E3 2005: Chulip Hands-On
Our residential fan of the obscure, Japanese releases spends some time with Natsume's upcoming adventure.
Article by James Cunningham (Email)
June 1st 2005, 03:00AM
One of the stranger games at last year's E3, Chulip made a return engagement after falling off last year's release schedule. Tucked away in a corner of Natsume's booth, Chulip's reappearance was a pleasant surprise for those who'd heard the rumors of its cancellation. When a Natsume rep was asked, he explained that the project was bigger than they expected and had to be bumped back to make room for other titles. When asked about some of the content that might not be seen in the same light in the US as in Japan, it was stated that they were still making up their minds but would change as little as possible.
So what is Chulip? In a nutshell, it's what would happen if the Japanese had invented the point-and-click style of adventure game. "You" and your father have moved to a new town, and you've instantly fallen for the girl living in a large pipe just down the street. There's a legend that the couple who kisses under the old tree will live together happily ever after, but earning the girl's affections will mean improving your reputation in town. So what to do but set off on a quest to bring life and happiness back into the townsfolk's lives by figuring out what it is they want, then getting it for them. This also has the bonus of growing your own heart, until it's large enough to love the girl in the pipe as she deserves. Of course, this involves kissing every single person, creature, and sentient inanimate object in town.
Chulip is, on the surface, like no other game around. Once past the bizarre and whimsical nature of the plot, settings, characters, and quests, though, the adventure aspects come right to the fore. Mysteries need solving, lost items need finding, and unhappy people need cheering up somehow. Finding the item and solving the puzzle advances the plot, and with any luck, gets our hero one step closer to true love and a happy, and most likely pleasantly insane, ending.