Well, I just spent my break playing Cross Channel, an eroge from 2003. It took me quite a bit of perserverance to get through the first week, but I got my first surprise at the end of said week and continued. The language is hard to grasp at times, and the hero got on my nerve a lot. This eroge isn’t the on the play if you’re looking for a romance or lots of H because that really isn’t its focus. You don’t get an ending with each heroine despite the ero-scenes so Cross Channel should be played for its story, and not the romance.
Cross Channel takes place at Gunjou Institute, a school for people who are unable to adapt into society located in Upper Misaka. The protagonist is Taichi, a perverted guy who likes to sexualy harrass girls. He is in the Gunjou broadcasting club of eight people, but the club is falling apart. He organized a campout for the club in hopes of mending their relationships, but the situation got worse. As they return from the campout, they find themselves in a world of no people.
Spoilers from this point on.
The highligt of the game, definitely. If you’re playing this game for anything, it should be the plot. It’s rather wordy though, and be prepared to be confused a lot. Essentially, the broadcasting club is repeating the week in a world of no other humans, and Taichi will spend most of the game trying to figure out what’s going on. He will usually get close to a different girl each week, although some weeks are different. Since the actual time isn’t really looping and only the separate world the broadcasting club is in resets everything each week, it basically means Taichi slept with all the girls in his club in the same timeline (lol). Each week reveals information about the girls, and some part about Taichi’s past. The pacing is good, as I felt no draggy moments or sudden drama. It might help that Taichi is too calm about everything.
At first, I didn’t care for any of the characters. Taichi’s sexual harrassment and jokes got on my nerves a lot (except for some moments where it’s genuinely funny). Hondo Junichiro (from OsaDai) does a better job of funny sexual harrassment. By the end, I guess I accepted Taichi since he actually had interesting points, a past, and a personality. Better than generic nice guy protagonists. Taichi is strong, shown especially at the end.
I liked Youko-chan the best, definitely. I’m starting to understand why everyone likes yandere…Why did she only have one H-scene when Miki and Misato got 2?? (wrong thing to rage about in a game like this XD) I guess part of the reason why I didn’t like Taichi was because I liked Youko, so I don’t approve of Taichi being so cold to her. My second favorite is Miki, because she has awesome responses and comebacks to Taichi’s sekuhara. I had the most laughs with her. The other girls I didn’t care for much. The male friends are…normal. They’re very normal. Why did they even get sent to Gunjou in the first place?
Probably the worst interface I’ve ever seen in a eroge. Everything is done by mouse, so there’s no keyboard shortcuts. Even skipping you had to do by clicking the skip button instead of just holding ctrl like most eroge. Also, if you skipped too much and want to look at previous text, you scroll the mouse up like usual and get a page full of previous dialogue, right? Not in Cross Channel. Only the previous screen of text will show when you scroll, so you need to keep scrolling for ach screen of text instead of it all displaying on one nice page. Argh.
The music is pretty good, and fits the atmosphere. Although there’s no particular music for a crowning moment of awesome, there’s plenty of heartwarming tunes.
The colors are rather dull and both the portraits and backgrounds lack detail for an eroge. I guess that’s OK since Cross Channel is pretty old. The proportions are good most of the time, although there are several CGs where it’s jarring. The entire game has a pastel kind of feel; the shading is usually blurred and fuzzy. There also isn’t much contrast between the shading and light areas. If you’re looking for a game with moe girls in quality pro-level art, this probaby isn’t it.
Overall, the game feels pretty old. The story is worth it, but only if you have good tolerance and don’t mind wordy and sometimes confusing text. I like short and direct phrases, so the writing of this game actually put me off for a long time. Taichi is just a confusing narrator.