The Missing Heir & Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Nintendo’s Famicom Detective Club visual novel series, the first screenplay by Metroid creator Yoshio Sakamoto, has been a sealed mystery to Western audiences for 30 years. Thanks to the efforts of the Japanese company Mages, which acted under the supervision of key platform employees responsible for the original works, we received a remake of two games from the eighties on Switch, which we will review today.
To a cursory glance of a gamer sophisticated with the non-linear narrative of modern visual novels, the absence of root in the Famicom Detective Club may seem like a miscalculation of the developers, but in fact the opposite is true. Otherwise, the storytelling would not work, and the storyline would not seem coherent. After all, in the end, it is the absence of pianos from the bushes and the strong presentation of the plot that characterize a high-quality detective story.
In Europe, both Famicom Detective Club are sold in one kit, so you can choose where to start your journey. But we recommend that you go through them in the order of originals. First – The Missing Heir, and then The Girl Who Stands Behind. You will understand the meaning of these lines below, but in general we mean a smoother passage due to some gameplay and plot circumstances. The second aspect is extremely important, since you will actually catch yourself a part of the spoiler about the main characters and an important event.
The chapter on the lost heir is a classic story about an undivided inheritance, human vices and ancient legends. And it’s amazing how brilliant the move turns out to be with one of the main cliches – amnesia by the miracle of the surviving protagonist at the beginning of the storyline. Given the fact that the main character is the player’s guide, the developers immediately suggest giving him a name, which will better associate you with the adventure and allow you to immerse yourself in what is happening.
In the course of the passage, we return the memories of the hero, revealing all the new unexpected details of the investigation. There are no useless elements in the “Detective Club” – everything that happens makes sense and ultimately works as a single interconnected mechanism to step by step compose a general picture of the crime, competently leading to the denouement.
The caring Ayumi, an assistant from the private detective agency Utsugi, in which the hero not only works, but also actually lives, helps the players in difficult matters. Guided by the clue that someone urgently called him to the cliff, under which he eventually woke up without memory, the protagonist goes to the village of Ayashiro, where he is again invited to help. There we find ourselves in the estate of a wealthy family of the same name, whose roots go far back in history. The anxious butler who warmly welcomes us, having learned about the accident, devotes to the reasons for the request to get down to business. And here a full-fledged investigation starts, the purpose of which is to find the missing heir of the Ayashiro clan, where you will have to embark on all the hard life of a detective. The rest of the family, including the maid, are not so friendly and talkative, so it’s time to get to work.
As you may have guessed, we will plunge deeper and deeper into the atmosphere of the rural outback, where we will have to face both myths and popular beliefs and historical discourse several centuries ago about the origin of the family and the legend of its hidden power. But this is not the only location where both an estate with rooms and annexes, as well as a clinic, a railway station, a forest thicket, a cemetery, and a temple are presented. In addition to the previously mentioned cliff and agency, on duty we will also go to a company owned by an influential family, and even – on a special occasion – to a provincial town.
Together with stunning surround sound, pleasant music, animated graphics and full Japanese voice acting for all the characters, the game vividly conveys the effect of being present in a dark, surreal, but at the same time beautiful atmosphere. At the same time, Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir does not dump tons of text on the player for no apparent reason. The story is very consistently built and divided into chapters, during which we solve local problems. After the closure of the next round of the investigation, we face another piece of the global puzzle. But new questions constantly arise, the disclosure of which will have to be dealt with in subsequent acts. There are a lot of characters for interaction in the game, but not so many that you can get confused and lose touch.
Since this is, of course, an important point, the authors provided a diary in the game, where all the characters and detailed information about each of them are indicated, structured thesis. And this is not only a banal name, age and place of employment, but also connections with each other.
Famicom Detective Club does not let go from the first moments to the last seconds, tenaciously pulling even the most corrosive detective adventure gurus into its possession. The well-coordinated mechanism of all elements enhances the dark atmosphere of a series of murders, relatives of the player with living characters. This, in turn, makes each entry exciting, making you want to revisit the story over and over again, wondering what will happen next.