View Single Post
Old 10-01-2007, 04:46 AM   #1318
Joe Redifer
Joe Redifer's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
J.B. Harold Murder Club
TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM

Definitely one of the better early CD games.

J.B. Harold Murder Club is a text-ish detective game similar to the detective scenes in the Phoenix Wright games. There's no courtroom here, but trying to figure things out, finding evidence and make the perpetrator confess to the crime is what this game is about. There is only one case in the whole game, and it's fairly long. It's also one of my guilty pleasures.

Oh shit! Now you need to find everyone associated with the
household and ask them where their asses were at 10:30.

Story: 7/10
A game like this absolutely relies on it's story, and fortunately it's a good one. A wealthy executive named Bill Robbins has been murdered... stabbed in the back and stuffed into a car. Pretty grisly stuff for a game made in 1990. You are J.B. Harold, the detective assigned to the case. You go around interviewing people, looking for evidence and trying to obtain search and arrest warrants when the need arises. The characters range from bland to quite memorable, and you do grow to know people and their personalities. The case itself is really cool, as is the background story behind it.

Despite graphics like these in the opening, the game does not have any action scenes or full motion video.

Graphics: 7/10
This game features digitized still photos of every person and every location featured in the game. There isn't any animation other than the opening scenes and people's pictures sliding in and out, but it all still works. While not the best the TurboGrafx could do with digitization, people still generally look pretty cool, if a little washed out. There isn't any video in this game so don't worry. The overhead map is tremendously bland, but fortunately you'll almost never be looking at it.

This game is a bit more adult-oriented
than your typical Phoenix Wright fare.

Sound: 7/10
Digitized voices have been recorded for each and every line in the game in both English and Japanese (your choice). Many of the voices are actually well acted. Unfortunately with so many voices in the game, the quality is a little grainy. Do not expect "cd quality" voices here, but the voices really do add to everyone's personality. You can also elect to turn the voices off completely which speeds up the game immensely. Most of the music is generated by the TurboGrafx-16 and it can get annoying after awhile, especially since there isn't much variety. There are a few jazz CD tracks which are absolutely awesome, my favorite is the theme that plays when you select "Investigation Rest".

This poor guy is hilarious! He has virtually no answers for you, but
you can harass him about everything anyway. His voice is insanely
awesome, especially in English. I wish he was the murderer.

Gameplay: 8/10
These kind of games really click with me for some reason. There's no puzzle solving to be done like in Hotel Dusk for the Nintendo DS, and everything you do revolves around navigating menus. Still, I love hounding people to death to get them to change their answers so I can get a search warrant and then arrest their ass! New questions to ask someone else come up after you talk with people, so visiting someone again won't always result in the same exact experience (though it'll be close). This game is a very tough nut to crack, even if you've beaten it before and already know who the killer is. There's always that one question or piece of evidence that you need to show someone that eludes you. It can be beaten, and I've been through the game several times. Turning off the voices really makes the game more smooth since it doesn't have to stop and load. You may turn them off once you figure you've heard enough and just want to get on with it and I certainly wouldn't blame you. Still though, the voices are half the fun. Well maybe 4/11 the fun.

This guy loves the cemetery. He never, ever leaves!

Wrap up:
This is an often overlooked yet worthwhile CD game that will work with any TurboDuo or TurboGrafx-CD system regardless of System Card version. It was ported from a computer game which I have not played, but nobody cares about PC games. I can still play my TurboGrafx, but I don't have a PC that is weak enough to play that version. I think you are supposed to throw away PC games when you are done with them, but I'll never throw away this TurboGrafx-16 CD game.
Joe Redifer is offline   Reply With Quote