When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death.—Thomas Hobbes, summing up the setting of the game
Critical Point is one of the older visual novels to be translated by Peach Princess, having been first released in 1998. Its primary claim to fame is the writing talents of Kenichi Matsuzaki (Mobile Suit Gundam, Super Dimension Fortress Macross) and as one of the few sci-fi visual novels to receive the licensed translation treatment.
The year is 2037. Thanks to overpopulation and a chain of sudden food and energy crises, humanity was plunged into World War III and, being the violent bastards that we are, the population of Earth is reduced to about 15% of what it was. The situation stabilized, eventually, but the war was never officially declared over and each of the four major power blocs has settled into a new Cold War, content to stare each other down. In addition to their sovereign holdings on Earth, the great powers have divvied up the Moon and each one maintains a base there to keep tabs on the others.
Over time, a series of technical problems began to accumulate in the systems of one of the Moon bases, D-02, controlled by the Free Alliance. Captain Leiji Osumi, our intrepid protagonist, is dispatched by the High Command to investigate the problems and take whatever action might be necessary to correct them. Unfortunately this is no routine inspection and Leiji is no mere technical advisor - the High Command has reason to suspect that sabotage is involved and Leiji is in fact a member of the shadowy intelligence division. Even more unfortunately, none of the briefings could prepare him for the situation he would encounter...
Hint: sex ensues.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted by Elise except when it's not. Bad. End. The trope was discussed very briefly during Ending No. 25. Elise claims that it's the nature of the EL series to want to control humans, though it doesn't get any farther than that.
- Anime Chinese Girl: The oh-so-cold Lai Wong.
- Berserk Button: For Leiji, any mention of androids triggers traumatic memories from his past. Normally he doesn't act on this but...
- Bondage Is Bad: Subverted. Lai Wong is a Jerkass who is into bondage, but that alone doesn't make it negative. But in one path it's played straight, as she restrains and drugs Leiji against his will for her own gratification.
- Fan Disservice: The murder scenes.
- Many of the H scenes turn into this, particularly the plot relevant ones that turn into murder scenes.
- Genre Savvy: Leiji is usually very bright for an H-Game POV Character, usually not letting his lust dominate his thought processes, being reasonably paranoid of danger most of the time, and generally keeps a level head in most ordinary circumstances.
- Genre Blindness: Unfortunately, one ending has him be unbelievably dense when he tells Elise androids are superior to humans.
- Handicapped Badass <=> Badass Transplant: The arm Leiji lost before the story was replaced with a cybernetic one, which becomes a Chekhov's Gun in some of the game paths and endings.
- H-Game POV Character: Leiji is a Type II A/B (he has aspects of both).
- Hot Scoop: Monica.
- Fundamentally Female Cast: Justified; the various militaries discovered long ago that women cope better with long term assignments away from Earth.
- Note that the main character says that it still rather stupid having only three guys in one base with a hundred women.
- Killed Off for Real: It is somewhat rare for all the main characters to still be alive at the end of any given route.
- Meaningful Name: Elise Triad, also known as EL-03.
- Mood Whiplash: The ending when it turns out that Lai Wong is behind everything. Turns out all the crap that was happening? It has just her sneaking in aphrodisiacs into the food to use. This results in a comedy ending in an otherwise very serious game.
- Multiple Endings: Oh boy, are there ever! There are 3 basic plot lines (ie: who's the badguy), which are selected based on certain key choices you make in-game. The game has a total of 25 endings, including the bad ones. Some endings give different motives to the villain, some have the player just never finding out. And some get the player killed off in gruesome, spectacular ways.
- Porn with Plot: In this case, the porn is actually worked into the plot in a very sensible matter. In fact, without spoiling anything, the disproportionate female to men ratio is actually a plot point (and it is discussed by the protagonist and a few other characters in a serious context), the intense desire for sex felt by many of the soldiers on the base is also a plot point (played for drama, not porn, though the motivation for why this is so differs depending on ending), and the actual core of the plot is not for the sake of porn at all. the actual plot involves trying to find out who is sabotaging the lunar base and why, then stopping them before they turn a period of detente into a war again in some of the endings.
- Pretext for War: This is one of the possible motivations of the saboteur.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Carla Benedict is not only good at her job, she generally lets even subordinates who have a clear dislike of her keep their job as long they don't cause her any trouble. She also cooperates wholeheartedly with Leiji in finding out what's going on.
- Ridiculously-Human Robots: There are a couple among the main cast.
- Depending on what route you're taking One of the cast has been replaced by a infiltrator robot. Have fun.
- Scaramanga Special: The drugs making everyone on the base crazy are smuggled onsite in their basic components, then mixed together later in the food.
- In one of Elise's endings we find out that the android Kaminsky was constructed in more or less the same way.
- Situational Sexuality: Discussed by several characters, even becomes a plot point.
- Suicide by Cop: Ending No. 25 is triggered when Elise realizes she's superior to humans and goes rogue, but her love for Leiji causes her to rebel against the AI's tendency to want to enslave humanity and so, to prevent herself from doing it, she orchestrates her own death.
- Torture Technician: The terrorist who cut Leiji up during the war. He knew as well as Leiji that there was no useful information to be gained and just tortured him for the fun of it.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: No matter what you do those two people in the Control Room always die.