Thursday, March 15, 2007

VG review: Chulip

Natsume, for PlayStation 2
rated T for Teen (crude humor, sugges­tive themes, use of alcohol, use of tobacco), $29.99.

So many video games these days involve stabbing, shooting or blowing things up, so it’s refreshing to see a game that focuses on kissing instead of killing people.

Assuming, of course, you don’t consider kissing giant spiders, clams, voodoo dolls and other odd creatures more disturbing than “Doom III.”

The game in question is “Chulip,” a bizarre Japanese game that values smooching above smacking. Here you play a poor young lad, newly moved to “Long Life Town.” Having met the girl of your dreams, you must find a way to win her over.

How do you do that? By kissing everyone and everything in your hometown and surrounding areas. Apparently doing so strengthens your heart and improves your reputation (usually it works the other way around). You’ll also have to track down fancy stationary to write a love letter, but that’s secondary to the kissing.

Of course, folks won’t pucker up just because you ask nicely. You have to meet certain objectives to get them to lock lips with you.

For instance, the monk will kiss you only after you’ve found his wooden gong. “Mr. Music Box” will do it once he’s finished playing his song. Then there’s the turtle who has a thing for nudity.

The game follows a clock of sorts, and various creatures and people will only come out at certain times of the day or night, which means you’ll be doing a lot of standing around and waiting for someone to poke their head out of the dirt (apparently folks in the town live below ground).

For all its talk of romance, “Chulip” is a very disturbing game. There’s the town doctor, for example, who by night runs around with a giant hypodermic. If he catches you, he will use the hypodermic to suck your blood and drink it. If the cop catches you out at night with his headlight eyes, he’ll shoot you down, no questions asked. It gets weirder from there.

Unfortunately, “Chulip” is not a good game. The objectives aren’t well laid out, there are far too few save points and the deaths come fast and cheap. Thankfully, Natsume saw it fit to include a walk-through of sorts with the game.

But the waiting around is probably the title’s biggest problem. At one point I put the controller down for 20 minutes or so, as I sat and waited for a factory to open.

And yet .... and yet I find myself recommending “Chulip” if for no other reason than it’s so unlike anything else I’ve played before.

Playing it can be a frustrating experience, but it does come with some rewards. If nothing else, you’ll have something to talk about with your friends the next day.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007



At 10:18 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I bought this the week it came out because I'm a big fan of weird and quirky games. Unfortunately, while it's decent enough, I think I like Chulip more in theory than in practice.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone else have problems with this game randomly freezing their ps2's? Mine does it constantly.. I can't play for more than 10 minutes. It only seems to happen when I enter a building. My other games work perfectly. Maybe someone knows of a bad batch or something I can do to help this? Thanks for any input.


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