Game Review ~ Gakkou no kaidan JAP Saturn

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Title Translation: School Scary Stories (sometimes mistakenly called “school stairs” as kaidan is
the word for stairs & scary stories)
Year of Release: 1995
Developer: Unknown
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Adventure/Text based novel
System: Sega Saturn (NTSC-J only)
Language: Japanese (No Subtitles)
Availability: Import only (EBay or yahoo Japan auctions(Knowledge of Japanese language required))

Gakkou no Kaidan is a adventure/novel game for the Sega Saturn made to tie in with a film released
at the same time, the film is the equivalent of the Haunted mansion with Eddie Murphy, its
basically a children’s film but its still very fun to watch. Like alot of the older Sega CD games it
features FMV sequences with interactive opinions for example escaping some of the enemies may
require you to press directional keys or the A/C buttons. The other element of the game is a point
& click style set. The game was released in 1995 and was only released inside of Japan.

The game has a few different plot lines which run through the story joining together in places, The
first scene you see is a young girl, Mika entering her school which is closed for the summer, she
curiously looks around but ends up going missing. The scene then changes to to boys Kensuke &
Shouta in year 5 or 6, sneaking around the school looking for something to do, there is also the
young girls older sister Aki (played by a very young Ai Maeda aka Shiori battle royale2) who is looking
for her missing sister, other then that 2 more children Kaori & Hitoshi join the group & a teacher
Mr Komukai in the latter half of the game.

The children witness a large array of monsters from the Japanese urban legends & folklore also ghost
which seem to follow them around & spook them. They discover that the janitor has become possessed
by a spider (his transformation is possibly the funniest part of the game) and has kidnapped Aki’s
sister Mika. There are plot twists through out the game featuring a variety of characters. all in
all its a fun story for kids.

**~Game play~**
When you are in control of the game you have a choice of room that you may enter from each floor on
the map some will lead to the point & click elements of the game others will lead to the interactive
FMV sequences. In the point & click elements of the game you are presented with a photo of the room
or corridor that you are in and you are required to search it to fine clues, health items or the
piece of the Haniwa, some of which will trigger a cutscene. The interactive scenes just require you
to watch them other require directional controls or buttons been pressed to help the children escape
the monsters, though since the scenes are from a film the outcomes are normally quite linear. The
main interface features a TV screen like monster which shows the cutscenes & point and click. It
features a Flame on the right which is the equivalent of the HP bar & on the left it shows the
haniwa statue telling you how many pieces are still missing. Unfortunately the only thing which
really bugs me with the game play is that at some points of the game it may be a little sluggish.

Well the sound is not that bad, it uses some of the background OST from the actual film, so it keeps to
the films normal atmosphere. The audio of the characters has not been distorted at all with any
conversions which is also a plus point.

The graphics in this game mix pixel drawn characters, FMV & 3D animation pretty well some of the FMV
sequences look alittle grainy and the special effects used in the FMV are a little dated but hey it
was only 1995 and it was a big budget film so meh. The only thing that really bugs me with the
graphic side of things is that when you are hit in the interactive FMVs the screen flashes flash and
though I do not suffer from epilepsy I still found it made me feel quite queasy.

This game is obviously in Japanese so if you dont understand it I wouldn’t advise this game as it
uses lots of Japanese text/audio. If you just want a nice, fun game you can finish in a few hours
this is you game. Though if you find games like hotel dusk/another code a little too wordy its not
the game for you. Fans of the film or Japanese dramas may enjoy this game. Though Id advise doing
some research before committing to purchase.

Storyline: 9 (A nice story but a little over used in todays media)
Game play: 7 (Tricky game play to get used to , sometimes a little sluggish)
Sound: 8 (Nice music, Audio track not distorted at all)
Graphics: 8 (Good for the time, FMV sequences quite good quality)

TOTAL: 8/10


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