Transfer Student (PC) review
"Initially set for release in 1999, Transfer Student was a highly anticipated title in the English bishoujo game market. Advance word indicated the game would feature many desirable elements: multiple endings, multiple girls, and of course multiple sexual encounters. Add to that the fact the game was coming from JastUSA, a company whose triumvirate of Seasons of the Sakura, Three Sisters' Story, and Runaway City had made an important impression on North Ameri..."
Initially set for release in 1999, Transfer Student was a highly anticipated title in the English bishoujo game market. Advance word indicated the game would feature many desirable elements: multiple endings, multiple girls, and of course multiple sexual encounters. Add to that the fact the game was coming from JastUSA, a company whose triumvirate of Seasons of the Sakura, Three Sisters' Story, and Runaway City had made an important impression on North American fans. Transfer Student seemed destined to take its place amongst the great games of its genre. Customers happily placed their preorders, expecting the new release within the span of months. However, that was not to be.
Financial turmoil pushed Jast to the precipice of nonexistence. Left without the support of its Japanese partner, JastUSA basically had to rebuild the game from scratch, pushing the release back to late 2002. Most fans had stayed interested, though, but the market had changed as more and more worthy titles were localized into English. The company Peach Princess had made an impact with the artistic Snow Drop, the mysteriously popular X-Change, and the boisterous Tokimeki Check-in!. Also, G-Collections was on the verge of making a huge splash with its first releases, including its crown jewel of Kana ~Little Sister~. The features that had promised to make Transfer Student popular were no longer so rare; the newer title no had the game at a distinct disadvantage.
The little bishoujo adventure did try to put up a fight. Most of it comes from the novelty of its preposterous premise: much of the sex in the game is a figment of the main character's overactive imagination. The player takes control of this young man, gives him a name, and leads him through his last month of school. The kid isn't exactly irresitable, though, and most women won't give him the time of day. To satisfy himself he must resort to his dreams, and almost every woman he sees will play the lead in a twisted fantasy.
However, there are some girls that really do care about our hero. First there's Terumi, who is always accompanied by fast-paced and nerveracking music. Being an older student, it's not really apparent if she likes or looks down on her younger friend. Then there's Motoka, his super cute stepsister who will do almost anything to get his attention. Finally, there's Shiho, a mysterious yet familiar transfer student. Gentle as the music box tune that coincides with her presence, Shiho seems like she stepped right out of a dream. If you can choose one of these girls and play the game just right, then you may achieve a happy ending plus have some naughty fun along the way!
The amount of fun you have depends on how you play. Every one of the thirty simulated days you'll go through the same grind: walk to school, look at girls, and then go home. The main purpose of these daily activities involves the management of your ''excite score,'' a meter that reflects your level of sexual energy. Every time you meet a girl, you'll have to check her out, and your excite score will either rise or fall. When you decide that it's time to have another fantasy, the level will determine it's length. You have to build up this level over and over again to get the most enjoyment.
Unfortunately, this innovative tool fails because of its repetitive nature. When you meet a girl and talk with her, the conversation will be the same every time, which obviously quickly grows tiresome. Also, your imaginary romps have little to do with the actual outcome of the game. In fact, you can skip them altogether. Instead of allowing the excite meter to contribute to the selection of your desired mate, the game will occasionally present you with a decision. It's these choices that will lead you to happiness or destroy the possibility of achieving the ideal ending. During these rare instances, the girls' personalities are allowed to show.
In the end, these two aspects seem so separate that the game suffers from the unique problem of seeming both too short and too long. The daily routine is so repetitive that managing the excite score becomes increasingly annoying as the storyline progresses. Any actual wooing of the girls is interspersed so infrequently between your ogling that it fades into the background and remains underdeveloped. Regrettably, this means you'll have many more routine conversations than meaningful dialogue. As a result, none of the girls have a chance to move past her stock character type and are ultimately forgettable. The lack of any emotional impact leaves the player unfulfilled at game's end.
Of course, the game can still be fun if you view it more as a light romp than a serious love simulation. You'll get to feast your eyes on ten beautiful women. The minor characters have four CG each, while the main ones feature seven or eight. The sex scenes can be a little kinky, but for the most part they stay away from fetishes and within the bounds of normal sex. Consistent with other efforts from JastUSA, the art style is fairly detailed but unspectacular. As with most other games in this genre, the scenes are static, but the speaking character's face is displayed in a box in the corner of the screen and reflects any change in expression. Unfortunately, the game doesn't have voice support, so you don't receive the full impact of the material.
Transfer Student is a mediocre title that, because of production mishaps, missed its only window for success. Its unique concept can't rescue the gameplay from the repetitive doldrums. In fact, it causes them, and then so overwhelms the story and characters that it collapses upon itself. With so many better games now available, only the most completist collector would be interested in acquiring the obscure Transfer Student.
Community review by woodhouse (August 21, 2004)
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