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Critical Point
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/28/2009

Description:
The year is 2037. You are Capt. Leiji Osumi, an agent of the Free Alliance Space Force. You are sent to investigate a series of problems that have been plaguing the Free Alliance Moon Base of late. Not long after your arrival, you discover that most of the predominantly female staff members of the base are having problems controlling their sexual urges. To top it off, there seems to be a saboteur and murderer in your midst. Will you be able to solve the mystery? Or will you just become one of the casualties?

Review:
To be honest, I've never played a real sci-fi bishoujo game prior to Critical Point. The closest I had come was "Desire", but then I found its scientific aspects somewhat confusing to the point that I wanted to skip the tech-y talk and just get on with the story... so I wasn't sure if Peach Princess could pull Critical Point off. My fears were unfounded however, because as it turns out, Critical Point is one of the best bishoujo adventures I've played through.

Like most other bishoujo titles, Critical Point is something of a choose-your-own-adventure type of game. It's an interactive novel more than anything, with you the player in the lead role. As Capt. Leiji Osumi, your primary objective is to find out who or what has been causing the base's problems. But of course, depending on the choices you make, you might also find love or meet your untimely end in the process. There are over twenty possible endings, ranging from bad, okay, good, to best. I believe there's only one best ending, and you'll know you got it when you see the full credits roll.

What I like best about Critical Point is definitely the well-written story, or rather, stories. The non-death endings have varying independent plot-lines, so there are several possible culprits and people you can end up with. Some of the paths you take "fill-in" certain details of other paths... so the more you play, the richer and more detailed the whole experience gets. Despite the sci-fi theme, there are no inexplicable jargons nor is there boring tech talk to contend with. The narratives and dialogues are all very readable, plus there's the handy dandy fast-forward button for when you're replaying the same scene(s).

The artwork is excellent. The girls are all pretty in their own distinct ways (meaning they don't look like they all came from the same drawing board), and the backgrounds look like a fine mix of CG and actual photographs. Critical Point dabbles in different kinds of sex (aside from the usual heterosexual kind) -- lesbian, S&M... there's even a bit of pissing involved. There are a few gory and violent scenes to boot. Everything is depicted in its full uncensored glory.

Critical Point is not a difficult game, and I was able to acquire all the endings and CGs in a couple of days. I should mention that I found some of the sound effects a bit disconcerting, particularly the sound of spaceships taking off. It had this scratchy (for the lack of a better term) quality that's anything but pleasant to the ears, and I wasn't sure if it was because my PC's speakers suck or if that's just the way it is. A minor gripe on my part, and the charming Japanese voices of the characters more than make up for a few moments of bad sound effects.

Miscellanies:
This is the first sci-fi bishoujo game I've played.

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Review Title:
Critical Point
Released:
1998
Approximate Length:
30-50 Hours
Suitable For:
Adults Only
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Hentai Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Genres:
Military, Police, Sci-Fi,
Menage a Trois, Rape
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