7

Worth playing, particular if you like mystery novels.

It's a bit difficult for me to recommend Jake Hunter to any one group of people. For people who prefer story-driven games, it may be appealing, but as the game is split into six separate stories (which are only loosely tied together), the lack of full character or overall story development may turn some off. As for people who enjoy reading novels, this title may also interest them, so long as they can ignore the sometimes repetitive music and not uncommon grammar mistakes (though these are found much less often in the main game, and more in the extra five "Jake Hunter Unleashed" skits, but I'll explain those in a bit).

Despite these irritants, however, I can say that I, at least, enjoyed the game quite a bit. No, it's not without some obvious flaws: the music can get a little grating in certain stories, many of the grammar errors could easily have been avoided, and more development in at least the two main characters would've been nice, it's still, I think, worth a play-through.

Throughout the game, you play as either Jake Hunter or, much less often, his assistant Yulia Marks. The entire game plays, not so much like a point-and-click adventure as advertised, and more along the lines of a visual novel. Actually, as far as I can recall, you don't really point-and-click to find anything other than the dialogue boxes. The entire game is comprised of you interrogating various suspects in each case and observing key objects and oddities throughout the game world. These are all found by triggering the right bits of dialogue during Jake's conversations with suspects, or they can come from his observations off normal pieces of furniture (you choose from a limited number of items to look at in each place from, once again, dialogue boxes). Aside from the very occasional puzzle, this will carry you through most of the game.

It's worth noting that the game is, overall, very easy. Granted, it does throw the occasional difficult puzzle at you, but if you can't figure it out, just click each option until the game's story progresses. As you can't actually get a game-over, there's little to no incentive for people not to do this when they can. At most, you may be stuck at times trying to figure out which area of whatever city you're in (mostly Jake's home city, Aspicio) is the one you need to visit.

Like the difficulty, the music is a mixed bag, and much of it depends on any player's musical preference. Virtually the entire soundtrack is combined of various jazz mixes, some of which are catchy enough that players shouldn't too bothered to hear them for a few hours at a time. Nevertheless, some tracks do get old, and too often most will probably end up turning the volume of their DS's down.

For all this player's gripes, however, the game still has its charm. The stories, though a tad short, are quite entertaining for the most part, and getting attached to Jake and Yulia, odd pair that they are, isn't too difficult once you've played through the six main stories. Along with these, players are provided the chance to play five more mini-stories referred to as "Jake Hunter Unleashed." Unlike the main game, the characters in these are all chibi-styled, and the mysteries take little more than ten minutes to complete. The stories themselves are often much lighter as well, even if the crimes are similar, though the solutions to each are also a bit more convoluted, which was certainly annoying.

All in all, "Jake Hunter Detective Stories: Memories of the Past" is a game worth giving a chance. It may not appeal to everyone, but for those who can get into the gritty detective offerings it contains, it's a treat.

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