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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Karuizawa Yukai Annai(軽井沢誘拐案内)

Though light on narrative, the ending of Hokkaidou rensa satsujin blah blah definitely left an impression on me and will probably go down as the best adventure game of 1984. Though it did not make GOTY simply due to the genre defining technical achievement of King's Quest, so far, it was definitely the game I enjoyed most from that year.

So of course, I had to check out the 3rd entry in Horii Yuji's Mysteries trilogyKaruizawa Yukai Annai. At least this time, the title is far easier to memorize and it is a very curious title: Karuizawa kidnap guide. Never have I seen the word "kidnap" paired with "guide" before. I hope it doesn't trigger some FBI search alert... oops, I guess writing about the FBI doesn't help me here. Anyways, since there is no PC98 Master race remake, I will delve into the original PC88 version. Oh wait, there's a phone app remake? Let's see...

OMG, I just literally barfed RIGHT in my mouth just now
Wow, Square, you've somehow managed to make a game from 1985 look WORSE on a phone with probably about 1000x better hardware. That's... quite an achievement. BRAVO! Ok anyways, let's get on to the OG PC88 Master race.

So this is a heart breaking mystery murder adventure like the last game right??
In the last game, you played as a detective investigating a series of murders by ordering around your slightly perverted detective underling. Right off the bat, I have a feeling Kuruizawa Yukai Annai is going for a slightly different tone.

Man, I can't wait to solve a thrilling mystery!
But I can't quite put my finger on just what feels different about this game.

So is this a game where I need an emergency ESC in case my mom walks in?
This time around, you play as a regular Joe Blow vacationing with your girlfriend at a cabin in you guessed it: Karuizawa (OMG PLOT TWIST!). After you get frisky with your GF (that's always a good way to start a game), she worries that her younger sister Nagisa hasn't returned from a errand to buy some soy sauce. The police doesn't seem interested and thinks she just went off wandering somewhere and will be back soon. So you and your GF decide to take matters into your own hands and set off to find her.

I'm still trying to figure out what feels different about this game...
The controls are very smooth in this game. You can do everything from the 8-directional keypad and Yuji added a map this time. This works better with the narrative that you're roaming around town, looking for Nagisa-chan.

Was gonna put screenshot of map but still trying to pin down what's different
Thanks to the lack of infinite possibilities of a text input adventure game, I think this game is very doable without a guide. I still used a guide though cause fuck it, I don't have time to wander around aimlessly, looking for Nagisa-chan. However, the big exception are the parts where you have to find shit on the screen. It's like there's exactly one TINY spot which has the item and it's totally invisible. Even knowing the invisible item was there, it took me forever to actually find it. So in short, this game is pretty much impossible without a guide in the later chapters.

The search icon is a heart? Hmm... is the game trying to tell me something?
Finally, we get to the last chapter and funny ol' Yuji decides to put a barebones, crappy RPG in the mix. The only moves that are effective is for Kumiko to blow a kiss, Asami to show her "panti" and you do all the fighting. You have to defeat the guys in the right order and even then, you may need to save and retry if you're not lucky. Needless to say, I wasn't super impressed.

Panti RPG is a good idea but lacking a bit in execution
Score: 2 just make it a freakin' eroge Yuji and stop teasing already out of 5.

As the final 3rd entry in the Yuji's mystery series, I guess I can look at this as his final goodbye to ero as he cleans himself up to make a little known series of games called Dragon Quest. I can see why the previous entry is way more popular as it has a far superior story and human drama. Still, this one was a playful and somewhat funny title and while not the best story, it has some of the best art for it's time and deserves at least a play through.

Fuck it, GOTY. Why the hell not?
Dude, what are you doing with Kumiko?! Nagisa is OBVIOUSLY the way to go!
Bye pervert Yuji, we'll miss you.
This picture included with game is the clue to the final puzzle before the RPG bit
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

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