Sekien no Inganock -GD-

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#1 by gabezhul
2009-12-23 at 23:56
Well, let's discuss this game...!

First of all, this is a very mature story, exactly what most western gamers NOT think about VN's (by the way, just the other day I saw VNs like Snow Drop and Xchange discussed alongside with Lula3D and some other 3D porn monstrosity while the author made some pretty broad generalizations about eroges... I was only mildly outraged...
But back to the topic...)

The story takes place inside a closed off city, Inganock. After a terrible catastrophe called the <Revival> invincible monsters attacked the population and an impenetrable mist surrounded the town, turning it into the <Fantastic City>... Also, the citizens slowly started to mutate, taking up the forms of various animals, including cats, dogs, fishes, insects and whatever you can imagine. In this slightly steampunk world, where the strong mercilessly oppresses the weak and death is so common that people often end their conversations with phrases like "We'll talk again, if you'll be alive...", the reader follows the life of a street doctor, a so-called "Crack Doc", by the name of Gii.

Let me talk about the graphics for a second. Usually I don't really care about the quality of the art, as I'm more interested in the style and atmosphere. And oooooh yes, we have style here! Actually so much that sometimes I was afraid it would flow out of the screen and fill my room! The art of this title is simply amazing. It's dark, it's depressing, yet it's captivating on so many levels...
Some of the characters are fully colored... wait, that's wrong. They are not exactly colored, they have textures on them... it's hard to describe, but if you look at the screen-shots, you'll immediately understand. I find these hectic, swirling patters completely fitting for the atmosphere, but on the other hand, the less important characters look like rough sketches. It may seem strange at first, but again, it perfectly sets the mood...

Now, let's start the main dish: the characters and the plot...

We have two kinds of characters here: The colored ones, and the black-and-white ones. This may seem stupid, but true; you can tell how important a character is by their coloring.
The plot itself is chapter-based. Almost each and every chapter follows the same routine: Exposition, hero meets victim, hero tries to heal victim, recollections, big fight, happiness, next...
Yeah, the plot is kind of repetitive, but let's talk about that later. Now, let's take a look at our core cast...

-Gii: An ex-medical university student. After the <Revival>, unlike others with physical mutations, he got his brain mutated which gave him the power to heal others and himself using an <Equation>. In other words he is like a reality-hacker who cures illnesses by replacing the wrong numbers. He is stoic, has a few problems in the head, mainly depression and hallucinations, but he is a likable fellow who hides his big heart behind an emotionless facade.

-Ati: She is a heterochromiac cat-woman and something of a freeloader at Gii's place. She has cat ears and huge cat-like paws with retractable claws. In short, she is not your typical moe catgirl.
She can be a little childish sometimes and apparently has a long-time crush on Gii, but otherwise she is very pragmatic. She is also a Runner, a kind of mercenary who does any dangerous jobs for people who can pay for it. Goes by the alias "Black Cat", which is not original but at least accurate.

-Kia: A strange, pink-eyed little girl who was saved by Gii when she was about to be kidnapped. She is kind, gentle... virtually a cluster of heavenly goodness. Her origins are unknown but she quickly takes a liking to Gii and Ati and tries to help them by acting as a nurse to help Gii or doing the housework.

There are also a lot of side-characters. I mean it, there are a LOT of them, and most of them return several times. Surprisingly enough, even these guys have more character than some other games' main cast.

The game also features a strange system that let's you hear the other characters' thoughts on the situation to gain background info and other tidbits of information. It's also really important, since you have to listen to them in the right order, otherwise you might get a bad ending at the end of the chapter... thankfully, there is a nice walkthrough included with the English patch, so use it and be happy. :P

And now a few words about the structure of the story. It's divided into chapters. As I said before, the structure of these chapters are kind of repetitive, but what's worse: The end of every chapter is a straight up copy-paste job...
I'll try to talk about them without using the spoiler tag, since I won't disclose any information you won't get after the first chapter... So, let's see...

Almost each chapter ends the following way:
-Gii meets a Creature, a monster that is born from the fears of humans and cannot be killed by them.
-He has a little dilemma, represented by a choice that is only available depending on the other choices made in the chapter, then he uses his "power"...
-The creature attacks him, but it misses...
-Then he attacks and the Creature is destroyed.

Okay, this may not seem so bad, but each such fight has the same dialogs. Repeat: THE SAME DIALOGS! The only thing that changes is the name of the moster and the description of its attack.
First it's cool. The second time it's mildly annoying. After that it's just plain frustrating. And this is not even the only repetitive part with almost the same text... -.-'

Also, the translation sometimes was a little funny. I'm not talking about the quality, it's great. I'm talking about some of the terms, like the Creatures' wind-up screw.
Now, try saying; "...the wind-up screw of death..." without deflating all tension a scene had.

All things considered I still love this game. I still haven't finished it yet, because of a simple reason: I've decided to play it at a slow pace, one chapter a day. This way, I can get rid of the repetitiveness, and can play the game for longer at the same time. Unless it has some totally unsatisfying and dumb ending, which I doubt, I suppose I'll give this game either a 9, or maybe even a 10. :PLast modified on 2015-09-27 at 09:40
#2 by usagi
2009-12-25 at 01:38
Great review ^__^
#3 by makezh22
2009-12-25 at 02:02
yeah gotta agree some of lines seem like they've repeated through endless subsequent chapters with similar sequences and that got a little redundant. I loved the unique artistic style of the visuals. Its different and a breath of fresh air and breaks from convention. I guess thats the most obvious pleasing aspect towards this. To be frank I disregard how voices inconsistently show up here and end up disappearing the next. The transition is kinda mind boggling but its a small price to be able to come across such a masterpiece. Its an interesting steampunk setting to lose one's self in.Last modified on 2009-12-25 at 02:03
#4 by plebejer
2009-12-31 at 05:47
i fully agree.
gave it a 9 only because of the repetitive text...
first time i saw the jester... i had to admire it for quite a few minutes xD
but apart from the art, which were simply amazing, i would like to mention the backgroundmusic.
normally i'm rather annoyed by them in other vn's, and often even turn them off.
but i have to admit, that i turned the volume louder each time the story got exciting ^^
might be my personal taste, but in my opinion the music really fit in the corresponding situation.
#5 by hikigane
2010-01-05 at 17:27
This vn in great and all.

But i will reinforce what most said

Seriously, even if its objective was to have a different style, it was just annoying and gave the impression of lazyness.
Of course thar wasn't the case, yet still....

Great game none the less.
#6 by gabezhul
2010-01-09 at 12:38
My latest thoughts about the game:

Actually, I only finished the game yesterday. Reason: The repetitive text. I got annoyed over and over, so I only played one chapter per day. So, here's my second take on Sekien no Inganock:

Somewhere above, in my first post I already said that I would give this game a good score if it had a good ending. What's a good ending? Something, that shows us what happens with the characters, closes off all parallel plot-lines, and the most subjective; has an air of completeness. Least to say, this game has neither of those.

First of all, the number of plot-holes in the game kept increasing till the very end, and what do we get? Nothing. The story doesn't answer any of those. What is the Black Clown? How did Kia came back to life, aside that telling us she was a 'stolen one'? And how does this 'stolen one' thing work on the first place? And what happened with the supporting cast? What happened with Kerkan and Ruaha? And worst of all: ATI!!!!!

What the hell happened to ATI!?!?!? She got thrown out of the story right after she conveyed her feelings to Gii. Worst timing EVER! When the whole "memory-erasing" was done, I hoped it would turn into some emotional scene where she finds Gii even though she had no direct memory of him. She would go to his apartment, start sobbing, and then Gii would finally embrace her or something... Instead of that, she disappears, and Gii hooks up with Kia... F*ck you game, this is not how things should have ended!!! Even worse: her 'death' was in order to show us how evil and detestable the little-bad Lemure Lemure was, and he was easily defeated like everyone else at the end of the chapter!!!

By the way, Kia and Gii! What the hell happened with them? They disappeared from the story as well, even though they are the main characters!
And speaking of disappearing characters... There are a lot of them. Like Iru, for example. We know Kerkan did something to him, but WHAT? Is he still alive? Is he dead? Did Kerkan eat his brain to get his knowledge or what? Dammit game, tell us!!! And on the other hand, there were a lot of other characters who I didn't care about, yet got the spotlight. Like the three kids, or Randolf. Speaking of Randolph, why did he dig? What was his goal? In the end, it turned out he wasn't 'that' crazy, so he must have had a goal, right?

Speaking of which, what's up with Kerkan? I mean, first he was just a killer, then he banged Ruaha, then he made the wish, then his Kikai became bigger for no apparent reason, then he died but he didn't die... F*ck you game, keep yourself together!!! And what happened with them? Kerkan and Ruaha? Did they die, or survived or what...???

Aaaargh!!! I have to stop. If I try to talk about every single plot hole, we would be here till tomorrow. The bottom line is that this game built an enormous story, which collapsed into itself at the very end.

My score for this game: -1 because of the repetitive text, -1 because of the weak ending, -1 because of the building-sized plotholes. That's a 7, and to be honest, I'm thinking about another -1 because of Ati... Damn you game, she deserved a better fate!Last modified on 2010-01-26 at 11:47
#7 by hikigane
2010-01-11 at 01:01
Thats some serious accusations you are making there gabe.
Since i normally share the same opinion as you, i belive i'm going to be disapointed as well, however i'm still going to go through it. (and probably bash it in the end too) lol

Note: Yes, by the time i wrote post #5 i was by chapter 8, which is far from the end.
Therefore i only went through the seemingly interesting parts of the game.
As an example whole idea of lampooning today's somehow class divided society.
Of course today isn't the same as in the game, however, some years ago, most countries were just like that. (Except people looking like animals, and nekomimi'ed girls running here and there fighting armors with souls. [Clash between Full Metal Alchemist a& Neko Mimis?])
#8 by gabezhul
2010-01-11 at 16:45
Well, I was a little agitated when I wrote that post, because I just finished the game then. As I look back now, I have to admit: This is a great game until the 11th chapter. From that point, it's rushed, nothing gets properly explained, and the whole thing becomes frustrating as hell. I don't dislike mysterious endings, but this one is quite weak in that category.
IMO mystery is something that's not explained, but you can guess it using the clues provided to you. This game fails even at that. I could add another string of unanswerable questions as long as the one in my previous post if I really wanted to.

Summa summarum: As I previously said, this game is like a great building. Hey, let's be stylish: It's like a Golden Spiral Staircase. First, you get awed by how it looks, then by its size. You start climbing it, one chapter after the other, and you get even more and more amazed. And when you finally arrive at the top... All you find is wire-trap that makes the whole thing collapse. So again, not a bad game, but a great game with a TERRIBLE finale.
#9 by hikigane
2010-01-11 at 19:11
Nice reference there.
#10 by makenshi
2010-01-26 at 05:19
Haven't finished the game so far, just finally got it to work yesterday after installing the thing to XP in VMware then moving it back on Windows 7.

Good story thus far. Since I'm a big fan of both episodic storytelling and slice-of-life genre (which, despite it's grey themes and "action" theme near the end of each chapter, is basically offering a glimpse of a traveling doctor's life), I don't think the lack of resolution will bother me too much. I also like the artistic approahces they took, despite minor annoyances with missing voices and the copy-paste job. Honestly though, not all of the repetitions did not feel out of place. This is much less of a turnoff for me than, say, Taichi from Cross Channel (which is miraculously still installed despite me putting it on permanent hiatus ever since Week 3).

For those that watch anime as well, I highly recommend xXxHolics and Mushishi if you are a fan of this game, maybe even Haibane Renmei.

Curiously, though, despite the mature setting and mildly sophisticated dialogues, I don't really feel like there's that much depth in the story. Nothing wrong with that: Mushishi is my favorite anime and falls into the same category. However, whereas Mushish complements this with themes such as harmony and balance, Inganock is mostly about despair and insanity, and the lack of depth feels out of place. It's somewhat of a missed opportunity; I feel like there's so much more the game could be exploring, but judging from the above review and what I've seen from the game thus far, I don't think it's going to happen. As it stands, it'll probably still be a highly stylish game with a well crafted environ.Last modified on 2010-01-26 at 05:36
#11 by gabezhul
2010-01-26 at 14:11
You got a nice taste over there, but trust me: it's not a bad game, but you will be dissatisfied with the ending.

P.S. You are not the only one who don't like Taichi, but still, I recommend finishing the game. It's not that bad in the end. :P
#12 by makenshi
2010-01-26 at 21:01
The fact that I made it as far as Week 3 is due to people telling me that it "gets better" on the numerous occasions I put it on halt. I made the same mistake with the 74 episode Monster, and after spending over 2 years to finally finish the series, I still hated it. I don't care what kind of amazing story it holds, but if I enjoy it less than games like Yunohana and and H2O, I'm not going to like it. Unless I run out of games to play, I'm very unlikely to pick it back up again.

This is kind of (way) off topic, so I'll tie in Inganock as an example. As I stated, I don't consider it to be particularly deep. Even so, I enjoy reading it the same way I enjoy parts of Princess Waltz. I guess that's just the way I'm wired. I'd much enjoy cheap plot devices and dime-novel plots on a subject I like over intricate characters and plot over something I hate. Inganock isn't going to win any award for its repetitive resolution and structured missions, but it compensates with a well crafted world and a sense of style. In a way, I guess you can say that I value style over substance, but I guess it's more about not being able to tolerate certain characteristics and subject matters.
#13 by hikigane
2010-01-31 at 04:34
After going through all that mind-fuck (forgive me for the term, however, to me it seems the most appropriate to describe how i see this game) i got some nice music.

Sure, the story was nice, n'all, however you won't be seeing me recomending this to anyone, other than someone looking for this exact type of VN.

I'm sorry to say but this VN killed its characters way too easily, for stupid plot devices.
Ati "died" for two silly reasons:
1. They needed someone to get killed by Lemuri whatever, so everybody's anger would be directed towards him.
2. She was in the way, with her alive there would be no loli ending.

The whole concept was pretty sweet;
But it got lost in the middle of its complexiveness. =|
#14 by gabezhul
2010-01-31 at 17:05
No need to forgive. Mindfuck is mindfuck, that's the truth.

And if you remember, you said that you will probably bash this game at the end just like me, and it seems like you were right. :P
#15 by hikigane
2010-02-02 at 02:28
Yeah, i would proabably bash even more, tho i was so disapointed that i rather waste my hate on some other thing.Last modified on 2010-02-02 at 02:28
#16 by kidlat020
2010-03-16 at 17:24
I agree with you guys. this VN is like... from epic to epicfail.

Oh yeah. Amaterasu translations also translated the webnovel of Inganock. It contains the sequel of this VN (probably due to mindfucked angry readers who felt too many plot holes and that they needed to fill it). Expect something cliche.
#17 by quantic
2010-04-13 at 13:30
I just finished the game and I have to say, the ending is more of a mind-fu*k than the rest of the game. This game had be captivated until it made me swear out loud when Ati's memories were erased. They dedicated one whole chapter to progress her relationship with Gii (hell, Gii was even thinking about opening up and accepting her) just so they could tear that away from us!?!? What was even more annoying was that Lemure's defeat felt so anti-climatic. I felt no satisfaction from that at all. Damn it all, she was one of my favourite characters and she was reduced to a plot device that catalysed Gii's attack :(

Sigh. The ending confused the heck out of me. Maybe I shouldn't have read it with my mind half asleep. I'm going to read the Webnovels at a later date when my mind isn't so tired.

I'm still happy I finished this game though... I just wish the ending provided more closure and a better ending for Ati.Last modified on 2010-04-13 at 13:31
#18 by mstrchef117
2010-04-28 at 16:20
Any of you guys read the translated webnovels? Apprently they help partially fill the plot holes with more hints and actually shows what happens to Ati afterwards.
And yes, I did not like how Chapter 11 ended. Why bother with dedicating a whole chapter to the happy family just to put her on a bus.

Also, whatever happened to that /spoilers/osananajami nobleman that Gii put into a coma?/spoilers/
#19 by gabezhul
2010-04-28 at 21:06
The spoiler-tag looks like this [ spoiler][ /spoiler], but without spaces in the brackets... Just for you to know. :P

And now that you mention it, I have no idea what happened with him. But what can you expect? This game forgot to tell us what happened with its main characters, did you really think it would care about the side-cast...?Last modified on 2010-04-28 at 21:08
#20 by argilium
2010-08-05 at 18:03
i regret finishing this.. should've stopped at Chapter 10 or before the Inner Voice of Chapter 11.. coz of the mindf*ck it did afterwards..

hey, anyone who wants to play this, stop playong as soon as you see the Inner voice section of Chapter 11.. basically anything after it is worthless or won't be ephasized clearly..
#21 by gabezhul
2010-08-05 at 21:08
Oh, I just remembered: link

As kidlat020 mentioned a few posts ago, there you can find the webnovels. Have a good reading if you haven't searched for them yet. ;DLast modified on 2010-08-05 at 21:09
#22 by kyrt
2010-08-13 at 01:38
Like what many others have said the repetitive text was kinda cheap and disappointing.

I liked the game (except for chapter 11) and would definitely recommend it (so long as people are willing to read the same thing over and over again).

I kinda wish more of the Creatures would have appeared...there were something like 41 of them and we only see a few?

The game also is a bit of mindfrack near the end but to be completely honest it wasn't very surprising. We start to see where the game is heading by about ch 9 or 10 (been a while since I've played it).

I kinda get the feeling they rushed through it near the end might just be me though.
#23 by masschaos
2010-08-18 at 18:05
This is my first time using spoiler tags so forgive me if I do it wrong. I for one believe that Ati didn't die but she lost her memories and was reverted back to the way she was before she was a cat. Secondly I believe Kia and Gii both sacrificed themselves and brought proshion or whatever Gii's kikai name was. Just look at the end where the kids save the boy from the rubble as he said he know Gii and Kia. Lastly to answer what you said Gabe in #6 Kerkan's wish is what made his kikai bigger. All along Kerkan's wish was to kill everyone to end their suffering and his kikai becoming powerful was the result of that. Last modified on 2010-08-18 at 18:06
#24 by gabezhul
2010-08-23 at 23:12
Listen, I'm going to be very nice and assume that you weren't mocking my arguments. Why? Well, because what you say is not something you "believe", but what is flat out told to the reader. So, what does that mean you might ask? It's either that you are mocking me (as the things you were talking about are related to my posts), which I find very unlikely. The other, more probable answer is that you think that you really answer the questions, which is sad as there were no questions on the first place. Indetail:

Ati is reverted back to the way she was before the revival? Thanks for telling me, I would have never noticed otherwise. It's not like it was shown to us explicitly or anything...
And by the way, losing your memories and turning into someone else (even if that someone was a younger you) equals death in my dictionary.

And that Kia and Gii sacrificed themselves for Proshion? Pfff! Bull-digestion-waste-material! I know they did that, I'm raging over the fact that we doesn't get a reason for why, how, what for, and what happened with them afterwards? As there were no conclusion about them, I could even say things like Kia turned into fairy dust and Gii became Peter Pan's stocking, and you cannot deny the possibility!

And about Kerkan's Kikai... Well, you almost got me there. ALMOST is the key word. Let me see...

-First: Indeed, he wished for his Kikai to become stronger. But WHY? If he could have wished for anything (as apparently Gii and Kia was able to wish for everything to turn back the way it was before the <Reviva>l AND grant a body for Porshion), and he wanted everyone to die, why didn't he simply wish for that? Like this:
Clown -What is your wish?
Kerkan -I want everyone dead!
Clown -Done!
See?! It's like if someone wanted to get rid of a colony of rats, and instead of simply wishing them away he asked for a bigger gun to kill them with...

-Second: Believe or not, I actually knew why his Kikai got bigger, and my comment was a purely satirical one. And as we know, when someone tries to explain your own satire to you, it feels like a punch to the gut.

-Lastly: You want to know the real reason why his Kikai got bigger. It relates to my satire. The reason is simple: For no apparent reason. There is no reason within the bounds of the story for him to make his kikai stronger. On the outside however, a rivalry was built up between Gii and Kerkan, and since Gii became something like an indestructible force of nature, they had to power his nemesis up so they can present us some fake final showdown. Cross your heart and try to say that you thought that overpowered Kerkan had ANY chance against Gii in their final showdown! I dare you!

In the end, the whole Kerkan-showdown was a cheap, soulless try on the side of the writer to bring a little more tension into the rushed, half-assed final chapter of the story. Period.

Huh... Sorry for the style, but I REALLY needed to let this all out. It's not really against you, but the story itself, so don't take my rage too seriously and keep your chin up! :P:P:PLast modified on 2010-08-23 at 23:21
#25 by shade
2010-08-28 at 06:08
The story is about how humans struggle to overcome disaster and how that struggle is the beauty which defines us.
Morally the novel encourages to take a position of unrestricted goodwill and caring towards others and personifies this through Gii.
Kerkan is present as the foil to express how another viewpoint that may stand on equal subjective footing is less ideal than Gii's 'wish'.
Kerkan also represents a point that all are deserving of caring despite having differing views.
Many of the other chapters are parables within themselves, but they may be left to another's exegesis.
All they want you to get from this is 'Hold out your hand' because they believe that sense of trying is the beauty of humans.