...Iru! is a first person survival horror game in the vein of Clock Tower and Echo Night in which you play as a young boy, trapped in a school with your schoolmates at night. As your friends are getting killed one by one, your goal is to escape this nightmare alive and to find out the truth behind those deaths.
In ...Iru! you must hide from monsters in chase sequences to avoid getting killed. To progress in the game, you will need to talk to other people who are trapped in the school, as well as solve puzzles with the various quest items you can find scattered around the school.
- ・・・いる！ - Japanese spelling
Credits (PlayStation version)
59 People (33 developers, 26 thanks) · View all
|Senior Executive Producer|
|Main Graphics Designer|
|Character Graphics Designer|
|Background Graphics Designer|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 1 reviews)
"...Iru!" is one of those 'gotta play it to believe it' Japanese games that never had a prayer of an international release. The Japanese know 'creepy' and 'crazy' and dial both of them up to...well, not quite to 11 since the game has a few flaws, but a solid 7 or 8 seems about right. The game's best aspect is its setting. Let's face it, schools after dark get downright creepy when there's no one else around. While there are other games which use this setting to better effect, "...Iru!" does its best to harness that sense of trepidation where the familiar becomes unexplored territory once the lights go out. And are you sure those are your own footsteps you hear echoing on the staircase...?
The story it tells could be turned into a perfectly effective J-horror flick if anyone was so inclined. You've got your high school setting, of course. You've got students with an excuse to be there after dark, setting up for a festival taking place the next day. You've got a couple of faculty members there to supervise. Then you throw in a missing girl, strange premonitions had by the main character, and some other-worldly beasties summoned via dark occult rituals. Voila: horror trope heaven. Play "...Iru!" for the story, if nothing else.
The other stand-out feature, which "...Iru!" makes nowhere near enough usage of, is a 'being hunted' mechanic. Several times during the game, the protagonist will be pursued by some nightmarish nasty. A little meter shows how far away from you the monster is, and the only way to escape is to find a suitable hiding spot. These pursuit points are pulse-pounding and exciting, with your character frantically racing to find somewhere to hide, then peering out to try and track the location of the killer as it stomps around the room looking for you. "Clock Tower" built an entire series around this sort of mechanic, but "...Iru!", either to avoid plagiarism charges or to hurry the story along, only makes use of it four or five times across a complete playthrough.
Unfortunately while the setting is perfect and the sound is decent, the graphics are what you'd expect from a first-generation PS1 release. The only problem is "...Iru!" came out one year after "Final Fantasy VII". The poor modeling of the characters and less-than-stellar animations are sins one must be willing to forgive if one is to truly enjoy this game. In addition, the game is linear nearly to a fault. "...Iru!" has the standard good and bad endings for the adventure genre, but everything else about it is brutally straightforward: even if you as a player know what you need to do, your character still has to hit hotspots A, B, and C before you can advance the story.
What's more, with "...Iru!" being set in a good-sized school, there's often little to guide the player along, even if you're competent enough with Japanese to play it since there's no English translation currently available. The school has multiple floors, each floor has a plethora of classrooms, offices, bathrooms, storage areas, and hallways that can be explored, and more open up as the game progresses. Moving the storyline forward is often done just by being in the right place at the right time, but it quickly degenerates into a "run around and talk to everyone several times until I find the person who lets the plot advance a couple of steps."
The puzzles are also very basic in the adventure sense of "put an object in your inventory until you find the other object you can use it on, and then do so." Again, this is over a year after the release of "Resident Evil", but Takara does nothing to push the genre forward in this regard.
The Bottom Line
"...Iru!" is a cross between a point-and-click adventure and a first-person action title. It's a fun way to kill a few hours, and it makes great use of its set design and mean-spirited plot which sees most of the protagonist's friends reduced to student-flavored demon chow by the end of the game. With completely Japanese text, knowledge of the language is essential to get any enjoyment out of the game. You can brute force your way through it and reach the end if you can't read the text, but you'll get no reward for having done so beyond being able to say, "I beat that." Yeah, you might have finished it, but you'll be completely in the dark about what happened, so give this one a pass unless you're looking for an excuse to give your kanji dictionary a good workout or have a native-speaking friend who is nice enough to translate for you while playing.
PlayStation · by ModernZorker (112) · 2017
- MobyGames ID: 44733
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Game added by Dae.
Game added January 24th, 2010. Last modified May 23rd, 2023.