By William Haderlie / January 26th, 2017
Most of the events which occur in the game have a random roll associated with them, whether it’s opening a treasure chest, finding a secret item, or disarming a trap. Through trial and error you can find out that your party members have hidden stats that will actually help them be more proficient at those things than others are. Of course Rance is the seducer in chief, but if you want to do anything associated with intelligence (such as disarming a trap or finding anything hidden) make sure and use Sill. Athena is a wild woman, but she is great at disarming traps, and that can be a huge benefit because traps will automatically go off after too many attempts and can seriously hamper your progress enough to even fail a Chapter. The Time bar that you see on the top of the screen above is all important in this game. That timer is for the entire chapter, and there are plenty of events you have to get through in order to reach the end.
Other than the scripted events to get into a dungeon, you progress the game by doing event rolls in the screen you see above. However, whether it’s on entry or within the dungeon, many of the VN style scripted events will require you to do things in a very specific order. If you go outside of that order, you can sometimes find some bonus items (and maybe a bonus sex scene), but since your time is limited you will generally want to try to get through it as quick as possible. The green event panels on that roulette wheel are all important, because you are going to have to reach 5 of them to complete that particular chapter/dungeon. Thankfully the more you roll the wheel, the more of those Event panels will pop up on the screen. But there is still enough randomness that you will want to make use of the Slow Spin and Cautious Spin. Those options will allow you to choose one of 3 or 5 panels that you land on, so you can more easily reach an Event panel. Unfortunately this is a double edged sword since even using those spin choices costs you Time units.
Most of the event panels on any roll will be orange, and that means a battle. There are also mid-bosses and a final boss that you will have to contend with. The mid-bosses are particularly loathsome because they can pop up after pretty much any roll once you reach a certain point in the chapter. In many ways the game plays like a classic RPG; you have weapons and equipment and you can gain levels and learn new skills and so on. Unfortunately, where it diverges is that every action is completely randomized by the roll of the dice. And one dice roll affects everything on the battlefield, so it’s good to vary which skills you have on which dice number. That’s not a concern early in the game, but once you start gaining enough levels, it’s something to think about. But unfortunately, even though I love grind heavy classic RPGs, this was not really my cup of tea because of how horribly random it was. The best advice I can give is that if you reach 2 or 1 events left in the chapter and you aren’t near the end of your time, spend some extra time grinding battles so you won’t fall behind in the next Chapter. My first time through the game I got stuck on Chapter 3 because I went through Chapter 2 way too fast. So I had to start the Chapter completely over and do some grinding at the beginning. But due to the time constraints, I was very close to not completing it at the end.
The inventory is one of the more classic RPG elements to this game; it’s a good idea to upgrade your weapons and armor as much as possible. The items will all wear down progressively, but also since there is so much randomness to the battle actions, it’s important to have the best gear available at all times. Once I reached Chapter 3, however, it started to get increasingly difficult to manage the small inventory. Part of it was because of the captured monster girls taking up space and all the different special items that you will pick up. But most of it was taken up by specific trap disarming devices. There are about 5 to 10 different traps that it’s possible to find, and unfortunately each of them has a different disarming device. Once you reach enough experience, you need to go to the Level screen in order to actually increase the levels of your characters, but much like anything else in the game it takes some Time units in order to do so.
If all that sounds very random and punishing, you would not be wrong. I love old school RPGs and I love Eroge, so you would think that this game would be a slam dunk for me. But sadly there was just so much randomness that it really put me off of loving it. And I’m judging each of these releases in the package as a stand alone title, so if it was just Rance 5D, I would not have enjoyed the release quite as much. But at least it is an innovative design for an Eroge, and it definitely has its fun when the randomness isn’t getting in the way of that. Another subtle issue is that the Eroge scenes are there, but they are extremely brief and not really fleshed out very much (pardon the pun). My last real issue with this game is that there is no voice acting, which would have really increased the enjoyment of the title.
Where this game really shines, however is in the art design department. It’s hard to believe that a release from 2002 could still look so absolutely beautiful, and there is a real classic anime aesthetic to it as well. Being as old as this title is, you can imagine that the images are not in any HD quality, but when the designs are so well drawn it doesn’t matter all that much. The chibi art is also really good, but the colorful and beautiful full sized art (like you see above) is the real highlight. So even if the sex scenes are not long, and there are only 1 or 2 images associated with each one, you can at least bet that they will be beautifully drawn. Like with the art, the music is actually quite good in the title as well, featuring some classic fantasy inspired tunes and also some rap style tracks.
The writing and translation are also spot on, featuring a lot of humor and fun during all the sexiness. So really there is a lot more to love about the game then there is to dislike, even for someone like me who despises randomness. The 5 chapters can seem pretty long on the first playthrough, especially with determining the order in which you need to do things but after you know what to do, it’s fairly easy to finish the game in about 10-15 hours. But as a side story to the main series, that is not a bad chunk of game to enjoy and to try to find out what would happen if your choices were different the next time. So in many ways there is even more replay value in this old Rance game than there is in most Visual Novels. If this was the only game being sold for the MSRP of $34.95, I would consider it a little on the expensive side. But as a packaged deal with Rance VI, there is great value there. You may want to play Rance VI first, just so you can learn more about the normal universe of this Visual Novel series before you play this side story. But either way it can be a fun experience with a lot of charm and a daft hero who has some boundary issues.
Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Pages: 1 218+AlicesofterogeMangaGamerRanceRance 5D