Suspiria as a Hentai game.
Divi-Dead is a hentai horror adventure dealing with blackmagic in your typical Japanese high-school enviroment, obviously influenced by the horror masterpiece "Suspiria" by Dario Argento which has spawned many Japanese "homages" including other Hentai games like Bible Black (which is also available as a series of animé OVAs). Unlike Bible Black however, which used those elements merely as a backdrop for an all-out sex-fest, Divi-Dead falls more in line with Suspiria and is a haunting horror thriller which just so happens to have hentai situations in it.
Starring as Ranmaru, a highschool student who suffers from a strange disease that causes him to have hallucinatory seizures, you arrive at your uncle's prestigious private school as a transfer student. Obviously as this is a horror game there's more than meets the eye in the school, and eventually you'll discover a plot rife with strange deaths, ghosts and other supernatural elements behind which lies a black magic cult which may or may not be connected to the school.
The game's intrincate story is it's strongest point, progressing by unveiling layer after layer of the apparent sanity and calm which surrounds the school, and revealing the many true natures (often pretty disturbing) of the large cast of characters that is composed of fellow students and teachers. Since it's really all a big game of smoke and mirrors with the additional bonus of supernatural hauntings and dashes of insanity, the storyline is understandably complex and messes with your head considerably, and that's without adding the overcomplicated Japanese narrative which has turned such games like Silent Hill into a gigantic "..Uh??" as the poor gamer tries to gather the pieces of an inmense puzzle with missing information, plot holes, contradictory situations and general insanity.
I won't say Divi Dead's storyline is coherent or what one would traditionally consider as engaging, but there's no denying it's one interesting piece of work and certainly more memorable than the half-assed excuses most western games slap into their game as a "story", specially once you consider the many effective twists the game takes into horror territory, which includes downright disturbing character development, haunting hallucinations, and bitchingly gory "fangoria moments" for shock effect.
These gory elements take me to the care and attention placed in the game's artwork, which would have understandably dulled such shocking moments had they not been up to the task. Fortunately they do, and are in fact amongst the very best ones to grace a game of this type, with beautifully haunting painted backgrounds and striking character art that keeps the tone of the game coupled with magnificent voice acting and music.
The sexual situations while pretty explicit as one might expect, are kept pretty moderate as far as Hentai games go, and for once they are kept in the context of the story, which is always cause for celebration. As for extra features, the game thankfully comes with included CG galleries, music/sfx tests and bonus artwork when completing the game, which allows you to see the great artwork as much as you'd like together with the H-scenes and concept art should you want to. The interface is carefully developed and follows the game's theme, including an area map for easy navigation in the same way as "Nocturnal Illusion".
It's amongst the most horribly non-interactive Hentai games ever, with the entire game being just a glorified interactive novel with you simply going from area to area, talking and examining everything and everyone while the story just "happens" around you. A shame really, as this could have been a major release had the creative content been submitted to a more interactive game design.
Furthermore, the different endings and their contributions to the story are handled in the worst possible way, seeing as how the game has only 2 or 3 moments were you actually have to make a decision, the rest of the flags that need to be set for the endings to be revealed are triggered by merely being at the right place in the right moment. A pretty shitty an illogical way of handling things, which basically mean that there's no way you can find your way through all the endings without a walkthrough, as there's no logical way of knowing that being in the upper corridor and seeing a black cat pass by sets you on the track for an ending and being on the roof collecting leaves instead sets you up for another one.
The Bottom Line
One of the most promising and interesting Hentai games, essentially Suspiria with the additional insanity courtesy of Japanese narrative and a penchant for sexual situations. Unfortunately for as good as that sounds Divi-Dead is relegated to the same void as most products of it's kind due to sub-par interactivity (even by Hentai standards) and illogical game progression. Truly sad as it's one of the most interesting horror games to come from Japan.
Worth it for the experience, mostly if you are a fan of non-interactive "games" like these and you don't care much about gameplay