Company: Clock Up
Release date: 6-24-11
Would you torture a stranger for your own survival? What about your cute classmate, or your teacher, or your dearest friend? Could you rape and brutalize those familiar faces for your sole salvation?
For endless days in isolation, Keisuke and six others are forced to eat flavorless biscuits or starve, drink water from a single bucket, and relieve themselves without the mercy of privacy. They are monitored at all times, their lives no more than disposable game pieces. Irremoveable collars are attached to their throats, offering them the choice: systematically torture each other, or death. Keisuke is given the role of the “key”, and the girls are “key holes”, whom he must force himself upon within the assigned instructions. He has the choice between victims, but the levels of difficulty are completely unpredictable: each round may be rather tame, or it may risk the girls’ very lives.
What depths would these young men and women sink to, in order to return to their every day lives? Will they embrace madness, surrender to despair, or struggle for freedom?
Titles in the ero-guro subgenre are rarely, if ever, known their engaging characters and intricate plot. Instead, they are either lambasted or pursued for their focus on the macabre and grotesque, pandering solely to lovers of an incredibly brutal sort of erotica. And while aiming towards such a niche and obscure crowd within an already small pool of customers, they tend to focus on what sells best: total carnal gratification. Any story to speak of in addition to such events are merely an afterthought, for the majority of such eroge.
However, Euphoria is not average. Ardent fans of darker material are not supplied with a mere nukige of third-rate caliber, but are instead presented with a vast selection of twisted and cruel erotica, characters who must learn to cope within their unthinkable situation, and an intertwined mystery. Not a single person is as they seem, and nothing may be taken for granted as the plot progresses: budding affections are cut short, friendships ruined, alliances broken. It is a tale of obsession, ruin, and desperation―or redemption.
“…I’m sorry. It’s only to clear the game.”
A solemn young man, he tries his hardest to maintain a happy, average life in order to hide his deeply sadistic side. While externally stoic, he is filled with conflict towards his passion for abuse, which brings him inescapable shame as well as pleasure.
“I’m the only one who knows the real you. You’ll listen to what I want, won’t you?”
Another victim of the game, she is one of several players forced into obedience. However, her reaction is neither terror nor desperation, but amusement and delight. Nothing gives her more pleasure than the suffering of others, abusing the weak and breaking the powerful. Unfortunately for Keisuke, affection and torture are one and the same to her.
“Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t take on every burden on your own. Please, talk to me. I want to be by your side, always.”
Keisuke’s childhood friend, her sweet and demure nature makes her a fine example of feminine perfection. She is willing to endure hellish treatment and nightmarish torture to help Keisuke escape, remaining unwaveringly devoted to him, even if her feelings are unrequited.
“I am fine. Think of me however you want. Do whatever you like to my body.”
Emotionless and secretive, she is a mysterious girl who prefers solitude, her taciturn nature preventing others from befriending her. She reveals no sign of grief, nor happiness, nor weakness; not even her own life being threatened can disturb her. Suffering from poor health, she is often plagued by intense migraines, and claims to hear voices.
“Senpai…you definitely won’t choose Rika, right? Rika’s so small, and weak, and she can’t protect anyone…she’s no good.”
Impressionable, weak-willed, and child-like, Rika is a vulnerable young girl in constant need for reassurance and comfort. While normally bright and enthusiastic, her cheerful demeanor is easily spoiled, as she is often the target of teasing or mockery. Her overemotional nature, prone to tantrums and tears, gives her the most difficulty in adjusting to the cruel and twisted trials of the game.
“Everyone, get along…please?”
An English teacher, she prides herself on being a pillar of support for her students, willing to take on the burden of the game’s requirements in order to spare them further suffering. Kind and maternal, she has a sharp sense of intelligence and an infallible patience, always offering advice or protection to those who seek it.
“This kind of sick game is unforgivable! Stop saying nonsense and let us out! I won’t ever play this game! Never! Never! Absolutely never!”
The class representative of 2-B, she is naturally authoritative and prideful, a true perfectionist who refuses to tolerate failure. However, once introduced to the game’s rules, her aggression escalates into overwhelming suspicion and hysteria, and she volunteers to be disqualified first―unaware that the cost is her life.
The stifled, miserable surroundings of the white game room is appropriately devoid of bright colors or cheerful faces, instead grim and foreboding with a near-monochrome palette and dulled colors. Unfortunately, the characters are given little opportunity to change clothes, and are limited by a small number of poses, although the facial expressions do not lack such variety, portraying the worst of human emotions in all their ugliness: certain madness, disdain, contempt, revulsion. And while there is admittedly a lack of non-erotic event illustrations, each one is unflinchingly detailed in the inhumane treatment of the cast. The further addition of effects such as static and blurring make it a feast for the eyes, although one which may invoke cringing rather than awe.
White noise, the sounds of clicking machinery, an unnerving scratching: none of which are pleasant to the ear, combining together for an altogether harsh but effectively atmospheric sound, which heavily pervades throughout most of the soundtrack. The instruments used are all synthetic, often creating purposely artificial, mechanical sounds. It’s disturbing, distressing, and cacophonous: exactly what was intended.
Having garnered a rather infamous name for itself as an immoral, hardcore title, Euphoria delivers with an abundance of violent and humiliating sex to subject each of the heroines to, the more vicious scenes including drowning, electrocution, strangulation, and branding, along with a small amount of some rather unsavory vomit, urine, and scat scenes. Although, it is not the amount of suffering and anguish each girl goes through which makes these occurrences so memorable, but the horrifying extent of their mental and emotional deterioration in the process, and its hauntingly realistic portrayal.
There is also a number of consensual love-making events as well, which are, contrary to the genre, not a product of developing insanity, but are instead smoothly and justifiably interwoven into each heroine’s individual story.