Name: Dream of Red Chamber (61.00% in 10 votes)
Release date: 1998
Reviewed by: Darklord
Dream of Red Chamber is another H-ADV by Soft World Corp. adopted from a famous Chinese classic novel. This game is an ADV and SLG hybrid. And if it wasn't for the H-scenes, it almost reminded me of Eberouge.
Here, you take on the role of Ja Bau Yui, the son of a Chinese noble family who is preparing to take the imperial bureaucratic examination in three months..
During this period, you will meet the inhabitants of your family's palatial estate and develop relationships with various female characters through storyline events and talking with them. There are eight female characters you can end up marrying, with two more you can H with, and a hidden character I have not encountered.
There are seven relevant stats in the game: Health, Talent, Scholarship, Manner, Spirituality, Strength, and Charisma. Not all of them are essential to passing the imperial examination, but they do determine which ending you go into. For example, if you have high Spirituality rating, you're more likely to go into the monk ending (Which is what happened in the novel).
After 90 game days, you will leave for the imperial examination and into one of the various endings based on your relationship with the various female characters and your own stats. Endings range from passing the exam and marrying the woman of your choice to becoming a begger. So its up to you to determine Bau Yui's fate this time around. (Maybe becoming a monk was not the wisest thing to do, no?)
Game Play: 5/10
Soft-World really needs to debug their product more throughly before releasing it. This game crashed with alarming frequency. Furthermore, although it advertises Win95 support, the game will only run in Dos mode. As far as game play is concerned, the interface is a little clunky. The inclusion of a weekly planner would have been welcomed, because things got a bit repetitive after you gone through the events and just want to develop your character. At that point, traveling through the estate to get to the various tutors became quite tiresome, especially when there was another 25 days until the end.
The story is fairly engaging. Each female character has a distinct personality and reacts differently depending on your stats. Additionally, the multiple endings make the game very replayable. (Dammit, I'm not going to become a monk this time around!).
The graphic is what kept the game going for me. The character designs are very well done, and the background art is very nicely rendered.
The music has a classical Chinese feel to it, and combined with the nice graphic, it helped to make the game an immersive experience despite the frequent crashes.
This is probably the best Chinese H-game out there on the market right now. The graphic, story, and music are all excellent. It is a shame Soft World did not take some more time to debug this game, otherwise it would be outstanding instead of merely good.
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