Snatcher is a cyberpunk-themed graphic adventure game developed by Konami and directed by Hideo Kojima. Initially released for the PC-8801 and MSX2 computer platforms in Japan in 1988, it was later ported to several other systems, including the Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD, and PlayStation. Despite its age, “Snatcher” remains a fascinating and engaging game that has stood the test of time, becoming a sought-after collector’s item. In this review, we’ll delve into the gameplay, the history of its development, the systems it was available on, its appeal to modern audiences, and why it has become so collectable and expensive.
Snatcher is a text-based, point-and-click adventure game, where players take on the role of Gillian Seed, an amnesiac “Junker” (an elite detective tasked with hunting down humanoid robots known as “Snatchers”) in the futuristic city of Neo Kobe. The game unfolds as a series of investigations, with players collecting information, examining objects, and conversing with other characters to progress the story. The game also includes shooting segments, where players must quickly target and eliminate enemies in order to advance.
The gameplay mechanics are simple but effective, with the story’s well-crafted pacing and engaging plot keeping players engrossed. The game’s puzzles are logical and satisfying to solve, while its mature themes and strong character development set it apart from many other adventure games of its era.
History of Development
Snatcher was developed by Konami and directed by Hideo Kojima, who would later become famous for creating the critically acclaimed Metal Gear series. Kojima was heavily inspired by science fiction films like Blade Runner and The Terminator, which is evident in the game’s dark, futuristic setting and themes of artificial intelligence, memory, and identity. Development began in 1986, with a small team working under Kojima. The game’s development was reportedly fraught with challenges, including limited hardware capabilities and a tight production schedule, but the team persevered, and Snatcher was released in 1988.
Snatcher was initially released for the PC-8801 and MSX2 computer platforms in Japan. In 1992, it was ported to the Sega CD, which introduced an English localization and voice acting. This version is widely considered the definitive version of the game. Later, the game was ported to the TurboGrafx-CD and PlayStation, although these versions were only released in Japan.
Appeal to Modern Audiences
Despite its age, “Snatcher” remains an engrossing experience for modern players. Its cyberpunk atmosphere, mature themes, and intricate story are still relevant today, and its simple gameplay mechanics are accessible to players of all skill levels. Moreover, the game’s memorable characters, superb soundtrack, and well-written dialogue have aged gracefully, making it an enjoyable experience for fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
Collectability and Expense
Snatcher has become a highly collectable and sought-after game, particularly the Sega CD version. There are several factors that contribute to its collectability and high price. First, it was produced in limited quantities, making it relatively rare. Second, it has a strong cult following due to its unique setting, engaging story, and the involvement of Hideo Kojima. Finally, the game’s high quality, combined with its scarcity, makes it a valuable piece for collectors who appreciate its historical significance and place in the evolution of adventure games.
Snatcher remains an influential and engaging cyberpunk adventure game that has withstood the test of time. Its innovative gameplay, captivating storyline, and memorable characters have left a lasting impact on the gaming world, inspiring future titles in the genre. Its availability on various systems, coupled with its association with Hideo Kojima, adds to its allure for both modern players and collectors.
Even though the game is more than three decades old, “Snatcher” still holds a special place in the hearts of gamers who appreciate its unique blend of science fiction, film noir, and detective elements. Its continued appeal and high collectability ensure that “Snatcher” will remain a cherished classic in the annals of gaming history. For those who have yet to experience this masterpiece, it’s worth seeking out a copy to immerse oneself in its immersive world and captivating narrative.