Let me start out by stating that “Catherine” isn’t for everyone. It is a very challenging puzzle game that will make you want to chuck that oh so very expensive controller of yours at times. Apart from that, the story line is great and much different from anything I’ve seen before and the anime-type graphics look beautiful. Would I expect anything else from Atlus, the creators of the wonderful “Persona” series? No, I would not. I would have expected them to do a better job with keeping the volume at a consistent level though. The movie cut-scenes are drastically louder than the regular game play cut-scenes.
Our main character is a 32 year old male named Vincent Brooks. He’s having commitment issues with his long time girlfriend, Katherine McBride (32yrs). Vincent and Katherine were reintroduced at a High School reunion 5 years ago. She’s unleashed some very serious information on him recently. To make matters worse, another lady has, shall we say, forced, herself into his life. Catherine is 22 years old, free-spirited, beautiful and doesn’t believe in marriage. Being a coward, he neglects to tell either lovely woman about the other, even though there have been many openings for him to explain to Catherine about his girlfriend.
Vincent’s been having very odd nightmares, and he isn’t the only one. In these nightmares he is transported to a strange place where he had a pair of horns and is surrounded but upright walking sheep. Yes, sheep. All these sheep have two choices in this “nightmare”. Climb or die.
Every night, Vincent visits his nightmare world and he must race against the constantly falling blocks to get to the door at the top. During these nightmares you will have a few different levels. In between each you can take a moment to talk with your fellow sheep and save. Once you’re through with all of that, head into the confessional for your confession. At the end of your night in this world of sheep and blocks will be a boss fight. Good luck. I recommend using a few different save slots incase you get frustrated and need to put it down. You won’t be very happy about having to start out with a boss.
Dying is very easy. Death will come from your own hands quite a bit until you get the techniques down. The controls are touchy, often doing the opposite of what you meant to do. Instead of climbing up, Vincent scales the block sideways. Adding to the difficulty of staying alive is the inclusion of blocks with different kinds of traps. A couple examples would be the ice and black hole blocks. Be very weary of them, they might just end your life.
During “awake” time, you’ll see cut-scenes and inevitably end up at the bar, ironically named Stray Sheep, with Vincent’s friends. While at the Stray Sheep you’ll be able to receive text messages that you’re able to reply to saying whatever you want, as long as its one of the choices. You can also get inebriated on four of the drinks the little establishment offers, getting an interesting tidbit at the bottom of your glass. You only get one tidbit per drink, per night. I suggest having one of everything each night. It’ll help you get achievements or trophies, plus it makes you quicker while you’re in the nightmare. Be sure to talk to everyone while you’re here. You’ll hear the bell on the door ding when someone has either left or entered. There is also an arcade game that you can play. Have fun and use your cell phone to save before you leave.
There are multiple endings in this game, which all depend on the choices you make. You will see a meter on the bottom right of your screen from time to time after you reply during a conversation, through a text message or during your “confession”. There is no right or wrong answer for any of the questions; you will find this out later. But which side of the meter you are on will determine how Vincent handles certain things during scenes with the women. Have fun and just say whatever you want to say. You never know what kind of ending you’ll get.
The game is pretty short, but that makes replaying it that much more appealing, in my opinion. I finished it up with about 15 hours of play time. There are two additional game modes. One is Babel, special challenges to test your climbing abilities. Babel can be played alone or as a 2 player co-op. There is a leaderboard for it as well. Certain conditions need to be met to unlock this bad boy. The Colosseum is your other choice. In this one you and another player will be racing each other to the top of the tower. You win by being the first to 2 points. You lose the matches be either losing all of your lives or not being faster than your opponent to get to the top. Colosseum mode becomes unlocked from beating the game (Golden Theater) on any difficulty level.
A must play for Atlus fans. I recommend that you give this game a fair chance to win you over, at least once.