Gloria Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn


This game is a storytelling multipath-multiending adventure that also contains a small simulation element: Most actions affects the attitudes of the other characters towards the player's character. Some paths in the story only open depending on the attitudes of one or more characters. However, after an ending is reached the attitudes of all other characters are revealed as one out of the following: (Love, Like, Neutral, Dislike, Hate).

Akishino Kira and Georg Hanson are honor students and friends at the MIT in Boston. They are popular with the female students, have almost perfect grades and are headed for a succesful life after their studies. However, their live is about to change, after the Glorias, a local wealthy family made a donation to the MIT and asked for both of them as private teachers for their five daughters. Each of them has to decide, if he wants to complete his studies or follow this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in touch with the world of the wealthy people and make there contacts, that might come in handy in the future. Georg had no doubts and followed the call of fame and money. The player has to take the role of Kira, who might (or might not) do the same, one day after George made his decision.

The usual gameplay for an adventure: The game tells the story from the perspective of Akishino Kira. Sometimes (quite more frequent, than usual), the player has to make a decision by selecting one out of three options. The game continues according to this decision (and takes any of them literally. One path even leads to the death of Kira, before he arrives at the Gloria's mansion.)

The background music consist, as usual in Cs-games, of some MIDI-themes, that are nothing special, but also not bad. They fulfill their purpose: give the story a bit more of an atmosphere, without distracting from the story and the really nice voice-acting. in this game, any character, except the main characters (even male characters, as for example Georg) have voices. Sometimes, even environmental sounds (footsteps, gunshots, doorslam,...) are played, according to the story.

The game was meant to be played at an resoltution of 640x800 with 256 colors and do not fill the whole screen. They have the same level of quality, as the graphics in other Cs-games. So, they are in this department a bit below the current standard as in the PeaPri-games (or the even newer G-Collections games).

No animations at all.

User Interface:
The screen is devided into three areas: At the center of the screen in the biggest of the three areas is the current graphic displayed. Below this area, there are the textwindow, that displays the current text of the story or the options of the current decision. At the left side of the textwindow, there is a small graphics window, that displays the face of the currently talking character and it's facial expression according to the currently displayed text.

Special functions, that are not directly related with the running story (as, for example swithcing the screen mode between windows-mode and fullscreen-mode, or saving and loading) are available through the standard windows menubar of the application.

Besides the usual extras (graphic galleries and playing of the themes), this game has some quite surprising extras, that become available depending on the endings, that have been reached. At first start, the title menu of the game has only two entries ("Start the Game" and "Return to Windows"). The first further entry appears, if a position is saved from inside the game: "Continue the Game"). Also, the galleries and the music player are added to the title menu after the first game is started. Because I don't want to spoil the surprise about the further extras, I only mention that they exist, but don't say anything about them in detail.

My personal opinion:
The variety of endings in this game and possible paths through the story is really awesome. It even surpasses "Critical Point" with its 25 possible endings.

It's relatively simple, to get all possible endings in Critical point, by just trying out all possible combinations of decisions. However, in GLO*RI*A, there are quite too much decisions to be made and the story changes depending on the decisions very much. I have started playing this game about a year ago and have not yet seen all branches of the story (I can tell, because the game has a percentage of all seen graphics and I have just achieved 84%). Although, I have already seen about 35 different endings, there have to be still some more. But endings are not everything, regarding the graphics percentage. There are different paths through the game with different scenes, that display different graphics, but lead to the same ending.

So the amount of the variations of the storyline is very big. It is even that big, that it becomes frustrating, to get all the graphics. In fact, I have given up, because, I had to play the whole story over and over and over again. A "SKIP"-function, that is quite common in the newer games, would have helped here a lot. In this game, I may skip by keeping the RETURN-key pressed, but that would also skip the decisions taking the first of the possible choices. So, in order to play through this game, it is necessary to confirm any textdisplay separately, regardless, how often the passages have already been seen. I have not yet heard of anyone, that has reached the whole 100%.

However, I have no other complaints about this game, than this one. Regarding the amount of possible paths through the story, this game has right now no rival. Only the upcoming "Little My Maid" may surpass it with it's complexity of the game-script.

In addition to it, there are the extras, I intentionally could not mention in order to keep them a surprise. If one has no problems with the lower quality of the graphics and the amount of keystrokes/mouseclicks to play through tthe story over and over again, this game has really the highest replay-value of all the bishoujo-games, I have ever bought. It would be quite a task, to find all the paths through the story in order to unlock all graphics.

Regarding the amount of time, that has to be spend playing this game through all possible paths, this game has to be regarded as a real gem, that is just technically behind the current state of the art.