Friday, December 17, 2010

Clueless Gaijin Gaming: Pastel Lime

Most of the Japanese digital comics I cover here are based on hugely popular anime properties that are, at the least, not completely unknown in the West.  Such is not the case with Pastel Lime, a PC Engine Super CD-ROM title produced by Naxat Soft in 1992.  It appears to be an original concept, not based on an established manga series, so I will have to leverage my nearly non-existent Japanese language skills to try to figure out what's going on here.

The title screen features a charming CD Audio tune, and we can set the message display speed before diving into the experience, though the pacing of the voice-over dialogue is fixed.  The storyline seems to center around a wannabe magical girl witch named Yu, who introduces the story and a few of the characters before her silhouette flits in to adorn the logo.  The illustrations indicate that she was somehow accidentally sucked through a dimensional warp to land in a young girl's bedroom on Earth.

Now... I know these plotlines can get a little crazy, and of course I'm just guessing about most of the dialogue.  But I think I'm right about this much -- it appears that our little witch friend is a sorceress-in-training who arrives while our young protagonist is studying.  For some reason, Yu feels the need to... er... accelerate her new friend's physical development dramatically.

As is usually the case with these games, we can make progress (or fake progress, really) just by exhausting the available menu options to work our way through the story; there are no fatally wrong choices, just repetitious dead ends, and the entire story takes less than two hours to play through by picking choices at random.  After the CD-quality opening, the audio is usually digitized in order to fit more content onto the disc, but the sample rate is acceptably high.  Not all of the dialogue is voiced; sometimes the text is simply printed, usually when a menu selection doesn't produce an important response.

We are asked to enter our name/initials, and it becomes apparent as conversation ensues that we are cast as the magically-augmented young lady.  We wander through town and visit some other cute girls in the local hospital.  Are these additional victims of the locally-induced swelling the well-meaning Yu is capable of inducing?  Perhaps:

Apparently Yu is trying to collect three magical star gems, which turn up as the story progresses.  But first we have some personal business to attend to, like obtaining proper undergarments for our suddenly-grown-up heroine.  At least I'd prefer to think she is putting the brassiere on in this scene -- perhaps this is the Japanese equivalent of a Judy Blume book.

With our girl's naughty bits in order, we spend some time on the beach, where a trio of tough-looking girls seems determined to prove who's got the meanest breasts in this town, cupcake.

In the nearby snack bar, we can apparently purchase corn and ice cream.  Don't forget to pay the Casher!

We finally get down to a little more dramatic action -- there's a boating incident and subsequent rescue, which Yu observes from a convenient perch in our heroine's, um, outfit:

Then there's a battle with a strange blue demon creature who invades another friend's bedroom and must be fought off by Yu's magic:

Chapters are bookended with TV series-style intermission graphics, complete with a high-pitched voiceover crying "Pastel-u Lime-u!"

At last the three stars are recovered, and in an E.T.-style ending Yu's goddess sensei arrives to chastise her and take her back to her own dimension.  Our heroine has grown fond of the troublesome Yu and is none too pleased about this, but as she ages back down, at least her shirts will fit properly again:

The game freezes after the end credits roll, with a simple Fin to end the tale:

And that's about the sum total of Pastel Lime.  It has no branching paths or alternative storylines, as far as I can tell, so its entertainment value is rather limited even on the first go-round, and its replay value is essentially nil.  The digital comic format was never really marketed in the West; licensing and translation costs aside, I think this type of title occupied a technological niche that existed only briefly, between the peak of VHS and the arrival of DVD, and before the mainstream popularity of anime here.

Seriously, Pastel Lime is not a must-have addition to anyone's library.  But if the novelty value appeals, or you're a diehard collector of the digital comic medium, you might be able to find a copy for sale here or here:

Pastel Lime PC-Engine SCD

1 comment:

  1. This is a charming game. Not for everyone. Just completed it today on my original XBOX.