By Benny Carrillo / August 15th, 2015
Authors Note: Please be aware that the following game contains strong sexual content and explicit adult themes, including BDSM, Futanari, and Hardcore CGs. Reader discretion is advised.
|Title||Cat Girl Alliance|
|Release Date||February 8, 2010|
Reviewing an Eroge is already a delicate thing. However, Cat Girl Alliance from Sekilala (Idols Galore, Secret Wives Club, Cosplay Fetish Academy) is one of those games that has you question what the creators were thinking. Released originally in 2004 as Koneko Doumei (Kitten Alliance) and then in 2010 as Cat Girl Alliance, the game stars Eiji Tachibana who, of course, finds himself having just transferred to a new Junior College. What follows are the rather bizarre and kinky adventures he finds himself involved with as a member of the Health Committee. Before we dive into this, however, let’s go over the basics for those of you who have no idea about this title.
If you happen to be unfamiliar with what an Eroge at all is I’d recommend taking a look at this editorial I wrote a few months back in which I give a brief explanation as to what an Eroge is in order to disprove that Senran Kagura is one. The basic definition though, is that the game is pornographic and in this case a Visual Novel. You can then further classify this as a Nukige which means that the game itself is focused more heavily on the sex and sexual situations than any plot, so if you’re looking for deep character development, then this probably isn’t the title for you. The other thing you need to consider though is the theme.
Thematically, Cat Girl Alliance follows many of Sekilala’s other titles in that while focused heavily on BDSM, it tries to present itself as a game that focuses on “loving submission” rather than going down the darker path of raping or breaking the various protagonists, with “tries” being the operative word here. I’ll touch a bit more about that in a bit, but let’s be clear. While the game isn’t nearly as dark as, say, Space Pirate Sara or Euphoria, it still has its moments, especially when you stop and think about the setup of the game and the outcome of all your actions. In addition, the game tries to pack in as many different fetishes as it can into the experience, so there’s the potential for something to be off putting, especially if you’re not all that comfortable with certain kinks. I’ll give you just two examples which are probably the biggest offenders to most: Futanari and the presence of another male.
For those of you who don’t know, Futanari is a Japanese word used to describe female characters with male genitalia. While the actual definition is a bit more complex, and there are many different types of Futanari, for the sake of this review just keep in mind that Rumi has both a vagina and a penis. The other thing that some people may find objectionable is the presence of Masayoshi; a younger, effeminate-looking, younger brother type who is the other male of your group. While he isn’t an option to court, he does show up in scenes to assist you from time to time and can actually be worked into one major scene towards the end of the game. There is an alternate set of CG Data you can place in the game directory that’s supposed to remove his graphics from some scenes, but doing so actually caused various error messages to pop up and doesn’t remove his text from the game. If you’re curious as to what you’re exactly getting into content-wise, I suggest taking a look at the game’s entry on the Visual Novel Database to view a few of the CGs. So, if you’re still with me after all this, then that means this game is probably right up your alley, or you’re just curious as to what I thought overall. Well, let’s take apart the technical aspects first and then we’ll dive into the plot.
The game itself runs at 800 x 600 and requires a Pentium III running at 500 MHz. Which, of course, means pretty much any computer out there these days can run it, but you may run into a few issues depending on your setup. Since I use a TV as my primary monitor, it kept trying to default to a 4:3 aspect ratio and cut off the edges of the screen. If this happens, try setting your TV or monitor to display in “native” mode, and it should fix the problem, though you may end up having black bars on the side of the screen like I did. This isn’t a problem with the game itself and, instead, is just a product of the era in which the game was made, though it may be of minor annoyance to some. Note, though, that this doesn’t affect the review score. What will, however, are the localization and translation issues.
One of the problems that can arise when translating a game of any size is that certain lines may be mistranslated or grammatically incorrect. While this is less common with larger publishers who have quality assurance teams, with most Visual Novel teams, that job falls to a few people, and things can sometimes slip through the cracks. There were some misspellings and grammatical errors such as “an_y” appearing in one line of text. By far, though, the biggest issue and knock I can give to the QA process is that certain lines are completely missing and display garbage as they try to display the text. There’s only about three, and they are contained in one particular choice regarding Masayoshi early on, but this is one of the cardinal sins of Visual Novels. The story and text are pretty much everything, and to be taken out of experience by missing text is unforgivable. At least with bad grammar I can take a guess at what is being said. That leads me to our next topic which is the artwork.
The CGs aren’t actually that bad. There is no animation here, but the art is detailed and pretty varied for the most part, partly due to the various fetishes that are on display here. One of the things I actually did like was how many minor details were put into even the basic character models during the standard Visual Novel parts. Rumi, for example, will actually go from a normal-looking girl to sporting an erection, in various stages no less, as she becomes aroused. It’s a small touch, mind you, but it’s nice to see such attention go into small details, which leads me to my major gripe about the artwork. Specifically, the fact it often doesn’t match the text.
There were several times where what was happening on screen did not match the text. While some people might consider this nitpicking, it’s one of those things that takes you out of the experience. While there are minor issues, the worst offender comes during the first time Eiji has vaginal sex with Rumi. The problem is that she bleeds during said scene. While that’s a common occurrence in many Eroge, the problem is that Rumi lacks a hymen by this point, while Shizuko and Natsuki do have one during their scenes and neither end up bleeding. And while, yes, a person can bleed from sex without being deflowered, the text during Rumi’s scene makes no mention of her bleeding. Thus, it’s extremely head scratching as to what’s going on. Sadly, this trend of inconstancy carries over into the music department.
For the most part the music isn’t horrible, but, at the same time, it’s not memorable. The main problem comes how the music is used. Let me go back again to the first time Eiji has vaginal sex with any of the girls. Throughout the course of the game, Eiji is only allowed to have anal sex with any of the girls. This is mainly because they treat giving their virginity to someone as a big deal and is the “reward” for locking yourself onto a girl’s particular route. In the lead-up to the big moment, Eiji and the girl of your choice have a few awkward moments together as the both contemplate what they’re about to do. A rather gentle and soothing song called “Sparking Summer” plays that does invoke a romantic sense. It’s then ruined when the game switches to the CG and plays “Step Into the Dark” which is used during many of the sex scenes and is a much darker song in tone. It really does feel like no one on this project was communicating with each other. Which finally brings us to the characters and the overall plot.
The plot itself is pretty basic. Eiji transfers to a new school and, upon finding Rumi screwing Natsuki, he decides the sensible thing to do is rub one out. The next day the girls, along with Rumi’s younger brother, Masayoshi, convince him to join them. The first order of business is to “recruit” another member, Shizuko, by having her happen upon Eiji and Natsuki having sex, videotaping Shizuko masturbating to it, blackmailing her with the video, and, when that doesn’t work, outright drugging and tying her up. Rumi is not exactly used to people telling her “no.” Shizuko, for her part, mainly goes along with it due having feelings for Eiji as we come to find out. That’s the abridged version of the basic plot. The rest of the game focuses on Eiji “training” Shizuko and Natsuki under Rumi’s gaze. So, what about the characters?
There characters of Cat Girl Alliance are a mixed bag. While they do have some thought-provoking attributes about their backstories or development, for the most part, they’re pretty bland. Natsuki pretty much exists to be the perfect slave. She has a few funny lines, but, outside of that, she’s really underdeveloped, save for her backstory playing somewhat into why she’s the way she is. Rumi is, of course, the mistress and boss. While an explanation is given to how she became so interested in sex, it colors the story as a whole in a much darker light, especially with how she treats Natsuki and Masayoshi. One thing that bugged me was that, in her endings, Eiji is put off by the idea of even touching her penis. While it makes sense, he never overcomes this, which bugs me because this is the person he loves. Shizuko is the most sympathetic. She was forced into the mess by Rumi’s trickery and only remained along because of Eiji. As such, she’s the most likeable of the girls and does adjust rather well to this alternative lifestyle. Her ending honestly is the most hopeful and healthy of them. Finally is Masayoshi. Simply put, Masayoshi is the best character in the game due to the fact he’s just so adorkable. All he wants is a friend and the bromance that develops with Eiji is honestly pretty heartwarming. Plus, he’s just fun. It’s a shame he doesn’t have his own real ending and, instead, is considered part of the “bad” ending in that Eiji realizes sex is better when Masayoshi is double-teaming the girls with him, but trying to deny he has any feelings for him.
Cat Girl Alliance feels schizophrenic. It almost feels like the developers were going to tell a much darker story and then late in development suddenly decided to try and make it lighthearted, which didn’t really work. As such, it really feels halfhearted. If you’re looking for something that has a lot of variety in its fetishes and is not super dark, then maybe give it a shot. You’re bound to find something that might interest you, but, if you’re like me and prefer a stronger narrative, or want something that’s a bit more comedic, you might want to look elsewhere. What really hurts this score, though, are the technical issues — the spelling and grammatical errors, the missing text and bugs, the music choice, and the rather lackluster narrative. It’s one thing to give me a game that doesn’t appeal to my tastes, but it’s another to give me one that doesn’t perform on a technical level. With that all said, thanks for reading this and please let me know what your thoughts about this review and the game are in the comments below.
Also, why was this even called Cat Girl Alliance? The only “cat girl” around is Rumi and that’s only because she wears a hood with cat ears and tail, and what she leads can hardly be called an “alliance.”
Review Copy Purchased by Author
18+Cat Girl AllianceerogeG-CollectionJAST USAOperation RainfalloprainfallPCReviewSekilalavisual novel