Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shoujo (ファミコン探偵倶楽部PartII うしろに立つ少女), also known as Famicom Detective Club: The Girl in Back, is the second game in the Famicom Tantei Club franchise. The title is a prequel to the first game, Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha, and was was originally released on two disks for the Famicom Disk System. Zenpen, the first disk, was released on May 23, 1989 and the second disk, Kouhen, on June 30, 1989. The title was developed jointly between Nintendo R&D1 and Tose.
Famicom Tantei Club Part II was later released for the Super Famicom, with improved graphics, sound and other changes, through the Nintendo Power service on April 1, 1998. On August 10, 2004, the original Famicom title was released under the Famicom Mini Series for the Game Boy Advance. Both versions of the game were also later released for the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console in 2008 and 2009 as well as the Nintendo 3DS in 2013 and 2017. And finally, years later, a complete remake of Famicom Tantei Club Part II was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2021 which was published in North America as Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind.
Super Famicom Differences
The Super Famicom version contained many differences from the Famicom Disk System version (not all gameplay related differences). It added the personal assessment seen at the end of the game, as well as the Ayumi compatibility rating. The personality assessment takes into account various factors (if the player is constantly touching girls, for example, they are given the flirtatious assessment). Ayumi's compatibility is based on whether or not the player flirted with other girls in the game, as well as kindness towards Ayumi.
The graphics and sound of the Super Famicom version were also changed. The composer of both versions was Kenji Yamamoto (of Super Metroid fame). Most of the songs were either remixed or extended, but there were a few added songs. In addition, the better sound chip of the Super Famicom allowed for there to be synthesized voices for a few of the characters. In the search for Ayumi, the Super Famicom version is changed to a text and visual search (while the Famicom Disk System verison just had the player exploring a maze to find Ayumi).
The Super Famicom version also added (or extended) many cutscenes. The Super Famicom version takes many things into effect, from sepia tone scenes, to scrolling, fading, animation, transparency, scrolling, and black and white scenes. In addition, the graphics "zoom in" on characters' faces during some scenes. Not all characters in the Famicom Disk System game were given sprites, but in the Super Famicom version, every character (no matter how minor) is given a sprite.
Famicom Tantei Club Part II is a traditional adventure game. The game is navigated through menus (such as Ask About, Check, Take, Open, Show, etc). Some actions only show up during certain portions, so not all are readily available (making the goal occasionally to "trigger" the next event by choosing the right options). At some points, there are portions where the player is quizzed on previous events in the game (such as who was murdered when, who was the witness, etc). Interacting with characters sometimes gives the player a choice of the next course of action, although each one ends up at the same eventual end.
There is no way to get a game over, per se, but one female police officer does break the fourth wall. By choosing the Check option on the police officer's breasts, the police officer will give the player a fake game over, and then insult the protagonist every time she is spoken with from that point on. Other than this, there are no game overs (events in which the player is in danger have no time limit, giving the player unlimited time before triggering the next event). This makes the game more of an interactive story game than a point-and-click adventure game.
The Super Famicom version had some added gameplay features, as well. It added a memo feature, which contained notes on every character in the game (except for the protagonist, Maruyama, Fumi Tazaki, Shunsuke Utsugi, and characters who are not given names). This memo feature is what is used to occasionally quiz the player. In addition, it is used as the review at the end of each chapter.
The game opens with a young boy being pursued by two men. He runs, but bumps into another man and is caught by the two police officers. The man he bumped into introduces himself as a detective named Shunsuke Utsugi, and takes in the young boy (the protagonist of the game who ran away from an orphanage in order to find his long-lost parents). This scene is described as "three years ago."
The scene shifts to "a few months later," where the boy is seen working as Utsugi's assistant. They are called in to investigate a murder; a teenage girl who (after the protagonist finds a notebook in the muck) is identified as Yoko Kojima. She was a student at Ushimitsu High School. As this is happening, Tatsuya Hibino (an English teacher at Ushimitsu, and Yoko's homeroom teacher) and Ayumi Tachibana (a close friend of Yoko's, and a member of Ushimitsu's detective team) show up. They are both shocked to find Yoko dead.
In the chapters following, the protagonist discovers a lot about Yoko Kojima and her life in the days and weeks preceding her murder. She was part of the school's detective team as well, and had been investigating a case on her own. She was investigating (unbeknownst to the rest of the team) The Tale of the Girl in Back, a "ghost story" that had been circulating around the school for many years. According to the rumor, if someone is in the hallway, alone, then they will hear a voice calling from behind them. Turning around, they will see a blood-soaked girl in a Ushimitsu school uniform. Naturally, the tale varies from student to student, but the core of the story stays the same.
The story originated when Shinobu Asakawa, a student at Ushimitsu 15 years previous to the events of the game, went missing. Yoko's murder appears to be linked to another case, that of Genjiro Kaneda (an unsolved murder from 15 years ago). When Kaneda was murdered, Shinobu was supposedly the only eyewitness, although she disappeared. Solving that case also becomes a priority, as its statute of limitations is about to expire.
Another teacher at Ushimitsu, Hisako Hayama, eventually reveals that she was the originator of The Tale of the Girl in Back, when she was a student at Ushimitsu. She said she was going to school to get some homework she forgot (which happened to be the very same night that Kaneda was murdered), and she heard a voice calling her name. Turning around, she saw a blood-soaked girl in a Ushimitsu school uniform. Hayama discovering the blood-soaked girl matches up with the timeline of the murder, making Shinobu's survival a possibility.
The school's janitor, Toshio Tazaki is then introduced. He is generally hostile towards the protagonist in the greater half of the game. As the game progresses, he becomes more and more of a suspect, as he had a debt to Kaneda at the time of his murder. He did have a strong alibi (he was plastering a wall from the time of the murder to midnight) that was confirmed by the principal of the school, Tadashi Urabe (a man whom is respected by many). Hayama did pass by the wall on her way running from the blood-soaked girl (around the time of the murder), and Tazaki was not there, and the wall was unfinished. This means that Tazaki was lying about his alibi, and Urabe was covering for him.
Tazaki is eavesdropping when Hayama reveals this to the protagonist, so he runs off (and the protagonist fails to catch him). Back at the detective agency, the protagonist is with Ayumi. Ayumi gives him some drugged coffee, and then sets out to search for Yoko's murderer alone (she strongly believes it is Tazaki). She feared for the protagonist's safety, and decided to take matters into her own hands. After the protagonist awakes, he quickly sets out to search for Ayumi. He tracks her to a downtown galleria, Tazaki's house, and then his mother (Fumi Tazaki), who leads him to a cliff. There, Tazaki is holding Ayumi with a knife over her head, threatening to stab her. He breaks, however, and says he cannot do it. Instead, he confesses that he did have a false alibi, but that he did not kill Kaneda or Yoko (Ayumi and the protagonist decide to believe him).
In the next chapter, the protagonist finally confronts Urabe. He admits to providing a false alibi for Takazi. He is not regretful for that action at all, however, as he feels that protecting an innocent man is something worth lying for. In this chapter (and the many following it), it is seen that most of the teachers and students respect Urabe very much, not only as a principal, but as a man.
While interrogating Tetsuharu Komada, one of the oldest teachers at Ushimitsu, the protagonist notices a portrait that looks strangely like Yoko. It ends up to be a portrait of Shinobu, who has an uncanny resemblance to Yoko (later revealed to be because of a blood relationship; Yoko is Shinobu's cousin). Ryoko Katsuragi, the painter of the portrait was good friends with Shinobu at the time, and reveals many things about Shinobu's personality (as well as revealing that Shinobu had a good friend with the last name of Uchida). "Uchida" matches the last name of Teruhiko Uchida, the original suspect in Kaneda's murder (who committed suicide days before).
Hitomi Kawai is then introduced. He was Yoko's best friend, and one of the members of Ushimitsu's detective club. He decides to help investigate his friend's murder. Through him, the protagonist discovers the Sambora Bar & Saloon, a location that Goro Kaneda (Genjiro Kaneda's son) frequented. The bartender speaks of something Goro said while drunk (hinting that he knows who the killer is), so the protagonist heads to go interrogate Goro.
At Goro's apartment, the protagonist sees two men struggling. Running in, the protagonist finds Goro dead of multiple stab wounds, and the murderer is running away in the parking lot. After calling in the police, the protagonist notices a pen clasped in Goro's hands, with the initials T.U. These initials match those of Teruhiko Uchida (the original suspect) and Tadashi Urabe (the principal).
Supposedly during the murder, Urabe was out on business. So instead of pursuing that lead, the protagonist begins to uncover more about Shinobu's mysterious Uchida friend. Another friend of Shinobu, Sayaka Ishibashi, reveals that Uchida was the son of Teruhiko, named Tatsuya Uchida. In the yearbook, the protagonist discovers that Tatsuya is, in fact, Tatsuya Hibino. Hibino talks about how he hated the Kaneda family, and despite the fact he had no alibi, still denies being involved in Kaneda's murder (although he admits he is glad they are dead).
Investigating a lead at the Sambora Bar & Saloon, the protagonist discovers that Goro ten days previously had shouted out in joy that "he always wins." After discovering that at that time the news had been playing an interview with Urabe, expressing his sadness about Yoko's murder, the protagonist begins to more actively pursue the pen lead (suspecting it to be Tadashi Urabe). Hayama reveals that she could not contact Urabe at the hotel, but when she phoned his home, he was there. So, he has no alibi for being out of town.
Suspecting Shinobu's body to still be on campus, the protagonist interrogates Tazaki a last time. He says that he did, at one point, take a break, and it seemed as though someone was tampering with his tools. Therefore, it was possible that someone took his tools and used them to hide the body. Returning to the detective agency, the protagonist gets an anonymous phone call saying that Urabe is at the school, and was responsible for all of the murders. Having left Ayumi and Hibino alone at the school, the protagonist races to Ushimitsu.
After finding the two safe, they run into the principal's office. There, he is lying in a pool of his own blood, with a note that he supposedly wrote confessing to all of those murders. At that moment, Hibino finally breaks. He reveals he was, in fact, the murderer. When he went to kill Kaneda, he left a message on Urabe's answering machine revealing his intentions. When Urabe came to try and stop him, he accidentally hit a fleeing Shinobu (killing her on impact). Taking her back to the school, Hibino left her lying on the floor (Urabe later hid the body in a mirror). Hibino also murdered Goro and Yoko (whose body was also moved by Urabe). When Hibino corners Ayumi and the protagonist, he stabs a mirror, and the body of Shinobu falls out on top of him, stopping him long enough for the Maruyama (a detective), Utsugi, and the rest of the police force to arrive and take him into custody.
In the ending cutscene, many other things are revealed relating to the personal discoveries of Utsugi. In addition, Ayumi is added to the detective agency as a full time detective (as well as Utsugi's assistant). The game ends with a personality assessment, compatibility with Ayumi, and a short epilogue for the first game, Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha (as Famicom Tantei Club Part II is a prequel).
The main character is a nameless young boy who ran away from an orphanage in an attempt to find his long-lost parents. He met Shunsuke Utsugi and became his assistant detective at 15 years old. The protagonist is then involved in solving the murder of Yoko Kojima. The player gets to decide on the protagonist's personality (and is given an assessment of it at the end of the game), as well as closeness to the another important character, Ayumi Tachibana.
Ayumi Tachibana is a good friend of the first murder victim, Yoko Kojima. She attends Ushimitsu High School during most of the game. Ayumi is also a member of Ushimitsu's detective club, so she helps the main character solve the murder of her friend (and the resulting murders). At the end of the game, she joins Utsugi and the protagonist in the detective agency, and returns as the main character of BS Tantei Club: Yuki ni Kieta Kako. Ayumi Tachibana is also 15 years old.
Shunsuke Utsugi is a 36 year old private detective (and the founder of the agency that the main character is a part of). Utsugi is regarded very highly by the police, so he is constantly being called in to assist in solving cases. During the events of the game, he is working on the murder of Genjiro Kaneda (which is revealed to be linked to the Yoko Kojima case).
Yoko Kojima is a 16 year old student at Ushimitsu High School, and the victim of the first murder in the game. She was investigating the legend of the Girl in Back at the time of her murder, which proves to be an important part of the story during the events of the game. Her best friend was Ayumi Tachibana, and the two of them were part of Ushimitsu's detective club.
Hitomi Kawai is another 16 year old student at Ushimitsu High School. He is the third member of the detective club at the high school, and was very close friends with Yoko Kojima. At first, he is very hostile towards the protagonist, but becomes friends over the course of the game. For most of the game, the main character finds Hitomi to be very odd (dressing in strange clothing, odd mannerisms, etc).
Tatsuya Hibino is the 31 year old English teacher at Ushimitsu High School. He was also the homeroom teacher for Yoko Kojima, and at first appears to be very disturbed and shaken by her murder. Later, he is revealed to be Tatsuya Uchida, son of Teruhiko Uchida (the murder suspect of Genjiro Kaneda). Hibino is later revealed to be the murderer behind Genjiro Kaneda, Yoko Kojima, and Goro Kaneda's deaths.
Tadashi Urabe is the 57 year old principal of Ushimitsu High School. He is well-respected by students and teachers alike, not only as a principal, but as a person. He is always calm and contained, but tries to protect everyone (to his detriment). He accidentally ran over Shinobu Asakawa 15 years previous to the events of the game.
Hisako Hayama is an alumna of Ushimitsu High School, and the 32 year old biology teacher at the school. Hayama is the originator of the legend of the Girl in Back. She came to school one night to get a homework assignment, heard a voice, and saw a bloodied Shinobu Asakawa. She is embarrassed to be the source of this legend, but remains firm in what she saw.
Toshio Tazaki is the 58 year old janitor of Ushimitsu High School. At first, he appears to be the murderer of Genjiro Kaneda, as he had proper motives, a quick temper, and a debt to Genjiro Kaneda. However, he had an alibi (he was repairing a wall) that was confirmed by Urabe. When this alibi falls apart, Tazaki reveals that he really wasn't doing that, but that he wasn't the murderer (which ends up being true). He is normally calm, but can get very mad very quickly.
Goro Kaneda is Genjiro Kaneda's adopted son. After Genjiro's death, Goro inherited all of his wealth, making life very easy for Goro. During the events of the game, he begins to run out of money, so he blackmails Urabe (who he witnessed hitting Shinobu). Goro is later murdered in his apartment. At the time of his death, he was 31 years old.
Tetsuharu Komada is the oldest teacher at Ushimitsu High School at 59 years old (he has been the art teacher for the school for 35 years). Thus, he provides much information to the protagonist (albeit cryptic information) over the course of the game. He is great friends with Urabe, so he respects him very much and gets angry when the protagonist begins to suspect Urabe as a murderer.
Shinobu Asakawa was a student of Ushimitsu High School who went missing 15 years before the events of the game (at age 16). She was the only witness of Genjiro Kaneda's murder. When she got hit by Urabe's car and ran off to Ushimitsu, Hayama saw her and began the tale of the Girl in Back.
Genjiro Kaneda was a hated pub owner who was murdered 15 years before the beginning of the game. Genjiro was hated due to tendency to demand outrageous amounts of interest after he loaned people money. He was the cause of many people's deaths, including Teruhiko Uchida, who committed suicide because of his debts toward Genjiro.
Ryoko Katsuragi is an alumna of Ushimitsu High School, and the painter of a portrait of Shinobu Asakawa. Ryoko provides much information about Shinobu that is helpful towards the investigation, including the last name of one of Shinobu's best friends: Uchida. This is later revealed to be Tatsuya Uchida, who later changes his name to Tatsuya Hibino.
Sayaka Ishibashi is another alumna of Ushimitsu High School, and good friends with Ryoko Katsuragi during the events of the game. Sayaka gives the protagonist information on Shinobu, as she was in the same class as her. In addition, she brings a yearbook that helps the protagonist to identify Tatsuya Uchida as Tatsuya Hibino.
Teruhiko Uchida was the original murder suspect in the death of Genjiro Kaneda. Teruhiko owned a factory, but lost it because of Genjiro. He was very bitter over this, so he was the original murder suspect. However, he committed suicide two days before Genjiro's murder. Teruhiko is the father of Tatsuya Hibino.
Despite the original game never being released outside of Japan, the Super Famicom version of Famicom Tantei Club Part II was unofficially translated into English in 2004 by two people well-known in the fan translation scene: Tomato (known for his work on Mother 3, Star Ocean, and official translations such as One Piece) and Demiforce (a person who has done ROM hacking work on games such as Radical Dreamers and who developed the game Trism for the iPhone). They changed many graphic-related Japanese characters (such as on the school's sign), added a few American references (such as one to Law & Order), and even added a reference to Demiforce (the protagonist can discover some graffiti that says "Demiforce forever!").