Great Story and Characters But That Gameplay...
Snatcher is a bit of a rarity in America. I was only aware of it because I loved adventure games as a kid and owned a Sega CD. I really enjoyed this game then but I hadn't played it in years and was interested in whether I still felt the same way. In terms of story and the characters, this game is still great. But the gameplay is archaic and very passive. This is more of an interactive story then a game with a story.
Snatcher is essentially a retelling of Blade Runner albeit with a much lighter tone. In the Japanese city Neo Kobe, Snatchers (or humanoid robots) have been killing humans and taking over their places in society. Governments across the world created a new division of officers, known as Junkers, who attempt to identify, locate, and kill these Snatchers. The main character, named Gillian Seed, is one of these junkers. Unfortunately, he suffers from amnesia and is continually trying to remember who he is. The story involves learning about and stopping the Snatchers as well as learning about the main character. It's an interesting story that doesn't take itself to seriously. Seed is constantly objectifying women and doing comical things. His partner, Metal Gear, is constantly making fun of Seed. Even at its most serious, Snatcher is a lighthearted game. It's nice to play a game like this. Modern games are, more often then not, very self-serious. It is nice to play a game that isn't.
This game is a very old fashioned, first-person adventure game. These games were really popular in the early to mid 90's but they've fallen a bit out of favor as of late. The reason is that these games require no skill and put up no challenge. In this game, the player is given a set number of static screens with which they can interact. The interaction comes in the forms of commands listed at the bottom of the screen. These commands include 'look', 'investigate', and 'talk' among others. To progress the story, the correct commands must be selected the right number of times and, occasionally, in the right order. What that means is that the player will keep selecting 'look' or 'investigate' until the game tells the player the story can now progress via a cutscene. The game comes down to selecting options until there are no more options left. I can recall three distinct puzzles in this game. Luckily, Snatcher, unlike many other games like it, does have some moments of action. During a few key moments, the player is asked to shot enemies in a shooting gallery. In these sections the screen will be covered by a grid. In the middle of the screen will be a targeting reticule that player can move to each section of the screen grid in order to shoot enemies that appear. This mechanic occurred sporadically but was a nice addition to the game to keep it more active and skill based then other adventure games.
In the end, Snatcher has great characters and story but somewhat boring and passive gameplay. At times, the game feels like a story-based menu system. The game is worth experiencing, if you can find it, for fans of Hideo Kojima's other games or if you are just interested in playing a fun, lighthearted video game. But the gameplay is not what will keep the player playing the game.