Now Playing: Snatcher (1994)

So finally I get around to playing the famous Snatcher by Hideo Kojima. Often mentioned when talking about definitive cyberpunk video games, but not often played, because how many people actually bought a Sega CD or any of the other more obscure systems this game originally premiered on?

Anyway, as it turns out, the game is a bit overhyped if you ask me. The story and atmosphere are nice and all. Everything is suitably bizarre and convoluted in that special Kojima way, but what it’s missing, compared to other Kojima games, is gameplay that is actually fun.

There are a few basic shooting sequences in the game, but for the most part this is an adventure game, and an adventure game with a really unpleasant interface. Everything is done by making choices from text menus, and that’s all you do for 95% of the game, navigate horribly convoluted and nonsensical text menus.

Upon entering a new area you will have to LOOK at every object, then INVESTIGATE every object (which is different than LOOK), and if you find a new object you will have to LOOK and INVESTIGATE again and again, and if it’s an object you need to pick up you will have to LOOK then INVESTIGATE then LOOK again to pick it up. There will also usually be various conversation options, also usually with multiple menus that have to be fully navigated multiple times, and other things like smell and listen and etc, which don’t actually ever really get used.

Sometimes you will need to type specific text answers in to get information out of people and be forced to go all the way back to headquarters to get answers from the supercomputer that, despite this being the high tech future, cannot be accessed remotely. Sometimes this involves multiple questions, so if you didn’t copy down the entire text you looked up you might need to go back and forth several times. This is exactly as much fun as it sounds.

Other times you will have to fully search every room in a location, then go back and fully search every room in a location AGAIN, just to make a single new option appear or tick off an arbitrary number of searches to make a scheduled event happen so that you can progress and that is exactly as much fun as it sounds too.

Snatcher was an interesting experience story-wise and it did have its rare moments where the detective work felt fun, but it always came around to remind you that you aren’t really detecting at all, you’re just selecting every possible option over and over again until a new one unlocks. I don’t think I could ever force myself to play through it again though. I was going to play the elusive Policenauts after this, but it looks like that will just be more of the same kind of unpleasant visual novel gameplay that I just don’t want to deal with again. Maybe someday, but I can’t do two games like that back to back. Guess I’ll just move on to something else…

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