Have you ever tried jam and cheese on bread? Sounds like it should not go but it’s actually lovely. This is Kowloon High School Chronicles A visual Novel and Dungeon Crawler comes together and makes something that good, it will not be for everyone but it’s still good.
You play as a transfer student to the mysterious Kowloon High School, where not only are transfer students rare but students also go missing. While in school you meet an interesting cast of characters from the happy go lucky school girl to the goth and the weird rock lover. More interesting still is the school it’s self, and it’s going on’s. Your character is there for one reason he is hunting for treasure, why? He is a treasure hunter and at nights you will dive in to the dungeons that are beneath the school’s graveyard. Kowloon High School is ran be the student Council an elusive group or nutters that will do ANYTHING to make sure the rules are not broken.
Kowloon High School Chronicles will see the player spend a lot of time with the visual Novel aspect of the game, getting to meet a bunch of loonies and have some rather crazy and over the top conversations. These sections of the game do a fantastic job of world building along with increasing the overall mystery of what the heck is happening. However, the students that you interact with in these sections, all individuals, wrote well, each have a deeper story than what you see to start with. Within a lot of visual novels you have to get to interact with characters in two main ways. Making contextual choices, I.e go with X or Y and with the mood wheel this allows for different responses to be given to questions, depending on the response will depend on your relationship. When I first seen this wheel, I found it really hard to see what the replies are. With the way they have been written on the wheel, with most responses, the character will react differently to you.
Once school is out, Kowloon High School Chronicles basically becomes off limits, mostly. You can move around the grounds and interact with students or enter rooms and collect items that can be used while dungeon crawling. Once school is over, you will enter your room. Here is where we prepare for the upcoming battles.
In the room you have access to your inventory, that you move items from your room to the combat vest you wear. Even when items are in the vest, it does not mean we equip them I went in to the first fight with no weapons equipped. The player will need to manually equip items and weapons. There is also a shop that will sell a wide array of weapons, ammo etc. Normal school items!
While in your room you can take on side quests these are normally finding an item, with one minor annoyance. The quest comes as a riddle that tells you what room, where it is and how to get, but I was lost for hours on them. I ignored them for a long time. I would not have minded so much but the items were like hotdogs, rice simple items. I even tried to cheat and see if I could buy them. Does not work. While in the dungeon you will get an audio prompt for a quest item, enjoy looking EVERYWHERE for the item, reading all quest if you where like me and picked up all 6 at once and try to figure out what you are doing.
There is also a level up system in Kowloon High School Chronicles in the form of the student card. At the start of the game, you make your student card up; you pick stuff like after-school club, subjects you like and so on. There is no info on how or what this is for, but this makes your character for the dungeon sections. So as you level up you will get point to spend on normal character stats and classes you excel at, these give an over all buff to the gameplay both in and out of dungeon crawling. It is a fun way to do it and keeps inline with the High School setting.
Under The GraveYard
So we are set to venture under the school? Lets go. When underground in the Egyptian style tombs you have two modes; attack and movement. Movement allows you to interact with objects, jump and inventory. In this mode you will explore, do the simple puzzles for the room to unlock doors and wander about finding the item you need to.
The second mode is attack here you will have three weapons, blade, gun and anything from a chalk eraser to grenades. Blades are by far the best weapon in the game, as up close you will attack up to three enemies and do good damage to them and never run out of attacks. Guns have a long range, good damage and are fast, but can run out of ammo, with the last weapon as effective as the items you have equipped there.
Battles are turn based with all actions consuming AP, when AP runs out or is too low you will end your turn and it is up to the enemies to attack. Until one party is dead. The characters that you will meet in school can accompany you to the tombs each has their own abilities and uses. These abilities can be vital to win battles later on. As Kowloon High School Chronicles can be hard, there are a few difficulty spikes that were hard to overcome.
It is not all plain sailing from Kowloon High School Chronicles. There are some rough edges here and there. Some can be forgiven as this is a PS2 port I mentioned most of the big ones, I just wished with this port they have fixed the obvious problems and smoothed out the edges.
Overall Kowloon High School Chronicles is a great marriage of different genera that shouldn’t work but do, it is not a perfect package by no means but it shows what can be done if developers want. I loved my time with the game. I want more make a follow up *hint hint*
I recommend to anyone who like Visual Novels and/or Dungeon Crawlers. It will unfortunately fall by the wayside as a lot of theses games do.