Review by TheSAMMIES

Reviewed: 11/20/13

This game has the infamous Naked Prison Service scene

Warning! Alpha is a hentai game. It has rape, torture, and some really harsh nonconsensual bondage in only 16 colors. If you aren’t ready for this kind of game, too young, or easily offended by cartoon rape, then you should probably skip this game. It’s also going to be a little shocking that Alpha, a game with such dark sexual themes, is from the same company as classics like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, so if you’re a guy who doesn’t want to know about Squaresoft’s dark past, then you should also probably skip this one.

When I got into old Japanese computers, I read that Squaresoft and Enix had dark secrets locked away that they want you to forget. Being the curious man I am, I decided to check some of their games out. Alpha happens to be one of Squarsoft’s earliest game, a text adventure about a scantily clad space explorer who tries to save the day and tries not to get raped. I went into this one expecting something horrible, like Enix’s Lolita Syndrome or Mari-chan, but it actually turned out to be a decent game. If you’re into Squaresoft’s history and don’t care if your games have rape in them, then you may want to check out this curiosity.

Story- You play as Chris, the long haired woman on the box. Alpha is the name of the planet she’s exploring. Chris blasts bad guys with her ray gun, loves showing off her skin, and hates wearing pants. Unfortunately for Chris, her spaceship has crashed on a bad planet and she has to get off. The planet itself is a total hellhole, full of rapists, killer robots, and criminals. Can you help Chris off the planet Alpha? It’s a pretty hard game, so chances are, you’ll get raped, but if you try hard enough and know your way around the text parser, you may be able to save her.

The sex scenes in Alpha are always creepy and nonconsensual. One memorable scene has two rapists capturing Chris. The rapists in Alpha see her as an object of lust. She parades around half naked all the time and they lack the self-control to not rape her. They tie her up in their sex dungeon and take turns torturing and raping Chris. The game gets a little weird here, but it is kind of interesting to play a rape scene in a hentai game from the point of view of the girl getting raped instead of the woman hating rapist.

The story isn’t all dark and rapey, though. Alpha has a lot of sci-fi stuff too. There are plenty of scenes involving computers, robots, space ships, and aliens. The world of Alpha is pretty interesting and it has a lot of depth behind it. In fact, you’ll probably spend more time trying to outwit criminals and access computer files than in sex scenes. It’s just that the sex scenes are brutal and tend to stick with you for a time.

Presentation- Alpha is a port of an FM-7 game. It received no graphical or audio upgrades, so it ends up looking really bad next to a lot of later PC98 games. The graphics are mostly still images with rare animation touches. The sound is horrible and loud. It will make you want to turn your speakers off just so that you won’t have to listen. The game only uses 16 colors and the graphics resolution is very low, so don’t expect it to look amazing or anything. It is an FM-7 port after all.

Gameplay- Alpha is a text adventure that uses a text parser. This means that you have to type in verbs and hope that you typed in the correct one to advance the plot. If you type in the wrong one, you might die, get raped, get tortured, or even just sent back to an earlier part of the game. Typing the wrong command isn’t always going to get you a “Game Over”, but it usually will.

The big problem with Alpha is that it is linear. The game will occasionally branch, but there’s only one ending that isn’t a disaster or a cleverly disguised “Game Over”. Even then, whenever Alpha’s paths do bifurcate, you can bet that they will merge later on. It takes a lot of the replay value away and it can feel hindering to know that you can’t explore too much. If you can put up with this, Alpha is a fun good time, but just be warned that there are much better adventure games out there on the PC98.

Cool Fact- You can find hidden references of Square’s very first game The Death Trap strew about in Alpha. Alpha was originally going to be a sequel to The Death Trap, but the writers seemed to have other plans. Also, the main programmer for Alpha turned out to be the director for Seiken Densetsu 3. Pretty cool how Square can put its dirty secrets aside and make a masterpiece, right?

Also Try- Cruise Chaser Blassty is one of Square’s very first RPGs. It’s about giant robots running through mazes and blowing each other up. The story’s in Japanese, but the menus are in English, so it’s very playable for anyone interested in one of Square’s better Pre-Final Fantasy RPGs.

Rating: 6

Product Release: Alpha (JP, 07/04/86)

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