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Snatcher: Did Critics Love Hideo Kojima's Thriller in 1994?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 11, 2014   |   Episode 67 (Show Archive)  

   

Snatcher (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Long before Metal Gear Solid, Zone of the Enders and Boktai, Hideo Kojima made a futuristic crime drama called Snatcher. This cyberpunk adventure mixed point and click gameplay with light gun action. Did critics fall in love with this unusual pairing, or was Snatcher written off as being too wacky for its own good? We dig through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Mean Machines Sega, Die Hard Game Fan and GamePro for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Snatcher
[ Company: Konami | Console: Sega CD ]

DIE HARD GAME FAN (December 1994)
100% out of 100%

"OH YEAH BABY! Here it is... the ultimate Sega-CD. We get, er, say 90% of the PC-Engine original's sex 'n' gore, totally new shooting sequences, perfect voice acting, rockin' art, incredible music, and the most involving videogame storyline ever. You must buy this game now!" -Nick Rox

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #65
9 out of 10

"It's nice to see a game for an older audience. Snatcher is a great adventure that has an intricate plot and nice graphics. While it is slow moving at times, the story will keep you rooted to your seat. A top-notch Sega CD title." -Dano

DIE HARD GAME FAN (December 1994)
90% out of 100%

"Snatcher in the US...thank you Konami, for being a GAMERS company. Snatcher is simply put, the only game of its kind ever made available in the US. You'll find ungodly carnage, the greatest story ever, and the interface that is just the coolest in Snatcher. NO Sega CD owner (over 17) should be without it." -Skid

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #27
85% out of 100%

"Konami turn their hand to the adventure genre and show all the console mastery we have come to expect. Snatcher is a breathtakingly detailed game which is so full of nice touches and extras that going about your everyday Junker duties becomes as enjoyable as hunting down the Snatcher units. My only gripe is that evidence should be easier to take rather than investigating AND looking at it, but apart from that I rate Snatcher as one of my top three Mega CD games of all-time" -Steve

GAME PLAYERS (February 1995)
80% out of 100%

"A very gritty, adult graphic adventure that is sometimes hampered by a cutesy sense of humor. The graphics are good and the story is detailed enough to keep you coming back for more. This one is worth it!"

GAMEPRO (February 1995)
4 out of 5

"Snatcher Sega CD is an English-language port of Konami's PC Engine CD, which achieved a degree of cult status in Japan in part because of its gore factor. But there's more to the guts of this game than just, err...guts!" Snatcher's a cool science fiction CD saga that rewards patience, persistence, and plodding. If you've got a yet to be a Japanese cyberpunk robot hunter, snatch up Snatcher." -Toxic Tommy

NEXT GENERATION #1
3 out of 5

"For Sega CD, this is mildly ground breaking. The approach is very Japanese, mixing mature character relationships with severed heads, talk of STDs, then throwing in a cute, robot sidekick and other strained comic relief. The CD-based dialogue could have been supplied by better actors, and there's no consistent way you character can pick up and hand objects, but as long as you don't mind the schizo handling of the material, it isn't all bad."

VIDEO GAMES (January 1995)
6 out of 10

"Touted as an 'intense, violent, extensive RPG game,' Snatcher almost lives up to its promise. It's a good adventure game, but tries a little too hard to be cute and intense at the same time. As a result, the game's a tad difficult to become involved in. Nothing mind-blowing, but the story is interesting and unfolds rapidly enough to keep you playing. It does suffer from the "cuteness" of other Japanese RPGs, perhaps more so than most, because of its heavy subject matter." -Ron Dulin
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 79% - I agree with Next Generation, Snatcher is "mildly ground breaking." This is a point and click adventure game on a home console, not something you saw very often in 1994. I was into it at the time, fully invested in Gillian Seed's work at the Junker Agency HQ. But not everybody agreed with me. Video Games magazine (formerly Video Games & Computer Entertainment) complained about the "cuteness," which seems to permeate in Japanese RPGs.

On the other side of the coin is Die Hard Game Fan, who went a little overboard in their praise. "The most involving videogame storyline ever," says Nick Rox. Skid agreed nearly word for word, saying that Snatcher has "the greatest story ever." Both critics loved the visuals and gore, suggesting that it's unlike anything else on the Sega CD. I agree.

Even with Game Fan's inflated score, Snatcher only averages at 79%. The game had a lot of fans, but there were just as many detractors. Everybody agreed that it had an interesting story, but a lot of the critics griped about the control, voice acting and cutesy writing.

ON MONDAY'S EPISODE: After a week full of Snatcher, Out of This World and Mega Man Soccer, it's time go back to a theme. Next week brings us three games starring Mickey Mouse. Join the Review Crew on Monday to see what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other magazines thought of Castle of Illusion. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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