D's story starts out as a shot at a crime mystery. You are Laura, a young college girl whose father (a doctor) goes on a raving killing spree in his hospital. Once you hear of this great mishap, you leave campus and head off to the hospital to see if you can talk some sense into pops. You enter the bloodbath only to discover some kind of rift, which without allowing you choice, sucks you into it. Welcome to the world of D, a scary world prepared by a madman. Without giving anything away, let me just tell you that "D" does stand for something that you may not expect.
The graphics in D are simply as sweet as candy. From the get-go, you will realize that a lot of work was put into the graphical engine, and I believe that the Playstation version looks the best of them all (believe me, this is not the first version of D, and it was not the last either), with special tweaking on the FMV quality and room textures. Not a lot of things in this game animate, but those that do are animated to perfection. Laura looks good enough, with really convincing facial expressions and very fluent body movement. Even though the gameplay takes place in first person, there are a lot of times that Laura will wander in front of the camera to achieve various tasks. One amazing thing about D is the grand special effects which are very abundant and well welcomed. The lighting effects are perfect and were the new staple in game graphics back when D first hit the eager gaming community.
Naturally the great graphics are complimented by very suiting music and spine-chilling voices. OK, so the voices may not be the most suspenseful in the world, but back then, good voice acting and video games were never seen in the same room. Just the same however, when you are up playing alone in the middle of the night and you hear your father's voice chant "Laura", it is enough to make you feel a little bit uneasy. Overall, the music is very well composed and the voices were at least worked on. Oh, and the credits music was extremely cool! ^_~
With beautiful graphics and horrific sound, there is only one main consideration to knock down the total score: gameplay. Gameplay is something that is missing considerably from D, but you have to realize that this was before the golden age of graphic adventures that was unleashed with Resident Evil. Developers were not exactly sure how to craft an apt graphic adventure, and did not know how to weight sweet graphics with good gameplay. In D, you are basically on a preset track. You can turn around, but only to designated locations, and you can only walk and stop at allotted locations also. This pretty much eliminates any freedom that you may expect, and totally kills a lot of interactive elements that you might wish to attempt. There is not any combat in D (well, kind of), so all you have to familiarize yourself with is the track based game engine, the item using techniques, and the art of figuring out some really damn hard puzzles. To further restrain the essence of game freedom, you only have 2 hours to complete all of the tasks. Go over 2 hours and it is game over, but not to worry, as there is not too much of a problem with the time limit, other than the fact that basically if you complete D, you will do it in under 2 hours: not exactly a game to keep you going for weeks.
The only other thing I can speculate about D is that although it is short, and the gameplay engine is very non-interactive, the game still holds merit and incredible charm. Many may argue with me when I say this, but D is something special. I would play through it again just for the last 5 minutes (which is truly incredible). Sure, D is a short cup of tea, but it is good to the last drop.
Andrew the Game Master