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Review of Killer Queen

SubjectKiller Queen
ByVote: 4phantom-zero-12 on 2021-02-22 last updated on 2021-02-23
ReviewI really wanted to like Killer Queen, but as much as I tried, I just couldn't. There are very good elements here, but that's overshadowed by just how much it gets wrong.

As far as I can tell, this is one of the earliest "Death Game" VNs. Despite that, the premise is very interesting, and the actual rules of the death game are interesting as well. Giving people different, conflicting clear conditions is a much more interesting idea than just "fight to the death".

Before getting into my major issues with KQ, let me discuss some aspects that I still have issues with, but aren't all bad. The soundtrack is pretty good for the most part, with the only real issue being the lack of variety in musical placement. Instead of varying the tracks throughout the story, there's one or two tracks that play for 70% of the story, which baffles me considering the fact that there are plenty of good tracks that are only used a handful of times because for some reason, somebody decided it would be better to have that same two tracks play over and over again.

The visuals are a mixed bag. I don't mind the overall visual style they were going for, the issue comes in the form of certain sprites and CGs looking very strange, be that a characters posing or their facial expression. Some sprites look fine, others do not, and the majority of CGs have something off about them.

The cast isn't particularly memorable, but were only a few characters I particularly dislike. Killer Queen is broken up into two routes and each of them have their own core cast. Characters that survive route 1 may die early on in route 2, or vice versa (certain characters only show up in one route). Personally, aside from one character, I prefered the core cast in route 2, as route 1 had the protagonist paired up with a bunch of female characters, giving it a harem feel (which I'm not super fond of in stories like this). The protagonist, Soichi, is a somewhat bland character who's personality seems to soley consist of trying to think of ways to keep other people alive. Soichi at least isn't what I'd call a bad character, he's just very bland. The only other characters that I would refer to as "main characters" are Sakumi and Yuuki (both the primary heroines). Sakumi is another pretty bland character that falls into a simmilar category as Soichi, not an outright bad character, just overly bland. Her romance with Soichi also feels extremely forced at times. Yuuki has more of a personality, but I am not fond of her for a few reasons (I mainly just found her annoying and, yet again, lacking in personality). Yuuki is a twist villain in route 2, and while the twist wasn't a bad idea, I saw it coming from a mile away. The other characters that I feel the need to comment on are Reika (Seemed like a pretty cool character, the only issue is that she barely ever appears), Tezuka (the character who fucks everything up and trusts no one, I generally think characters like this can be done well, but Tezuka rapes Yuuki and as such is made immediatley unlikeable), Hazuki (another overly bland but not bad character his existence makes Soichi a worse character due to him being the one to do most of the fighting for the group in route 2. I was convinced there would be some kind of twist where he turned out to be evil, but there never was and that honestly suprised me.), Nagasawa (extremely annoying character who had the potential for some great development that he just never gets) and Urushiyama (why the fuck would you intentionally make a character this unlikeable?). I can't think of much I would say about the rest of the cast.

Killer Queens twists are another mixed bag, they're not that great in my eyes (especially during the first route). Most of the twists happen before you even know what the mystery that's being revealed actually is. For example, the twist where it's revealed that Gohda was the "game master" responsible for running the game. This twist could have been done well, but there are two things that prevent that. The first is that it isn't actually revealed to the cast themselves, instead it's revealed to the reader first, and the cast are told about it 30 minutes later by another character. The reveal itself happens so suddenly and since it's only revealed to the reader, the cast just continue on and brush it aside. The second issue is that the mystery of if there's someone running the game among the character was never brought up before this twist, and as such, the reader never has any reason to try and speculate who this person is. I think this twist would have worked a lot better if a character had brought up the possibility that one of the participants was running the game, as then the twist wouldn't have just come out of nowhere.

Now it's time to get into my big issues with Killer Queen, I have two in particular, the first is the pacing. While there is a rather brisk pace (it's only 10-15 hours), the pacing itself is off. Events either happen in quick succesion, or take way too long to happen. This leads to a lot of the first half of the game feeling boring when it really shouldn't. The second half is better when it comes to pacing, but it's still not perfect.

The second big issue is the H-scenes. I don't want to dwell on this too much, because thankfully the english patch includes an option to turn these off. But I will say that they're very uncomfortable to sit through. During route 1, they're extremely awkward, but at least they don't distract too much from the main narrative, but during the second route they're outright disgusting, and they happen so frequently and are so intertwined with the main story that even if you turn the H-scenes off, there will still be plenty of references to these scenes.

Ironically my favourite part of KQ was the opening, which is absolutely excellent, and as far as I can tell it was re-used in the remake (albeit with different art).

That's another aspect that I haven't mentioned yet. In 2008, Killer Queen was remade on the Playstation 2 as Secret Game: Killer Queen. I'm not going to talk much about it as this is meant to be a review of the original Killer Queen (as well as the fact that I haven't actually read it yet), but from what I'm aware, it is generally considered to be a significant improvement over the original.

In conclusion, I did not like Killer Queen very much. I'm sure there are people who won't think it's as bad as I do, but I couldn't bring myself to enjoy very much of this game. If the premise sounds interesting to you, I would advise you take a look at the remake instead. I would only recommend this if you really have nothing better to do with your time (or if you're like me and want to see the differences between this and the remake).