Hello~ My name is Umbelia and I’d like to talk with you about go-… games you probably already know about.
Well… it’s Rance! Rance 5D and Rance VI. If you’re interested at all, you almost certainly already know what you’re getting… but let’s pretend you’re not a grizzled eroge vet and want to be told details about the gem that is the Rance series.
Some background information first, then: Alicesoft is an eroge developer unlike others in that, for the most part, their games are always less VN and more game. For me, this is an absolutely wonderful thing… the Rance series, titled after our lovely, sexist, asshole in green, is their flagship- and it very much always holds true to that point.
Rance, for an eroge series, has a very elaborate lore and the story is actually very good. Each game in the series chronicles Rance and his mage-slave Sill Plain’s adventures saving the world or overthrowing evil empires or that sort of thing. Very 90s anime-esque except with more sex. Without spoiling too much, Rance 5D and Rance VI involve him going to the mage-run country of Zeth and dealing with their… numerous corruption issues within the government, racism, at least two different rebellions, and the consequences from said rebellions.
Every Rance game plays a little different, though most commonly they at least incorporate some form of first person dungeon crawling… though 5D is one of the exceptions. 5D is, essentially, a single player board game. The story is handled by getting events in a roulette, combat is almost completely luck based (though, you can chose what die role means what action, allowing for some level of strategy… but not much.), and the game itself is very short. Because of the simplicity (and ease of death + auto saves) it’s actually very easy to get into and pretty fun to play. The humor is mostly gags and, because of the condensed size of the game, tends to be fairly fast paced.
Don’t be fooled though, Rance 5D is a minigame, but Rance VI is -huge- and you will spend a lot of time working through it, even if you’re not being a completionist. Conversely to 5D’s whimsical structure, VI is just straight up a dungeon crawling JRPG with sex scenes. Gameplay is structured around juggling party members in and out of combat to juggle their Stamina Points, which limit how many battles they can be in before needing to exit the dungeon or use rare items to recover, as well as typical JRPG party balancing and grinding reminiscent of Final Fantasy 2 or so.
Speaking of JRPGs with great soundtracks that I’m totally not using as an awkward segway: Rance’s OST, as a series, tends to be extremely high quality. Alicesoft in general is very very good about their music, neither 5D nor VI disappoint there at all. As in “I literally have a folder with Rance music that I’ve listened to for years”… it’s mostly from the immediate sequel; Sengoku Rance, but Rance VI and Rance 5D are very welcome predecessors regardless. There’s not really much to say about it other than that it’s great!
In spite of my praising it here for it’s quality as a game before being an eroge, it should be highlighted that it’s -not- because the smut is lacking at all. Again, true to Alicesoft games and especially Rance in general, there is a huge number of CGs with an extremely varied cast that touches on many different fetishes and it’s all very high quality. To give you a idea of the sheer number without outright spoiling you: aside from the actual heroines and party members (all of which, ignoring the three guys, have at least one H scene) there are gal monsters who are catchable and get a CG for it- 43 of them dedicated to galmons alone.
All in all… really, the only reason I -wouldn’t- recommend Rance to someone was if they were looking exclusively for a quick and easy nukige. Rance 5D will ballpark around 4~6 hours and VI can very easily clear 30~40 if you’re going to be thorough at all. But even then, if you’re into JRPGs at all I’d still not turn you away. If you’re reading this, Rance -probably- has something for you.
Rance 5D + Rance VI is now available for purchase on MangaGamer.com!