Well since I’m on a roll, here is another review
Erinyes is a point&click adventure game released in 2003 by Pleiades Company, point&click games aren’t too common nowadays and Erinyes is also noticeable for being a free game. Now the distribution of the game closed off in 2014 for some reason but it can still be find if you look well enough.
Now for a quick overview of the plot and setting, the game takes place in 倭国, basically modern Japan, 50 years after a war with the リーク国, a neighbor dictatorship state. 50 years ago 倭国 was the invader and left a big scar in リーク国, so big that even 50 years later both countries still don’t have any diplomatic ties and feel distrust toward each other.
Now it doesn’t take a genius to understand what these events reference to and why the writer went out of his way to change the name of the countries.
The game begins in 倭国 with a wave of kidnapping that happened through the country, the protagonist Hayato wake up in a prison cell alone, the last thing he remembers being him out fishing and the mysterious men who attacked him. And he soon finds out that the place he was brought isn’t a simple prison but an entire island full of リーク国 soldiers.
And being a point&click game, this is where the gameplay starts, Hayato has to go out of this cell with his own power
As a point&click game it’s pretty standard, you find items, use or combine them and try to get out and advance the game.
Now there are a few things that make Erinyes stands out among other point&click games.
The first thing is the number of branches, small or big. To illustrate after going of the cell Hayato has to go around an armed guard, he can either hide and escape or if you do the right things knock out the guard and get a gun. Obviously getting a gun change the situation a bit, this is only the first small plot branch among many
The second thing is that there isn’t one but four playable characters, Hayato is the first one you get but you soon also meet three other playable characters:
Hayato, highschool kid, basically the protagonist
Minami a journalist who was caught in the same place as Hayato
Brad an American soldier who work for the united nation, sent to investigate the kidnapping incident
Nasa, a mysterious little girl that they find in ruins.
Where Erinyes is a bit different compared to most point&click games is that each of these character can take the lead and be used as protagonist, for a quick example taking a look at an object with Hayato will produce a different narration and sometime effect that if you take a look with Nasa or Brad
Putting the character you want as a leader isn’t the only thing you can do, you can also separate them, the screenshot above show all the characters belonging to the green color but by changing the color the character you want you can separate them, if you want to leave Nasa is a room for example just put her in the red group with the other characters being in the green group, she will then stay in the room even if the other characters leave. In that way you can separate the characters into 4 individual groups and switch povs in real time.
Another thing to note is that each character have their own HP, shown as condition in the screenshot above, the island is full of danger and losing HPs is easy, you don’t replenish HPs naturally either and healing items are rare, of course 0 HP mean game over but some routes and endings need the characters to have more than a certain amount of HP to unlock.
Erinyes has 4 main routes for each characters, 20+ endings and an incredibly huge amount of small branches based on your action, the character you use, the amount of HP you have, etc…, for a commercial game released in 2003 it would be impressive but for a free game released then it’s almost unbelievable.
Obviously the game isn’t without flaws, there is one of 2 parts that were pretty much about finding a pixel if you don’t want a game over but otherwise the game is mostly fair and is about relying on logic more than anything
The story is more than serviceable, the setting itself isn’t what you’d usually see in a japanese work due to obvious reasons but the writer takes it without any partiality, the game is very much about the spiral of hatred and vengeance but there is no finger pointing, it’s actually pretty cool. The antagonist side is also nice, the titular Erinyes, the goddesses of vengeance, are without spoiling a must see.
In term of production values, the game has more than 80 CGs and a soundtrack specifically created for it, the art itself is what it is but you can see the pure effort that went into making it. With the amount of branches, ending and the 4 main routes the game is rather long and getting the final true ending isn’t an easy task, every routes show a different side of the plot and setting as well so there is no throw away.
This game itself isn’t unknown in the free game world, in a best free game ever made ranking made in 2005 it was actually ranked higher than Cave Story (2nd overall, 1st being a game made by SmokingWolf who created Wolfrpg or One Way Heroics) which is quite a feat in itself.
Unfortunately as I stated above the developer decided to stop the distribution of the game in 2014 after 10 years for some reason, the game isn’t totally impossible to find though.
Anyways recommended for people who want something a bit different, I definitely enjoyed my time with it even if getting some endings seriously take some precognition or some pure luck