Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Nov 082021

Going into this October, I had one visual novel already lined up for Celebrating All Things Spooky.

I’ve heard great things about the mystery visual novel Kara no Shojo, and earlier this year I picked up a bundle that included it and its predecessor, Cartagra (warning, link is NSFW).

Cartagra is often described not only as a murder mystery, but also horror. It’s an eroge, as well, so I expected a murder mystery horror story with occasional sex scenes.

You’ll notice it didn’t make the cut for Celebrating All Things Spooky. Let’s take a look.

In Cartagra, you play a former police detective turned private detective who has been asked to look into the disappearance of a young woman. Yet as he investigates, he becomes increasingly embroiled in the bizarre serial killings terrifying the city, even though it isn’t officially his case.

It is a dark story, that’s for sure. The murders are pretty gruesome, not to mention the bad endings that the visual novel describes in detail. Some parts were pretty unsettling to read.

But what surprised me was how big a role the protagonist’s relationships played. Even though only one character’s route actually runs to the end of the mystery (and most of the others are bad endings), the detective practically has a harem. Everyone wants him, and your choices will determine who he has sex with, often enough that it can’t be dismissed as just an additional aspect of the story.

So what I expected was a murder mystery horror story with occasional sex scenes, but what I got was a murder mystery romance story with lots of sex scenes and occasional horror elements.

Now, don’t take that to mean I disliked Cartagra. It was an exciting story with unexpected twists, likeable characters, and some interesting ideas. It just wasn’t what I expected, and it definitely didn’t fit in with spooky games month.

(Since I started Higurashi as an emergency replacement, I’d say it was a win all around.)

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