Project Hacker: Awakening (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 21.07.2006 8

Nintendo has a series of detective games in Japan that used to be extremely popular, and they have already proven to be just as sought after in recent years as when they were both re-released as part of the Famicom Mini series in that territory sales were much higher than perhaps you would have expected. Therefore, it came as no real surprise when Nintendo announced that it had partnered with Red Entertainment to bring the world a brand new Nintendo DS game that had a similar theme

For those of you that are unaware, Red Entertainment is quite a famous and prestigious developer, having previously worked on the Sakura Taisen series, as well as classics such as Gungrave and Far East of Eden. However, Project Hacker: Awakening takes the developer in a rather different direction this time round. You are to become a criminal sleuth, just as you had the chance to be a surgeon in Trauma Centre: Under the Knife and a rookie lawyer in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Nintendo is following in the footsteps of Atlus and Capcom in getting gamers deeply absorbed in the gaming experience.

This adventure game focuses on the investigative work involved in trying to get to the bottom of various Information Technology-related crimes that lie hidden in the depths of today's society. You must scour the Internet and interrogate many people in your mission, as well an undertaking several brain teasing puzzles that will leave you scratching your head in confusion on many an occasion. You will be faced with all sorts of scenarios, such as having to crack personal passwords, break through computer firewalls within a set time limit and force your way into computer systems to obtain vital information, all innovatively using the touch-screen and stylus to great effect. One example shown on the official website has gamers desperately trying to reconnect a clock, for example! Everything ties in well with the storyline and as you correct corrupt programmes and clear systems of any disturbance or virus issues, you will progress deeper into the underground world in what has been described by early adopters as a more mature version of Phoenix Wright.

Screenshot for Project Hacker: Awakening on Nintendo DS

The game was released in Japan on 13th July, but so far has not been strongly supported by Nintendo there, with low initial stock levels leading to a highly unimpressive first week placing. This does not bode well given that the title has not been mentioned for a Western release either. However, it seems quite a Western styled game and with the heavy amounts of Japanese text, will only be playable properly if translated (so importers should be wary).

The game starts with an overview of exactly what you will be dealing with. You are told how withdrawing from the bank account of a newly established IT Company without prior authorisation is an IT crime. Modifying patient data in a major hospital by using a complicated computer virus also falls under the same category, as does hacking into an airport control tower's network in order to hi-jack a passenger aircraft. You take on the role of the newly employed IT crime investigator Satoru Amatsubo as he endeavours to aid the international organisation of GIS as it tries to cease such felonies.

Screenshot for Project Hacker: Awakening on Nintendo DS

You must then gather as much information as you can by speaking to lots of people, searching various different areas and scouring the beast that is the Internet, before then noting down all your findings in your small-sized portable PC pad using the stylus as your trusty inputting device. Your powers of deduction will be tested to their limits when trying to crack passwords, security locks and access the important clues that will aid your investigation, but will also be able to take part in several mini-games to abate the terror caused by hackers. The PC pad is not only used for noting down new information, but is an essential piece of equipment that allows you instant access to the Internet and can transmit mail to people in case you need hints about certain subjects.

When it comes to surfing Ye Olde Internet, it appears as if there are three main choices

Screenshot for Project Hacker: Awakening on Nintendo DS

Anyway, enough of the confusing intricacies of the game and a little bit more about the characters you meet throughout the adventure. So far minor details have been released on the main star of Project Hacker, as well as five other supporting cast members. The main man is Satoru Amatsubo, a university student who is extremely proud of his computer skills. So proficient is he at computing that he is actually head-hunted by the government agency GIS to help with their tough mission. Then there is Rina Kokubo, Satoru's charming and curious childhood friend and Misuzu Sekushi, who is basically the office totty

Screenshot for Project Hacker: Awakening on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

There is still quite a lot that we need to find out about Project Hacker: Awakening, but from what has been revealed so far it definitely looks intriguing. The idea of a more adult-themed Phoenix Wright appeals immensely, but so far Nintendo has not confirmed a Western release. Hopefully that situation will change soon!

Also known as

Project Hacker: Kakusei









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   


There been quite a bit of negativity about this game since its mediocre Famitsu review. But you can't always trust one review source, as we've found out many times over the years.

This game still takes my interest, but I'll refrain from importing since its fun factor will be completely lost as it's all in Japanese.

Fingers crossed for a translation!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I cant wait!

My skillz r2 l33t 4u!!!111

This looks quite cool actually, I really like Pheonix Wright and this sounds of a similar ilk. Nice preview Adam :-D

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Thanks James. Nintendo surely has to translate both this and Touch Panic (a very cool little DS puzzler). But no word yet :-(

I want to get my hacking skills on... Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses


I've been waiting for this one!>!>

I'm gonna hack into the sell-thru records, and change the stats~! That way, it'll make it over here!!

(um.. can anyone teach me how to hack..>!?)

-- ** A S H ** --

And, while I'm thinking about it... I'm sick of all this "Japan First" mumbo-jumbo--

Why can they try a game out first over here for a change?!

I understand that Japan is DS crazy, and that initially, games fare quicker, and more accurately statisticly there too.
But, you said it yourself Adam. This title definately seems like it posseses a strong "western feel", and I dont think it would be wrong to parallel us with Japan every now and again.. then they could subsequenly create, develop, and test for two markets at the same time.
Any thoughts....?

-- ** A S H ** --

(BTW: Im in the States) Smilie

-- ** A S H ** --

this game doesnt interest me... it looks quite crap to be honest!!

I see all these people insulting the Nintendo corporation because of the lack of mature content. Yet there is something about Nintendo (at least their games) that strikes a certain unadulterated feeling of joy!!!  Pokemon Y - 1048-9263-5562

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