Now you can tackle the climbing of giant monumental towers - that may or may not represent fears of the male psyche - while simultaneously crushing your friends.
Atlus' erotic horror title Catherine is a very weird game. Telling the story of a thirtysomething salaryman Vincent caught between his girlfriend Katherine and a mysterious and coquettish girl named Catherine - and bizarre and inexplicable deaths of local men - Catherine's gameplay seems to revolve around climbing block towers to escape being devoured. No, I don't get it either.
A demo is scheduled to hit PSN and Xbox Live in Japan later today, and Famitsu has detailed the game's, uh, details - as helpfully translated by Andriasang. In an unexpected twist, the game will have online multiplayer of the competitive ariety, which (unless I'm mistaken) is a first for one of Atlus' main story-driven titles.
The main menu screen of Catherine offers four choices: Golden Theater, Babel, Colosseum and Configuration. Of those, Configuration should be obvious. Golden Theater is the game's main story mode, which chronicles Vincent's struggle between Catherine and Katherine - a fate which is ultimately decided by the player's choices. Playing the game on Easy will apparently allow for a "Redo" function, which is something that I've always wished I could have in my life.
Babel mode is a stand-alone version of the game's action sections, which revolve around Vincent climbing towers made of blocks to try and escape his nightmare. Players unlock Babel stages by progression in the main story mode, and can compete for the best times on online leaderboards - and apparently take on these towers in a two-player mode.
I'm not clear how that two-player Babel differs from the Colosseum mode, which Andriasang describes as "a competitive mode where two players challenge the game's action stages simultaneously." Players need to balance speed in climbing with methods of hindering their opponent from doing the same. The first person to win two rounds wins the match - kind of like Street Fighter with more sexual symbolism. This mode is unlocked once you've beaten the main story.
Famitsu also detailed one of the more bizarre (and intriguing) concepts in Catherine, the Confession Room. When Vincent reaches the top of a stage, he's asked a multiple-choice question, and the player's response determines how he advances. Given the game's subject matter, presumably these are more relativistic questions about morality and sexuality rather than factual questions like "What is the capital of Zaire, Vincent?"
If players are connected online, they will be able to see how their Confession Room answers compare to the rest of the gaming populace - and can break it down by gender of the player, as well.
Catherine is a very strange game, and it seems like the more I read about it, the more confused I get. Hopefully we'll learn more concrete details with the impending demo. If not, it's out in Japan on February 17th, and out in the West ... sometime. Maybe. We don't know. Please?
For the record, the answer is "Kinshasa." Just in case it comes up.