Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer brings us back to the early 90s of adult gaming, with this remake of a classic dating simulation game. Some credit the original Dōkyūsei by Elf as establishing the concept of pursuing a single heroine in dating sims and visual novels, so it’s interesting to experience a piece of the history of the genre.
The story of Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer is simple – it’s actually more of a premise. You play as a nameable protagonist, currently on summer break. After spending the first half of your time off working and saving up money, it’s time to have some fun!
Our protagonist is not interested in studying or sports. It’s quickly established that from the first day of class, he’s only been interested in chasing women. And this is how we spend our summer.
The story starts with a friend calling you and asking to go shopping for his girlfriend, but you can choose what to do from there. Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer lets you schedule your own time and go where you want, which lets you make your own story to an extent.
A (Mostly) Good-Hearted Pervert
Like most titles in the era of the original, the protagonist is quite sex-focused. That said, he’s typically not a bad guy at heart. Throughout events, he’s stepped in to help people occasionally, held back out of concern for women’s feelings, and sometimes been a good friend.
He can also be quite the scumbag – or rather you can make him be, depending on your choices. It’s possible that he promises one heroine to marry her and never cheat as they have sex, then he sleeps with his classmate and then the lonely housewife in his neighborhood. This can then be topped off by going to a hostess club for a blow job. There are also times when he’ll crawl under the table for a peek of panties or focus his view on the chest too often.
Throughout the game, themes around heartbreak and relationship problems come up fairly often. Not all of the heroines are initially single and some do have a dark past or present. Many of the characters are friends or have other encounters with each other too, which links into how you unlock their events. Get things wrong and you may even find them going into relationships with other men.
Whatever may happen with the other women during a playthrough, you can choose one at the end. As long as you’ve cleared the conditions, this then skips to an epilogue showing graduation and then shows you what happens in the years after.
There are fourteen ladies to win the hearts of in Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer. Between these, you have quite a variety of choices.
Five of these are students, about the age of the protagonist. These still vary quite a bit, with a high-born sheltered girl, an athletic runner, a sweet and innocent type, and more. The other nine are all older, with a teacher, a doctor, a pharmacist, and other types.
Most of these have their own challenges to overcome, though the stories are all fairly short. Quite often they are entwined too. For example, to get Yoshiko’s ending, you need to raise Ako’s affection, but to unlock Ako’s later events, you need to get closer to Satomi and Mako. Some are more straightforward though, requiring only their own events or two characters.
In terms of the story, this makes sense. Yoshiko works with Mako. Mako is Ako’s sister. Satomi is Yoshiko’s student. These types of connections are common with the various ladies and having their story events and relationships intertwined both add depth to their characters and make it easy to pivot between different heroines.
While I certainly had my favorites, I liked all of the heroines in Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer. There is sometimes suspension of disbelief required admittedly – this is originally an early 90s adult game, so making it believable that a strict teacher would fall for you isn’t the priority. But it establishes them all with unique personalities and attractive points.
The basic gameplay loop is going to event markers for girls and chatting with them. During this, you sometimes need to choose the correct dialogue choice. These raise the affection points, which lets you choose from any whose gauge you’ve filled at the end of your summer vacation. That said, it’s not always so simple. As mentioned, events are sometimes intertwined and certain events from some heroines may need to be cleared to unlock later events from others. It’s even possible to completely miss the opportunity to meet some.
Beyond talking to characters, there’s also point-and-click gameplay that lets you investigate characters and sometimes nearby areas. And yes, this does mean you can click on their chest and comment on it. Occasionally it’s more useful, such as hitting someone who deserves it.
Easy Mode VS Classic
Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer comes with two modes – Easy Mode which is the default and Classic Mode. While I appreciate the inclusion of classic mode, I certainly prefer Easy Mode.
The way you go to event markers in either mode is by navigating a map. This is a little awkward with a mouse, but better on a keyboard. In classic mode, you have practically no indication where the heroines may be at first. You have to learn their schedules and explore the map. Trying to enter a place takes up time, so just randomly entering areas to check won’t work out well. In Easy Mode, it gives an indicator on the map as to where the heroine is. What’s even easier is that you can just click a button and skip ahead to their next event if you’ve met the requirements.
Easy Mode does have a weakness though – aside from the lack of challenge. Outside of events, there are a lot of small moments of dialogue. You can even find little hidden caches of money (though I never ran out on Easy) and extra CGs. Skip between events and you can miss out, though seeing the character indicators on the map will help you in terms of the extra dialogue. So it’s a mixed blessing here, that’s dependent on how the players play.
Other Easy Mode additions include showing you what the event unlock requirements are and which choices are good or bad. The first is particularly helpful to avoid stumbling around. I’d be extremely confused for Hiromi for one – we don’t even see her in her first event.
Unless you really enjoy exploring, I certainly recommend Easy Mode. It improves the game a ton – though I do wish it could be fine-tuned. Turning off the choice indicators for example.
Purchasing Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer via Johren will give you access to the uncensored version. If buying on Steam, there’s a patch to enable it.
The adult scenes primarily consist of sex or nude scenes, which mostly take place during a character’s final event. These are interactive scenes at first, where you need to click on different body parts. Eventually, it takes you into a more visual novel type of scene. These are all fairly short scenes. Interestingly for this type of game, not all characters have actual sex in their scenes.
In terms of sexual content, it’s fairly vanilla. Though there are occasional themes such as sexual assault, stalking, and controlling partners that may make some uncomfortable.
Outside of explicit visual content, there are also text descriptions related to sexual themes. Some CGs also include panty-shots. These may be censored in the Steam version.
Graphics and Sound
Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer is in full HD, with a style that makes me think of a new take on an old style. It comes with both sprites and CGs with blinking eye animation.
The sheer amount of CGs isn’t to be understated either. Each character has at least 12 and often more. Beyond that, there are some extra adult ones hidden away to find. It’s easy to see that Mai is the main heroine though, with a lot more CGs for her events.
One area where the graphics do fall down a little is on the map. Luckily this is the exception, with everything else looking great.
Everyone but the protagonist is voiced, other than in the adult scenes. Much like the sprites and CGs, the voices have been redone with new voice actors and fit the characters well.
Issues and Downfalls
There are a few minor issues that I’ve come across.
As noted, the Classic Mode can be quite obtuse. Having Easy Mode, but leaving the option for Classic makes this a positive overall, but it’s worth mentioning. Having a money system felt like it wasn’t really required in Easy Mode either, though the ability to spend money to check relationship status might make it more necessary in Classic mode where there isn’t a gauge for it.
The one oddity in Easy Mode is that it shows you requirements to unlock an event, but some events had multiple requirements. It only shows one though, so it’s possible to be surprised by a second one which is potentially too late to unlock. For example, for Miho you need to get closer to Misa and Ako for a certain event, but it only says Ako.
I noted a couple of typos, though overall the quality of editing was high.
There were some issues around Auto and All Skip too. Auto seemed to skip the heroine’s lines in adult scenes, while normally working. All Skip does exactly that but is also incredibly difficult to turn off, as the text box can disappear to change to a point and click mode before being able to click it. Holding Ctrl works to skip everything if needed and is a better option.
Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer isn’t perfect, but it does a great job at bringing a classic into the modern era. The remake fixes most of the issues that would make it seem incredibly dated, along with updating it with some beautiful graphics.
DŌKYŪSEI: BANGIN’ SUMMER IS RECOMMENDED
Looking for visual novels? How about checking out some of the top visual novels for this year on our Top Visual Novels of 2021 list.
Many thanks to Shiravune for a PC review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.