What’s up my fellow capital G Gamers? I FINALLY finished off my first run in 大悪司 yesterday before going to bed. It’s definitely one of the cooler Alicesoft games I’ve played and yet I barely see anyone talking about it on the Western side of things. Strange. I wonder why that is. Maybe I’m just late to the party. Maybe it’s a little too old for modern erogamers. Or maybe, it’s something to do with what the game’s about. Who is to say. Before you read any further, I implore you to check out the amazing description on VNDB so you can draw your own conclusions and so that you know what it is we’re dealing with here. Go ahead, please.
Done? I know right, it’s fucking nuts. Looking at it probably leads you to believe this is a game made for total chuds and I’m not gonna split hairs here – it kinda is. But I also have to say that while the game is definitely not for the faint of heart it’s also not nearly as offensive as I thought it would be.
The premise is pretty much what it says on the box, Japan lost the war and is now ruled by an occupying force (thinly veiled stand-ins for American imperialists) that operates on a philosophy based primarily on female supremacy. It’s also steeped in Colonialism and the same ‘might makes right’ rhetoric that mirrors the kind of shit I remember hearing in the early 2000s around the time the US was launching the War on Terror in earnest. For example, there’s this scene with the WIMI leader monologuing about how much of a shithole Japan is and how all of the citizens are such savages and how their ideal outcome would just be nuking it into oblivion so they could be done with it once and for all. The fucked up part about this is I remember somebody around me saying that exact line almost verbatim back in the day about Iraq. I find this aspect particularly impressive since 大悪司 was released in November of 2001, just a few months after 9/11 and that really underscored how long the rest of the world has viewed the US in this way for me. Kinda prophetic in a way too, now that I’m thinking about it.
It’s also important to note that this came out LONG before the current iteration of the culture wars began and is not at all focused on the kinds of issues one might expect from reading the description in 2020. When I say the occupying force’s main tenet is based on female supremacy, I don’t mean “oh there are underlying systemic issues but everyone is able to live more or less a normal day to day life”, I mean real deal blatant gender discrimination against men to the point of state sanctioned forced sexual servitude and public executions for looking at a woman the wrong way. The reasons why one might want to spearhead a revolution against WIMI are quite obvious and feel pretty justified on the surface level in the universe of the game.
With that being said, please understand that I am not saying we’re looking at something that has a politically correct or righteous message here – no matter how you slice it this is a game about overthrowing a radical feminist organization by raping powerful women until they are subservient to you and funding that revolution through forced prostitution, extortion and other similarly unsavory deeds. I think the part of all this that I found the most interesting was how The Good Old Days When Men Were In Charge that Akuji and co. constantly reminisce about and are fighting to return to are almost equally as shitty in the opposite direction, hell the methods they use to fight the revolution are just as fucked as what WIMI is doing except the oppression is geared towards women instead of men. It’s a bizarre logical failing when you stop to think about it and I’m sort of inclined to believe that it’s intended to be a reflection on that concept. Who knows, really.
But I digress, looking for political correctness out of any Alicesoft game is a fool’s errand and I’m not here to make excuses for them. My point is that 大悪司 isn’t just a misogynist’s wet dream and that isn’t even really the focus of the game. It’s got some surprisingly cool takes at times and it managed to turn a lot of my expectations upside down (the entirety of the Yume plotline for example…. rofl).
Something else I wanted to mention as an aside was that over the years I’ve seen several people talk about how this game is extremely sadistic and somehow much darker than the rest of Alicesoft’s catalogue. Having played it, I’d have to disagree with that. I mean, you can definitely get up to some real heinous shit, but I still think it’s very much worth playing. At least with the choices I made I didn’t find anything here to be harder to stomach than the content in the Rance series or any other Alicesoft game I’ve gone through.
Anyways. I’m gonna leave my musings on the deep underlying messages there. tl;dr I don’t think this is a very cerebral game but it did make me think a bit and I give it a few points for that.
Moving on, boy this sure was a FUN time. I guess the best way to describe it as an experience is saying it’s like a significantly more complicated Sengoku Rance. The goal of the game is rather straightforward: unify Osaka under Akuji’s name and reclaim his birthright as the most fearsome leader of the underground Japan has ever known. Achieving that goal is… a bit less straightforward to say the least!
Let’s start this section looking at the easiest aspect of the game to master – the combat. This is far less important than one might guess looking at it from the outside, we’re dealing with a very basic system where as long as you have action points and your character does more damage than the enemy’s HP you will beat them every single time unless you miss. I found the hardest part to be dealing with the RPS aspect where you don’t know which enemy is going to attack next and if you send the wrong unit to do battle that turn, you might accidentally kill a character you needed to leave at 1hp to capture which will force you to reload to the start of the turn. There is a lot of reloading involved and a lot of the systems are very much luck based, but really there’s nothing hard about the combat. Even in the endgame where I was getting attacked in several different territories at once it was a cake walk. Only a matter of putting the right units in the right place at the right time.
It’s simple strategy.
Strategy. That’s what the main focus is here. The game is not looking for you to be a ruthless steamrolling warlord, it is looking for you to be a strategic manager for a meticulously planned revolution. Your job is primarily in resource management; keeping an eye on your finances, managing the roster, putting people in the right territories at the right times, building the right structures in the right places, keeping the peace, and of course how lucky you are in avoiding the various traps the game has set up for you. Resource management is really about your bank account. Cash is your lifeblood. You need to have cash to bribe the city council. You need to have cash to attack other territories. You need to have cash to pay your subordinates. You need to have cash to do anything and if you are frivolously spending on buildings or items or you’re too gung-ho in attacking territories or you don’t staff the regions under your control properly to collect as much money from them as possible you will find yourself broke very quickly and when you are broke the game is basically over.
On that note, before embarking on this journey it would do anyone well to accept that the game has intentionally been designed for the player to fail and find themselves in unwinnable situations constantly. You are expected to restart the game from scratch to figure out what exactly you need to be doing and what systems you need to be keeping an eye on and how to do X,Y, and Z and eventually, you’ll be able to scrape together enough of an understanding to really get the ball rolling. The complete failure and finding yourself softlocked is mainly only true early on when your funds are at their lowest, but there are a few other parts throughout that will make you scratch your head if you are stubborn and don’t want to look at a walkthrough. I avoided looking at one until I wanted to know how to get into a heroine route and I had quite the time trying to figure everything out. I wasn’t timing it, but I’d say it took me somewhere around 70-80 hours to complete my first real run to the finish line and at least 15 utterly failed runs before I managed to get out of the prologue. There’s a rather meaty tutorial on the starting screen, and I definitely recommend reading it but it won’t help you all that much until you play the game for yourself and try to figure it out for yourself. I find this kind of trial and error quite fun personally, but I’ve said all of that to drive home the point that if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like failure and is looking for a game that will be kind to the player in any way shape or form, this one is quite simply not for you.
There are a few things that stood out for me and stuff that I really liked about the game that I’d like to get into now. First of all, the OST by DragonAttack seriously kicks ass. It’s like…. psychedelic surf rock I guess? Really grungy, unique stuff here and I appreciated the change in pace. Here are a few of my favorite tracks, but the whole thing is full of great tunes.
Next up. I guess I figured, “Hey, y’know, this is a game from 2001. It probably won’t be that long and I’ll be able to blaze through it in a few days, right?”. WRONG. There are SO MANY events for every single territory on the map and you can spend dozens of hours chasing wacky plotlines for various characters all across the map. I said I have completed one full run and I have. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve seen most of the content, in fact I’m seriously not even close to seeing it all. That full run is a single route out of SIX, and I haven’t finished even half of the events on the ~70% of the map I was able to conquer before I got pushed into the endgame. This is a MASSIVE game, and not only is it full of interesting stories, but the world it takes place in also feels distinctly alive. This is in no small part due to it’s cast being populated with a small country’s worth of genuinely colorful, interesting characters, which brings me to my next point.
This game’s cast is absolutely STACKED. I don’t think there is a single character I disliked in any capacity and I outright loved most of them. There are over 100 unique characters with tachie and I believe 80+ that have their own character clears and event lines. For a quick example, lets take a look at Gouda Shin in the image above. He is obtained through picking a blind choice about recruiting an elite warrior. He shows up and is revealed to be a wandering 改造人間 who was captured by mad scientists in the war and forced to be the subject of many horrific experiments. These human rights violations resulted in his being turned into this hideous kamen rider of a man. It’s not a costume, this is his real body. He killed the scientists who made him this way but felt nothing but emptiness so now he goes around taking contracts fighting noble battles while living a life of noble poverty in the wilderness while he sends all of his war earnings to orphanages. This is ONE character you can find randomly off of a blind choice midway through the game. There’s also a nurse hiding out in a forest that’s on the run from the CIA and the KGB after she found an undefined SECRET, or the guy nobody takes seriously who found a new lifeform in a swamp, or the boxer from Spain trying to be reunited with his son, or the scientist lady who stole her bo- whoops spoilers. The list goes on. There are dozens of characters like this who will make you wonder how they came up with this shit and the more you find the more you realize how absurd this world actually is.
I expected 大悪司 to be a pretty cut and dry alt-history past Japan. I’d say it’s a lot lighter on the fantasy elements than the other Alicesoft games I’ve gone through, but for what it cut there it makes up in some truly bizarre science fiction. There were several points in the game where I was just like, “Is this really fucking happening lmao?”. I don’t want to spoil too much here but the setting in this game is one of my favorites in recent memory. I’ve still got a huge sidestory to go through on one of the territories on the map I didn’t conquer involving some kind of 異世界 machine and the aftermath of a nuclear bomb.
Finally, and I think this is a large part of the appeal – I was consistently shocked by how few limits the game seemed to have. Anything goes, including kicking the door down on a bunch of eroge conventions you won’t see any game doing today. There is a ton of ero that doesn’t involve the MC at all. You can do literally ANYTHING with the heroines, including sending them to be trained in Tamanegi’s house of horrors as prostitutes or just outright killing them or torturing them. Your grandpa shows up completely randomly and steals one of your girls with a single french kiss and disappears to an undisclosed mountaintop with her. She’s never seen again. It feels SO free and so bizarre that eroge used to be able to get away with shit like this. It’s really one of those things that just made me look at it and feel like I was reading something that would never ever be viable in any other medium. And that’s the sign of a great eroge for me, folks.
I don’t really know how to end this. 大悪司 is a game that I really enjoyed and was able to get immersed in for hours upon hours and I imagine I’ll be going back for round two after I get done writing this post. I think it deserves a whole lot more love, and I can pretty strongly recommend it to anybody who liked Sengoku and wants more of that kind of a general feel in a game. Give it a shot, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Here is a picture of Panichi, a male stripper.