Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snatcher CD-ROMantic

Super CD-ROM

People never hesitate to call Snatcher a classic and present it with the PC Engine digital comic title belt, whether they've played through its contemporaries (or even the game itself) or not. It's easy to discern how the title has been able to make such an impression on players, even those who have experienced it only through a small share of screen caps. Snatcher's boldness, manifested in all the blood and bare skin it flaunts and the many terrifying actions of walking mechanical monstrosities it depicts, has made it the legend that it is. I'm not one to allow a title to garner my reverence and eternal allegiance merely by featuring a few shocking moments, but I do appreciate Snatcher, as it plays a stylish game of suspense and actually gets more and more interesting as it goes along (for the first two of its three acts, at least). Also working in its favor are intense chip tracks that make the proceedings extremely exciting at times.

The formula wouldn't work, however, if it involved only shock and gore (and to be honest, the game does get somewhat predictable later on, when you're all too prepared for the odd events that take place with almost every move). While Snatcher does its job mainly with heavy atmosphere, it's bold enough to have a sense of humor, juxtaposing ultra-intense scenes with goofy segments that somehow manage to fit right in.

It also offers brief shooting scenes that make for reasonably enjoyable changes of pace and are definitely preferable to the worthless maze sequences that many other adventure comics force players to endure.

The only thing really disappointing here is that the final act is a total momentum killer, indulging in ridiculously long periods of nonstop babbling.

Well, at least most players will be able to enjoy the thrills that lead up to that dull last stretch even if they aren't fluent in Japanese. Now, make no mistake about it: you won't get through the game sans assistance if you don't know the language. But there's nothing that should completely stump someone who's willing to experiment a little and pay a few visits to GameFAQs.

I've experienced the entire adventure multiple times now myself--and I'll say that I don't consider Snatcher the best PCE comic. It's not as entertaining as Cobra II or as shocking as 3x3 Eyes or unendingly enjoyable like Galaxy Fraulein Yuna. But it's a great game with an effective soundtrack and more than just a few truly exciting moments.

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