Throwback Thursday: Snatcher – Hideo Kojima’s Cyberpunk Classic (VIDEO)
On November 30, 1994, Snatcher was released for the Sega CD. From the mind of Metal Gear‘s Hideo Kojima, the 80s-infused adventure was a loving homage to hard-edge sci-fi and served as benchmark for what the genre could do as a storytelling medium. Arriving on the Sega CD hardware, Snatcher sold poorly in its Western release, but the game’s impressive achievements and dedicated fanbase delivers the long-overdue love to this day.
In the late-80s heyday of Nintendo’s NES console, Japan’s gaming scene was also dominated by simple home computers such as the PC-88 and MSX. At that time, Hideo Kojima was a fresh designer in Konami’s MSX division, having overseen the success of the original Metal Gear. With the stealth hit under his belt, Kojima was free to pursue any project he desired, and the developer’s love for films led him to start work a new adventure game by the name of Snatcher.
Kojima and his dev team would design Snatcher as a tribute to impactful science fiction films of the time. The dark dystopian future of Blade Runner and the unstoppable killing machines featured in The Terminator were seen as heavy influences for the game’s cinematic setting and plot. In fact, it was the titular robot enemies’ resemblance to Terminators that sparked concerns of copyright infringement, leading to a slight redesign for the eventual English release on Sega CD.
Snatcher takes place in the year 2047, in a bleak future recovering from a devastating plague called “the Catastrophe”. In this wake, a breed of mysterious robotic life-forms called “snatchers” begin infiltrating human society, killing and seamlessly assuming the identity of their victims. Players inhabit the role of Gillian Seed, an amnesiac working for the snatcher-hunting task force called J.U.N.K.E.R.. With his robot sidekick, Gillian embarks on a mission to track down the snatchers and discover his unknown connection to the mechanized threat.
Gameplay follows a static first-person perspective, wherein players interact with a series of environments, items, and characters to progress the overall story. Various moments in the game require the assistance of Gillian’s companion called “Metal Gear”, a forensic robot based on a certain mech creation of the same name. Most interactions occur through a series of menus, text, and cutscenes, but more fast-paced moments will trigger a shooting sequence, where players must fire their weapon at on-screen enemies.
Snatcher‘s subsequent re-releases for Sega Saturn and PlayStation would feature updates to the original title such as remixed audio, enhanced graphics, and even an all-new CGI intro scene. Unfortunately for those outside the Japanese market, neither ports ever saw localization, leaving the obscure Sega CD version as the only way to play the game in English. Before becoming a household name with the Metal Gear Solid series, Hideo Kojima would follow Snatcher with Policenauts, a similar adventure title that pays homage to cop-themed action films.
What’s your opinion of Snatcher? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! Also, be on the lookout for the next Throwback Thursday where we’ll highlight yet another title from gaming past.
Eric Hall2712 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.