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Retro Retro Games Returned #1: Snatcher (1988)

ROMhack

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There's a scene where you're investigating a warehouse, and a snatcher has planted a bomb in there unbeknownst to the player.

Metal Gear then explicitly asks you to jack up the volume on your TV to max so you can make out any quiet noises that might reveal a clue.

And then BOOM!

Oh yeah I remember that, it's early into it.
 

Neff

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Design wise, how you investigate and interact with stuff is very inconsistent. That's the one part that's a hassle.

Leads are typically furthered by using 'look' and 'investigate' on every individual noteworthy object, usually once each. Once you get into the habit of knowing that you have to use both to reveal new clues, as opposed to repeatedly, blindly spamming one or the other on the same object, the game flows much faster.

Oh, what's that?

You walk into a scene where your robot buddy can hear a faint beeping. You tell your buddy that you can't hear anything, so he suggests turning the volume on your TV up. Sure enough, when you do, a faint beeping is heard. It turns out to be a bomb, which goes off loudly, and you mention that your ears are ringing, to which your buddy quips "That's because you left the volume turned up."

He had other crazy real world 4th wall busters planned too, like a smell-o-vision floppy disk which would emit scene-specific smells when a certain section of the disc was read due to heat from the reader, but of course it wasn't practical. Still, gotta give the dude's imagination credit.
 
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ROMhack

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He had other crazy real world 4th wall busters planned too, like a smell-o-vision floppy disk which would emit scene-specific smells when a certain section of the disc was read due to heat from the reader, but of course it wasn't practical. Still, gotta give the dude's imagination credit.

We need more 4th wall breaking in games
 

RAIDEN1

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Outside of watching the playthroughs of these games, its a shame that they can't be played on today's systems....
 
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MrCunningham

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Outside of watching the playthroughs of these games, its a shame that they can't be played on today's systems....

It would be great if Konami could make a new localization for the PCE version of Snatcher that is being released on the TG16/PCE Core Mini. But it seems like they are just going to release the Japanese version. I'd even settle with english subtitles over the spoken dialog scenes.

I'd be happy with a re-release of the Sega CD game, even though I own it on disc. I still recommend people to just download this version and play it whatever way you can. But, it would be nice to see an official release.

The Sega CD port is an interesting oddity. The Sega CD was never that big of a hit worldwide. The UK release on the Mega CD came out in December 1994, the North American release came out one month later in January 1995. There was never a Japanese release. Snatcher Sega CD was made exclusively for english speaking audiences. Hideo Kojima had nothing to do with the development. The director/ Japanese port team and localization team made a lot of their own changes and additions to the game.

At that point, the Sega CD was already pretty irrelevant in the market. Sega still supported the add-on. But people weren't exactly buying the hardware in large numbers. It was a niche thing. Snatcher was released with little fanfare, aside from maybe one or two "hardcore" gaming magazines that hyped it up. The game was a pretty obscure release, along with just about every other Sega/ Mega CD game released at that time.

Hideo Kojima didn't even become a well known name until after the release of Metal Gear Solid 2. The MGS2 E3 trailer was such a huge deal. That's when I started noticing the price of Snatcher on the Sega CD going up in price.

You would really think that Konami would give this release on their mini console a little more attention for non-Japanese speaking audiences. Since Kojima is a well known name these days, and even Cyberpunk as a genre is going through a re-resurgence. A lot of people would probably be interested in seeing a 1980's era Cyberpunk digital novel that was created by Hideo Kojima. Both Snatcher and Policenauts deserve some sort of modern localization.
 
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KOMANI

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It would be great if Konami could make a new localization for the PCE version of Snatcher that is being released on the TG16/PCE Core Mini. But it seems like they are just going to release the Japanese version. I'd even settle with english subtitles over the spoken dialog scenes.

I'd be happy with a re-release of the Sega CD game, even though I own it on disc. I still recommend people to just download this version and play it whatever way you can. But, it would be nice to see an official release.

The Sega CD port is an interesting oddity. The Sega CD was never that big of a hit worldwide. The UK release on the Mega CD came out in December 1994, the North American release came out one month later in January 1995. There was never a Japanese release. Snatcher Sega CD was made exclusively for english speaking audiences. Hideo Kojima had nothing to do with the development. The director/ Japanese port team and localization team made a lot of their own changes and additions to the game.

At that point, the Sega CD was already pretty irrelevant in the market. Sega still supported the add-on. But people weren't exactly buying the hardware in large numbers. It was a niche thing. Snatcher was released with little fanfare, aside from maybe one or two "hardcore" gaming magazines that hyped it up. The game was a pretty obscure release, along with just about every other Sega/ Mega CD game released at that time.

Hideo Kojima didn't even become a well known name until after the release of Metal Gear Solid 2. The MGS2 E3 trailer was such a huge deal. That's when I started noticing the price of Snatcher on the Sega CD going up in price.

You would really think that Konami would give this release on their mini console a little more attention for non-Japanese speaking audiences. Since Kojima is a well known name these days, and even Cyberpunk as a genre is going through a re-resurgence. A lot of people would probably be interested in seeing a 1980's era Cyberpunk digital novel that was created by Hideo Kojima. Both Snatcher and Policenauts deserve some sort of modern localization.
Policenauts would have had an official translation...

Nobody really has a solid idea why Policenauts was never translated in the first place. The Saturn version initially appeared on retail release lists, and there was even a promotional box mockup, but it dropped off pretty quickly. Jeremy Blaustein, the localizer of Snatcher and Metal Gear Solid, said he heard of no internal plans to localize the game at the time he was working at Konami. Kojima had once said in an interview that translation work had started, but he wasn’t happy with the lip synching in the cutscenes due to timing issues – a strange, idiosyncratic reason to deny an overseas release, and possibly a false one. It may have just been the fact that Snatcher for the Sega CD was a huge failure, and Konami didn’t want to risk sinking huge amounts of money into translation and dubbing, only to get a small return, especially in a world marketplace that was looking for 3D action games, which Policenauts was not. After the release of Metal Gear Solid, Kojima was interviewed several times by the Western press about an English translation of Policenauts, but he shirked them all off, essentially saying that they should look forward to his new games and forget his old ones. Very strange words, from a rather strange man.

Source
 

MrCunningham

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Nobody really has a solid idea why Policenauts was never translated in the first place. The Saturn version initially appeared on retail release lists, and there was even a promotional box mockup, but it dropped off pretty quickly.
Source

Sega of America advertised Policenauts in their own flyers. They listed it as a game that would be compatible with the Stunner Light Gun. Snatcher on the Sega CD supported the Konami Justifier.



I actually had this flyer packaged with my Sega Saturn back in the day, and was hyped when I saw Policenauts listed here. I owned a copy of Snatcher for the Sega CD back then. And knew what Policenauts was based on Game Fan magazine previews of the Japanese releases.

I find it weird that Konami would use the Sega CD version of Snatcher as a barometer for how well this version will be received. The Sega CD attach rate to the Genesis/ Mega Drive wasn't that big worldwide, and Sega CD interest wasn;t that great during 1995. The Sega Saturn and PS1 launched in Japan in 1994 and were on the cusp of being released in the west in 1995. The Sega CD had minimal exposure at retail. Surely they could have predicted that the sales for Snatcher on the Sega CD was not going to be great.

But I do understand that western audiences probably would have not jumped on Policenauts for being a digital novel with anime cut scenes. It's true that consumers wanted 3D games. Digital novels were not something that people had any interest in back then outside of Japan. It's kind of funny that digital novels are a much bigger thing now outside of japan, than they would have been back then. There is a market for it now.
 
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The Snake

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I love this game so much. The Sega CD version's English voice acting is surprisingly superb, especially given the year the game released.

A lot of love went into this game. To those who don't dig "text adventures" (it's actually technically a visual novel), neither do I.
 

RAIDEN1

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It would be great if Konami could make a new localization for the PCE version of Snatcher that is being released on the TG16/PCE Core Mini. But it seems like they are just going to release the Japanese version. I'd even settle with english subtitles over the spoken dialog scenes.

I'd be happy with a re-release of the Sega CD game, even though I own it on disc. I still recommend people to just download this version and play it whatever way you can. But, it would be nice to see an official release.

The Sega CD port is an interesting oddity. The Sega CD was never that big of a hit worldwide. The UK release on the Mega CD came out in December 1994, the North American release came out one month later in January 1995. There was never a Japanese release. Snatcher Sega CD was made exclusively for english speaking audiences. Hideo Kojima had nothing to do with the development. The director/ Japanese port team and localization team made a lot of their own changes and additions to the game.

At that point, the Sega CD was already pretty irrelevant in the market. Sega still supported the add-on. But people weren't exactly buying the hardware in large numbers. It was a niche thing. Snatcher was released with little fanfare, aside from maybe one or two "hardcore" gaming magazines that hyped it up. The game was a pretty obscure release, along with just about every other Sega/ Mega CD game released at that time.

Hideo Kojima didn't even become a well known name until after the release of Metal Gear Solid 2. The MGS2 E3 trailer was such a huge deal. That's when I started noticing the price of Snatcher on the Sega CD going up in price.

You would really think that Konami would give this release on their mini console a little more attention for non-Japanese speaking audiences. Since Kojima is a well known name these days, and even Cyberpunk as a genre is going through a re-resurgence. A lot of people would probably be interested in seeing a 1980's era Cyberpunk digital novel that was created by Hideo Kojima. Both Snatcher and Policenauts deserve some sort of modern localization.

As add-ons go though the Sega CD sold a lot better than the 32x did...it would have done better had it brought more to the table...though the game may have done better just being a straight port to the 3DO, Playstation and Saturn and just skip the Sega CD altogether...even though yes eventually it did come to those systems...same with policenauts, just throw in english subtitles and be done with it! Instead of waiting nearly a decade or more just to get a English patch....
 

MrCunningham

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even though yes eventually it did come to those systems

Snatcher was never ported to the 3DO. Just the Playstation and Saturn. Those versions were never translated to english. The only english version is the Sega CD port. It almost seems like the Sega and Mega CD versions of Snatcher was an attempt by Konami to test the waters with these kinds of games in English regions. The Sega CD sold estimated 2.25million units worldwide, and it did have a better life than the 32x. Sega actually supported the Sega CD up until 1996. Which was pretty good. Snatcher was even really well received by all the magazines that reviewed it. But it slipped by unnoticed by consumers, for the most part. Though, I am curious how many copies this game actually sold.

The Sega CD in 1994/1995 wasn't really that appealing for most consumers. Especially not with the 3DO on the market (as expensive as it was) and other 32bit consoles being hyped up by gaming magazines.
 
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HotPocket69

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Excellent thread.

Played this for the first time a couple years ago through a Raspberry Pi. I was always fascinated by the magazine ads for it because I loved Blade Runner as a kid.

Absolutely fantastic game and so glad I got to experience it. It holds up remarkably well, especially if you're into adventure games and visual novels.