Description: You are Takeshi Shinonome, a private investigator. One night you save a teenage girl named Ayumu from being molested by some drunks. Coincidentally, she happens to be the younger sister of your old schoolmate and high school crush Marie. Marie subsequently hires you to investigate her husband Shinji for adultery, but just before you can fully close the case some thugs attempt to kidnap Ayumu. Further scrutiny reveals that Shinji is somehow connected to the kidnapping attempt and some drugs circulating in Ayumu's school. Soon, people involved in the case start turning up dead... and it's up to you to find the answers fast in order to stop the killing spree.
Review: People who read my bishoujo game reviews on a regular basis would be familiar with my disdain for linear visual novels of the click-and-click variety. Chain is no exception. I was rather disappointed when I realized that I would not be making any real game decisions... that I would just be a passive onlooker for the events that were to unfold.
Chain starts with an introduction of your character, Takeshi Shinonome. As I've mentioned in the synopsis, one event leads to another and you find yourself investigating more than just an ordinary adultery case. You discover a drug called Cookie, which seems to be a fad among students. Cookie looks like an ordinary cookie, but when ingested it supposedly gives the person an incredible high and a more voracious sexual appetite. But almost every single person that has anything to do with Cookie is winding up dead, and you have to get into the killer's mind in order to figure out who the next target will be before he strikes again.
After finishing the game, I understood perfectly why its title is Chain. Chain, for the events that seem random but are actually linked; for the people that are unknown to each other and yet related. I found it quite marvelous, how saving Ayumu gets Takeshi involved in a drug and serial killing case. The way the plot progresses is surprisingly believable in most parts. I say most because unavoidably there are twists and breaks that are too convenient. Of course, there is also the fact that almost every female in the game wants to have sex with Takeshi... but that is something of a given with the adult bishoujo theme. Another thing that surprised me about Chain was its length. I tend to finish linear visual novels in one sitting or two at the most. With Chain however, it was just not possible. I was clocking in at least 3 hours of game time each night and it still took several nights to finish. The story unfolds from different perspectives: from Takeshi's to his assistant Hitomi's, to the murder victims' themselves.
Chain's artwork is excellent to say the least, although the female characters tend to look rather similar -- sharing the same narrow and slanty eyes. Gone are the rough and jagged character outlines that plagued G-Collections' "Kango Shicyauzo" and "Kana" during the regular scenes. Everything about Chain's visual aspect is smooth and polished. Sex is depicted very graphically -- with animated penetration scenes. A large percentage of the game also features character voices and various sound effects. Even minor characters like the random male shopkeeper get to speak up, which is quite rare in bishoujo games.
Admittedly, Chain lacks any real game play elements and replay value. Nevertheless, the whole playing experience can be likened to watching a really involving hentai murder-mystery anime. I can honestly say that Chain is the best visual novel I've come across to date. If this were a hentai anime, it would undoubtedly be one of the finest.
Miscellanies: Extra features include a CG gallery, an animation gallery, a sex scene gallery, and a jukebox featuring music from the game.