Rule of Rose (Playstation 2)

Jennifer’s parents died in an airship accident.  As soon as she gets to the orphanage, she has to participate with a group of children who form a sinister society known as the Red Crayon Aristocrats led by the Princess of the Red Rose.  Their rules; find a specific gift for them each month or die.  Now Jennifer must obey the rule of rose with her only friend, a dog she calls Brown.

First, let me tell you, there is so much controversy surrounding this game that the UK banned it from their stores.

The one most common is lesbian relationships depicted between underage girls.

While there is some truth to it, that never goes any further than what you see in the trailer.  There are also many complaints about violence perpetrated by children towards other children and animals, and pedophilia.  What many people don’t get is that neither one of these things is presented in a favorable light.  It’s so that the player will despise and pity the evil little children while absolutely despising their headmaster.  I know I wanted to kill him.

I will say one thing; the game is very disturbing.  As for how much, let’s just say that if you can’t handle the opening scenes, don’t even think about getting this game.

The makers say that their inspiration for Rule of Rose came from Grimm’s Fairy Tales but unintentionally shares similarities with Lord of the Flies.  The game explores a world where children try to establish a society without a strong role model present.  Just like in Lord of the Flies, the answer is savagery.  The difference is that the savagery here is more channeled and less random like it was in Lord of the Flies.  Each level plays out like a chapter in a storybook, focusing on one specific character at a time.

The characters are essential to the game and deserve their own paragraph.  The Duchess Diana is one of the more interesting characters in the game.  At the start, Diana is very condescending towards Jennifer, believing herself to be superior.  Her behavior is similar to Regina from Mean Girls, in that she pretends to be friends with whichever member of the club she’s talking to while showing disdain for the one that isn’t there.  The only difference is that Diana isn’t afraid to use death or torture in her schemes.  The Countess Eleanor is just there.  She doesn’t approve or object to anything that happens in the game.  The only thing noticeable about Eleanor is her love of birds.  The Baroness Meg is malicious but not truly evil.  I would choose to describe Meg as blinded by her love for Diana.  She creates the torture devices and believes that the people she inflicts them on deserve it.  Amanda is, like Jennifer, a member of the Red Crayon Aristocracies lower class.  She is the overweight girl begging for approval, yet she absolutely despises everyone especially Jennifer who she sees as competition for the approval of the Aristocrats.  Amanda is an interpretation of a possible future for Jennifer.

The main character, Jennifer, is the least interesting character in the game.  She is timid and follows the rules of the Aristocrats, hoping that things would get better.  Unfortunately, that only makes things worse and as soon as she’s had all that she can take, she stands up for herself.  This might also be a clever metaphor for dictatorships and abusive relationships in that adhering to their rules will not end your suffering.  The only way either one of them can end is by taking a stand.  Brown is Jennifer’s loyal companion who’s bravery is a contrast to her timid nature.  He is the essence of a dog being a human’s best friend.

While the story and characters are amazing, the game play is terrible.  As Jennifer, you use Brown to find items, many of which can be used as weapons.  Unfortunately, Jennifer’s attack plan is swinging the weapon around or taking random stabs and hope that it hits.  Brown is useless in a fight, as he just stands there and barks.  It felt like the developers were working very hard on the plot and then realized that they were making a game.  Look I get that Jennifer’s never been in a fight before but when I play a game, I don’t want to fight a bunch of enemies trying to kill me the same scared reckless way I’d probably fight in real life.  At the very least, have Brown play a more active role.  He is a dog.  The worst part is that there are costumes with weapons that could instantly kill enemies but you can’t wear them until you’ve beaten the game.  By then, you probably won’t want to play it a second time.

The story and characters are brilliant.  It’s a shame you can’t say that about the game play.  I give it 7 out of 10; this game would have worked out so much better in the form of a visual novel.

Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box (

Tyler’s grandfather calls him for help.  Before his grandfather tells him what it’s about, he reveals a secret he has kept from his family for many years.

The story flashes back to the 19th century while having interludes in the 1950s.  In the 19th century, Tyler’s grandfather fled the war in Spain by becoming a stowaway on a ship called Pandora.  After a while, he wishes he boarded a different ship.  Tyler’s having trouble believing this but goes along with what his grandfather tells him.

This is actually realistic because no matter how crazy a loved one may sound, we still want to give them the benefit of the doubt.  One thing I don’t get is that in the second segment Tyler tells his grandfather that he believes him and in the last segment writes in his journal that he should be calling the police.  It seems like they screwed up the timing on that.

This is the classic hidden object game.  You collect random crap just to add one item to your inventory.

Then you play a few mini-games and press hint or skip when you’re having trouble.  There’s a journal in the corner that will give you access to the character’s thoughts.  The further you get in the story, the more you discover.

The game is addicting and spooky at times.  I give it 7 out of 10, back when the Vampire Saga games were actually good.  I swear that made me sound like an old woman.

Dairy Dash (

When Mr. Smith gets a farm from a relative, he thinks it will change his family’s life.  If only he know how much he was getting into.

The story’s quite simple; a family moves to a farm and has to work hard.  Therefore, there’s nothing special to mention except that Flo shows up.  In this game, you have to feed the animals, give them water, clean some of them and then you get the produce to sell.  After a while, you grow plants to sell.

Sometimes Flo will call and ask for some of your products.

If you’re having trouble, you can drink a glass of lemonade to speed up.  Sometimes you play mini-games at the county fair.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 5 out of 10, a typical Dash game.

Grim Facade: The Cost of Jealousy Beta Test

Grim Facade 3 - The Cost of Jealousy [BETA Version]

A grieving widow asks you to solve her husband’s murder.  It seems like a simple case until you delve deeper into their lives.

When I played this beta test, I had no idea that this game was the third in a series.  That’s how easy the story was for me to follow.  While you progress, you learn new things about your case.  You even start to wonder if the woman who asked for your help is as innocent as she seems.

During the game, you search the scenes for various items.  Some will have you play a hidden object game.  If you want hints, you have to find fans located throughout the city.  You also have to pay for some objects at a shop, but there are coins hidden all over the place.

This game seems very intriguing.  I would definitely get the full version.

Delicious: Emily’s Childhood Memories (

Emily’s parents are selling their farm causing her to relive all her memories.  You will be experiencing her life from the 1970s all the way to the present.

The premise is simple; it’s about Emily’s childhood.  During the game, you learn what made Emily the person she is today.  You also learn how she met Francois.  Not to mention that you see every friend Emily’s made, how she and Angela are so close and you get to meet Emily’s first crush.

The game play is the same as every other one in the series.  Customers come to your shop and you have to serve them before they get angry.

You can go for the goal of the level or try for expert.  During each level, an event happens and if you finish it, you get more points.  During the story, you can snap pictures of a moment and add it to the album.

Sometimes you get more information about Emily’s childhood when you do this.

The game is fun and informative.  I give it 7 out of 10, not bad at all.

Zodiac Prophecies: The Serpent Bearer Beta Test

A young ghostly girl appears in your home.  Her message, save a world you didn’t even know existed as the serpent bearer.  Can you do what she asks before the dark force swallows the mysterious kingdom?

The story does have that mystical fantasy approach that I usually love.  It also has some mystery.  At the end, it leaves you hanging.

The game play is your basic point and click.  You find objects, add them to your inventory, and use them in certain locations.  You will have to backtrack quite a bit but you have a map to help you.  The further you progress, the more the protagonist writes in her journal.  You have an unlimited number of hints you can use if you’re stuck.

The plot’s a little cliché and the game play’s somewhat boring.  I have no interest in getting the full game.

Pet Shop Hop (

Cassie wants to take over the family business but Minerva Mink (Mr. Big’s daughter) wants to buy it out.  In order to convince her family not to sell the pet shop, Cassie has to run it and double their profits.

First, let me just say that there are some misconceptions about pet shops in this game.  When you can sell hedgehogs, the description says that they’re very easy to take care of.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Read this article to see that you need to be prepared to care for one.  Many people that aren’t abandon the poor hedgehog.  Owning one is actually illegal in some parts of the United States and Canada.  Another thing is that when you can sell dogs and cats, the game says that they come from animal shelters.  While some pet shops take in rescues of these animals, ordinary pet shops like the one in the game get them from brutal practices such as puppy milling.  You might think playing this game makes me a hypocrite but all it says is that I can separate fiction from reality, something many people can’t do.

The story is quite simplistic like every game in the dash series.  I don’t get why Minerva’s last name is Mink if she’s Mr. Big’s daughter but it’s not important.  Before each level, you have to purchase pets for the shop.  Then you have to sell enough to reach the required goal.  Try for expert if you feel up to it.  There are some levels where Flo will visit your shop and make your customers happy.  In other levels, Minerva will visit and have the opposite effect.  In addition to purchasing pets, you can also buy upgrades for your shop.

The game is fun and addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10, another game for animal lovers.