Wednesday, February 22, 2012


『名探偵コナン&金田一少年の事件簿 めぐりあう2人の名探偵』のCM

"Only they can solve the mystery of that island"
"Detective Conan and The Young Kindaichi Files: The Chance Meeting of the Two Great Detectives" Commercial

I'm re-reading books, so I might as well replay videogames, right?

Readers of this blog might have noticed that I like the two manga Detective Conan and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo. I like them very much, as the two are pretty much my introduction to the world of Japanese detective fiction and both series definitely played a big part in my 'education' of the genre.More generally, these two series are easily the most popular orthodox detective manga series in existence and are considered household names in Japan. And in 2008/2009, someone had the great idea of mixing the two series. Which is pretty big, considering that both series are from two different publishers (Shogakukan and Kodansha). At first, the collaboration of Conan and Kindaichi consisted of a magazine that reprinted old stories of the two series together, which wasn't exactly the things fans wanted, I think. We did get coffee, a Conan and Kindaichi branded The Game of Life and somewhat weird crossover art though.

But then suddenly a crossover Nintendo DS game was announced and all was forgiven. February 2009 was the month the world was given the first and only true crossover between Detective Conan and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo in Meitantei Conan & Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Meguriau Futari no Meitantei ("Detective Conan and The Young Kindaichi Files: The Chance Meeting of the Two Great Detectives"). Few things can defeat the smile that appeared on my face when I first saw the trailer. I still don't know who came up with the idea of making a crossover between the series, but you have my eternal thanks.

Also because this was quite a decent game. The story starts when Edogawa Conan (and his entourage consisting of Kogorou, Ran and the Detective Boys) arrive at Dusk Island to investigate a series of kamikakushi (people being 'spirited away') that happened on the island. At the same time however, Kindaichi Hajime,  not-really-girlfriend Miyuki and Inspector Kenmochi arrive at Dusk Island, as an old classmate of Miyuki begged them to help prevent a horrible event that was about to happen at Dusk Island. The two detectives each start their own investigations on the island, but Hajime and Kenmochi end up... being spirited away! Miyuki joins up with the Conan-troupe, hoping to find Hajime. Meanwhile, Conan manages to solve a murder that happened on Dusk Island, only to hear that the murder has something to do with a tragedy that happened 25 years ago on Dusk Island, that started with a unsolved murder in the library. Back to Hajime and Kenmochi, who wake up in a place that kinda looks like Dusk Island, but... different. Almost as if... this was the Dusk Island as it was well, roughly 25 years ago. And then the duo is forced to solve a murder in the library to clear their own names...

As can be guessed from the above, the story is split in two distinct Conan and Kindaichi chapters. Conan's chapters are set at the 'normal' Dusk Island, where a series of crimes seem to be related to a incident that happened 25 years ago. Kindaichi's chapters are set at the 'past' Dusk Island, where he is forced to solve the precise murders that turn out to be the whole tragedy of 25 years ago Conan is trying to investigate. The seperate chapters are about seperate cases/investigations, but the main storyline is naturally also explored during these chapters (with the final chapters finally putting Hajime and Conan together). A (plot) device allows the two great detectives to communicate, so we occasionally see the same scenes played out from two different perspectives (once from the Conan-side, once from the Kindaichi-side).
The main story is told quite competently and is surprisingly quite long (I think I came near the 20 hours the first time I played it). The seperate cases aren't that difficult, though passable for these kind of adventure games. Conan made the worst deal for this game though. Despite the fact that he manages to get rid of the Detective Boys in return for Kindaichi's Miyuki and Superintendent Akechi (which is a very good trade), his cases are quite boring, mostly dealing with a mad bomber on Dusk Island. A lot of Conan's story revolves around the defusing of bombs and a couple of race mini-games, which was simply boring. Hajime on the other hand has to deal with the Detective Boys in the past Dusk Island, but in return gets the most interesting sub-cases in the story (including multiple locked room murders), a great adventure set at the past Dusk Island that doesn't need bombs to be suspenseful and also the best role in the final part of the story, when the two great detectives reveal the truth behind the incident of Dusk Island. I guess this is to mirror the characteristics of the two series, with explosions definitely being something more of a (movie-)Conan thing, while locked room murders more of Kindaichi thing, but still, I can't help help but feel sorry for Conan.

As a detective game, this is entertaining, but also very predictable. It is standard adventure-fare with a lot of talking and location-hunting. You accumulate keywords during the story-part of the game, which are used as items. At times, you are asked to combine two keywords (items) to make a deduction and at the end of a case, you are asked to fill in a flowchart with keywords through questions like 'who was the victim', 'what was used by the murderer for the X trick', 'who is the murderer', which leads into a confrontation scene with the murderer. There you are prompted several times with questions to show you understand what the trick is (and also includes some things like finding contradictions in testimonies), but it is all quite easy if you know what's going on.

A problem with these games is that most of the cases are quite easy to solve, especially as you are often asked very specific questions (which in turn change in hints themselves). It is a problem inherent to the combination of videogames and detective fiction, I guess. You can always continue in a book whether you solve the murder yourself or not, but this is counter-intuitive to videogames. Most of these adventure games are still built on the premise of finding keywords and then asking 'check' questions to see if you really get it. As a inherent part of game-design, it is normal that all of the keywords you collect are relevant and that usually steers your ideas to a certain thought (= the solution). This is supported by the 'check' questions you always have at the denouement scene in these kind of videogames. The biggest problem here gamers face is usually just how to find all keywords, not the actual process of deduction.

The same team that developed this game also made the Nintendo DS game Meitantei Conan Aoki Houseki no Rondo ("Detective Conan Rondo of the Blue Jewel"), with practically the same game engine and it sadly enough has the same problems like this game. The stories can be entertaining, but the game pretty much forces the solution upon the player, instead of letting him free.

A much more natural change from novel to game is the sound novel, like with Kamaitachi no Yoru. There the story indeed changes based on the input of the player, so if a player doesn't know what is going on in a case, he usually ends up with a bad ending. It is a lot harder to improvise yourself through those games. The 'downpoint' is that those games need massive writing resources, as the writer has to come up with a great number of possible deductions (=storylines) the player may have that may or may not lead to bad endings.Of course, I have written things about detective adventure games in the past already, but as someone who likes games and detective fiction (and apparently as one of the few people actually interested in the combined topic), I am always inclined to comment on this.

But crossover magic does make this a game worthwile to play if you like the two series. It is really fun to see Hajime and Conan working together on a big case and there is enough fanservice available to make you forget the sometimes rather easy game. The cases are not among the best the two great detectives have seen, but the seperate cases, the main storyline of Dusk Island and the little references to the two series work cumulatively to become a enjoyable work for fans (and it is an OK detective game too). I for one would certainly see a sequel to this game!

Original Japanese title(s): 『名探偵コナン&金田一少年の事件簿 めぐりあう2人の名探偵』


  1. How much would you rate this game out of 20?

    since it's going to be released in english soon, I want to know if it's good

    I understand your review is poisitive, but I need to know how good it is ^^

    1. I'm actually one of those people who thinks that a score rating system for these kind of reviews is absolutely broken and adds next to nothing to the review. It's an easy, yet enjoyable game and that's it.

  2. i''m actually stuck at the minigames :")

    1. The bombs? I absolutely hate those parts...

  3. The most impression I have after playing this game is "How Conan and Kindaichi this game is" of course! I agree for a sequel of this game though, bring Kid and Takato in the bunch too!

    At first I don't really understand your hatred on Detective Boys, but after playing this? urgh...

    1. I was actually expecting something of a sequel the last year, with the anime of Conan entering its 20th birthday this year, and the Kindaichi Shounen anime running until two months ago, and it had been a while since the last Conan game (and even longer since the last Kindaichi Shounen game), but alas!