GAME REVIEWS

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mahjong Clinic Special


~ MAHJONG CLINIC SPECIAL ~
Naxat Soft
Super CD-ROM
1993

Disregard the "Special" part and you'll find that this game's title provides a good idea of what it's all about: you roam the halls of a clinic and play mahjong with the patients, workers, and loiterers you come across.


It should come as a surprise to no one that only girls are to be encountered in this clinic--and that said girls aren't hesitant to strip in the presence of a mahjong-playing mate.


Options are occasionally presented, and the selections you make determine just how much skin you'll get to see.


None of the images are particularly naughty or racy, however.


All of this is typical PCE-mahjong-game nonsense, but the triteness isn't particularly problematic. The real issue is that there's nothing random about the tiles you're dealt in any given match. The game provides preset hands that are often tough to work with. Of course, if you stumble around enough, you'll eventually become familiar with all of those hands, and then the title becomes a puzzle game of sorts--figure out how to win with the motley assortments of tiles you're given.

Even if you take the most direct path to the end, you'll run across plenty of hand-repeats. You can see me defeating two different girls with the exact same playing-piece arrangement in the following screens (notice that the matches proceeded in identical fashions right down to every last discarded tile):


Of course, once you've sussed out the correct way to proceed with each hand, you can systematically thrash your rendered-helpless opponents.


The bits of story that link these all-too-predictable matches are largely negligible, but the game won't hesitate to toss hands that can't be won with at those who stray from the "proper" path in order to "nudge" them towards the characters it wants them to deal with.

The real shame here is that a couple of good tunes, not to mention commendable usage of said tunes, are utterly wasted. Each contest commences with a pleasant, loungy track that's replaced by a much more intense number once a player calls reach. The switch really did increase the game's level of excitement the first time I experienced it and made me believe I was in for some fun times and exhilarating matches. Man, was I wrong.

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