01/07/2008

Still The Best Mine Cart Riding/Sandwich Making/Dating Sim Ever Made: Love Love 2, aka Love Love Truck, aka Love Love Mine… Part 1

by Matthew Hawkins

Yes, I know for certain folks, this has been a very long time coming…

So here’s the story: a friend of mine from back in the day used to have this hook-up, somewhere in Honk Kong. For a nominal fee, each month he would get dozens of CD-R’s, all bootleg PSone games. All of them were Japanese titles, stuff that were either on their way to America, but in numerous cases many months ahead, or games that were destined to forever remain in their native land. Some were well known, while others were total curiosities, which was easily the best parts of these care packages; you just never know what insanity you were going to get.

One game in particular still stands out, far head of the pack of the wacky ones; written in sharpie on the CD-R was the name “Love Love 2″. No information was provided about the game or its creators, nor was any available anywhere at the time despite intense research, and even to this day, it is an absolute mystery, which is quite a rarity, at a time when pretty much every single obscure game ever has at least one passionate expert behind it. Love Love 2 quite simply defies proper description; all I can say is that it was the very first, and perhaps the only mine cart riding/sandwich making/dating sim. Unless there’s a Love Love 1, of course.

For years I’ve had this game, and has never missed a chance to tell people, and when possible, have them play it. At a time when the term “WACKY JAPPY” has been thrown around far too much that its lost almost all its significance, here we have a video game that actually lives up to such a description with little effort or pretension. And since forever, I’ve promised to write about it in-depth, but have never gotten around to it, simply because of all the work that would be involved in doing it proper, meaning producing screenshots, especially since the tools I have at my disposal aren’t exactly to snuff. But it’s a new year, and my resolution is to get stuff that I’ve talked about forever finally done, and a proper Love Love 2 write-up was first on the agenda.

Very few facts are known, but there are a few, mostly from just playing the game; it was produced in 1999, as a joint venture between TYO, which as far as I can tell is some design house, and Scitron & Art Inc, whose main business was publishing anime and game soundtracks. Love Love 2 might have been their only attempt at creating a video game, who knows. As you will see, the graphics are quite crude, and for the longest time I believed the game to have produced on a Net Yarouze, that being the official Sony homebrew dev kit, but I have yet to see any other title from the homebrew world as polished and put together. Not that it’s all that well assembled… among other things, the graphics are amateurish and sub-first gen, but they’re not that bad. Maybe that, or they just have a helluva lot of charm. I guess I should maybe mention that, at this point, I do believe that I am the only one of three people in this country at least to have a copy of the game; myself, Rod, the aforementioned friend, and Dave Maruo, who I think made himself a copy when he tried to help me get it running on a PSP. Which alas, could not be done. Again, the programming involved is quite wonky and unstable. It was also Dave who pointed out that the title is not exactly Love Love 2, as I had been calling it for close to ten years now… which I only did because that was what was written on the original disc… but is in fact along the lines of Love Love Truck, or Love 2 Truck.

EDIT: So while talking about the game at Select Button, someone suggested that the name might actually be Love 2 Track, which certainly make more sense, since there are no trucks in the game. But then again, when the game’s cover was passed along, Love 2 Truck was also part of the filename, so I guess it wasn’t just a mistake on the part of the dude that originally authored the CD-R.

But just now, Dave did some research and…

I assumed トロッコ was truck or track, but I just did a google translation of it, and it actually means “mine.” So that would make the title ?Love^2 (squared) Mine? or simply ?Love Love Mine.? (The katakana above the title on the title screen reads it out as Love Love Mine, but the cover/logo reads Love^2 Mine). It?s definitely not Love Love 2 though. You?ve either got two loves, or one love squared.

So the “proper” name is Love Love Mine, or Love 2 Mine!

Back to technical difficulties: to produce screenshots, I had to play the game on my Mac, which was no easy task since its an old machine, one that can barely handle a PSone emulator, which I would have imagine is vastly inferior to what is available on the PC, so when you account for how unstable the game is, it was basically, a real bitch. But I’ve done it, at least the best I can (to both play, sans controller, and produce screen captures at the same time). Anyhow, enough explaining, and on with the pictures!
________________________________________________________________________________

When you boot up the game, you get a very quick and dirty CGI sequence, which was pretty inferior, even by 1997 standards…

Here we have the title screen, which has your standard options: start game, options, check high scores, and the photo album, which stores all the different endings…

After a while, you get a vid that introduces the characters in the game. It’s all just static artwork with the camera moving around, and music plus voices playing. As if it wasn’t immediately apparently from the opening CGI, the budget for the game is in the mid-thirty dollar range…

Once you hit start, you get to choose which boy you want to play as. You’ve got four dudes to choose from, with the “main” guy being… a kid named Guy. He’s pretty just an average looking kid, who I guess is both a skateboarder and American…

Here’s Jazz, who is black, which explains why is named after music and likes basketball…

Every dating game needs a fattie, and Biff fits the bill. Dude loves cheeseburgers. Big surprise!

After the fellow is chosen, the next task is to pair him up with a lady…

Here we have Illya, who kinda feels like a natural accompaniment to Guy (he has red hair, she has blue, they are directly across from each other on the selection screen).

… One vital piece of info is how she likes oranges. This is important in the game. Oh, and here’s Rosie, who is a bit more sexed up, i.e. “mature”…

Once the selection has been confirmed, we’re on our way! Before level we get a map showing us where we’ll be riding off to…

Here’s the loading screen…

Let the action begin! So here’s how the game plays, in a nutshell: your task as the boy is to make the girl happy and have her fall in love with you. How do you do that? Well, first off, you have to control the mine cart that the two of you will be riding around in. Simply hit either the square or circle button to pump the handle, which both characters control. Momentum has to be gained, which means slowly tapping buttons until speed is ascertained, and then maintaining a rhythm. The X button is to duck, while the triangle button is to make the boy jump, which the player will be doing a lot of, which you will see.

As you can see to the left, there is a line of heat containers. The more full they are, the more girl likes you. The obvious goal is to max them out; if they go empty, it?s game over. There are many ways for this to happen.

Despite the crudeness of the graphics, the developers went through a lot of trouble to make the game feel as grandiose and cinematic as possible, by constantly changing camera angles, with many pans and sweeps. But because you’re not controlling the direction of the mine cart, simply the speed, as well as keeping an eye out for other stuff, it never gets in the way and is quite nice.

Right now, the girl is interested, so she’s in good sprits and even flirty. That will change very soon…

Here we are the at very top of a very high climb…

… and the beginning of the big descend…

Hey, I just grabbed some cheese!

Okay, the primary means of making your woman like you is to give her food. As you’ve noticed, to the right of the screen is a bun. Throughout the level are ingredients to make sandwiches, and what you want to do is to jump at the right time to nab ingredients as you pass underneath them. There are four primary sandwiches that can be made: hamburger, chicken, bacon, and egg. Plus there are also toppings, such as cheese, lettuce, and even the egg can be used as a topping for a burger. Some combinations work better than other, and I believe it depends on the girl. You can have a topping before you nab meat, but you can’t go doubles, meaning you can’t top a burger with a chicken patty.

In addition to sandwiches are fruits. Each nabbed piece of fruit will make the girl happy, and missing one will make them sad, or even angry, but especially if it’s a favorite of hers (as identified in the character selection screen). There are also bells, often in clusters of three to be nabbed….

You can’t directly control your path, but there are times where you can choose your direction. Sometimes the game will trick you to an instant death, so one needs to choose wisely.

Here we have some lush greenery…

And a lens flair, which was super impressive on the PSone… back in 1995.

Hey, a pretty rainbow! But what’s that ahead? It looks like…

Oh, shi-. time to pump like crazy. At this point, the girl is freaking out, as well as bitching and moaning.

In addition to roadside hazards, you also have shit flying at you from above, like that bird from before. The X button will not only make you duck, but the girl as well, but she will lag behind you, so you have to duck a half-second before you want her to (which I guess makes sense since she’s looking at you and can’t see what you’re trying to avoid). I was late in this instance, so she got hit by the bird, hence why she’s crying…

Or maybe its because I missed that mustard…

You will go beneath the surface of the earth quite a bit throughout the game, which happens to be where most of the cheap deaths take place, where the track will come to an abrupt end. You change directions by pressing either left or right on the control pad. To brake btw, you hit down…

Hey, there’s a key! Finally Illya is lightening up.

The key was used to open a chest, which opened a diamond, which only managed to impress the girl only a tiny bit (keys and the chests they open are off the beaten path, so you gotta know where to turn and the such). Sorry I missed the getting of the diamond, but hey, look, there’s a monkey!

Uh oh, time for some Indiana Jones action…

Once back outside we are treated to wonderful view of the forest below, yet my date won’t stop bitching…

Hopefully a cheeseburger will shut her up…

At the end of each level, we get to share in an intimate moment between the couple…

Depending on what the girl’s interest level at the end of the level will determine their interaction. Here things could be better, but the girl ain’t too pissed, so there’s till hope in terms of getting some.

And that was just stage one! There’s plenty more to come tomorrow, so stay tuned!

EDIT: Thanks to the Insert Credit forums for digging up the amazing box art!

  • Slonie

    Geeze that game looks awesome. Also it looks to be another entry in the romance-in-a-minecart/truck/hand-trolly genre.

    See also: Magical Truck Adventure (Sega, 1998): http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=flyer&db=videodb&id=4771&image=2
    And Let’s Go Jungle! (Sega, Recently).

    Actually only Sega seems to want to plumb these depths on a regular basis.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    Yeah, now that I think about it, I have played other games that are similar, with the whole, you’re-in-a-moving-vehicle-with-a girl deals, such as Let’s Go Jungle! Though Love Love 2/Love 2 Truck/Love 2 Track/Love Love Mine (a name that someone at SB just suggested as a possibility, which actually makes a lot of sense to me) was my first, and none of the the others have employed the whole sandwich making gameplay for the win.

  • http://www.dmauro.com dmauro

    I assumed トロッコ was truck or track, but I just did a google translation of it, and it actually means “mine.” So that would make the title “Love^2 (squared) Mine” or simply “Love Love Mine.” (The katakana above the title on the title screen reads it out as Love Love Mine, but the cover/logo reads Love^2 Mine). It’s definitely not Love Love 2 though. You’ve either got two loves, or one love squared.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    Thanks for updated info! Love Love Mine makes the most sense thus far. I’ve updated the entry to reflect this information, though I also noted that the filename of the game cover had the term Love 2 Truck, so I guess more than one person has made that mistake.

  • brutal number girl

    The name is Love Love Torokko. As stated before the katakana says Love Love Torokko. It’s written there for people who don’t know how to read the name. This is done with every Japanese game with another language in the title, and even Japanese names (be it complex characters or just for children who wouldn’t have learned it yet). Torokko doesn’t mean “mine” at all, it means tram. Mine would be kouzan. The dictionary even says 〔鉱山などの〕トロッコ – [Kouzan nado no] Torokko – Tram (for a mine.) For someone who can read the katakana and google in Japanese, it’s frightening how wrong your information is. (dmauro)

    Google image search for torokko:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=%E3%83%88%E3%83%AD%E3%83%83%E3%82%B3&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2006-18,GGGL:en&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi

  • http://www.dmauro.com dmauro

    Damn, you should write a letter to the editor at google.

    Love Love Tram it is.

  • Pingback: Game Retail Store ¬ª Baby Castles To Host Super HyperCube, Katawa Shoujo

  • Pingback: ?????? gameqy.com » Blog Archive » Baby Castles To Host Super HyperCube, Katawa Shoujo

  • Pingback: Podcast #146: 2012 Retrospective | Fangamer

  • Pingback: When All Is Said And Done, 2008 | FORT90

Previous post:

Next post: