When I was a young lad of just 30 years old, I was so looking forward to the game Catherine that I had even - gasp - preordered it. Something I rarely did at the time. But man, I really wanted that bonus soundtrack. There was something so totally interesting about the game. It was kinda sorta maybe a spin-off the Persona series (which was definitely a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series). And yet, instead of demons and darkness, the marketing was full of cheesecake.
Certainly sex sells, but this game isn't exactly sexy. It's more or less something that takes cues from Eraserhead, in that it's more so a game about fear of commitment. Except that fear is displayed as pure morbid nightmare. Literal nightmares. Ones that can kill you.
What's maybe most jarring is the juxtaposition of the two play styles. During the day, you play as our "hero" Vincent, and the game is basically a kind of dating sim visual novel. You watch the anime story unfold as Vincent cheats on his longtime girlfriend, Katherine with a girl he just met named Catherine. You make decisions in dialogue trees, and send and receive text messages. Okay.
But THEN Vincent falls asleep and the nightmares happen in which you must ascend gigantic towers of crumbling blocks, pushing them around to make it to the top. Boss battles add in horrible dismembered body parts and buckets of blood. The two halves of this game couldn't be more different. And yet, it totally works.
Catherine (the game) was re-released on Switch in 2020, and I felt like yeah, I should go back and replay this thing. And I'm glad I am. Everything is as awesome as I remember. The presentation, in which a TV host in a bar tells the story of the game as if it were a Twilight Zone sort of show, is so cool. The music is fantastic. The story is funny and keeps you interested.
This new "Full Body" edition is also like a director's cut, which adds in a new character (who I haven't met yet) and a whole bunch of extras. I'm having a really good time revisiting this one.
Moving along, I really think this re-release is worth owning. Even if you've played through this game before, the additions feel really welcome in making this a more substantial game. Like, the flashback to Vincent and Katherine meeting in school shines some light on them as a young couple. I don't recall this being in the original game.
The new third character is Rin, which is apparently short for... Qatherine. Seriously. So far her bits have been kind of minimal. She plays piano. She has a bunch of junk in her apartment. She has amnesia. I don't know.
Within the story - when you actually have control of your choices, I try to always do the 'right' thing. I want Vincent to be a good guy, even when the game kind of forces him to not be.
But the real GAME part of the game - IE, the puzzle sections - still rule hard. I love the nightmare levels. They're so fun and get continually more challenging. Solid stuff.