Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber

This game is a storytelling multiview-multipath-multiending adventure. Multipath and multiending are self-explanatory, but multiview is a special feature of this game. To cut it short, this game consists of the stories of 5 different main characters, that are cross-connected because they are all in the same buildings and come across each other several times. In addition to it, some paths in the view of the characters become only accessible, after the player has seen some other events in the stories of other characters. The same behaviour can be found in some other games, especially "Eve Burst Error" and "Adam: The Double Factor", but in these games, there were only two main characters.

Each of the main charaters are female and has her own story. Because they are all very short, I will not tell much of them, because this would spoil the game. Instead of this, I will summarize the main characters briefly:
- Mitarai Ikumi, a very traditional japanese girl with a problem controlling her bladder
- Toi Reika, a model with quite the opposite problem: constipation
- Kawaya Julyne, nurse at an urologists hospital that may help both of them
- Kobakari Shoko, slightly frustrated housewife with a strong fetish for vegetables
- Nagare Setsuko, schoolgirl at a cram school with still almost no sexual experience

The story is set in the "Will Century Building", that contains at least 7 floors. It includes the cram school, the urologists hospital, the modelling agency, and the place Shoko lives in.

At the start of the game, one of the 5 characters has to be selected. After this, most of the time, the game simply tells the story and at some points, the player has to make a decision. However, some decisions become only available after other events in other stories have been seen.

The soundtrack consists of 21 different themes in above average quality. Six of them are personal themes of the characters, 15 express special moods and are played according to the story. Also, the main characters have a nice voice-acting, nothing special, but really better than no voices at all (or a dub).

The Graphics for special scenes are drawn on the same level of quality, as usual, at a Peach Princess game. However, the graphics that consist of backgrounds and characters that are pasted on them are another story, because these backgrounds look like photographs and not like drawings (most probably they are), so the pasted drawn characters do not match very well with their photorealistic environments.

Very few changing expressions on backgrounds. Also some special scenes are drawn in serveral variations and these are swapped according to the course of the action.

User Interface:
Once again the floating transparent window on the full-screen graphic and the buttons for backward, forward, fast-forward and replay of the currently displayed spoken words is the center of the interaction between the player and the game. Also, the usual "Scroll-in-from-the-top"-menu (as in "Snow Drop" and "Critical Point") can be used for the usual purposes (save current position, load saved position, change settings, quit to main menu or quit the game itself). A decision is made by selecting one of the given choices in the text window by pointing with the mousepointer to it or using the up-/down-cursorkeys and it is confirmed by clicking or the return-key.

All the extras hide behind the topic "OPTIONS" of the main menu. This topic leads again to a selection between the 5 main characters and each of them has a CG-Gallery, an Event-Gallery and a collection of some of the musical themes. Each galleriy fills itself with the pictures and events that have been seen in the storyline of the character the gallery belongs to.

My personal opinion:
This is another game that may not help the popularity of the bishoujo-genre much. It is a bit extreme in its depiction of the natural processes of excretion, a theme that may be no problem in the Far East, but in our uptight western world could cause some trouble. So again, if you would like to give a newbie to the genre a good impression, it would be wise to hide this game in a secret vault, if you already have it in your collection.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed this game, even if I also had some complaints. First of all, these 5 storylines are in their own manner entertaining, but they are also very short and thus not very well developed. The same goes for the characters: I like them (especially the cute and klutzy nurse), but a depth of charaters as in Snow Drop or Eve Burst Error could not be achieved. So, they are all good for a slight entertainment, but nothing that really reaches into the depths of the heart.

It remained a mystery to my why the paste-on backgrounds had to be photo-realistic. This may help at reminding the player that the game is purely fictional and none of the characters has ever lived, lives now or will ever live, but what the real intention of this photorealism was, may be anyone's guess. For me, the better-than-real-beauty of manga-characters is enough of a reminder that the game is not real and will never be. (No, I don't want to think about it as a move of cutting expenses for the artists!)

At least, the componser again did a good job. This time, my favourite theme in the game is the special theme of "Prof. W.C. Nicholson". I think, this is the character-related theme that matches best its according character. Even if no sung themes are part of the game, I did not really miss them.

As a conclusion, I have to say it was fun to play, but it is not a real must-buy. A lot of other bishoujo-games exist that I would rather advise to buy before considering this one.