- Port of the original Flower, Sun, and Rain.
Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise (花と太陽と雨と終わらない楽園, Hana to Taiyō to Ame to: Owaranai Rakuen; "Flower and Sun and Rain: Unending Paradise") is an adventure video game developed by h.a.n.d. Inc. for the Nintendo DS console. It is a modified version of Grasshopper Manufacture's sophomore game release, Flower, Sun, and Rain, although Grasshopper had minimal involvement in porting the game from PlayStation 2. This Nintendo DS version was initially released on March 6, 2008, and has been published in Japan, Europe and North America.
Players control protagonist Sumio Mondo, a "searcher" contracted to seek out people's misplaced possessions and other items. Unfortunately, Mondo quickly finds himself locked in a seemingly endless time loop, as he is forced to live out the same day over and over again: At the end of every day, a jumbo jet explodes as it takes off, resetting the loop. Every day, he must work to try and learn about the catastrophe, growing nearer and nearer to preventing the explosion and, he hopes, allowing him to escape.
The majority of gameplay consists of traversing the resort on foot and locating the right people and items to interact with. Mondo uses his suitcase-shaped computer, Catherine, to solve the mysteries he runs up against. Mondo is able to crack secret codes by using Catherine's dial for inputting numbers and her universally compatible serial bus to connect with various electronic systems and other jack-in points. The player uncovers various hints by speaking with people Mondo encounters, combined with a guidebook of Lospass Island to determine the correct numbers to input into Catherine and crack the codes.
Exclusive to this version of the game is the additional "Lost and Found" feature, which allows players to find additional hidden capsules, crack their codes and unlock bonus items. At the beginning of every chapter, the player is given a "Lost and Found Report" which gives him or her three clues regarding the capsules' whereabouts.
Arrival on Lospass IslandEdit
Searcher Sumio Mondo has been called to Lospass Island in order to deter a potential terrorist attack at its airport. After introducing himself, as well as his Toyota Celica, Giggs, to the player, Mondo proceeds to the Cunningham Bluesky parking lot, where he meets Commission agent Peter Bocchwinkur, a broker who takes him to his destination, the Flower, Sun, and Rain hotel. Mondo meets the hotel's manager Edo Macalister, who has hired him to locate the bomb planted at Lospass Airport. Mondo is shown to his room, where he rests for his job the next morning.
Mondo is woken the following morning by a call from the front desk, however as he leaves the room to start his day, he finds he has been locked inside and his room has miraculously transformed. After hearing a strange voice, he investigates the contents of the room, finding a peephole in the wall where two women have gathered on the other side. One woman introduces herself as Sue Sding, a hotel employee, while the other, a spiritual medium dubbed Sister Phantom, informs Mondo that she can see an evil spirit swirling with him, as Room 402 is apparently cursed. She goes on to explain that the trio must work fast to prevent Mondo from being possessed. As Sister focuses, Mondo continues rummaging around the room, his only significant find being a rare German camera pointed at a Bellini chair. However when he peers through the hole to report on his findings, he learns that Sister Phantom has panicked and fled. Sue attests that she has her own powers, and attempts to help Mondo in Sister's place, however in the process she falls asleep for a few moments.
When she wakes up, Sue recalls Edo Macalister once telling her about a harmless ghost residing at the hotel, which she realizes might have to do with strange phenomena at the Flower, Sun, and Rain such as toilet water overflowing, a drawing on a flower vase and her skirt being flipped up. She also claims the camera and the chair in Mondo's room may have to do with a page in the island's guidebook, which becomes an integral part of Mondo's days to come on Lospass. Referring to the guidebook, Mondo resolves the puzzle, allowing him to leave the room, which has spontaneously returned to normal. Outside, Mondo meets Sue Sding face-to-face, and Sister Phantom returns to confront them as well, contesting that she never actually fled. After explaining how evil spirits form and why Mondo was targeted by the ghost, Sister Phantom sets out to leave the island when an airplane explodes over Lospass.
"La vita continua"Edit
The next morning Mondo is woke by another call from Macalister informing him that breakfast is being served, and urging him to hurry off to the airport as if the explosion the day before has yet to occur. During his morning coffee, Mondo deduces that after Sister Phantom left the hotel he fell asleep, the airplane incident being something he only dreamed he saw. Before departing for the main lobby, Mondo receives another call from the front desk telling him another guest is calling for him. Mondo is connected to Stephan Charbonie, a system engineering specialist who lectures him on the importance of inspiration, which he likens to a spiritual power and sixth sense. Charbonie goes on to request Mondo use his searching skills to find his suitcase and return it to him at the pool on top of the building. In the stairwell Mondo encounters Mati Sding, Sue's foster mother and a maid at the hotel, who tripped over Charbonie's suitcase and dropped a service cart down the stairs. She refuses Mondo's offer to help and vouches to personally return the suitcase while Mondo carries on with his business. Unable to descend any further down the stairs with the cart blocking the way, Mondo heads to the roof to speak with Macalister at the Bar - Chiba-Chiba. Once he ascends to the top of the building however, Mondo pauses to answer a public telephone which has begun to ring.
On the other end, Charbonie berates Mondo for failing to recover his suitcase, although he forgives him so that he can move on to another matter, a cryptic explanation of his passion for soccer. Charbonie asks Mondo to identify who his favorite athlete is, directing him to start by speaking with Yayoi Hanayama, a woman sunbathing at the nearby pool. At first Hanayama is unhelpful, however using Charbonie's hints of Romanista, trequartista and "La vita continua," Mondo begins to make some connections. The conversation is interrupted when Hanayama's cellphone begins to ring, which she passes to Mondo. It is Charbonie, asking if he has learned the name of the player yet. Mondo has not, so Charbonie gives him another clue and directs him to speak with Macalister. Back to their conversation, both Mondo and Hanayama agree that Mondo's Catherine briefcase does not match his outfit or his personality. Mondo digresses that Catherine is "a fine woman. Certainly too good for me," and far above even Hanayama; Hanayama becomes attracted to Mondo for his honesty.
At the bar, Macalister provides Mondo with a wealth of answers to Charbonie's puzzle. Macalister explains to Mondo that "La vita continua" is Italian for "Life goes on," and more importantly that it was a phrase spoken by the soccer player Alberto Ferrente after missing a kick which cost his team the 1994 World Cup. After being informed about a page on soccer in The Lospass, Mondo has most of the answers he needs to report back to Charbonie at his hotel room. While the room is empty, Mondo uses Catherine to Jack-In to the soccer fanatic's suitcase and solve the puzzle. The suitcase opens to a cellphone ringing inside – Charbonie once again. The man likens what he put Mondo through to a soccer game, by "laying traps," setting up passes and eventually allowing Mondo to score the goal. The conversation returns to the topic of inspiration. When Charbonie asks Mondo how it felt the moment he realized the solution, he is startled by Mondo's quip to "Try taking the shot yourself." Mondo then kicks Charbonie's suitcase out the veranda, sending it careening into an oncoming airplane, exploding it.
The psychology of wrestlersEdit
It is a new day, but Sumio Mondo is woken by the same call from the front desk. Reclining with a morning coffee before he sets out for the lobby, Mondo ponders Stephan Charbonie's eccentric behavior. It also occurs to him that since arriving on Lospass, he has begun to suddenly fall asleep, as well as have trouble remembering events of the day before. Mondo is still under the impression that the plane he has seen explode twice was dreamed, deducing that because "dreams predict the worst possible outcome," the plane incidents are just reminders of what will happen should Mondo fail his objective of locating the bomb. Mondo sets out for the lobby but he encounters another obstruction in the stairwell, a wrestler too focused on his drills to let Mondo pass. Edo Macalister has also taken notice to the problem, but contends there is nothing he can do, as the man, El Crasher, is too focused on his routine to listen. Mondo is cautious not to distract Crasher, fearing "a kick in the face or something," and takes Macalister's suggestion to search for the wrestler's travel companion at his room.
Mondo finds El Crasher's guest room empty but not quiet, as the sound of a wrestling match playing on a television fills the room. Noticing this, in addition to a Japanese wrestling magazine with Crasher on the cover page laying on the coffee table, Mondo utters that the wrestler takes his training too seriously. Having failed to find El Crasher's partner, Mondo retraces back to the bar to speak with Macalister, who provides him with some background information about the man he is looking for, Mr. Pirate. Pirate is the manager and trainer of El Crasher, as well as the alter ego of El Soulfight, a wrestler whose status is worshiped on Lospass Island. Macalister tells Mondo where to find the man, however to his dismay Mr. Pirate's guest room door is locked. Nevertheless, the dead end gives Mondo the feeling of a powerful presence. The searcher returns to the bar hoping for more of Macalister's cooperation. Fortunately, the manager suggests Mondo use the hotel's phone service to contact Pirate's guest room, but contends that Mondo use El Crasher's phone instead of his own – the call is a success. Mondo tells Mr. Pirate that he needs his help, and after a brief conversation, Pirate arranges to meet the searcher on the roof.
Mr. Pirate allows Mondo to explain the situation, but he declines to help the searcher with breaking El Crasher's focus, assuring him that nothing he says or does would be enough to gain Crasher's attention. Pirate laments that because Crasher failed to understand some of his teachings, "El's last few matches have been painful to me eyes." As a result, Pirate has allowed Crasher to redeem himself by offering to train him on Lospass. Mondo again pleas Pirate to help with the situation, to which he reiterates that there is nothing he can do. He does however suggest Mondo use his searching skills to find a way for Crasher to recognize that he must treat his every fight like a death match.
Studying The Lospass, Mondo discovers an article where Mr. Pirate mentions the "fight of 2-10," where El Crasher fought his most serious bout against Dragon. Jacking-In to Crasher, Mondo is able to rekindle the wrestler's fighting spirit. However in a comical twist of fate as Mondo had earlier predicted, Mondo is kicked into submission by Crasher's adrenaline rush. He wakes up in pain by the hotel pool with El Crasher by his side, thanking him for his help regardless of the fact that Mondo's intervention was for personal reasons. Crasher also praises Mr. Pirate for helping Mondo solve the dilemma and declares that "[He] shall cast off [his] old ways and take on battles with a new mentality," before inviting Mondo to train with him – an offer the searcher happily passes on. El Crasher and Mr. Pirate then begin their training bout on top of the hotel, during which Pirate expresses to Mondo how the psychology of wrestlers is "a strange thing," in that Crasher fought against the good within himself, without realizing that this was detrimental to his training. Finally, as Mr. Pirate throws a punch, an airplane explodes overhead.
An angel on LospassEdit
Another morning begins and Sumio Mondo receives his morning wake-up call from the front desk, after which he again reflects on events the day prior, observing that wrestlers live by a unique sense of logic which ordinary people aren't meant to understand. He then departs for the hotel lobby, but on the second floor stairwell Mondo's path is again halted when he encounters an inebriated woman demanding he find a weapon capable of killing a vampire. Unable to progress any further downstairs, Mondo plays along with the woman's request and visits the floor's Power Dinner restaurant, which is also being frequented by the bartender Stuart Locke, as well as Stephan Charbonie.
Mondo once again attempts to head to the airport to prevent the explosion, and once again ends up being thwarted; he repeatedly encounters other hotel guests and island residents people requesting his help with various problems, largely including searching for missing items. Day after day, this distracts him long enough to lead to a repeat of the previous day's explosion, and over and over again Mondo awakens in his hotel room before any of the day's events have taken place.
Halfway through the game, Mondo experiences his first and last night on the island. Sue Sding the maid sends Mondo to the lighthouse, because her powers as a medium have informed her that Mondo will save the island on a night with a crescent moon. Per her instructions, Mondo solves the secret of the island (though he doesn't understand what he's uncovered), and after following her to the roof, he is killed by a terrorist named Sundance Shot. The next morning, two federal agents, Yoshimitsu Koshimizu and Remy Fawzil (recurring characters from The Silver) arrive to investigate investigate Mondo's murder. Yoshimitsu encounters Step Sding, a local thief, making off with Catherine, and finds that the culprit is actually a clone transformed into a living bomb; Remy, for her part, finds a hidden cloning facility underneath the island. Later, a third-year high school student named Toriko Kusabi, up til now seen in snatches of Mondo's dreams, makes a pact with her enemy Sundance Shot to somehow resurrect Mondo and let him continue his quest. Their bet is that if Mondo is able to find Sundance, the terrorist will cease to exist, but Mondo in turn is unknowingly staking his own life as well.
In the game's penultimate chapter, Mondo meets Tokio Morishima (another character from The Silver), who is responsible for the time loop. He explains that it is caused by the Silver Eye, which grants its bearer immortality, something that both he and Sundance possess; when two Silver Eyes come within a certain range of each other, the will of God is invoked and time begins to spiral. Tokio agrees to stop the time loop with Catherine's help, allowing Mondo to finally reach the airport on time.
As the final chapter opens, Edo reveals that Lospass Island is an artificial island which was colonized to cultivate a particular type of indigenous hyena for their silver eyes. This eventually lead to the birth of the "Shot Tribe," aborigines on Lospass. Because of this, he was planning to blow it up with a time bomb, but that time bomb was stolen by Sundance and taken to the plane to stop the island from blowing up. Mondo heads to the airport and defuses numerous android bombs. After defusing all of the android bombs, he meets Yoshimitsu and Remy blocking access to the plane he's supposed to be on. They stop his progress, but Toriko shows up presently, assuring him that the saviour is about to arrive. In fact, the genuine Sumio Mondo then arrives on the scene as well, to the deep confusion of everyone but Toriko, and finally Sundance appears on the scene.
Sundance reveals that Sumio Mondo is actually the 16th genome clone of Sumio Kodai (the main character of The Silver) and that Sundance is one of the other 15 clones. He explains that each of the clones lived through one day on Lospass Island, and now their memories are in Sumio's possession, because the others will remain on Lospass when Sundance's body explodes, destroying the island. Sumio then catches the plane with agent Bocchwinkur, who also transported him there to begin with, and escapes the island.
The game ends with a cliffhanger, in which Peter reveals himself as Tetsuguro Kusabi (another character from The Silver), Toriko's father and Sumio's former partner from the Felonious 2nd Division.
The music of Flower, Sun, and Rain was originally composed by Masafumi Takada and Shingo Yasumoto, credited as "Torn." When the game was ported to Nintendo DS, Grasshopper's sound team made several adjustments to the game's soundtrack, altering select songs and even adding new ones written by Takada and Jun Fukuda. Flower, Sun, and Rain also features a number of arrangements of classical songs by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Claude Debussy, George Gershwin and Erik Satie.
The initial version of Flower, Sun, and Rain for the PlayStation 2 has received limited exposition. It was not until the release of the Nintendo DS port in 2008 that professional reviewers gave the game widespread attention. Critical reaction to the game however has been fairly mixed. On the aggregator Game Rankings, the game has scored a rank of 55.85% out of 33 reviews, while on Metacritic, the game currently holds a score of 54 based on 36 reviews.
Reviewing for Cubed3, Adam Riley notes that "Visually the game is certainly a mixed bag, with strange-looking polygonal characters that are lacking in defined features, but look purposeful in their creation, adding to the quirky nature of the game's theme in general." Riley also calls Flower, Sun, and Rain "most likely one of the strangest games available on DS so far, and yet in the same breath proves to be one of the most captivating experiences on offer," scoring the game with 8 out of 10. Nintendojo defended the game's poor graphics, pointing out that "The original version was a very early PS2 title, so Flower Sun and Rain hasn't lost a lot of graphical oomph with its DS transition," and evaluated the game 7.7 out of 10.
1UP's Ray Barnholt cites that "As interesting as FSR was eight years ago on PS2, its graphics were terrible, and it doesn't look much better on DS -- perhaps even worse, considering the lower resolution and lack of texture filtering [...] It's a shame, because the game elicits a definite island "feel" from the amber shores and lush background foliage, but the player has to squint to appreciate it." Barnholt goes on to express that "It's not easy to feel certain one way or the other about Flower, Sun, and Rain." He did however receive the game's plot well, noting that "the story is the number one reason most people will want to check it out -- its all-around surrealism could be compared to a Haruki Murakami novel." Barnholt concludes his review with a C rating, observing that Flower, Sun, and Rain "shows that Grasshopper was on the upswing after this game, with much better work in the insane, multi-threaded story of Killer 7, and the brazen action of No More Heroes."
Cheat Code Central's Nathan Meunier criticized the movement scheme offered by the control pad, labeling it "imprecise and awkward." Meunier went on state that the added touch screen controls add balance and "a more accurate means of navigating the island and interacting with objects." Meunier summarized his review with a 3.6 out of 5 rating, and a comment that despite the game's dated presentation, "The sheer quirkiness of the game's completely oddball story, unexpected humor, and downright weird character interactions is a rare treat."
Most reviewers highly regarded the game's soundtrack, and although enticed by the game's complex plot, many had trouble summarizing it. Eric L. Patterson of Play likened the story to "watching a dream unfold on your DS; events and characters and locations are brought together without any logic to their connections, and yet, that complete lack of logic is in itself logical, just as the best dreams we humans have are a seemingly random series of events that make perfect sense at that moment."
Edge raves that as a script, the game is "for at least two thirds, hugely witty and effortlessly mad, eliciting enough regular laughs to cover for the game's otherwise painfully tedious forms of interaction." The review contends that as the plot progresses however, it "gives you less and less incentive to continue – and in fact mocks you for doing so. Characters frequently launch postmodern assaults on the fourth wall, pointing out the game's clunky mechanics, audiovisual failings and the near-negligible level of challenge from the puzzles." Edge also criticized "the many unnecessary journeys from one side of the island to the other, involving between five and 15 minutes of walking." Edge concluded its review of the game with a rating of 4 out of 10.
Reviewing for Eurogamer, Oli Welsh noted that "In contrast to the finer examples of videogame detective fiction - the Phoenix Wright games, for example - Flower, Sun and Rain's plot and puzzles never seem to meet in the middle. The strictly numerical codes [...] are laboriously laid out in text - lost-and-found notes, or the hotel's guide book - and then signposted with painful awkwardness in the dialogue," concluding that "You won't ever use deduction or intuition to solve a problem." Welsh also criticized the game's "crudely rendered 3D world" and "mind-numbingly dogged" linearity, which he cites as an annoyance at first, "but as the physical scope of the game expands, it takes tedium and irritation to new heights." Welsh did make note of some positive aspects of the game however, particularly its cast of characters, the translation's ability to keep "the cheeky, off-the-wall charm of Suda 51's writing intact," and the soundtrack, which featured a number of rearrangements of classic compositions. Welsh evaluated the game with a score of 5 out of 10.
North American scansEdit
- An actual replica of The Lospass: Official Guide Book, used to solve most of the puzzles in Flower, Sun, and Rain, was published in limited numbers by Sony Magazines Inc.
- ↑ Flower, Sun, and Rain. Metacritic.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Flower, Sun and Rain (Nintendo DS). Cubed3. Adam Riley. December 4, 2008.
- ↑ Flower Sun and Rain: Murder And Mystery In Paradise Review. Nintendojo. 2009.
- ↑ Flower Sun and Rain (Nintendo DS). 1UP. Ray Barnholt. June 16, 2009.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Flower, Sun, and Rain Review. Cheat Code Central. Nathan Meunier. 2009.
- ↑ Flower, Sun and Rain. Play. Eric L. Patterson. July 24, 2009.
- ↑ Review: Flower, Sun and Rain. Edge. Edge Staff. November 15, 2008.
- ↑ Flower, Sun and Rain Review. Eurogamer. Oli Welsh. November 5, 2008.
- Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise at Gamespot
- Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise at IGN