“THE REMAINDER OF THE REVIEW WILL NOW BE SPOILER-FREE, SO FEEL FREE TO READ THIS NOW”
So for those who read Part 1, welcome back, that story was fantastic wasn’t it. But for those who skipped it and didn’t want to be spoiled by it, then welcome too. So this is the review, what you’ll do in the game and how it’s resolved, but I won’t spoil the plot.
The game is an amalgamation of a Graphic adventure game, interactive movie and a visual novel, and this is the first visual novel game to be reviewed here. So you’ll go around the place and perform instructions given to you via menu. Commonly, you can “Look”, “Investigate”, “Talk”, “Ask” and “Move”, though this can change during the story. It’s a detective game, find and analyse clues and solve mysteries. You can even use Metal Gear, your navigator, to either call people when you have their phone numbers and save the game.
But this is a game, so at times, when you need to shoot down Insectors and even Snatchers, and this is where shooting segments come into play, you mostly shoot down enemies in a grid. In terms of the Sega CD, it’s good and functions well, and you’re given the option of using Konami’s Justifier Light Gun too but who uses that? But then later in the game, there’s a part where you shoot lots of Insectors, and this is annoying because at this point, your reticule ends up getting stuck at times, making you lose constantly. I don’t know if this is due to emulation, who knows, let me know. But I managed to beat it due to taking my shot button and making it turbo, and it worked, and I can progress.
The gameplay is simple and I guess it can be quite easy to progress but it will take time to figure out what to do, what clues to find and analyse, the works, this is a detective game so you need to work like a detective, solve mysteries like one, and you feel good figuring out solutions, you feel like you’re progressing.
In terms of characters, I quite like them. Gillian Seed is a likable character; he’s a charming fellow so I like adventuring with him. He also likes his ladies, even to the point of getting nervous at the ‘tense’ situations. He’s also partnered with Metal Gear, his navigator and he’s given a lot of character too for a robot, he plays second fiddle to Gillian and the duo do sometimes get involved in some comedic moments involving them both.
As for the story, the crux of the entire game is the story. It’s quite fantastic, it has great twists and turns, the story is always interesting until that plot dump near the end of Act 3; I mean it’s not bad, but let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to Metal Gear Solid 4. It also has comedy and it fits well into the story, add to the few amounts of fourth-wall humour, giving you that Kojima touch.
The graphics are great, especially for the Sega CD. The games design (and not level design), is quite appealing for the future; it’s nice, simple, not too much design-wise but is still effective when living in a futuristic world. The music is great too, composed by the Konami Kukeiha Club (コナミ矩形波倶楽部 konami kukeiha kurabu, “Konami Square Wave Club”), and it’s just so good to listen too. My absolute favourite track is the Junkers HQ theme, now that’s good music to my ears.
So why did I want to try this out? Because it really interested me; there’s something about cult games that interest me, the ones that are considered to be that game that not many people play but are supposed to be good, and Snatcher is no exception. The game wasn’t a success because, obviously, it was on the Sega CD. I played it on an emulator because the PAL and even US copy is highly expensive, add to the fact that this is Konami, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will NEVER re-release it for the west, especially nowadays.
Did you Know? Kojima wanted to coat floppy disks in a special chemical. So whenever you played the game and the disk heated up, you would smell blood. This was to give you the immersion of the stench of a murder scene. Oh Kojima! Your ego was massive even back then.
But that wasn’t the end of Snatcher, as there was another version called SD Snatcher. It was near enough the same plot but the characters were now in chibi-form. The game is also now an RPG. I was never interested in this game from looking at the gameplay; it looks slow and sluggish to play anyway so I’ll leave it at that.
There’s also SDATCHER, a prequel radio play written by Suda 51 of Killer7 and No More Heroes fame, it mostly tells the tale of Gibson and the events that occurred before the main game. I’ll listen to it when there’s an English dub.
Overall, Snatcher is a fantastic game…even if isn’t the traditional one for the most part, but you have a brilliant story with great and memorable characters and some interesting plot elements with twists that even surprised me. It’s mature, dark at times, but can be quirky and light-hearted; it has the best of both and gels well, giving you a unique experience in storytelling. But if you really want to try it out, you may need to play it on an emulator or just get lucky and find a Sega CD copy for the English readers, as for the Japanese, you’re all good, though for you guys, I’d suggest picking up the PC Engine version as it has less censorship than any other port after that one.
You can get it on the NEC PC-8801, MSX 2, PC Engine (Super CD-ROM²), Sega CD, PlayStation and the Sega Saturn.
Umm…you’re probably wondering where the rating is?
Well…I’ve been thinking about it. For years, I’ve been using a rating system from best to worst, 5 to 1 for that matter. 5 was perfect, 4 was really good, 3 was OK, 2 was below average and 1 was god awful and sometimes 0 for not deserving to exist.
But then Jim Sterling happened to review The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wind and gave it a 7/10. From what people read, it was a fair review. But to the Nintendo fans, it was utter sacrilege, such heresy to give what is considered a perfect game a score like that. This lead to Jim getting harassed with threats, doxing and much more. This is wrong on so many levels and Jim is a great critic when he isn’t going Social Justice on everything, I remember that bloody Dead or Alive Extreme 3 video, that pissed me right off.
But it’s not just that, it’s just that people assume that the rating and ONLY the rating matters, never reading the review properly and skimming to the rating system. Add to the fact that a game has to be a 9 or a 10 for it to be worth a purchase, anything below like 7 or even an 8 is considered bad, which isn’t that bad of a score. For me, I deem games scored 7 and above to be good.
So when I think of my scores of game reviews I’ve written, I think to myself, “When people read my stuff, do they read the whole page or skim to the score?”. So I’ve decided not to score games anymore and just tell you whether you should play a game or not, just like the mini-reviews, which aren’t scored. I want the words I say to matter and not the score. If you really like my scores, then sorry, I just feel it’s best for me to do this.