Famicom Detective Club Review — The N.E.S. Murders

When you think of a private detective, you might see a tough guy in a felt fedora, cigarette perched above his chiseled jaw, puffing moodily in an office chair with the blinds drawn. If Nintendo has anything to say about it, though, next time you picture a gumshoe it will be a skinny, teenage boy who can’t remember his own name.

That’s because the publisher has resurrected both Famicom Detective Club outings: The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind. This pair of adventure games debuted on the NES in the late ‘80s and cast players as a kid sleuth solving crimes in rural Japan. These remakes are impressively thorough, eschewing the pixelated graphics of the originals for a striking anime-inspired look and full Japanese voice acting. Mechanically, both titles are still products of their time and, as a result, progressing through the story can sometimes be frustratingly opaque. But, the stories themselves–particularly The Missing Heir’s–are compelling enough that I was willing to put up with some outdated design to see them through to their twisty conclusions.

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In Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir, your 17-year-old protagonist wakes up at the foot of a cliff with no memory of how he got there or who he is. With a little help from the man who found him, he heads back to his job as an assistant sleuth at the Utsugi Detective Agency. The eponymous detective is nowhere to be found so our forgetful friend–who I dubbed Philip Marlowe, after Raymond Chandler’s PI–must work to solve a case with his fellow assistant detective, Ayumi Tachibana. The case in question involves the death of Kiku Ayashiro, matriarch of the rich and powerful Ayashiro clan and chairwoman of the corporation that made them rich and powerful in the first place. While the autopsy results suggest that Kiku died of natural causes, the family butler Zenzou suspects foul play. Prior to your amnesia, he had hired you to investigate her death. As you begin again, you have two mysteries to solve: who murdered Kiku, and who were you before you lost your memory.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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