This game caught my eye in a pile of EsperKnight’s for-sale games mostly due to how they managed to spell the name Emelia in the most bizarre fashion I had ever seen. Sensing only the finest koala tea from it, I did a quick search online.
PSX Data Center had an entry for the game with several screenshots and a really badly translated description:
This is the story of a small country but an incident happened. The King's only daughter Princess Emmyrea are lost. The people suspect of the north country witch - Karakuramu, So who is a courageous choice, that will be up to rescue the princess Emmyrea ! The player will take the role of the knight that will try to rescue the princess and for that he will have the help of some girls: Irini (a woman knight) that is the best friend of the princess, Merian & Lulu. Our charming girl characters unfolds, a fantasy adventure. The characters, the excitement of the game with full voice convincing performance. Make it easier to concentrate on playing, it is a simple operation.
(It’s bad that my biggest gripe about that description is the “convincing voice performance,” but we’ll get there, I promise.)
Really though, seeing a female knight was enough to convince me to throw it in my pile of games from Esper and forget about it for several months. Until now!! Join me as we embark on low-budget visual novel adventures!
The game starts out as any good game should:
Actually starting the game, we get the standard fantasy beginnings:
The game proceeds to have 3-4 dialogue boxes of set up before throwing us right into the throne room as the evil witch busts in, wasting absolutely no time getting this plot on the road.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to localize “karakuramu,” so Calkram for now seems decent enough. Apparently she’s a legendary witch whose “been around longer than records have existed,” but no one had actually seen her till now.
In the blink of an eye, Calkram photoshopped a transparent version of the princess into her arms!
In what I can only describe as mild disinterest, the King’s voice actor grumbled about the predicament. But that is not all. The Great Witch also casts a curse upon the King.
She goes on to describe how she’s most likely the only person who can remove the curse, and how she’s excited to watch him fall. That and with Princess Emmyrea (do I really have to spell it like that ; _;) kidnapped, there’s no true successor to the throne. Chaos will soon befall the country, and she’ll be laughing while enjoying some popcorn.
She never actually explains why she’s doing this by the way. She vanishes in a smoky middle finger at the King and silence fills the halls.
Just then, a toothpick of a young girl appears! Her name is written as “Iriina” so we’ll just call her Elina. At this point, I realize we’re sadly not the female knight and got a bit disappointed. Why do we have to be the boring guy? Oh well.
Speaking of generic protagonists, ours has to profess his classiness as soon as possible:
Any dude who doesn’t think a girl in a suit of armor is sexy is already a lost cause. Either way, she’s Emmyrea’s childhood friend, so she was assigned as her bodyguard when she became a knight.
Elina immediately proposes to go after the witch, to which we have some reservations:
Female knight comment aside, he does have a point if she’s never actually seen battle and then wants to fight a witch that just utterly outclassed everyone.
After getting what was probably the King’s permission as he’s twitching on the floor in pain, you agree to join Elina along with three others:
Our protagonist explains that without a magician, one will get lost in the forest and die a slow death. No one has come back alive from the forest either, so I’m not sure how that information came about, but hey, I didn’t write this game~
One small note about the voices here: Elina is great, she sounds normal. A bit compressed, but normal. Eddy on the other hand, sounds like a programmer picked up a paper tower roll and recorded his lines while eating lunch. It’s so starkly different and weird, it’s baffling. The tiny boy Andy’s voice actor is super deep as well and does not match the body. Henry at least sounds mostly normal, but I feel they focused 80% of the acting budget on the female characters and gave the males some scraps to fill the plot holes.
With the game really harping Elina for having no experience but being arrogant, I’m wondering how long until her disillusionment and realizing she’s not as invincible as she thinks.
The next morning, the party of 5 embarks to the Northern Forest, with nary a plan on what to actually do there! It’s odd we have a party of 4 guys, that’s really not how I was expecting things to go down.
A reasonable amount of time into their journey, the party decides to take a rest on the outskirts of the forest, but their Captain is having a powertrip:
Everyone kind of looks at her, then to us. I selected the option to nicely explain to her that once we’re inside the evil death forest, we can’t exactly rest like we are now. It’d make more sense to be at our bests before entering hell.
While they rest, Elina manages to shout some more since she’s really enjoying this leadership with no plan thing:
Eddy calms her down between voracious bites of food:
Before their argument can progress any further, their noise draws the attention of some new characters.
In what can only be described as “the red-eyed evil duo,” our hero recognizes them:
You could argue “barunaagu” could be read in a different way, but you could also argue his name is Balnog like the Eggnog drink but for balls, and it stuck too hard. Also Redrick!? It’s like they wanted to name him Fredrick, but then someone’s like “wait he has red eyes! Redrick!” and everyone who approved the name Emmyrea gave the thumbs-up.
Bitch explains to the viewer that Balnog is the fearsome “Black Knight” who has no connection to his feelings and never moves his facial muscles. With a single order, he’d kill woman and child alike without remorse. For some reason, he follows Redrick here, whose vying for the throne. His plan is that if he rescues the Princess, then he’ll be handsomely rewarded and step closer to royalty. Though if he saves the King and Princess, then they’ll be back in line. Maybe he’ll negotiate for the Princess’s hand? Either way, he’s an arrogant ass who can only haughtily criticize people while his Balnog supplies the bark to his bite. Balnog really makes me think of Lu Bu here, so I’m expecting Redrick to be betrayed and Balnog to join the witch or something. We’ll see.
Either way, Redrick tells us to be good little kids and camp here instead of going to our deaths. We give him the good ol’ finger and walk off into the woods without him.
I don’t remember the context of the above, but I couldn’t not share it!
Anyway, shortly into the forest, the party is ambushed by their first monster!
It’s a weird, uh, six-armed monkey thing? I’m not sure it can really close its mouth with those teeth…
The fight immediately goes to hell when one of the guys is bitten from the shadows. The creature leaps back into the trees, hiding its location. A second guy is taken out in a flash. Bitch tries to restore order to the situation, but Elina isn’t having it!
Somehow, their third guy is taken out, but Bitch manages to hold his own against the toothy onslaught. Just before death breaks through, a flash of steel from behind skewers the monster.
I’m with you on this one Redrick, I’m just impressed at the game’s ability to remove all the men from the party effortlessly. Like, why did we even have these party members anyway!? It’s been 10 minutes! This at least explains why their voice actors were so shoddy.
Redrick once again recommends leaving this to them. This time he asks that you watch their horses since they can’t take them further in. On the way back, they can have the honor of following his victory precession. Elina finally snaps after all the stress.
Ahh the joyous expression of an asshole getting slapped. Impressively, we aren’t immediately killed by Balnog, but maybe he was secretly happy as well.
Turns out Henry, Andy, and Eddy aren’t dead, but Henry and Andy are too injured to continue, so Eddy escorts them back to the castle. Now alone, Elina has a moment of self reflection.
I mean, I knew this turn of events was coming, but wasn’t expecting it so soon. This game is really going quite fast!
Good ol’ Captain Bitch, has a nice ring to it. We get a choice here, it’s a difficult call:
Really riveting choices, I’ll have to try the other branches on another game~
As your first order, you tell the group of Elina to keep going forward to an opening in the trees.
Side note: At this point is was pretty obvious this game was ported to consoles as an all-ages version. Shentok confirmed it was an 18+ title called Nemureru Mori no Ohime-sama (Princess in the Sleeping Forest). The VNDB page has this exact image but without the jacket above, so it’s definitely the same game. I wonder if the compressed-sounding voices were from trying to go from PC to PS1. The art also seems oddly blocky as well, so I’m wondering if overall they didn’t do the best job.
Also side note: Turns out this game got a re-release as a Simple Series game in the SuperLite 1500 Series. I’m assuming it doesn’t change anything, but it’s possible. For reference, I’ve got the original release PS1 version and not the Simple one.
But I digress.
We rush forward to intercept the… um… man centipede poison monster that can fly…?
The game actually gives you combat options, though it’s really vague and disconnected. You get options like “swing upwards,” “swing downwards,” etc., but there’s no real indicator on what makes the most sense. After around three options, you fell the monster! Fast monkey thing, no chance. Poison centipede with perfect chompers, a-okay~
The new girl rushes in to hug Bitch, wearing only a single unfastened robe the Playstation ratings board found for her.
My god this dude has to comment about boobs the moment a new character is introduced, no exception. Well, I guess he hasn’t mentioned the evil witch’s yet.
Seems she’s instantly fallen for the main character after he saved her, as expected from a visual novel like this.
Bitch, ever judging of the poor knight girl, keeps up his nonsense about how she’s not the coolest-looking character here (well, aside from the witch maybe).
Though Marian takes slight offense, saying she’s not dressed to look cute but wearing her profession’s clothes:
All of these are terrible answers, but of course I had to select the one that makes the least sense.
Alright, that was a good 4th wall break, 10/10.
Also, ever since this nearly naked girl (we told her to go put on clothes and come back) hugged Bitch, Elina became extremely prickly to her. Better get used to catfighting, because they do it for a while. After Marian tells them she’s a magician (oh hey we need one of those, convenient
ce store), Elina shrugs her off as a useless little girl. Angry, Marian attempts to turn her into a frog!
Elina grew so much into a happy girl only to immediately channel it into being a bitch. Whoops. Probably shouldn’t have been hanging around the guy actually named Bitch.
We try to ask Marian on several occasions what she was doing in the cursed evil woods, but she just keeps answering “taking a bath in the lake, duh.” For now, she’s following us and helping us through the forest. We just tell her we’re searching for someone, since we don’t want to reveal too much.
Both girls for some reason are vying for your attention, so they compete over silly things like “do we go left or right?”
I don’t know, maybe the clumsy forgetful mage whose at least been here before might have better odds than someone whose never been here ever. But no, Marian gets all happy I sided with her. Whoops. Does this game have multiple endings? We’ll have to see~
We decide to rest at a cave for the night as the sun’s setting. Still competitive as ever, they make me decide who will cook dinner.
We were given 3 options: Merian, Elina, or both. I selected both, meaning they should have a competition! They, uh, sabotaged each other and we didn’t eat dinner that night ; _;.
Later, we go off alone to fill up water bottles at the lake, leaving Elina behind to protect Merian. On the way back, we hear some voices:
Seems they’re talking about us~
Somehow five seconds alone has greatly improved their relationship! Though the moment we get back, they start bickering again as if they’re ashamed of being friends. Or something. I’m not really sure why.
Elina accidently lets it slip that they’re trying to find the Great Witch Calkram.
For some reason we just reply with “wow that’d be really nice!” and not “this is immediately a red flag.” Oh well, we’ll cross that important
betraya– bridge when we get there.
Tired after the long trip, we rest for the night. But not long after, our stomach wakes up back up and we rummage for anything we can.
Elina can’t sleep either and offers to cook you some food. You accept, wary of her cooking skills. To your surprise, she’s really good! She glares at you, but you play it off like you totally knew she was good this whole time, yup!
The two of you spend a short time chatting about whatever comes to mind while listening to Merian mutter in her sleep about you. Eventually, you retire for the night yourself.
I’m sure Emmyrea is madly in love with you for no reason, but we’ll find out next time! See you soon!