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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Murder on the Eurasia Express(ユーラシアエクスプレス殺人事件)

You may have noticed there are a lot of these interactive movie games on this blog lately. As usual, I need to make room to further drown myself in the delirious pleasure of shameless consumerism (aka hoarding). Err, excuse me, I mean, "engage in my personally enriching hobby of video game collecting".

What's the point of buying more games when you have a giant pile?
When are you going to have time to actually play all those games?
Don't you think there's better things to spend your money on?  ▼
Murder on the Eurasia Express beats the record for being the shortest of the bunch so far, clocking in at only about 2 to 3 hours. Unlike the anime games I've been playing recently, this is FMV with OMG, real people!!

Wow, the hair rendering looks so realistic!
Even though there were a lot of cheesy FMV games with the advent of the CD-ROM, I still enjoyed them back in the day. Just being able to hear "real" music instead of sound chips and midi was mind blowing at the time. One game I particularly enjoyed as a kid was Burn Cycle (rating board, what's that?). They should make a sequel with the new body, what with all these pronoun switching these days (if you played, you know what I mean).

This game was unfortunately not as good as Burn Cycle unless you dig the "train full of high school Japanese girls" setting. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize most of the cast but I think they're pretty famous? I did recognize Fukuda Kyoko and oh boy that was a quick flashback to the past. Since this game came out in 1998 and she was born in 1982, she actually should have been going to high school at the time, if my gamer math is correct. Then again, why the hell would you want to go to school when you can act in a mediocre 6,800 yen PS1 FMV murder mystery game?

Oh crap, my book report is due tomorrow!

Yeah, 6,800 yen for a 3 hour game. Ouch. Of course it's way cheaper now but can you imagine if someone were to try to sell a shitty 2-3 hour game for $60 today??

Rating Pending? I'll rate it right now: diarrhea
They would rave about how amazing the shit game is of course! Because everything is backwards now! Fortunately, this game is at least entertaining... somewhat. You can only go to a few carriages and the lounge and you're just basically going from room to room asking questions. There's a time limit too, which is annoying.

Arbitrary time limits that make you restart the game? We love those!!
For some weird reason, you can look at every person's chest and knees and no worries, you can stare at the crotch of the guys too if that's your thing. And no, there is absolutely no point of looking down in terms of beating the game.

Teacher's knees here because looking at high school girls' knees is sick.
Turns out that I've been mentally scarred by all the moe social media outrage vis-à-vis chichi bukuro blood drives, wrinkled/clear skirt, etc. that I forget what regular Japanese girls look like. Oh yeah, I totally forgot that most Japanese girls are flat as a board!

Turns out clothing is pretty effective at covering body parts... IRL
Score: 2 There's an important clue on one of the girl's chest! If you inspect each one carefully, you'll discover that you're a pervert! out of 5 (2.5 hours to beat)

Anyways, you go from room to room, asking questions and uncovering more questions to ask. Swap the disc, repeat, and finally at the end of disc 4, you have to actually do some thinking to present the correct evidence to identify the killer.

It's just like Murder on the Orient Express but with Japanese girls and the mystery not even remotely as interesting and there you have Murder on the Eurasia Express in a nutshell. However, I still gave it a score of 2 as barely worth checking out because I felt the human drama was interesting enough to warrant a couple hours of your time.

One of the girls gives you (the camera) a kiss at the end and your secretary is different depending on how fast you beat the game, etc but no way I'm going to replay just to see those minor differences.

At least the manual is really nice. Took a quick pic before purging.

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

Monday, February 3, 2020

Kisetsu o Dakishimete(季節を抱きしめて)

Some of you may recall that I didn't like the first Yarudora game Double Cast that much. After all, that's a post currently tied in first place for the record of most number of people to leave a comment. Unfortunately, it was not able to reach what would have been a record at 3 people but at least I know 2 people know what I'm talking about.

Would it kill you to leave a comment? Anybody? Hello?
Maybe this post will finally reach the record because I'm happy to report that the 2nd game in the series was much more to my liking. It may not be everybody's cup of tea as it's not suspenseful like Double Cast but I like these sweet, wistful love stories. This old man remembers back when I was young lad, playing FF7 by myself, holed up in my room. Back then, we jerked off to Tifa even if her boobs were a single triangle polygon, none of this complaining about sports bras. Ahh, to be young again!

Ack, the sun... and a girl! That's like gamer kryptonite and garlic!
Even if you prefer a more dramatic story like the first game, I'm sure all (three) of us can agree that the animation is much improved in this game. The PSP version constantly nags you with trailers of the other games when you reach an ending so I was reminded of how bad the first game looked every time I saw the trailer.

The story is about a young girl you run into that appears to have lost her memories... AGAIN. Yeah, I guess if you're going to make a sequel, might as well keep the same theme? However, this time, it's just a cute girl in a school uniform that thankfully isn't violent (except for the panty shot kick to the face).

This plot has a twist: normal brain functions! Ah wait, nope, false alarm. Amnesia again.
You know, normally ADV games have a separate system save file that tracks what choices or endings you've seen and how many hours you played across your various saves. This allows you to save at what looks like an important point and then try both ways without having to play again from scratch. Unfortunately, these Yarudora games require you to keep saving over one file after you reach an ending. Even though the skip function is pretty good, it was annoying to have to start over and over again.

Fortunately, at least this game makes use of that annoyance by having some clever variations and endings depending on the last ending you saw. For example, if you make the right choices to make Tomoko happy in the beginning of the game, she offers to show you her legs.

OF COURSE, somebody uploaded this on YT

Like any normal gamer, I wanted to see that again, but on the subsequent playthrough, even if you make the same choices, and you're like, ok time to show your legs, she's like, "What the fuck you talking about?" I thought that was pretty clever. My translation may not be totally accurate. The only Japanese words I know are "Rasengan" and "kawaii" after all.

巨乳死すべし? I'm fine with any size.

In fact, the last ending I unlocked was Bad Ending 12 because it requires 3 consecutive playthroughs. First, you have to slap Tomoko, then the game asks you at the beginning of the second playthrough if you're ok with violence towards women and if you respond, "Yes, the bitch deserved it." (again paraphrasing), you unlock Bad Ending 17. Then, you have to slap Tomoko again, and she fucking knocks you out with 3 hits to unlock Bad Ending 12. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere but I sure can't figure it out. After all, I'm just a normal, cruel, cisgender, white male with no perspective on anything other than how awesome life is.

Huh? Doesn't white privilege mean I get all the Japanese girls I want?

Score: 3.5 "Best not to think about how old Mayu looks like" out of 5 (9.5 hours to unlock all endings, 93% complete)

Ahem, joking aside, I thought this game was well done overall. The animation was good, both Tomoko and Mayu were cute and well voiced, and the music was great. At the very least, my plan to purge this game to make room was thwarted and I'll likely be holding onto my PS1 copy for now. Out of all the interactive anime games I played so far, if I were to recommend just one, this would be the one... at least for now. I'm not the only one that dug this game and the soundtrack as there's a theme song cover from Saekano, a reference I totally didn't get till now. (This old man still prefers the OG version, but cool cover for the kids.)

Oh I get the reference now! (Official anime game expert here)

I don't remember if there was a direct reference to this game in Saekano. It's been a while since I watched both seasons. Maybe playing the Saekano game will jog my memory (yet another game in my ever growing pile of games).

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