Moonlight Syndrome

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Moonlight Syndrome
MS box.jpg
Developer Human Entertainment
Publisher Human Entertainment
Director Goichi Suda
Writer Goichi Suda
Yuji Kuriyama
Takuya Fujimura
Artist Takashi Miyamoto
Composer Masafumi Takada
Platform PlayStation
Release date October 9, 1997
Genre Adventure

Moonlight Syndrome (ムーンライトシンドローム) is an adventure game for the Sony PlayStation. It was directed by Goichi Suda and was his last work at the game's developer and publisher Human Entertainment, after which he formed Grasshopper Manufacture. Moonlight Syndrome is a sequel to the previous games in the Twilight Syndrome series, Twilight Syndrome: Search and Twilight Syndrome: Investigation. However, it was ignored by further entries of the Twilight Syndrome series made without Suda's involvement.


Like the previous Twilight Syndrome games, Moonlight Syndrome features adventure gameplay in 3D environments with 2D character graphics viewed from the side. However, the interactivity has been toned down from Twilight Syndrome; chapters no longer feature multiple endings. No matter the player's choices, the chapters in Moonlight Syndrome will always conclude the same way; accordingly, each chapter is more linear. The heartbeat monitor mechanic seen in Twilight Syndrome has also been removed.




A magazine advertisement for the game.

Moonlight Syndrome revolves around the complicated relationships of a group of high-school students attending Hinashiro High and how they are affected by supernatural intrusion in the form of the character Mithra. Like the previous Twilight Syndrome games, the protagonist is Mika Kishii, a girl formerly obsessed with occult rumors; in Moonlight Syndrome, she has grown into a more mature personality. Unlike Twilight Syndrome, there is a second protagonist in Moonlight Syndrome, a boy named Ryo Kazan who is in love with his older sister Kyoko Kazan. When Kyoko tragically dies, Ryo forms an interest in Mika due to their extremely similar appearances. Overall, the story is much darker and more surreal than Twilight Syndrome.


After completing the earlier Twilight Syndrome games, Suda sought to create his own more personal and original take on the series. He was more directly involved and had greater control over Moonlight Syndrome than the previous games. Suda was inspired by American television series Twin Peaks, which similarly depicts the complicated relationships of the inhabitants of a small town faced with surreal events. Despite Suda's heightened level of control, when the Kobe child murders occurred during the game's development, he was forced to tone down some of his planned violent scenes. This restriction among others led to Suda deciding to form his own studio, which resulted in the creation of Grasshopper Manufacture.

Several companion books were published to go along with the game, such as Moonlight Syndrome Truth File, Moonlight Syndrome Deep Psyche File and Moonlight Syndrome Deep Guide.


Moonlight Syndrome was controversial among fans due to its departures from the previous entries in the series, removal of interactive elements, and for killing off most of the series' cast. For this reason, the subsequent entry in the series, Twilight Syndrome: Reunion ignored the events of Moonlight Syndrome, and the game was relegated to being considered a non-canonical spin-off.

Despite this, the events of Moonlight Syndrome became part of Suda's "Kill the Past" universe, as seen most recognizably in The Silver Case, which opens with a chapter that directly follows the ending of Moonlight Syndrome. The events of Twilight Syndrome and Moonlight Syndrome continued to be directly referenced in Flower, Sun, and Rain and The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, as well as even killer7. The series has also been referenced as a shout-out in other Grasshopper games, and the themes of the series laid a lot of the groundwork that would be continued on in Kill the Past titles.