Choas Head Noah is the first entry in the Science Adventure series and it is a Japan only exclusive. It was developed by Nitroplus and Mages Inc. The game is an enhanced port of the original Chaos Head on the PSP as the series was originally released for the pc. It was also ported to the Vita, PS3 and Xbox 360 at the time Chaos Head Noah was released. Chaos Head Noah is considered to be the first official canon story. The game is styled like the older visual novels of the PS1 and Saturn like Thousand Arms. The game sets the series tone of using realistic scenarios and establishes the otaku oriented nature. Chaos Head Noah introduced formal name endings that you will see in every science adventure game up to now.
The story focuses on Takumi Nishijo, a high school student and otaku who lives alone in a crate on top of an apartment. A series of murders are going in Shibuya called the generation madness killings and he is discussing this online with his friend Grim when someone named Shogun sends him images that depicts someone being killed on a wall with stakes. Because the case doesn’t affect him, Takumi initially dismisses it. While he was going out a few days later, he sees the the pink haired girl in the picture who committed the murder and he flees. He sees her later at school and he is convinced that he is a target. He experiences some anxiety and thinks that he is becoming paranoid. Even while playing video games online, he will make comparisons to video games. He feels that someone could be watching him and making a move to attack him and that someone could be controlling him as well too.
Takumi lives in a world of his own especially when you consider his otaku nature. In game reality is subjective to you and Takumi as he can make his world whatever he likes, positive or negative. Truth is whatever you choose to believe such is the nature of delusions. Takumi has difficulty recognizing reality from imaginary. Like all anime otakus, he has a deep love of also video games and online he’s a notable mmo player in a game called Empire Sweeper.
As expected with any science adventure game Chaos Head Noah has a very solid background art design and character drawings. The visual and graphical quality of the updated version as well looks very sharp. The CGI imagery did not mesh seamlessly with the hand drawn art work. It also has not aged well, especially when Final Fantasy Crisis Core or The 3rd Birthday’s CGI graphics even today, still looks quite impressive.
The gameplay is pretty linear and at this point you can’t expect much interactivity when it comes to playing the science adventure games. The musical score perfectly fits the game’s dark atmosphere. You can select what kind of delusion you would like Takumi to experience, green means positive and red means negative.
One section had you filling in a checkbox of medical symptoms you have, and one part was a yes or no. This is the only science adventure game where your choices can lead to your death. The otaku humor and fanservice is there when you see the positive delusions and the black comedy and Takumi being either aggressor or the victim. Delusional triggers affect the route of the story’s progress and how it influences the relationships of your characters.
The dialogue is mostly in Japanese with some English so you do need to understand the language. But thankfully though the menu is in basic English as well. The voice acting is Japanese. The game contains several references to various internet slang, made up pop culture references and scientific concepts that most people probably wouldn’t get.
The control system has been updated to be more accessible. The main complaint I have is also one I have had with the other science adventure games I have covered. The gameplay is not really interactive besides choosing which delusion you would like to go experience. The multiple-choice questions could have been developed to provide more gameplay choices.
The story is a bit confusing to follow at times because plot points appear haphazardly. In comparison to the much more intimate story telling of the future games, it jumped back and forth from character to character and certain scenes dragged on a bit too long. Sometimes plot points took too long to develop and dragged on while others were thrown out too quickly. Some characters were superfluous to the story and could have been edited out without any issues. The game’s conclusion was a downer and left more questions than answers.
It gets 5 out of 5 stars.
This is the game that paved the way for the science adventure series becoming the visual novel.