May Club Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

May Club

This game is a combination of dating-SIM with an ADV.

The ADV-part consists of the storylines of 9 different characters, some of them are cross-connected, but most are not. The dating-SIM-Part adds to this game a schedule, at which the players character can meet those characters or miss an encounter with them. If the players character meets one of the other characters, the story of that character continues depending on the actions of the player chooses for his character to do during these encounters.

The story is set in the near future: the year 2023.

The most recent development in VR-technology is a simulated environment that could be used as a meeting-place for people all over the world in the following manner:
1.) Any person, who wants to enter this environment has to use the equipment, the company who maintains that environment, provides and pay for the time, they spend in that environment
2.) By entering the environment, an image of the entering person is projected into the environment. This image has usually the appearance of that person, but sometimes, slight "plastic surgeries" in that image are possible. The image becomes the body of that person in the environment, that could be moved around in the simulated world as the body of that person in reality.
3.) After entering the environment, the VR-equipment feeds the simulated sensations of each image directly back into the nerve-system of the person, that image belongs to. So, all other people and the simulated environment (a small town that doesn't look quite spectacular) become visible as simulated visual receptions that are fed back into each participating person. The same goes for all other senses: If a person commands it's image to touch a wall, the sensation of the pressure against a hard object would be fed back and so on...

This simulated environment was named "May Field".

The player takes the role of a young man, who has just finished studying successfully, and already has a contract as an employee of a big company. But this contract starts a month later and in order to kill some time (and if possible, to find a girlfriend after overcoming his last rather frustrating relationships) he decides to try May Field, after he found an adverticement about this new facility in his mail and decided to not directly trash this ad.

Well, if he plays his cards right, he might get even more, than he wanted...

The part of the game, that takes part in the real world, gives the player each day (from February 16th until March 31st) three times (mornig, afternoon ,evening) the choice to enter May Field and to meet the persons that are there at that time. However, sometimes, no one except the player is there. Because each time, the player eneters May Field has to be paid, he can afford in February only 20 times the entrance-fee for May Field (13 day with 3 possible times equal at least 19 times, the player has to choose for not entering May Field at all). At March 1st, he receives a payment and buys 30 more entrance-times to May Field.

If he meets another character, he can talk to this other character (if the other character starts the conversation on its own) and sometimes, during this conversation, the player can choose for his character what to do/reply and thus how to deal with this other character.

The whole soundtrack of this game consists of 11 MIDI-themes, that are used to express particular moods and thus are played depending on the current actions in the story.

There are no environmental sounds or voice-acting in this game.

The graphics are at an level, comparable to the classical JAST-games (Season of Sakura, for example). This goes for the background-graphics, as for the single-character paste-graphics and also for the graphics related to special situations.

User Interface:
The current graphics are displayed in the middle of the screen/window. Below this graphics area, there is the textwindow that displays the current text or a menu of the currently available options. To the left of the graphic, there is the current day and time of day in the story displayed and to the right of the graphic, the amount of remaining times, the players character can enter May Field.

Only if the players character is at home in the real world, a menu containig the functions for saving the current position, loading an already saved position or leaving the game, is called up by a right-click or a hit on the Esc-Key.

The game provides:
a) a statistic, which endings have been seen (but calling these endings only by numbers and not giving away, which characters these numbers relate to)
b) an option to view only the graphics of the h-scenes, that have been seen in the previous games
c) another option to replay the already seen h-scenes entirely (including the text)

While the composer did already a good but not excellent job with most of the themes, two of them are brilliant: "Rain drops...", the theme that expresses angryness/aggressivity and "The Immortal Labyrith" that expresses sadness.

The graphics are a bit below the current state of the art, but still better than in some other older games ("Fatal Relation" for example).

For most characters, the strategy "find out that characters schedule, have as much encouters as possible and mnake the decisions, this character would like" would work. The fact, that almost no connection between the characters exists makes it even easier to start the relations in this game as in "True Love". Only the limited amount of possible May Field-sessions adds here some difficulty. Only one of the characters knows about all others and would never forgive any two-timing.

Each of the characters had an interesting secret, even if one the secrets was completely freaking me out (Hiromi) and it was some fun to dicover them all.

With adding some extras (even if they lack the convenience of the currently usual galleries) and a Win95-engine, this game is some kind of missing link between the classical JAST-DOS-games and the nowadays released games.

So, I wouldn't call this game bad, but not one of my favorites either. At least, it is the last still available english translated dating-SIM and thus gives an impression, how this kind of b-games feel to play.