Warning 18 + content
English Translation: Not Yet Available
Length: Only one route, but a huge amount of options and ways to approach the story, leading to very dramatically different playthroughs (An average playthrough usually takes about 20-30 hours)
Genre: Horror, Romance, Yuri (Has het as well, though that can be skipped Hatsune-style. The main relationship is pure Yuri.)
Gameplay: Very deep choice system. For example, you can choose to avert eating someone or even having sex with them. The game is actually pretty non-linear, so you can choose to do stuff in no certain order.
Developer: Alice Soft
Rating: 18 + (Full-on vivid detailed rape scenes, besides the “regular” eroge content. It’s also extremely violent. For example, one scene depicts Hatsune slaughtering a group of rapists and devouring them. Unlike those horrible rape simulator things, Atlatch-Nacha handles it’s darkness a hundred percent serious.
Background Released by Alicesoft in 1997, Atlatch-Nacha was part of a collection of other Alice games. Proving to be extremely popular, Alice released it standalone in 2000.
Technical: Basic menu system, no voice acting, and is written in an unique third-person perspective.
Trivia: Hatsune is considered iconic in Japan, which means that all other portrayals of the Lovecraftian spider deity are modeled after her.
Named after the Lovecraftian spider-god Atlach Nacha, Atlach-Nacha is a romance-horror visual novel created by Alicesoft, a famous H-game company. Considered by many to be one of the most important visual novels of all-time, it single-handedly pioneered the Yuri genre and pushed the boundaries of what storytelling could accomplish to a whole new level. It should be noted, while Atlach-Nacha is loved in Japan, it’s practically unknown in the West.
Taking cues from both Lovecraftian literature and traditional gothic horror, Atlatch-Nacha tells an extremely (I’m talking Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain mixed with Hellgirl and Spec Ops: The Line dark) dark and graphic tale of betrayal, love, the inner evil of mankind, and the nature of how power can corrupt the best of souls.
In Atlach-Nacha, there is zero, and I mean ZERO, good versus evil elements. The majority of the game consists of evil versus evil conflicts, with only a few characters barely qualifying as moral. The story involves a Jorogumo (a spider daemon from ancient Japan that can take the form of a beautiful young woman), named Hatsune Hirasaka, whose nest has been destroyed by her long-time rival Shirogane.
Hatsune decides she needs to hide from the world in order to restore her powers, since she was severely injured in a fight. She chooses a high school as her new nest and takes what she needs from there. Hatsune feeds by devouring the flesh of humans or consuming the sexual energy that intercourse brings.
The story begins during a stormy night, when Kanako Miyama, the secondary protagonist of the visual novel, is being gangraped at the back of the gymnasium by some male students. However, Hatsune decides to intervene, grisly slaughtering them in a display of gore-ish badassness before literally devouring them.
Initially, Hatsune only saved Kanako because she was planning to rape or eat her herself, but since she’s already satisfied by her previous meal, she decides to spare the young schoolgirl. Hatsune later seduces her, manipulates her. and turns her into her personal tool.
A good portion of the story shows Hatsune interacting with the staff and students of the school, with flashbacks from the past appearing every now and then, which help develop the story and the characters. Soon Hatsune begins to sense Silver, her rival, which leads to her making preparations for the imminent battle.
The entire storyline is depressing as hell, especially Hatsune’s horribly tragic backstory, as well as the endings that are either huge downers, or very bittersweet. Heck, The game is just one huge tragedy.
While the game is extremely dark for a Yuri product (or game in general), it’s nonetheless fantastically told and written. The game makes huge strides to make us sympathize with the characters, even the bad ones (besides Silver, who is just a monstrous jerk), and doesn’t go with the cliched “complete monster” stereotype that most visual novels go for.
Atlach-Nacha has a pretty large cast of characters, mostly Hatsune’s various victims, so I won’t go into detail about them.
While Kanako is a great character, she not that noteworthy. She’s there to make sure Hatsune doesn’t stray too far from her humanity, and can be seen as a guardian angel due to her morality. Her character is affected by the progress of the VN, and she can turn out radically different in multiple playthroughs. However, Hatsune and her relationship with Kanako carried the entire Visual novel for me.
Atlach-Nacha’s villain protagonist Hatsune Hirasaka is simultaneously one of the most evil, but also sympathetic characters in the whole game. She’s a century-old spider-daemon and extremely powerful, being able to take on a gang of strong men with zero effort. Described as being very polite, if a little strange by her classmates, underneath her exterior, Hatsune is extremely ruthless and cruel. She has no regard for human morality and ethics, viewing them as lesser beings and considering herself beyond human morality.
One way of dealing with a noisy upper-classmate is to kidnap his little sister (giving you the option to rape her BDSM style, while you have her captured), lure him out, and then messily devour him. Despite all of this, Hatsune is very sympathetic, due to a number of reasons. Without spoiling anything, Hatsune is very similar to Ai Emma from Hellgirl, as well as Gabriel Belmont (otherwise known as Dracula, the Dragon) from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, as a very tragic figure who became a villain due to horrible circumstances and factors that were beyond their control.
Hatsune may be a monster, but she’s only a monster because humans made her one. However, since you can pretty much control her actions, you can make her spare her prey and even help them with their problems. You can also try the more difficult stuff, like wooing your target with your good old-fashioned charm, instead of raping them, which is why I think Hatsune can be seen as far less cruel than the rest of her demon-kin. It should also be noted that, unlike other dark visual novel protagonists, Hatsune doesn’t do these things out of malice or sadism. She does it because she wants to survive.
However, her most redeeming factor by far, is her pure, genuine love for Kanako. While she originally views Kanako as a prey, she falls head over heels in love with her. And this isn’t a “twisted” love like Sengoku no Kuroyuri, Hatsune treats Kanako very well, and they’re honestly adorable together.
These humanizing aspects paint Hatsune as sympathetic, without justifying her evil actions. In fact, the ending is determined by how moral Hatsune has been through the game, as well as how redeemable the play thinks she is as a character and person. Hatsune is one of my, if not my absolute, favorite visual novel characters. Hatsune is a villain, but she’s a very well written, well grounded, and complex one that can be sympathized with very easily. Also, she’s a complete and utter badass.
Atlach-Nacha has tons of Yuri. The main relationship, as I talked about above, is utterly adorable, and I love it. Hatsune is very tender when it comes to her loved one, although there’s some BDSM scenes between them, too (It’s all mutual though). The rest of the Yuri content can be rape-ish at times.
While Hatsune doesn’t need to, you’re sometimes given the option of raping others, both males and female, though she prefers females for sex. If you’re a fan of BDSM, it’s quite prevalent here. There’s also some hetero actions, and if you want to, you can also form a harem….
Atlach-Nacha is very well-known for its kickass soundtrack, as it’s main theme, “Going On”, has been remixed countless times. Containing stirring instrumental pieces as well as lonely, melancholic piano numbers, it’s very diverse and sets the tone of the game. Unfortunately, the game is not voiced. The sound effects are pretty good though, especially the thunder and rain ones.
Atlach-Nacha is a pretty old game. It looks excellent for its age though, all hand-drawn in wonderful Alicesoft fashion. However, it still is an old game, and you can tell. Though to be honest, I prefer the hand-drawn style of Atlach-Nacha to the gimmicky CG of alot of recent Visual Novels.
One of the best Visual Novels of all time, Atlach-Nacha, proves that tasteful, grim, dark VNs can exist. With one of the greatest villain protagonists of all-time, a compelling, dark, tale of evil against evil, as well as true love; Atlach-Nacha proves to be a masterpiece. Though, it shows it’s age at times (If this was 1997 though, it would earn more than just 10/10).
To add icing on the cake, since I’m a big Lovecraft/Cthulu mythos fan, it remains very faithful to its namesake, portraying the themes of terror, horror, and madness very well. In other words, leagues better than Nyaruko: Crawling with Love *shudders*