Foreword: Okay! Another old game finished! My first game from the company “White Cyc”, I’m not sure why I was attracted by this title, but it’s definitely one that I’ve been eye’ing for a while. Nonetheless, I got around to finishing it.
Holy shit it’s long.
Seriously. It’s a decent story and all that good stuff, but it’s so freaking long! The game repeats every 20 lines in SOME different way, using a different kanji that ultimately mean the same thing. This is the best definition of what players (and readers) might call a “filler”.
Well, I’ll try to get into this more with the Comments Section. Otherwise, this was really… normal o_e;;
WARNING: This review contains intentional spoilers that reveal the story. Read at your own Risk.
Title: クロガネの翼 -The Alchemist’s Story- (Kurogane no Tsubasa) [Lit. Trans: Iron Wing or Wing of Black Gold]
Producers: White Cyc
Release Date: December 11, 2009
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v2918
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=666888 (Caution: Getchu Page contains spoilers)
Game Type: Fantasy Novel with themes of self-identity
Summary: Natsuki was suddenly informed by his father that he is getting remarried. While being awkward at first, his new mother and younger sister are very friendly, and the new family get along very well. One day, as Natsuki goes out to play with his friend Masamune and Nanami, they come across a fortune teller who informs Natsuki that he will be “forced to make a crucial decision”. As they ponder about what that meant, they also come across a girl confronting a few delinquents who are infamous for their violence. As she kicks the sidekicks (icwutididthar), the leader pulls out a knife. Natsuki then instinctively covers the girl, while Masamune disables the leader easily. The trio runs away as police sirens fill the air, with the girl staring blankly.
Turns out, both this fortune teller and the girl that Natsuki covers will transfer into their school.
Even as Natsuki has strange powers of alchemy, which allows him to turn rock into shiny marble, he despises this power, and has learned to live a normal life. He becomes so headstrong about being “normal” that some of the people around him find him strange. Despite his ideals, Natsuki soon finds out that what the fortune teller told him comes true–he will be forced into a series of events which will destroy his “normal” life.
Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Difficult
Comments: Apparently, this game features a storyline where you have to completely clear Lilith and Nadia’s story first, then start over to reach Nanami’s route, and then finish off with Haruna’s route. Despite this sophisticated engine design, there’s really no meaning within each route, except for the fact that they rise in quality and description.
The siblings are a bit… too close
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: Frankly, this game was pretty boring. With lines repeating (with just different words that mean the same thing), I found myself pretty much skimming through Natsuki’s long-ass narrations and presentation of thoughts as I searched each route for “good plot”.
Turns out, both Lilith’s and Nadia’s route sucks. Nothing is explained in those routes except for the individual characters, and these traits carry on to Nanami and Haruna’s route. In a sense, I kinda understand why White Cyc made it so Haruna/Nanami was unavailable until you got the background story for the two “lesser” heroines, but that still doesn’t give a justification why they hide many of the “tricks and tactics” that characters use within the story, until the very end. The reader is supposed to be omniscient, remember?!
^ How I feel regarding this “hidden” element
Character Design got a huge cut from Natsuki, actually… Simply put, he’s a protagonist who looks like a girl (so is easily mistaken for one), but has literally all the subcharacters AND his own male friend emotionally attracted to him. While I don’t find this a bad trait, there needs to be a REASON why his friend is so loyal, or he is so loved by pretty much everyone in the class.
The game mentions that this is because of an “aura” that Natsuki has, that makes him comfortable to approach. However, this was not correspondent to his overall personality of being serious, often falling in self-hatred, and overall being very naive.
Do also note that this character is shown to be very stupid when it comes to romance, but much of the storyline involving a comical love triangle involves him being conscious about his actions.
I think I’ll be able to skim through the two lesser heroines…
Okay, first is Lilith. An energetic blonde girl who doesn’t seem to have much knowledge. People assume that she’s a foreigner from a western country, but her identity is actually a MAGNA (Machine Armed Girl for Non-defensive Attack), which is a form of biological weapon.
Before the revealing of her identity, her approach to Natsuki is often very bold, usually hugging him and begging for a kiss (which Natsuki tries to ignore as best as he can), and most of the beginning comical love triangle scenes involve Lilith.
Despite this, within every route, it is shown that Lilith is actually trying to kill Natsuki for some reason. When he meets the “shadow” in an earlier scene, sharp audience may realize that a single “…” line is voiced by the same character, and this foreshadow was enough for me to realize that Lilith had a hidden side of her.
Ultimately, the reason why Lilith was trying to kill Natsuki is uncertain, as the girl herself admits to have already fallen in love with him, and is shown to be very regretful. This “hidden element” is what I don’t like about Lilith, who seemed like an incomplete character who fell in love with the protagonist for the smallest reason.
Well… her CV being Aoba Ringo was enjoyable… Only in the H-scenes though =3=;;
Next is Nadia, the dark-skinned character who is also the fortune teller that warned Natsuki about his future. Coming from a fictional country in the Middle East, her “Alhazard” surname implies an Arabian descent, however. Also quite beautiful, her route makes clear of her existence as the blood-heirloom as the country’s leader, and also a fugitive running away from a certain individual.
As her setting implies, this character has the ability to read the future, which Nadia suspects is the reason why she is being chased in the first place. Nadia is very calm, despite her circumstances, and even very relaxed in her fugitive environment… that is, until she lost her ability to read the future. This loss of ability makes the girl fall into despair, because she was so proud of her powers.
Quite unfortunately, Nadia doesn’t seem to play a big role in either Nanami’s or Haruna’s route.
Nanami is the childhood friend of Natsuki, and arguably knows him very well. It is well known and pretty much accepted that the two are married couples, and even their homeroom teacher will tease them by labeling Nanami as “Your (Natsuki’s) Wife”, when talking to him. This isn’t just words, though–it is shown to the reader that Nanami and Natsuki can sometimes communicate with just glances, and even as Natsuki has a hard time waking up in the mornings (and Haruna always fails to wake him up properly), it only takes Nanami a single, gentle call to make the protagonist rise up immediately. (This DOES make Haruna jealous, however)
Nanami’s route involves her past, and how she is a frail girl even today. The game shows that she is related to a group called “S-Laboratory”, and what they did to her was something so inhumane, that Natsuki cannot find himself forgiving them.
Nanami’s route is unfortunately full of holes: Why was she the one “chosen” when she was younger? The game never really answers that question, along with the “positive” trait of her change.
The central heroine–Haruna!
Introduced early on as a very shy girl, it is shown very early on that despite being a younger sister, this girl already holds affection for someone she is supposed to recognize as an older brother. According to Masamune, Haruna is the “cutest” of the entire crew, and tries to do everything he can to make her call him “Oni-chan”.
Haruna’s route starts off like the other heroine’s routes, except Natsuki suddenly sees this girl as an attractive female, not a younger sister. This causes him to “half-rape” the person he was trying to protect, and this makes him fall to a deep self-hatred that only gets cured when he realizes that Haruna seems to be happy.
Combining both routes of Lilith and Nanami, Haruna’s route introduces both “lesser heroine’s” problems at once–Lilith is trying to escape the grasp of the Laboratory, and Nanami suddenly collapses. As Natsuki tries to solve both problems, he is confronted by the head of the S-Laboratory, who tries to kill him…
But he is saved by Haruna, who uses supernatural powers to protect him.
Everything is then downhill from there–Natsuki is suddenly forced the truth from the people around him, and even in his chaotic state of mind, asked to use his powers to defend the city from the S-Laboratory. Even when scared, this is the first time Natsuki feels grateful for being able to do something to protect the ones he love.
This is one of the scenes that proves the bond between Nanami and Natsuki.
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: So well… Although it’s not a bad story, it’s not a good one either. Pretty average on the ratings, I think I understand why this game was “re-released” as a low-cost edition recently–because it didn’t sell.
As with any title that has the characters pretty much crawling over him, Natsuki’s powers seemed to not have any effect in any of the routes except Nanami’s, when he converts his power into healing “magic”. Convenient plot should sound familiar here, since throughout the story, Natsuki complains about himself being useless, but suddenly finds that he can “heal” others with the expense of his power…? Yeah, not a good conclusion.
I really wish the game inferred Haruna’s powers somehow. They foreshadowed Lilith’s identity, right? So why not Haruna’s power? It’s the true route, so it should have been designed as best as possible. I also don’t appreciate that there is one character that pops out suddenly in Haruna’s true route, that doesn’t play any role–not even as an antagonist, despite the fact it fights against Haruna and Natsuki.
In the end, this game might be the polar opposite of other “chara-ge”–in the sense they focus too much on the story, to the point their characters all seem really bland. On the other hand, this trait corresponds to pretty much flawless character interaction, which was the main factor that earned points in the category.
Affection for the Characters: Low
Note: Alcohol + Girls = Dangerous
CG Quality: Moderate
Music Quality: Low
Conclusion: A “meh” game that’s my first title from White Cyc. Frankly, this title didn’t leave that great of an impression, so I don’t think I’ll be following White Cyc unless someone can give me a good title they’ve played, or I see a great game from them in the future.
And remember. Imouto characters are the best /shot