An In-Depth Look at the History of Snatcher

23 04 2007

There’s been a lot of buzz about Snatcher, a Kojima game from the Sega CD and recently announced as a new radio drama being penned by Kojima and Suda 51 (Killer 7, No More Heroes). IGN board user Hells_Rider has provided us with an in-depth history of the game and it’s spiritual successor, Policenauts. Snatcher is without a doubt an incredible game and this compilation of history makes me want to play it even more. Here’s the scoop:

Snatcher first off comes from the mind of one Hideo Kojima, creator of the infamous Metal Gear series; it was released in 1988 on the MSX and it told the story of a man named Gillian Seed in the city of Neo Kobe who is a detective that one day joins JUNKER, an organization bent on taking out the Snatchers who are robots that disguise themselves as humans and kidnap, or rather snatch, high ranking government officials and replaces them in society. Now the reason that Gillian joins JUNKER is because he believes that his past is connected to the Snatchers. You see Gillian and his wife, Jamie; both have a sort of amnesia that they cannot recall certain events of their past, but only remember that it has something to do with the word Snatcher. So Gillian is off to find the mysteries of his past and find out the secrets of the Snatchers. This is as much of the story as I will give, but I will post vids of this game that show off the story and you can follow it that way, I just wanted to give you the basic story. There are a lot of twists and turns, I believe more so than the Metal Gear Solid games, and there is even a character in the game named Metal Gear. Really this game mapped Kojima’s career in video games.

Now the game’s influence heavily seems to come from the movie Blade Runner. For those that have never seen this movie before, it basically is about these robots called replicants who have the same features as the Snatchers. Replicants were later made illegal on earth and a task force whose officers are known as blade runners are sent out to take out the replicants. As you can see Snatcher borrows the plot of this movie as well as the city environment so if you liked Blade Runner you will love Snatcher. The Snatchers also look like the Terminator robots so that movie was another influence on the game.

Now as for gameplay, this game is very similar to a PC-Style Adventure game in which you choose your actions like Talk, Investigate, and actions of that nature. It’s very simple and responsive. There are even shooter levels which are exciting and add to the experience. Sound is really good. The music is very memorable and the voiceovers are really well done and will get you engrossed into the game. All in all if you like detective based games like Hotel Dusk or PC adventure games, or hell screw it anyone will love this game for its awesome storyline and awesome graphic style and even the gameplay.

Now this game was released three more times: for the PS1, Saturn, and the Sega CD. Now the Sega CD was more improved in terms of sound and graphics and controls and even seen as the definitive version of the game even in the face of the PS1 and Saturn versions. The PS1 version got the biggest shaft out of all the other versions. The changes go from changing the beautiful scenes that you see in the intro on the Sega CD to CG type cut scenes which suck very much and took away the mood the original intro made to changing the color palette of the game so as to censor many things from the Sega CD version. Yes, the PS1 version was heavily censored with such censoring techniques as darkening certain scenes of blood so as to not appear as blood and even altering the gore scenes of the game. Finally even the sound was mostly redone as new remixes of the original music was used and they did not really live up to the originals music. The Saturn version on the other hand was less censored and it had a bit of enhanced graphics. Both the Saturn and PS1 versions did see certain cuts of dialog and scenes so really the definitive version of this game is the Sega CD version.

So after this game was released Kojima worked on a game known as Policenauts which was released in 1994. Promoted as the “next generation of Snatcher” this game lived up to that being a spiritual sequel to Snatcher. The story of this game is that you are Jonathan Ingram who is one of the five policenauts, or astronauts that have police authority, and their mission is protect Beyond Coast which is a space colony in the year 2013. Now one day, Jonathan makes a routine trip something goes wrong with his space suit and his companions can only watch as Jonathan is thrown into the deepest depths of space. Jump to 2040 and a space mission sees the recovery of a pod which contains Jonathan and he is alive. He comes back to LA and starts living the life of a detective. One day he gets a knock from his wife Lorraine who has remarried with Kenzo Hoyjo and has a daughter named Karen. Lorraine asks Jonathan to try and find her husband and all she has are capsules and other pieces of evidence. Jonathan refuses to go back to the Beyond Coast and Lorraine leaves. As she goes out, Jonathan sees a strange person and he plants something on her car and before he knew what happened the car blows up with Lorraine very close to the explosion. Jonathan fails to catch the strange individual and checks Lorraine who dies in his arms, but her dying wish is for Jonathan to find Kenzo and her daughter. Jonathan decides to take up on her dying wish and calls his Policenaut partner Ed Brown and together they go out and try and find Kenzo and figure out the mystery of the Beyond Coast.

This game takes a very similar style that Snatcher did with the menu system. It’s effective and very simple. The story is yet again brilliant and complex. The sound is also again very memorable with great music and awesome voice work. Graphically it has a much improved look and continues that rather anime style used in Snatcher. Now like Snatcher, Policenauts borrows ideas from movies, most notably Lethal Weapon due to the tag team personalities of Jonathan and Ed.

Now this game only came out in Japan and originally came out on the 3DO, which looked great and is pretty awesome as it still stands the test of time. Their was also a PS1 version released. It has more detail in its scenes thus making it look way better on the PS1 and way better sound. The Saturn also got a version of this game and is seen as being better then the PS1 version. First it has everything from the PS1 version, it also has extra cut scenes, 3 possible endings to the game (makes sense since it came in 3 disks), shooting galleries, trailers and many other things from the 3DO version, and the Saturn gun (forgot the name) got support. Making the Saturn version the best version of them all. Though they are all equally good.

Fast forward to today. Suda 51 and Hideo Kojima plan on bringing back the Snatcher franchise. First in a radio drama show of sorts and possibly into a game of its own. Suda talked about bringing the franchise to different forms of entertainment so a video game would not be out of the question.

Finally I will post the intro, an act of Snatcher, and the ending of Snatcher from the Sega CD version.

This is part one of the ending (there are 9 parts to be able to watch it all in its entirety, you can check out the rest in order on the right hand side. It’s a long ending trust me.)

Also I will post the intro to Policenauts from the Saturn version, just keep in mind its in Japanese:

I hope you all have liked this segment of the Weekend Topic. Hopefully you are all hyped about this game now than ever before and have grown a good understanding of how great this franchise really is. Until next week’s final addition of this month’s Weekend Topic where I will talk about one of Shinji Mikami’s past works (If I can get any suggestions that would be great), I bid thee all a good night.

Goodnight, indeed. Once again, thank you Hells_Rider for the article.




One response

26 04 2007

thats pretty in-depth…

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