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2013-10-24

Dra†KoI Review

Title: Dra†KoI
Original title: 竜†恋
Release date: 2006-02-03
English release date: 2013-04-21
Developer: Nitroplus
English publisher: TLWiki (as a fan-patch)

Another review - another Nitroplus game. This time it's a small, short and completely insane piece named "Dra+KoI".

Actually, "Dra+KoI" has never been released as a standalone game, but rather it was included in "Sabato Nabe: Nitro Amusement Disc", together with a "Hanachirasu" fan-disc and "Nitro Wars". It was translated not so long ago by our resident troll Moogy and I finally got around to playing it.

"Lust and appetite are really no different; both are a desire to integrate another lifeform into yourself"
Boy meets girl; girl eats boy.
The game starts with a dragon falling down to Earth. Normally that would be an extraordinary event, but in the game world it's kind of a usual occurrence. Japanese SDF just sighs and engages the monster into a battle that levels much of the city. When all hope is apparently lost, a black knight appears and seemingly defeats the dragon. Then the narrative shifts to your everyday normal schoolboy with anger management issues (or maybe it's Moogy's Woolseyisms that make it seem so), who witnessed the battle and is subsequently attacked by a girl intending to eat him. Apparently the dragon shapeshifted into a cute girl and is currently stalking the protagonist. One thing leads to another, and we are treated to a scene where the dragon, the protagonist, his mum (who is incidentally the SDF General) and several mooks in power armour exoskeletons end up sharing a tea in the protagonist's house. There is a reason why I called this game insane.
Mad Hatter's party.
Things start making a bit of sense once you realize that this is not the story about a boy and a dragon. This is a story about a boy and a dragon, or rather every such story ever told or ever to be told. It took me an hour to realize that none of the characters in the game even have names. That is because the names do not matter at all - they are living tropes, which is illustrated by one stream of consciousness scene bringing forth the Jungian archetypes into the play. The dragon is here to wreck havoc and the hero is here to kill the dragon. He is every St. George or Siegfried that has ever existed, which is made even funnier when the dragon starts discussing the Nibelungenlied with the protagonist. Those who have read the original lay or watched the Fritz Lang's movies know that in the end Siegfried learned that the princess in in the other castle. Damn. The game has four possible endings, thus it's for you to decide if that is the ending you will get or if you will avoid getting the short stick.

Despite representing ideas, rather than being full bodied characters, the protagonist and the dragon still end up very likable. The dragon especially so. Her mischievousness and playful malice really got me caring for her and hoping for the good ending. At the same time the protagonist, despite his overall angry disposition toward the world and devil may care attitude, is proactive and gets shit done. But of course - that is what the Story requires.
Itadakimasu.
"Dra+KoI" is a story about the making of stories. It's a story that shows that people need Romance stories to experience something they cannot experience by themselves anymore. And stories are a way to connect to the times of yore. To sum up, "Dra+KoI" is metafiction, which means it belongs to the same subgenre of VNs as "Umineko" and "Koihime Musou". It's probably a good thing that the game is very short and can be finished in 2-3 hours, otherwise my head would have assploded.

From the technical point of view the game is pretty damn impressive. The graphics are vibrant and lively. Despite being such a short project, the game is not minimalistic in this approach and uses more advanced art than "Saya no Uta" or "Phenomeno". CGs, paper-dolls and backgrounds are all very pleasing to the eye. There are no voices, but the soundtrack more than makes up for that. It's great just like all "Nitroplus" soundtracks, but in this case actual songs with vocals are added into the mix. It's all very fitting and very jarring at the same time... just like the plot elements.
Evil smile comes naturaly to all females.
What's most unusual about the game is that I loved the sex scenes. Yes, they were great. I won't discuss their place in the story as I'm a pervert and sex always has a place in the story for me. I will discuss execution, which is both hilarious and heartwarming. I absolutely love when a VN dares to give us a sexually aggressive heroine and Miss Dragon is definitely that. Even when the protagonist supposedly takes charge, she is still obviously in control. It's so refreshing that majority of the clichés associated with H-scenes are absent from "Dra+KoI" that I almost want to cry and the banter between our characters during coitus is pure gold.

Well, this was a short review but it's simply too hard to talk about this VN - you simply have to experience it yourself. That is, if you can stomach metafiction. It's not my favourite genre, but I did like "Dra+KoI". It was concise and pretty sweet in its own messed up way.

"Humans begin and end with dreams, just like dragons"

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Official Japanese site
TLWiki site for the English translation
» Walkthrough «

Final Verdict: 81%

2 comments:

  1. I'm surprised that you didn't mention about what one of the endings taught us. That it is fine to break tradition in order to love, as the choice "faithful" and "unfaithful" at the end represented. xD Or perhaps that was intentional? In that case, well, pretend that I didn't wrote this.

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    1. It wasn't really intentional. I just didn't find it important enough to talk about in a review.

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