Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
Something is rotten in the kingdom of Rizenburg. A mysterious plague has claimed the life of both the King and the Pince. Yet the Prince's spirit lingers on and it won't rest until the whole truth is revealed.
INFINITE LOOP is an Adventure game developed by NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE exclusively for the SONY PSP.
The game is set in the small fictional kingdom of Rizenburg where a mysterious and deadly plague is currently wreaking havoc among the populace.
Mysteriously enough, the plague has taken most of its victims inside the royal castle - with one of them being none other than the King himself.
The rightful heir to the throne, the 18-year old Prince WILLIAM is forced to investigate the cause behind the plague, as the fear of becoming diseased is already starting to isolate the castle.
However, just one day before the long-awaited royal wedding between Prince WILLIAM and the neighboring country Princess CELES was set to take place. A shinigami (Japanese death spirit) sneaks into the Prince's room and kills him.
But the spirit of the Prince is surprisingly spared, and instead of crossing the river, it strangely becomes attached to the person that discovered his body, the chubby castle maid AISHA.
At first, the Prince's ghost is unable to move away from AISHA. And it remains that way until a few days later when a new tragic event occurs... Unable to cope with the death of her beloved fiance. Princess CELES commits suicide by poisoning herself.
The shock of this tragedy somehow sends the Prince's ghost into a 「Time Loop」 and back to the moment when AISHA first discovered his cold, dead body. This time around however, when AISHA visits the local spirit medium, the Prince gains the invaluable ability to move from one person to another while other characters are in the same area involved in a conversation.
It is at this point that the real adventure begins, with the Prince's first goal being obviously that of preventing Princess CELES from committing suicide.
The game's basics are pretty simple and might even seem pretty cool at first. As you take the role of the Prince's ghost, you can posses other characters and follow them around as they go on their daily activities.
As the characters converse and interact among themselves, sometimes they will mention something that the Prince might consider to be a 「Keyword」 related to what's currently going on in the castle.
Whenever such a keyword pops out, it will show up as an icon on the chessboard-like 「DREAM VISION」 menu. So when the character you're currently possessing goes to sleep at night, you can make use of these keywords to give them a special dream vision that could influence their actions the following day.
Of course in order for this to work you will need to use the right keyword on the right character and on the right date. Otherwise there won't be any dream vision.
So to sum it up -- your job in the game is to possess and move between any characters that you might suspect to be relevant to the current story point. Then as you do so, you will need to listen carefully to their conversations in order to uncover new keywords and / or clues as to when an important keyword should be used and on whom.
A bit later into the game you will also discover that the shinigami responsible for taking your life is still around, and just like you, it can possess other characters. If the character you're currently possessing happens to meet a character possessed by the shinigami, then from that moment on you will start losing 1HP per dialogue line.
Your HP carries over throughout the day, and should it drop to 0, you will die (yet again) and be forced to restart from the beginning.
The whole ghastly adventure takes place in the span of 28 days. Within this time you must prevent 4 tragic events from happening, plus a fifth and final event that will bring closure to the story.
Failure to stop the current tragic event - as you probably already guessed - will send you all the way back to the beginning of day 1. Fortunately, the game has a dialogue fast-skip function that you can use to skip through all the conversations that you've already experienced.
Alternatively, you can use the 「Character Timeline Table」to fast-travel directly into your currently possessed character's future. However, just like with the fast-skip function, this method won't work unless you've already experienced all of the daily segments that you want to skip with that character.
Honestly, I was expecting more out of the game's possession and dream vision system, but in the end I've found it to be extremely limited.
At first I seriously thought the whole dream vision thing was going to be a whole lot more interesting. Like for example, that you would have to give different visions to different people in order to create a different chain of events. However, this was never the case.
As it turns out, the only actions that you can actually influence are those of the key character that's supposed move the storyline forward. Thus, in order to clear a story point, all you really have to do is give the key character the right vision on the right date. Repeat that 5 times and you will clear the game.
Nearly all of the other visions that you can produce in the game will be just memories that the characters have about the late Prince or some other character. That or miscellaneous scenes like those of the maids taking a bath, or the castle guard fantasizing about his true sex appeal.
INFINITE LOOP, in my opinion, feels more like a sound novel than an adventure game. Of course this wouldn't be bad at all if at least most of the dialogue was interesting. But alas, it is not.
Don't get me wrong though, the storyline in INFINITE LOOP is definitely interesting enough to keep you engaged all the way until the end. Still, there's a whole lot of long-winded and filler dialogue tacked in there for sure.
I mean, even after clearing the game with the best ending, there were still a lot of character segments that I never saw. But unlike in a truly good mystery AVG where you just have to see everthing it has to offer. In the case of INFINITE LOOP, you probably won't ever feel like seeing what's left of the game because it adds nothing to the storyline and it's just not very interesting.