キャサリン Catherine


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Symbolic duality this alternative artwork represents many themes

First mentioned by G4 tech.com Katherine appears to have been released exclusively in Japan. The cover conveys the ESRB’s rating for the explicit game material, taking into consideration creator and or developer ‘s target audience. What attracted me to the game was not the too-hot for pixels rating, but the brillantly beautiful pinks, geek girl themed alternative cover and my intial assumptions that Katherine was some new video game about yet another cool and interesting female heroine. My my was I sadly mistaken.

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Nightmare world Vincent

While skimming to find better pictures or a common phrase which would lead me to a surplus of relevant results I had a revelation.

If you take note of the sheep creatures in the game and Vincent Brooks (ヴィンセント・ブルックス, Vinsento Burukkusu) as he appears in his nightmares, bare a resemblance to the pagan entity Baphomet. The primary video game cover art for Catherine depicts her holding her shirt open, while Vincent slips into her cleavage. But it also shows a prominent hairstyle, two spirals representative of winding horns, characteristic of the sheep creatures and the male longhorn ram (Ovis aries). Within occultism circles spirals signify The premise, in the neighborhood in which Vincent lives, there have recently been a number of bizarre incidents in which people die in their sleep, with a look of anguish upon their faces. Strangely enough, all of the victims are young men. The story quickly spreads throughout the media, attracting widespread attention and theories as to the cause of death. A strange rumor begins to spread that if a person dreams of falling, if they don’t wake up they will soon become unable to wake at all, and die. Vincent is at a bar contemplating marriage to Katherine, his lover of five years, who is pressuring him to get married, when he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman named Catherine. Although there are many vacant seats she sits next to Vincent and, well-proportioned and pretty, she is exactly his type. The two end up spending the night together at Vincent’s house. After meeting the woman, Vincent begins to have nightmares every single night, which he believes may be related to the rumours. In these dreams, he, and several other men who appear to him as sheep, must escape from various horrors trying to kill him, for if he dies in his dream, he will die in reality. As dreams and reality begin to blend together, Vincent must not only fight to survive, but he must choose between Katherine and Catherine.

Promotional phrase “Love is over.”

Since you last read I gave my initial opinions and observations about Katherine, a puzzle-rpg game about survival with a twist of mystery. Now, having played the demo watched several stages of puzzle, but did not wait long enough to see those infamous moral choice confessional booth showcased in a variant trailer. Unlike a majority of mindless first and third person shooters which generally require users with a short attention span and a thirst for bloodshed. Puzzlers such as this cause a person to use their mind actively in order to survive and adapt, basically might is right in a living metaphor. At all moments in-game psychological pressure or nerve rattling scenarios, struggling whether to choose Catherine or Katherine, fidelity or desire, love or lust, creating a dividing line and casting out all indecisiveness. And despite operators being completely safe in their own homes’, Catherine strikes a sense of mortal fear, evoking real fear for your life.  The players’ adaptability determines whether or not they survive. I love open world games for three reasons, it allows players freedom, to learn, explore and waste countless hours finding Easter eggs and collectibles. Secondly any video game which offers players a non standard array of options, it challenges their ability and imagination. Such innovative interactions including combination weapons (Dead Island, Dead Rising I & II), moral choices (Bioshock franchise, Mass Effect 2, Vampire the masquerade bloodlines, Fallout: New Vegas) and alternate endings determined by game play (Silent Hill franchise, Resident Evil franchise and Chrono Trigger). An Xbox magazine exclusive and treat for those who do not have a subscription, the August issue is on shelves now. Most critics rave not only for its overtly sexual overtones, but challenging game play. According to a notation in this month’s issue of Xbox magazine, Gamers in Japan complained that Catherine was too hard upon the game’s release. Atlus responded with a patch that enabled easier difficulty settings, talk about insanely hard. Mimicry of reality within the gaming universe not only enhance its’ depth but creates a bridge between the two worlds’: ours dimension and the world of video games. Katherine mixes plat forming, puzzles, action and animations together, with definite signs of symbolism. Why Vincent takes the form of a sheep man boggles my mind. Sheep are referenced in mythologies and legends as unaware entities wondering, lost, confused and without direction. Beyond metaphoric interpretation, nightmares pose real dangers for unsuspecting young men. The entity attempting to murder him and other sheep has the voice and likeness of his fiancé. Strangely enough each level/dream sequence protrudes a horrid sense of dread. All environments are surrounded by darkness, the only indication anything existing beyond the void is the cold sinister voice of Katherine (fiancé) and two large, bony fingers with sharp teal nails extending from the thick blackness. Vincent seems to be a victim of circumstance, being caught up in rather than directly involved in the nightmare world. According to an article published by Xbox magazine, players have the ability to save others from gruesome fates and play a domineering role in the game’s outcome. “To move onto the next stage or wake up from your nightmare, you must first enter the confessional. Here you’re asked the question – in our demo, we had to answer if marriage is “Where life begins or “Where life ends.” Your response affects your law of chaos meter, which in turn affects which of seven different endings you’ll receive.” “Your interactions with various “sheep” in these landing areas can also affect your play through – some chats will give you a choice how to respond. What you tell them may lead to their survival…or deaths.” – Francesca Reeyes. Taking no prisoner’s chooses are strict to yes and no style questions, not allowing a middle ground. Social venues such as the Stray Sheep, allow Vincent the choice to view, ignore and respond to various text messages through the duration of the story. Depending upon his actions, certain conversations may be available or inaccessible, ultimately dictating endings and how characters behave and interact with you. Forcing gamers to make difficult ultimatums enhances an already suspenseful tension. Character animations, motions and voice acting are incredible. As a game it holds the player one razor’s edge, drifting in and out of moments of safety and imminent jeopardy, keeping them on their toes. Katherine makes me feel I do not have a firm grasp on what is real and what is not, leaving me with generous amounts of uncertainty. Thematic aspects of the game are violent, sexual and disturbing at best. But in Japan were sexuality and the like are repressed I suppose it had to come out somehow. Even the title menu made me queasy…an obvious sign Katherine is not for me, but will not prevent my impulse to pre-order and swipe exclusive goodies for getting it early. I have no intentions of keeping the game and can sell it for full price while keeping my pre-order swag. Game play is a do or die scenario either you adapt and survive or get lost and die. Rather brutal, but I suppose if Atlus wanted aim for creating the ultimate creep factor they succeeded. Some fans wondered if Atlus planned to localize their lurid masterpiece for the Americas at all. In the past when asked about localization the stated “there are no plans for NA release at this time.” Internationally anticipated by fanatics in Japan, US fans were asking and hoping for a english version for their addictive pleasure. Hopefully others are brave enough to tempt the labyrinths, climbing blocks and treacherous foes to solve the mysteries of the murdered victims, Katherine, the night terrors and secrets, so I can put my heebie jeebies feelings to rest. Even upon its release select gamestop’s are allowing customers to pre-order a copy and get an exclusive art booklet and soundtrack created and mixed by Shoji Meguro. For anyone who missed pre-ordering such incredible extras can be lucky enough to find it for sale on ebay. If the game becomes popular enough Atlus may consider producing more Catherine merchandise, but it is up to the G.C. (Gaming Community) to get their attention. Coincidentally Catherine is being released July 26th the same day as my birthday. It makes me a little jealous knowing people will associate my In celebration of Katherine’s release, From February 17 through March 31, a restaurant called Collabo Dining (Aoyama Tokyo Japan) served “Katherine” themed cocktail, made especially for key characters in the game. Depending upon their personality traits and demeanor, their corresponding drinks tasted accordingly, whether that be sweet, bitter, overpowering and so on. Japanese diners were lucky enough to get such a geeked out opportunity, *ugh, the Japanese always get cool stuff! Revealed by Catherinethegame.wikia: Her seductiveness is more than just an act- Catherine is actually a succubus who has tempted many other men with her wiles and can take whatever shape is suited to lure men astray. Those men (including Vincent) were then condemned to the Nightmare by Catherine’s “father” Dumuzid, as he viewed Catherine’s victims as sinners to be punished for giving into their lusts.” Perhaps divulding a major plot spoiler, it certainly clears up some confusion. Now looking at picture of Catherine freaks me out, wonder what she really looks like… Not to mention what evil she’s capable of and thirdly, I have to seriously think: Are succubi walking amongst regular people? Maybe I let Atlus get to my head, but the whole concept of fidelity, demons and lust are very real. In Catherine you cheat on your girlfriend. This happens almost as soon as the game begins, and you have no choice in the matter. From your point of view you begin drinking at a bar, and then wake up with a cheery blonde in your bed. The game will begin to fill in the blanks and let you know how this happened, but it’s going to happen no matter what. The things you do have power over tend to impact the game in ways that aren’t as obvious as you might think, and this leads to some simmering tension as you play. – Ars Technica

[vi].  imabeshack.us. Web. 12 December 2011.

[vii]. Mixrmedia. Web. 12 December 2011.

[viii]. Forums.ag.ru. Web. 12 December 2011.

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