Review by Denouement

"Got me stressin' with my piss-tol in my sheets"

There are times when you hear or read the title of a game, and right then, without question, you know you must buy that game. Sometimes, a name might remind you of an old favorite on a long-obsolete console, recalling the fond days of your youth; for instance, when I heard of Metroid Prime, I thought of the joyous hours I had playing Metroid and Super Metroid so many years ago. Immediately and without reservations, I wanted the new title. Other times, a name may represent a proven series and an esteemed, even revered developer. You're sure that it won't let you down -- I'm buying Final Fantasy XII no matter what the early reviews say, because I know I'm going to enjoy it. Finally, a game's name might make you wonder what it could possibly be about. For this reason, I acquired Water Closet.

Bishoujo games always feature material of questionable taste, but Water Closet puts the “ick” in “sick.” The game follows the stories of five women, each of whom has a serious problem with excretory bodily functions. For Ikumi, the problem is simple: every time someone looks at her, she urinates uncontrollably. Reika has severe, and God I can’t overstate just how severe, problems with constipation. And yet another girl dispenses with all the pleasantries and pretences and simply has the nickname, “Toilet.”

What brings these women together in a beautifully woven tale, you ask? Is there some strange subculture in Japan that unites them? The answer to that question is no (at least, I don’t think there is, but those Japanese folks are CRAZY! so there might be). There is, however, one W.C. Nicholson (did you catch the pun with those initials, oh Lord!!!), a world-famous Toilet Researcher, under whose careful guidance and knowledgeable, wise advice these girls are brought together. At times, his methods may seem unconventional to the player, but only in the sense that the methods of Stalin or Hitler might have seemed unconventional to the people they ruled. And if Nicholson’s ‘Final Solution’ for treatment usually seems to involve vicious rape, well, that’s just another example of his wacky yet effective doctoring.

So storywise, Water Closet has a lot to offer….if you’re into that ****. Literally, ****. Like feces. Unfortunately, it only masquerades as an actual game -- to an even greater extent than the average bishoujo title. Most such games use a branching decisions model, made famous by the delightful and intellectually invigorating Choose Your Own Adventure series, to provide variety and replayability. Water Closet, unfortunately, offers a pretty miserable tree of branching choices, with each storyline containing perhaps one or two judgments to be made, and usually fate turns out to be unswerving and inevitable no matter what your decision. It’s almost as if these producers didn’t want you to ruin their carefully crafted stories by making the wrong choice, so they pretty much shove you along the path they want you to take. Worse, they’re shoving you with their genitals.

Water Closet is as visually impressive as a series of simple drawings accompanies by text can possibly be, that is not very. The gallery feature does allow you to enjoy art you’ve unlocked over and over again, although if you happen to enter the gallery you’ll probably feel like a celibate priest in the land of easy women and cheap alcohol. On the plus side, you’re probably not actually celibate, but on the downside you’re not in the land of easy women and cheap alcohol either. Indeed, you’re in the land of tough women and expensive alcohol, and to top it off you’re looking at a whole bunch of disgusting images of girls covered in bodily fluids and bodily wastes.

The audio here is truly inspiring, if the inspiration to vomit really counts as inspiration. Just think of the sounds you make in the bathroom, and combine those with the screams of a sexual assault, and you have the melodious score to Water Closet. I suppose the sound fits the game, though, almost as snugly as a used tampon fits inside a used condom. I hope you didn’t mind the gratuitous offensiveness of that last sentence, because if you did you should have already realized by this point in the review that this game is not for you. For those not turned by references to mere hygienic devices, enjoy the last paragraph.

If you’re a little scatalogical (and who isn’t?!?!), Water Closet may be just the game you’ve been waiting for. Certainly you won’t see the American porn industry making films that satisfy the very disturbed desires fed by this title, because I think we have laws against it, and anyway if we don’t I think it’s time to amend the Constitution. However, even those lured in by these twisted themes will probably be disappointed by the game itself. The rest of us normal folks should stay far, far away, and take this additional bit of advice to heart: if the title of a game puzzles or intrigues you, read a review of it, or ask a friend whose played it to inform you. These are the safe ways to satisfy your curiosity. If you just go out and buy the game... ehrm... your keyboard might get sticky.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/04


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