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Apocripha/0 Alex Disc

Specs | Story | Cast | Playability | Troubleshooting | Pics | Downloads | Review | Links

Specs

Company: Stack Software
Release Date: 7/27/2001
Price: 7,500 yen
Platform: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP (Also a PS2 version from GN Software)
Minimum System Requirements:

  • CPU: Pentium 266MHz/Pentium 333MHz
  • RAM: 64MB
  • HDD: 300MB free space
  • Video: 800x600 resolution or higher
  • Sound: WAV/PCM audio
  • Other: Requires CDROM
    Genre: Card battle / ADV
    Rating: 15+
    Voice: Full voice
    Art/Scenerio: Azusa Yuhki

    Story

    An angel falls from Heaven to the Abyss, and here he cultivates a kingdom, the kingdom of Hell (Naraku), becoming the King of Hell. He tries to build a beautiful land, but it can never reach the beauty of Heaven: the demons live in troubled times, being attacked by fallen angels who survive the fall to the Abyss, fearing the bloodshed caused by these insane former angels against them. The King starts to become weak and tired, and with his last power, he gave birth to two new hopes: a prince with golden hair born from his red right eye, and a price with silver hair born from his blue left eye.

    The King decides that the two twin prices, Alex and Platina, are to fight each other, and the winner who proves his power will become the new king of Hell, while the loser will face death. As such, Alex and Platina, who never even knew each other, are thrust into a battle against each other, and the future will change depending on the outcome. And hiding in the background, another hand plays in to manipulating their fate...

    Cast

    Alexander Pastener - Alex is the first prince of Hell (Naraku), the elder twin born from the right red eye of the King of Hell. He is to fight Platina to the death over the succession of Naraku. He doesn't really know Platina and has a lot of conflict over having to fight, especially as he is initially weaker than his brother. He is a bit selfish with a short temper if he doesn't get his way, but behind this lies a deep and caring attitude. Seiyuu: Motoki Takagi.

    Sapphirus Hawthorne - Sapphirus (called Sapphi by Alex) is Alex's staff officer. He has a rather cheery disposition, playing the role of teacher and care-taker of Alex, and holds amazing patience with Alex's stubborn attitude. Since he is trying to help Alex win the battle of succession, he takes on a rather rival-like relationship with Jade, Platina's staff officer. However, there is more to Sapphirus than meets the eye... Seiyuu: Seki Tomokazu.

    Platina Pastener - Platina is the second prince of Hell (Naraku), the younger twin born from the left blue eye of the King of Hell. He is to fight Alex to the death over the succession of Naraku. He is initially stronger than Alex and seems to have no problems fighting to save his own life, but inside he still struggles with internal conflict about the battle for succession. He is a bit calm and cold, taking a rather serious stance towards things, but he really is concerned with doing the right thing. Seiyuu: Suzuki Chihiro.

    Jade Davis - Jade is Platina's staff officer. He has a more serious and intelligent demeanor, with a quick tongue that may offend people, but he doesn't care. He is Platina's care-taker, and is very devoted to him. Since he is trying to help Platina win the battle of succession, he takes on a rather rival-like relationship with Sapphirus, Alex's staff officer. However, there seems to be a mysterious side of Jade that is hiding something... Seiyuu: Morikawa Toshiyuki.

    Ruby Jackson - Ruby is a care-free chivalrous thief who is now a lone hunter against the angels. He acts rather fun and playful, speaking in the quick Kansai dialect, but also has a serious side, especially when it comes to his quest for revenge against Carrol, his half-brother, who he hates since Carrol betrayed his trust in the past and gave him the scar across his chest. He is a good friend with a sense of humor, but he is also a strong fighter. He either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side he choses, Carrol will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Ishikawa Hideo.

    Carrol Martell - Carrol is a half-angel priest who runs an orphanage for half-angel children. He is Ruby's half-brother, the son of an angel mother and Ruby's demon father. He holds a grudge against Ruby since Ruby's father left him and his mother, and Ruby got to experience a normal childhood that he never had being a half-angel, which eventually caused him to lash out against Ruby and give him the scar across his chest. He is very quiet and reserved, but has a short-temper hidden beneath. He either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side he choses, Ruby will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Hoshi Souichirou.

    Lhodo Chrosite - Lhodo was once a male who was cursed into the body of a beautiful woman. She is a bounty hunter and con-artist with a very short-trigger temper: and when she gets angry she'll fight with a vengeance and strict determination. She can turn her outward personality from sugary-sweet one minute to wrathful the next, and isn't afraid to use her feminine body to fool people into thinking she is only a weak female when she is anything but. She has a major dislike of Plum, who placed the curse on her, and she will stop at nothing to hunt him down to break the curse. She either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side she choses, Plum will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Kuwashima Houko.

    Plum - Plum is one of the last survivors of a rare race of animal people known as the Aprasas, who now are pretty much extinct except for the Aprasas guardians of the elemental shrines. Although not overly intelligent, he has a very sweet and innocent personality, tending to be kind to anyone. His family was killed by the bounty hunter Lhodo, so he cursed Lhodo into the body of a female, which was the first person Lhodo had killed, and is now being hunted by Lhodo. He either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side he choses, Lhodo will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Minami Omi.

    Beryl - Beryl has the appearance of a fourteen-year-old, but is actually an immortal magician who seems to appear, bringing either miracles or devastation, and then disappear again like the wind. He is well-known as the "Blue Sage" among the residents of Hell, but still remains an overall mystery... and part of that mystery seems to tie into a certain angel and the princes. He has a multi-faceted personality, which can seem playful at times, but also turns to very serious or mysterious, and he can be quite the smart-ass with his sharp tongue. He either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side he choses, Zil will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Yamaguchi Kappei.

    Zil Hiragi - Zil is a former assassin who still keeps his appearance wrapped in clothing, his face often hidden behind a shroud of cloth. He is very silent, speaking only when he deems it necessary, and even then only says what he believes is the minimum amount of words needed to make his point. He lives very hermit-like in the mountains, where he does artwork. He is a very mysterious figure, who seems to have lived for a very long time and has a past with Beryl, who helped him gain revenge on the murderer of his wife. He either becomes an ally to Alex or Platina, and whichever side he choses, Beryl will be on the opposite side. Seiyuu: Sugawara Masashi.

    Meia - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of Fire. You must fight her to gain her powers.

    Illie - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of Water. You must fight him to gain his powers.

    Ipue - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of Earth. You must fight him to gain his powers.

    Sera - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of Wind. You must fight her to gain her powers.

    Ryin - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of the Abyss. Unlike the other elementals, Riin hands over his power rather than having to battle him for it.

    Nietzsche - The Aprasas who is the guardian of the element of the Heaven. You must fight her to gain her powers.

    Seles - Seles is a fallen angel who was removed from Heaven for gaining too much power and killing God, something the other arch-angels continue to keep a secret. He is sealed within the Abyss, and wants to be free from his prison to create his own utopia, and with the birth of the twin heirs to the thrown of Hell, he just now may have his opportunity... Seiyuu: Morikubo Shoutarou.

    Playability

    For the most part, Apocripha/0 follows the basic "visual novel" style of most boys' love games, with an added card battle element. You follow the story, and occassionally you are given options to chose between, and depending on what choices you make, the story will take different turns. At times during the story where the characters engage in battle, battles are faught in a card battle style, where you play offensive element cards to try to damage the opponent.

    Typical of this genre of game, along the way in the story, depending on the choices you make you will gain different CGs. Once you have finished the game once, you will have an extra option on the front menu to view the CGs you have already won, and you can also see the blank holes where you have CGs you still need to find.

    Since there are two different versions of Apocripha/0, the Alex Disc and the Platina Disc, each disc has slightly different CGs. While most of the CGs are the same, the Alex disc has some unique CGs of Platina, Alex, and Sapphirus. The Platina disc has some unique CGs of Alex, Platina, and Jade. If both versions of the game are installed, getting special CGs of Alex and Platina are unlocked, and you can get an ending between the two characters.

    The game is split into four "chapters" of gameplay. During the first chapter, your main objective is to meet the other characters, and gain three allies to your party. Here the game is mostly all in "visual novel" format, and the responses you give to the different characters will determine who joins your team. For non-Japanese readers, it is best to save before going into a location, pick your options, and then you can reload from that save and pick different options to view different outcomes. The game is rather handy in coloring options that you have selected in previous games in green, and new options in blue.

    The second chapter consists of mainly card battles. You will battle several angels, and depending on what character you choose to be your ally in the fight, you may get CGs and extra story scenes with that character after the fight, and may have to select options as well. Again, selecting good choices here helps build your relationship with that character. Choosing a character as your ally in a battle also helps build your relationship with them. After these initial battles with the angels, you'll have six more card battles to handle against the elemental Aprasas.

    The third and fourth chapters of the game get into the major battles, as you will be faced against your twin and his allies. After this battle, there will be more visual novel play, and the choices you make here towards the end of the game can have a major impact on the way your ending takes. Especially upon reaching chapter 4, save in many different slots so you can reload and try different options to get different endings.

    While the visual novel aspect of the game should be self explanatory, the card battles are unique to this game, so I'll go into a bit of detail on how to fight a card battle.

    In a card battle, you and your chosen ally will be on the sides, and the enemy will be the large card in the center. The color of the gems in the corners of the enemy card show what element that enemy belongs to. There will be seven cards at the bottom of the screen at all times, and after each turn you will get two new cards for the two you used. The last three cards you have played for each ally are also shown.

    Elemental cards are used to attack. There are six elements: Fire (red), Water (blue), Earth (orange), Wind (green), Abyss (black), and Heaven (white). Each attack card will have a value from 1 to 10; the higher the number, the stronger the attack. Different bonuses or negatives may be applied to the cards depending on the elements of your party and the enemy. If Platina is water, then he will receive +1 damage to water cards. If the enemy is fire, which is in opposition to water, then he will receive a +2 bonus. However, if the enemy were a conflicting element with water, then he may receive a -1 to the attack. The damage of the elements is fairly straight-forward, as they show you the values of any additions or minuses before you chose a card to play. Later in the game, after defeating the Aprasas, you will receive Elemental cards that do damage beyond the typical attack cards.

    Cards with a purple gem in the corner are healing for defensive cards. There are two types of these cards: Heal and Guard. Heal cards come in three varieties: 25 heals 25% of a character's life, 50 heals 50% of a character's life, and Max heals all damage on a character. The Guard card allows an ally to take a hit for the other ally. These keeps the guarded ally from getting hurt, and does less damage to the ally doing the guarding than a normal attack at the end of a turn would do.

    The key to winning battles is to build up damage is one of two ways: building a high chain or doing a double-attack between your two allies. To build a chain, you simply must keep attacking with that character without "breaking" their flow. There are a few ways that you can break your chain: playing a conflicting element on top of each other (for example, the last card you played was Abyss and you lay a Heaven card on top of it) or using a Heal or Guard card. You /can/ use Heal and Guard cards and not break your chain, however, if you are careful. If you have the same element in play (like three Wind cards) and you use a Heal card, as long as you lay a Wind card on the next turn, you'll usually keep holding your chain. Use this to your advantage. When you get chains into the 10s or 20s, they start to do massive damage.

    To do a double attack, you will need to have all three cards in play for each ally to be the same element. If the characters are on both on a high chain when they do a double attack, this will greatly increase the damage. If the element being played has a bonus against the enemy element, the attack will also have more damage. If the element has a negative against the enemy element, it will still be stronger than a typical attack, but weaker than other double attacks.

    These are the basics to card battles; they are very straight forward, and nothing someone who doesn't know Japanese should have any problem with. In fact, all the cards are written in English, so this should be the easiest part of the game for an English-only speaker. Battles are frequent and a fun part of the story.

    Troubleshooting

    As far as technical issues with the game, I had no problems on Windows XP with the language set to Japanese.

    There is one small issue with the movies not showing on Windows XP, though the sound still plays. Stack Software has posted a solution to this problem: you just need to change one of the options in the game. They have a screenshot of the option change here.

    AGTH Compatibility - Apocripha/0 is completely compatible with Anime Games Text Hooker. Set game text speed to maximum for best efficiency.

    Pics

    Downloads

    Apocripha/0 Fans Mailing List - Several summaries and scripts for the Apocripha/0 games.

    Apocripha/0 Alex Disc Capture Guide - A capture guide in English made by myself for getting all the CGs and endings in the game.

    Apocripha/0 Alex Disc Full CG Capture Save File - A save file that unlocks all the CGs in the game.

    Review

    I will not hide the fact that I am an insanely huge fan of Apocripha/0. I have all three games, the soundtrack, two drama CDs, scans from the special book and manga, the artbook, a keychain, a doujinshi, ect. ect, to give you an idea of how much I like this series. So obviously, this game is going to get an outstanding review from me.

    Despite how much I love this series, I can see that Apocripha/0 is definitely not a game for everyone: particularly anyone who only enjoys hard-core boys' love games. Apocripha/0, to many, shouldn't even be considered a boys' love game, as there are no sexual CG scenes. In fact, there aren't even scenes of kissing; the most you will see is hugging between two characters, or some implications in the dialogue. But the game is indeed a boys' love game, albeit a very innocent boys' love game, which makes this a great starting point to get fans who are hesitant about boys' love at all but enjoy other female-aimed games, such as girl/boy, into the boy/boy genre. As long as you enjoy a good story, character interaction, and shounen-ai implications between a cast of very nicely-designed and intriguing characters, then you should enjoy this game. If you are only looking for smutty CGs, then it would be a waste of your time.

    There are a lot of good things about Apocripha/0. For one, it has a very straight-forward and simple gameplay, even for the non-Japanese speaker, and can even be considered a little more entertaining than other boys' love games for the fact that while the game is mainly a visual novel, there are interactive card battles as well, a very nice element to the game. The art and voice acting is excellent, as well as the background music. Rarely can I admit to being really impressed with the music on a boys love game, but Apocripha/0 left me in dire need of the soundtrack, which I have sense obtained. It also has an excellent plotline, another element that many boys' love games are lacking.

    A few annoyances with the game is the amount of time it takes to replay. You can skip over dialogue scenes that you have already seen by holding down the left Shift key, but you can't skip over card battles: so each replay means doing the same fights over and over, which can get a bit tedious after a few times through. Another is the lack of CGs: while they have a nice selection of CGs, the count is a bit low, and many of the images are repeated in the Alex Disc and Platina Disc. Having more "unique" CGs for each version of the game would have been nice. Also, while the story is really good, if you can't understand Japanese like me, you can end up missing out on a lot, turning the game a bit bland. Fortunately, there is more story information available for this game than any other boys' love game, which can help in this aspect.

    Overall, Apocripha/0 is definitely a game to check out if you want an entertaining game with a good story and character interaction, and aren't just looking for a game with high sex content. It's one of the most addicting series I've seen in a while, as you just get sucked into the characters and story. And with excellent character designs by Azusa Yuhki, high-quality voice-acting, and an entertaining gameplay by integrating card battles into the visual novel, this game really should be in any boys' love fan's game collection.

    Links

    Stack Software's Official Apocripha/0 Site (Japanese) - The company's site with information on the game.

    Azline (Japanese) - Personal website of Azusa Yuhki, the artist of Apocripha/0.

    Tower of Confession's Apocripha/0 Alex Disc Capture Guide (Japanese) - A complete capture guide for getting all the endings in Apocripha/0 Alex Disc.

    Apocripha/0 Webring (Japanese) - Official Japanese Apocripha/0 webring.

    Apocripha/0 Search (Japanese) - An Apocripha/0 search engine for Japanese sites on the game.

    MM's Apocripha/0 Site (Chinese) - In Chinese, but it has tons of information on just about everything for the game of Apocripha/0.

    Apocripha/0 Mailing List (English) - A mailing list to chat with others about Apocripha/0, and share pictures, fanart, fanfics, and the like.

    Apocripha/0 Fans Mailing List (English) - A more-active (non-lurker) mailing list to discuss with others about Apocripha/0, and where fanworks are highly encouraged and shared.

    Apocripha/0 Live Journal Community (English) - The Live Journal community for anything related to Apocripha/0.

    Daideem Project - Apocripha/0 (English) - One of the only websites I've found thus far about Apocripha/0 in English. Has information on the story, characters, game, and manga, as well as a few character shrines and a nice fanart collective.

    Marfisa's Apocripha/0 Page (English) - A great site with character information, manga scans, manga translations, and other Apocripha/0 goodies.

    Obsession Apocripha/0 Shrine (English) - Another Apocripha/0 site. Just a small shrine, has a little info and some screen captures.

    Wings of Enchant (English) - Fanart site for Apocripha/0.

    Desperate Love - Manga scanlation site that has done some of the Apocripha/0 manga.


    Disclaimer: All written text and capture guides © Boys' Love Games Headquarters. All pictures and downloads are copyright of their respective companies and artists and are for promotional use only. I am in no way claiming the art as my own, nor am I trying to infringe upon the company's rights. I am trying to promote these games by allowing a foreign audience to see some artwork from the game.