|Platform(s)||Family Computer Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Virtual Console, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam, DMM GAMES|
|First release||Shinjuku Chūō Kōen Satsujin Jiken|
April 24, 1987
|Latest release||Daedalus: The Awakening of Golden Jazz|
December 13, 2018
Jake Hunter, known in Japan as Tantei Jingūji Saburō (探偵神宮寺三郎, "Detective Saburō Jingūji"), is a mystery adventure game series originally developed and published by Data East in 1987. The property would later transfer to WorkJam, and has most recently been acquired by Arc System Works, who are its current owners.
Despite its popularity in Japan, the first of its games to receive an English language release was Tantei Jingūji Saburō DS: Inishie no Kioku, retitled and released in North America on June 11, 2008 by Aksys Games in truncated form as Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles. The game was re-released on May 26, 2009 as Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past, containing the originally localised three cases with new translations, plus three further cases, and a large number of unlockables including comics. No further releases would be announced until July 1, 2017, when Aksys Games revealed they would be bringing over Tantei Jingūji Saburō: Ghost of the Dusk in 2018. A prequel game, given the additional title Alternate Jake Hunter, was localised internally and released in 2019 with original character names and settings preserved.
According to Enterbrain's Famitsu, the Tantei Jingūji Saburō franchise had sold over 2,220,000 units at the time of its twentieth anniversary, making it one of the longest running and best-selling Japanese adventure game series in history. The number of main series entries currently stands at nineteen, complemented by a 25-game mobile sub-series and various examples of tie-in media. A persistent series tradition has been to use titles from songs and albums as names for installments, with most frequent reference made to the works of Kenji Sawada.
The first game of the series, Shinjuku Chūō Kōen Satsujin Jiken (新宿中央公園殺人事件, Shinjuku Central Park Murder Mystery), was released in 1987 by Data East for the Family Computer Disk System, featuring advanced graphics, sound effects, and distinct hardboiled scenarios to set itself apart from other contemporaneous adventure games. The series employed a number of advanced game mechanics, developing techniques which would later find popularity in the industry at large. Time played an important role in the games, with each command selected by the player causing a certain amount of in-game time to elapse; failure to solve the mystery during the allotted time period resulting in a bad ending. This time system would feature in all four of the original games, and would later be revived in the series' 7th installment. The fourth game would also introduce the ability to switch between independent playable characters at will, allowing for more diverse and idiosyncratic methods of play. The scenario for the series' 3rd and 4th installments was written by a fledgling Kazushige Nojima.
Fifth generation consoles
Production was halted after the 4th installment, but would be revived internally when Data East took on series fan Tatsuya Saito. Saito would become scenario writer for the 5th game in the series, directed by Eiichi Nishiyama, who would become series producer from the next installment, and released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. This fifth entry would see several developments on the original games made possible by the use of the CD-ROM: an overhaul of the series' graphics and sound, including an opening movie featuring an animated prelude, voice acting for the first time, 3D-rendered mini games, and the inaugural installment of a sub-series known in Japan as the Mystery Casebook games (Jake Hunter Unleashed in English releases), featuring super-deformed caricatures of the main trio encountering small-scale mysteries involving extra challenging gameplay, which would be included alongside mainline games.
Most of these features (barring the use of polygonal gameplay) would become standard for the series, with the 6th installment, written by Hirotaka Inaba, replacing the previous game's stylised character design with a painted realist style produced by original character designer Katsuya Terada, and adding a new "password" mechanic, involving hidden codes in the main game which could be used to unlock bonus content. Both this game and the next, released exclusively for PlayStation with the newly christened series subtitle "Detective Adventure Game", would feature opening movies directed by Shimako Satō.
Sixth generation consoles
In 1999, a financially troubled Data East licensed out the series to WorkJam, to which Nishiyama's "Team Jingūji" would transfer when Data East went bankrupt in 2003. With previous scenario writers unavailable, writing duties for the series' eighth installment, developed for PlayStation 2 in 2002, fell to WorkJam founder Yutaka Kaminaga. The series continued with a further game for the PS2 and reimaginings of the Famicom games released as mobile phone applications. The transition between studios marked a shift in game design: storytelling became more linear and perspective shifts scripted, setting the formula for later games in the series. The final game of the generation, co-developed by Marvelous Interactive for the Game Boy Advance, marked the series debut on handheld platforms.
Seventh generation consoles
Beginning with a special 20th anniversary release for the Nintendo DS, WorkJam would work with Arc System Works in development of console games, now released exclusively on handheld platforms in the form of the Tantei Jingūji Saburō Detective Story line and an additional PlayStation Portable release. WorkJam licensed a series of PlayStation Game Archives releases of the original Data East games to Expris, and continued their mobile game line, featuring contributions from writers such as Kazutaka Kodaka, to a total of twenty-four releases before it was retired.
In 2011, WorkJam began to wind down production, with full responsibilities for the ongoing development of a special 25th-anniversary game for the Nintendo 3DS falling to Arc System Works. Several WorkJam staff, including Nishiyama and planner/scenario writer Mitsue Kaneko, would form a new studio, Orange, while rights to various company properties including the Tantei Jingūji Saburō series passed to Expris. For the next five years the series would remain largely dormant, aside from Game Archives rereleases of WorkJam's two PS2 games from Expris, and a cameo by the title character in Inuwashi Urabure Tantei to Ojou-sama Keiji no Ikebukuro Jiken Fairu, a mobile game developed by Orange and scored by longtime series composer Seiichi Hamada.
In 2017, Arc System Works announced that plans for a 30th-anniversary revival had led to its obtaining of exclusive rights to Expris' WorkJam-inherited properties at the end of the previous year. Since then, the company has worked with Orange and Neilo to publish several titles for handheld and home consoles, while exploring new avenues for PC delivery and reviving the mobile line for smart devices.
The main character of the series is Jake Hunter (known in Japan as Saburō Jingūji (神宮寺三郎, Jingūji Saburō)), a thirty-something (29 for the first five installments) private investigator who operates a detective agency in the Tripudio district of the fictional American city of Aspicio (Kabukichō, Shinjuku in the Japanese original). He was born the third son of a wealthy business enterprise owner, but chose to travel to New York City during his youth to work as an assistant detective. He is a heavy smoker, and often assembles his thoughts with the help of a Marlboro cigarette. According to his in-game profile, his favorite alcoholic beverage is cognac, and he drives a green Mini Cooper.
Hunter is persistently accompanied in his investigations by Yulia Marks (known in Japan as Yōko Misono (御苑洋子, Misono Yōko)), his polyglot assistant, and often collaborates with his old friend Scott "King" Kingsley (known in Japan as Sanzō "Kuma-san" Kumano (熊野参造, Kumano Sanzō)), a middle-aged inspector with the city police.
Voice acting was first used in certain game scenes in the 5th installment, and has been implemented in most subsequent releases, excluding those released for mobile, GBA and DS. Jingūji has been voiced by Yukimasa Kishino, Akio Ōtsuka, Jūrōta Kosugi, and Kaoru Katō; Yōko by Tsumugi Ōsawa, Yōko Saitō, Fumiko Orikasa, Kazue Nakamoto, Seiko Yoshida, and Mamiko Noto; and Sanzō by Fumihiko Tachiki, Kōji Ishii, Masaaki Tsukada, and Naomi Otome. Current cast are in bold.
List of media
|1||Shinjuku Chūō Kōen Satsujin Jiken
Shinjuku Central Park Murder Mystery
||Data East||Disk System||The strangled corpse of a popular hostess is discovered at the Shinjuku Central Park. A doctor, homeless man and someone else may know something.|
|2||Yokohama-kō Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
Yokohama Port Serial Murder Mystery
||Family Computer||The search for a missing girlfriend results in the discovery of hidden firearms, and the police begin to suspect a link with an underground trafficking organization.|
|3||Kiken na Futari Zenpen
A Dangerous Duo Former Part
||Disk System||Jingūji visits a race circuit at the invitation of one of Yōko's friends. A motorcycle racer crashes at the circuit, but a different racer's body is recovered from the crash site.|
|Kiken na Futari Kōhen
A Dangerous Duo Latter Part
|4||Toki no Sugiyuku Mama ni...
Let Time Pass By...
||Family Computer||Jingūji investigates a burglary at a mansion, while Yōko searches for the home of a young boy. Both cases appear simple, until they become one.|
|5||Mikan no Rupo
The Unfinished Reportage
|An overseas package sent by a journalist acquaintance of Jingūji's arrives at the agency, containing a small key. Collaborating with a new ally, he sets out in search of a way to uncover its meaning.|
|6||Yume no Owari ni
At the End of the Dream
||Jingūji is tormented by hideous dreams of his past. The mystery begins as Yōko unwittingly decides to investigate a requested case.|
|N/A||Tantei Jingūji Saburō Early Collection||
||PlayStation||A compilation of the early games released for the Family Computer and Family Computer Disk System|
|7||Tomoshibi ga Kienu Ma ni
While the Light Remains
||An injured young man suddenly takes refuge from yakuza at the agency, complicating the investigation of two cases, as each of the separate events are gradually woven together.|
||WorkJam||PlayStation 2||Jingūji is asked to search for the missing daughter of the director of a hospital where he had received treatment. This small case gradually expands to revive a deep and complex mystery.|
|9||KIND OF BLUE||
||Lonely and bored after several months without any cases, Jingūji gladly returns to work when the Kantō Meiji group requests the investigation of a certain individual.|
A direct sequel to the previous game.
|10||Shiroi Kage no Shōjo
The Girl with the White Shadow
|Game Boy Advance||When Jingūji attends his friend's funeral, his friend's mother asks him to investigate a missing person, while police inspector Kumano asks him to investigate the urban myth called "Yū-chan".|
|11||Inishie no Kioku
The Ancient Memory
Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past
Arc System Works
|Nintendo DS||Jake is arrested by the police for a crime he did not commit; a young man named Ken seems the only person who might prove his innocence.|
This release marks the series' 20th anniversary, and includes the first five games from the original mobile series. Unlike the Japanese version, the initial U.S. version, titled "Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles", only contains the first three cases and many of the extras were cut from the game. The game was later rereleased as "Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past", unedited and retranslated.
The Abiding Spirit
||Jingūji is asked to investigate the suicide of an elementary school girl from 20 years ago. When he visits her school, he meets the school principal who demands the investigation of another new case...|
Also contains five games from the original mobile series (No.6–No.10)
The Withheld Truth
||After finding himself momentarily caught in the limelight, Jingūji returns to his craft when a kidnapper specifically requests the involvement of "Detective J".|
Also contains five games from the original mobile series (No.11–No.15)
|14||Hai to Daiyamondo
Ashes and Diamonds
||PlayStation Portable||Looking into an inheritance dispute, Jingūji ends up investigating five seemingly unconnected cases and discovers a conspiracy.|
||Nintendo DS||Following a fresh wave of violence, Jingūji sets out on the trail of a terrorist known as "Red Butterfly" who was responsible for a series of bombings twenty years ago.|
Also contains five games from the original mobile series, previously released as DSiWare (No.16–No.20)
|16||Fukushū no Rondo
Rondo of Revenge
||Nintendo 3DS||Pursued by both sides of the law, Jingūji finds himself juggling his own survival and his search for the truth.|
An atypical game featuring several unique mechanics, released to mark the series' 25th anniversary
|N/A||Tantei Jingūji Saburō Oldies||
||Arc System Works
|App collecting remasters of games in the original mobile series (No.2-No.20)|
|17||GHOST OF THE DUSK
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk
||Nintendo 3DS||The discovery of a dead vagrant in a run-down mansion rapidly spirals into a decades-old investigation.|
The title also contains the final four games from the original mobile series (No.21–No.24)
|18||Prism of Eyes||
|A trio of standalone stories starring each of the three series regulars, alongside remakes of ten games from the original mobile series (No.4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19)|
|SP||Daedalus: The Awakening of Golden Jazz
Alternate Jake Hunter - Daedalus: The Awakening of Golden Jazz
||Arc System Works
|A young Saburō Jingūji heads to New York prior to joining the Tokyo Metropolitan Police after the death of his grandfather.|
A prequel to the series, tying in closely to the sixth game.
|N/A||Tantei Jingūji Saburō New Order||
||Arc System Works
|App for distribution of games in a new mobile series|
The mobile games began development under WorkJam for flip phones in 2003. The first four games were remakes of the original Famicom games, featuring (often significant) reworking of their stories. Following Arc System Works' acquisition of the series in 2017, the original games were collected in a smartphone app, and the line relaunched with a new series beginning in 2019.
|#||Japanese title||English title|
|01||Shinjuku Chūō Kōen Satsujin Jiken
Shinjuku Central Park Murder Mystery
|The Petty Murder of a Fragile Heart (on DS)|
|02||Yokohama-kō Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
Yokohama Port Serial Murder Mystery
|Seaside City Conspiracy (on DS)|
|03||Kiken na Futari
A Dangerous Duo
|Crash and Burn (on DS)|
|04||Toki no Sugiyuku Mama Ni...
Let Time Pass By...
|As Time Goes By (on DS)|
|05||Akai Me no Tora
The Red-Eyed Tiger
|The Red-Eyed Tiger (on DS)|
|06||Rokumai no Hankō
The Six Sheets of Crime
|07||Bōen wo Sagase
Search for the Dying Smoke!
|08||Aoi Me no Ryū
The Blue-Eyed Dragon
|09||Kito no Yoru
The Night of Quito
|10||Shikaku no Wana
The Square Trap
|11||Inu to Yobareta Otoko
The Man Who Was Called a Dog
|12||Futairo no Shōjo
The Two-Colored Girl
|13||Inochi Tatsu Kokugen
Prophecy of Death
The Entrusted Ring
|15||Shingi no Hazama
Between Truth and Lie
|16||Tsubaki no Yukue
Whereabouts of the Camellia
|17||Akenai Yoru ni
The Endless Night
|18||Kadan no Itte
One Decisive Move
The Linking Curse
|20||Naki Ko no Shōzō
Portrait of a Dead Child
Legend of the Demon Princess
|Legend of the Demon Princess (on 3DS)|
|22||Ai Yue ni
For the Sake of Love
|For Love (on 3DS)|
|23||Wasurenagusa no Omoi
Sentiment of the Forget-Me-Not
|Forget-me-not (on 3DS)|
One Wavering Year
|Four Seasons (on 3DS)|
|25||Giwaku no Ace
The Suspicious Ace
The series has been accompanied by a plethora of tie-in books, the first of which, a choose-your-own-adventure style gamebook for young adults, was released in 1988. After the series revival at Data East, Tatsuya Saito would pen a prequel novel documenting the first meeting between Jingūji and Kumano. A further novel would be published in 2000, followed by a novelisation of the eighth game. Another prequel, telling a story set during Jingūji's schooldays, was published by Dengeki Bunko in 2004, followed by a brief sequence of releases at Sesame Books, ending in 2007.
Manga adaptations of the third and sixth games were previously made available online, and several game guides were published prior to the series' shift toward handheld platforms.
Several soundtrack CDs have also been released, featuring a range of music from across the series composed by series stalwart Seiichi Hamada and others. A Drama CD featuring three short vignettes was included with early copies of the sixth game.
- Katsuya Terada (original character designer and illustrator throughout the series)
- Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Kōkeisha (a contemporary mystery-adventure game series)
- "Arc System Works Picks Up The Jake Hunter And Theresia Series". Siliconera. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
- "Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk coming to North America in 2018 - Gematsu". Gematsu. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Tantei Jinguuji Saburou Detective Story: Fuserareta Shinjitsu".
- "Tantei Jinguuji Saburou Detective Story: Akai Chou".
- "探偵 神宮寺三郎 Oldies".
- "Tantei Jinguuji Saburou: Ghost of the Dusk".
- "ストーリー〈リメイク〉 | 探偵 神宮寺三郎 プリズム・オブ・アイズ".
- "Daedalus: The Awakening of Golden Jazz launches December 13 in Japan". 2018-09-20.
- "アプリ『探偵 神宮寺三郎 New Order』で『疑惑のエース』が7月31日配信".