Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
TOKYO SHADOW is a mystery・horror adventure game based on the work of renown Japanese writer 「AYA NISHITANI」author of the hit book novel series「DIGITAL DEVIL STORY : MEGAMI TENSEI」.
● Title: 東京SHADOW ● Genre: Adventure ● Release Date: 1997.04.27 ● Developer: HIGH-TECH LAB JAPAN ● Publisher: TAITO ● Media: CD-ROM x3 ● System Specific: SEGA SATURN
Before starting the review I think I ought to mention that I haven't played TOKYO SHADOW in a long, long time. And unfortunately, at present, I just don't really have the time to get back into it neither.
Still, I wanted to feature the game on the blog, firstly to generate more interest towards it as it is a rather overlooked title. And secondly, because it is a genuinely interesting and enjoyable mystery AVG.
When I last played the game - which I think it was way back around 2000 or so - there were various pages (in Japanese) around the net with detailed information about the game's storyline and about the various different story branches, endings, etc. However, I was unable to find a single one now, so it's more than likely they no longer exist. ■SHIBUYA SHADOW
I love the file loading screen.
The busy streets of Shibuya.
An ominous thunder... Perhaps a sign of things to come ?
KYOKO is a real babe for sure.
TOKYO SHADOW (whilst on the「Real World」) takes place on the city of Shibuya, Tokyo. The player assumes the role of an occult-obsessed detective named 「HIDE」 who's currently investigating a series of disappearances believed to be linked to a mysterious new cult in town.
In the typical TV drama fashion - HIDE, an average and unremarkable guy has (inexplicably) an incredible hot girlfriend named 「KYOKO TAKASHIRO」. KYOKO, a fellow detective (although a lot more trigger happy), is enjoying a long overdue vacation, and so she's asked HIDE for a date out in town.
The game starts with KYOKO phoning an overworked HIDE to remind him of the date they have planned for the day. HIDE then travels to Shibuya to meet up with her.
HIDE meets KYOKO outside of a new live music club house which the couple suspects to be a hub used by the cultists (talk about multi-tasking a date).
To his surprise, however, HIDE catches KYOKO talking with a suspicious-looking man. At this point you will be given the choice whether to proceed with your date with KYOKO and enter the club. Or -- dump her in order to investigate the mysterious man.
Whatever you decide to do, things will start going down to hell for you... literally....
You shall die ! Oh yes, you shall die !!
Feeling lucky ? Huh... Punk !?
Gameplay-wise, TOKYO SHADOW is a very straightforward AVG. Outside of occasionally needing to examine stuff and move around the map, you mostly only have to worry about deciding how to proceed through the story.
But this is actually a good thing since that's where the game excels at the most.
Actually, something that's definitely worth mentioning is that TOKYO SHADOW is one of the most replay-friendly adventure games out there.
Once you've reached the end of a story branch, whether by successfully clearing the main story or through a 「BAD END」, you will be shown a detailed story flow chart containing all of the possible story scenarios that can be unlocked, as well as your total game completion percentage.
TOKYO SHADOW seamlessly combines still photographs with full motion video. Back when the game first came out I thought the stills looked (for the most part anyway) nigh photorealistic. But obviously that was before the HD era. Nowadays of course they certainly will come as outdated, specially if you've played any of the live・action adventure games that have been released in recent years, like IMABIKISOU, or even the PSP re-release of MACHI.
Please angel lady, turn me into an avenging spirit of death !
The FMV quality itsef is around what you'd expect from a CD-ROM game at that point in time. Way better than the late 16-bit era stuff for sure, yet still on the grainy side.
As for the game's cinematic qualities and production values - don't expect to find in TOKYO SHADOW something the likes of what you can see in late 90's and beyond Japanese horror movies. This is at best early 90's TV drama quality stuff.
It's probable that most players nowadays will find the acting, special effects and characters a bit cheesy. Personally, I really dig the prodcution as a whole in spite of its evident weak spots. I mean, this was obviously a low budget production, yet you do get the impression the developers did the best they could with what they had at hand.
TOKYO SHADOW was originally released for the SONY PlayStation in 1996 and then ported to the SEGA SATURN the following year. Both versions are identical and come in 3 CDs with two CDs containing the game and the third one being a bonus disc featuring interviews with the cast and production notes.
So, in spite of its rather limited production values and other cheesy aspects, TOKYO SHADOW comes as a well made and enjoyable adventure game with a nice amount of replay value. Plus, if we take into account that the majority of live・action adventure games of the 16 and 32 bit generations were awful train wrecks, then this release comes as even more commendable.