Kyotaro Nishimura Suspense Series: Deadly Intent (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 26.01.2008

The Nintendo DS has already become a strong favourite for adventure style titles, with games such as Another Code, Hotel Dusk and the Phoenix Wright all proving to be highly successful. Now Tecmo has enlisted the help of Kyotaro Nishimura for a different slant on the theme. Can the teaming up of the veteran developer with Japan's most famous mystery writer prove to be a match made in heaven? And should Western gamers be hoping for a translation? Let us take a closer look..

The Nintendo DS is a hot property around the world now, and shows no signs of slowing down all thanks to Nintendo aiming the portable platform at a wider demographic than normal systems. As has been seen with the mammoth success of titles from the Touch! Generations brand, such as Brain Training, nintendogs and Sight Training, older people and the female side of the population are flocking to the format. In Japan it has gone one step further with lots of other educational games that appeal to a larger audience, with Kanji training products, language packages and even titles that give people the chance to become a wine connoisseur, tend to matters of a gardening nature, gain a greater appreciation of classical music, widen your general knowledge, become better at art and even brush up on your mathematical skills!

One other particular genre that has started to take off is that of the traditional text-based adventure game that previously was only associated with success on the PC format. Nintendo has already proven that games of this ilk work well on DS, following the success of Cing's Another Code: Two Memories and Hotel Dusk: Room 215, whilst Capcom has seen its GBA Gyakuten Saiban series translate perfectly onto the dual-screen portable, achieving far improved sales again thanks to the wider audience of the DS. The genre has become so popular now that PC games are being ported to the system, with Runaway 2: Dream of the Turtle and CSI: Dark Motives now out, whilst Undercover: Dual Motives and Nancy Drew are new versions of popular long-standing PC adventure series. Therefore, it did not come as too much of a surprise to find that back in October another company was jumping on-board the adventure train, especially given the huge success of Level 5's Professor Layton.

Screenshot for Kyotaro Nishimura Suspense Series: Deadly Intent (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

That company was none other than Tecmo, the developer renowned for its work on Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, as well as more recent offerings such as Pangya! Golf with Style on Wii. Clearly this was the company trying something different, and it should be applauded for attempting to branch out in a new direction. When it was first unveiled, alongside its fellow DS projects Monster Rancher and Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, it was revealed that Tecmo's Masahiro Shidara (who many will know for his work on the Fatal Frame and Tokobot franchises) would be taking the helm on the game and that one of his main influences was actually his mother, who had made him think long and hard about the changes going on in the videogame Industry thanks to the Brain Training phenomenon, which has led to more than 30% of all DS users actually being placed in the older demographic.

Screenshot for Kyotaro Nishimura Suspense Series: Deadly Intent (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

The game comes complete with an extremely long title: 'DS Nishimura Kyotaro Suspense Shin Tantei Series: Kyoto Atami Zekkai no Kotou - Satsui no Wana', which many people are roughly translating as 'DS Nishimura Kyotaro Suspense Detective Series: Deadly Intent'. Clearly the name of the author (and actual supervisor on the game) was put in the title in order to grab the attention of his loyal readership (over 400+ tales published so far!), whilst Tecmo makes it clear that this is part of a series (pleasing for DS owners wanting more after this, no doubt!) and then captures people's interest by placing the game's three main Japanese locations in the mix as well: Kyoto, Atami and Zekkai. Finally, the real theme of the game is expressed by the subtitle 'Satsui no Wana', which forumites are translating as 'Deadly Intent', but is literally translated as 'Trap of Murder'.

When the game starts off, you are greeted by a little 3D model of Nishimura-san himself as he introduces you to the adventure and asks various basic questions to start things off (the rest of the game is in 2D, though, albeit with very impressively styled hand-drawn 2D characters and locations). And rather than taking the easy option of regurgitating storylines from his previous works, the prolific writer has penned an original idea for this particular scenario and the player is introduced straight away to a fledgling detective called Isshin Arata. Following the death of his father at the hands of another, Arata has chosen to follow the same path as his old man not only to show respect for him, but to attempt to track down the person behind the murderous deed. However, he finds himself embroiled in some other murder mystery whilst busy over in Kyoto (home of Nintendo, fact fans) conducting business. Now all he can hope is that between him and his trusty assistant, Aska Kyou, they can get to the root of all evil before things take an even greater turn for the worse. Expect twists galore during this engaging tale...

Screenshot for Kyotaro Nishimura Suspense Series: Deadly Intent (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

For those of you familiar with the point-and-click PC adventure genre, or even just the three main DS games mentioned earlier from Nintendo and Capcom, the basic idea is to don your sleuthing cap and travel around investigating various scenes and pieces of evidence found along the way, looking for key clues and witnesses that can aid you in the unravelling of the tangled web of deceit and purge the vile stench of treachery lingering in the air. All the while players are treated to a very pleasing soundtrack that really complements the mysterious gameplay. You may not think about it in general, but music plays a very important role in such a game, since would you really want to be sitting, reading lots of text whilst something annoying and repetitive was pumped into your ears? Exactly, and because the tunes included are so aurally pleasing, it leaves the player taking their time whilst reading evidence, reports and conversations, instead of simply skipping through and overlooking vital details!

Anyway, the game itself is broken down into two main sections, with the story mode on offer, as well as a Short Detective option, which is for those 'on-the-go'. The former has players using the stylus to jump from scene to scene, with the screen being split into different sections that can be tapped on to investigate in more detail. People in a room with you are shown by silhouettes on the top screen, so you know how many are around you at any one time and interrogating them is a case of working through the question lists shown when they are tapped on. Other than that, gamers are asked to analyse long documents and pick out the inconsistencies with the truth, as well as figure out the movement of specific characters, all in the effort of heading towards the final goal. The latter mode available, the Short Detective one, pits the player against smaller, bite-sized mysteries that can last anywhere between three and five minutes and are ideal for those travelling to work that do not have the time right at that moment to delve into the main adventure. Examples of some mini-mysteries include figuring out the meaning behind a message scribed in blood beside a victim's body, or scrutinising all the fine details of a crime scene in order to distinguish any anomalies or suspicious artefacts. On the whole, there is so much included in Kyotaro Nishimura's DS game that it seriously deserves to be translated and given the chance to flourish in a West market where similar games have already shown strong sales.

Screenshot for Kyotaro Nishimura Suspense Series: Deadly Intent (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

In its current state an import would not be recommended as there is a considerable amount of Japanese text included, so only those with such language skills would extract any real enjoyment from the game's story. With its style, great presentation values, easy-to-use interface and a story filled with a wealth of intrigue and mystery, we can only hope that Tecmo greenlights the translation process as soon as possible to take advantage of the current market's desire for this genre. Let your voices be heard, Tecmo might just be listening...









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

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European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   


Folks, the more interest shown in this game, the more chance there is of it being translated, so please be sure to Digg the article and leave your feedback :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I'm very interested in this game, in all point and click adventures. I'm not familiar with the writer, but the story sounds fun to play. In these kind of games the story is everything, so having the support of a famed writer should really help the sales in Japan.
I really like that a model of the writer appears at first to introduce the story! I want to have a video game of one of my stories and then have a little appearance just like him.

Top games:
5-The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
4-Super Mario Galaxy
3-Eternal Darkness
2-Super Mario Bros 3
1-Super Mario Bros

Yeah, it's definitely a nice little touch having him introduce the game. I bet it made a lot of fans of his books smile!

I agree with you about the story being everything. Sometimes the puzzle side doesn't have to be ridiculously in-depth to the point of putting the casual player off, as long as the prose included is rivetting and captures the imagination.

It's the fact that Nishimura-san has such a good reputation, was actually involved in the making of the game AND provided fresh ideas for the story that interested me in this project.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I'd love to see this get a chance with an English translation, the more games of this type the better. Good work, Adam. :Smilie

I love games from this genre, so it'd be nice if it got translated!

Nice one, Adam.

It's great to see people interested in this now Smilie It's sold well enough now for Tecmo to commit to a second entry into its Suspense Series, this time using the talents of Misa Yamamura.

Wouldn't it be cool if for one of the games they worked with a Western author?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses


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