November 15th, 2008


Flower, Sun and Rain

The arrival yesterday of the Nintendo DS version of Flower, Sun And Rain filled me with frustration because I had client work to do all day. I have been eagerly awaiting an English language version of Goichi Suda’s 2001 murder mystery game since I discovered his wild No More Heroes on the Wii. Now, however, I am frustrated by my complete inability to get into the game.

After a curious long introductory movie our hero Sumio Mondo, a slack detective drives across a tiny tropical island of Lospas in his Toyota Celica, which he has named 'Giggs'. He parks his knowingly uncool car in a huge car park that is largely empty. Right by the car is an item lying on the ground. Standing beside it triggers an option to enter a script sequence, which opens the item to show that it is a set of instructions and a snippet of tutorial. On the other side of his car is another item, which opens up to show yet another mechanism: the inputting of codes that are the core of the game. To select the correct one of the nine jacks with which to connect to the item I used trial and error, which the game later states to be the only effective approach. I then had to take the same approach to find that the single digit 7 was the required code.

At the far end of the car park (78 paces by the step counter that will eventually trigger rewards) Mondo's first contact stands beside his truck. Peter, the agent, asks Mondo to jack into his eye to input his birth date to validate his identity. The game text told me to check page 15 of the game manual where the answer is written "in black and white". Except that it isn't. On that page there are four blank rectangles and the advice that the player writes the code that they have chosen into those spaces.  According to the manual "Sumio's birthday is set at the start of a game after you enter a four digit number." But this is my first opportunity to input four digits. And every entry that I amke yields the 'Blank' response that indicated a wrong answer on the previous single-digit item. The game options offer no four-digit input opportunity. I do not fancy crunching 10,000 permutations.

Sadly, nobody else has yet addressed this online. And, in searching, I discovered disappointing reviews that make me wonder if I will find this worth the effort when I do get in. Does anybody have any guidance or suggestions?