Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha
After Shin Onigashima and Tokimeki High School, Nintendo joined in on the murder mystery crazy with Famicom Tantei ("Detective") Club. Directed by Yoshio Sakamoto, designer of Metroid and Kid Icarus, the games were inspired by the works of novelist Seishi Yokomizo. While Yuji Horii's Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken and its sequels might be more historically important, Famicom Tantei Club is the better series. The first game in the series, Kieta Koukeisha ("The Missing Heir"), begins with the hero, a 17 year-old boy whom you can name, waking up at the bottom of a cliff, without any idea who he is or how he got there. You’re eventually found by a girl named Ayumi Tachibana, who introduces herself as your partner, and tells you that you are an assistant at the Utsugi detective agency, investigating the murder in the wealthy Ayashiro family. As the game progresses, more people are murdered, and the hero learns of some occult legends that have been surrounding the town, along with his own previous entanglement with the case. Compared to the puzzle solving of other mystery games, there's a greater focus on questioning witnesses and investigating crime scenes. It's very linear, and the game won't let you proceed until you've done everything you need to do. Once you've found all of the clues, you select the "remember" command to piece things together, and occasionally visit your office to "deduce" everything that's happened up to that point. The graphics are well-rendered, and the murder scenes are quite grisly for the time. The music is also excellent, and it's suspenseful when it needs to be. The text crawl is slow and the constant load times and disk flips are annoying, but otherwise those are the only downsides. While none of the Famicom Tantei Club games were localized, Nintendo occasionally references them. Ayumi Tachibana shows up as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee (wearing her sailor uniform as seen in the sequel), though the text gets her backstory wrong. There's also a "spot the difference" microgame in WarioWare Touched, but only in the Japanese version; the overseas versions replace it with a Metroid- themed game.