Flower, Sun, and Rain
Victor Interactive Software|
Marvelous Entertainment (DS)
Rising Star Games (DS, EU)
JP March 6, 2008
EU November 14, 2008
US January 15, 2009
AU June 16, 2009
Flower, Sun, and Rain (花と太陽と雨と) is an adventure game for the Sony PlayStation 2. It was directed by Goichi Suda and developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. While the initial 2001 PlayStation 2 version was only released in Japan, a port to the Nintendo DS with the subtitle Murder and Mystery in Paradise (Neverending Paradise in Japan) was released around the world in 2008.
Flower, Sun, and Rain is a 3D adventure game in which the player controls their character in open environments, talks to characters and examines objects. Although the player can generally move anywhere within a given map, the plot progression is highly linear and there is usually only one thing they must examine to move on, and areas unnecessary for the current chapter cannot be entered. The majority of interaction comes in the form of puzzles that protagonist Sumio Mondo must solve using his computer-briefcase Catherine. Catherine can be plugged in to various objects or even characters; upon successfully doing so, the player must enter a numerical code. Entering the correct code will solve the puzzle and allow the plot to move forward.
The majority of these puzzles are solved by locating the code within an in-game guidebook known as The Lospass which is issued to Mondo early in the game. Generally, the code is in the form of a number tangentially or directly related to the object Catherine is being jacked into. Hints as to what page they should look for can, and sometimes must, be found by talking to characters in the environment. There are also certain instances in the game in which you do not play as Sumio Mondo, or when Mondo does not have access to Catherine; at these times, there are no numeric puzzles to solve as Catherine is not present.
- Request 00: Welcome to the "Flower,Sun,and Rain"
- Request 01: Gymnopédie#1
- Request 02: Air in G
- Request 03: "From the New World" Symphony No.9 in E minor,Op.95
- Request 04: 'S Wonderful
- Request 05: The Entertainer
- Request 06: Air in G
- Request 07: Children's corner
- Request 08: Ave Maria
- Request 09: Rhapsody in Blue
- Request 10: I Love You, Porgy
- Request 11: Clair de Lune
- Request 12: I Got Rhythm
- Request 13: La fille aux cheveux de lin
- Request 14: Träumerei
- Request 15: L'Après-Midi d'un Faune
- Request 16: Pavane pour une infante défunte
- Request 17: Kill the Past
- Request 18: An American in Paris
The game opens with its protagonist, Sumio Mondo, having arrived on Lospass Island. Mondo explains to the player that he is a "searcher" who has the ability to find almost anything with the help of his computer-briefcase, Catherine. His mission on Lospass Island is only his next in a long line, but at the onset, he is not aware of the details of his assignment. Over the course of the opening chapter of the game, Mondo makes his way to the Hotel Flower, Sun, and Rain, where he will be staying over the course of his time on the island, and meets his client, the hotel manager Edo Macalister.
Edo explains Mondo's mission to him: a terrorist is targeting the island, and has placed their bomb on a plane leaving from Lospass Airport. Sumio's job is to find the bomb before the plane takes off so it can be removed. However, he is also warned that Lospass Island is home to a "crazy magnetic field" that causes a "certain instance of time" to repeat eternally. Mondo finds himself confused by this idea, but agrees to do his best to find the bomb.
However, on his first day of searching, he finds himself sidetracked by a mischievous spirit that his trapped him in a room called the Sealed Space. By the time he manages to deal with the issue, he sees the plane fly through the sky and explode; he was too late. Soon after, though, Mondo wakes up on his first day once again and is instructed to reach the airport to find the bomb as soon as he can. Mondo finds himself seemingly repeating the same day over and over, each day making it a little bit closer to the airport, but always having to deal with other problems that prevent him from ever reaching it in time.
Connection to The Silver Case
Although not advertised as such, Flower, Sun, and Rain actually takes place in the same world as The Silver Case (informally known as "Kill the Past"). While signs of this can be spotted from the very beginning - familiar names like "Sumio", "Kusabi", etc. - attention is not called to these connections, leaving players who have not played The Silver Case unlikely to notice.
More concrete connections can be found in The Lospass, a guidebook provided to Mondo and the player by Edo Macalister. The Lospass explicitly mentions Ward 24 and Sayaka Baian, in contexts that match up with their appearances in The Silver Case.
The connections become more and more apparent the longer one goes into the game. By the halfway point and onwards, there are several explicit references in the main story, and knowledge of the events of The Silver Case becomes necessary to follow the plot. The conclusion of the game directly ties into The Silver Case and establishes Flower, Sun, and Rain as a sequel.
Flower, Sun, and Rain began development after the release of The Silver Case. As a reaction to the dark, depressing setting of The Silver Case, Flower, Sun, and Rain was given a light-hearted tone and took place in a bright, tropical setting, becoming a sort of opposite of The Silver Case. The numeric puzzles were designed to add thematic consistency to the work and resonate with Mondo's character, as opposed to the puzzles of The Silver Case which all used different systems. Most staff members from The Silver Case returned to work on Flower, Sun, and Rain. The idea to reuse characters in very different ways was inspired by manga artist Osamu Tezuka, who used a technique known as his "Star System" to cast the same characters as different roles in different works. Despite this, Flower, Sun, and Rain's returning characters from other works are the same characters in-universe.
Along with the game, a companion book known as the Flower, Sun, and Rain Official Fan Book was released. This book contained a replica of the in-game book The Lospass, as well as walkthroughs, character profiles, art and comments on the story.
Murder and Mystery in Paradise
The 2008 DS port, Murder and Mystery in Paradise, was developed based on Suda's desire to see his pre-killer7 games released overseas. Suda and Grasshopper were not directly involved with the porting process, however. Due to the limitations of the DS, the graphical quality had to be lowered drastically to release it on the system, and a new version of the soundtrack had to be created. The game was not popular in the west due to these issues, as well as the fact that the plot relied on knowledge of The Silver Case, which would not be translated for several more years.
Some extra features were added to the DS port, such as the ability to open Catherine at any point of the game instead of only when a puzzle presents itself. Catherine's menu was also given new features such as a notepad and a "Goods" menu, which allowed the player to peruse character and jack-in target profiles (the former being the same as those in the Official Fan Book). A number of optional puzzles, known as Lost and Found, were added to the game. Jack-in targets for these were hidden around most chapters, and a memo found at the beginning of each chapter gave the puzzles required to solve each input. Solving a Lost and Found puzzle rewarded you with its corresponding item, available to view in the Goods menu. An X Search System was added to the game allowing the player to more easily locate these items. Unlocking large amounts of items (among other feats) rewards the player with costumes for Sumio Mondo that can be worn using the closet in his room.
The scripts between the initial European release and the US release of the DS version are slightly different. In most cases, this is just grammar and terminology changes, i.e. changing "lorry" to "truck", or changing the spelling of characters' names to alternate romanizations. In one case late in the game, an explicit mention of a character being gay was altered to be more ambiguous ("batting for the other team").
It was announced at Hopper's 5 that Flower, Sun, and Rain, along with killer7, would receive ports or remasters at some point in the future.