#365Games12: Snatcher – Sega CD

One of my favorite games of all time, this game was my holy grail for many years. I was hooked after reading a review in GamePro back in ’95 I think where they mentioned how the game takes place in a “cyberpunk future” with “cybernetic alien invaders dressed in human-skin suits.” Man that sounded like Blade Runner! How dope would it be to play a violent, Blade Runner anime with Terminators?

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The game has a great story, it is based on the Blade Runner concept and it adds onto it with a strong cast of characters and deep plot. I’m gonna cheat and paste the story from MobyGames:

December 2042, Neo Kobe City, a city of madness and decadence…

Mankind is facing its gravest crisis. A mysterious bio-roid life form has appeared. Its true nature and purpose are unknown. Is it some country’s secret weapon, or an alien from another world? They appear in the winter, killing people and taking their place in society. They wear artificial skin and can sweat and even bleed. They are called “Snatchers” because they “snatch” their victims before they take their place.

A new police force, specifically trained to fight the Snatchers, has been formed. They are JUNKERs (Judgement Uninfected Naked Kind and Execute Rangers). Every time you encounter someone, a difficult question must be asked — IS IT A PERSON OR A SNATCHER?

The graphics are clean and sharp and at times you feel like you’re reading a manga instead of playing a game, probably because the actual game is fairly static. Once you get past the impressive intro, you find out that the actual game-play is old-school RPG. An image pops up and you interact with people via on-screen commands and that in itself makes the game fairly linear, you can’t really explore the surrounding areas or just walk around and really dig into Neo Kobe. The dialogue between characters is deep and at times can be amusing. Cool cut-scenes break up some of the menu-based monotony and you have moments in the game when it becomes a FPS and you can shoot things, after 10 minutes of Look, Move and Investigate, it’s nice to be able to fire a weapon. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! I do that every time l come across “Little John” early in the game. One thing I will add about the graphics is the level of detail, from the main characters to the backgrounds to the dude with his head blown off sitting in his lap, it all looks like it’s straight from the pages of a comic book.

Because the game is so linear, it’s fairly short. If you sat down for a half a day and wanted to play it, you’d probably beat it without having to consult a guide or anything, but don’t let that stop you from playing it. It’s visually impressive even by current standards with sharp audio and one of the best video game story’s to date. I’ve made it a point of collecting all versions of the Kojima classic, even grabbed Policenauts, too bad I can’t understand what they’re saying …

The voice acting in this game is impressive, it’s clear and a majority of the characters speak which amazed me back in the day. You were lucky to get a few digitized words but this game has whole conversations. And the music … for the most part, it has a split between jazzy and electronic, it’s sort of like late 80’s, early 90’s cop movies, which is fitting given the noir-ish quality of the story. I’ve begun digging into that vibe for a project that will be revealed soon that is connected to Snatcher, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, this game isn’t for everyone; it’s violent, it’s slow, it’s rigid but if you play games for the story and not to run around shooting everything, then you should have already played Snatcher. The physical copies of this game have become hot commodities on eBay, if you have about $100, you can get yourself a copy, if you have the dough to spend then it’s worth the price of admission. The end.