Nippon Safes, Inc. is an Adventure Game in the vein of LucasArts classics made by an Italian company named Dynabyte in 1992 and released for MS-DOS and Amiga. It stars three characters (computer geek-turned-thief Doug Nuts, sexy starlet Donna Fatale and former boxer Dino Fagioli) who ended up in the prison of the fictional Japanese city of Tyoko and were bailed out by a mysterious benefactor, who however needs them to recover three artifacts for him.
The interesting thing is, those three people not only do not work together, but they don't even know each other: the player can choose with whom begin the adventure and every one of them will meet the others at one point or another, with the player being able to see the story from three different perspectives. This system (that actually predated Day of the Tentacle by a couple years) was called "Parallaction" by the creators, which is also the name of the game engine.
Nippon Safes, Inc. gained some recognition in gaming circles at the time and was praised for its zany humour, good graphics and the novelty of Parallaction, with complaints directed to the poor quality of the English translation and a few bugs and obscure puzzles. It received a sequel three years later with The Big Red Adventure, starring the same characters but this time set in a parody of contemporary Russia after the fall of Communism and Soviet Union.
The games provide examples of the following tropes:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: All the main characters have a name that starts with D (Doug, Donna and Dino), moreover they are defined in-game as Smart, Sexy and Sucker.
- Art Shift: The first game's graphics are pixel art inspired by comic books and are still comedic but fairly detailed with good shadowing, volumes etc. The second game uses scanned pencil drawings and has a much more cartoony appearance, the sprites look more like caricatures of their previous selves and in general the game looks like a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
- Asian Store-Owner: Honest Chan from the first game, you never actually buy anything from him but instead barter a lot of things. He's the only character to "speak" with a mock-Asian accent in his speech bubbles. In The Big Red Adventure Doug meets a newsagent who is implied to be him or at least a relative.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
- In Nippon's intro the game design is credited to an obviously made-up "Mr. Tzutzumi".
- One character says his name is "Shinpuki Sukinai", which according to him translates as "Man who puts his fingers inside his nose".
- Brainy Specs: When Dino becomes super-intelligent after the result of the experiment at Mitsushita Labs, he mysteriously gains a pair of little glasses for a while.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Doug's black sweater with a "D" on it.
- Copy Protection: About halfway through the game a character appears from nowhere and asks a question about the setting (e.g. the number of geisha in all of Japan) whose answer can be found in the parts of the manual dedicated to Japanese culture.
- Damsel in Distress: Donna in the second game gets kidnapped by Dr. Virago.
- Dumb Muscle: Dino is probably one of the stupidest protagonists of an adventure game ever. For one, he thinks a "museum" is some kind of new store.
- Engrish: Not an in-game example. The Engrish is not in Tyoko's streets but in the actual game and manual, the translation is poorly done and many phrases sound awkward and stilted. The game is also in French and German, beside the native Italian, and apparently these translations don't fare much better.
- Enigmatic Minion: The Obviously Evil shadowy figure (a man in a black trenchcoat and hat that obscure his face) Dino meets a couple times in the intro and actual adventure. While he sets the plot in motion by getting Dino arrested and sends him to a mission later, it's never revealed who he was and, while the ending implies that "someone" is still out there after the Big Bad is defeated, the sequel completely drops that plot point.
- Expecting Someone Taller: The barman of the Hot Sushi strip clup says this about Doug.
- Femme Fatale: Donna's Stage Name translates exactly to that in Italian, in fact she uses her feminine charms a lot.
- The Ghost: Sumo champion Buta Futotta is mentioned many times (and Dino even ends up fighting him and winning) but is never actually seen.
- Ignore The Fanservice: Donna tries to seduce a hotel concierge (who for some reason looks like Spock with a five o' clock shadow) but it turns out he's gay.
- Japanese Tourist: Of course not in the first game, but in the sequel Doug meets one at the Red Square. Despite being a horrendous stereotype, he subverts some aspects of the trope in that he has a state-of-the-art camera but is proved to be incapable to actually use it.
- Japan Takes Over the World: Implied with Mitsushita Industries, which produce everything. The game was made in the early Nineties after all.
- Limited Wardrobe: In TBRA the three leads are dressed exactly like they were in the first game, even if Doug is now stated to be an international thief and Donna is a famous stage actress thanks to her liaison with the Emperor of Japan.
- Mad Scientist: The Big Bad of the second game, Doctor Virago, who wants to resurrect Lenin to turn Russia back to the glorious days of Soviet Union. The doctors at Mitsushita Labs in Tyoko qualify as well, at least for being so willing to experiment on a human guinea pig (Dino, who else?).
- Meaningful Name: Dino Fagioli. Fagioli means "beans" in Italian, and they are his Power-Up Food a la Popeye. One of the last puzzles in his adventure even involves the growth of a special "superbean" to gain huge strength.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: One of the scientists at Mitsushita Labs looks like Albert Einstein. In the second game the host of KGB TV's quiz show is inspired by legendary Italian TV host Mike Bongiorno. Also Igor, Doctor Virago's assistant when Lenin is resurrected rips off his fake hair and beard, and is revealed to be a TV executive looking suspiciously like Silvio Berlusconinote who gives Lenin a contract.
- No Name Given: Possibly Donna, since "Donna Fatale" is a Stage Name and, while at one point she says to Doug "you can call me Lady", it's doubtful that it's actually her real name.
- Punny Name: Doug Nuts (actually spelled "Dough Nuts" in the intro image and some early versions). The second game goes overboard with this and gives us such "gems" as Lenintendo, The Rolling Soviets, Doctor Virago, Leo Tallstory (who wrote "War and Pacemaker") and many others.
- Maybe also Dr. Ki, the man who bailed our heroes out of prison. Ki is pronounced like "Chi" in Italian, meaning "Who"... in other words, Doctor Who.
- Italian example: the prison warder at the very beginning is named Secondo. One italian word for "warder" is "secondino".
- Recursive Reality: In Mitsushita Labs Dino finds a pirated floppy disk of Nippon Safes Inc. and makes a little speech on why Digital Piracy Is Evil. In the second game NSI is apparently still a game but it's stated that the event from the previous game actually happened, even if they didn't affect the plot in any meaningful way.
- Sequel Hook: The second game ends with the protagonists riding a camel in the middle of the desert and the words THE END? turning from the usual faux-Cyrillic font to a faux-Arabian script. This, and the fact that a gypsy foretold Dino that he was going to have an adventure in much warmer climates, foreshadowed a sequel set in some Arabic country that never was, since Dynabyte disbanded some time later (TBRA was their last game).
- Take Our Word for It: Donna's "bottle show" (see picture above), something so deplorable that apparently gets her arrested every time she performs it. Of course we don't see anything of it.
- Terrible Trio: While they don't make an actual trio since their adventures only occasionally overlap, Doug Donna and Dino are halfway between this trope (especially if compared with the Doronbo Gang from Yatterman) and Comic Trio. Doug is a nerdy computer genius with delusions of being a master thief, who is hopelessly in love with the voluptuous Donna, who uses her charm to make him do what she wants. Donna herself wants nothing more than riches and fame, and Dino, well, he's a bumbling idiot only useful for his massive strength.
- Thirty Seconds Over Tyoko: A wildly inaccurate vision of modern-day Japan Played for Laughs by two guys who probably never even went there. Expect geisha, salarymen and monks roaming the streets, pachinko parlors, Yakuza, sumo fights and almost every stereotype you can think of.
- Those Two Guys: Max and Kos, who are actually caricatures of the graphic artist and programmer. They appear to be two horny geeks who will give the characters a few scant hints in exchange for something. Max is replaced by Alex in TBRA.
- Too Dumb to Live: Dino is so thick (as a result of the blows from his boxing days) that he is constantly manipulated by other characters and doesn't quite realize what is going on at any time. Humorously, to become a human guinea pig in Mitsushita Labs he must prove that he is extremely stupid.
- Visual Pun: Dino is a big sucker and he's always depicted with a lollipop in his mouth.