Detective Conan (better known as Case Closed in America) follows the adventures of Shinichi (or if you watch the US version Jimmy) Kudo. Shinichi is a genius detective and star soccer player that was changed into a child by a mysterious medicine. Now trapped in the body of a child he has taken up the name Conan and lives up with his lifelong friend Ran and her bumbling father Kogoro. While continuing to look for a cure to his dilemma Conan also solves the cases that Ran’s father fails to solve.

In the game, Detective Conan: Legacy of the Great Empire, you’re already turned into a kid and you’re expected to have some idea about the series. The adventure starts off with Kogoro, Conan and Ran together traveling to a small island town, similar to a mini Venice. When they arrive at a mansion they are just in time to witness a murder and of course it’s up to the team, mainly Conan to solve it. Before you start searching for clues, the game starts out with a rather lengthy scene where you’ll be introduced to all of the possible suspects. Then you get a chance to look for clues and progress in the case, then you’re back to another cut scene. Much like an old school adventure game you move back and forth from controlling Conan to watching the story.

When you’re in control of Conan it’s time figure out what’s going on. You’ll need to have three pieces of the puzzle gathered to move forward. The first clue you need is from the possible suspects. To get this Conan will need to talk to all of the characters over and over to extract clues from them. In fact most of the time you will be running back and forth talking to suspect after suspect. You also need to get some type of physical evidence. When you want to find this clue you need to wander around the mansion. Then when you get to a particular spot that has a clue waiting for you, the camera switches to first person mode so you can “look” around. Finding the clue doesn’t take any thought because all you need to do is move around the cursor with the left analog stick. When you get to the right spot the cursor changes and behold you’re one step closer to solving the mystery. Once you get the clues it’s up to you to put them together. The game has a clue system is set up so you choose from the different clues you’ve discovered and set them in one of three categories. It isn’t always intuitive on how you are supposed to put the pieces together. You may not even have all of the correct pieces to move forward and you really have no way of knowing this unless you try to solve the mystery. If you put the three pieces you have out of order or put in the wrong pieces the game tells you to get your logic straight and try again. Naturally, you’ll just try different pieces that you have which makes the whole system more trial and error than anything else. The whole system just isn’t very challenging. You could have made a game just like this by using a standard DVD player.

Moving from one area to the next is another problem with Detective Conan: Legacy of the Great Empire. Normally, you’ll just be running around with Conan and for such an energetic kid he runs pretty slow. This makes the whole running around looking for suspects thing take longer than it should. Conan also has to use alternative transportation like a motorboat and a jet skateboard that appears out of nowhere. The control for both of these alternate modes of transportation just doesn’t work out right. The motorboat can’t turn around tight corners and the area where you drive it is plagued with invisible walls. When you’re on the skateboard it is only for a brief amount of time. It makes you wonder why you just can’t use the thing around the mansion, when you need it the most.

Bandai, which normally does a pretty good job with graphics, didn’t put the same work into Case Closed. The game looks OK when you’re paying attention to the character models. Once you start looking at the bland backgrounds the game doesn’t look that great. Even the animation for the main characters like Conan and Kogoro isn’t that great. They move in a really rigid manner. Bandai did pull together good voice acting from the main cast, but the suspects have voice acting that falls flat. The background music in the game isn’t to great either. You’ll hear the same songs loop over and over again. There just isn’t enough tracks in the game to keep you interested or to even keep you with the sound on.

Detective Conan has the right idea with putting players in the hands of the crew to solve a mystery, but the execution falls flat. The one mystery you solve is dragged out way to long and when you finally finish it you really have no reason to play this game again. If you love the series getting a chance to solve a case might be interesting, but trust me watching the show is a hundred times more fun than playing this.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 5

Playing this game without reading Japanese will be tough. If you had a complete FAQ you can beat it, but you’ll miss out on what’s going on.

US Bound?

Bandai has brought over a bunch of anime related games including Lupin and Inuyasha for PS2 so it seems likely this will come over.

+ Pros: It’s sort of like playing through an episode of Detective Conan.

– Cons: Too much wandering around and the clue system is more trial and error than thought.

Overall: The story is interesting, but it’s like playing one really long episode of Case Closed with boring gameplay.

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