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CONSOLE: PC Engine CD DEVELOPER: Nichibutsu PUBLISHER: Nichibutsu
RELEASE DATE (NA): October 25, 1991 GENRE: Mahjong
// review by SoyBomb

This game will BUST its way into your heart...

Mahjong... Vanilla... Syndrome...

Just take that title in. Just breathe it in like the waft of a fine Zinfandel on a Tuesday afternoon.

Now I know what you're probably thinking: oh man, it's a mahjong game. I'm not interested in this at all. In fact, I'm not even reading this review right now. I'm too busy being buried ankle deep into a pile of overpriced Overwatch action figures and drooling all over my 59 Rocket League posters. And in this case, I'm inclined to agree. Mahjong doesn't exactly set the world on fire, although if you look at how many mahjong games flooded the market in the 80s and 90s, you'd think just the opposite. Just on the PC Engine CD, there are 19 mahjong games. Who needs NINETEEN MAHJONG GAMES in their entire library, let alone on one console, let alone on ONE CONSOLE ADD-ON?! That's downright overkill. They must love mahjong over there, like Americans love plump frankfurters and Reddit.

So why would anyone be interested in just another mahjong game like this? Well... how about the fact that the game's cover features busty women in little Playboy outfits? Or that the game is pretty much filled with that? Yeah, THAT'S WHY.

Nothing vanilla about this.

Mahjong in and of itself isn't exactly riveting game fodder, but when you factor in sultry rabbit women (and one with mouse ears, I think), that may give you a bit more incentive to play. But then you get into it, and you wonder... what the heck kind of game is this? Seriously, who is suffering through game after game of mahjong tiles just to see busty women give you a look like you just swallowed their favourite cat? You are some desperate man fighting against the White Rabbit, really just a snarky gal in a bun-bun outfit. There really isn't much of a story, though how much of one do you need for a mahjong game? The game itself can't be that great, either; Nichibutsu didn't even put any screenshots on the back cover! You know your game is awful if you're too ashamed to show any of it on the packaging.

If you're looking to play a hearty game of mahjong with the most well-endowed ladies in town, Mahjong Vanilla Syndrome is your ticket to happiness. The artwork in the game itself is bare bones, so eye candy is pretty much limited to cutscenes featuring the ladies. But if you're not a mahjong fan (and I don't mean the Americanized game where you have to find pairs and remove them from a board — I mean the traditional Chinese version from the days of the Qing dynasty), even Playboy bunnies won't make this appealing as a video game.

Believe it or not, Mahjong Vanilla Syndrome also had an arcade release. I'd be too embarrassed to even glance at this in an arcade.

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