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Video Game / The Smelly Mystery

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Little Monster, Private Eye here.

Little Monster: Detective Kerploppus, to the Private Eye Mobile on the double!
Kerploppus: Yes, Chief Inspector!

The Smelly Mystery: Starring Little Monster Private Eye is a point-and-click children's game made by GT Interactive Software in 1997. It stars Little Monster Private Eye and his faithful talking Kerploppus that is simply called "Detective Kerploppus," created by Mercer Mayer (whom also created Little Critter). It is known for being a combination Adventure Game and an interactive animated storybook, also including a mini-game. It is loosely based off the 1980 book "Little Monster's Scratch-n-Sniff Mystery", but with numerous changes made

The story involves Little Monster Private Eye and Detective Kerploppus being called onto a case where the Evil Smell Switcher has been switching the smells around Monsterville and causing distress among others. Clues can be found hidden among the pages, along with numerous hidden clickable animations and Easter Eggs. The game is noted for its Multiple Endings, where the identity of the Smell Switcher is different each time the game is played, and for containing numerous Shout Outs, Parental Bonuses and parodies of existing pop songs.

Although the characters had previously appeared in the Living Books game "Little Monster at School," the characters themselves are the only thing both games have in common. It later had a sequel in 2001 called The Mummy Mystery.

Tropes in The Smelly Mystery:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original book, Little Monster wore a brown trenchcoat. For the game, it was changed to dark green. In the original version of the book, the Kerploppus wore a brown trenchcoat as well (as he does in the game), but in the 1998 reprint of the book, it was digitally changed to green. Additionally, in the book, the Evil Smell Switcher wears a blue fedora (to match his blue trenchcoat), though in the game he wears a brown one (though his trenchcoat is still blue.)
  • Adaptation Expansion: Some of the storyline was changed from the original book. The sleepover Little Monster attended at Yally's house was exclusive to the game, along with the whole Multiple Endings scenario (in the original 1980 book, Little Monster and Little Laff actually set it all up as an innocent game they were playing, with Little Laff in the role of the Smell Switcher. The game ends when Little Laff's mother calls him to come home. However, the 1998 reprint changes the text to make it somewhat similar to the game by having Little Laff pull it off as a joke, as if he were really committing a crime. )
  • Adapted Out: In the original book, Little Monster's detective nickname is "Mystery Monster," and he also actually hires a Kerploppus to be his partner. An additional scene also took place in the city park where everything smelled like garbage. These were removed from the 1998 book reissue as well.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: In the original books, Kerploppus was Little Monster's dog-like pet, but here he's ever bit as anthropomorphic as Little Monster himself.
  • Batman Parody: Numerous instances, all referencing the 1960s Batman TV show
  • Big Eater: Errg. If he is the Smell Switcher, he'll claim the reason he did it was to try and make all the foods smell like his favorite food, cheese.
  • Big "NO!": Whoever the Evil Smell Switcher is will do this at the end after Little Monster tells him that he's not going to call the cops, but the culprit's mother for what he did.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The suspects will all do this on the third page after Little Monster tells them that they're all suspects in the crime. They also do it if you have Detective Kerploppus test his anti-gravity watch on them.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: Parodied in the opening titles, with Little Monster firing a water pistol.
  • Boring, but Practical: The game has a "Read" option similar to the Living Books, where you can't click on anything as the story plays out.
  • The Cameo: Mercer Mayer's more famous character, Little Critter, makes three appearances: Jerry can briefly transform into him when using his form-changing helmet on the first page, a giant inflatable parade balloon of him can be triggered on the seventh page, and clicking on an old telephone booth on the eleventh page can make Super Critter (Little Critter's superhero alter-ego) fly out of the booth.
  • Catchphrase: Detective Kerploppus's "Righty-o, Chief Inspector!" and Ickky's "Radical!"
  • Chez Restaurant: The ninth page takes place at Chez Monster, a stereotypical French restaurant said to be the "finest restaurant in town."
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The Evil Smell Switcher's disguise consists of a trenchcoat and fedora hat, and his face is hidden by a black mask.
  • Disney Death: On the eighth page at the flower shop, a patron is so repulsed from the flowers smelling like fish that he faints. When Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus arrive, they think the patron is dead and start to mourn him (complete with the Funeral March playing in the soundtrack), until the patron comes to and stirs, and Little Monster realizes he's not dead after all.
    Patron: Nah, I'm not dead... but these fishy flowers are just about killing me!
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Detective Kerploppus considers everyone attending Yally's sleepover a suspect in the smell-switching crime, including Little Monster (he suspects him as they haven't had a case in months and he could've come up with it to keep them busy, but he always winds up innocent.)
  • Film Noir: Spoofed in a few ways with Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Jerry Bombanat. He comes up with a helmet that can transform him into a different species, and a device that can transform a sandwich into a cake, among other things, including the smell-switching device if he is the Smell Switcher.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: In the third page, clicking Ickky will make him apply some kind of hot sauce to his sandwich. Despite Jerry warning him not to add so much of it, Ickyy just claims he likes to live on the edge, takes a big bite, turns red with heat (accompanied by a siren wailing) and breathes out fire. He reacts with his Catchphrase: "Radical!"
  • I Got a Rock: The first page has a parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown that features this.
  • Instant Costume Change: Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus are both capable of doing this, going into a tornado-like spin and stopping in a different outfit that is usually parodying someone or something (both demonstrate this ability when imitating the characters from Kojak, Magnum, P.I. and Miami Vice).
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: If you click the decorated lampshade on Page 12, it becomes a cake that a gorgeous blonde female monster pops out of to wish Detective Kerploppus a happy birthday.
  • Kids Driving Cars: Little Monster driving the Private Eye Mobile, though it's subverted in that it's not an actual automobile, but something like a modified go-kart. He also drives it on sidewalks instead of on the street, but Kerploppus still thinks he Drives Like Crazy...
    "Uh, don't forget to watch the speed limit, Chief Inspector!"
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: The Evil Smell Switcher first strikes at the sleepover, after the lights are turned off and everybody has gone to sleep.
    • In the "Read" mode, right before Little Monster can say who the culprit is, the lights go out, and crashing and screaming are heard as the culprit tries to get away.
  • Master of Disguise: Yally, the Wannabe Secret Agent, fancies himself to be one. On the twelfth page, he will try to escape by disguising himself with a business suit and realistic rubber mask as a Jim Phelphs-type, but Little Monster isn't fooled for a second.
  • May the Farce Be with You: On Page 4, if you click the globe in Little Monster's office, it morphs into a Death Star lookalike as the rest of the background changes into a space scene in a parody of the destruction of the Death Star.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: If Ickky is the Evil Smell Switcher, when Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus interrogate him, Ickky explains he pulled it off for the thrill of the crime, and adds "Danger is, like, my middle name." Little Monster corrects him with, "Your middle name is Horace, Ickyy, not Danger. Anyway, changing names is a dangerous game", and Ickky can be seen grimacing at the sound of his real middle name.
  • Mini-Game: The "Mug Shots" game.
  • Multiple Endings: Whenever the game is played, the true identity of the Evil Smell Switcher can vary each time, from five suspects: Little Laff, Ickky, Jerry Bombanat, Errg and Yally. (Little Monster is also a suspect, but he is always innocent.)
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Detective Kerploppus's voice is clearly based off Sean Connery.
  • Parental Bonus: So many. See the "Shout-Outs" tab for a list of them.
  • The Prankster: Little Laff. If he is the Smell Switcher, he'll claim the reason he did it was as a joke.
  • "Rear Window" Homage: Seen from one of the apartment windows on Page 11 as a clickable hotspot.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: A few of the click-spots recycle some "generic" music cues from the earlier Little Critter game "Just Me and My Mom," such as a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robot fight on Page 1, a secret agent mouse getting into the refrigerator on Page 3, and a magic act and a dancing shark in Page 5.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus have one set up at the end for when whoever the Smell Switcher really is tries to get away.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: On the twelfth page when Little Monster hosts a Summation Gathering with all the suspects, if you click on Yally or Jerry Bombanat they will try to escape by hilarious means (Yally attempting a Mission: Impossible-esque Latex Perfection disguise resembling Jim Phelphs, and Jerry Bombanat attempting to pose as a Superman Substitute and fly away). They don't work.
  • Stock Audio Clip: In most cases, whenever Detective Kerploppus says his Catchphrase "Righty-o, Chief Inspector!" the same recording of him saying it is used.
  • Summation Gathering: The twelfth page features this, with Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus gathering all five suspects into the living room at Yalapappus Manor so they can reveal whodunit.
  • Superman Substitute: On the twelfth page, Jerry Bombanat attempts this to try and escape from being interrogated, mimicking a Damsel in Distress calling "Help! Help!" and then performing an Instant Costume Change into a blue-and-red superhero outfit and a wig resembling Superman's hairstyle, saying to Little Monster, "You'll have to excuse me. I am needed elsewhere!" as a soundalike of John Williams's theme music to the Superman Film Series plays in the background. But when he tries to fly away, he just comes crashing down as he does not really have superpowers, and Ickky teasingly says, "Nice try, Jerry!" This bit is made even funnier if the Smell Switcher is actually Jerry.
  • Surfer Dude: The Totally Radical Ickky, who acts and talks like this through and through. His Catchphrase is "Radical!" and he often talks utilizing the Like Is, Like, a Comma Verbal Tic. If you click him on Page 1, he even has an Imagine Spot in a thought bubble of impressing girls while surfing and exclaiming his Catchphrase "Radical!"
  • That Poor Cat: Happens on the tenth page in the garbage dump, when a man is singing a parody of "Winter Wonderland" to his loved one on how the dump now smells nice, when he accidentally steps on an unseen cat's tail, and is lampshaded in the lyrics...
    What a smell, yes it's pretty.
    Watch your step... (yowl!) sorry, kitty!
  • Thememobile: The Private Eye Mobile.
  • 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: Referenced on Page 5, when Little Monster answers the phone to get some guy mistaking Little Monster's Private Eye business as a pizza parlor, mishearing "Private Eye" as "pizza pie," and after Little Monster tells the caller he has the wrong number, the caller adds "And remember, if I don't get that (pizza) pie in half an hour, it's free!" to which Little Monster hangs up.
  • Title Drop: Little Monster tells the suspects at Yally's house on Page 3 that they are all "suspects in the Smelly Mystery." Additionally, a parody of "ABC" by The Jackson 5 has this ("Everything is so- stink-ky, in the Smelly My-ste-ry...")
  • Totally Radical: Ickky. His Catchphrase is even "Radical!" He loves high-risk sports and living on the edge. If he is the Smell Switcher, he'll claim the reason he did it was for the thrill of the crime.
  • Traveling Salesman: If you click one of the cupboards in Yally's kitchen on the third panel, it opens like a house door to reveal such a salesman attempting to sell the "Amazing Wonder-Vac," claiming it's the "same vacuum cleaner the astronauts use," to which the door closes and the salesman says "Hey, I'm not finished yet!"
  • Vampires Hate Garlic: On the fifth page, if you click the grandfather clock, a huge bird-like vampire will slowly come out and attempt to attack Little Monster and Kerploppus, both of whom are oblivious to what's happening and decide to share a garlic and ketchup sandwich, and its' smell is enough to ward off the vampire, whom turns into a bat and flies back into the clock.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Even though Little Monster is presumably a kid, he has a low-pitched adult man's voice, and it sounds quite jarring. Other kid characters in the game also sound much older than they really look, with the possible exception of Little Laff, who's given a high falsetto.
  • Wannabe Secret Agent: Yally Yalapappus, as revealed when Little Monster and Detective Kerploppus go over the suspects, including a Tuxedo and Martini photo of Yally (with a box of juice in place of the martini.) If he is the Smell Switcher, he'll claim the reason he did it was because he saw it in an old spy movie and decided to imitate it.