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You've got to find the guilty party before the guilty party finds you!
Guilty Party (technically, Disney Guilty Party, but who's paying attention) is a game for the Nintendo Wii produced by Disney Interactive and developed by Wideload Entertainment. Despite the "Disney" in the full title, it is, like Spectrobes, a wholly original property not connected to any other Disney product. Like a great many other games with "Party" in the title, it is primarily designed as a multiplayer game, and there are quite a few Mini Games. Unlike other games of its genre, though, the mini-games are less the point of the endeavor than a means to an end. The primary gameplay is a mystery game, like a digital Clue.
The Dickens Detective Agency is a world-famous group of related sleuths, lead by their patriarch, Dorian "The Commodore" Dickens. He is retiring from the business, but he'll still be around the Dickens family manor to dispense sage advice. Suddenly, disaster strikes when his archnemesis, the nefarious Mr. Valentine, kidnaps Dorian's wife. Now it's up to the six active Dickens sleuths to track down their mother/grandma/aunt and put a stop to Mr. Valentine's plans!
- Max Dickens: The leader of the group is a classic film noir-style fedora-and-trenchcoat detective, and the son of Mr. Dickens himself. While not the brightest spark (perhaps due to the fact that he'd rather be an actor), he's been studying under his father long enough to know the ropes.
- Phoebe Dickens: Max's sister is his opposite in many ways--much more shrewd, much more tactful, and took to the family business like a fish to water. She is often exasperated with her kin, from her overly-jokey brother to her over-the-top son. Leave it to her to snark the family.
- Charlotte Dickens-Johnson: This sweet little old lady is definitely the heart of the group, keeping the others in line with her matronly ways. However, despite her outer sweetness, she's a raging firebrand who knows kung-fu and probably a number of other dangerous self-defense techniques. She's Dorian's sister and Butch's wife.
- Ling-Ling Johnson: The brains of the operation, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Nancy Drew. While her intellectual mettle is formidable, she's one of the most upbeat members of the family and tackles situations with an unstoppable perkiness. While not of blood relation to the family, she is the adopted daughter of Butch and Charlotte.
- Butch Johnson: Huge, imposing, and the very picture of the Scary Black Man, the Shaft-like Butch is actually a Gentle Giant with a high-pitched voice and a friendly smile for everyone. While he used to solve problems with his brawn, now he prefers to use his brain. A lesson in not judging books by their covers to be certain. Married to Charlotte.
- Rudyard "Kid Riddle" Dickens: Loud, brash, and breathlessly wrapped up in his superhero persona, Kid Riddle seems to tag along mostly because nobody (not even his mom, Phoebe) could stop him. However, his determination is off the charts, and even if he is a bit odd, he is certainly enthusiastic. And let's be honest--would you want to be called "Rudyard?"
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Mr. Valentine seems to be well-liked by many of the womenfolk, despite the fact that logically, given his history, he'd have to be around 60. Doubles as retroactive Les Yay.
- Ambiguously Brown: Nurse Dolly.
- Anachronism Stew: "A coal-burning bullet train. That's progress."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Most of the crime lists in the suspect's dossiers look like this, quite literally, often listing charges such as "Grand theft auto, embezzlement, and singing off-key."
- Asian and Nerdy: Ling Ling.
- Batman Gambit: The Commodore's plan to show his relatives that they could take over for him if they wanted to and reveal his wife's true identity as Mr. Valentine.
- Battle Couple: Butch and Charlotte first met during a case, and they used their combined kung-fu powers to fight off a hoard of bad guys. That pretty much sealed the deal there.
- Be My Valentine: That's Mr. Valentine to you.
- Big Beautiful Woman: In Chapter 6, one of the most important clues you get about the murdered (?) Tooty is that he's a bit of a chubby chaser. So no matter how much she adores him, the beautiful starlet probably wasn't his ex-girlfriend...
- Big Eater: Max; he inherited the trait from his father.
- Brawn Hilda: The opera singer, natch.
- Brother-Sister Team: Max and Phoebe, on those occasions they feel like working together. Dorian and Charlotte, too.
- The Butler Did It: The very first tutorial level. But of course.
- Calling Card: Mr. Valentine's poetic Valentine's notes.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Max is very rarely with it. Kid Riddle too.
- Collector of the Strange: The judge and her love of egg-shaped objects.
- Cool Mask: Mr. Valentine's.
- Cool Old Lady: Charlotte--knows martial arts, loves rock climbing, and still enjoys a nice cup of tea.
- Deadpan Snarker: Phoebe has little tolerance for the rest of her family's insanity. Too bad It Runs in The Family.
- Dance Party Ending
- Disappeared Dad: It's not clear where Rudy/Kid Riddle's dad is, other than he's "absentee." It's quite possible that Phoebe's former husband/boyfriend finally realized how insane the family he was getting into was, and wisely split.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Rudyard wants to be called "Kid Riddle".
- Easily Forgiven: Every suspect, but especially Olivia. The top criminal mastermind in the world for the past several decades? Well, it's our anniversary, so... maybe we'll cart you off to the authorities another day.
- Embarrassing First Name: "Rudyard." However, Kid Riddle lets his grandma get away with calling him "Rudy."
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Max threatens a crook word-for-word: "WHERE'S. MY. MOMMY?!"
- Evil Laugh: Mr. Valentine prefixes each of his nefarious deeds with one. Pretty impressive, Olivia.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Mr. Valentine is so evil, he doesn't need depth perception. Of course his mask has only one eye!
- Fiction 500: The Dickenses must be pretty high up there. As Olivia even says, "I'd have the money to buy a hundred zeppelins if we didn't spend so much on pudding..."
- Five-Man Band:
- Five-Token Band: We've got an even mix of genders on our team, one really young character, one older character, one black guy, one Asian girl, and a more "typical" man and woman.
- Forgotten Anniversary: Olivia is not happy with Dorian's forgetfulness. Not happy at all.
- For the Evulz: General Mission's reason for helping Mr. Valentine: "For the fun of being evil!"
- French Maid: Complete with a Giant Waist Ribbon.
- Freudian Excuse: Olivia couldn't stand watching her entire family go off to trot the globe as famous detectives, so she found her... own way of getting involved in their personal lives.
- Fridge Brilliance: Mr. Valentine filled his zeppelin with gas that makes people love him totally. The zeppelin was supposed to be a gift from Mrs. Dickens to Mr. Dickens. She was upset with him never spending time with her, so naturally she'd find a way to make sure he did...
- Gadgeteer Genius: Ling Ling, who even invented the Dickens trademark portable lie detectors.
- Genius Bruiser: Butch can stil put his muscles to use when he needs to.
- Genius Ditz: Max's grip on reality is somewhat tenuous, but he's got it where it counts.
- Genki Girl: Ling-Ling, very much so!
- Gentle Giant: Butch was once a more typical Big Guy, but he's mellowed out a lot since marrying into the Dickens family.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: You can poke suspects during interrogation. Fair enough. It is also somewhat context-sensitive--so a head-tap registers somewhat differently from an arm-tap or a belly-tap. Starlet Carlotta reacts... interestingly to being poked in the chest or in the behind...
- Groin Attack: Not shown on-screen, but quite implicit when Charlotte attempts the--ahem--Monkey Steals The Peach technique on the family butler.
- Happily Adopted: Ling Ling was adopted when she was only a few days old, and loves her parents through and through.
- Happily Married: Commodore Dickens and Olivia, Butch and Charlotte.
Butch: Woman, I love you.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Olivia, the wife of Commodore Dickens.
- Honorary Grandparent: Strictly speaking, Dorian and Olivia would be Ling Ling's aunt and uncle. However, she refers to them as "Grandma" and "Grandpa" nonetheless.
- Hot Mom: Phoebe. Yowza.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Gone to hilarious extremes with Butch and Charlotte--Butch is a 7-foot-odd Scary Black Man while Charlotte is a Miniature Senior Citizen.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Actually, it's In Case You Forgot Who Owns The Intellectual Property--sice, actually, Wideload made the game.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "OH, HUGH THE MANATEE!"
- It Runs in The Family: Judging from the look of things, it runs it about four different families. What is "it," anyway? Deductive reasoning, business sense, probably insanity.
- Joker Immunity: A rather unusual case: Even after beating Story Mode, Mr. Valentine is still the main antagonist. Presumably, Olivia is just doing this now to keep her family on their toes.
Rudy: Uncle Max! Who's gonna be our arch-nemesis now that we've captured Mr. Valentine?
- Keet: Many characters are grateful when Phoebe just stoppers up Rudy.
- Kid Detective: Kid Riddles, naturally. Ling-Ling's more in the teenager zone, though.
- Lady in Red: Carlotta
- Le Film Artistique: Naturally, what Director Lester Noogie makes.
- Little Old Lady Investigates: Charlotte echos this.
- Living with the Villain: Dorian is actually well aware that his wife is Mr. Valentine, but he let her think he didn't know so he could trick his relatives into exposing her to boost their confidence... no, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Morgan Harvest, implicitly.
- Malevolent Masked Man: Mr. Valentine. His mask only has one eye!
- May-December Romance: Butch and Charlotte. Charlotte's probably about 60, while Butch is probably about 40 or so. He's also about five feet taller than her. They don't care.
- Max Trope
- Meaningful Name: Mr. Valentine's name comes from the fact that Olivia and Dorian's anniversary is, indeed, Valentine's Day.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Charlotte is by far the most diminutive member of the cast--and is also dwarfed by her husband, Butch.
- Motive Rant: In mystery fashion, each chapter ends with one.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: What was supposed to happen in Chapter 6. It got mucked up.
- Never Say "Die": Tooty the flautist from Chapter 6 was out-and-out murdered, but they never come out and say it. Then again... When two of the suspects get hit by a falling anchor at the end of the chapter, they're only knocked unconscious. So maybe he survived after all.
- Nintendo Hard: The later levels of the story mode (in particular, stages 6 and 7) are downright evil. In addition to plenty of red herrings, there are numerous clues that really require you to think about them to understand what they mean. The final stage also has Mr. Valentine screwing you up almost every turn, though finding the culprit is much easier because it becomes quite obvious--from a story perspective--who it has to be.
- No Accounting for Taste: Dorian and Olivia can verge into this at times. And he still loves her, despite her being, admittedly, a criminial mastermind and his archnemesis.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed/Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Each sleuth is roughly analgous to a famous detective character:
- No Indoor Voice: General Ed Mission explicitly has "using the indoor voice" as one of his dislikes.
- Non-Lethal KO: An anchor falling--and creating a huge rut in a stage--is somehow not enough to do more than knock out a pair of suspects.
- Noodle Incident: The Commodore does not like to divulge where he got the title.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The Opera House, appropriately, has very ominous and mysterious-sounding chanting in its music.
- Only Sane Man: Phoebe is the only one who really knows how nuts her family is.
- The Perry Mason Method: The game Hand Waves it by saying that the suspects want you to "impress" them before they talk. Still, when a good portion of the interrogations involve flagrant nose-pinching, you really have to wonder.
- Pink Means Feminine: Ling Ling's pink dress and hair band.
- Pretty in Mink: Olivia wears a long, white fur coat.
- Pungeon Master: Max really needs better comedic timing.
- Punny Name: Pretty much every suspect. "Dr. Morgan Harvest" is one of the more blatant ones.
- Hugh The Manatee is a Stealth Pun name. It becomes clear after he saves you from an exploding zeppelin.
- Rainbow Speak: Indicates things you can check with your lie detector. Blue is undetected, Green is true, and Red is false.
- Redheaded Hero: Phoebe
- Samus Is a Girl: Mr. Valentine ain't.
- Scary Black Man: Butch, but by appearance only. Also, the Seargeant, more straightforwardly.
- Singing Animal: It's the Three Manatee Tenors!
- Stealth Pun: The All-Play minigame on the Train has Mr. Valentine releasing snakes into the luggage compartment. This is unremarked upon. ...Snakes On a Train.
- Strangely Effective Disguise: In the Ship level in Story Mode, General Ed Mission dresses up as a captain and calls himself "Mort Sherman." Nobody realizes it's him until Kid Riddle takes off his hat, but the second they see him in his general's cap, it's obvious to them. Somehow.
- Tagalong Kid: Rudy, AKA "Kid Riddle."
- Team Dad: Commodore Dickens
- Team Mom: Olivia
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Dorian has absolutely no plans to retire. It was just a Secret Test of Character. He then becomes a playable character after story mode is done.
- Third Person Person: Schmoot hopes you'll be back soon, he does!
- Trademark Favorite Food: The Commodore loves his pudding. All of Mr. Valentine's golden artifacts end up being pudding related, as well. Hmmm...
- Too Soon: Max's catchphrase. He always makes the worst jokes.
- Trailers Always Lie: One trailer features Kid Riddle dramatically shouting, "WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY GRANDPA?!" He's actually talking to his grandfather--The Commodore just announced his plans to retire.
- Video Game Caring Potential: In co-op games, you can shake the Wiimote and any time to cheer on your teammates, just because.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can poke suspects while you're interrogating them, taunt your rivals in co-op games, lock them in... You also have taunts on your D-pad.
- Vocal Dissonance: It's so obvious what Butch sounds like! ...Until you actually hear him speak. His voice is much closer to his personality than his appearance.
- What the Hell, Player?: If you decide to spam your taunts or cheers (by repeatedly shaking the Wiimote or pressing the D-pad when it's not your turn), the Commodore will eventually get annoyed, scold you, and then temporarily take them away from you.