To crash...

is nightmare of humankind. Some of the most graphic technology related disasters in the course of history have resulted due to flight gone awry. There is a terrifying symbolic resonance when this happens, some reoccurring nightmarish collective subconscious, some squirming and choking, begging us to keep our bodies firmly in contact with earth. Against our better judgment, we have used inventions to propel us into the sky, ranging from methods as crude as being blown out of a cannon to intricate combustible engine driven winged vehicles.

Nanaca Crash introduces a new way to fly, falling right about in the middle of the extremes of crudeness and complexity in flight— it involves a seifuku-clad, bike-riding agent of vengeance as the ignition and then the complex sexual tension of high school relationships as the fuel.

This is not a metaphor at all.

It a new video game on the interweb. In fact, it is THE new video game on the interweb, it's so hot, that it's hotter than a hot hotcake fresh off a hot skillet.

If you've played it, maybe you've noticed a faint, disturbing undertone to it. You can tell something is not quite right— it’s when the game loads, isn’t it? It’s that anime style picture of Nanaca, riding her bike. You can tell, somehow, that it's dirty, that it's perverted. Is it that her kawaii smile seems a bit too inviting? Are those schoolgirl clothes maybe a tad bit too tight? Doesn’t it seem intentional that the picture cuts off right before that unbearable, upper limit of her thigh? Could Nanaca Crash have some kind of subtle, subtle schoolgirl fetish? Yeah, probably. Somehow, you know this, even though there is nothing explicit in the game itself.

Here is why. Nanaca Crash is the genius bastard child of the two most unlikely game genres ever to cross breed: the novelty web game and the H-game. To be more specific, the game play shares many basic similarities with “penguin launching” web games that were supposedly popular a few years back, but it takes its cultural, narrative basis from Cross Channel, a Japanese adult PC game. I wish I could tell you more, and explain exactly what kind of game Cross Channel is, but I haven’t had the pleasure of ever engaging in the H-game genre, nevertheless this particular installment. For more information, I would recommend doing some research on the website Something Awful, in the hentai game reviews section.

But for now, I wash my hands of this matter. Onward, to the game itself, which is entirely about 96% squeaky clean.

The Basics of the Game-Itself

are as follows. From the main menu, hit “Play.”

The screen shows our teenage heartthrob, Taiichi (太一), standing complacently at what appears to be a high school running track with an ubiquitous giant red arrow that says TARGET above his head, (not unlike that iconic little thunder cloud follows unlucky cartoon characters around.)

This is where you, the player, come in. You click your mouse, select the desired angle and power, and then send Taiichi into the skies of love.

Ah, well, yes. It’s not really you giving Taiichi the boot. Your mouse clicking decisions were but mere orders, diligently followed by our titular character, Nanaca (七香), who rams a bike into Taiichi at the appropriate speed and angle. So, while you as the player have more an implied presence, Nanaca is the star of the show. She’s our avatar in the way the little tiny mounds in Missile Base that the missiles come out of are your avatars. And Taiichi is your focal point, because the object of the game is to get his spinning ass to fly as far as possible.

To the casual player, the game ends here, dumb luck taking over, in a very Progress-Questian kind of way. Aim 45 degrees. Get lots of power. Hit and match that 300 meter mark that eight jigabillion other players already have.

But to those with an extraordinary amount of time on their hands— this is far from the end... In fact, it’s the beginning, which is far from the end.

Dramatis Personae

Our lovely cast of high schoolers! For the most part, they seem to be angsty teenage girls that would love nothing more than to scissor-kick, uppercut, karate chop and katana-slice our flying target, Taiichi. And who can blame them? What better way than to deal with the alienation and pressures of adolescent modernity than to propel your attractive and popular peers at extreme velocities into the air with stylized martial artistry!

As far as game play is concern, whenever Taiichi flies into one of these people, they will respond in various ways, usually with the aforementioned beatings. From what I’ve gathered on the interweb, they are often identified by their colors, as the names are not translated to English in the instructions. However, for your enjoyment and pleasure, here they are, complete with the Kanji and everything.

  • 霧 Kiri (Blue)– She has short blue hair and a short blue dress. If Taiichi touches her, she kicks him at 45 degrees and her dress flies up. Her special move is a kick, uppercut, kick combo with Miki. Choice quote: “Shyaaaa!”
  • 美希 Miki (Yellow)- She has long blonde hair, a goofy smile, and a mean right uppercut. Compared to Kiri, Taiichi gets boosted harder, but at a higher angle. Her special move is a combo is a hip check, roundhouse, uppercut with Kiri. Choice quote: “Ehii-ryarya!”
  • 冬子 Touko (Red)- An aloof, serene girl with long red hair and a long red dress. She hits Taiichi pretty hard and at a very low angle, which makes for rapid boosts at the cost of possibly losing control. Her special move has her transforming into some kind of swordswoman that wears this much clothes: not very much at all. Then, she slices up Taiichi for bonus mileage. Choice quote (Not sure about this one, there’s lots of noises going on during her special): “Kiru… Haku, horudewa.”
  • 曜子 Youko (Light Blue)- An even more aloof loner, a wildcard. She has a tranquil frown, long dark hair, and a light blue dress. Quite mysterious. When Taiichi touches her, she runs away, only to block the effect from the next female he touches. What feelings lie in her impenetrable heart?!?! Choice quote: “Nanto soushite…”
  • 見里 Misato (Green)- She makes a slightly orgasmic noise when you touch her, and the game is over. She catches Taiichi, absolving him of all altitude and velocity… the ultimate evil that plagues the universe. Avoid her like we avoided those duck-looking things in Atari 2600’s Adventure, for she is the portent of game over-ness. UNLESS you get her special, in which case the three bitter boosting crones (blue, yellow, red) will come and save her from a dead end high school romance by performing a four hit combo on him— which is, by the way, the most powerful regular special in the game. Choice quote: “Senpai wa douzo?”
  • 桜庭Sakuraba (Yellow Dude)- This guy is a bastard. He almost always changes your angle upward at unbearably slow pace. On the off chance Taiichi touches him while he’s already going at a slow pace / high angle, he’ll send you at a fast pace / low angle, but this is incredibly rare in my experience. He also drops his lunch tray when Taiichi touches him, but he’s still a bastard though. Choice quote: “G’dah!”
  • 友貴Tomoki (Gray Dude)- This guy is even more of a bastard than the last. He slows Taiichi down if he’s touched. Then he falls over, and that’s that. Choice quote: “Dabouuuw!”

    SPECIAL HIDDEN ATTACK THINGIE! Nanaca VS Youko! The C.F.F. Bonus

    is by far the most mysterious special attack in the game. The most mysterious Youko has about a 10% chance to activate this attack instead of blocking the effect of the next female Taiichi runs into. When this happens, Nanaca comes out to have a stand off against Youko. What this all means, I’m not sure. My guess is that Youko wants to help Taiichi slow down, but Nanaca being the representation of good-natured, ass-kicking, teenage revenge, gets all up in her face and is like, “No.”

    With this, Nanaca bestows upon Taiichi a whimsical magick, with one of four super bonuses. I have yet to get all four, since this hidden special is by far the rarest occurrence in the game. I do know that one effect flies Taiichi a free 1000m, one doubles the effects of the boosting girls, and one makes bounces off the ground add velocity instead of take it away. These are very powerful enchantments, as they also block Misato from ending the game if you touch her.

    Going for High Scores

    There IS an element of skill in this game!

    After T-Minus 3, 2, 1 and launching Taiichi, there are only two ways to intervene in his flight.

    1. At the beginning of the game, you are given three “lives” in a sense. Each life is a boost shot upward, which can be used to a) strategically avoid Misato (thus keeping her from stopping Taiichi and prolonging his flight) or b) boost 3 consecutive times, each of which gives a cumulative boost to speed and altitude. This method is a kind of “cash in” that lets you go for a big high score.

    2. The only other intervention you can have is a recharge downward shot. You have infinite charges of this, but to use it, Taiichi must spend a set amount of time between 3-10m high. The idea is to charge this downward thrust, and then use it strategically to push Taiichi down onto the girls that will boost him. This is where the element of skill in this game comes in; it becomes a fine art of motor skills and neural processing to calculate Taiichi’s angles and velocities.

    As of this write up, the alleged world high score is 96,649.11m, and my personal best is 12099.42m. Many people have achieved world low scores of 0.00m.

    To Play

    Here is the official website, which is run by the game’s creator— someone with the moniker of “Helgoland.” http://www.geocities.jp/lledoece/nanaca-crash.html

    Here is an unofficial mirror which has graciously translated almost everything in the instructions to English. http://megami.starcreator.com/nanaca-crash/

    There are also lots of mirrors, easily found via Google. It’s downloadable as an .swf file, and records your high scores. Impress your friends, embarrass your enemies with your mastery over Taiichi's flight.

    Oh yeah, the music!

    It’s freakin’ great, children. Nobuo Uematsu had better watch his back.

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