Name: Comic Party (87.78% in 27 votes)
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Lamuness
By now, everybody should know that the top Bishojyo CG artists Takashi and Minami, who worked for F&C and are responsible for grapically insane games such as the famous With You Mitsumetetai and Pia Carrot series, went to Leaf (this is why Cocktail Soft is literally dead for the past 6 months). As you know, Leaf has been famous for their stories, as seen in White Album and the infamous To Heart. Combining Leaf's powerful story and F&C top artists, you get Comic Party.
In the story, you play the role of a very artistic person. You are very interested in creating Doujinshi (Japanese amateur comics) but never get a chance for such exposure. One day, Daishi, a "bad" friend of yours who likes to rip his friends off, comes and visits you. After he discovers your artistic talent, he basically "forces" you to enter the world of doujinshi in order to make you a famous manga artist. This is how the story begins. Every month, you will participate in a huge doujinshi fair called Comic Party where you will sell and promote your works. If you think about it, Takashi and Minami used to spend their lives as doujinshi artists and building up their reputation to what they are today, so it is not surprising if this game is a reflection of their past experiences.
This is a bring up simulation where in one month's time, you have to create a doujinshi and publish it. A weekly schedule is set where you will practice and improve your drawing skills and draw your manga. Besides having to manage your time to create a good manga, you have to mange your money as well because money is needed to publish your manga in multiple copies. To earn money you either have to do Part-Time or earn it through selling your work at the manga fair. Basically, if you cannot meet the monthly deadline for whatever reason (unable to finish your work or no money to publish your manga) it will be an automatic game over. And obviously in addition to build up your doujinshi reputation, you should go after the girl you like as well. Besides talking to them and making the right choices, the genre of manga (love story, action, fantasy etc) you choose to draw each month will affect each girl's impression.
After a month of hard work is dealt with, then it's time for Comic Party. Depending on the cost outlay of each manga published, you can set a price for selling your manga. Obviously there are pros and cons for setting prices high and low. During the fair, you can sell manga at your booth, visit other girls' booths, go see cosplay, or buy doujinshi for yourself which can be used as items to help you finish your doujinshi in case of "emergency."
As you may realize by now, Comic Party is very very similar to F&C's Pia Carrot 2. Firstly, the artists responsible for both games are the same. Second, both are build-up simulations. Third, both uses cute little animations throughout the game. You may see this game as a 90% clone of Pia Carrot in different setting. If you are a devoted Pia Carrot fan then this should be a good thing for you. If you are into something more original, then you may find it a bit disappointing.
The game is pretty fluid and has lots of event changes which makes this game pretty damn difficult. The level of difficulty in Comic Party just as difficult as Pia Carrot 2 (which means VERY challenging), if not harder. I think it's more harder than Pia Carrot because first you have to meet a very tight monthly deadline (which Pia Carrot doesn't really have) and many girls' events are very well "hidden." However, this proves to be a good thing because replay value is high and it will definitely stay in your computer much longer than mediocre Hgames. If you are a fan of F&C graphics then you will definitely like the insanely done CGs in this game (what more can I say?). In addition, there are hidden items and a couple of hidden girls which makes this game more playable. The opening song is cool, but I like Kanon's OP more.
Now the bad part. First, the story is not as good as I expected, or at least compared to Leaf's previous games. But then, in general bring up simulations usually are not strong in storyline as other game types like Kanon. The second and probably the worst part of the game is that it is pretty buggy. First of all, the game will have trouble reading data and running if you have more than one cd-rom drives hooked to your computer. Sometimes animations are slow (and halts) or the game just halts for a while before running again. Sometimes the CD-DA music doesn't play which I think is related to the multi-cd-rom problem. Sadly, the bug fix update doesn't help much, but these bugs are not too big a problem for the enjoyment of this great game if you know how to get around it.
Overall, if the buggy part is taken care of, this proves to be a fun, entertaining and challenging game just like Pia Carrot 2. Comic Party is definitely one of the best Hgames for the summer of 1999. Pia Carrot fans should be condemned if they miss out this great game. In addition, artistic persons and manga artist wannabe's should consider this game as well. After experiencing this game you will appreciate and understand the hardship doujinshi artists put into their low-cost doujinshi manga.
PROS: Insane hi-quality graphics, high difficulty and replay value, interesting doujinshi-making concept, cool OP song, hidden items and girls.
CONS: Slightly weak plots for girls, bugs, bugs, bugs.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS GAME TO: Pia Carrot fans, manga artists and wannabe's, Silent Axis (aka X), Kyubi-baka, people who can meet tight deadlines, people who likes challenge in Hgames.
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