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2015-10-21

Total Seacat Island Review

Title: Total Seacat Island
Release date: 2013-05-05 (EP5)
Developer: Levani
Publisher: Levani

"Total Seacat Island" is the last Umineko fan-game worth talking about. Just like "Witches & Woodlands" it's a comedic affair, albeit an unfinished one. Indeed, only five episodes of TSI were released before the author discontinued his work due to not being satisfied with it. For that matter, you cannot even download the game anymore from its blog, as the links died and the developer never bothered to replace them. Frankly, I don't think the game was so bad, that the dev needed to drop it and never get back to it. To be fair, he had intended to remake TSI, but the endeavour stalled and eventually died too.

"Total Seacat Island" differs from other Umineko fan-games by being a completely standalone work and not requiring to have the original game installed on your system. The drawback of that is the whooping 3 GB size of it! Yes, the size is way too excessive and I wonder how bad was the developer at compressing audio and image files in order to birth such a monster. The audio folder alone weights 1 GB, and that is too much even with lots of original non-Umineko music added into the mix. Not to mention, that the game displays at only 640x480 resolution, despite using resources from the Alchemist remake of the original game.
Arrivals are suitably introduced.
Well, despite being of a low resolution, the game looks quite good, courtesy of borrowing background resources from some "Cartoon Network" show. Hell, some of the images still retain the CN logo in the lower right corner. Surprisingly the Alchemist sprites have a really good chemistry with the TV show backgrounds and create a suitable atmosphere for the theme of the game.

The said theme is a fourth wall breaking premise, where our beloved characters are shipped to an uninhabited island for the survival game with a goal of choosing the best Umineko character. If you have ever seen the "Survivor" reality show, or its many European variations, you'll immediately get the gist. The characters are split into two rival teams and every day they have to accomplish certain tasks with Zepar and Furfur as their hosts. In the evening the losing team has to vote one of their members off from the island. Essentially, there is no meaningful plot in TSI - the game carries itself solely on the shoulders of its humour.
Go for the eyes, Boo!
In order to achieve the comical effect, the personalities of the characters have been exaggerated to the ridiculous proportions. All their complexes and neuroses have been brought forth and upped to the eleven, and serve as the primary fuel of amusement. Some of the characters still remain reasonably sane, but others, like Rosa, are portrayed as 100 % pure distilled psychopaths. Our token "mother of the year" has been changed into a swearing, gun-totting, ass-kicking ball of awesome. She is still an abusive mother, who hits her daughter for the most minuscule of reasons, but at least she is teaching Maria to swear and shoot guns. That should engender some goodwill... from NRA at least. Though even she cannot compete with Natsuhi's impressive feat of accidentally shooting Dlanor 30 times.
The start of darkness.
What's the most surprising, is that our meek boy George is turned into a very effective villain of the game. While his portrayal in TSI has nothing to do with his original personality in Umineko, I cannot deny that I found a perverted George, who decides to screw everything up for the evulz, to be a very funny concept. Though I have a feeling that he wasn't intended to feature as the main villain for the full game and only gets the status of the Big Bad due to the development stalling at EP5.

Your enjoyment of the game will very much depend on your fondness for slapstick humour. TSI humour is much more lowbrow and less intelligent than that of its cousin "Witches & Woodlands" - it even includes fart jokes, for fuck's sake, but it can also get quite funny in some cases. There is no drama in this VN, even though the title changes to "Total Drama Island" halfway through the game. Scratch that, there is a lot of drama, if you consider everyone trying to screw everyone else in the most outrageous way to be "drama". George tries to make his team lose, Bernkastel tries to win at any price (when she is not being chased by sharks), Lambdadelta screws with Bern, Ange is a scapegoat for every mishap and Gohda chases girls through the woods with a chainsaw... What?!
Lambdadelta the voyeur.
There is a lot going on in this VN, but its greatest failing is non-relatability. There is simply no single sympathetic character to root for. Battler and Beatrice are pushed to the sidelines and somehow manage to be the least interesting members of the cast. They are overshadowed by much more vibrant personalities of Bernkastel, Lambdadelta, Erika, Rosa and George, however, neither of those is a character you want to particularly root for. Thus, with no relatable character, I felt detached from the game and its plot.

The game also contains a few bugs. The backlog glitches and you should strive not to use it, otherwise you'll have to enter and exit the menu a few times before the glitches disappear from the screen. Moreover, the music disappears after loading a saved game, and only reappears after the track changes. not to mention, that the game is unfinished, which will be a major turn-off for many players. However, considering there is no particular storyline to follow, and you play TSI just for the jokes, its unfinished status doesn't seem so relevant after all.
Eva just doesn't give up.
All in all, "Total Seacat Island" is a slightly above average comedic piece with no pretensions to grandeur. Take it at face value, and you might get a few hours of cheap laughs.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Official site
Download links: Part1, Part2, Part3

Final Verdict: 71%

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hi there! Recently stumbled upon your blog, and really liked your reviews and your choice to even cover fan-games! Do you also happen to have any links for this game:
    http://beliar-cos.blogspot.com/2011/12/rise-fall-review.html
    All links on the Internet seem to be dead. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Sigh. The links to indie VNs are prone to dying, but usually there are other sources to download the game. Sadly, I cannot find any alternative DL links to "Rise and Fall". The large size of the game (about 700 MB) might have something to do with it. If sometime in the future I manage to find a working link, I'll update the review page, but right now I had no luck.

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    2. No problem, thanks!

      It's a pity that there's no more link available, especially since it looks interesting with its similarity to Umineko.

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