Three Sisters' Story Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Three Sisters' Story

This game is a storytelling singlepath-multiending adventure. Sometimes, there are decisions the player can make, that lead to a small branch from the main path, but lead back to this main storyline. However, some of these branches have a direct impact on the ending.

The story begfins six years before the actual "now" of the game: There was the happy family Sanada, a father, who is the president of a company, with two sons (Eiichi and Koichi) and their mother. This happy life suddenly was disrupted by a tragedy: The father lost his position and committed suicide. The mother, left alone with the sons, worked very hard to earn the money and continue her duties as a mother as well and died exhausted a short time after this. The sons were split up and raised by different and far apart living relatives.

Six years later (at the "now"-time of the story), the elder brother Eiichi contacted his younger brother and told him, he found out, what really happened: The right-hand-man of their father, Okamura Shoji stabbed him in the back in order to get into his position instead and thus caused the families tragedy with his abitions for his career. After uncovering these facts, Eiichi plotted their revenge and used his brother Koichi as a pawn in his game: He has to move into the house next to the Okamuras, and go to the same school, as the three Okamura-daughters (Yuki, Emi and Risa). As their neighbour and schoolmate, he has to infiltrate the family in order to find a weak spot for an attack on Shoji.

This first phase of his plan went not all that way, as Eiichi planned:
1.) Shoji realized, he was in danger and disappeared, leaving his daughters behind.
2.) Koichi fell in love with Emi (the short-tempered second Okamura-daughter) and got some doubts about this revenge beeing a good idea

In order to get Shoji out of his hideout, Eiichi plans now to put some more pressure on the daughters. What would Koichi do now? This is at the players decision, because he has to take the role of Koichi in the unfolding criminal drama.

Another usual old-style text adventure. Most of the time, the story is told. Sometimes, the player has to make a decision and after this, the story continues according to this decision.

The game comes with two different soundtracks. At first, there is the old PCM-Soundtrack that is nice enough to hear for playing. But the CD also contains a remastered MIDI-Soundtrack, that would sound quite better, if I only could figure out, how to make the game play these files (I played those .midi-files using the windows media player, but found no option to switch the game to using them instead of the PCMD-Soundtrack).

As mentioned before, the game is old (the porting to the english language was completed in 1997 and I have no clue, when the japanese original was released). Because of this, the graphics are on a lower level as usual. Nonetheless, they are well drawn, but on a lower resolution and with less colors (remember, the game was originally written to run in DOS with a memory of 640 K!). The usual techniques (special graphics for special occasions and backgrounds with graphics of present characters pasted onto them) also are used in this game.

Not very much animations, but at least the pasted characters change their expressions according to the story and these pasted characters have even eyeblinking.

User Interface:
The screen is divided into two parts: The bigger upper part shows the graphics, the lower part displays the text. When the player has to face a decision, the possible choices are displayed in menu, that pops up on top of the graphic and the desired action (most of the time, they are not just one decision, but a sequence of choices: first: to interact with which person or thing, second, to do what with that chosen person or thing), has to be chosen and confirmed.

Functions for saving and quitting the game are available anytime via a menu that may be called up by doing a right mouseclick.

Extras/Omake were obviously not a common feature at the time this game was made: No image galleries, no menu for playing the themes and of cause no advanced extras, as for example event galleries either.

My personal opinion:
Of the three classical titles of JAST-USA ("Three Sisters Story", "Season of the Sakura" and "Runaway City"), I like this one second best, with no big distance behind "Season of the Sakura". Both titles walk on the highwire between flexibility of the story according to the players decision and a consistent story with dramatic developments (that only could take place if the player takes the correct path). While "Season of the Sakura" goes more into the first direction (=Love-SIM) and gives the player completely the freedom to choose which way to go with which girl, this title already assigned the players character to be in love with Emi (=ADV) and the player could only decide if he wants to cheat on her and if he does, how much stupidity he puts into it (for example: betray her with one of her sisters or with a completely unrelated other girl).

Whatever the player does, he has to face the consequences in both titles: In "Season of the Sakura", he might end up with no girl at all (even if this contradicts the opening scene of the game), here, well ... (No! It's more fun to find out yourself, so I am not going to spoil it!)

Even if the graphics are a bit old fashioned regarding the resolution and the colorpalette (nonetheless, they are completely demosaiced) and the better soundtrack does not work for me, the story is really much more intriguing than in "Season of the Sakura". The story is overall consistent and at least, most of the h-scenes as well as the violent scenes are necessary for the development of the story that does not always focus on it's main storyline and thus provides some surprises until the end. Only the running gag "Hospitals are nowadays that advanced..." appeared a bit too often...

Regarding the problems of being an older title (lower quality graphics and soundtracks, DOS required for running the game), JAST-USA just announced a collection of reworked versions of their three classical titles with new anti-aliased graphics, new remastered soundtracks and a new engine, that would be capable of running on WindowsXP. After I got my hands on this new collection (according to this announcement in about 4 month), I am going to write an upgrade-review covering these improvements.