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.
JANTEI MONOGATARI is a non-erotic Mahjong game developed by ATLUS for TELENET JAPAN. The game features colorful visuals, an interesting storyline, and of course plenty of lovely bishoujos.
● Title: 雀偵物語 ● Genre: Mahjong ● Release Date: 1991.03.29 ● Developer: ATLUS ● Publisher: TELENET JAPAN ● Media: 8Mbit ROM Cartridge ● System Specific: MEGA DRIVE
I think the best way to describe JANTEI MONOGATARI would be as a「Mahjong game with a TV drama-esque storyline」.
The front cover actually labels it as a 「1 Player Adventure Game」 but in my opinion the game doesn't reach that far since player interaction consists only of (sometimes) being able to choose which suspect you want to go and challenge first.
So, for this Mahjong drama adventure, the player assumes the role of an unnamed, yet pretty slick-looking detective, and Mahjong hot-shot, who's been hired to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl at a prestigious private high-school.
Luckily your list of suspects is comprised exclusively of bishoujos, whom as you'd expect, in order to get them to spill the beans, you first will have to outwit them in a game of Mahjong.
You will face about a dozen Mahjong challenges during the course of the investigation, which is definitely more than what most players will be able to take in one sitting.
The game employs a password system, which by the way it's just... plain... awful. Now, I'm willing to bet that whoever came up with this password system probably thought he was being clever.
So this is a Mahjong game right? Then why don't we use Mahjong tiles which are incredibly annoying and time consuming to write down as passwords? Terrible choice!
The visuals - for all that they're worth in a game of this type that is basically all static cutscenes - are top-notch. The color palette is vibrant for the system standards, and the characters all have some minor yet very smooth-looking animation.
Personally, I found the character artwork to be fantastic, although that's not really surprising coming from an ATLUS production.
JANTEI MONOGATARI was originally released for the PC-ENGINE in Super CD-ROM2 format. While both versions are exactly the same content-wise, the PCE version features voice acting which is obviously missing from the MEGA DRIVE cartridge release.
However, the MD version looks slightly better as the graphics in the PCE version are presented in a smaller window frame.
JANTEI MONOGATARI is one of the best Mahjong games you can find on the MEGA DRIVE. About the only relevant downside I can think of is that it is a game better fit for intermediate or advanced Mahjong players that know their way around the scoring system.
This is because this time around you can't get by simply by winning 3 rounds, like it's the case in most arcade Mahjong games. In order to win here you must forcefully beat the enemy's more often than not incredibly high score, and that can take forever if you don't know how to build up good scoring hands.
I remember there were a few instances when in spite of winning 4-5 rounds, I still ended up losing the match because I was unable to beat the enemy score. Needless to say, that was quite frustrating to say the least...
The good news is that there's no game over. If you lose a match you'll only get scolded by your boss over the phone, and then you'll be back on the case again.
So, If you like Mahjong games and detective dramas, make sure to give JANTEI MONOGATARI a try. You won't be disappointed.