Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer. Never have I felt so bad for a fictional character and yet been so wonderfully pleased by their suffering.
Yep, and now I sound like a horrible person. What can I do though, that’s just what happens when you play Rule of Rose by Atlus Software.
Rule of rose, a half action adventure and half survival horror game, focuses on the misadventures of a young girl named Jennifer. At the game’s beginning teenage Jennifer finds herself orphaned in 1930’s England. What happened to her parents? No one knows, not even her. Jennifer quickly realizes though that her forgotten family may be the least of her problems as she has now slipped into a twilight zone world inhabited by all sorts of repulsive and ghoulish creatures. If she wishes to live long enough to grow up she’ll have to survive these assaults and rebuild her shattered memory.
Rebuilding her memory won’t be an easy task though as her new world is filled not only with strange creatures of the night but also the aristocracy of the red crayon, a hierarchy imposed on the orphanage by the orphans themselves. Being the new girl at the orphanage Jennifer quickly finds out that there is always – and sometimes only – room at the bottom.
Being the sole member of a social class held in complete contempt by the young orphan socialites means being the butt of every practical joke, every snide remark and every hateful plan. Strangely, all of the aristocracy’s schemes seem just a little too familiar to Jennifer though she can’t be sure why.
What? The story isn’t compelling enough for you? Well then, let’s talk about the game itself.
With the exception of some of the CG sequences, the entire game is played from the third person perspective. You, as the player, control Jennifer as she roams about looking for food, toys and makeshift weapons. All of these items will be needed to survive enemy onslaughts and to unravel Jennifer’s past. In addition to the more normal items twisted children’s stories scribbled on fragments of paper, reanimated children’s toys, and an ever present sense of being “this close” to understanding what’s going on add to this game’s unique appeal.
The only noteworthy problem with this game is its targeting system. As I played through each level I couldn’t help but wonder if the games difficulty with targeting and attacks were a deliberate attempt to model the styles of a terrified child or if it was simply a clunky system. In my mind, the jury is still out on this one.
All in all this game is well worth playing and one that is easily recommended.