Review by OrochiSonic
Don't expect a second date.
The Tokimeki Memorial series of date sims is one of the most respected and well known dating game series of all time, and as per usual when something becomes mega popular it isnt uncommon to see the company (in this case Konami) who released it take advantage of the interest in the original game by milking the series for all its worth. Tokimeki on the Saturn alone saw a series of side games and puzzle titles, and there was also this special game that focused solely (and boy do I mean solely) on the main heroin of the series: Fujisaki Shiori. Yes, fans of the red haired anime girl will find that this game is all about her and that none of the other characters from the series make an appearance at all, but what exactly is this game?
Upon booting up the disk, the main menu will display all the different modes of the game. The first mode is music clip mode, here you can watch two animated music videos where Shiori sings and dances in front of real life back drops. Creepy? You bet. Funny? In an odd 1997 sort of way. The animation is jerky and limited, and the two videos will raise eyebrows if anyone enters the room while youre playing the game based on how bizarre it is.
The next mode, and I guess this is the main mode of the game, is the special date mode. Here, you can go on a date with Shiori in any one of the four seasons. This plays out like the original Tokimeki Memorial date sim, in that you converse with Shirori and are given choices of dialogue to say to her to influence how the date goes. Unlike the original game, these dates last a total of one to two minutes max! For example, here is the spring date in its entirety: Shirori says how pretty the cherry blossoms are, you tell her youre hungry and so the two of you go to a cafe. Shiroi mentions how the spaghetti at this place is good, and you can either say you like spaghetti? or you like pizza? She says yes to either option and you can reply wow, I had not heard that you liked it, or spaghetti, eh? She says she likes it again and the date is over. Really, thats how limited these special dates are and the writing is just so unbearably boring that one wonders why Konami even bothered to put this mode in the game at all. I thought the Winter date would be sweet, when you are given a chance to kiss Shiori, but sadly, you can not kiss her, if you select that option when prompted, the main character gets nervous and has to give her a present instead. What a tease!
The next mode is the rock paper scissors mode. Here you play the timeless game of chance and mental wit, and its pretty tough because not only do you have to beat what she throws down, you then have to match which way she is going to look to get the point. First one to 3 points wins, and every time you win you unlock a picture. So, if youre desperate to see Shirori laying down or wearing a hat, then I guess this is the mode where you will spend most of your time. At least most of the rock paper scissors games on Saturn will reward you with stripping, but not so here of course as Tokiemeki has always been an all ages title.
Following that mode are two throwaway excuses of space on the disk; the portrait and voice modes. Here, you just look at pictures and listen to voice clips. After that, youre just left with options where you can toggle the speed of the cursor on the menus. And thats it. Thats the entire game. In the time it took you to read this review, you probably would have seen nearly everything in the game.
To be fair, the graphics all look quite nice, with Shiori herself being drawn very cute and looking great. Yeah, the music videos look very dated, but its a cool concept and might have looked interesting back in 97 when the game was released.
The music is forgettable, its all bright and cheery and goes well with the nature of this game, but as soon as you turn off the Saturn the music will vanish from your mind. The main theme from the original game is in the opening intro, and I guess the two music video tunes were somewhat catchy and sounded crisp and clean. Shioris voice sounds great, and the main character is not voiced.
When it comes down to it, this is just a fan disk for die hard Tokimeki Memorial fans. But even then, I enjoy these games quite a bit but I found this to be a huge disappointment. If only the dates had more substance and there was just more to the game, I could certainly recommend this one to others, but as it stands you can see all the content of this game within the first half hour of playing (or maybe hour or so, if you are trying to unlock all 10 pictures in the rock paper scissors mode). But if the sound of 2 minute dates and scrolling through a few pictures and sound bytes sounds fun to you, I guess you could pick up this game. Or not. Sorry Shiori, but you arent getting a call back for a second date from me.
Product Release: Tokimeki Memorial Selection: Fujisaki Shiori (JP, 03/27/97)
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