Transfer Student Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Transfer Student

This is more of a simulation than an adventure. If I recall correctly, up to now, only one other title has been translated into english, that falls into the same category: "True Love". The main differnce between these two titles is, that in "True Love", the decisions of the player and the status of the character had a bigger impact on the whole story, than in this game.

The player takes the role of a guy, that still goes to school and lives with his stepmother and stepsister. While he sometimes fantasizes about the girls, he meets in real life, there is another girl, that he only meets in his dreams: Shiho. One day, a new girl transfers to his school and his class. The teacher introduces the (to him amazingly familiar looking) new girl to the class with the name: Kashima Shiho Now, he has the chance to meet everyday a girl, that resembles very much the girl of his dreams. But there are also other girls around (at least for continuosly fantasizing about) and in particular his stepsister also causes some trouble, because she feels neglected by him.

The game simulates a month in the life of the main character. At the normal weekday, he goes to school and the player has to decide, what the character does in the breaks and after school, before he arrives home. At weekends, the character stays at home and the player has not much oppotunities to affect the events at these days.

About the simulation part of the game: One big meter exists: The excite-meter, that is always visible on the left side of the screen. Almost every time, the character meets a girl or a woman, the player has to decide, what port of the body of that girl/woman the character ogles at and according to this, the value of the excite-meter rises until it's maximum.

There are two ways to get rid of this excitement:
a) ogling Shiho
b) going to the boy's restroom at school and fantasize of the last female, that added to the excite meter.

The soundtrack consists of 25 themes in CD quality, but no voice acting and environmental sounds. Each theme correspopnds either to a special characters, a location or a kind of situation.

Even though, the graphics do not fill the whole screen, they are regarding the resolution, the color palette and the details in the backgrounds on a similar level as the currently released games. Only the characters themselves (that is, the characters, that are simply pasted on the backgrounds) sometimes look a little bit flat, compared to the background. This applies not to the graphics, that are drawn for special situations and thus were drawn from scratch containing the characters as well and have the same style of drawing for background and characters.

No animations, except sometimes changing facial expressions.

User Interface:
The screen is divided into several parts. At first, there is a row of four buttons at the top of the page. By pressing these buttons, the functions "save"/"load"/"quit"/"skip text" are available. In the middle of the screen is the current graphic displayed. Left besides the graphic is the excite-meter (looking like a thermometer) and at the right of the graphic is a counting bar, that displays, how often the character in the current week already dropped his excitement at the restroom.

Below the graphics is the text window, that displays the current text or the currently available choices and at the left side of the text window, there is another window (the character window) that displays the current facial expression of the character, the main character currently talks with (sometimes, the facial expressions in the main graphic change too, but the expression in the character window is always accurate).

After the game has been played through the first time, a gallery of all the h-scene-graphics of all the girls in the game (regardless, if the character has ever met them, or not) is added to the starting menu.

My personal opinion:
This game was obviously an experiment. The fact that JAST-Japan went down the drain while porting this game to english leads me to the suspicion that this game was the last thing that finally broke their neck. This is not surprising, if you take into account, that all other JAST games (as, for example "Season of the Sakura") had a very well developed storyline that this game lacks almost completely.

In fact, the player only has an influence, on whom he will see when. Any day has almost the same fixed schedule, meaning everyone is at the same time of each day at the same place, the whole simulated month. So there are not much surprises, except the few changes in the daily schedule and the available options of places to go to, that are influenced by the story and sometimes by deciusions of the player in the story, that might open these choices or keep them forever closed (at least, regarding the currently running game).

Even if it's graphic and music are quite impressive (and almost on a similar level as in currently released games), these stereotypical days became boring already during the first go through the game to the end. Also, if you meet someone at a place, always the same dialog will happen (reminded me a bit of "Groundhog day").

Obviously, JAST-Japan tried to make a new kind of game, other than the choose-your-path-adventures, they did before. I suspect, they pressed themselves with a much too tight production-schedule and thus had not time enough to work on the concept, how story and simulation should interact. If they would have done this, a high quality title that would not have to fear the comparison with "True Love" or "Dokusen" could have been the result.

Next, I think it was a matter of honor for JAST-USA, to complete the portation of this title for all the faithful fans, that preordered this game. I think, it should be appreciated as a "kept promise", that the game finally was released (with a delay of 3 years because of the unfortunate circumstances), but I dread, what an impression of the genre a newbie might get, if this is the first bishoujo-game, he/she gets his/her hands on. Well, I'd rather see them playing "X-Change" or "W.C." (or, of cause much more preferable, "Season of the Sakura" at it's current dumping price).

After all this ranting, I have at least one good point to say about the story at last: One of the endings was really surprisingly moving. It got me crying, almost as much as the Shizuka-endings in "Snow Drop" did. So, I think, the storywriters that did such woderful works, as "Season of the Sakura" still knew their handywork after all, but because of the messed up concept of the whole game (and perhaps the too tight schedule), they could not save the day.