Who will you finally choose to love? It isn’t an easy decision in True Love ’95.
True Love ’95 isn’t exactly anime… it’s a Japanese bishoujo game that’s been translated into english (well, ok, occasionally it’s engrish), and a fairly old one. It’s abandonware, so you can download it for free. It works in Windows 9x and 2k — not sure on XP.
This, like most bishoujo games, is intended for adults only, so if you’re not old enough to vote, it’s not our fault if your innocence is corrupted by it, because I’m telling you right now — don’t do it. And now that our ForeverGeekly bottoms are covered and the lawyerish types will be happy, you can click through below for an overview and some more (PG at worst) screenshots (you’ll have to play the game if you want the more interesting artwork).
Like most bishoujo games, True Love ’95 is a “dating sim” where you play the part of the male lead, intent on seducing one or more of the female characters. I chose this particular one for my first bishoujo post here primarily because it’s free for download, and is only a bit more than 5 megs, so it’s an easy one to take your first foray into the genre with. And it doesn’t have any incest, rape, or anything particularly far from mainstream. It’s definitely not the best one out there from any perspective… the story is so-so, the graphics are pretty decent but a bit low-res, and there isn’t any voice acting. But it’s an interesting game, nonetheless.
Many of these games are simply “choose your own adventure” games with artwork. True Love is a bit more in-depth than that. You play a college student (you choose the name, or accept the default, “Daisuke” (japanese for “I love you”) and you choose what you want to do with you time… you can’t skip classes, but daytimes when you don’t have school, and most of the afternoons and evenings, you can decide whether you want to study, work out, paint, go shopping, groom yourself, go out on the town, work at your part-time job, or just sit back and relax at home. Your choice of tasks throughout the day affects a series of gauges that reside on the right-hand side of the screen (click one of the thumbnails to see a full screenshot). Working tires you out (fatigue up) but increases your cash reserves. Shopping allows you to buy gifts for the girls (which you almost never have any opportunity at all to use), gifts for yourself (mostly these increase your stats), and rare/unusual items which have varying effects (the only really important one is the angel’s wing, which unlocks the “hidden” character near the end of the game), and best of all, you can gamble — either playing the lottery, or playing blackjack (OK, so I’m a sucker for any video game that includes blackjack or video poker as a side game). Grooming improves your appearance level (and keeps the girls from complaining about how bad you smell), while working out increases your strength. Anything you do will generally increase its level, while anything you don’t do will decrease a bit. The Passion meter goes up each time you have an encounter with a woman, the amount depends on how well it goes.
The level of your stats, as well as your choices when speaking to the girls, determine which girls will talk to you, and whether you have even the slightest chance of winning their hearts. One, for example, is a swimming star, and won’t really consider you unless you’re extremely honest and stronger than the average joe… but you also have to see her for her feminine side. Another is the top of your class and very wealthy, and won’t be interested in talking with you unless you can manage an intelligent conversation and keep your grades up. A third is obsessed with appearance. But even if you really screw up, there’s always the girl next door, who loves you no matter what. And a couple of others, here and there. You know how it is — so many girls, so little time. (There are actually 10 girls you can ‘get,’ though as in anything, some are much easier than others.)
Let’s see… a few tips, without giving too much away. There are a number of gods in the game, who will reward you (stat increase, fatigue removal) for following their disciplines exclusively, and also a god of Luck who will give you some money if you go to the right place at the right time (helpful advice, huh?). This may spoil it a bit, but the best possible way to start the game off is to be a lazy, lazy bum and do nothing but rest. The god of Pleasure will zap all your stats up far more than you could have gotten them by concentrating on them in that time period. You can only get each god once, and they take something like 10-15 turns each (so, studying morning afternoon and evening for a week straight would probably make the god of learning happy). Working isn’t very useful unless you want to buy lots of stuff and can’t win at blackjack… you should do it twice though, to pick up some of the storyline. Your dad will give you 10K a few weeks into the game, and your buddy will eventually pay back the 3k he borrowed on the first day. When you rescue the drowning girl, just alternate between pushing on her chest and blowing in her lungs, and she’ll come to after you do it a few times. Keep doing one and not the other and you could be there all day. The game will often direct you to where you need to be, so if you’re not working on improving a specific stat, it’s not usually a bad idea to accept the default options. And if you want to go back and win with every girl, you can find walkthroughs on GameFAQs and the-spoiler.
So, give it a shot, have fun, if you like it, let us know and we’ll look at posting info on some more bishoujo games.