Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Preview: Red Johnson's Chronicles

5:20 PM on 04.08.2011 // Tara Long

Several things came to mind when I first heard of Red Johnson's Chronicles. I thought it perhaps the heroic tale of one man's struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic planet overrun by one-legged banshees. Or maybe, I hypothesized, you play as an elderly gentleman librarian whose chronicles were stolen and now you must search the globe in order to retrieve them! I even wondered for a second if it was about a giant anthropomorphic penis that breaks loose from its owner and goes on a terrorizing rampage around the city before finally devouring a bus full of tourists. Or maybe, I presumed, it's just a story about a guy who solves a mystery or something.

Well, turns out, I was right.

Red Johnson’s Chronicles is your average point-and-click adventure game with a murder mystery twist. Taking inspiration from titles like Monkey Island, Professor Layton, and Phoenix Wright, the game manages to seamlessly infuse problem solving skills with investigative techniques in a way that is nothing short of captivating. In doing so, the developers have created what they feel offers a fun and interesting alternative to Rockstar’s upcoming murder mystery, L.A. Noire, at a significantly lower price point.

You play as Red Johnson, a gritty private investigator who has been tasked to solve the murder of one of the most hated men in Metropolis City. Some of the suspects in consideration are Theresa, the widowed wife who seems strangely unconcerned by the murder of her husband, and Sonia, a young female escort whose exact role in the murder becomes clear as more clues are uncovered.

Most of the gameplay involves interactive dialogue with suspects and witnesses. Quick thinking is critical; since the responses are timed, too much hesitation could cost you an important clue at best and kill you at worst.


Getting the information you need will require finesse and sometimes even force, though physical violence is rarely necessary and not a central focus of the gameplay. According to Djamil Kemal, the Marketing & Business Development Director for Lexis Numérique, not until several hours into the game does using a weapon even become necessary. In place of action, the developers have scattered tons of puzzles throughout the game which provide a nice switch-up from the narrative. Each type of puzzle is unique as well, so players will never see the same one twice.

Red Johnson's Chronicles (PSN)
Developer: Lexis Numérique
Publisher: Lexis Numérique
To Be Released: Spring 2011

The game follows one main storyline and progresses through missions. Discovering evidence or gaining a key piece of information typically translates to a successfully completed mission. Each completed mission earns you money which can be used to purchase clues. Since the developers wanted clues to be readily available throughout the game, however, money is given out for just about any achievement, no matter how small. The clues come in the form of a tip from Red’s informant and can be especially helpful for puzzles, since the method of solving them can sometimes be unorthodox.


At one point during my demo, I had my eye on a mobster who I suspected had some involvement with the murder. When he wouldn’t let me enter his apartment, I was forced to find another solution. I waited, called him on the phone, asked him to meet me somewhere, and then broke into his apartment while he was gone. These tactics, though not exactly kosher in the real world of police investigations, are sometimes your only option in the game.

I was forced to solve a sliding puzzle to break into the mobster’s window, after which I found a safe hidden in his home. Purchasing a clue revealed that the numbers to the safe’s code were hidden somewhere in a painting above the safe. I cracked the code and opened the safe to reveal a single revolver sitting inside, which I opened to find several bullets.

Bullets, among other items you happen to pick up during your investigation, are placed in your inventory and stay there for the remainder of the game. Any item in your inventory can be analyzed and compared to other items in your inventory at any point during the game. This is particularly useful if you gather bullets from multiple crime scenes and want to compare them to see if they match.


One aspect worth noting is that the developers really tried to make this game accessible to both the casual and hardcore gaming markets. It has a scalable help system which is useful for people like me with low patience and a high likelihood of ragequitting when I get frustrated. Efforts were made to avoid that cycle in this game, though. Kemal proudly pointed out that every one of the hundred-or-so hired play testers was able to finish the game, which I am told is no small accomplishment in games of this genre.

Oddly enough, the game can be won even if the mystery isn't solved. However, solving the mystery doesn't preclude you from losing the game, either. The game is only won when the police chief approves your submitted final report. The catch is that there is no rule that states your report must be completely true. If you lack enough evidence to assuredly solve the case but are certain enough of your theory, you can fabricate a report and submit it anyway. The outcome of the game then rests on the decision of the police chief and ultimately, your ability to present convincing evidence, regardless of whether or not it's actually true.

Red Johnson’s Chronicles provides about 8-10 hours of gameplay and though I typically find point-and-click games to be a bit boring, I think the storyline here is compelling enough to compensate for any slowness. (Even if it isn't about a giant mutant penis.)

Overall, I think it’s a steal for the price. It'll be available for $12 on PSN sometime near May and will be coming to Xbox and PC later this year.

Also, check out Maurice's first look at AMY, another one of Lexis Numérique's titles which will be coming to PSN later this year.

Photo Gallery: (15 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Tara Long, Queen of Video Things
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
I like bunnies. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I would really, really love if "publish now" could work without me having to post a blog multiple because the site is such a mess right now.
fitzen avatarfitzen
I got it all the way back in spring, but I still haven't finished Majoras Mask. Think I've done the first temple.. It's hard not knowing where to go. All those linear corridors and objective markers in games has made me dumb and impatient.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -