Review by OrochiSonic

"An Atmospheric and Romantic Masterpiece."

Interlude for the Sega Dreamcast is one of the best text based adventure games I have ever played. From NEC Interchannel and Longshot, this sci-fi, romantic adventure takes the player from the everyday life of high school to a mysterious world of shadows where danger lurks around every dark corner. Instead of being like many of the droves of cute girls in sailor skirts adventure titles, Interlude infuses the genre with a healthy mix of mystery, sci-fi, and intrigue that will have players glued to their seats for more. This game was first released for dreamcast in 2003, and later ported to the pc and ps2.

The game's hero is an unnamed high school student who one day while going to class with his childhood friend Tamaki, sees a mysterious girl standing all alone on a different train platform. He can't seem to shake the girl out of his mind. Who is she? Why was she all alone? Where was she going? Tamaki and friends start to notice that the main character is starting to really space out and is always lost in thought, but what can the hero do about anything? He finds himself constantly searching for this girl, but is she even of this reality? Interlude explores the interlocking stories of the hero's friend Tamaki, the mysterious girl Aya, and the office lady Marufuji, and the strange Pandora Project that is lurking behind the scenes. A Mysterious new counselor is assigned to the school? The possibility of another world? Interlude's story is great and features many interesting and likable characters.

And one of the really interesting strengths of the story is that the three main girls' scenarios are all entirely different. If the player opts to follow Tamaki's path, then the game will play out as a more standard date sim set in school with the player helping the energetic girl try and do better on her tests. You'll go on dates, go to class, and if you're lucky, perhaps love will finally be in the air. If you follow Marufuji, then we have a story focused more on mystery as the player must protect the big breasted office lady from perverts as well as figure out some of the secrets of the office she works for. However, it is Aya's story that is the most rewarding. She is the mysterious girl that the hero sees at the station and becomes infatuated with. Her tragic story has many science fiction elements as the player goes deeper into the secrets of the lone girl and her sad story. Of course, all three stories connect at different points, as Marufuji's story explores more of the Pandora Project that is central to Aya's story, and Tamaki starts to think that maybe the hero is interested in another girl when he starts to become lost in thought over Aya.

The wonderful story of this game is played out like many other text based adventure games. The player is presented many beautiful pieces of artwork, while they listen to dialogue and read text and occasionally change the flow of the story when a choice is presented. There are multiple endings to be had, loads of pretty CG scenes to unlock, and a lovely narrative to get lost in. While the game is for all ages, there are some suggestive pieces of artwork throughout the adventure, particularly of the large breasted characters.

The artwork of Interlude is great. Character designs look fantastic, and there are tons of CG scenes to find. Thankfully, the player can view all of the CG scenes they have encountered in visual mode from the main menu. And you'll certainly want to as Interlude is a feast for the eyes. The girls all look great, and the mysterious creatures and environments are equally impressive. This game has a darker tone then most games in the genre, and it's such a welcome change of pace to look at. I found myself sitting down playing this game for upwards of 4 hours at a time, it is just so easy to become lost in the well written and beautifully drawn world of Interlude.

Musically most of the tunes are short and melancholic, and these certainly fit the mood of this game. All of the characters minus the main hero have full voice overs and sound great. If you buy the original release of the game, you also get a bonus soundtrack CD so you can enjoy listening to many of the songs from the game whenever you want. I don't think this was included with the greatest hits re-release version of the game.

If you have a good grasp of Japanese, this is a great story to get into. Interlude just shines with mystery and atmosphere and is such a welcome change of pace from all the cute romantic love adventure titles. Really my only complaints would be that I wish the endings would have been longer, and that Aya's story should have been much longer as a whole as well. Also, the game is on the easy side, where I can remember only one instance in Aya's story where it was possible to get a bad ending. If you feel up to the challenge of finding out the secrets of Interlude, then get your electronic kanji dictionary, pull up a chair, and bask in the glory of this enchanting adventure title. What lies behind the door of truth? There is only one way to find out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/20/08

Game Release: Interlude (JP, 04/24/03)

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