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A Japanese noir mystery Visual Novel series originally developed by Data East with character designs by Katsuya Terada.
The story stars Jake Hunter, a heavy-smoking hard-boiled big city detective who runs his agency in the big city of Shinjuku, Tokyo (Aspicio, USA in the translated version.) Recurring supporting characters include his Deadpan Snarker secretary Yulia Marks, jovial mustachioed police inspector Scott Kingsley, Lab Rat Samantha Martin, Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters Vincent Drago and Don Vitore, and Ryo Hsu, a Badass Chinese foreign police agent.
Originally debuting in 1987 Famicom computer, various iterations of the series have sold over 2,220,000 copies in total, making it one of the longest standing and best-selling Japanese Adventure Game series.
The series had little to no American presence until 2007, when a Nintendo DS remake of the first three installments featuring the character was translated in America as Jake Hunter Detective Chronicles. To put it kindly, it was a Blind Idiot Translation and it came off as a Darker and Edgier rip-off of the Ace Attorney series and a poor one at that, and the chances of it ever catching on in the US seemed poor. Two years later, the three cases were re-released as Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past with much better Woolseyism-type translations, three additional cases, six Super-Deformed mini-sodes, and a ton of unlockable extras. If you would be at all interested in the games, the 2009 release is the one to get. You'll thank us later.
Overall, the games are quite linear and definitely more read than played, but those who enjoy mystery games should find them intriguing.
Jake Hunter shows examples of the following tropes:
- A Day in the Limelight: Some cases allow you to play as Yulia or other characters for brief periods of time.
- Affectionate Parody: The minisodes.
- Asshole Victim
- Badass: Ryo Hsu
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible
- Black Sheep: Jake is the son to the owner of a huge corporation, but turned his back on his family to join the police force, then start his detective agency.
- But Thou Must!: The correct/morally right decisions let you unlock Bonus Material. Poor ones still move the story along.
- Character Tics: Jake is a big smoker. And a heavy drinker. Yulia comments on his ability to apparently survive on nothing but cigarrettes and scotch.
- Cultural Translation
- Deadpan Snarker: Yulia
- Fair Play Whodunnit
- Film Noir
- Friend on the Force: Kingsley.
- Hint System: Jake can gain insight into what he's currently supposed to be doing by stopping for a smoke. In certain places, he remembers he's not allowed to smoke (but you still get the hint), and other characters have their own hint-gathering tics.
- I Call Her "Vera": At least in the 2009 version, Jake has names for every one of his mobile phones. Girl names, naturally.
- Interactive Fiction
- Lab Rat: Samantha Martin
- The Mafia: Vincent Drago, a member of the Salvatore crime family works as a source of information for Hunter, as many of his cases involve competing families in the city.
- No-Tell Motel
- Pop Quiz: Periodically, the game forces you to stop and answer questions about the story so far. They're always questions about important plot elements, so the answers usually aren't very obscure.
- The Perry Mason Method
- Smoking Is Cool
- Soup Cans
- The Summation
- Super-Deformed: The minisodes.
- Visual Novel
- What the Hell, Hero?: Though it usually ends up being a But Thou Must! situation, you'll still get chewed out for refusing to help people in need.