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Monday, January 18, 2016

Clock Tower: The First Fear

Well it's been a while, so I was in the mood to dive back into the side-scrolling, horror adv genre. I know it's a very popular genre and even though I had hundreds (nay thousands!!) of games to choose from, I went back to good ol' Human Entertainment and loaded up Clock Tower: The First Fear on the even gooder ol' PSP.

I have to say, for a game that originally came out only 6 months before Twilight Syndrome, the first Clock Tower was pretty darn bare bones. If I wasn't super gamer expert (ie can use google+wikipedia), I would have thought this was a fairly early SFC game, not something that was released after the launch of the PS1 and ported almost 2 years later.

OMG!! Only took 2 years to add this next gen PS1 graphics!
If I had bought the PS1 version day one in my fantasy Japanese childhood, I would have been pretty darn disappointed after Twilight Syndrome. They didn't add any voice acting to the PS1 version, just the typical dated Human CG intro and the ability to save your game. Yes, in the enhanced version, you can actually save your progress.

I mean, if I didn't know any better, I might have thought this game was not bad but the lack of almost any story to speak of, no voice acting, and zero character development makes this game feel way older than it really is.

This is the blonde girl. That's all you need to know about her.
I still have no idea why the girls were brought to the mansion and the game doesn't explain anything about the Barrows family. I didn't look up any further information from fear of spoiling the sequels but taken by itself, this game doesn't explain a single thing.

The other big issue I had was the gameplay. Maybe I should have read the manual, but the game freaked me out because Jennifer's stat goes to red every time she runs. I spent painful hours just watching her meander slowly through the mansion like she was taking a nice stroll in the park.

Also, she never sat down to rest until I realized much later on that you have to press triangle after she starts moving. I had assumed when she walked into another room, she would just sit down after a while so I had no idea how to restore her health. But to make this whole gameplay element even worse, I finally figured out I can beat the entire game while completely in the red. You're supposed to spam the X button when your avatar is flashing and having more health is supposed to help you survive. But I was able to beat down that little scissor guy, the crazy puppet, and every other "tense" moment totally in the red.

As for the puzzles, I just got tired of going from room to room while stuck for hours. The parrot freaked me out early on so I never did find the perfume bottle. I did manage to unlock one ending completely blind. You find a car and the car key conveniently in a box next to the car. Jennifer was like, "But the other girls..." and I was like, fuck that. DRIVE. Needless to say, it did not end well.

Similar to my blind playthrough but way less getting lost and slow walking

Eventually, I followed a guide and unlocked all endings in a matter of a few hours. If you don't get stuck, the game is actually incredibly short and requires repeating the same things but with minor differences in terms of things you may miss or which events you encounter. There's not much difference in the endings either so I can say after unlocking them all, I don't think it was really worth the hassle. There's actually a random event that you have to avoid in order to get the best ending. I don't know how you could have known to reload if you happen to be unlucky without a guide. I thought that was kinda lame.

The music had a bit of that Human charm but there was very little variety and it was ok at best.

This was my favorite track and it was just ok

Score: 2 this is like a poor man's Twilight Syndrome out of 5 (like Lehman Brothers SUPER POOR)

As Jhipster, I think this game got way more attention because the later games were localized and the lack of almost any story made it WAY easier to fan translate than Twilight Syndrome. I'm hoping the later games in the series will step it up a notch... or 10.

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

たんていぶ THE DETECTIVE CLUB

So the first game I "completed" this year was part 1 of たんていぶ THE DETECTIVE CLUB (again with the caps!). A bit of a disclaimer but this post might evolve over time as I finish the other parts. The first part took maybe 3-4 hours to complete and I doubt I'd have much more to say to warrant 4 separate posts.

All 4 parts were released roughly one month apart so I guess you can call this episodic (ripoff). The first game has only 3 cases and the overall story doesn't do much more than introduce the 3 main characters. The mysteries and investigation gameplay are all pretty much a joke and comparing it to Ace Attorney would be like comparing Comiket and Sakura-Con cosplay.

Guess which Con is near me? GUESS GODDAMMIT!!!!
Really, it's just an incredibly short generic harem adv game that is totally unremarkable. There's not even much ero despite what the LE edition cover would suggest. In fact, I would have cursed myself on buying even just the first part much less all four parts (3+4 are not that cheap either). So why did I go all out on this game? I'm a seiyu fanboy.

Spoiler: Maya never gets arrested in this game
This game is fully voiced (except male protagonist ofc) and the cast includes both Hanazawa Kana AND Chihara Minori. You're talking two of my favorite characters of all time: Tachibana Kanade and Nagato Yuki IN THE SAME GAME.

Wait for me Nagato, VR IS COMING!!!!!

Although the main story contains almost no fan service, you can unlock omake episodes which seems to be strictly for fan service, and I'm not talking about boobies. I'm talking fan service for the seiyu nerds...... and boobies.

This ALWAYS happens when you spill coffee... in Japan... or so I hear
Unfortunately, unlocking all the extra episodes is actually quite a pain in the rear. It's not just a matter of selecting every option, 3 of the episodes require you to spend time with one of the three characters throughout the entire game, necessitating several playthroughs. Fortunately, this game has a skip feature that will automatically stop on new text. So following a guide, I was able to unlock all the extras in a few hours. I probably spent more time doing that than playing through the game, it's so short.

And yes, not only is there one other person on the planet that played this game, somebody actually took the time to figure out all the patterns and wrote a detailed walkthrough (internet, I love you).

The music was not bad. It was jazz and you can't go wrong with jazz.

Totally unrelated to this game. DON'T CARE

Score: 2 cute seiyus out of 5 points.

I really cannot recommend this game to anybody. But for a fan of the voice actresses like me, I enjoyed it. I really like the art style and CGs as well. If they added Taketasu Ayana, I would rate this best game of all time.

I know, this isn't even a game review at this point
Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely