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Review of Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side

SubjectTokimeki Memorial Girl's Side
Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side
ByHelpfulness: 3
Vote: 7.3
bataillon on 2024-06-10
ReviewDisclaimer: played the PS2 version so I'm unaware about the skinship mechanics and the DLC character.

The otome version of the classic dating sim Tokimeki Memorial, Girl's Side not only managed to remain loyal to its root but also became an otome classic of its own. I enjoyed going through the characters and mechanics a lot, and despite not being the biggest otome fan out there, GS1 convinced me to check the 3 other games out.

The mechanics follow the classic dating simulation gameplay and can be a bit tedious, or hard even, if you're new to the genre; I found it way more enjoyable to play on an emulator where I can save before any choice (because yeah, a lot of the gameplay involve RNG). Couldn't really imagine playing it 22 years ago when it released, I'd say it's one of those games only really playable with an emulator (for the PS2 version at least). I've seen a lot of complaints about the bomb system and the rival mode: didn't really have a problem with those personally, as all I had to do was to date the bomb guy right after I get a notification/keep doing activities with the rival girl. I don't think rival mode matters if your target is in Tokimeki mode already.

Sure, the game was pretty revolutionary for its time, but what really makes it shine in my opinion is how diverse the characters are and how much of a blast I had interacting with most of them. The events, the dialogues and the banters can be really funny and I loved the chemistry of some characters with the MC, who can have a silly side depending on if you're in tokimeki mode or not with your target. Some dialogue options were really funny too. A lot of CGs sadly felt pretty underwhelming, but there were a few that really illustrated the event well enough to the point my heart would somehow skip a beat (cough cough Suzuka).

Took me around 40 hours to get all endings, but I'm far from having read all the date dialogues. This game's replay value is insane if you don't get bored that easily, or if there's a character you really like (some dialogues are random though, so it might take you several reloads to get them).

I'd rank Himurocchi>Suzuka>Hazuki>Morimura>Chiharu>Kijou>Mihara>Hibiya>Chairman for how much I enjoyed their routes and their characters.

Would have ranked Chiharu higher if he had more interactions with the MC but for a hidden character his route felt super cute to me. Himurocchi is PEAK GS1 character and Suzuka had the cutest moments with MC (even though that might be my tsundere bias speaking). Hazuki was pretty funny (guyfailure) but I sadly couldn't really differ his normal-self from his Tokimeki-self, and that's what I'm looking forward to most in any otome game (to feel the change from before and after they fall for you). Morimura is the perfect vanilla route, he was really adorable and probably a great choice if you want to experience an overly sweet romance route: I'm more into tsundere men so yeah there's that. Kijou was fine I guess, wasn't that fond of his womanizer side and kansai-ben isn't for me. Mihara felt straight up annoying to me, not fond of overly narcissist characters; couldn't feel an ounce of romance in his route either. No offense against Hibiya fans but I really can't look at this creature and take him seriously; really didn't like his personality either. Had to take several pauses during the Chairman's route, and this is coming from a big fan of age-gap relationships in otomes; kudos to him for probably having one of the most disgusting characterization in GS ever.
3 points