Super Secret Sexy Spy Review
Of the three initial softhouse-seal titles to come out from Mangagamer, this is the one I was the most optimistic about. Having watched my share of spoofs of the spy genre from Get Smart to the Naked Gun series to Austin Powers, I was looking forward to what jokes softhouse-seal had to tell to match the ero content, so on its release date of April 23, 2013 I began my playthrough with high hopes. I mean how on earth could anyone screw up spoofing the spy genre? Years of spoof movies and shows can show it’s as easy to make fun of as…you already know where this is going don’t you?
Pros: The Lestie/Maimi route is actually good, Nana’s VA turns in a good performance, the artwork is good, a couple nice tunes on the music end.
Cons: Largely fails at telling jokes let alone spoofing the spy genre, for the most part the main character is unlikable, the Kusakabe sisters’ routes.
WTF?!: You know what, just take a look at the basis for this game in picture form…
Continuing from that, you play as Iiyama Hunt, the top agent for said organization, and their goal of bringing pleasure to all women is opposed by an organization known as…you know what I’m going to need to show another picture…
Now I’m sure after seeing what the premise for this game is, some of you might say in response to my soon to come criticisms on this game’s failings that I should have expected this. To that I say…you’re probably right, but in my defense both of the previous releases from softhouse-seal have stupid premises but both were able to use that well for comedic effect in their games (admittedly Sexy Demon Transformation did it a lot better than Boob Wars) so why shouldn’t I expect the same level of quality?
By and large what makes SSSS fail is it’s just not good at telling jokes or spoofing the spy genre. The majority of the jokes just aren’t funny, and most of them are more focused on sex related jokes rather than ones parodying tropes from spy movies or shows (and anyone who’s at least seen the James Bond movies knows those jokes don’t have to be mutually exclusive). The humor isn’t helped any by the fact that our “hero” Hunt is not a very likable character, not only having all the characteristics that often make a perverted protagonist annoying but also coming across as a complete ass in regards to his interaction with the other characters. All these failings are most apparent in the Kusakabe sisters’ routes, which are so terrible I have to give it its own paragraph.
With this route (I’m only going to refer to it as a single route since the plot divergence is at the end anyway), everything that is wrong with this game is brought to the max. There is only one joke that gets even close to being funny wherein out hero defuses a dildo bomb, mainly because that’s the only spy genre related joke in the entire route (and one or two throwaway line references don’t count). The rest are simply unfunny regardless of whether they make sense or not from some odd references to the Vietnam War (which I guess is because that’s when the spy genre was in the height of its popularity) to an analogy of a character and curry that I still can’t make any sense out of. Moving on to our main character…while his behavior for most of the game is groan worthy with his acting like a jerk because the writers thought it would be funny, it’s in this route where he’s at his worst. It’s not just that he has no chemistry with either heroine, it’s that he seems to have no positive regard for them at all. The best example would be with how after he first meets one of said heroines, Ruri, and finds out about a certain mental problem she has his only thought is “I don’t have time to deal with this space case”. If that’s meant to be a joke it’s not funny and to be honest kind of offensive, but it’s not like this is a one off joke I can let slide since later on near the end of the route when said affliction is brought to a head in a scene that’s trying to be dramatic (and not doing very well at it) and Hunt is turned to in order to help do you want to know what the response is from our “hero”? He not only refuses to help, but also complains and tries to deflect the responsibility to someone else. The fact that the route still leads to a good end for this guy that I’m supposed to appreciate and then ends on what’s practically an “f--- you” to the player really had me steamed when the credits rolled and I had to stop playing right there and I did not even want to touch this game for weeks, I was that pissed.
When I did finally muster up enough endurance to play this game again, I’ll admit I played the Lestie/Maimi route first, but I’d like to talk about the Nana route first to get it out of the way. I can say that both of these routes are thankfully not as infuriatingly terrible as the Kusakabe sisters’ and they both actually manage to tell jokes that are related to the spy genre. The thing with Nana’s route though…even succeeding at that, her route isn’t very good. While part of the problem is that the ending is pretty bland and there’s not much in the way of chemistry between her and Hunt (which is still better than none unlike…that other route), another problem I have with it is how mean spirited the humor gets in regards to the enemy organization. I can understand why it’s there since this game came out in 2010 in Japan and that was when the whole Rapelay controversy was in full swing and we had a bunch of people claiming to represent feminist groups (should note, actual feminists that I talked to pretty much said these were just idiots who wanted to be on TV) raising a fuss over hentai in general and were calling for the Japanese government to ban it entirely, or for the UN to impose sanctions on Japan until it did so, or for fictional characters to be given human rights, and other ridiculous stuff. All in all it got blown out of proportion because some Japanese politicians actually listened to that and while cooler (and smarter) heads prevailed during that time this whole controversy was picked up by the denizens of 4chan and 2chan and I don’t think I need to explain what happened next. Basically the humor in this route is obviously supposed to be directed at the bunch who raised the fuss about Rapelay (which I’m not going to review since it’s a third rate chikan eroge that I found boring), and whether or not the writers bought into the “feminazi” stereotype the controversy sadly helped to reinforce, it probably portrayed feminists (to them) as people who wanted to destroy their livelihood and I doubt anyone would take kindly to that. …And I’ve been talking more about an old controversy than the route in question…so yeah, Nana route: better than the Kusakabe sister’s but still not very good, especially in the humor department. Moving on…
Finally we get to the Lestie/Maimi route, which I did not have very high hopes for since I’d just completed the Kusakabe sisters’ route but much to my surprise this route was actually good. While I admit the Maimi ending is kind of bland, the overall route path works for a few reasons. First, it does a pretty good parody of “the spy’s organization going too far and said spy goes renegade’ story trope complete with a pretty wacky chase scene, plus following into the Lestie end we get a decent parody of the bizarre gadget trope of the genre too. Second, following the former trope actually helps to make Hunt a likable character for once considering in this case he’s actually doing something genuinely good for another person (in this case Maimi) and we the players actually get to sympathize with him a little. Third, we actually get some decent character moments between not just Hunt and the heroines (finally some chemistry, especially concerning Lestie), but with the friendship between Maimi and Lestie that gives the story a little heart and even bits of character development on Lestie’s end (though I do admit the route could have stood to have more of that). So all in all I can say that at least with this route my money wasn’t entirely wasted.
In the area of presentation, this game does well enough. The artwork is good and there are a couple of good tunes with its music, especially in its opening theme which does a nice mimic of the James Bond music at times. The voice acting is also good, and I should mention that whoever the voice actress is for Nana, she does an especially good job pulling off the comedic scenes she’s in. There’s just something in the way she pulls off the line that would make a normally lame scene funny. Sadly even her talents can’t save this game.
As for the ero scenes, they’re good as ero scenes go with good artwork and voice acting. I think I’ve already said enough about the scenes in between most of them.
Super Secret Sexy Spy is a largely unfunny comedy that I would not recommend to anyone. While there is one good route and the voice acting is good, it’s still not enough to save it as we have two other routes that just plain suck. Buy anything else in Mangagamer’s library, but not this, and if you want a good spy genre parody watch any of the three things I mentioned up in the intro or Linkara’s S.C.I. Spy reviews (click here for the first one).
Final Score: 3/10 Terrible
Author Recommendation: Devil SPAWN!