Ace of Spades (PC) review
"There's a casino-bar where all the big movers like Mr Sidewalker go, where the playboys about town don't have to bet money (or anything apparently) and where half the staff seem to be enslaved by the other half. Playboys who win at blackjack and poker are fed the slave staff for nasty bondage sex, and then can play their way through to having the dealers and hostesses as well. This is the big bright cheery world of Ace of Spades (AOS), a hentai game of no repute alternating simple, rapidf..."
There's a casino-bar where all the big movers like Mr Sidewalker go, where the playboys about town don't have to bet money (or anything apparently) and where half the staff seem to be enslaved by the other half. Playboys who win at blackjack and poker are fed the slave staff for nasty bondage sex, and then can play their way through to having the dealers and hostesses as well. This is the big bright cheery world of Ace of Spades (AOS), a hentai game of no repute alternating simple, rapidfire blackjack and poker playing with bouts of quality time shared with an increasingly explicit series of six unhappy anime pictures of each slave or staff member.
'Jill has good skill of water work,' enthuses cutie-pie blackjack dealer Adelie shortly after I enter the casino. 'If you would like to take her, become an winner.'
Translation on the version of this game I played was incomplete, but based on exchanges similar to the above one, I don't think I've missed out on much. The graphic design is expressive, and the unhappy and pained expressions of tied-up women speak volumes about each of their plights in life – which I imagine are all variations on, 'Help! I'm a sex slave in a casino-bar in a hentai game!'
Adelie looks attractive in her red suit with the neat lines, and on the blackjack screen she poses dramatically with a card as if it was a magical frisbee about to be hurled by some superheroine. What's most interesting about AOS is the contrast between the upbeat casino fun and the downbeat slave and bondage scenarios. The only girls who ever smile, unsurprisingly, are the dealers and maitre d's, as they have some power and don't have to farm themselves off to depraved gamblers immediately. A fairly luminous atmosphere is created around the casino, both through the background graphics and through the dress and manner of the all-female staff.
When you start on the card games, you'll swear that everyone in the casino must be having a great time. The hectic background music is enjoyable enough, and the controls to 'hit', 'stand' or 'change' cards as required are so close to each other onscreen, and the responses so swift, that you can race through these sequences like a slot machine junkie.
'Burst! cries Adelie each time the Blackjack card count 'busts' through the twenty-one barrier, thanks to a train wreck of a translation that surely could only achieve such Freudian heights through sheer dumbness.
When your 'reward' comes, the music is totally maudlin and the mood totally down-in-the-dumps. Girls start with a nervous or depressed glance back over their shoulders, and then it's straight into the ropes, stirrups, strangling, contortions and object insertions.
Jill, for instance, the first blackjack prizegirl, is a tiny, pale, morose-looking maid with boobs pointing to the sides. Though not all her text is translated here, it's obvious that she has some bad victim pathology, and before you know it she's making an ugly sexual spectacle of herself. After you've seen the wine glass filled up, you probably won't be having any more drinks in the casino.
I noticed that June, a vaguely professional-looking lady to be found hanging around the foyer, was struggling to have her bosom contained by her shirt, but her huge sick-looking eyes and dopey dialogue – 'I'm looking for something to fun' – should have warned me that she was in fact the SUPER-DAMAGED LADY I'd end up with every time I played cards badly. After each loss, you have to go off with June in a state of further gracelessness. The third time you flunk, there's some spreadeagling screen where I can't even tell what's supposed to have happened, except that June looks pretty gross and unhappy, and the game is proclaiming 'YOU LOSE.' It wouldn't surprise me to find that in the untranslated text you'll click through at this point, June is in fact revealing that she has some awful venereal disease. You can opt to continue or game-load your way out of such freakiness.
It takes three winning rounds of a game to travel the full eightfold path with any one lady (or three losing rounds to slide down June's eightfold path.) And you can't just stay at the one game table, you have to conquer both blackjack and poker to see all of AOS. The poker's very basic, so that even a poker ignoramus like myself can bluster through eventually with his pairs and triplets. Ultimately there's about an hour's worth of content in AOS if you're moving swiftly. With a full translation, there'd be a lot more reading time, since each picture's arrival is accompanied by what appears to be a fair bit of dialogue, but it's hard for me to imagine what this might be except embellishment of what's already bleedingly obvious.
There's almost no onscreen involvement by 'you', the protagonist, in this game, and frankly I don't see much room to move in there anyway amongst all the ropes and objects, let alone any vacant slots. If this typically soul-destructive kind of hentai fantasy is the fantasy to float your fantasy boat, AOS has it in spades. (HA!) For everyone else, this is highly disreputable sleaze, which I only played and reviewed for the sake of participating in a hentai reviewing competition.
Community review by bloomer (February 06, 2004)
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