Review by Shadow2by4
Nothing else will come close after this.
This game has it all. Drama, romance, action, hot babes in wet towels... Basically, it's the greatest thing to happen to adventure gaming since the implementation of SCUMM. It may be the greatest thing to happen to gaming ever, period, that is if it weren't so short. Let me break it down for you.
Story - 10/10
The story may seem somewhat cliche and uninspired at first, but once you really get into it, you start to feel empathy for all of the characters as though they were real, which I haven't personally experienced since the first time I played Final Fantasy 7. It begins with two amnesiacs; Gillian and Jamie Seed. They were found 3 years prior to the game's start in criogenic sleep. Without any memories between them, they eventually separated. After a while, Gillian joined up with the special forces team known as JUNKER, created to combat the growing menace of the snatchers, bioroids who kill humans and take their place in society. This is where our story begins. Though the game does start out somewhat slow, just stick with it and enjoy the fleshing out of the characters. The minute you get your entry into the JUNKER ranks settled, the story kicks off with a bang. I won't spoil it, I'll just say that over the course of the game, I laughed my butt off multiple times, almost cried and was even inspired to write a song. Yeah, it's that engrossing.
Graphics - 10/10
All of the ingame graphics are absolutely breathtaking, despite their low color value due to hardware limitations. Lighting is always just right for the scene and mood, and all of the character portraits carry with them the spirit of their respective characters. Not to mention they look amazing. If there was ever a game one could mention using the phrase, 'in all its hand-drawn glory', this is it. Also, the graphics for the shooting sequences are top-notch.
Gameplay - 10/10
Don't gasp yet. Yes, this is a text-based adventure with graphics, but it's the best text-based adventure with graphics there ever was. The menus are efficient, yet still elaborate. All of the text is incredibly descriptive and when appropriate, emotional. Now, as for the shooting segments, they take place on a 3x3 grid. It may sound easy, and at first, it is. But it's not the system itself that gets the blood pumping, but rather how it's used. In one segment of the game, which could be considered the final battle of a certain part, you have to nail a snatcher who's using a human shield. In yet another, you have to blow a snatcher's frickin' head off when it grabs you from behind, and in yet another, you have to take on a veritable army of snatcher robots coming at you from every side, with less than a second to get off each shot. Since I played this on PSP via an emulator, I'm not entitled to talk about the controls for the shooting system because the PSP's dpad and joystick both suck. Play this on anything else and the shooting sequences will almost feel like the gun is in your own hand.
Sound - 10/10
No better cartridge-based music exists, on any system, and the CD music, where it appears, rivals and in some cases even overcomes anything in the famous Ys series. In-game sound effects serve their purpose and then some. From the boom of a blaster to the clanking of your robotic assistant's legs to the wet, sickly splat of blood gushing from a fresh energy shot wound, you could almost swear that you were really there. The voice acting, however, is where this game's sound shines. All of it is perfectly appropriate, with just the right amount of feeling. Not only that, it sounds great. Gillian's voice in a certain scene near the end of chapter 2 makes you truly feel what he's feeling, while Katrina's screech of "You pervert!" when you stumble upon her in a certain place makes you pray for the safety of Gillian's nether regions. Beautiful.
Atmosphere - 10/10
Let me tell you, you could be kidnapped and waiting to die or sneaking a session during church and this game will suck you in and not let you go. I recommend you play with headphones.
Length - 6/10
This is the game's only shortcoming. A good, solid playthrough, finding a vast majority of secrets and saving then doing things you would never do in real life only to reload your save a few minutes later will only net you about 20 hours of gameplay and set the game's clock to around 15 hours. That's not counting the only 45-minute ending that I know of in all of gaming that's actually well-worth sitting through.
Overall - 9/10
Beautiful, engrossing, breathtaking, dramatic, romantic, heart-stopping. All great terms to describe this game. Unfortunately, so is short. However, you'll be too busy enjoying the infinitely rewarding ending, feeling you've truly earned it, to cry over the fact that it came so soon.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Snatcher (US, 11/30/94)
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