Monster Girl Quest Chapter 1 is the first game in the Monster Girl Quest (also known as Monmusu Quest) series. The most recent game is/will be the third Chapter, supposedly due in February of 2013.
Not only is Monster Girl Quest a game that the developers release for free, but ti is one of the strangest and quite possibly the best adult games I can think of.
The plot starts with the generic hero Luka, who has a dream about an angel (Ilias) telling him to go slay the monster lord. He sets out, narrowly defeats a monster in his village, gets lost in the forest and encounters a lamia named Alice. And thus, a grand adventure is born.
If only it was that simple. I really don’t want to give any more details, since it would be very spoiler heavy. However, what actually begins is a very deep tale of adventure, morality, double crossing, and ethics of actions. Spoiler: It even goes as far as to question the morality of genocide in the name of good (the character advocating genocide of all monsters is the stereotypically good angel), and if such a thing is ethical or still genocide? Does that make the good side evil for committing an evil act? Along with other hard ethical and moral questions. End Spoiler. The game constantly brings forward other details of past heroes and actions and uses that to question the morality and ethics of your actions and the actions of all the other characters.
Chapter 1 is the introduction game of the series, and as such, most of the stuff gets introduced here, although Chapter 2 does a splendid job of building on Chapter 1.
The depth of the story and the questions it brings forth really excited me, since it was, to be frank, masterfully done. Naturally however, the game has its defects too.
The gameplay is really repetitive. Each opponent only has a few attacks, and battles are basically spent trying to figure out what attack to sue when. The problem is, it is so formulaic that the walk-through can tell you what attack to use when, and your battles will rarely stray from the walk-through. In other words, you could still probably beat the fights by reading the walk-through and not paying attention to what is happening.
Because of the sexual nature, most monsters will sue sexual attacks, which for the most part aren’t shown in the image, just as text listing of what you are being attacked by. For those with a monster girl fetish, you only actually have sex with the monsters if you lose the fight. Lose enough fights, and the game starts to point out that you are probably doing so intentionally.
The game has a nice degree of self-awareness. It seems to know when you are losing intentionally, among other things. NPC characters also notice things about you that they wouldn’t in other games. When you get the better sword from Alice (made of a bunch of Angles in an absolutely evil shape, no less) you can go to a weapon shop in a town and the people there will display fear at the sight of the sword. I can’t think of another game where the NPCs actually react to the appearance of the gear you are carrying.
The number of fights is also a bit much. It seems like they wanted to get every type of monster girl they could think of, and between the three games, they did so. Some of then are pure nightmare fuel from appearance, while others are nightmare fuel from actions or speech, and others are fairly normal.
Morally, the game sits in a very gray vs. gray area. Almost every classically evil character has some redeeming values, and the good characters frequently have negative attributes.
The game even has a bit of comedy to it. Luka and Alice adventure together, with Alice serving as a sort of cynical adviser to Luka, as well as the voice of realism. Not only that, but she seems to have a bit of awareness as to reality and fantasy. When Luka says things that are very typical of generic hero wishes, Alice serves to display the irony and failures of the statements. Instead of just being generic snark, Alice actually helps to highlight the failings of a typical hero and helps to build up a better picture of what a hero is.
Combined with certain in game events and the things Alice says, the overwhelmign idea seem to be that while anyone can call themselves a hero, that doesn’t make them a hero. A hero is someone who does heroic deeds.
Luka isn’t a baptized hero, but he stood up for people in danger in a way baptized heroes didn’t, and as such, other people consider him a hero in preference to the baptized heroes.
Honestly, my biggest complaint is that the story would work just as well in a book or movie format. That would cut out a lot of the fights that seem to just be filler to pad out the length of the game. On the other hand, the excess number of fights also does lend an air of just how hard your task and your adventure really is, and other events and fights encountered really do help to add to the depth and complexity of the story.
Score: 4/5 good
Pros: the story is beyond amazingly good.
Cons: fights are formulaic and there are quite a lot of them.