By Benny Carrillo / January 10th, 2017
Seven Girls Who Must Trek Through Hell
Criminal Girls is a game with a unique premise and game mechanic. It revolves around seven young girls who have been damned to hell. Their only chance of escaping this fate is to complete a reformation program. The program, of course, being of the “get through lots of dungeons” type. However, these girls will need someone to lead them through these trials and that’s where you come in. You play a nameable male character who responded to a job offer that was too good to be true and woke up in hell. Now you need to act as the mentor and guide to these girls so that they, and you, can survive the trek through hell and to freedom. This all probably sounds pretty standard for a JRPG so far, but what really sets this game apart is the “motivation” mechanic.
The motivation mechanic is what makes this game rather infamous. The idea is simple; these girls are delinquents and need to be reprimanded. Of course, hell subscribes to the age-old adage of “spare the rod and spoil the child” so you’ll be taking a hands-on approach when scolding them. This is where the bondage and power dynamic theme comes into play. Criminal Girls has you use various forms of bondage play to rid the girls of their “temptations”. In fact, these were called punishments in the Japanese version instead of motivations in the NIS America localization.
There’s no real way I can explain this without making it seem worse than it is and it’s a reason why many people object to the game itself. However, if you’ve played games like Senran Kagura you tend to realize there’s usually more to these types of games than just fanservice. Don’t get me wrong, I am not oblivious to the fact that fanservice is the main selling point here. However, as I mentioned before, there is still a game under there. Senran Kagura is a great example of a fanservice-filled experience still being a great game at its core. Criminal Girls has some very interesting parallels there as its characters and story I find very interesting. In fact, I think you can make the argument that the BDSM theme actually ties thematically into the game’s story itself, but we’ll get to that. First though let’s go over how the game actually works.
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