『TRICK X LOGIC』
1. Everything that is written in the Akasha is true. However, there is the possibility that the murderer is lying.
2. It is not important whether a motive is strong or weak.
3. Tricks and criminals are not supernatural, like psychic powers or aliens. The inhabitants of the underworld are not involved with incidents in the world of the living.
"Trick X Logic"
I think I bought my PSP in the winter last year, but I have to honestly say I haven't played it that much this year. Strangely enough, the PSP games I have cleared are all detective games. Weird. You'd think I'd clear something like Warriors Orochi faster than a game that actually requires me to read.
I've already covered the first season of PSP game Trick X Logic in an earlier post, and I won't go into the specifics of how this game works here, neither the details of the story as it's all there. Trick X Logic Season Two is exactly the same as the previous season, except for the stories of course. As my previous post was mostly about how the game works, I'll discuss the stories of Season Two more deeply this time. Once again, all of these stories are loosely linked by the story of prosecutor Yoshikawa trying to solve his own murder by reading underworldly Akasha (crime records) and young camera-woman Tsukasa who keeps getting involved with murder cases.
As the problem- and solution-chapters of Bourei Hamlet ("The Ghost Hamlet") by Kuroda Kenji were divided among Season One and Two, I started this season just checking whether my deduction was right. Which it was. The story was a very interesting one, with a man, dressed as the Phantom (of the Opera) being killed at a costume party. His murder is caught on CCTV, but it seems his murderer was... an armor of suits. Was it the Ghost of Hamlet that killed someone? With a gun?! I had a lot of fun with this story, and I think that came from the fact I'm somewhat familiar with Kuroda, due to his manga adaption of the Gyakuten series ("Ace Attorney series"). If you read this story as a Gyakuten story, everything makes sense.
Bloody Mary no Nazo ("The Mystery of Bloody Mary") by Takemoto Kenji starts with a famous detective writer visiting a hotel. Several fans knew he would visit this hotel and have booked their own rooms there too. Add in some other suspects, and you're all set for a Murder of a Detective Writer. Hardly an original premise, but it's usually entertaining. Which it was, but this story certainly didn't offer something original or innovative. A decent story, but nothing more than just a decent story.
Maya Yutaka's Rifling Murder is one of those stories I don't know whether I should love or hate. With a man being killed in his cottage on a small island, with the trajectory of the bullet suggesting the murderer was flying (or "Being sniped by a man hanging from a helicopter!"), it certainly has an interesting concept. The solution however, while adequately hinted at (well, that's pretty mandatory with this game), borders on the fantastical. It's not impossible, but quite improbable.
Me no Kabe no Misshitsu ("A Locked Room with Walls of Eyes") by Ooyama Seiichirou is maybe the most ambitious story of the whole bunch. In this story, the owner of a building is found killed in his office. But strangely enough, no murderer is seen entering the office through the door (there is a camera), nor through the window (witnesses). What makes this story so interesting, is that everything up to the discovery of the corpse is written from the viewpoints of the suspects, switching between them. One of the rules of the Akasha is that everything that is written there is true. The only exception is that the murderer might be lying (in conversation). Therefore, a sentence like "He thought that was strange" is true, while an utterance of "That's strange" might be false. Making use of these Akasha rules, Ooyama has neatly written one of the better stories of Trick X Logic.
Y no Hyouteki ("The Target of Y") is probably the story that attracts most attention. Written by Ayatsuji Yukito and Arisugawa Alice?! That's like Queen and Carr collaborating on a story! The story itself felt very Trick-ish, with a sun-worshipping cult-like new religion and the second patriarch being killed while he was performing the daily Southern prayer. Who killed him, and more importantly how? The prayer was held in a special court, locked from the inside with only his two most trusted followers besides him. Neither of them seems to have done it though. This religious element as well as the solution also remind of Chesterton and it's all in all a very neat story. The solution is somewhat spoiled by the title (which is a very Arisugawa-like title!), but like the previous story, one of the better ones. Well, it has to be! I'm not sure how the two worked on this work though. While I'm fairly well-read with Arisugawa, I'm not that far with Ayatsuji and it's hard for me to point at something and say, 'well, that's clearly Ayatsuji there'.
The final story, Kanzen Muketsu no Alibi ("The Absolutely Perfect Alibi") by Abiko Takemaru is a rather simple story compared to the previous two. The story obviously is about breaking an alibi, but the solution is an old, old one and thus a somewhat dissappointing ending to a fun series.
Well, it's not the ending actually, as there is also a bonus story (you unlock a chapter for every story you clear). Bousou Juliet ("Juliet Running Wild") by Kuroda Kenji is once again that is so obviously inspired by the premise of the Gyakuten series, I wonder whether he was planning to use this in the Gyakuten Saiban/Gyakuten Keji manga originally. Here, a man, Shuuhei gets crushed between his own car and a truck. Tsukasa, who was sitting in the backseat of the car, swears the car started to accelerate on its own, killing Shuuhei. She remembers the story she was told by Shuuhei. When he bought the car, the seller said it was called Juliet and that the previous owner had commited suicide. The car was still looking for its owner. Did the car run over Shuuhei? And why? This bonus story is just a normal story, so there is no looking for keywords/mysteries/insights here, but Kuroda Kenji did manage to slip in a Challenge to the Reader here and somewhat hard to believe at a certain, crucial point, it's a very nice bonus story.
The worst of the lot, has to be the overall storyline though. Yes, Yoshikawa "solves" his own murder, but in such a ridiculous way, it's not even worth mentioning. Tsukasa as the sole link between every story also feels very forced and didn't really add something for me (especially the obligatory "chief inspector Marunouchi suspects Tsukasa did it" scenes every single time were horrible). Maybe it bugs me that much because I have been praising the Gyakuten series for good overall storylines, but I expected something better from Chunsoft. You know, the company known for writing stories and sound novels.
Trick X Logic, basically being a interactive novel written by several big names in the world, is still very entertaining though and hope Chunsoft will use this deduction system with a few tweaks in future detective games though.
Original Japanese title(s): 『TRICK X LOGIC』/ 黒田研二 「亡霊ハムレット」/竹本健治 「ブラッディ・マリーの謎」/麻耶雄嵩 「ライフリング マーダー」/大山誠一郎 「目の壁の密室」/綾辻行人 & 有栖川有栖 「Yの標的」/我孫子武丸 「完全無欠のアリバイ」/黒田研二 「暴走ジュリエット」