This is one of the episodes I’ve been the most excited about. Dark Tales is an obscure game and finding solid information about it was difficult so I wound up watching much of the game through a commentary-free playthrough on YouTube. It was fun getting some first-hand information about a game almost entirely unspoken of in western gaming canon!
1/31 – Dark Tales: from the Lost Soul
Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.
Today’s game is the most obscure we’ve yet covered on this show and since it was only released in Japan, I’m not able to verify much personally. Today’s game is called Dark Tales: from the Lost Soul.
As mentioned, this game was only released in Japan on the Playstation in 1999 and not much seems to be known about its development. It was made by Sammy, although I’m not able to confirm much about this company. While some attribute the game to Sammy Studios, that company is now High Moon Games and is an American developer, not likely associated with this game. I was also able to find a Sammy Studios that became Sammy Corporation but they deal mostly in Pachinko machines and I could not find confirmation that they made this game either. Also, the game shares a name and theme with the Hong Kong series, Dark Tales but I was not able to find any information that these two things are related although the game was made at the same time as the second run of Dark Tales.
What is known is that Dark Tales: from the Lost Soul is a choose-your-own-adventure game with a horror theme. English speakers would likely relate it to the Goosebumps books or Tales from the Crypt. The game has three episodes to it. Episode 1, Cat and Mouse, tells the story of a detective hunting down a serial killer dressed like a clown. Episode 2, Ghost Writer is about a haunted word processor program that kills people. Finally, Episode 3, The Honeymoon is about a newlywed couple who are attacked by people in a strange town.
Each episode starts with a live-action FMV scene where a man in a surreal night-club tells a story to the guests. The episodes themselves put players in the first person as someone narrates. Players are only able to act during certain DECIDE segments which allows them to select a path or item. Sometimes, the game also goes into an arcade light-gun style and the player must shoot an enemy on the screen with a limited number of bullets.
I’m not able to find any reviews on the game and it’s hard to say how this may have done back in Japan when it was released. As it is fully voiced with no subtitles, a fan translation would be difficult, if not impossible, to complete without a significant undertaking. For westerners who speak Japanese however, full playthroughs of the game are available online.
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