Monday, May 30, 2011

Mitsubachi Gakuen

Hudson Soft

Mitsubachi Gakuen opens with a catchy, upbeat pop vocal and goes on to follow a gaggle of idol wannabes through four comic-style adventures, one for each season of the year. Elements common to each tale are weird-looking individuals, poor chip music, and silliness in spades. Occasional "quizzes" reveal themselves to be easily passed guessing games; puzzles are typically simplistic in nature and hardly obstructive at all. Misstep your way to a Game Over and you'll simply be shot back to the last save point so that you can give the trouble spot another try.

Springtime's story sees you explore the intriguing labyrinth that is the local high school before having you head for a mountain tower in pursuit of some no-good hooded fool. The stone structure contains challenges necessitating the usage of the girls' respective talents (which can be determined via a glance at the provided profile pages).

Summer means gallivanting with the girls at the beach and putting up with the goofy antics of a "musclebound" buffoon. You can play at the shore for only so long before you have to journey through the woods to a house where crazies reside. Conundrums here are solved via complex means--dark areas demand the flicking on of a flashlight, for instance.

Autumn starts off in RPG style, but the Dragon Quest aping comes to an early and abrupt halt for the sake of band get-togethers and jaunts around town. The chapter concludes with a concert; unfortunately, the girls deliver a rather poor performance.

A Christmastime ski trip is on the agenda for winter. Following another lame "rock" session, the aspiring idols go about solving a mystery and thwarting the maleficent schemes of a Santa-impersonating scoundrel. Trials in this episode can actually prove troublesome.

This obviously isn't the sort of material that many PC Engine players are actively looking for, and it will likely prove unbearably corny for most people. But the game really doesn't pretend to take itself seriously; it goes about its silly business with a light atmosphere and a great sense of humor. Each story moves along at a very fast pace and is fairly long relative to many standalone Duo comics, so there's value here for those who can derive amusement from the subject matter.

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