Vist Genki!

Format: PC98
From: Gainax
Year of Release: 1990
Onscreen Language: Japanese

Top O Nerae! Gunbuster

Dennou Gakuen III
(Cybernetic Hi-School III)

The game is set aboard the Exelion and the player's goal is to locate Jung Freud, Kazumi and finally Noriko and pass the science quiz they each set for you. Interaction is simple- click the icons on the right of the screen- the whole game is controlled by mouse.

Each quiz consists of three rounds or missions as they are called here (four in the case of Noriko) each one lasting for 25 True-or-False questions. You need to score 80% or higher to pass the mission and to move onto the next. If you fail to pass a round, outside of the first, it isn't game over however you will be set back a round. The amount of percent you gain/loose per question varies as the mission progresses and the question order is completely random so you'll not be able to cheat that way! Each of your opponents has a new pool of questions and the size of the pool increases. With Freud you'll soon be seeing questions you recognise with repeat attempts but by Noriko you'll rarely see the same question twice.

As I mentioned at the start the questions you'll be answering are based on Science backed up with a little Science Fiction. As if this wasn't hard enough all the questions are of course in Japanese. You only have a limited time to answer too so you'll need to be super-fast with the phrase book! If it all becomes too much for you you can hit the Panic Button and play a nice game of Grand Prix instead. Seriously.

Now for the bit you won't be expecting, unless you're already aware of the Dennou Gakuen series. Successfully passing a mission rewards you with a saucy picture of your opponent! Pass all three missions and you'll receive a nudie picture! Not the sort of thing I was expecting from an official game but having looked into it I found that, while this may have been the first, Gainax aren't afraid of exploiting their leading ladies. Strip Mahjong etc games staring the female casts of Gunbuster, Evangelion, Nadia and others have appeared across a number of formats over the years with a new PC game released only this year! It seems like a bit of a shallow way to market such intelligent series but if that's what the fans want then why not give it to them before someone else does.

The intense difficulty of the quiz sections goes a tiny way to masking the brevity of the game. Provided you passed all the "missions" first time you could complete the whole game in less than an hour. There is very little exploration to be done and what little there is is very linear. For instance at the start of the game only approx five or six rooms are available to you. Once you locate and beat Freud you'll unlock the next floor of Exelion but loose all the previous rooms and so it continues forcing you in the correct direction.

What little plot there is is conveyed through the Talk & Look actions. Your unnamed character must recover the three sections of the Gunbuster Power Plant Control (by defeating the three girls) and thereby rest control of Gunbuster back from the out-of-control guidance computer OHAL-9801 who is planning to use it for a rampage of destruction.

The game's authenticity is impressive. Through being programmed by the OAV's creators you get perfect recreations of the Exelion's interior and all the characters make an appearance- even the ghost of Toren Smith! The music from the series is used through out to good effect and the few sound effects there are (correct & incorrect buzzers) do their job. The presentation is top-notch, from appearances you wouldn't know this was an Ecchi game, and the graphics for the most part are very good. The character designs in the Ecchi pictures are spot-on but the artwork is a little basic and not up to the usual PC98 standard for still images.

I'm not sure if this game will appeal to many people. Those dirty sods among you who want to see Noriko in the nud are better off rewatching the series' famous fan service scenes as they'll have virtually no chance of correctly guessing the correct answer to 75 random Japanese language science questions in a row. Those of you not interested in anime cheesecake won't find anything else to do in this game, except maybe the Panic Button Grand Prix. For a very specific breed of Gunbuster Fan only!

NOTE: In the late 90's Gainax released three volumes of Gunbuster art, music and interviews for the PC. The full version of this game was also available of volume 3.

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