Review by Braben

Reviewed: 10/25/04

Another obscure gem for your ``best of all time list``. Seriously, we are talking about one of the best games ever here.

To put it simply, Famicom Tantei Kurabu Part II (Famicom Detective Club) is, together with Super Metroid, the best non-rpg game I have ever played, what`s more, I would say that, together with Final Fantasy VII, this is the absolute best game I have ever played in my whole rotten life. Think I`m mad or something?, first play, then think again.

By the way, this is the remake of the Nes version, a game for the Famicom Disk System, but I don`t know anything about it. The first Detective Club game was also released for the Nes, and once this second parts ends we are told that there is going to be a third part, but I couldn`t find any information about it, the game was never released probably, what a pity.

Story 10/10:
The story in this type of games is even more important than in a an rpg, and fortunately this is Famicom Detective Club Part II`s greatest feature, but wait, saying that it is the greatest feature doesn`t even begin to describe how good it is, yes you will be dying to find out who the killer is, but that is just the beginning. We have lots of deep and complex characters with well-defined personalities, dozens of completely unexpected and elaborated plot twits, a terrific mood, a perfect pace... why go on?, this game has it all and more.

Sure, there are a few incongruences, for example our detective guy isn`t even eighteen years old, the way he becomes a detective is ridiculous and the intro makes little sense, but you see, those are minor details, clearly not important for the plot to run successfully, and I have read many Arthur Connan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Ellery Queen and many other`s novels which are less coherent than this game, not to mention Poe`s famous Dupin detective (which I found boring and ridiculous, pretty much like any other story of his, though I am no a critic to say that).

Finally the ending... oh my god the ending is absolutely marvelous, and most importantly, IT MAKES SENSE IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!, what`s more, it absolutely, positively phenomenal in its own right, damn!, this is a truly huge success, just think about how many movies and books with disappointing ending you have seen and read. Oh, and don`t forget to stay through the end credits.

Graphics:
Due to the game`s nature, the Snes was a limited system even back when the game was released, but do not think, not even for a second, that this is a monotonous game in terms of graphics. Not only there are plenty of very attractive characters, there are also many different places to visit, as well as lots of superb cut scenes.

Sometimes the graphics are a bit blurry, but overall everything is superb, plus, there are quite a lot of splendid and sometimes amazing animated sequences.

Music:
Very appropriate, that is probably the best way to describe it, sufficiently creepy, straightforward or tense when necessary, and there is a couple of truly remarkable themes, that one at the High School for example. In short, sets the mood, atmosphere and tension appropriately.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is pretty much like the ancient Shadowgate or those text driven Japanese games for the PC, only that simpler, so simple that most of the time we just have to ask people questions. Sometimes we have to dig up clues with a pointer like in the above mentioned Shadowgate, but most of the time this is not necessary.

So the game is very easy to play, which is both good and bad to me. It is ok because the plot is so good that you just want to see what is going to happen next, and there no need to waste time looking for clues or anything, but it is bad because this makes the game shorter (never simpler thought, which is something very important). I still don`t know what to think, in any case, the game is so damn involving that there is no way to think about it while playing.

The fantastic mood is another reason why it is so involving, this game is more than just your average detective story, in fact I would say it is a horror game. The plot has some supernatural bits that, together with the creepy music and some scary as hell sequences make it an extremely eerie experience even during daylight.

Relax yourself, take a bath, make a coffee, and above everything, ``pay attention``, do it you`ll find yourself completely hooked till the very end.

Replay Value:
Okay there isn`t any, but more than replay value the length is the important thing here, and Famicom Tantei Club Part II will not disappoint you, you bet about that. There are about six hours of gameplay, admittedly, quite a lot for such a game.

Overall:
I am still amazed with this title, more than a video game, Famicom Tantei Club Part II is like reading one of the most involving black/horror novels you could ever imagine. Yes, it is THAT good, a deep, intricate and too interesting to be true title with an absolutely stunning plot much, MUCH better than most horror movies out there (and probably the best plot I have ever seen in a video game so far), plus, you have no excuse to avoid playing. Please, don`t be stupid, check it out, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Rating: 10

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