The Famicom Detective Club titles were a fascinating recent arrival on Switch, with The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind both available. Quite a few members of the Nintendo Life team are playing them, and the general consensus is that they're rather lovely — albeit admittedly dated — experiences. The blend of handsome updated visuals and sound with gameplay that strictly adheres to the original late 1980s game design is both jarring and, depending on your perspective, rather charming.
You do have the option, in both games, of switching out the soundtrack for the original retro beeps and boops, which is a neat feature, although to this writer's tastes you're better off with the new audio. Voice acting is another addition but, perhaps exposing the fact that Nintendo initially only planned to release it in Japan and keep the budget low, it's Japanese-only. Of course, it could be said that this is a disappointing corner to cut — along with the fact they're eShop-only outside of Japan — but as they're visual novel experiences anyway it adds authenticity considering the locations of both games. But still, it's important to acknowledge that the option to switch voiceover languages would have been nice.
Another feature that might have enhanced the appeal would have been the ability to switch between original Famicom screens and the attractive new partially-animated art. These games are a part of Nintendo history, so that would have been a fun thing to do. Again, this may have been a combination of Nintendo keeping the budget low and actual technical challenges of working in English text (and other languages) into legacy code.
In any case, if you've missed them Nintendo has shared some rather nice comparison shots on Twitter showing how the games have evolved (and inadvertently teased what an art-style switching option could have delivered). It's fascinating to see how original scenes were reinterpreted.
Taro on the Telephone
Our protagonist was clearly more feisty in the original.
Myoujin Mountain Hop
This is a real stand-out in terms of showing the creative effort and thought that went into re-imagining and expanding some scenes.
A fantastic scene in the new version of The Girl Who Stands Behind, definitely a major improvement in atmosphere.
Enjoying a Damn Fine Coffee
Both of these scenes look great, maybe the original coffee shop was a little more visually interesting.
Let us know what you think of the comparisons, and whether you're enjoying either (or both) of these games on Switch. And don't forget to check out our comprehensive Famicom Detective Club walkthrough for tips and hints if you get stuck.
The remake looks good, going to hold out for a physical version though.
Ya I agree - it looks great but I want to get my grubby paws on a physical release.
Although I didn't get the Games, super cool to see these side by sides.
I loved these games, finished The Girl Who Stands Behind yesterday. Personally I find the Japanese-only voiceover absolutely fine, having cringey American dubs (or British, for that matter) would have been incredibly jarring, given the fact that the entirety of the two games seem to fully embrace their distinctly Japanese locations and themes, which localisation tends to completely botch. I didn’t even give my actual name when asked for it, as I feel like my very European name would have been pretty immersion-breaking within the context.
The Famicom games still look good. It's fun comparing remakes.
@Jacoby For it's time, it looks really good.
@Markiemania95 I don’t know how you could resist calling your character like Wayne Kerr or something.
The NES game actually looks really good (for the time, obviously)!
Playing through The Missing Heir & quite enjoying it, even if progression can be quite obtuse.
I'll probably get the Girl Who Stands Behind at some point in the future.
@nessisonett I’ve never been one to do that myself. Nothing against those that do, but it’s almost always my actual name, or the canon one. Perhaps I’m just too serious haha.
@Markiemania95 It’s probably just me who plays games with characters called things like ‘Muffled Fartbox’!
Finished both games a few days ago and I really liked the new art style. I agree it would had been nice to have the option for English voice acting but I'm just glad we got these games at all.
I agree with the twin peaks cameo on the article
Very impressive! The remake looks almost as good as the Famicom original.
I loved both of these games and finished them. I honestly want more from this series.
Are either of these games horror-like? Personally, anything horror is a hard pass. I grew up with Nancy Drew on PC, so I'm longing for a good mystery thriller, and it's hard to find that exact kind of game that scratches the itch properly. Those old games struck just the right balance of mystery, detective, suspense and thrill, with just enough sense of danger if you made the wrong move. At least the old classics, not including the newer Nancy Drew games that are still made these days.....
Absolutely loving these games, finished missing heir and am working through Girl who Stands Behind.
The originals look pretty good still to me, although the new graphics are a definite improvement.
These look really fun.
Like the Twin Peaks, Led Zeppelin, and, er, Dollar(?) references
@Ulysses Not at all. While both games have a slight tinge of the supernatural, neither story is horror. In fact I find it odd that the girl who stands behind draws so much attention to its ghostly premise because if you go in expecting horror, you may be disappointed. Heck, there is just as much paranormal window dressing in the missing heir and that hardly ever gets brought up when discussing these two games.
Huh. The original looks pretty good actually
The Famicom original actually looks quite good given its age, but it's obvious the Switch remake is a vast improvement to the point where it is almost an entirely new game.
I want to try the original in english, thought I'll still take the remake.
Umm. I really hope this wasn't a spoiler.
That's a major difference. The picture quality of the original is so bad, I can't even read the text! /s
The games look awesome, can't wait to start my detective summer (with Ace attorney chronicles we've got 4 great Visual novels to plough through, my idea of heaven!! )
Actually pretty impressed with the original Famicom graphics. I would have been blown away as a kid.
@Discokuningas don't worry, that's just a reference to what I called the main character in my playthrough! 😅
I like it better all crappy
Jesus - Kyoufu no Bio Monster was another Famicom adventure game with awesome art scenes too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AvC-hUnV4g
Really interested in this games, the art, slight animated still, well just the whole aesthetics is really appealing to me. Wish it would get an English dub, not a fan of japanese voice actors, too cringy even if it's the country if origin. Hopefully it gets popular enough like fire emblem and we can get it truly localized =
I've gotta say, I'm actually quite impressed with the originals given the limitations! The remake looks very nice though, a lot of work has clearly gone into it all.
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