Most of the Catherine coverage has focused on the game’s lead characters and building staircases out of blocks. Between cutscenes with Vincent and his two lovers and climbing tower to escape a baby with a chainsaw arm, you hangout in a bar.
The Stray Sheep scenes usually begin with Vincent sitting in a booth with is bar buddies. Orlando always sits to Vincent’s right. He’s a co-worker that became a womanizer after his divorce. Jonny plays the role of the "cool" guy and is searching for the perfect girl. Both of them pick on Toby who is much younger, a tad naive, and desperate to find love. You can talk to all three characters by pointing at them with the analog stick or sip a cocktail by pressing square. Do you know what a "cuba libre" is? You’ll find out after you finish your drink. Catherine gives players a side of trivia with each beverage and the factoid you see depends on what kind of drink Vincent has in his hand. (You can choose whisky, sake, cocktails, or beer.)
Erica, the talkative waitress at the Stray Sheep, will show up as soon as Vincent finishes his drink and ask if you want another round. Drinking serves two purposes in Catherine. After each sip, Vincent shares his thoughts on his current situation. Getting sloshed also makes Vincent run faster during his nightmare, but you can only raise his intoxication level three times. Vincent’s face turns beet red after three drinks too.
You can leave the bar after getting tanked, but it’s a good idea to stick around. Other customers will visit the Stray Sheep and Vincent can talk to them. You don’t have to lend an ear, but there are side stories to hear. Patrons will ask Vincent questions too, which give players more opportunities to tilt the karma meter. All of these scenes have voice acting and you may see these characters elsewhere…
Time passes on its own while your in the bar. You have to decide if you want to spend it talking to the police officer sitting in the booth next to you or answering one of Katherine’s text messages. Catheirne lets players respond by picking preset choices, but you can ignore them too. Answering messages also effects the karma meter. Everyone will come and go, including your buddies, who will leave Vincent in the bar alone if you stay too long. Managing time is a key part of the Stray Sheep scenes. Once you leave the bar Vincent turns into a sheep and enters the nightmare world.
Here’s a couple of other neat things in the Stray Sheep to check out when you play Catherine:
- Watch the TV news show and you’ll hear about people who died in their sleep.
- There’s an arcade machine with a puzzle game called Rapunzel to play. The game is similar to the block tower in Catherine, but there is no time limit in Rapunzel. Instead players have a limited amount of moves, which makes Rapunzel a pure puzzle game.
- Vincent can change the background music by playing with the jukebox, which has songs from Persona titles and Digital Devil Saga.
- If Catherine sends you an alluring photo you can view it in the bathroom.
- Each night there is an additional scene in the bathroom, which you can see by washing your face.
- Persona fans keep an eye out for a familiar face hidden in the Stray Sheep.
I’ve been playing the English version of Catherine and I’m at the end of the game.From what I’ve seen so far, Atlus did a fantastic job with localization. Dialogue flows naturally and I’d say that’s a hallmark of a well localized game. The voice acting is top notch too and for a story centric game like Catherine that’s a big plus. We’ll have more to say about Catherine early next week.