Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir

released on May 14, 2021

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir

released on May 14, 2021

A combined remake of the first game in the Famicom Tantei Club, Famicom Detective Club, series originally released in 1988 on the Family Computer Disk System in 2 parts. Solve a murder mystery surrounding a wealthy Japanese family Hunt for clues, talk to suspects, and explore the Japanese countryside after tragedy strikes the wealthy Ayashiro family. Filled with suspense, this tale follows an amnesia-stricken detective trying to unravel his own past amidst the horrors of a harrowing murder investigation. Play at home, on the go, or in your favorite reading nook—only on the Nintendo Switch system. Play Famicom Detective Club in English for the first time Originally released in Japan only, the Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir game has been localized with English text and modernized for Nintendo Switch. While the graphics, music, and sound effects have been recreated, players can choose the original 8-bit soundtrack. Discover a piece of Nintendo history with the Famicom Detective Club series of games.


Also in series

Emio: The Smiling Man - Famicom Detective Club
Emio: The Smiling Man - Famicom Detective Club
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Famicom Tantei Club: Seinaru Yoru ni
Famicom Tantei Club: Seinaru Yoru ni
Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo
Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo
BS Tantei Club: Yuki ni Kieta Kako
BS Tantei Club: Yuki ni Kieta Kako

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Over the course of just 5 years, Famicom Detective Club has become something really special to me. If you were to ask me what Nintendo's most interesting game is, I would legitimately, and confidently say FDC Part 2. That's the game I played hundreds of times to find the best ending. That's the one where I uncovered every diversion, separate path, or secret interaction possible (except for one that is still a mystery to me) and it left me with an experience I will never have again. And I can easily say this because when I 1st played Part 1, I was left greatly disappointed in almost every aspect of the gameplay, characters, and story. I could recognize some of its merits at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more distaste I grew for it. So I only fully played the game that one time. I mean, there was no unsolved love quest to conquer, so what would be the point, even if I did like it? But truth be told, I have been curious about revisiting FDC1 in the past. What if I was just too harsh on the game? What if there was more to the game's shortcomings than what my biased perspective saw as objective truths? So with one miracle new entry on the horizon, who's to say whether or not my opinion on the Missing Heir could miraculously change?

I'm sure you'd think the gameplay isn't as important to talk about in a game like this, but if you do think that, the close tab button is right up there. Anyways, I think within the context of the time, comparing this to its genre defining predecessors, it blows those games out of the water, mostly because it does a much better job tying text and pacing together in ways that actually makes sense. You can't/shouldn't just go around asking random people random things, every interaction needs to have a purpose, and it most often gives you direct results. Portopia may have defined the genre, but games like FDC1 were working to refine it.
Unfortunately, the game isn't without various flaws. In almost every chapter, you're forced to go to the train station to scrape bits of information from the bum ass villagers who have literally nothing else going on in their lives. Like sure, I get that the protagonist probably goes in and out of town through this station everyday, but the fact this setting is relied on as a crutch so often makes the world feel smaller, like there's very few places to go or people to see not because of a deliberately chosen setting, but because that's just how it is. I mean, at least let me talk to more than just the same old lady over and over again, aside from the one time the protagonist decides to talk to someone else when it's relevant to progression. This game didn't even HAVE these characters as portraits in the FDS version, so they could've inserted literally anyone in these segments.
And I'm not gonna lie there are a few leaps in logic and awkward moments in the progression that drag the game down. I can think of quite a few times where you, the player want to go somewhere, but you can't travel to that place unless you talk about something unrelated to that place, then the game decides you're done questioning that character and automatically sends you to that place. For the most part though, I'd say this game's progression is pretty solid. I hate using phrases like "aged poorly," because while there's a reason this game isn't as talked about as its successors, it has stood the test of time far better than its predecessors. This also applies to the presentation, but we'll get to that later.

For the most part, my stance on the characters and story haven't changed much. Some of those thoughts are for the better, but overall things just aren't that great. Of course I adore Ayumi, and seeing how much she's grown from where she was in the second game is amazing. It's actually interesting to see that due to the rare situation they're in, Ayumi is helping the protagonist get through his struggles rather than the other way around. She's a constant highlight throughout the game along with Dr. Kumada. Other reoccurring characters like the nurse, Genshin, and even the station clerk have their moments, Zenzou is great simply because he actually feels like someone you want to help put at ease with all that goes wrong around him, and I think the killer is fun, too. I don't think I would've seen him coming if I played this game blind. He's better than part 2's in that regard. I think because of him, this is even the 1st time a 1st party Nintendo game released in english that has "shit" in the text. That's amazing.
Unfortunately, everyone else really drags the game down. The Ayashiros' are complete dicks. Kanji is fine I guess, but he dies a chapter later, so in reality he doesn't have much to him. But don't worry because Jiro and Azusa make up for him. Idk why these insufferable assholes feel so entitled to not actually help you with your case in any way considering their life kinda depends on you, but I guess I shouldn't expect anything from rich people. You know who I somehow hate more though? Akane might be the worst character in the series, solely because she's the one character who is only treated as relevant when the plot demands it. She obviously knows so much more than she lets on, but unlike any other character where you'd keep pressuring them to get that info out of them, you're supposed to just completely forget about what she's hiding until chapter 9. It's not like Mr. Hibino in Part 2 where he technically isn't relevant to the case until he drops a few hints before you truly confront him with more info 2 chapters later. Akane drops the most unsubtle hints imaginable during the 1st 2 damn chapters, and what's worse, during like the one time you talk to her between then and 9, you don't even get to question her about it. I get she herself doesn't want to reveal what she knows because it makes her look like the killer, because really it's the game and the protagonist's fault for refusing to let you talk to her. And speaking of him, despite his moments he just doesn't feel right to me. Yes this is obviously because I played Part 2 first, so I'm more attached to that version, but the whole amnesia thing robs this guy of half his agency and all his wit. He's boring, which is a huge problem when you realize just how important he's supposed to be. That's probably diving too much into spoilers though. It'd probably be even more spoilery to say anything about the other character I despise for how they're used throughout the game, but to put it simply, he's just Goro Kaneda + Goro Akechi from P5, and he somehow came out worse.

This is all to say the story overall is a pretty mixed bag. A lot of it is actually pretty interesting, with a string of murders tied together by an over-looming curse, there's plenty of twists and turns the game takes you through. Yeah those townspeople are annoying, but their increased hysteria, combined with the many mysterious things that happen around town, it really lends to that immersive atmosphere Nintendo R&D1 would develop more and more. The various deaths throughout the game not only serve to keep you on your toes and constantly guessing as to how everyone really ties into each other, but it's really cool to see in a Nintendo game. I think Kanji's horrified expression on his lifeless corpse with a knife sticking out of him is one of the most iconic images in the game considering how much Nintendo themselves have used it both back in the 80s and now. But if anything, the game's death counter is a bit too high. Like there's very little reason for some characters to be dead before you even know them, and it makes those details ultimately unsatisfying. There are end game moments that do hit really hard emotionally, but for others I couldn't get invested if you held a gun to my head.

Lastly, to end on a high note I just want to gush over the one thing I actually really like; the presentation. My biggest problem would probably be how generic the characters look, but the attention to detail on everything is insane. It's something I didn't appreciate as much in the Part 2 remake because that game has a superior perfect SNES predecessor, but this game never had that. Now, FDC1 on FDS was already a massive step up from the horribly designed art of games like Portopia on Famicom, or the Miho Nakayama game that was developed in 2 weeks, but here in the Switch version you can actually look at so many details present and remember oh yeah, this used to be a Famicom game, and now there's so much more to see and interact with. The soundtrack isn't trying to play some stupid half-way game where it picks and chooses what things to adapt from which version of multiple previous OSTs, they're just simple and clean arrangements of those classic Tanaka tunes. And the animation work especially really stands out in this game. subtle touches on things whether they be a fish swimming in a pond or a body hanging from a tree, slightly rotating and swaying in the wind sells you on the environments that much better. Seeing what this game had in terms of presentation actually make me hopeful for how the new game will look.

I really used to say this game was garbage, but considering everything I've talked about, I can definitely say that The Missing Heir has its worth. While I don't think I personally like the game overall, whether due to its shortcoming or my own bias, I can appreciate the game for the things it does well, like many other classic games from the time. Before I replayed this game, if you asked me how to get into the series, I'd only tell you to play this game because it's worse than the 2nd. Now, I think playing this game will help you appreciate both the series, and the adventure game genre as a whole.

Game be like: SO PEAK
Them BOOM: Makes me go through a shit ton of menus not knowing what to do

Great mystery, but dated gameplay

Sakamoto is my God and his games are my Bible

I figured out the big twist a couple hours before the reveal but honestly I'm not upset, seeing it all come together felt real nice

I think the only thing bad about this game is the gameplay, I thought the story was pretty engaging and I thought the twists were good. I can see why people really fucked with this when it was a Famicom game way back in the day.

Honestly as a VN that I went in expecting nothing this was pretty good, the mystery is pretty engaging and while having some pretty obvious plot twists it's still a very entertaining read, the gameplay is what you would expect from a faithful remake of a NES Visual Novel but that's alright because the rest make up for it, even the visuals that are, in my opinion, a bit too blandish but I get what they were going for with it so this isn't a huge complaint