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2013-11-09

Demon Master Chris Review

Title: Demon Master Chris
Original title: デーモンマスタークリス
Release date: 2013-07-20
English release date: 2013-10-31
Developer: Nyaatrap
English publisher: MangaGamer

So, "Demon Master Chris" or DMC (not to be confused with THAT other game) is an eroge dungeon crawler. A small change from what I usually review and even strange due to the fact I don't even like dungeon crawlers. You ask, what egged me to try it out? It's yuri people! That's all I needed to know before diving in. The experience was underwhelming, but let's start from the beginning.

The first thing you will notice is that DMC is a very good looking game and that is probably its main strength. The art is colourful, vibrant and very very sweet. That's not surprising, though, as Nyaatrap is one half of the team that worked on "Sugar's Delight". The similarity of art direction cannot be left unmentioned, however it's also obvious that the art matured. Paper dolls are lively and display complex emotions. Backgrounds are simplistic but eye-pleasing, and the artist makes even the dungeons look not so boring. Of course, it's the CGs that are a real treat; a shame that there are so few of them and that ties to my complaints about the H-scenes.
The start of this delightful tail. Tail, get it?...
As you have noticed, this is an EROGE dungeon crawler, and not just any eroge - one that is yuri focused. There was a great opportunity to fittingly integrate the sex into the gameplay. So many chances to add "Game Over Rape" scenes or tie the sex scenes with certain story events. But no... The developer just had to add the good bits in a most random manner possible. H-scenes come completely out of nowhere and make little to no sense. One of the very first scenes literally happened while I was walking in a dungeon. Just bang and I'm being... banged by a Slime. I honestly thought that I accidentally pressed some button I wasn't supposed to, or that I encountered a bug that lets me view some later event.

People usually complain that sex is badly shoehorned into VNs (not that this is a VN), but DMC takes that badness to the eleven. It would be sort of understandable if the game was a nukige, but it actually isn't. It titillates us with lots of nudity during battles, but the actual sex scenes are few and far between. Well, at the very least there is something positive here: despite being composed of a single CG, most scenes are pleasant to read and yuri is always a bonus for me.
Succubi are bad at grammar.
Titillation and gameplay are obviously meant to be the core aspects of the game and they are tied together by the merest paper thin excuse of a plot. At the very beginning we see our protagonist Chris trying to summon demonic Overlord Leviathan. Why does she do it? Hell knows. I just want to comment that Chris is obviously not bright enough to realize that summoning Overlords is usually a bad idea. Things go to hell very quickly (literally) and Chris ends up being dragged into the Demon realm instead. She and her werecat companion Bel are picked up by a beautiful demoness Anna, who decides to help the pair in their quest to defeat Leviathan and get back to their world.

There is seriously nothing much going on in the plot department after that. Nothing to talk about the characters either as we barely get to know them. Let's just focus on the gameplay then. The game mechanics are seriously good. I surprised myself by finding that I enjoyed the dungeon crawling and the fights. I didn't appreciate the grinding, but let's leave that shittiness for the later.
Yes, yes I hope they are.
You and your companions have two bars: VP (Vitality Points a.k.a. your health) and AP (Action Points). Every action you take in the game consumes AP, be it a simple attack, a special or even a defencive stance. You can raise your AP by using a "Restore" command and your VP regenerate bit by bit every turn... as long as your clothes are intact. Clothes are shredded with critical hits that are completely random. Once you remove clothes from your enemy, and assuming that the enemy is lower or equal to your level, you can capture it into your party. You can acquire different skills by gathering various new outfits and you can upgrade those outfits using books for skills and seeds for basic properties. Sadly the game cheats. I turned Nurse's outfit into an über combat armour and breezed through the final dungeons with little to no problems. Imagine my annoyance when the game locked me into my default starting costume upon reaching the final boss. That's just cheap!

Majority of the costumes can be bought in a store, but some are secret and you need to jump through some hoops to acquire them (thanks I.M.X. from MG forums for the tips):
» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «
A typical combat screen.
I think I mentioned grinding and sadly I was not lying. The game is a grind fest from the beginning to the end. What's worse is that it's just a way to artificially lengthen the game as otherwise it would be pretty short and you could finish it in a few hours. There are only seven dungeons, but you need to spend lots of time in each of them in order to beat the boss and advance to the next one. I find grinding insufferably boring. While the combat mechanics were good, I found myself dozing once in a while after having to go through the same dungeon for the third time in order to level-up enough. Maybe an Easy Mode would have been less frustrating, but playing on Normal is the only way to get the True Ending. Oh yes, there are three endings to this game (though two of them are pretty similar). For those curious, here's how you get them:
» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

I admit that DMC could have been a great game. It had lesbians and, what's even more important, lesbian monster girls and engaging RPG mechanics, but it's marred by things that I cannot stand. Lots and lots of grinding, paper thin plot and an underwhelming epilogue. Add to that badly integrated and too few sex scenes and the promise of yuri is not enough to satisfy me nor, I think, any other yuri fan. Moreover, I don't know if it was a bug, or if I'm just an idiot, but some of the more powerful attacks refused to work most of the time. Bel's "Rolling Slash", Anna's "Aural Flare" and Alice's "Jabberwock" were inactive most of the time even if my AP bar was full. On the other hand, they would sometimes start working for no apparent reason.
I like the embarrassed Chris.
I couldn't say that I hated DMC, for it would be a lie. I would even claim to have enjoyed it to a certain extent, but it's a shallow game and not something that I would even think of replaying in the nearest future. Nearest being a hundred years or so. If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers and if only a few droplets of plot do not leave you underwhelmed, you might enjoy the game more than I did.

Links of Interest

Official Japanese site
Buy a digital English version of the game at MangaGamer (demo is also available)
Buy a physical English version of the game at MangaGamer, J-List.
Buy a digital Japanese version of the game at DLsite (demo is also available)
Lemma Soft thread

Final verdict: 59%

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/11/13 18:55

    For moves like Rolling Claw you have to have suffered the first level of clothing destruction to use them. The game was not clear about this but I got a hint from the werecat costume description.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, thanks. I have obviously missed that.

      Delete
  2. Astraea Rio is way better in term of character development.
    Oh well,I just hope that Nyaatrap can gains a lot of money from this game and create something with decent story in the future ( or at least still stick with yuri...)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous24/2/14 23:45

    Clothing damaging criticals aren't purely random. If you have low AP, getting hit has a high chance for criticals. And there's a number of moves that have a higher chance to damage clothing. I also didn't need much grinding for the first few dungeon levels, but towards the end it does indeed get tedious. Also, the movement controls felt a bit clunky, that could have been improved a bit.

    I personally was a bit annoyed that the game teases a certain "outfit" very early, but you only get to unlock it towards the end. I don't think a lot of people had an issue with that, though.

    ReplyDelete