Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Jantei 3 starts off in sobering fashion. Its opening cinema details the deaths of three girls, with one sequence depicting the suicide of a ten-year-old. We're talking some relatively heavy material here.
But then a cool musical track starts playing--our sign that it's time to move on from that serious stuff and play some mahjong.
The adventure proceeds in the style of a digital comic, with bits of pointing and clicking necessary every so often. Thankfully, Jantei 3's artwork and animation are far superior to those of its predecessor.
And 3 is much wackier than 2 (and most other PC Engine games at that). It features a roster of deviants that includes a crazed centaur, a not quite fully armored (but quite perverted) knight, and a gargantuan school principal.
You'll engage these nutjobs in mahjong warfare and likely find them to be worthy (but not infuriatingly prescient) opponents. Some of them refuse to buckle even after suffering numerous defeats, so to speed things up, you'll probably want to spend points you earn for wins on "techniques" that enable you to cheat your way to quick victories.
Dispersed among the comic-style festivities and mahjong festivals are strange mini-games. You'll have to fend off a team of volleyball-playing maniacs and outmaneuver a wrestling-proficient cat-girl.
Fans of the game's immediate predecessor will be happy to discover that some old friends and foes play important roles in this episode. And said fans will hardly be surprised to learn that this chapter provides a substantial quantity of bare-skin shots.
Actually, Jantei 3 goes so far out of its way to be naughty that the panties-based gimmickry eventually wears out its welcome. While I hardly consider myself a PCE-playing prude, the gratuitousness reaches such absurd extremes that it really doesn't sit well with me, especially since it's juxtaposed with such a weighty opening. But the only other way in which the game proves irritating is in presenting a string of drawn-out mahjong-battles towards its conclusion. On the whole, it's well made and highly entertaining.