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The criminal of legend awakens.
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The Silver Case is the first game ever developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, written and directed by Suda51 for the original PlayStation in 1999. A text-heavy adventure game, it follows the detectives of the fictional city of "Ward 24" in Japan as they hunt down Kamui Uehara, a serial killer who has murdered various political figures before, but was caught long ago by one of the detectives. Highly experimental, The Silver Case makes use of as many visual mediums as possible, putting 3D environments, 2D stills, live-action-videos and even animated clips together to tell its story. The game alternates chapters between two storylines: Transmitter, which focuses on the detectives of the Heinous Crimes Unit; and Placebo, which focuses on a freelance reporter.

While a Cult Classic in Japan that stands proudly among Suda's other dark, psychological early works, it did not make it overseas for the longest time. After years of trying (and one failed attempt to port it to the Nintendo DS), Suda finally got a chance to get it localized with a faithful multi-language PC remake released in October 2016, and a PS4 port in April 2017. You can watch the promotional video here.

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Following some patches, the remake contains two new chapters that serve as Sequel Hooks. Said sequel, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, was announced in mid-2017 for release in 2018.

Part of Suda51's "Kill the Past" Thematic Series/Shared Universe, along with the tragically Japan-exclusive Moonlight Syndrome and, most notably, Flower, Sun and Rain, killer7, and the direct sequel The 25th Ward.


Today's TROPES:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Having your private life filmed and broadcast on the Internet, which happens to idol Sayaka Baian in KamuiDrome.
  • all lowercase letters: The Transmitter case titles as they appear in the uniform title cards (e.g. lunatics, decoyman...).
  • All There in the Manual: Lots of plot details are shown in the manual's character chart, including characters' full names, the structure of the police and security departments, and even some characters who don't actually appear anywhere in the game.
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  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The "Placebo" storyline puts you in the shoes of the reporter Tokio Morishima, who's been hired to follow the events from the "Transmitter" storyline from the outside.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In Case #!: tamura, the remaining HCU members—Akira, Kusabi, Sakura, and Kousaka (from #3: parade)—being called in to investigate a new case.
  • Arc Words: "Kill the past" (過去ヲ殺セ kako wo korose). This manifests in the story in a number of ways:
    • Meta-example in Lunatics: the characters who die in this case are three protagonists from Moonlight Syndrome, Suda Goichi's last game under Human Entertainment.
    • The eponymous Inciting Incident of the game saw Kamui murder a government official and later, 10 senior citizens—another literal case of "killing the past".
    • #3: parade sees Sumio Kodai killing the past: Working with his fellow "Mikumo Boys", the three orchestrate their revenge on the Yukimura Zaibatsu, involving Chairman Yukimura's kidnapping, the chairman blowing up Snow Tower while he and his corrupt management are still inside, and the remains of Mikumo 77 being destroyed.
    • #5: lifecut sees most of the Heinous Crimes Unit killed off, one by one by one. Of all of the official members as of this chapter, only Akira (you), Kusabi and Sakura remain..
  • Ambiguous Situation: There are quite a few plot points about which it is never clarified if they are literal or not. Particularly the idea of "transmittable crime"/crime virus - is there really a disease causing people to commit crime, or are the characters just talking about how crime can induce imitators and inspire hysteria? Similarly, when they say that Nezu controls the city like a video game, does that mean he just has access to high-level infrastructure, or is Ward 24 partially a simulation? Also an example of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Normally, controlling your character is divided into "Movement", "Contact" (for interacting with features and people in a location), and "Implement" (your inventory), along with a fourth "Save" function for opening the Save menu. These four controls are normally used by exiting one to use another (e.g. using an Implement, then switching to Contact to speak to a character). However, the Movement control panel allows the player to activate Contact via the C key on the keyboard, reducing the amount of menu interactions it would otherwise require.
  • Art Shift/Medium Blending: As mentioned above, several visual styles and techniques are used throughout the game. The interface used to show these pieces of media to the player is called the "Film Window", which takes advantage of the developer's limited resources at the time.
    • The Placebo reports' portraits and art cuts are in an entirely different style, because the chapters are played from another characters' perspective.
    • #0: lunatics has a blue-tinted black background with text strings flashing across it, with the top labels in orange.
    • #1: decoyman and *1: YUME have dark-blue backgrounds and red labels.
    • #2: spectrum and *2: HANA have yellow backgrounds with Japanese katakana flashing across it. On top of that, Spectrum has light outlining around its 3D objects.
    • #3: parade is Deliberately Monochrome (save for sparingly-used red highlights), and makes a heavier use of anime cutscenes. In the original game, the art cuts resembles the anime cutscenes; in the 2016 version, it's closer to the usual style but with very high-contrast shadows. Only the last few art cuts and shots in Parade ditch the monochrome color scheme, and the trope does not apply to the 3D and art cuts of *3: TSUKI, Parade's corresponding Placebo report.
    • #4: kamuidrome is predominantly green, with digital text being typed out in the background.
    • #5: lifecut is predominantly black, with occasional sepia inserts.
    • Whiteout prologue is entirely in the style of the game it's a Sequel Hook to, The 25th Ward.
  • Batter Up!: Subverted. #4: KamuiDrome sees Furuya grabbing a bat to attack someone who's coming to visit him in person, because he thinks it's one of the people he met online who were about to kill him. It turns out to be fellow net-browser "Neutral" Nakama.
    • Outside of this, baseball seems to be a background element in The Silver Case. A few meeting between characters take place in the Harakiri Batting Center. Likely a result of Goichi Suda spending time at a batting center himself.
  • Big Bad: Kamui Uehara is set up as this. This is subverted pretty quickly when it's shown that, at least currently, he's in no state to be doing much of anything, let alone commit murder. Later revelations make it clear that "Kamui Uehara" refers to far more than just one person...
  • Big Bad Wannabe: At the start of #5:Lifecut, this trope is discussed in regards to Method Tank trying to surpass Kamui Uehara, the serial killer that they idolise.
  • Breather Episode: Case #2: "Spectrum", which also serves as your character's first official case under the Heinous Crimes Unit. Even though it deals with murder and suicide, you arrive on the scene after it happens, most of its content involves you hanging out with a little boy who was responsible for killing the suicide suspect for Hikaru's death, and it takes place in a peaceful apartment building during the day. There's also a lot of jokes and pop culture references. Finally, Sumio and Kusabi are on a largely uneventful stakeout for the entirety of the case. Aside of a Jump Scare from a ghost, it's a fairly laidback case before the next escalation in the story.
  • Brick Joke: Established in spectrum and played out by tamura: Kusabi really needs 50,000 yen, Big Dick.
  • Brown Note: In Ward 24, crimes can be "transmitted" like a virus, usually by being near an infected person. Maybe.
  • Call-Back: to various elements in the story, such as plot points and case titles:
    • #1: Decoyman refers to Kamui Uehara being used as a distraction from the true culprit behind the case.
    • #3: Parade refers to either protest parades or violent riots. Kusabi also mentions fairy tales near the end of Parade, which was the same subject that Sumio had broached in the beginning of this case (the story around Mikumo 77). *3: TSUKI also has The Bat telling Tokio the same fairy tale.
  • CamelCase: How KamuiDrome is formatted in its window label.
  • Child Hater: Tokio is perhaps a more downplayed example of one, as in *2: HANA, he can't get Koichi to talk to him.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Kusabi is the greatest offender of this. It turns out that Sumio is not as better in that department as he appears.
  • Coitus Ensues: Furuya and Nakama have sex with each other, shortly after meeting each other in person.
  • Cult: Method Tank from #4: KamuiDrome.
  • Cyberpunk: Downplayed, but definitely present, especially in #3: Parade with the unidentified terrorist having a cybernetic eye of some sort, and #4: KamuiDrome.
  • The Dark Web: KamuiDrome has elements of this.
  • Dénouement Episode: Tamura, although there are actually two post-climax chapters, and four as of 2017.
  • Driven to Suicide: #4: KamuiDrome sees a pop idol named Sayaka Baian jump off of her apartment roof after learning that her private life had been filmed and broadcast online without her knowledge.
    • In #5: Lifecut, Morikawa throws himself into the path of the train to the Triangle Towers.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Republic a.k.a. the Special Security Unit, the Administration Inspection Office's anti-crime/terrorist unit. It doesn't do them much good since Kamui—or rather, Ayamealmost wipes them out.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In #1: "Decoyman", the report about Kamui Uehara escaping IMM Hospital. He murdered his counselor with what is described as "a customized harpoon gun". When a team of four 24 Wards Republic operators try to apprehend him in "Operation Secure Kamui", Kamui kills two of the them and leaves the other two in critical condition. Kamui gouged the murdered officers' eyes out while being hunted down, by the way. This is a big subversion, though, as it wasn't actually Kamui; the real one's establishing character moment is when you find him tied up in a closet. The one who tied Kamui up—Ayame Shimohira—was the perpetrator of Sonoda's murder and Republic's demise.
    • Can count as a Double Subversion, since "Ayame Shimohira" is basically a woman with the Kamui personality.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: A Grasshopper Manufacture tradition, starting with #0: Lunatics. The Placebo reports don't follow this scheme, instead following from #1: Decoyman with *1: YUME like normal.
  • Eureka Moment: In *3: "TSUKI part 2", Tokio asks the seller at the Mulholland cigarette shop how she watches TV, to which she responds "I just turn up the volume so that I can see". This clues Tokio in that Hiseki (the person who was falsely believed to be The Bat) could have been the blind Mikumo Boy after all, able to work with peripherals to use the Internet in spite of his disability.
  • First-Episode Twist: Kamui Uehara is an empty shell, incapable of committing murder and decidedly not the antagonist of the game.
  • Five-Man Band: The main Heinous Crimes Unit detectives (minus Kiyoshi Morikawa).
  • Foreshadowing: Something that The Silver Case is full of, oddly enough, but highlights include:
    • During #0: Lunatics, it is Kusabi, not the expected Sumio, who is present for the case. Indeed, Chizuru informs Kusabi that Sumio has left the office already. In the bigger picture of Silver, this hints that he might not be the young protagonist that players were expecting to relate to...
    • In #1: Decoyman, Kodai admits to Ayame that he has a sharp nose, but bad ears. As it turns out, he's actually deaf, and has been hiding it to pursue his goals in the HCU.
    • A small one in *1: Yume; in Tokio's apartment room, you can see a painting of a bat. At the end of the chapter, the chatroom you use gets broken into by a user who calls themselves "The Bat", the same person who contacted Akira in Decoyman.
    • #2: Spectrum's "title card", for lack of a better term, features a framed picture of a smiling child surrounded by white flowers on either side. This hints that Hikaru, Koichi's missing friend, is in fact deceased.
    • Also in Spectrum, when he scouts Akira for the HCU, Kotobuki comments that Akira is "almost built like a criminal". As it will turn out, that's because he is.
    • #3: Parade has Akira receive an e-mail from The Bat, who claims during his warning that Akira and Tokio are the same person. Then he admits that he was joking. By the end of the game, this claim ends up being technically correct, when you find out every detail about the Shelter Kids project.
    • *3: TSUKI Part 2 sees the culmination of a mass warning regarding a nasty computer virus—Morishima's desktop computer gets infected with said virus, which screws him to the point of messing with the player's interface as well.
  • Fugitive Arc: In #5: Lifecut, Kusabi and Morikawa are declared "kill on sight" by Nakategawa. Morikawa gets out of this situation by killing himself after getting into contact with Akira in the underground complex, but Kusabi ultimately survives the whole ordeal.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: #0: Lunatics is this to Moonlight Syndrome, the last game made by Suda at Human Entertainment before founding Grasshopper. The case ends with three of the major protagonists of M.S. being killed off for good.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: At the start of *4: AI, Tokio is informed about the goings-on in relation to KamuiNet, and the chapter focuses on his side of that investigation, as usual. However, this gets almost completely dropped soon enough, as The Bat's repeated threats increasingly become more direct, so the focus shifts to exposing him once and for all.
    • Inverted with *3: TSUKI, in a sense. Part 1 ends with Tokio receiving the news of the Yukimura mansion explosion, which occurred very early in #3: Parade. Part 2 picks up 12 days later, however.
  • Hell Is That Noise: During the Placebo reports, whenever Tokio and Akira cross paths, Akira's art cut is always accompanied by a very unpleasant electric-shock noise, which seems to reflect Tokio's reaction to him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Midway through #5: Lifecut, Akira focuses entirely on tracking down the source of the Shelter Kids experiment. Eventually, you find out from an e-mail sent by Tokio that the entrance to the underground complex that leads to the laboratories is at the Mulholland drug store (where Tokio buys Placebo, his favorite brand of smokes), right behind its vending machine.
  • Hiding the Handicap: Taken Up to Eleven, and gloriously. It turns out that Sumio is actually deaf, to the great surprise of the other characters and the player. He understands people through a combination of incredibly adept lip-reading and special cell phone technology that vibrates against his ear in a code of particular bursts and frequencies which lets him know what the speaker on the other end of the line is saying.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Transmitter" chapters are "cases", prefixed with #s and possessing a normal numbering scheme...except for cases #0, #!, and #25. Meanwhile, "Placebo" chapters are "reports", prefixed with *s and going from 1 through 5 normally.
  • Inciting Incident: "The Silver Case", named after Kamui Uehara's assassination of a government official and, later, 10 senior citizens.
  • Interface Screw: In *3: "TSUKI", Tokio opens an email that infects his PC with a virus, messing with the UI. It even affects the game's UI, though without the FESTA virus's nasty "data wiping" ability.
  • Interim Villain: After Kamui Uehara gets taken into custody at the IMM Hospital, the plot moves on to the actions of the Mikumo Boys and Method Tank. He doesn't become actively involved again until the climactic chapter.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Republic and Central both seem to have a very poor opinion of the HCU.
  • Kill 'Em All: "Lifecut", fittingly. By the end of it, most of the characters that are involved die, with the HCU in particular being reduced to only a handful of members.
    • Kusabi kills Kotobuki at the latter's request.
    • Morikawa jumps into the path of the Triangle Towers-bound train after his final conversation with Akira.
    • Kusabi's informant is approached by a hitman, Nakategawa, and a new HCU member, all three intent on killing him. He kills them instead.
    • Chizuru Hachisuka, who is starting to display Ayame-like behavior, is shot in the head by HCU newcomer Sakura Natsume.
  • Man Behind The Curtain: Who is Nezu, the man who provided the mayor Hachisuka with the idea of revolutionising the infrastructure of the 24th Ward, and the heart of the Kamui experiment? Just an unassuming computer nerd who ogles at women and happens to be a high-level programmer. Akira and Kusabi have no problems taking him out at all.
  • Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: Kamui is a tool used by a faction of a government/criminal conspiracy based around real estate ...as are some of the main cast.
  • Never Suicide: When a suicide is reported in the 24 Wards, the Heinous Crimes Unit detectives sans Chizuru intuit that it isn't a suicide. This is the case in #2: Spectrum, where the "suicide victim" was pushed to his death by a kid.
  • No Antagonist: "Spectrum" plays with this, as the antagonist of the chapter is dead by the time it starts. You simply need to find out about the circumstances that led to that point.
  • No Ending: Not the main plot itself, but Whiteout prologue abruptly ends after you are shot.
  • One-Word Title: Transmitter and Placebo, as well as most of their chapters. The only chapter to avert this is #25: Whiteout prologue.
  • Psychological Thriller: One of Suda's darkest works.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kusabi and Kodai. For example, when talking with an IMM Hospital employee:
    Kusabi: That dick just won't shut the fuck up!
    Kodai: Well, it's sort of your fault. You were pretty rude to him...
  • Red Shirt Army: Republic, sans the Player Character.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The original ending ended up being an aversion; it ends with a To Be Continued...? message, but the last minute cliffhanger events that trigger it aren't explicitly brought up in future games at all. However...
    • The updates given to the remastered version in 2017 added two new chapters which actually are real sequel hooks to Flower, Sun and Rain and The 25th Ward.
  • Thematic Series: As mentioned above, this game is part of Suda's "Kill the Past" thematic series.
    • This game is the first of Suda's games to explicitly use the very words the series is named for.
    • One of the minor characters in The Silver Case uses the phrase "flower, sun, and rain", which became the title of another game in the series. Both games are revealed to share the very same universe in the second one - mainly since the Flower protagonist Sumio Mondo is a clone of Silver's detective Sumio Kodai and FSR explains the origins of the silver eye.
  • Tomato Surprise: The player character, along with many others, is a human raised to become "Kamui" if the need ever arises.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The seemingly intended playing order of alternating between Transmitter cases and Placebo reports, although the player is free to choose their own order to an extent.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "Operation: Secure Kamui" was Republic's attempt to…well, we'll let you finish that thought. Guess how it works out.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: Transmitter cases. It starts at 0 and proceeds to 5 normally, but then goes to #! (Tamura) and then jumps to #25 (Whiteout prologue).
  • Visual Novel: Of the sort that is technically an Adventure Game but has far more text than gameplay (like Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, for example). This is even more true in the Placebo reports, in which the only gameplay throughout the whole storyline is either checking e-mail or examining one of three other objects in your room.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Some characters go out in this manner, but this is especially blatant with the members of TRUMP, who are all killed by Kusabi long before you get to them.
  • Wham Episode: "Lifecut" for Transmitter, and "AI" for Placebo.
  • Wham Line: Late in #2: Spectrum, Akira talks with the Typhoon apartment manager, who brings up that Koichi's friend Hikaru, whom Koichi seems to believe is missing and/or trapped, in fact died of a heart attack. This explains why Koichi is so focused on his endeavors to "rescue Hikaru": he's in denial of his best friend's death.
    • #4: KamuiDrome sees Kusabi and Kodai having one-on-one conversations. While they lack any context labels such as location, it can be inferred from Kusabi's remark, "You're finished", that Sumio Kodai is now under arrest for his part in the Yukimura kidnapping plot.
  • Wham Shot: An early one during "Decoyman", Sumio and the player discover none other than Kamui Uehara, tied up and gagged, and making no effort to resist.
    • Another early one, this time in "Parade": the Yukimura residence that Kodai and Kusabi were staking out for the entirety of "Spectrum"? Kodai sees something glimmer…and suddenly, the house blows up. Ditto for Snow Tower being destroyed in an explosion, this one orchestrated by Yukimura himself.
    • Near the end of the Placebo chapter "AI", Tokio meets up with Enzawa, who reveals himself to be the man who stalked him online with the handle of "The Bat" all along. Then Enzawa aims a gun at him.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Played with in #5:Lifecut. Kamui is finally executed by an elite commando squad, but there is still some work left to do, as Kamui's TRUMP team needs to be tracked down, as well as the labs where the Shelter Kids experiments were held, Kamui's contractor is still unidentified and Kusabi and Morikawa have gone missing...

(A colored moon appears)
THE SILVER CASE
THE TWENTY FIFTH WARD IS COMING SOON..
Kill the past

F I L M
WINDOW
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