Sunday, May 16, 2010


 Garnet Crow, 『夢みたあとで

"Scared of the passing of time and of how people's hearts change, I cried"
Garnet Crow, "After seeing my dream"

Ignoring whether the product is good or not, you'll have to admit that Japanese companies are quite good at cross-marketing their products. When the Detective Conan movie was released, some convenience stores had special Detective Conan promotions, while other chains sold exclusive Conan DVD's. The upcoming Odoru Daisousasen movie is accompanied by a videogame and probably more stuff.

And strangely enough, to promote movies based on television drama, they usually broadcast a special episode, which is nearly as long as the movie they're supposed to be promoting. The previous Trick special was as long as the Trick movie it was supposed to promote, and about the same for the Galileo special and movie. They might as well release two movies. Or two specials.

Anyway, I had seen the awesome Trick movie earlier this week, but the Trick week was still not over as the second Trick TV special was broadcast yesterday. Which was OK. It was definitely a Trick story, even more so than the movie, with a more contained story and less big action scenes. But that was the 'problem' maybe, having seen the grander scale story of the movie, I just couldn't help being somewhat underwhelmed by the special. If I'd seen the movie and the special in reverse order, I would've liked it more. I should've watched it in the special-movie order, I gathered from the dialogue, but that's strange as the movie debuted a week before the special was even broadcast.

And then there was the Trick game for the DS. Having played the horrible, horrible DS game of Galileo, I was kinda weary to purchase this game, until I discovered WorkJam had developed the game, the developer responsible for the current Detective Jinguuji Saburou games. Which are awesome.

So with a relieved heart, I purchased my copy of Trick DS and I am glad I did. As it was truly a fun game. Short, very short, but it was like playing an episode of Trick myself. The dialogue and story, while not written by the original writer, feel like they were lifted out of the series. The music is in fact the same as the series and the game even has the same opening animation. The story progress mimics the Trick tradition perfectly, with lots of problems which are solved one after another in relatively short time, but which together make up one big problem.

And the sleuth system... is actually quite interesting. In my years of gaming, I have seen my share of translating detectives to games. Games like Detective Jinguuji Saburou hardly let you think, but focus on telling a story. A game like Detective Conan - The Mirapolis Investigation tries letting the player deduce the culprit, but fails horribly by being so easy. The Keyword system in Detective Conan & Kindachi Shounen no Jikenbo was OK, but the story progression was not always as good (as well as the Conan-part being longer, but more tedious). The system Trick uses is somewhat similar to the system of the latter game, but a lot more fun.

It works by offering a problem that needs to be solved ("How did the killer get away?"), which can be solved by a combination of key elements (Items, circumstances, location, persons). The cool part is that every time you combine elements, a hypothesis is made. While most hypotheses are just unbelievable, others are at least plausible and thus make you think. You then bring your hypothesis to the confrontation scenes, where you'll have to defend your hypothesis; this being different from the system in Detectve Conan & Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo, as you have no idea whether your ideas are correct until you've actually tested them in the confrontations. In terms of difficulty, the system is somewhere near the Gyakuten Saiban system, the latter being more difficult as it does not offer hypotheses, but it's still an interesting system.

Translating detectives to games is not always easy and while I think the Gyakuten Saiban series does it excellently, I'm very content with this system of WorkJam and I really hope to see it more often in their games. I'm also very surprised to see such a fun system in a game based on a drama, but as I'm a big fanboy, I'm just very pleasantly surprised.

Now make me my Furuhata Ninzaburou game, WorkJam. Do it. 

Original Japanese title(s): 『TRICK 新作スペシャル2』、 『TRICK DS版 ~隠し神の棲む館~』、『名探偵コナンと金田一少年の事件簿 めぐり合う二人の名探偵』、『逆転裁判』


  1. I'm not familiar with the Trick franchise (since it's kind of cumbersome to watch anything related if you're not actually in Japan) but the system of that DS game sounds neat and I just watched the CM. Might actually grab a used copy somewhere on my summer vacation. Same goes for Kindaichi games and so on, but first I'll have to stock up on books, check the weight of that mountain and then check the shipping costs before I use money on anything else than sustentation...

  2. While you can gather from the above, the game is not bad or something, but it's kinda a shame the system is used for Trick. It fits the Trick-style of detecting perfectly, but I think this system can go pretty far when not tied to a license (=> have to simplify the game).

    名探偵コナン&金田一少年の事件簿:めぐりあう二人の名探偵 is not too bad a detective game and actually a must for fans of both series, but 金田一少年の事件簿:悪魔の殺人航海 is to be avoided at all costs. Really.

  3. The only game I played that might partially fit in that genre is Sigma Harmonics. Which actually was fairly interesting since the game just accepted any of your theories and made the boss fights easier or harder according to your reasoning and how close you came to the truth. Well, due to its theme of changing the past everything you deducted became true, it's just that the game rated your deduction and you would have to get an S-Rank in every stage after completing the game once so you can gather all the background information concerning story and characters. Of course the S-ranked reasonings are to be considered as the whole and most realistic truth though.