Q How spoilerific are we talking here?
Q Seriously, how do I get Ending #24?
To reach Ending #24 (Chunsoft Party Conspiracy), you need to make it to the “good” ending path for the Cryptography route (by correctly identifying that the treasure is in the lounge, above everyone’s heads, in the cuckoo clock). Partway through that ending, Kobayashi mentions he also enjoys making cyphers using the first letter of third and fourth words, and that you’ve probably already seen one of these somewhere. He’s right: in the discussion immediately after finding the treasure, you’ll notice a bunch of text blocks with odd line breaks. By taking the first letter of the third word in each of those lines, you’l get the message “GO BACK TO HERE.” Immediately after that section is over, you can use the “Go Back” button in the game’s bottom nav to go back to one of the encoded lines, which will cause the screen to go black and whisk you away to the Conspiracy Ending.
Q That’s a little obscure, innit?
Damn straight. This ending has always been well hidden, but Rinne Saisei makes it more frustrating in a bunch of ways. The new version uses ADV mode rather than NVL, so the message is broken across several screens, which makes it harder to notice and decode. It also leverages a button I honestly had never paid attention to until I hit this point in my read-through. Whereas earlier console versions were much simpler — e.g., the encoded message “PRESS START” was there on the screen, and all you had to do was press start on your controller.
Compounding the issue? The Gambs Doctrine — i.e., some things just don’t work in English. The conspiracy puzzle was built entirely around the mechanics of Japanese writing: that it can be read horizontally or vertically and that it’s typically laid out in a monospaced grid. For many Japanese readers, that moment when they realized the “cuckoo” answer had been staring them in the face all along — a neatly arranged column of characters amidst rows of horizontal type — was akin to that “aha!” moment at the end of 999. And it gets lost entirely in English. Even the mechanics of the puzzle become less elegant: rather than dealing with the second/third characters, we were forced to use substitutes like the initial of the second/third words, which is far less intuitive. In the TL, we hint at this with a fairly common acrostic clue — “Initially, search between one and three,” aka, look at the initial letter of the second word — but it’s just not the same.
Q I heard there were some “issues” with the art in this game?
Another sin: giving Mikimoto the fakest looking facial hair ever. It’s already easy enough to figure out the culprit, but the art makes it 10x easier. It’s like someone told the artist the character had a fake beard, but forgot to tell them it’s supposed to be a secret. Then there’s Haruko, who’s an elegantly sexy trophy MILF in her mid 30s, yet her character art ends up looking like a prissy librarian in her late 50s. You’re left wondering why everyone seems to think she’s such a stunner. She and Kyouko end up looking the same age, even though there’s a 20-year gap between them. There’s also the “chubby” Keiko, who appears to be exactly the same weight as her two friends. And so, so much more. TL;DR: Mistakes were made.