February 3rd, 2007, 15:10 Posted By: wraggster
Dating simulators have been the bee's knees in Japan for some time now, but as of yet publishers have been rather hesitant to test the waters outside of the country with titles from the genre. Konami is set to change all that with its 90210-esque release of Brooktown High: Senior Year in a few month's time.
The point of the game is to simply date as many of the other students as you can while managing your time. Aside from cheesing it up with the other upper-classmen, you'll have to study if you want better grades, get a job if you want some extra cash, get to class on time and, of course, catch some Zs now and then. It's sort of like the time management issues that you find in The Sims, except that instead of raising a family your goal is to raise something else.
When you first begin your senor year, you need to create your character. You start by taking a personality test that determines how much of a jock, nerd, goth or prep that you are. After your personality is determined, you then get to decide how you want your character to look from a small number of choices. You start with the basics, but you can expand your wardrobe and such by picking up some new threads later on.
Clothing is an important part of the game and will determine how some people will interact with you. If you wear the wrong clothes, you'll alienate some of the people at Brooktown. When the seasons change, you'll need to update your wardrobe or be mocked for wearing a t-shirt in winter or a heavy coat in the spring. You could also just go to class in your underwear, but we're not sure anyone would appreciate that.
Though you choose what you say to people in conversations, the game is not a simple "Choose Your Own Adventure" type of game. Your personality and clothing will directly reflect how others view you, and combined with your comments will determine how they react to you. You won't be able to score with the head cheerleader if you wear a pencil protector no matter how much you're able to sweet talk her.
While conversations play perhaps the biggest and most important role in the game, Brooktown High also includes a number of mini-games that make up events. For example, you can partake in a game of strip blackjack or get down with a little tongue wrestling. In the tongue wrestling game, you're in control of a bottle of breath spray and must navigate around the screen while collecting hearts and avoiding other objects, all while spraying back bad breath. No, it's not exciting as making out with a cheerleader behind the football field after the big game, but it is reasonably entertaining and challenging.
After you complete the school year, the game will fast-forward 20 years in the future and show you what became of yourself, whether or not you ended up marrying anyone from the game and generally how you wind up doing in your late 30s. Of course, before you get to this point you'll have to pass a boss fight with the school bully at the prom...
Brooktown High: Senor Year certainly won't be for everyone, but it actually seems like a decent bit of fun. We're still scratching our heads over the comment from some goth chick about her wanting to spank us with her spatula, but we'll have to wait until the game's release later this year to find out how well she handles her kitchenware.
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