I present to you, a review of (in my opinion) the best mystery horror VN ever made, Cartagra, by Innocent grey.
Premises: You, Takashiro Shoujo, is hired to be the bodyguard and detective of a rich actress named Kohzuki Kazuna, who wants to go to Tokyo to find her long lost twin sister (whom the family already told you is dead). The twist? Her twin sister is your lover from years ago, gruesome murders are occurring in the city, and for some reason they are all connected to you…
Kohzuki is the daughter of a rich and quite powerful family, and her dream is of being a great actress. She’s quite cheerful and child-like, and she is the main heroine of the story.Even if you don’t know it, she has a very deep connection to the strange mysteries that are happening within the city…
A shy young girl who works at the brothel you’re staying at (you know the owner and the rent is very cheap), Hatsune has very little involvement with the murders, and her path is the only happy ending in the story, even if, or perhaps because, it does not reveal the person behind the murders.
Nana’s your sister, she loves you, and I don’t mean the sisterly way. She’s extremely intelligent, can be quite cruel at times, and is quite proud of her fighting skills.I ntrigued by the murders, Nana goes to investigates them, not knowing of what it was going to lead to. She has an ending, but it is considered to be a bad ending.
You can see the minor characters here.
The story is that of a suspenseful horror mystery, having its setting in Tokyo several decades ago. Filled with (often gruesome) details , it’s absolutely addicting to read. The murders are described in detail, and that coupled with the torture scenes makes this game not fit the the faint of heart. You are led on by the writers, who make you think you’ve discovered the true killer, only to discover it is a read herring. Almost all the characters have more than one side to them, and each has little quirks that makes them come alive.
The true ending is absolutely mind blowing, discovering the true mastermind is like discovering the true identity of Kid in Ever17 or the true identity or Oyashiro-sama in Higurashi. I was absolutely amazed at how every little detail was wrapped up and how well placed the hints throughout the story had been.
However, one has to keep in mind that this is an eroge after all, and there are many h-scenes, almost every bad ending has its own h-scene, and just about every female character joins one of them. There are also many bad endings that has its own h-scene. Unfortunately, I went through all of them and I have to say that in order to fully enjoy the game, I’d recommend getting a walk through and avoiding the bad endings.
Let’s face it, the art is STUNNING. The character art is delicate and beautiful, and the quality of the background art rivals that of Fate/stay night. The tone of the art, which leans towards colder colors, reflect the season and the style of the story very well, and I have no complaints other than that I wish there were more event CGs.
You can see the lyrics here.
I loved the music in Cartagra, which happens to be, in my opinion, the best music I’ve ever heard in an eroge. The styles vary from pop to jazz to rock to techno and even has some xylophone thrown in for good measure. The tracks marry well with the atmosphere. and while there isn’t an track that will get your blood boiling, there are some really beautiful pieces of music.
The system was easy to use and the menus were stylish. However, there were very little effects used and no falling snow (save for the opening menu). I thought the transition between scenes were a bit slow at times, but that wasn’t a big problem. A feature that I liked was how when you go to the voice menu, turning on a voice gives you a message from the voice actor.
Total: 93.5/100 A
Over all, this was an amazing game that I’d recommend to anyone who can read Chinese or Japanese, doesn’t have a heart problem and is of legal age. And since there’s a translation project started on this game, there’s a good chance the English audience will get to enjoy it one day.