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Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Format: Cartridge
Release: US 06/08/08
Japan 07/19/07



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A clue, a clue!
 
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Could this guy be a suspect?
 
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Motorcycle mystery
 
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What does this all mean?
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Neal Chandran
First Look Preview
04/28/08
Neal Chandran

The Tantei Jinguji Saburo series of visual novels has been present in Japan since the days of the Famicom. The series' first DS installment is making its US debut courtesy of Aksys games. However, the game is coming to America under the moniker Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles and carries with it some changes. For one, Jinguji Saburo will be renamed to Jake Hunter and the Japanese locations will be changed to the fictious "Anytown, USA" cities of Aspicio City, Depono, and Ceteri.

Our hero is a hardboiled tough-guy detective with a gravity defying hairdo who, in past games, has never been shy about his enjoyment of cognac and Marlboro cigarettes. The game will take him through three mysteries. The first mystery has Jake Hunter investigating the murder of a woman at Aspicio City's central park. The second mystery begins as a seemingly routine missing person case in the harbor city of Depono but turns into a twisty conspiracy case. The third mystery takes place at a motorcycle racetrack in Ceteri. Details regarding the stories are scarce, but that is part of the fun of a mystery. The three tales have simple premises but promise to be twisty and deep.

Gameplay should be akin to games such as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney where there is a storytelling component involving dialogues with people along with an exploratory component involving searching for clues and following leads. These more interactive investigative elements reportedly make use of the DS' stylus to comb locations thoroughly and deeply examine items. As with games of this type, there will be a lot of text and therefore a lot of reading, but with some interactive investigative elements thrown in for good measure.

The visuals are the visual novel standard of 2D character portraits atop still pictures of prerendered locations. The character designs personify the gritty style of film noir detective stories with their prominent use of greys and browns rather than bright colors. Prior soundtracks to Jinguji Saburo games have showcased lounge jazz music, with plenty of saxophone and piano, and this one should follow suit. There is no word yet as to the voice acting in this game, whether it will retain the original Japanese voices, be dubbed into English, or be omitted altogether.

The game was released in Japan in July 2007 and will be released in the US in June of this year with a low $19.99 retail price tag. This game looks to be a good value for DS owners who enjoy Japanese graphic adventures.



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