雀偵物語 ● Genre: Mahjong ● Release Date: 1991/03/29 ● Developer: ATLUS ● Publisher: TELENET JAPAN ● Media: 8Mbit ROM Cartridge ● System Specific: MEGA DRIVE
■ORIGINAL MAHJONG DETECTIVE DRAMA
JANTEI MONOGATARI is a quality non-adult console Mahjong game (if you can believe it) developed by ATLUS and plublished by TELENET JAPAN.
The game features colorful sleek visuals, an interesting storyline, and of course plenty of lovely bishoujos.
I think the best way to describe JANTEI MONOGATARI would be as a「Mahjong game with a 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 choose which suspect you want to go and challenge first.
For this mystery drama you will play 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, although as expected 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... 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 did featured 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 were presented in a smaller window frame.
That way to the hot babes?
You ready for some real Mahjong action? Huh, Mr. Detective guy.
The Mahjong table. No surpises.
Your cheating techniques.
This is as far as undressing goes in this game. *cries*
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 best fit for intermediate or advanced Mahjong players who know their way around the scoring system.
This is due mainly because this time around you can't get by simply by winning rounds. To win 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. 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 on the phone and then you'll be back on the case again.
Hmmm, why do I get the feeling I came in at an innoportune time...
Keiji-san ! Tasukete Onegaiii !
So, If you like Mahjong games and detective dramas, make sure to give JANTEI MONOGATARI a try. You won't be disappointed.