" rated game, it is an "M" rated game... though... I think it's more of a T-16 myself. I've seen, read racier stuff from Daily Life with Monster Girls than you see in Dungeon Traveler's 2.

Anyway, I hope to have something up before the 4th of July Weekend.

If you all have a particular game you'd like me to review, let me know. If I have it, I'll be happy to post a review of it. ))
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:33 am  Reply with quote
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(( Dungeon Travelers 2

Okay, I'm going to try a little bit of a change in the way I do these reviews. So… if I like it, I might move towards it. If not… I'll go back to the previous style, and try to polish that up. Anyway, onto the next bishoujo-game review.

Dungeon Travelers 2 is a Mature-rated, role-playing game. I want to like Dungeon Travelers 2, designed by Aqua-Plus and licensed for release in the US by Atlus-USA for the PSVita. I really do. I love Atlus for bringing over games that aren't fully mainstream, but offer that unique fun adventure. Yet… there is so much about Dungeon Travelers 2 that just frustrates me to no end. Anyway, since it has been a while since I've done a review, here goes my next, bishoujo game review.

You are Fried, a Libram with the special skills needed to trap rampaging monsters into your magic book. Problem is, while you can trap the monsters, you need a bodyguard of adventurers to protect you until you can do so. Luckily for you, you have a bevy of cute, frisky, playful, sassy, all-women posse willing to help you. And none-to-soon, either, for the seals holding the great Demon King are weakening. Will you be able to fix the seals before they all break, or will the ever growing number of monsters keep you from your task. Find out in the cRPG Dungeon Travelers 2.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/DungeonTravelers2_zpsrhat3qao.jpg.html] [/URL]

Alisia and Melvy doing their best to wake up a sleepy Fried.

The artwork, style, and character design of DT2 is a flirty, PG-16 style harem anime. The girls are all curvaceous, or cute, or slightly-monster-like, allowing for a wide range of appeal. Only a couple of monsters seem… a bit too-much Lolita-like. Overall, though the sheer range (of both monsters and hero-types) offers up quite a lot of variety, especially in their costuming. The artwork is fully colored, ranging from creepy colors for the spookier monsters to vibrant and comical for the joker-hero-types. For example, all of Monica's outfits strain to keep her ample assets covered (to which see seems oblivious to the issue.) The character meeting scenes and post-boss events are also pretty etchi. To me, they have that perfect blend of flirty banter, sexy antics and pose, and double entendres that brings a smile to me, and appeals to my sense of panache. Weirdly, I don't understand why the game was rated "M". I've seen raunchier, and more sexual material in Monster Musume, which is listed as T-16. Anyway, good marks for the artstyle, costuming, and character design.

Voice acting, sound effects and music I've enjoyed. They are all Japanese, and Atlus did not dub the game. However, the cast all embraces the nature of their story and their characters fully. I really enjoy Soufflé's voice as one of the most entertaining. Her mix of weird-cloudcookoolander and pragmatism in the way she speaks and sounds is a lot of fun for me. The rest of the cast is equally as entertaining. And, when you unlock some of the hidden events, the interaction of the cast is especially entertaining. Music and sound effects are varied, and offer that sense of adventure. While the music loops in the various dungeons, the loop is long enough that you don't notice it, even when spending hours in the same swampy sewers or feral forests. Both did alright with the built-in PSVita speakers, and used my headphones to good effect. In short, DT2 does well with music and voice.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward. You select your party, and then you select your dungeon, and you adventure. As you progress through the game, new dungeons become unlocked, and new areas of old dungeons open up. If you've played any cRPG games, the controls, locations, quests, and equipment all will have a familiar feel to them. It does take a spot to get used to the specialized nature of a couple of the classes; however, I thought this was a well done change-of-pace. Instead of Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Theif, DT2 varies it up by adding a Joker class, and a couple of anime-esq wizard-girl classes as well. Fighter-types punch stuff (and punch harder as they skill-up), which wizardy-types heal and zorch. Jokers… well… it depends on what's wild. One mixed bag, though, is that later on in the game, it takes so long for the wizards to actually cast their spells, and you start running into so many anti-magic zones (which only seem to affect your guys), that wizard-types start to become a lot of dead weight. Another mixed bag is that, while the skills do describe themselves, they might not be the most clear in their description. Also, some skills are equipment-related, which can be frustrating, as you lose the ability to use them if you don't have the correct gear on your heroine. Still, all-in-all, pretty good gameplay.

As one of the most entertaining aspects of the game, I have to take a side-note. Maid-sama, and her lectures are awesome! Maid-sama offers up lectures about game-play and character interaction, which helps to explain how the game works. (And, oddly, it does you well to actually visit her, and listen to her lectures, as they are very just-in-time style training for up-and-coming heroines.) Her ability to break the fourth wall with her dead-pan style of briefing I find really funny. I also enjoy some of the comments she makes like, "I want to take a shower, and chug a beer." Anyway, full points to Aqua-Plus for giving such a side-NPC such class and charisma.

And now, we have to transition to the mixed results and issues I have with the game. Dungeon Travelers 2 plays very much like a cRPG from the 1990s. Everything is first-person point-of-view, monsters have only one sprite, and there is little, if any, animation for spells and effects. DT2 lets you save at any step, giving you a lot of ability to save your progress in a dungeon, or at your base. As your characters level up, they gain skill points, which you can assign to various active and passive traits. And, here is my first serious negative for DT2.

I enjoy skill trees; however, I have gotten accustomed to being able to try out a skill and then re-skill, if that isn't to my play style. The problem with DT2 is that once spent, your skill points are locked, unless you want to reset. And, you can only reset at specific levels 1, 15, 30, and 60. So, if you've spent your points on traits that you find aren't helping, you're pretty much stuck with them, unless you take a level hit. And… I'm not fond of that. It would be fine, if the level-resets are spaced a bit more evenly, but that huge gap between 30 and 60 is highly vexing. If you have a level 30 hanging out with your 50s, they do gain more exp… but they stand a serious chance of not surviving the encounter in order to get that exp. Worse, there are some class-types that do not seem to offer much in the way of usefulness, and if you use skill points here, you're stuck with mostly useless skills and abilities. The lack of clarity in what the skills actually do, and the frustration of not being able to respec at regular intervals leaves a lot of time where you have to carry non-performing party members.

Next, frustrating to me is the level grinding. Dungeons ramp up extremely quickly, and offer little clues as to what monsters are more dangerous than others. Worse, monsters rapidly gain multi-hit attacks, and group-hit abilities that will do a ton of damage, and will often cause party-kills, even if your characters are leveled for that particular dungeon. Compounding this is that certain character-classes seem to have very little synergy with other classes, or offer abilities that keeps them competitive in the dungeons. I have nothing against challenging dungeons, or making the monsters difficult, or even having mini-boss monsters; however, there does need to be some effort placed into keeping a challenge from becoming a multiple-time, party-kill, reload event. I'm playing a goofy-cRPG with sexy heroines… not Demon Souls here. Anyway, all this leads to the need to level grind. Which I can't stand. If I like a dungeon, and want to go back to redo it, that's fine. If I have to stay at a dungeon just to grind up my characters to the next level, so I won't suffer complete party wipes every 5 steps, that's poor design.

For technical consideration, DT2 did well. I did not experience any game crashes, load time issues, or glitches. Menus and actions were responsive and quick. Sounds were clear and without distortion. Full points for technical quality.

Suprizingly DT2 has a number of extras. Once you unlock a hidden scene (and there are a ton), you can go back and replay them. You can also replay post-boss fights. Once you unlock various character classes, you can view and zoom in on the costumes that are associated with the class. For example, I really enjoy Lizerietta's Doll Master and Alicia's Valkyrie outfits. DT2 also has New Game+, which unlocks an additional character, as well as a number of super-monsters to find, allowing for a bit of replayability. Lastly, when I picked up the game, it included a pre-order calendar of some of the cheesecake shots of the various heroes who join your quest. In addition, there seems to be a ton, of game-related merchandise, such as posters, pillow-covers, and bobble-head dolls. DT2 has added a number of pay-to-use DLC that offers characters from other Aqua-Plus games (such as To Heart 2) Overall, good marks for extras.

All-in-all, Dungeon Travelers 2 is a unique game that goes back to the classic, 1st person, model of cRPGs. However, despite cute characters, fun voice actors, and vaudeville style antics, the game is bogged down with level grinding, severe repetition, and a class system that requires you to plan out your skill-set well in advance. It's worth checking out, but not picking up at full price.

Overall: C+ ))
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:02 pm  Reply with quote
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(( Lightning Warrior Raidy II

Okay… so apparently I'm do sequels a lot before doing the first game in the series. Anyway, it's been a long time since I've done one of these, so it's way overdue for an update. Double anyway, without further ado, here goes my next review for Lightning Warrior Raidy II from developed by Zyx and translated / licensed for English release by JAST-USA / JList.

[URL=http://s1379.photobucket.com/user/michaelthomas57/media/RaidyArmored_zpso5vkep0p.jpg.html] [/URL]

Raidy, in a rare moment where she has her armor fully on... trust me, it's pretty uncommon.

Lightning Warrior Raidy II is the second of a 3-game series of bishoujo RPG games. You play the part of Raidy, an adventurous who can control the powers of lightning… but who also seems to have an endless and trouble-causing libido as well. Will you be able to save the town, and find out the mystery of the Temple of Desire… or will your seemingly unquenchable passion be the end of you. Well, strap on your 80s-style armor, grab your sword-and-shield, and lets find out!

The graphics are good but dated. And, with it being a Zyx title, some of the scenes are animated in their signature loop style. There's a little bit for everyone, from tanned girls, the buxom milf-types, to loli. So there should be a little something for everyone. I enjoy Zyx's method of crafting up characters and costumes. I do also find the old-school-RPG map much to my amusement. Now, blending well with that, the characters themselves do have a spot of a personality. They are a bit stereotyped, but in a good way. Raidy is a fiery-red head, who acts first, and then thinks later. So, good marks for art and characters.

The dungeons and adventuring themselves feel fairly standard, and are populated with all girl monsters. Seriously. You better enjoy yuri style interactions, as there are only a few female-male interactions in the game. Most of the interactions come from Raidy and the various townsfolk or boss-monsters, or Raidy just… well… trying to calm herself down. Mind you, there are a number of scenes and events, of various styles of sexual antics from loving and tender, to racy, to light bondage and masochism play. Anyway, gameplay itself is very straight forward and easy to pick-up. One detriment, though, is that the game does let you level grind, resulting in fights and boss events that are a bit of a letdown if you over-leveled for the dungeon. Anyway, Zyx does pack in a lot of scenes and situations for the adventure and dungeon delving, so good marks here as well.

However, a number of aspects of the game come off as mixed. First, and most importantly, the story just… isn't engaging. It has its humorous parts, and there is nothing wrong with it. But… it… just doesn't grab you like other bishoujo stories I've seen and played. There is nothing wrong with a tried-and-true story; however, in this case, the lack of anything extra makes the story boring. So mixed thoughts on the story.

Next thing that can come off as a mixed bag is that some of the scenes don't unlock unless you purposely lose. Now, while branch-points are normally fun, for me it is a bit frustrating, as some of the boss-monsters aren't terribly tough. Which means that, for them to beat you, it takes a lot of time… and then, after you lose, if you want to progress in the game, you have to go back and repeat the same scene again. And, as you all pretty much know by now, I'm not terribly fond of level grinding or repeating things.

Another thing that may come off as mixed that that, in order to buy a physical copy of the game, you have to go to a different website. If you go to JAST-USA, you can only get a digital download of the game itself. You have to go to JLIST in order to get a licensed physical copy of the game. The price for the digital download could also be a hiccup-point. I find it to be decent, but not a fabulous buy. Especially with how short the game can be… which leads into my next point.

While the game has a lot of dungeons and places to travel too, each with a unique set of monsters, the story itself is seriously linear, and doesn't lend itself to a lot of replay value. Once you beat a dungeon, there is little reason to go back to that old dungeon again.

There are some audio issues with the game. I couldn't get it to occur consistently, but there are parts of the game that come off as muffled or as if the cast was too far away from the microphones while doing recording. Other than that, though, sound effects and music are pretty good. Nothing special, but fit the game well. Voice acting is solid as well, adding to the personality of the characters too. Still, the weird fade-outs and muffled scenes do give an unfinished / unpolished feel to the sound/audio of the game.

EDIT I forgot to mention this the first time, but there are parts without audio as well, which can be irksome to players who want to have a story fully voiced. END EDIT

Not much in the way of extras for the game. If you buy the physical edition, you do get a full-color, instruction pamphlet, though the pamphlet is pretty small and thin. As you play the game, it does unlock scenes and art that you've uncovered as you played. And, it does hint at where you need to be to unlock other scenes… so you do need to spread out your save games, if you want to unlock everything. Still, though, the extras feel thin to me, since the game offers little replay value.

In summary, Lightning Warrior Raidy II harkens back to first-person-RPGs from the 1980s and 1990s, with some good, sexy antics and scenes, entertaining characters out on a theme of misadventures, but is extremely simplistic in gameplay and style, a short story, and little return value. Not a bad pick-up, but not the first bishoujo-RPG I would recommend.

Grade: C+ / B -

Post Script: I will say, I did enjoy LWR 2 enough that I'm curious to check out LWR 3. ))
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