In the slums of the Japanese metropolis of Tyoko, a shady character wanders around looking suspicious. What can this mysterious person be up to? Discover it yourself by helping Doug Nuts, the crafty technological thief, by taking the place of the perturbing Lady Fatale or putting yourself in the shoes of Dino Fagioli, the knocked-about former boxer Dino Fagioli.
~ from the back of the box
Nippon Safes Inc, the classic 1992 adventure from Dynabyte, is a game of varying quality that somehow manages to be quite fun. Like its successor, Big Red Adventure, there are a fair number of bugs and mis-translations from the original Italian (see the spelling mistakes and poor sentence structure that makes up the blurb on the back of the box for a taster). None of the bugs are game breaking and happened at random times that I couldn't duplicate. The worst of which had the main character disappear for a screen or duplicate during an in-game animation. Some may be down to emulation but none harm the overall quality.
You play as one of three characters coerced into a nefarious plot by a mysterious man after each has a run-in with the law. Donna Fatale, the exotic dancer arrested for doing some unseemly things with a bottle for her show, Dino Fagioli, the simple-minded ex-boxer nicked after unknowingly breaking into a car and Doug Nuts, master thief and explosives expert doing time after a robbery went wrong. Each has their own storyline, with a personality and humour that shines through the generally stale script that's often lost in translation.
The game takes place in the fictional Japanese city of Tyoko and attempts to explore the culture there. Throughout each of the stories, the locations you encounter are very nice to look at considering it's 1992. Aurally, on the other hand, the game leaves a lot to be desired - at least on PC. There are no sound effects and interactions are signalled with a high-pitched beep barely stifled by the looping Adlib rendition of the Peter Gunn theme. The Amiga version fares a lot better with sparse use of a variety of music to accompany the larger array of soundscapes. It looks and controls better too, with pixel-hunts seemingly less troublesome.
While LucasArts' output is an obvious influence even going so far as being the butt of a very meta joke in the sleazy Hot Sushi strip joint, the controls are a little different. Holding the right mouse button will bring up a grid detailing all of your actions as well as your full inventory. Release with the cursor hovering over your desired icon, then click what you want that icon to interact within the world. Combining items is a bit fiddly, though it only came about a couple of time in each storyline.
Puzzles require the use of the inventory and are pretty logical if you can figure out what you're looking at. Where you may get stuck is in the copy protection. To choose your player, you have to answer a number of personality questions from the manual as if it's a Cosmo quiz. The game will also pause halfway through each story to ask a question that can only be found by studying the manual's encyclopedic information (the DOS version is cracked, though the answers can be found in the Manual or Codes documents provided). The worst offenders are finding the hotspots which in some cases are only a pixel in size. I challenge anyone to find the coke can in the trash bin without knowing it's there first.
I was perhaps a bit too harsh when I reviewed Big Red Adventure in the early days of this site, probably due to the issues I had getting it running sullying my enjoyment (which were only really resolved without workarounds this year). I found Nippon Safes Inc to be a much more pleasurable playthrough but in retrospect, both games are fully worth your time.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the PC version to modern systems and FS-UAE to emulate the Amiga version. Manual and Copy Protection Codes included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 92.8 Mb. Install Size: 202 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Nippon Safes Inc is © Dynabyte
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me