Gore Screaming Show is a 2006 horror-romance eroge from Black Cyc. The game is rather mistakenly notorious in the Western eroge community. A lot of people seem to think the game is full of violence, blood, and gore. The title probably doesn’t help. The truth is despite its name and reputation the game isn’t very violent or gory.
The first three routes of Gore Screaming Show (Akane, Aoi, and Kiika) are primarily school life romance. You meet the girl, spend time together, go on dates, fall in love, all that. I was surprised by how well the romance was done. The romance isn’t exactly light-hearted like you find in a lot of eroge. Even setting aside the foreboding atmosphere and hints of horror, which are present from the beginning of the game, the romance in the game is definitely closer to romance-drama than romance-comedy. As your relationship with the heroine deepens so do the horror aspects of the game. In each route it eventually reaches a crescendo as Yuka tries to do something terrible to your waifu. From then on the game enters squarely into horror territory and the plot revolves around protecting and/or saving the girl from Yuka and Gore. All three routes follow this same formula, though the execution of the horror in each one is different. I actually preferred the romance section of these routes but the horror is certainly good as well. I’m just more of a romance guy than a horror guy. Each route has an intense climax and a satisfying conclusion (assuming you get the good end) so the stories are entertaining throughout. There were few moments where I was bored, even though this was my first untranslated eroge and my reading speed was incredibly slow most of the way.
After clearing the first three routes you are allowed to enter Yamiko’s route. This one finally begins to address the overarching story of the eroge, mainly the nature of Yuka and Gore, which is only hinted at in the first three routes. There is also some romance, which probably wasn’t as good as that of the previous routes but the light incest and awesome heroine still make it worthwhile. In exchange for the lesser emphasis on romance the plot is much stronger. Unlike the previous routes there isn’t much horror. It focuses more on revealing background information. However the climax of the route is even better than any of the previous three. The route ends in somewhat of a cliffhanger, which leads you into Yuka’s route.
Yuka’s route is what makes GSS. Overall it is an amazing route. Better romance than the first three routes (the heroine is a yandere loli; pretty much impossible to fuck that up) and better plot than Yamiko’s route. Romancing a crazy, obsessive loli who commands a mysterious murderous being is every bit as great as it sounds. The plot finally reveals everything about Yuka’s past and the events that led to the current situation. It’s very touching at times, easily getting you to sympathize with the person who tried to torture and kill your girl in the earlier routes. While none of the revelations are particularly surprising twists, most of them are at least unexpected, which keeps the plot interesting. Finally, the true end of the game is great. Getting a good end for Yuka after all of the horrible events that occurred throughout the game is just an incredibly fulfilling feeling.
Someone on /jp/ once said that GSS’s main appeal is to white knights. After thinking about it for a moment I realized it’s definitely true. The early routes focus on protecting the girls from Yuka, and the final route is all about saving Yuka from her cruel fate once and for all. If you get off on helping (fictional) girls you will enjoy GSS. I’m a huge white knight so that might explain why I liked this game so much.
A note about the gore in Gore Screaming Show: There isn’t that much of it. The general impression among people who haven’t played it is quite mistaken. Most of the bad ends (two for each of the first three girls and one for Yuka) have gore, but outside of those there are only a few rather tame scenes. Even the gore in the bad ends isn’t that awful, and this is coming from someone with little exposure to the stuff. Only a couple scenes made me feel sick. All of the guro scenes were interesting to read though and many of them were sad. The bad ends were certainly worth getting (especially since there’s more to them than just gore), but the gore isn’t the main focus of GSS nor what makes it great.
Kazuyagi Akane: Kyouji’s childhood friend. vndb has this game tagged with tsundere heroine and I guess it refers to her, but she isn’t very tsundere at all. She isn’t a doormat like many childhood friend characters tend to be though. As someone who loves childhood friend heroines she was the first girl I went for and also my favorite out of the first three heroines.
Misono Kiika: An ojou character who Kyouji knows from his old school. Initially I thought she was a very stereotypical character and I had no interest in her. After starting her route my opinion of her changed a lot. She was still somewhat stereotypical but she was a very likable heroine.
Namiki Aoi: Kuudere. Even though I like the archetype, like Kiika, Aoi initially seemed too stereotypical so I didn’t have much interest in her. Also like Kiika, though, she became a much more interesting and likable character after starting on her route. Still fairly stereotypical though.
Saitama Yamiko: Kyouji’s guardian, who is also his mom’s cousin. So there’s some slight incestuous appeal there. She’s an awesome character. One of those irresponsible adult types. Very fun and cute. I couldn’t wait to be able to play her route (and was then disappointed when she only had one ero scene orz).
Yuka: A mysterious loli with a mysterious fixation on Kyouji. Definitely the best heroine, but it’s not fair to compare the others to her considering GSS is her game. She’s also the antagonist in the other routes, trying to kill the girls who get close to her Kyouji, and she serves well as one. Very twisted, but that makes you want to save her even more. She also has a childlike, innocent side. Comparisons to Fate/Stay Night’s Ilya are appropriate to an extent (they even have similar color schemes going on).
Gore: Yuka’s partner. Equally mysterious. An awesome antagonist. His character isn’t particularly well developed or anything, but he is just such a fun character. His crazy dialogue is certainly one of the highlights of the game. Some gore scenes and other scenes that would normally be horrifying turn into comedy scenes because of Gore. These Gore scenes are probably better than the gore scenes. His personality is insane and hard to put into words, but he’s just a really cool character.
Yatsuse Yoshiki: I guess I’ll mention him since he’s on the Getchu page. A mysterious (again) man who knows Yamiko and is hunting Gore and Yuka. He’s actually a pretty interesting character once you learn more about him, and he has some badass moments.
Jinno Kyouji: The protagonist. Unlike a lot of eroge protagonists he doesn’t do any joking around. He’s very straightforward. One thing that surprised me was how badass he is. What I liked was that he was badass enough to be impressive but not so badass as to be too unrealistic, since he is just a high school student after all. That’s a delicate balance to strike. He’s a man of action who doesn’t hesitate (unless you make the wrong choices that obviously lead to bad ends) which makes him very likeable as a protagonist. There were also some pretty good coming of age themes in the last two routes involving his character development, which I wish they would have worked into the first three routes as well. Overall a good protagonist who won’t annoy you.
Many of the songs are unremarkable but won’t annoy you, even if you have to spend a long time playing the game because your Japanese is really bad. There are a number of exceptions though, and these songs always play at the right times. For example the haunting piano track that accompanies many of the bad ends really adds to the melancholy of those scenes. The OP is really good once you get used to the vocals (the lyrics also fit the game quite nicely), and the ED that plays during the true end is great.
The character voices are very well done. The heroines all have fitting voice actresses who do a good job, and Yamiko’s and Yuka’s voices are particularly delicious. Gore’s VA is another noteworthy one, as he excellently executed the insanity of the character, amplifying it.
The art is nice. This is the first Black Cyc game I’ve played and I like the artist’s style. Character designs are simple but not generic or forgettable. I noticed the backgrounds are particularly well drawn, with nice attention to detail. There was an adequate number of CGs. The only time I felt there weren’t enough was during ero scenes. Luckily there were plenty of variations of the ero CGs, but more base CGs would have been nice. The game had some minor visual effects that contributed to the experience but weren’t particularly noticeable.
The ero in this game is simply superb. Even though it’s a plot-orientated eroge (or at least I would classify it as one) there are numerous ero scenes. You won’t actually start seeing them until well into the game though. The scenes cover a wide range of fetishes: gangrape, NTR, tentacles, pissing, enemas, guro, etc., but there are also some vanilla scenes. The ero was so good that it even had me fapping to fetishes I didn’t think I had. The good art and voice acting really add to the ero scenes. My only complaint about the ero is that there was only a single Yamiko scene. Well, there’s also the lack of CGs that I already mentioned.
Pros: Romance that is actually better than most romance eroge; horror with an interesting overarching plot; an amazing true route; some memorable characters; excellent ero; good audio and visuals.
Cons: Many of the characters are stereotypes, though well executed ones, and the story could have gone a bit further, such as by integrating the overarching plot into the first three routes more. It also has some extreme content that might turn off some people, while on the other hand it doesn’t have enough of it to satisfy people who would play the game primarily for it.
I’d recommend Gore Screaming Show to white knights and people looking for dark romance, and would advise people who just want some action or violence to look elsewhere. If you want to play something mostly for horror GSS probably isn’t what you’re looking for either.