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Zettai Fukuju Meirei

(Langmaor)


From the makers of Enzai, a new game which at first sight seems only slightly less dark and frightening: Zettai Fukuju Meirei, also translated into mangled pseudo-German, but I'll stick with the English translation: "absolute obedience". The main players seem to be a fighter pilot, a laid-back member of the Gestapo and a mutant Chippendale. The first two are hit men with a difference: their targets end up horizontal, but not dead. Their agency advertises: "Got a problem with certain people? Call us, and we'll bring 'em to their knees." Sound nasty? It isn't really.

The game pretends to be very S&M, but isn't. Kia, the biker with goggles and cancer stick, is the stereotypical street tough with a heart of gold; Louise, the one in the scary uniform, will sooner rather ply his charms than his whip; and their butch bodyguard "Garahaa" (I had to find out from an English site that it's "Gallagher") is eager to please, extremely deferential to his patrons, and genuinely upset when they yell at him. The motives of the agency's clients run from goodwill ("Please make sure my darling has a good time") via revenge ("He screwed me, so screw him back") to outright intimidation ("Do what it takes to get rid of him, and do it fast"), but any truly nasty stuff happening typically doesn't involve the agents, and successful missions often end with a love confession from the target. The game is "hardcore", meaning there's oohs and aahs and spurting body fluids and enough nudity to require mosaics. It's also romantic, occasionally poignant and often very, very funny.

Either agent has six missions to complete, that means, six targets to "subdue". The two have opposite and complementary personalities that suit their mission targets: Kia is the rough'n'ready one, trying to impress (and occasionally succeeding) with his "bad attitude". Male bonding is his specialty, and he'll first try to win his target's confidence with a show of physical or verbal aggression. Too bad that the guy code he adheres to comes with inbuilt homophobia, so he has a lot of re-educating to do, but he compensates for this setback with a gung-ho approach to romance ("okay, we're alone, let's get naked") and the brash attitude of "I'm cool, therefore anything I do is cool, therefore everyone who wants to be cool should follow my example", and in real-reality this is what makes adolescents take up drinking and smoking, so it's not too far-fetched. Hypocritically, he doesn't like to be on the receiving end, which can lead to amusing situations. As befits "cool" characters, he has a basic integrity that interferes with the nastier missions. (But all missions end satisfyingly for the targets; in some cases the clients are the ones to end up "subdued"! It's as if the game makers had wanted to create a second Enzai, then radically changed their mind halfway through.) He likes to roar around on a motorbike and get into fights and act without thinking, and is such an over-the-top macho that he's just funny.

Louise, on the other hand, is suave and sophisticated. Although he has the same icky "nazi" look, he's a very far cry from Durer; courteous, soft-spoken and affable, he'll distract with gentle chat while sneaking closer until the target is practically sitting on his lap before making his move. Extremely manipulative, he nevertheless shares Kia's basic kindness and will become emotionally involved with his target to the point of siding against the client. He's smarter than Kia simply because he does think before acting, and obviously more influentual; his name (Hardwich, pronunciation: "Hartovicu" - sounds like Rumanian nobility!) is dropped during some of Kia's missions, and can open doors. While I'm talking about names, yes, I do realize, as the game makers obviously didn't, that Louise is a "girl" name. This in itself doesn't bother me - how many English-speakers realize that Pascal, Marion, Florence and Andrea are "boy" names, the last one even meaning "masculine"? - but it's grating because it sounds like the French variant of "Engrish": using a language ignorantly, in this case without knowing that most French names have a male and female version distinguished by an added "e", without which the last consonant becomes silent. What makes it even more grating is the Japanese dislike of syllables ending in consonants, so the name is pronounced in full, "ru-ii-ze", every time. One gets used to it. This time, at least, the makers have sorted out the geographical confusion obvious in Enzai: the game is set in Germany, period. So this time all the button texts are in English. Back to (one gets used to it) Louise: he's supposed to be the handsome one of the two, though I can't see that because anime characters are all drawn alike, and the only way to tell apart the "pretty" ones is by how other characters react to them. This one's targets seem to consider him irresistible. His voice certainly is; I've spent many game-playing hours nodding drowsily to the pleasantly sophorific sound of Louise sweet-talking his way into some man's pants.

The most comical parts of the game are the "domestic" scenes. Kia likes to razz Louise before missions, Louise prefers to give helpful advice (which Kia will totally ignore) and Gallagher usually adds his two cents. The household includes a dog, "Tige" ("Tiger"?) who puts in the occasional wuff or whine. If either agent comes home after a failed mission, the other had better not make fun of him, or there will be sounds of breaking glass and cries of distress from Gallagher. Louise has parents, to whom he will very occasionally turn for help: a rich-bitch type who really knows how to embarrass sonny-boy and a slightly sarcastic old man who talks through his moustache. (Kia's parents may be presumed dead; his father was a brute, his mother appears in a flashback when he's driving through a slum.) Gallagher can be a nosy meddler, for which Kia yells at him and Louise just pronounces his name with quiet emphasis, which has the same effect.

Gameplay is standard BL fare: click and wait. Or rather, click on a character, click on a mission, occasionally click on one of two choices and then click, click, click one's way through text and voiced dialogue. The makers have kindly included an "auto" button to do the latter automatically (which for very short dialogue can mean the characters whizz past too quickly) and a "skip" button to play in fast-forward a sequence that has already been shown. There are about five choices in the course of the mission, less if a wrong choice early in the mission makes it abort prematurely. Completed missions get an A if they're completely successful, a B if they're satisfactory, a C if they end badly or the target scampers, and a D if they end dismally - but it's worth playing out each and every ending, because some bad endings are very funny! The game has a CG gallery for significant screenshots - mostly sex stills, but also endings and encounters - and an event replay gallery, this time only for the nookie scenes. Warning: missions have expiration dates, after which they automatically get a D. Kia has to finish mission 6, then 2, then 3 before tackling the others, while if Louise successfully finishes mission 1, mission 4 will suddenly have expired. The duo's mission durations are added up together, so it's best to alternate between the two. There are forty save slots, three automatic save slots for the choices that pop up, and one quick-save slot connected with the Qsave and Qload buttons. The dialog window in the bottom right corner which also contains the game buttons can be closed, which pauses a game; clicking on the game screen will restore it, and right-clicking will bring up all other options, where "To Title" means the returning to main menu.

The game requires DirectX 8.1 to run. I made the mistake of my life by installing DirectX off CD, ending up with DirectX 9.0C which has problems with either the old 8MB graphics card, or the completely unpatched Japanese Windows 98, or both. After running for some time, the game will lock up; even the patch downloadable from the game's website won't cure that. Apart from this, the game will run on older computers, 500Mhz and 128MB RAM and a 4MB graphics card being the minimum requirements. There are two installation options, requiring 1,5 GB (all game files copied) or 750 MB (play game files off CD-ROM). The CD has to be in the drive while playing, but with the full installation I don't hear it spin. (Correction! When I first installed and played the game, the CD was asked for. But when I accidentally started the game without CD after patching the game and completing all twelve missions plus the extra one, it ran without complaining.)

Like most popular games, this game has of course spawned a fandisk and a number of voice drama CDs, all of which can be ordered at the game company site. As a freebie, this site held a popularity poll for all characters and published three funny cartoons pairing up the agents with their most popular targets. Also available, although not at the site itself as far as I can see: the game artbook containing all CGs.

The missions

This isn't a walkthrough, because I didn't play out every possible ending and couldn't be bothered to remember which choice leads to what. It's a rough description of each mission, so don't scroll down if you don't want to see spoilers.



Louise

Mission 1 - the man in the mask

Franz Berger, a middle-aged military commander, wants revenge on Lawless (what an unfortunate name for someone in the army) Streich for a betrayal a few years ago. Consequently, a wavy-haired captain (sergeant? I know nothing about who has which rank, except that Streich is at the bottom of the pecking order) with a riding crop introduces Streich to, erm, private Hardwich? and tells him to show the newcomer around. (In this mission, the right option is always the first one, so I got the A-ending first time and had to do much replaying to get all the bad endings. This mission can end on really stupid things like Louise getting a wrong response from his parents or the taxi he takes breaking down in a forest somewhere.) Our agent is his usual charming self while talking to Streich, who responds curtly and matter-of-factly, but when left alone expresses his disgust at living conditions in the barracks. The character bio tells me that Streich has buried his emotions so deeply that he's called the man in the mask. His usual expression is bland, tightening slightly when he hears something that doesn't please him, and the voice acting is brilliant; his voice is very low, and when he touches on a sensitive subject, the words sound smothered in his throat. Hearing the two of them converse is as restful as listening to New Age music. That night shows one of the things Streich is having to repress; a sexual harassment scene with the riding-crop captain and something that made me rip off the headphones in alarm thinking the processor fan was grinding down again, but no, that sound is part of the game and it's a vibrator. Proof that the truly nasty stuff doesn't involve the agents. Louise does make a pass at Streich the next day but, dissatisfied with the lack of response, decides to consult his parents. He asks Gallagher to drive to his mother's house, to which the man reacts with apprehension - clearly mama Hardwich is someone to avoid - but the right choice is to go and see dad, any other choice leads to a bad ending. The old man scoffs a little at his using the word "onegai" ("please") but gives the requested information. He goes back to the barracks, Streich is gone, he finds his target in a graveyard and for the first time, Streich shows some emotion. There is this story about "Maria" who was involved in the whole betrayal thing and who was probably Berger's daughter. Overcome by pity, Louise gives Streich a big hug, and they return to what is either an inquest or a court-martial in the barracks, Streich testifying in front of the bigwigs and getting moral support from Louise during the breaks. That night they have nookies, Louise goes to Berger to plead forgiveness for the target, and the nasty captain is sent to America. Such a happy end.

Choosing the second option during their first conversation will lead to all sorts of bad endings. Instead of showing the new recruit the above-ground part of the barracks, Streich takes him to a cellar where provisions are stored. Later, two things happen: the nasty captain forces Streich to give him a blow job (meaning he has to say "yes captain" with a full mouth) and insists on "absolute obedience" (gosh, where have I heard that before?) and Streich himself plays a dubious role in the interrogation of a prisoner in that same cellar. When Louise visits him that evening and makes a pass at him, the first choice has Streich turning the tables on him (and do the agents go through the same gasping routines as their targets, when they end up underneath? This one tries not to, at least) and the second choice ends in Streich getting a blow job, which is sort of fair considering what went before, and in Louise being banned from the grounds by the captain, who senses that this outsider is a threat to his power. If Louise doesn't go to see Streich and therefore is neither screwed nor banned, any visit he pays to his parents will end horribly. (I really wish I knew what happens here; it seems that either his mother's friends fasten onto him or his dad poisons him with iffy wine.) If he survives that, he goes to the graveyard but arrives too late, if at all.


Mission 2 - From Russia with love

Zhores Barsoukova, known for his icy composure, is a spy working as librarian. Reiner Muller, a German spy who has worked for the British government, wants revenge for information stolen from him by Zhores in the past: just once, he wants to see the bolshy bastard lose his poise.

There are two ways to get in touch with the target, both starting in the library. The first means he's called over the intercom to meet a certain Hardwich who is interested in Russian history, at least they seem to talk about Catherine the Great until, safe from prying eyes between two bookshelves, Louise confronts him with his past as a spy and invites him to, um, dinner? with Muller. Zhores smells a rat and leaves, and Louise and Muller are left to blame each other for letting him get away. (That's the better of the two bad endings. If Louise mentions Muller before he joins them, Zhores uses some sort of chemical to paralyze him and, er, avails himself of the opportunity. Kia winkles this truth out of his partner on his return and makes some tactless remarks that he very deeply regrets moments later.)

Option two also has his name called over the intercom, just as he's shagging a student between those conveniently high bookcases. Drat, job calling. He again chats with Louise about Russian history, is again invited for a threesome and is led into a hotel room where, to his shock and surprise, a pair of handcuffs is slapped on him and some slightly icky sex follows. What's icky about it is hearing Louise and Muller talk over their victim's head like two school bullies ganging up on someone in the playground. Once this is finally over - Muller may consider his request fulfilled, and then some - Louise offers a somewhat ruffled Zhores a taxi ride home. Gunshots sound, tyres skid, Zhores cries out his name in alarm and they get out just in time before the taxi rides off the edge of a bridge. They stay out of sight while explosions shatter brickwork and police sirens wail (Louise mentions both his father and Kia, so I suspect the whole attack is a setup) and then, taking a more reliable taxi, return to the same hotel room for more sex, just the two of them this time.

After this, the right option is the first both times. In the library, the student I've seen before asks Zhores something - presumably whether he's still at the top of his librarian's priority list, and who knows, maybe the unexplored bad endings include a passion crime - and then Louise pops up again. He obviously did something right at their last meeting, because this time he's allowed to come to an apartment (apparently not Zhores' home). It's late and getting dark. They have some fun in the shower and Louise does something right again, because his target practically begs for more. I guess Zhores doesn't get it this good from his student lays. Louise practices his usual flattery, which may this time be genuine as he's already fulfilled his mission and would therefore be doing this in his spare time. They spend the night together and exchange some fond remarks in the morning. The mission ends on Gallagher in a state over Louise (did he send a note "am emigrating to the former Soviet Union to start new life with ex-spy"? Did a truckload of books about Catherine the Great arrive?) and an unconcerned Kia shrugging off whatever the matter is.

I reloaded from the last two choices to see what the second option would do. For the first set of options, Louise gets a bit rougher, there's the sound of tearing fabric and no shower scene, and Zhores is a bit miffed, so going to the apartment after that only produces a B ending. For the second set of options - go to the apartment, or to Zhores' home - the second option is always wrong. The two end up in a much smaller apartment, the kind that always has dishes stacked in the sink, and Zhores laughs nastily that this is a trap. Louise goes wide-eyed, and what exactly happens I don't know, but when he's back home, Kia is humming (while picking the bullets out of his partner's back?) and cheerfully commenting on the failure until a gunshot sounds.


Mission 3 - "I have a mission that you can't refuse"

The mafia is a multinational these days, and so mafia bosses can have names like Werner Herzog. His bio describes him as "mafia heir", which would mean he doesn't get his own hands dirty, but lives handsomely on the fortune provided for him by his parents. In practice, he's a playboy showing a lot of chest to advertise his availability to pretty women. One of these women, who is in "the business" and very fond of him, wants to play a little joke on her darling by extending his tastes a bit.

I don't remember what the correct starting option is, accepting the official invitation or just bumping into the target, but official invitations work very well for this character. He's introduced to Werner, who may or may not know of Franzeska's little ploy, but who is not impressed, feeling he has nothing left to learn. It's going to take all of our agent's charm to win this one. He gets as far as drinks in a cosy bar and an invitation to a hotel room, before he has to make a choice: go slowly or jump his gun. Beware: most of Louise's targets are lonely, or inexperienced, or both. Werner is neither, and therefore in a position to say no. Pushing matters will lead to anger and a good-bye note the day after. Going slowly will appear to be the wrong choice, because Werner will protest and be cross all the way, but at least they spend the night together. (And in the morning, Louise brightly greets him with "ohayo!" Awww cute.) But the very next day Werner is already with some woman, and also on the phone for business matters, and so doesn't have much time for him.

To make things worse, mama Hardwich summons him to her house to chew him out over his involvements with the mafia. (While he's at home and her message is delivered, Kia makes a remark about sadism, which is followed by the crack of a bullwhip. In different ways, they both grew up in dysfunctional families.) But this is a good sign, and the right option is to not only patiently hear her out, but even stay the evening. (Mum is quite surprised as he doesn't spend a lot of time with his parents - I wonder why.) Either choice is good, but this one leads to the best ending. Anyhow, one would think that his chances of making a move on Werner are now shot, and then Werner invites him for a ride. Not one of those scary mafia rides that end in bullets in a back alley, but a ride to a mountain meadow sort of place with beautiful scenery and not a soul in sight. They kiss as the sun goes down. (Awww cute.) Then Werner takes him to the same hotel that Kia takes Silvio to (the Silvio mission recycles some scenery from others) and, why carry a bullwhip around if you're not going to use it, he ties Werner's hands behind his back and slides into his usual "just relax and you'll be feeling great in a minute" bedside manner. Werner doesn't, and utters a cynical accusation ("I bet you say that to all the boys"?) which Louise, professionally offended, of course wants to set right, and so they end up confessing their mutual attraction to each other as they progress towards a double orgasm - for once the agent has some fun too. Werner now knows How To Do It With A Guy and Franzeska is satisfied. End of mission. Or so it seems, but as Louise is about to return home - this is the extra bit of ending for the A outcome - Werner drops on one knee and kisses his hand. Awww cuuute!

There is a funny worst ending for this: last set of options, option 2 "kiss" instead of option 1 "go to hotel". Werner switches to Casanova mode and does a number on Louise - he thinks he has nothing more to learn, remember? - then sits back to lap up the praise. Whether it's hurt pride or real clumsiness on Werner's part, Louise angrily tells him he's the worst lay ever. Werner is devastated - he doesn't get this kind of criticism from his pretty women!


Mission 4 - Educating Anel

For legal reasons, every target in this game is supposed to be eighteen or older, including this wide-eyed, reedy-voiced, father-worshipping tiny tot in his smock with bows and ribbons that recalls a time in history when powdered wigs were all the rage. He is at any rate at that dangerous age when he starts attracting people's interest, including that of a certain Joachim Basler. The client's request seems simple and harmless: to see that angelic face in the throes of passion. As a matter of fact little Anel (sounds like "Annerl", another "girl" name) is more like a baby than an angel, his facial features stuck in the bottom half of his face and mostly eyes, and looks rather repulsive when aroused. He's also drawn like a girl in the sense of having a huge butt, and gets his nookies in positions that just cannot be comfortable. But I'm running ahead. Louise gets access to the unsuspecting child by posing as tutor. This leads to a funny scene when Anel, a bright little thing, calls him "Hartovic-sensei" (the suffix meaning "teacher" or "master") and, when he says it's okay to use first names, switches to "Louise-sensei" - and "sensei" he remains, even when his pupil discovers what he's come to teach. But I'm running ahead again. Louise either pretends to be a tutor or, second option, a friend of Joachim. Both options are followed by an introduction.

After the introduction, Louise meets, um, Quasimodo. Anel's father is furious that "Joachim" (hey, it's the client!) should be here. Louise's reaction will depend on the option chosen to get into the house. The second option means he'll be friendly to Joachim but still bar him from Anel's room when lesson time begins, and if he does his stuff in front of a window, dad will catch sight of him - eep! This won't have serious consequences, but in all cases he'll simply give up the mission.

The first option leads to drama as, not content at having the master of the house beat poor Joachim, Louise lays into him with the whip. (Does he realize he's hitting the client?) Anel frantically cries at them both to stop. When he's in his room for lessons, Anel explains he's attached to Joachim because they've been together since he was small. Then follows the "lesson", the initially flabbergasted Anel (who thought he was only sitting on his tutor's lap because the chair wasn't high enough?) sobbing and hiccuping his way through two jets of white, with gentle encouragement along the way. That is, if he stays on Louise's lap, the alternative option being to lie across the desk. The first option is the right one, because they'll be visible through the window, and Louise will see poor, ugly, lovelorn Joachim watching them (well, that was the point of the mission!) and the rest of the lesson will be conducted under the desk. On their return to the living room, who should be there but Joachim, and Louise once again lays into him, Anel begging him to stop. If he does so, he'll acknowledge that some things were meant to be, and go home. But it's better that he shouldn't, because then even Anel's father will beg him to stop, and Anel will be very happy, and he'll also acknowledge that some things were (brr) meant to be and go home; but once arrived, Gallagher will tell him that there's a little boy to see him. It's Anel, who came after him for one last lesson. He smiles and gives a hands-on tutorial on how to make out on the back seat of a car.


Mission 5 - Prince Ferdy

I don't know whether Ferdinand Marienfeld, who like Anel has a big butt and an outfit dating back several centuries, is royalty or just nobility, but obviously the big mansion on spacious grounds didn't just fall out of the sky. Possibly the last in a line of aristocrats, Ferdinand lives a sighing lonely life, mothered by his devoted maidservants and surrounding himself with roses to reflect his own beauty. (Yes, this target is more than slightly vain.) You'd think five bosomy women could keep him happy, but they, mere servants, don't want to rise above their station and instead arrange company of a refinement matching their employer's.

The problem with this mission is not capturing the target - living in isolation, Ferdy will glomp onto anyone who pays attention to him - but making sure the agent doesn't give in to nausea and quit. Sipping tea and chatting on elevated matters should be right up Louise's alley, but from the start it's clear that the dreamy young aristocrat gives him goosebumps, and he has to struggle to keep his composure. I'd love to know what Ferdy says to make those gunshots go off in his head. Too many gunshots, and it's OVER. This mission starts with a choice of formal introduction and just bumping into the character, and as before, the first is best. Following the second, Louise does a number on Ferdy, then follows him for either a walk in the mountains? or a dip in the river. The first ends in a fall and a very worried Ferdy coming to his bed (literally crying out "my honey") and the second, well, invite Louise for a skinny-dip and you get what you asked for, but at the end Ferdy still manages to scare him off with one fatuously uttered sentence. Okay, official intro and now the endings are: shower scene (with most of his clothes still on, which must be very uncomfortable) or bed scene (ditto) and Louise is appalled to see that even the bed is strewn with roses. He controls himself and even uses them creatively in the completion of his mission, for the happiest ending - for Ferdinand, that is, because when Louise gets home, Kia is doing a Ferdy impression and tells him his date sent flowers. The closing picture shows Louise with flaming eyes tearing a note in two while Kia looks away smirking. Ah well, missions can't all be fun!


Mission 6 - the irresistable Doctor Haller

Bertie Schneider has a problem with women. He has no confidence when dealing with them, and therefore they won't give him the time of day. And it's all the fault of his colleague, doctor Hagen Haller, who has a magnetic effect on the hospital nurses even if he won't give them the time of day. Schneider doesn't even know whether Haller is interested in women at all, but just to be on the safe side would like to see him converted to woofterdom. (In view of the medical world's past attempts to "cure" homosexuality, I find these conversions most satisfyingly ironic.) With Haller out of the limelight, female attention will default to Schneider, who will become the ladies' man he was born to be. Considering women's fascination with yaoi: no comment.

Initially I only got B and C endings for this mission. After Schneider is snubbed by some woman, Haller is shown being adored by three nurses with chests varying from normal to over-inflated and displaying such twitty behaviour that I pity the car crash victims who end up in this hospital. They're forever asking Haller to take walks with them and biting Schneider's head off if he dares to contradict God Haller. The first choice is, have lunch with the nurses or go outside for a walk, the second option leading straight to Louise. The usual sweet-talking follows, Louise kisses him which leads to the usual outraged surprise followed by "hm, could we try that again?", he goes back inside and is given a choice, do a surgery or let Schneider do it (which will make the twitty nurses cross) and ends up in bed with Louise. An alternate ending from some other option has him sitting at his desk behind the screen that shows the nurses on the other side, and Louise undoing his shirt.

Ah, but Schneider has ulterior motives; after gathering the courage to replay the mission (using the skip button each time a nurse comes in sight) I found out why Bertie is dogging Louise "did you do it yet? is he gay yet?" As in the first mission, option one is right every time. The first set of options is: go out for a walk at lunchtime (nurses: "boohoo") or stay in for lunch with the rest of the staff (nurses: "yay!") where the second is wrong because Louise will meet him later and even go out to dinner with him, but in both cases Schneider ruins things by wanting results too soon: either (option one) he makes a pass at Haller (yes! And not just to check if the mission was successful!) or (option two) he collars Louise to know if Haller is open to propositions yet and I'm not sure, but I think the mission ends on "well if you're that desperate for nookies..."

So, the doc should go outside to run into our agent (who will lay on the charm heavily after either option - really, if there were medals for sucking up...) who again manages to arrange a date, drops him off at the hospital and is shown inside to Haller's office which has a bed in it - ooh, that's too tempting. Up comes the second pair of options, Use That Bed or just kiss. Just kissing leads to the aforementioned B endings. The first option has him using not only the bed but some lengths of tubing for slightly kinky sex, but leave it to the professional to make this sort of thing enjoyable. (Jarring note: even Haller has an anime chick butt, why does Louise get all the wide posteriors?) Next day: operation. An online capture guide already tells me I should let Haller do it. Afterwards, (to relieve the tension?) he meets with Louise and the two go to his house, where the bed is both wider and more comfortable. A scene from one of the B endings is replayed, but this ending is longer; they wake up in the morning to the sound of an insistently ringing doorbell. It's Schneider who (co-converted or just waiting for this moment to come out of the closet?) has come to give his colleague a warm hug - only to find that Haller is already provided for in that department. Missions can be too successful!



Kia

Mission 1 - thief in the night

Germany is painstakingly re-collecting all treasures and works of art that were scattered during last war, and what should happen but a mysterious thief, Silvio Wenzel, turns up and steals stuff from museums left and right. To add insult to injury, the enraged chief-of-police's daughter has a crush on him. (That's what I get from the bio; thankfully, she never appears.) The mission: catch the rat and crush him underfoot.

Flashback to twenty-something years ago: a crying child sits at the deathbed of an old man called "Hans". Back to the present: another alarm goes off, too late, as the thief, a young man in a skintight outfit with a long ribbon over his eyes, pauses on a rooftop to admire a stolen jewel. Kia confronts him on the roof at night, and again during the day when he suddenly looks a lot older in a black suit/shirt/tie and huge sunglasses. Silvio is blind. Either that, or he has a serious eyesight problem. Lastly, Kia breaks into his ill-lit house where he further decreases visibility with either steam or a smoke bomb and attacks with a sword. Avoiding the swipes, our intrepid agent grabs him, rips off half the outfit and proceeds to have sex. (I did say he has a gung-ho approach to romance?) It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Far from carrying out the policeman's wishes - but the agents generally seem to ignore their actual missions - Kia helps Silvio to find what he's looking for, which in this case is a letter from Hans found in a room full of lockers, read by Silvio with tearful eyes. (So what happened to being blind, or is it in braille?) The find is celebrated with some oral sex. The route to this happy end leads through cafes and libraries, during which time it's important not to let Kia scare off the target by getting too gropey; his surprise attack works only once.

The route to the best ending is also the route to the worst; after finding the note, Kia has the choice of taking Silvio to the place where Louise takes Werner, or (first option if I recall correctly) a nearby hotel. Here, he will be irritated in his advances by a ringing phone which he either unplugs or destroys. Silvio uses the phone cord to tie him up (eep!) and, in a wickedly merry mood, starts to thank Kia in kind for the favour done at their first encounter - though Kia clearly doesn't appreciate the gesture!


Mission 2 - Operation Desert Prince

This mission is not available until Prince Ali Ibrahim Ashraf (I don't know the exact order of the names and will from here on call him Ali) arrives at his holiday destination: Germany. He is third in line to the throne, second in line being his uncle Majd (emphatically not to be confused with his aged servant Mahd), a narrow-eyed, pasty-faced caricature of an Arab who wants a possible rival out of the way. (Again, hats off to the voice actors: Majd speaks Japanese with what sounds like an Arabic accent, although real Arabs don't speak Japanese all that often, so what they would sound like if they did is anyone's guess.) Mahd worries about his reckless young charge and insists that he employ a bodyguard. Enter Kia. There are two options: use the name "Hardwich" to get an introduction, or just barge in. Barging in is the right option, because then Kia will amuse Ali by being insolent to Mahd and bring up the subject of sex, whether to brag or as payment in return for his services I don't know. The prince grins, and two things are obvious: i. these two like each other and ii. there's going to be some butting of heads in the bedroom.

Their first quarrel over who gets to be on top is interrupted by gunshots; either Ali has more enemies than just his uncle, or Majd isn't going to wait for the agency to finish the job. They escape safely. From there on, the trick is to strike a balance between forwardness and deference: if Kia pushes too hard, he'll be discharged as a bodyguard and kicked out; if he holds back, he'll end up in the prince's clutches. (There are two endings of Kia getting harem-ized, in one of which he's abducted to the desert, presumably to be saved by Gallagher.) They explore the city by day, braving assassination attempts (one bad ending is of Ali being shot and romantically dying in a tearful Kia's arms, while I think "Yes but weren't you supposed to get rid of him in the first place?") and wrestle each other in the evening, one challenge for Kia being to immobilize Ali by splashing water in his face before Ali does the same to him, which leads to an uncomfortable twosome on the hard bathroom floor - too bad this is one of the "bad ending" events. The best ending is when Majd bursts in on a steamy bedroom scene (don't these people knock?) and laughs that after this scandal Ali is finished, to which Ali also laughs and says there is no scandal because his bodyguard has just been promoted to concubine. Gulp!


Mission 3 - war in the ghetto

This mission is so incredibly nasty that I played it before any of the others to see whether I wanted to bother with this Kia character at all. An unscrupulous developer wants to get his hands on a bit of slum which is, inconveniently, still inhabited. This developer sends thugs to terrorize the place, but they are resisted by the local hero, Dirk Wahl. This honest lad just hates corruption and Martin Adenauer, the incredibly nasty developer, just hates Dirk and wants horrible things to happen to him, so he'll think twice before getting in the way again. Rest assured: all's well that ends well.

Chugging past the ragged-looking apartment buildings, Kia betrays his origins by seeing his mother in a flashback. His bout of nostalgia is interrupted by the sound of fighting: Adenauer's thugs are making trouble in a bakery run by Dirk's parents, and Dirk allows himself to be provoked into a very unequal fight. Kia has the choices Fight and Run; the first would be his natural reaction, but the thugs are working for the same person as he is; the second, which he will only half do before returning to see if Dirk is all right, will lead tot inconclusive bad endings because Dirk doesn't trust him. So, fight it is, and he quite impressively kicks the shit out of them. Dirk decides he's made of the right stuff and invites him into... a biker gang. That's it; there's no way Kia would betray Dirk. They're two peas in a pod.

Tonight's objective is an attack on a building surrounded by wire netting; Adenauer HQ? There's a tiresome amount of roaring motorcycle engines and headlights and the police-series background music that generally follows Kia around; someone gets hurt but due to the bravery of their leader and his new best friend, they all escape. Yawn. Said leader & friend withdraw to Dirk's home, which looks as if both roof and walls are missing, and there It Happens. Dirk mostly looks away in embarrassment, and later, when they're sitting on a roof huddled in a blanket, he acts very cross and flustered - apparently his wasn't just his first time with a man, it was his first time ever. Awww. They're still bosom buddies, though, and when Kia returns to his own house, he looks angry at himself and presumably wants to tell the client that the mission is cancelled. The course followed so far can lead to both the best and the "worst" ending, but first Gallagher gets chewed out by a furious Kia for interfering. (For blabbing to Louise?) The next day, Kia returns to the slum and learns from a wailing baker that Dirk has been forcibly abducted by Adenauer's goons. Oh, no!

The worst ending is the least excruciating. Dirk is being held, and beaten up, in the building behind wire netting that the gang attacked earlier, but he sounds defiant and unafraid. Kia has the choice of rushing in or setting the building on fire. The first leads to a face-down between Adenauer and Kia and the rescue of Dirk before he incurs serious damage; a plaster on his face and a bandaged arm are all I see when he's back at his place, leaning over Kia and declaring his love. Kia's eyes widen as Dirk's intention dawns on him, and the scene ends in a loud, indignant "HEY!!"

The "best" ending may involve some different previous choices as well as the final choice to set fire to the building, because rather than a beating, the scene starts with a gang-bang; genuine rape, as opposed to Kia's tough love, and enough of it to fill two entries in the events gallery. This is one scene where I'd have liked to be able to use the skip button the first time. To make it worse, I sat through the whole thing waiting and waiting for Kia to make an appearance. He doesn't; the villains run so he can save the victim undetected, and the scene changes to Adenauer being talked to coldly by a woman who mentions the name "Hardwich", probably warning him to stay away from that bit of real estate if he values his life. If the neighbourhood is safe from now on, I guess that's worth a bit of ick.


Mission 4 - Timo and true love

Judge Wilkes is a dominant, overbearing man. This may suit his function, but clearly does not go down well with his son, who in an act of rebellion refuses to date girls and goes out with boys instead, little detail: for money. The situation reminds me of Gilbert in Kaze to ki no uta, and young Timo has the same combination of pretty face and sly, hating, cynical expression. Possibly feeling slightly guilty about his failure as parent, the judge employs Kia - a female infiltrant being out of the question - to make Timo experience true love. It seems to me that he could have spared himself the expense if he simply hadn't been such a prick, but then being a prick is the Divine Right of Fathers. There are two ways to get acquainted with the target, the simplest seeming the second: pretend to be a customer. This leads to a cute bed scene with Timo in a see-through shirt going "sugoi!" (certainly no other target says that!) but will end in failure, Timo either doing a Gilbert impression ("I was faking it, hee hee") or entering a shop, picking a fight with the shop girl, getting chewed out in a sickeningly sentimental way (he's "not human", andsoforth) and dashing out in a state of grief, completely forgetting about Kia.

Okay, back to first choice: meet him as a friend, leading to the same bed scene with very different dialogue; Timo doesn't sound so happy here. Although on the surface he has no reason to complain, Kia is nevertheless sympathetic, the player getting a flashback of his own parents in what sounds like a spouse-bashing scene of the kind where mum begs the kid to run before he gets bashed next. Kia gets the choice of meeting his dad or not, and on replaying the mission I get the impression that Wilkes senior never shows his face, and all Kia gets to see is servants. The quarrel in the shop is played again, and this time Timo turns to his hired companion for consolation. By now the poor boy is quite smitten, and after he appeals to Kia, I get two choices, neither of which I can read, but which probably say "smoochies" and "no sentimental stuff, let's get laid". Timo is satisfied with either, but in view of the mission's objective, the first is the better, and leads to one of those nookie scenes where the person below seems to have seriously twisted an ankle, and a supremely happy ending where Kia presents his blushing target with a box of cakes. True love goes through the stomach.


Mission 5 - two ways to score

Guys - I mean, Jens - is a young soccer talent, as well as one of those characters that really doesn't look eighteen. The girls he tends to take home after soccer practice look well over eighteen, in fact one wonders if what they're doing is legal. Jens' coach, who sees Jens' potential but is tearing his hair out over these girls and the supposed future scandals they'll cause which will ruin his pupil's future, begs the agency to change the boy's sexual orientation. Okay, reality check: I know of a Dutch football celebrity who appeared in court over sexual harassment (the charge was rape) which didn't hurt his career, while the one thing to decisively remove a male athlete from the scene (apart from serious injury) is having the public discover he's "gay". The coach does realize this, and insists on discretion.

The mission starts with Kia, who like any macho male loves football, listening to a radio commentator shouting "GOAL!!!!!" (doing a bit of research on the target?) while Louise, who clearly considers football beneath him, expresses annoyance. This is another one of those missions that I got right first time, and where I wasn't too interested in exploring alternate endings. Kia just isn't my favourite, even if he did win the popularity poll on Langmaor's website. After the match, Jens is propositioned to by leering girls as usual, but Kia challenges the young pro to forget about the girls and go with him instead, to which Jens reacts with understandably annoyed scepticism. The good time Kia promises seems to consist primarily of breaking traffic rules and staying away from the police (or something - there's roaring engines and ominous headlights). After this adrenalin-raising activity, Jens is taken to a shady hotel and inveigled into a sixty-nine followed by some hard banging. Wow, this is more fun than girls. Mission succesful. Shortly afterwards, Kia and Gallagher are delighted to receive free tickets to the next game. (To get the A ending complete with tickets, Jens should push Kia away and stomp out of the hotel. A camera flashes in his face as he gets his first taste of paperazzi; something that, I think, cures him of girls more effectively than anything Kia did!)


Mission 6 - Sex and the Seminary

Edward Wernicke is a priest in training, with the joyless expression appropriate to religious devotion (of the Christian kind, anyway). I don't know whether priests in training wear the full regalia of their office, but he's dressed like a bishop without the headgear. The other trainees wear the same, but look much less depressed. An anonymous person on the phone wants Kia to tempt him away from the straight and narrow. As easily said as done: Kia approaches him when he's alone in church praying at the altar (something he spends most of his time doing, it seems) and whispers in his ear. He dashes off home and slams the door behind him, his heart beating loudly. Then, leaning against the door, he says something about the devil and jerks off gasping Kia's name. Oops, sinned again. Interestingly, this happens while Kia isn't around; clearly, this devout believer is repressing some strong urges.

Consequently, he puts up very little resistance when Kia shags him, first in what looks like a hayloft, then, depending on the player's choice, at home or in church. The first gets a B and a love confession. The second leads to the A ending: having committed the sin of homosexuality, Edward feels he should renounce Christianity and go home. (One wonders if Edward has heard of the YMCA.) The anonymous caller was his father, who wasn't sure that his son's vocation was right for him. The ending screen shows Edward back at home and looking a lot happier than before.



Extra missions

2008 update! These are not in fact missions but bits of "interactive novel" that give background information on the characters. Look below for the full story.

To put the copestone on this long list of spoilers: if all missions are successfully concluded (and I needed a walkthrough for this, if only to get them done in the right order and avoid expired missions) then two extra missions are unlocked. I knew there were extra missions and thought: wouldn't it be funny if someone called Louise to exact revenge on that brat Kia by screwing him... or vice versa... Turned out I was more or less right. All this is much less fun than it sounds, because first I have to sit through a lengthy scene where Kia's supposedly dead mother (in Kia's mission there's even a flashback to her funeral) turns up arm in arm with Louise's father, and they're calling each other by their first names and being patronizing to Kia, making him cough up the names of his targets, while Louise clearly thinks: "Way to go, dad". When this is finally over, I get the choice of Kia or Louise to undertake one last mission, and that's all the choice I have; from there on I sit back and watch the whole thing out, skip button disabled!

These two missions, which have in common many flashbacks of the chosen character's past and Kia's secret crush on his more sophisticated partner, are mutually exclusive in that, after endless boring unfunny plot twists, Kia either does a number on Louise or - audible gritting of teeth - allows Louise to do a number on him, after which the ending credits roll over the screen. Incidentally, this doesn't mean they'll be a couple from now on. Kia obviously isn't going to play uke again no matter how great his infatuation. Louise is a more gracious loser - the last scenes of Kia's mission are quite romantic - but also bounces back more quickly: when Kia tries to get cosy with him again on the assumption that they are now lovers, he's quickly put in his place. They end up as they began: the loudmouth who wants to impress, and the quiet one who amusedly puts up with him.

Some time after I wrote this, sandyroo mailed me with an account of what really happens in these endings. It explains a lot, so I asked for permission to publish it. Here it is, lifted out of the email:

"The extra starts out with Louise's dad and Kia's mum all over each other, as you said. Turns out that Kia's mum faked her own death, left little Kia alone with the violent drunkard dad (wtf!?) to run off with L's dad (they'd already been lovers for a while by then). Both parents keep repeating how sorry they are, and how they can never atone for the sin they've committed, blahblah, but they're happy and intend to stay that way. They also reveal that they've been lending a helping hand with the boys' targets (that's where all the names pop up - both Kia and Louise remembering odd moments when things went better than they should have done in their missions). On the surface, the scene ends relatively happily - Kia saying he'll visit his mum to eat some of her apple cake again, and Louise saying he'd join them. But it's obvious that there's some old wounds that have been reopened with this - Kia's got some deeply hidden abandonment issues and Louise has the my-parents-never-loved-me syndrome. These are ultimately the reasons that push both Kia and Louise over the friendship boundary in the extras.

In the Kia-ending, the insecurities brought to the surface by the re-appearance of his supposedly-dead mother make Kia pretty much pounce on Louise and lay claim to him - in a "you're mine and I'm never letting you go" kind of way. Louise offers surprisingly little resistance, and I have to admit it made me think "If both of them have so little problem with this, why the hell didn't they do it sooner?" o_O But oh well. There is a cute scene in bed when we find out that the red collar-thing Louise always wears was given to him by Kia, and Kia's red bangle was in turn given to him by Louise (quite symbolic of their respective personalities, really!). It ends with Louise shouting at Kia for wanting to do it again even though they'd just spent the whole night having sex, and threatens that next time he's going to be on top.

In the Louise-ending, the client (Alec) is a former lover of L's mother, and who molested chibi-Louise when he was only 8 o_O Louise doesn't realise though and walks right into Alec's trap - I won't go into detail, but the supposed target drags Kia off to some other room while Alec takes Louise to another. Kia gets drugged and a couple of other guys come in to enjoy the party - but Kia being Kia still manages to keep them at bay. The guys decide to go elsewhere to have some fun - i.e. to the Louise's room. Realising that even though Louise is good at sweet-talking himself out of bad situations, he probably wouldn't be able to defend himself against a group of guys with drugs and gang-rape on their minds, Kia calls them back and lets them do him instead. Meanwhile, sometime during Alec's long and boring and ultimately fruitless attempts to win Louise over, he spills that Kia's probably drugged and trussed up somewhere about now, and Louise runs to the rescue (where he realises in horror that Kia let the guys do it in order to protect him). When they get home again, Kia's feeling dirty at being violated by those guys, and asks Louise to sleep with him and make him feel clean again. Louise does, and this time Kia gets a reciprocal "I love you" from Louise (In the Kia ending, he was the only one who said it). This one ends with Kia swearing that next time he's going to be on top ^-^

But in either case, both end happily - and both contain some kind of fluffy scene with them lounging together in bed, obviously quite content with their new relationship: Kia safe and secure in the knowledge that Louise is never going to betray or leave him, and Louise knowing that Kia's always going to love him. Childhood traumas successfully taken care of ^-^"





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