Review by The Manx

Reviewed: 02/27/04 | Updated: 06/10/05

Blade Runner Lite

The Sega CD was not a very successful system. It was one of the first consoles based around CD games, but for some reason nearly all the games released for it blew. Once in a while a game with some entertainment value would come along, though, like Konami's Snatcher.

In the future, society is menaced by robots called Snatchers that look like people and can take on the appearance of people they kill. To deal with them, special police forces comprised of agents called ''Junkers'' have been created. And you are Gillian Seed, the newest Junker in the city of Neo Kobe. Rather than starting a routine career killing Snatchers, though, you soon discover a way to wipe them out for good. You just have to find them first.

This game has an interface where you look at a digital display and select from a list of options to do things like move somewhere, look at something, or talk to someone. When you find a Snatcher or other killer robots (insectors) you enter shooting combat which takes careful aim and reflexes to survive, and it was nice to be in control during those sequences after the similar but less interactive Space Adventure Sega CD game.

Amazingly, Snatcher is one game I've played that tries to be both scary and humorous at different times and succeeds at both. There's some gore in this game, that has to be said to anyone who's thinking about playing it. So it ain't for kids or people with weak stomachs. But at other times it's funny, like with the self-efficacing humor. For instance, Gillian is assisted in his investigations by an R2D2-esque robot helper named Metal Gear. And yes, he was in fact named after the doomsday weapon from the Konami game of the same name. Plus you later go to a nightclub called ''Outer Heaven,'' which was where Metal Gear took place, and the customers all dress up like characters from other Konami games like Simon Belmont and Sparkster. It actually got a couple of chuckles out of me, and provided a well-needed dose of light-heartedness amidst all the killing and suspense the game contains.

There were also times I thought I was playing a bishojo game, although nudity and sex do not figure into Snatcher. Gillian is something of a babe hound, and late in the game I was wondering whether he'd end up with Mika, the hot receptionist at the Junker building, Katrina, the hot daughter of former fellow Junker Jean Jack Gibson, or Jamie, Gillian's hot ex-wife who might want him back after all.

The dubbed speech was also very nice, and the graphics really freakin' good for the Sega CD. It's also not totally linear, since you can sometimes go to different places in any order you want and still achieve what you need to, and there are plenty of humorous little diversions you can try if you look around enough.

Snatcher is a great game. It could've stood a little more interaction, but the lackluster Space Adventure which has the same interface and same kind of babe hound hero shows that it could've turned out a lot worse.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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