Bible Black –La Noche de Walpurgis- Review
Okay, I’m sure a few of you saw this coming, but even if you haven’t I’m sure most have of you are familiar with the anime OVA that’s probably the most famous hentai series on this side of the ocean. Due to the cult (no pun intended) following for this series there was a demand for the game to be localized and that wish was granted on November 21, 2006 when the game was released by Kitty Media. I will admit that I was interested in seeing what the game had to offer, especially to see if this game would be better than the anime. In short, it was, however…
Pros: Good artwork, full voice acting, interesting story concept, diverse plot, has some satisfying or interesting endings.
Cons: Our main character is pretty unlikable in the beginning, only Imari has a good ending, plot is kind of forgettable, other characters could have been better explored as could the main concept of the plot, the game is pretty dated.
WTF?!: If this book grants so much power, why is it so damn easy to destroy?
In Bible Black you play as a student named Taki Minase an average student who discovers a mysterious black book in the school’s basement. Soon after discovering the book’s power, Minase is soon approached by people with connections to the book and the school legend of Satanic rituals being performed in the basement it was found in several years ago.
Alright, before I comment about this game’s story I have a confession to make: I don’t really like the Bible Black series all that much. I don’t outright hate it, but I think it is way overrated. It has an interesting story concept, but I hated quite a few of the major characters. Minase was a total asshole from the start and his sudden heel turn to being good at the end just wasn’t believable, Saeki was just unlikable from the start and wasn’t even good villain material (I can’t really understand her fanbase), and Imari was just…there. The ending for the first OVA felt like sequel baiting (and after playing the game, that’s confirmed since there isn’t any ending like that to be found) and it lead into a sequel full of plot holes and an ending that makes no sense. The only character I liked was Takashiro since she was a more interesting character and really had potential to be an awesome character (potential sadly squandered). Perhaps the only part of the series I liked was Origins since that did do a good job in setting the backstory, especially concerning Kitami. The main reason I got the game was I was curious to see if it told a better story than the anime and I did like the artwork. Okay, rant over, now back to the game.
To be honest, this game doesn’t have the best of starts, and this is mainly due to the fact that Minase isn’t that likable a character at the beginning of this. While not as bad as in the anime, he comes across as an ass quite a bit at that point. The story does pick up once he discovers the book though and it does a good job in setting the story concept up with Minase discovering what it can do and setting a subtle dark atmosphere about the story. Once the book sees the light of day and Minase becomes involved with people connected to it, you really do feel like the light mood of the story has passed and an inevitable dark turn is approaching.
Another thing this game does right is it does make some of the major characters more likable than in the anime. For one, Minase becomes a satisfactory hero if you opt for him to be good and a satisfactory evil hero if you opt for him to be evil. Another example is Imari has more of a personality than in the anime which does give more plausibility to her and Minase having a relationship and Takashiro is a bit cooler as well. I still find Saeki to be an annoying villain, but it’s not like she could have another role.
In the area of plot diversity I will say this game does an okay job. You are given numerous choices that do create interesting plot branches and it is interesting to see which ones lead Minase down the path of good or evil and the consequences that result. The endings that you get are a mixed bag, though I can say that three endings that end in Minase’s triumph were good as they at least felt like good resolutions to the stories they each told and one of the bad ends was actually good for an ending that shows how the villain can’t be defeated by normal means.
Sadly for all these good points, the game’s plot suffers from being pretty forgettable despite its diversity. You remember the important points and the endings but everything in between those major points in one route pretty much blur together with the points of other routes that it’s really difficult to remember. Part of the reason for this is because the game doesn’t take much advantage of the large cast that it has. Really only Minase, Imari, and Takashiro get the most focus in my mind as characters. Both Saeki and Kitami are just there to be the villains, and in the case of the latter we don’t get much exposition about her backstory like with the Origins OVA and instead get hints from what she and Takashiro say, which might have been alright for a game with a better plot but in this case it just makes Kitami come off as a pretty one dimensional villain like Saeki. In the case of the supporting heroines, the only purpose they serve in the game’s plot is either for ero scenes or for the occasional plot convenience, which is too bad considering that a few of them had potential to be interesting from the brief bits we see of their character. In the case of Yukiko, it would’ve been interesting to see her maybe study the black book and maybe find something about it that gets her more involved in the plot and maybe with that we could get some exploration into her relation with Minase, or Shiraki could have gotten a better role in the story than just being there for ero scenes and it would have been interesting to see if any relationship could have been formed between her and Minase without the use of magic since she didn’t seem to dislike him in the few conversations they have prior to the spell casting.
This brings us to another problem I have with the game’s plot: only Imari get’s a good/happy end route and hers is also the only good/happy end route in the entire game. This just came off as a bit unfair considering there are two evil end routes that end in Minase’s triumph, and it also seems the game’s plot would have had room for giving Takashiro a route. Okay, I’ll admit I may be a bit biased towards Takashiro, but considering she figures prominently into the game’s story, is the only good heroine that can use magic worth a damn, and has more depth than Minase as a character, I think I’m pretty justified in that bias. There are also signs of some chemistry between her and Minase throughout the game when he’s good, so romance between the two wouldn’t be that far fetched. I do understand that the creators wanted to make Imari’s path the true ending, which I have no problem with, but that hers is the only good ending and the fact that it’s short still feels like I got the short end of the stick in that regard.
The only other problem I have with the plot is its not exploring the main plot concept at all. Sure, the idea of a reverse Bible isn’t anything new, but it’s still an interesting idea and I would have liked to have seen some exploration of it in this game like who made it? What other powers does it have? Finally, (as stated before) why the hell is it so damn easy to destroy?! I know it’s not Tom Riddle’s diary or the Necronomicon, but still...
In the area of presentation, I have to say it: this game looks old. Not Nocturnal Illusion old, but all the little things like the sound system, the text box, and the menu all give this game a dated feel. I will say that the artwork for this game is pretty good, as is the full voice acting a rarity for eroge, even more so back when it came out in Japan back in July 14, 2000. The music on the other hand is forgettable.
As for the ero scenes, they’re just okay. They’re well drawn but I only found a few of them decent and the rest are basically what you’d expect from this game.
Bible Black is, as dark eroge go, an okay game that pretty much gets its fame from its incredibly overrated adaptation. While it is better than the anime when it comes to story and characters, the fact that it’s not that particularly good compared to so many other eroge makes this a game I cannot really recommend for purchase unless you’re either a curious fan of the series or if you’re just plain curious and have money to spare. I’ll admit that the good artwork, voice acting, and a few end routes do save this game from being terrible in my book, but for $34.95 (its price on J-list) this is hardly worth the money (it is cheaper on Rightstuff.com at about $26.00, but even so…).
Final Score: 5/10 Average
Recommendation: For Fans Only!