Sentimental Shooting (PC) review
"Your concentration wavers as her smile catches your eye. What was supposed to be a quick glance turns into a second-long stare as you survey her girlish face and fine figure. Try to forget her vulnerable position, that in a few more seconds her shirt will explode and only her lingerie will remain. The vibrant music only further detaches you from the battle, obscuring the sound of enemy fire. You only hear a dull explosion, switching your focus only to see your ship disintegrate and the words ''G..."
Your concentration wavers as her smile catches your eye. What was supposed to be a quick glance turns into a second-long stare as you survey her girlish face and fine figure. Try to forget her vulnerable position, that in a few more seconds her shirt will explode and only her lingerie will remain. The vibrant music only further detaches you from the battle, obscuring the sound of enemy fire. You only hear a dull explosion, switching your focus only to see your ship disintegrate and the words ''Game Over'' slide onto the screen...
And then you hit start again without a second thought, because Sentimental Shooting is just that addictive. On one hand, the game provides excellent graphics of the girls from the popular Japanese dating simulation game and anime Sentimental Graffiti. On the other, it gives us an entertaining and difficult little shooter. Either aspect could have stood well on its own, but together the unique combination of hentai doujin material and 2-D scrolling shooter make an absolutely brilliant game.
The bare bones of the shooting portion of the game is standard fare. Insect-inspired enemies emerge from all four sides of the screen, assaulting you with every kind of ammunition : round and skinny, small and large, slow and fast. Fortunately, your ship is well fortified, vulnerable only on its tiny cockpit. This makes it easier to maneuver through waves of bullets, to bob and weave around enemy formations. Additionally, it's equipped with a powerful laser with a large range, allowing you to easily obliterate the competition.
Sounds simple so far, right? However, the developers of the game decided to add a creative touch. Instead of the battles taking place over bland military installments, barren earth, or even among the stars; the fights in Sentimental Shooting rage with innocent high schools girls as the backdrop. And these girls aren't just static spectators, they're the central part of the action. In some fluke of technology, your ship's laser won't damage lily white skin, but it will rip right through any type of fabric. Enemies be damned! Your tiny vessel's only goal is to obliterate every stitch of clothing from each girl's body. As if undressing an anime schoolgirl weren't fun enough on its own, this game offers enough challenge to keep you busy for hours.
The game features accurate and well-drawn representations of all twelve of the cute Graffiti girls : Asuka, Akira, Honoka, Emiru, Chie, Kaho, Manami, Miyuki, Rurika, Taeko, Wakana, and Yuu. Each one presides over two stages, accentuated by bright backgrounds and lively, catchy music that fits her character. In the first stage, you must remove one-hundred percent of her school uniform, leaving her vulnerably displayed in only her bra and panties. Fail and you're sent back to the menu screen to choose a new target. Succeed and you advance to the boss stage where, distracted by the girl's seductive pose, you must somehow gather your senses, ravenously shoot off her undergarments, and defeat an ammo-spewing boss. After all this, your reward is an eyeful of anime nudity.
Success, however, requires a great deal of both strategy and skill. Even on the easiest level of difficulty, enemies will flood the screen with projectiles, bending your ability to dodge to the breaking point. Sure, you could blow them out of the air easily enough. However, because of the scrolling screen, only portions of the girl's body will be visible as you hover over her like a mosquito. With only a limited period available to remove some articles of clothing, the player has to make a tough choice between lessening the number of attacking enemies or ridding the girl of a pesky sock, skirt, or sleeve. As frustrating as it may be, missing a even the smallest scrap early in the game means you're done before you really even started. Many stages you'll have to replay more than a few times before formulating an effective pattern of attack.
This isn't to say that you will be banging your head all day trying to beat the game. The easy difficulty setting may not be a walk, but one should be able to overcome its obstacles in a reasonable amount of time. This is good news for any bishoujo game player used to less taxing menu-driven gameplay or horny adolescent boys just wanting to see the naked female form. Sadists, or scrolling shooter vets, can crank the settings up to the hardest level, increasing the frantic pace of the game ten-fold. On the difficult setting, stronger enemies make more frequent appearances. Their massive frames cover the entire width of the screen, and each vomits enough ammo to make your quest of destroying clothes almost impossible. Unfortunately, those hardcore enough to take on the increased challenge do not get any hardcore rewards; all levels of difficulty reveal the same two pictures of each girl.
Regardless of these limitations, Sentimental Shooting offers attractive components for most any audience. Whether you're a true bishoujo game player used to a different kind of hand-eye coordination or a gamer not accustomed to frequent nudity, the game provides enough challenge to give the player a rare, exciting test of skill and self-control. A computer sits in front of you at this very moment. Put it to good use; find this game immediately.
Community review by woodhouse (June 14, 2004)
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