Snatcher (video game)
Cover of the original PC-8801 version
Shinya Inoue (PC Engine)
Yoshinori Sasaki (Sega CD)
Naoki Matsui (PC-88, MSX2)|
Akihiko Nagata (PC Engine)
Tomikazu Kirita (Sega CD)
Yutaka Haruki (Sega CD)
Toshiya Adachi |
Kenji Shinohara (PC Engine)
Masahiko Saito (Sega CD)
Satoshi Yoshioka |
Satoshi Kushibuchi (Sega CD)
Keiichiro Toyama (Sega CD)
|Composer(s)||Konami Kukeiha Club|
PC-Engine Super CD-ROM²:
|Genre(s)||Graphic adventure game, interactive movie, visual novel|
Snatcher (スナッチャー, Sunacchā) is a cyberpunk-themed graphic adventure game directed and written by Hideo Kojima and produced by Konami. It was originally released in Japan for the NEC PC-8801 and MSX2 computer platforms in 1988. A CD-ROM-based remake for the PC Engine was released in 1992, which was subsequently localized into English for the Mega CD/Sega CD in 1994 in North America and Europe. The enhanced version was later ported twice more to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in Japan.
The setting and story of Snatcher are heavily influenced by cyberpunk and science-fiction media, taking place in a large futuristic dystopian city. The story revolves around an investigator named Gillian Seed assigned to investigate a breed of bioroids known as "snatchers", who are killing humans and taking their place in society. Gameplay takes place in a menu-based interface. The player can choose from pre-defined options such as "Look" and "Talk" to interact with the environment and its characters.
Snatcher is widely regarded as groundbreaking for the adventure genre, in that it introduced visual novel characteristics to flesh out a deep back story. Sales outside of Japan were poor due to Sega's waning support for the Sega CD, but the game has gained a cult following. The game has spawned a spin-off role-playing game released in Japan titled SD Snatcher, and a radio drama, SDATCHER.
The game is set in a primarily first person perspective and uses a menu-based interface that allows the protagonist (Gillian Seed) to interact with his environment. The player can choose to "Look", "Investigate", "Talk", "Ask" and "Move" (in addition to other options) to acquire key items or receive vital information from other characters. The player can analyze items in Gillian's belongings or show it to other characters. The player uses Metal Gear (Gillian's robotic assistant) to communicate with other characters via a videophone or save their current progress.
During key points of the game's story, the player must pass shooting sequences to defend Gillian from assailants. These shooting segments use a 3x3 grid which the player can target to fire at enemies. A shooting trainer, called "Junker's Eyes", is accessible at Junker HQ that allows the player to measure their accuracy.
On June 6, 1996 (1991 in the Japanese versions), a biological weapon known as Lucifer-Alpha under development in Chernoton, Russia, is released into the atmosphere, resulting in the death of 80% of the Eurasian population which in turn results in the death of half of the world's population. The contaminated area becomes uninhabitable for a decade when Lucifer-Alpha mutates into a non-lethal form. This tragic event later becomes known as "the Catastrophe".
51 years later, in 2047 (2042 in the Japanese versions), a breed of artificial life-forms or bioroids known as "snatchers" began appearing in the artificial island of Neo Kobe City, killing their victims and taking their place in society. Nobody knows exactly what they are or where they come from. As Gillian Seed, an amnesiac working for an Anti-Snatcher task force called J.U.N.K.E.R., the player's goal is to track down the source of the snatchers and discover Gillian's mysterious connections with them. The story takes place in three acts, with Act 3 existing only in the CD-ROM releases.
Note: All spellings used are from the English-language Mega CD/Sega CD version. Alternate spellings from other versions when they differ are provided in parenthesis.
- Gillian Seed (ギリアン・シード, Gulian in the PC-88/MSX version.) Voiced by: Yusaku Yara (Japanese); Jeff Lupetin (English): The protagonist. An amnesiac with mysterious ties to the "Snatcher" menace. He joins JUNKER as its newest "Runner" (a type of field operative).
- Metal Gear Mk. II (メタルギア Ｍｋ．Ⅱ) Voiced by: Mami Koyama (Japanese); Lucy Childs (English): Gillian's robotic sidekick. A "navigator" who serves as an on-site forensic analyzer and has a built-in videophone. His designer Harry Benson claims that he designed Metal after the "Metal Gear threat from the late 20th century" (a bipedal tank from the eponymous video game).
- Jamie Seed (ジェミー・シード, Jaime in all Japanese versions) Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese); Susan Mele (English): Gillian's estranged wife, who was found alongside him, with no recollection of her past. Employed at Neo Kobe Pharmaceuticals at the start of the game; she can provide Gillian with vital information during his case.
- Random Hajile (ランダム・ハジル, Randam in all Japanese versions) Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa (Japanese); Jim Parks (English): A mysterious bounty hunter who assists Gillian during the course of the story. Rides a one-wheeled motorcycle known as the "Road Runner".
- Mika Slayton (ミカ・スレイトン, Slaton in the PC-88/MSX version) Voiced by: Miina Tominaga (Japanese); Kimberly Harne (English): The receptionist at JUNKER HQ. An attractive young woman of Japanese and Jewish descent.
- Katrina Gibson (カトリーヌ・ギブスン, Kathaline in the PC-88/MSX version, Katherine in later Japanese versions) Voiced by: Miina Tominaga (Japanese); Lynn Foosaner (English): The young daughter of a JUNKER agent, who works as a model. Her age was changed from 14 in the Japanese version to 18 in the English version.
- Harry Benson (ハリー・ベンソン) Voiced by: Ryūji Saikachi (Japanese); Ray Van Steen (English): JUNKER's mechanic. He survived the Catastrophe when he was a child. Designer of the robotic navigators "Little John" and "Metal Gear Mk. II".
- Benson Cunningham (ベンソン・カニンガム, Cunningum in all Japanese versions) Voiced by: Gorō Naya (Japanese); Ray Van Steen (English): JUNKER's commanding chief. A special forces veteran.
- Jean Jack Gibson (ジャン・ジャック・ギブスン) Voiced by: Isao Inoguchi (Japanese); Jim Parks (English): Katrina's father and the only other living field operative of JUNKER at the start of the story. He has a robotic navigator of his own called "Little John msx011", which unlike Metal Gear, was not programmed with a voice.
- Napoleon (ナポレオン) Voiced by: Gorō Naya (Japanese); Jim Parks (English): An informant who suffers from allergies. He is of Chinese descent.
- Chin Shu Oh (陳 周鳳 Chin Shūhō, Chin Syuuhou in the Japanese versions) Voiced by: Isao Inoguchi (Japanese); Ray Van Steen (English): The Director of Queens Hospital. He was named after Hong Kong actor Chin Siu-ho.
- Elijah Modnar (エリア・マッドナー, Madnar in the Japanese versions) Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa (Japanese); Jim Parks (English): A Russian scientist who was involved in a top secret Soviet project prior to the events of the Catastrophe.
Act 1: Snatch
Gillian Seed arrives at the Junker Agency HQ and is introduced to his colleagues. He is introduced by receptionist Mika Slayton to Chief Benson Cunningham, who gives him his Junker ID and briefs him on his authorities and rights as a Junker. Gillian is assigned the navigator robot Metal Gear Mk. II by engineer Harry Benson, along with a blaster. Soon afterward Metal Gear receives an emergency call from Jean-Jack Gibson, the only other surviving Junker "runner", who has cornered two possible Snatchers in an abandoned factory. Gillian then is dispatched there with an Agency Turbocycle, only to find Gibson and his navigator robot massacred by a couple of Snatchers, a man, and a woman. He and Metal gather all evidence they can before Metal detects the couple briefly, who vanish as soon as Gillian pursues them. They are attacked then by a swarm of Insectors and escape moments before the factory explodes by a time bomb planted by the Snatchers.
Back in the HQ, Gillian finds several more clues in Gibson's possession and decides to contact Gibson's informer, known as Napoleon. First, he pays a visit to Gibson's house where he tries to comfort his daughter, Katrina. There, he reads through Gibson's notes, stored on a floppy disk for an antique PC68 Genesis computer: he had discovered that ultraviolet rays are cancerous to Snatchers' artificial skin and they are forced to use sunscreen even during winter.
Evidence suggested that Gibson's last meal was buffalo meat (whale meat in the original Japanese versions), which is illegal to serve in most of the city. With directions from Napoleon, Gillian purchases a mask from a black market commune called Plato's Cavern and visits a masquerade night club called Outer Heaven, the only place where illegal buffalo meat is served. He gathers the description of the man whom Gibson was stalking and feeds it into JORDAN who leads Gillian to two suspects: Ivan Rodriguez and Freddy Nielsen. Rodriguez turns out to be nothing more than a drug pusher, but in Nielsen's house, Gillian discovers a bottle of sunscreen. Confirming his suspicions of Freddy being a Snatcher, Gillian is suddenly assaulted by his wife, Lisa, who is also a Snatcher. Gillian manages to shoot and kill Lisa, but suddenly Freddy shows up from nowhere and attacks Gillian. Random Hajile, a bounty hunter who has followed Gillian, kills Freddy and saves Gillian's life, and the two decide to help each other out.
Act 2: Cure
Harry Benson recovers some of Little John's memory and produces a photograph from a hospital with the name "Oleen". With Napoleon's help, Gillian locates an Oleen Hospital only to find out that it is an animal hospital. On his way back, he receives an emergency call from Mika; Gibson's house has been assaulted and Katrina has gone missing. Gillian rushes to Gibson's house and, finding evidence that Snatchers have been there, searches frantically for Katrina, but finds no sign of her. Her dog, Alice, is thrown through a window, having been eviscerated. Fearing the worst, Gillian and Metal comb throughout the city, until he finally finds Katrina hiding in his apartment. Katrina explains that she ran from her house when she realized she was in danger and gives him another clue left by her father: a list of illicit hospitals. Together with Metal's help, they comb the list and find that "Oleen" is a fragmentary reading of "Queens". Gillian heads to Queens Hospital but finds that the building appears to have been abandoned for several years. Nonetheless, he heads in to investigate.
Gillian searches the abandoned hospital and finds a patient record written in Chinese. He finds that Napoleon is an employee at Outer Heaven, who helps him decode the record, which contains chemistry symbols for beryllium, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen, forming "Be-N-S-O-N". Suspecting that it either refers to the chief or the engineer, he orders Metal to disengage all transmissions back to HQ and returns there to find that both are absent. Gillian then receives a call from Jamie, who has just discovered that Queens Hospital has a secret basement.
On his way back to Queens, Gillian finds his turbo cycle has been tampered with; his accelerator is stuck and he is heading towards a cliff, but Random once more saves him. They reach the hospital and uncover the basement, which is a perfect duplicate in the layout of the hospital's main floor. After searching the area, they uncover the morgue and find it stashed with some skeletons of Snatcher victims: Freddy and Lisa Nielsen, Doctor Chin Shu Oh, and, to Gillian's shock, Benson Cunningham. At that moment, they are attacked by Chin Shu Oh and a team of Snatchers and are both injured. During the fray, Random sacrifices himself to allow Gillian and Metal escape through an air duct and into the abandoned TransLiner subway system and detonates explosives hidden in his belt to blow Queens Hospital and the Snatchers off the map.
Making his way out of the subway, Gillian finds himself back in Freddy Nielsen's apartment, and deduces that the Snatchers have been using the abandoned subway lines as a means of moving around and staying out of the sun; Freddy had used this same system to escape the factory after murdering Gibson and to get the drop on Gillian earlier. Gillian attempts to ride a black taxi back to HQ, but the driver turns out to be the Chin Shu Oh Snatcher, who attempts to ambush Gillian. Gillian kills Oh, and returns to the Junker HQ, only to find it assaulted by Chief Benson Cunningham's Snatcher-replacement. He finds Mika, who tells him that the Snatcher had attacked her, and Harry had locked her in her booth to keep her safe while he went after it. However, Harry was mortally wounded trying to stop him and dies in Gillian's arms. Swearing to both Harry and Random that he'll kill the Snatcher no matter what, Gillian pursues the Chief until he finds him holding Mika as a hostage. Gillian saves her and manages to kill the Cunningham-Snatcher, and the dying robotic body reveals that the Snatchers are ready to enter phase two of their activities. As the chapter ends, Jamie gives a call saying that she is held in "Kremlin" by Snatchers.
Act 3: Junk
Gillian, Mika, and Metal gather all the evidence collected so far. They realize that all Snatchers have a connection to Russia and their presence is linked with the appearance of the mysterious SNOW 9 pollen. They find a correspondence between the Moscow River and the local Ina River and locate the Snatchers' "Kremlin" beneath a church resembling Saint Basil's Cathedral, which is also very close to the abandoned subway lines. Before leaving for there, Gillian sends Mika to the Kyoto Summit, where the Chief was going to attend (and the Snatcher-Chief was going to attack the leaders). Before he leaves, Mika asks Gillian for a dinner date, which he promises to her should they make it out alive. In the temple, Gillian finds stacked Snatcher skeletons as well as a skin culturing room. After sending Metal outside to call for reinforcements, and being assaulted by Insectors and Snatchers, Gillian discovers Jamie is safe, but the two are suddenly confronted by Elijah Modnar.
A lengthy villain speech ties the loose ends of the story: Gillian and Jamie, Elijah and his father Petrovich were working in Russia for a top secret weapon for the Cold War. Elijah was infatuated with Jamie and was jealous of her blossoming relationship with Gillian, and was stricken when Jamie married Gillian and secondly when their project was disbanded. He caused the Catastrophe and instructed the couple to enter cryo-sleep with him until the effects of Lucifer-Alpha were subsided. The couple's son was adopted by Petrovich Modnar and turned out to be Harry Benson. Elijah revived automatically after 10 years and initially planned to revive only Jamie and leave Gillian permanently asleep, however, he changed his mind and left both of their cryo capsules permanently on while he alone was working on the Snatchers. That was until the couple was rescued by the army without memory from their past. It is also revealed that the Snatchers collected Random Hajile's body; Random was a Snatcher created by Petrovich based on Elijah's appearance and memories (Random Hajile is Elijah Modnar in reverse), and now he could serve as the solution for their weaknesses: by reverse engineering Random's skin, they would dominate the world unhindered.
At that moment, Metal shows up and Random reactivates. With the help of Random, who holds Modnar in place, the couple escapes while Metal guides an orbital weapon to destroy the Snatcher base. Modnar is shocked at Random's actions, claiming that he is just a machine, but Random counters by saying it's his own will to destroy the Snatchers. He gives his regards to Gillian and Jaime, and to Metal, as the orbital weapon fires on the temple and obliterates it.
At the end of the story, Gillian decides to travel back to Siberia and discover more of his past before returning and continue his life with Jamie. At the airport, he is greeted by Mika and Katrina, who reveal that they have been good friends with his wife throughout these difficult times. Mika informs Gillian that a new chief will take over JUNKER, and she will continue her role in the group. Metal Gear suddenly shows up as well; Random saved Metal from the brunt of the orbital laser, and while his body was destroyed, his CPU and memory banks were intact and attached to a temporary body. Metal begs Gillian to allow him to come along with him, which Gillian happily accepts. Jamie promises that things will finally work between her and Gillian, and promises to be there for him when he returns. Gillian and Metal depart for Siberia, while Jamie watches, with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face.
The story concludes with one final narration: "Throughout history, suspicion has always bred conflict. The real conflict, though, resides in people's hearts. This conflict has just begun..."
The original PC-8801 and MSX2 versions of Snatcher were produced by a development team known as Team MetalSlave, led by Naoki Matsui (松井 直樹 Matsui Naoki), who was the lead designer of the MSX versions of the Gradius series. Hideo Kojima, who had only done the original Metal Gear at this point, served as the game's planner and wrote the scenario. Other members of the team include character designer Tomiharu Kinoshita, mechanical designer Yoshihiko Ohta, music composer Masahiro Ikariko, and lead programmer Toshiya Adachi. Kojima would later lead the development of Snatcher: CD-ROMantic for the PC Engine, but had no involvement in any of the later versions.
The game was influenced by several science fiction films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Wicked City, and Akira. Kojima originally planned the story of Snatcher in six acts but was ordered to cut it down to two for the PC-88 and MSX2 versions, resulting in Act 2 concluding with a cliffhanger. Act 3 was added in later versions, starting with the PC Engine release, which feature characters and story elements that were previously introduced in the RPG spinoff game SD Snatcher (although the way the story unfolds differs between the two versions).
Snatcher was first released in 1988 for the PC-8801 (on November 26) and MSX2 (December 13) computer platforms. The PC-88 version consisted of five 5-inch floppy disks and had support for the PC-88's Soundboard 2 module for stereo FM sounds, whereas the MSX2 version came in three 3.5-inch floppy disks and a proprietary "sound cartridge" . Konami released a spinoff titled SD Snatcher for the MSX2 on April 27, 1990. SD Snatcher, a role-playing video game, features an alternate version of the original Snatcher storyline with its own ending. Two fan translations of the MSX2 version, one in Portuguese and the other in English, were released in 2003 by Fudeba Software.
Snatcher was remade for the PC Engine in Super CD-ROM² format under the title of Snatcher CD-ROMantic (スナッチャー シーディーロマンティック, Sunacchā Shīdīromantikku), released on October 23, 1992. This version, in addition to offering improved graphics and audio, added voice acting during key portions of the game, as well as Act 3, the planned ending that was not included in the early PC versions. Konami preceded release of Snatcher with a Pilot Disk (released on August 7) containing a playable portion of the game, a trailer-like preview, a database of characters and mechanics of the game, an overview of previous versions by Japanese gaming journalist Akira Yamashita (who have previously reviewed the game for Micom BASIC Magazine), among other features.
In 1996, Snatcher was ported to the PlayStation (February 12) and Sega Saturn (March 29). These two 32-bit versions added slightly redone graphics, a CG animated opening, and other subtle changes (most of them derived from the English Sega CD version). Most of the graphic violence were censored, the talking heads (when a character spoke) were completely redrawn, and the music was completely remixed.
An English localization of Snatcher was produced for the Sega CD in North America, as well as the Mega CD in Europe and Australia. It was released November 1994 in North America and December 1994 in Europe. The Sega CD port was produced specifically for the overseas market and was ported from the PC Engine version. The script was translated by Scott T. Hards, with Jeremy Blaustein (who would later translate Metal Gear Solid) supervising the localization. This version adds support for Konami's Justifier light gun peripheral for the shooting segments.
Several changes were made to conform with the different censorship standards outside Japan, mainly due to sexual content: Katrina's age was changed from 14 in the Japanese version to 18 in the English version due to a nude shower scene she has in the game, and the exposed breast of a dead Snatcher was covered up. A scene featured in the PC Engine version, which depicts a dying dog twitching with its internal organs exposed was redone so the dog is no longer twitching. The clientele at the Outer Heaven night-club, which were originally parodies of popular sci-fi characters such as Kamen Rider and Cornelius, were changed to Konami-owned characters to avoid any potential copyright infringement and certain locations (such as the Joy Division mask shop) were renamed for similar reasons. The naked Snatchers were also redesigned to lessen the resemblance with the Terminator robot: their endoskeletons were repainted with olive-colored body parts and their eyes were changed from red to green, besides other minimal graphic changes. One minor plot change was made to Jean Jack Gibson's last meal in the English version: his final meal was originally whale meat, which was changed to buffalo meat for the localization. Because of the later release of the English version, the year of the Catastrophe was changed from 1991 to 1996 and all other dates in the games were moved accordingly by five years - thus, the present year of the game's story was ultimately changed from 2042 to 2047.
The Sega CD version adds an extended opening intro (adapted from the introductory manga story featured in the manual) and Act 3 was revised to allow more interaction with the player, such as a series of shooting sequences just before Gillian's encounter with Elijah Modnar. The ending is extended with the addition of Katrina and Mika in the final scene, as well as a cameo from Napoleon.
According to Blaustein, the Sega CD version of Snatcher only sold a "couple of thousand units" in North America. He attributes the game's commercial failure due to Sega's discontinuation of the add-on at the time of the game's release.
|Reception (Sega CD)|
Snatcher has been critically acclaimed by reviewers. Famitsu gave the PC Engine version a score of 33 out of 40. Upon release of the Sega CD version, GameFan magazine gave it scores of 90, 100, and 90, with one reviewer praising it for "new shooting sequences, perfect voice acting, rockin' art, incredible music, and the most involving videogame storyline ever" while another reviewer praised it for "ungodly carnage, the greatest story ever, and the interface that is just the coolest". Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Sega CD version scores of 9, 9, 7, 8, and 9, commenting positively on the graphics and the intricacy of the storyline; the reviewer Dano concluded that it is a "top-notch Sega CD title."
Mean Machines Sega described it as "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" and rated it as one of their "top three Mega CD games of all-time". The February 1995 issue of GamePro, while critical of the linear quest, simplistic combat, and "conservative and old-fashioned" music, summarized the game as a "smart-looking, lengthy, interactive graphic adventure", making particular note of the intellectually stimulating investigations, compelling graphics, and strong cyberpunk storyline; the reviewer Toxic Tommy concluded that it is "a cool science fiction CD saga that rewards patience, persistence, and plodding." Future Publishing's Ultimate Future Games described it as a "compelling" game with a "big, entertaining story" but criticized "some sections" for moving "slowly". Next Generation gave it a mixed review, describing it as "mildly ground breaking" for the Sega CD but criticizing its mixture of "mature character relationships" with "strained comic relief" and aspects of the voice acting and interface.
Retrospective reviews have also been positive. Electronic Gaming Monthly ranked it number 69 in their top 100 "Best Games of All Time" list in 1997, and described it as "an awesome cyberpunk adventure game" in 1999. In 2005, 1UP praised Snatcher for being an ambitious cyberpunk detective novel graphic adventure that pushed the boundaries of video game storytelling, cinematic cut scenes and mature content in its time. Kurt Kalata of Gamasutra and Hardcore Gaming 101 praised the game for its graphics, soundtrack, high quality writing comparable to a novel, voice acting comparable to a film or radio drama, post-apocalyptic science fiction setting, light gun shooter segments, and in-game computer database with optional documents that flesh out the game world, though not its use of the amnesia theme. According to Kalata, the Sega CD version of Snatcher was for a long time the only major visual novel game to be released in America, where it gained a cult following. Retro Gamer included the Mega CD version among the top ten games on the platform, describing Snatcher as "the ultimate interactive movie."
RPGFan gave the game scores of 95% and 97%, praising it for its "amazing story line," every character's "superb development and revelations," the "twists and turns in the plot," and the game's ending. Niall MacDonald of Console Obsession gave the game a score of 9/10, praising it for its "solid game world" as well as "excellent story, stylised visuals and deep concepts." He recommended the game to fans of film noir and cyberpunk, concluding that it is "not just an excellent interactive movie, but an example of gaming at its finest."
SD Snatcher is a role-playing video game by Konami for the MSX2 computer platform in 1990 exclusively in Japan. It is a spinoff of the original Snatcher, adapting the same storyline into a different genre. In contrast to the original game's realistic art style, SD Snatcher features a "super deformed" art style, depicting all of the game's characters with big heads and childlike proportions (only the game's ending deviates from this style and reverts to the original game's realistic style). Like the MSX2 port of the original Snatcher, SD Snatcher was released with a proprietary cartridge that contains the Konami SCC custom sound chip, along with three floppy disks containing the actual game data.
SDATCHER (a portmanteau of "Suda" and "Snatcher") is a seven episode bi-weekly radio play, originally airing for free listening as part of Hideo Kojima's online podcast, Hideradio. The radio play was written by Goichi Suda and directed by Shuyo Murata, while character designs were handled by Satoshi Yoshioka. The drama's electronic score was composed by Silent Hill series composer Akira Yamaoka. A commercial CD was released on December 14, 2011, and included extended tracks of Yamaoka's score. The story revolves around Jean-Jack Gibson, a fellow Junker from the original game. The voice of Gibson was provided by Akio Otsuka, notable for being the Japanese voice actor of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series. Fan translations of the drama into other languages such as English and Spanish have also been made.
Four years before the events of Snatcher, JUNKER has not yet been established (having not yet had reason to be), and Jean-Jack Gibson (Akio Otsuka), separated from his wife Alice Gibson (Kikuko Inoue), is working as a police detective in Neo Kobe City with his robotic navigator Little John (Hideo Kojima). At the request of Rug Hunt (the precursor to the JUNKER agency) member Cristian Gainsbourg (Hochu Otsuka), Gibson meets him at a restaurant, where his friend Lisa Nielson works as a waitress. Gainsbourg goes to the restroom and meets with an unknown man, apparently planning to betray Gibson. When he returns, he tells Jack his story while claiming that he can not tell the other members of Rug Hunt.
Some time earlier, Gainsbourg was investigating an unregistered Russian ship that had mysteriously docked in Neo Kobe Harbor. With the help of cowardly security guard, Steevo (Tetsuya Yanagihara), the two board the vessel, only to find the entire crew slaughtered. Gainsbourg tells Steevo to run off, and soon afterward meets another Rug Hunt member named Robin Goodman (Takehito Koyasu). Goodman claims that he was ordered to eliminate all those on board and to "secure the cargo." When asked about the contents of the cargo, Goodman cryptically states that the ship holds "great fear."
The story returns to the present, with Gibson and Gainsbourg back in the restaurant. Jack asks for more details, but only receives vague nonsensical ramblings from Gainsbourg. He says that he remembers green lights looking like "leeches" and that they "crawl through his mind" when he tries to recall the scene aboard the ship. Gainsbourg also claims that every dream he has had since then involves him dying each time. Gibson allows him to sleep for a brief period while he reports his findings to Little John. Meanwhile, Lisa Nielson informs Jack that he is received a telephone call. Through this Gibson comes into contact with Dominic Blackhead (Tomokazu Sugita), another member of Rug Hunt, and meets him outside the restaurant.
Blackhead asks Gibson to turn Gainsbourg over to Rug Hunt. He agrees, but on the condition that he is told the exact contents of the cargo aboard the Russian vessel. Blackhead refers to the contents as "the Beast" and tells Gibson the whole story. Due to Rug Hunt themselves having little information, they apparently "bought one" from a private Russian corporation called Jodorowsky, Inc. 40 years ago in Russia (then known as the USSR), a research team led by a Dr. Karaev presented a paper detailing the concept of a "bioroid." Shortly soon afterward, the doctor died under mysterious circumstances with the remaining eight research team members vanishing without a trace. The paper's existence was never made public, but some believed it to have been stolen work to begin with. 14 years ago, the paper surfaced on the black market and was speculated to have been bought by Jodorowsky, Inc. Located in the Udmurt Republic, the number of missing persons quickly increased over the span of two years. Unbeknownst to the public, the company had been kidnapping and killing people from the surrounding area in order to advance research on their newly manufactured line of bioroids. Eventually, a whistle-blower working for the corporation leaked this information to this press. However, the story was never published and the company pinned the murders on him in a last-ditch attempt to cover up the truth.
With this new information in hand, Gibson shoots Blackhead with his blaster; refusing to sell out Gainsbourg. Thinking him dead, Gibson leaves the scene but Little John alerts him of high-voltage electricity right behind him. Blackhead is revealed to have been a bioroid the entire time and moves in to kill Gibson. Despite malfunctioning, Blackhead is still able to deflect all of his blaster shots. Little John's analysis soon reveals that the bioroids' weak point is the main organic CPU located in their metallic skull. Gibson gains the upper hand and is successfully able to defeat the machine via headshot. He returns to the restaurant and asks the now-awake Gainsbourg for more information.
He tells Jack that the cargo had been listed to Alice Gibson, his wife who had been reported missing since the winter of the previous year. At this point, Gibson receives a call from Alice. She claims to have left Jack due to having lost faith in the world and "not wanting to be with someone who still believed in it." Asking for her location, she only replies: "Somewhere with a nice view. I've got the best view in Neo Kobe City." She says that she'll be waiting for him before abruptly hanging up. During this conversation, Gainsbourg begins shaking uncontrollably, suddenly releasing the truth about him. He is a bioroid.
It is revealed that the real Cristian Gainsbourg was killed and "snatched" upon seeing the bioroid cargo. He states that he has become "one" with what was on board the ship: the Snatcher. The completed form of the bioroid, Gainsbourg states that Alice is their "God." The Snatchers' purpose is to "procreate" by killing humans and taking their place in society with their memories. Gainsbourg claims himself and the other Snatchers to be "living," but Gibson counters his point by beating him in a game of Blackjack that only the true Cristian Gainsbourgh could have won at. Gibson retorts saying that a machine "can't create or read" human emotion, thus being inferior beings. In a fit of rage, the mechanical Gainsbourg rants on about human arrogance and how they could never coexist with the Snatchers. But during this, a spark of Gainsbourg's humanity reveals itself and begs Gibson to kill him. After saying goodbye to his former friend, he obliges and destroys the machine with his blaster. Gibson exits the restaurant and boards his flying automobile, the Turbocycle, with the intent to face Alice. Little John informs him that Alice was indeed responsible for several shipments of bioroids illegally smuggled from Russia into Neo Kobe City.
The scene changes to Alice and Robin Goodman (both bioroids) anticipating Gibson's arrival at the harbor. When Gibson lands, he is confronted by Goodman who is now in a symbolic relationship with the Snatcher's "Messiah," Alice. Gibson tells him of the Rug Hunt engineer Harry Benson who attended the human Robin Goodman's funeral. He then informs him that he has found out about Operation Zero Contact, a plan meant to flood Neo Kobe with bioroids in order to replace the city's leaders and important figures. More importantly, Gibson is now aware of the Snatchers' weakness: sunlight. Giving Little John the signal, the warehouse containing the shipments of bioroids is assaulted with a fiery explosion. Despite Gibson's apparent victory, Goodman laughs manically claiming that "there's more where they came from." In a fit of rage, Jack kills the bioroid with his blaster but not before Goodman tells him that "he's pulled a much bigger trigger." The Robin Goodman bioroid's "death" activates a bomb aboard a plane flying in from Tokyo, causing it to crash into Neo Kobe City. Although not directly stated in the drama, this leads to the set-up of the game's plot with the bioroids invading the city.
Realizing that he has been used to kill innocent lives, Jack breaks down in tears. Alice calls him on his cellphone, congratulating him on "completing" Operation Zero Contact stating that her only goal was to "create a world for the Snatcher." Gibson vows to stop her, with the Alice bioroid knowing that he'll eventually have to terminate her. Before exchanging a heartfelt goodbye, Jack reminds Alice of their daughter Katrina and how he'll still love her no matter what. The drama ends with Gibson delivering a final monolog:
"I know where I'm going to die. I even know when it'll happen and who'll kill me. Nevertheless, I live in hope. The hope that the work John and I do will help whoever follows in our footsteps. I want to see where this thing takes them. That is my one wish."
In a post-credits scene, Lisa Nielsen returns home to her husband Freddy (Goichi Suda). Upon entering their home, she is ambushed by a Snatcher and killed alongside her already dead husband. The now-snatched couple enters the city, with Lisa in a mechanical voice telling the bioroid Freddy, "It's a beautiful night for a hunt."
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Blaustein: As for (Snatcher): Sega CD, I think that counting you and me, the game only sold a couple thousand units at most in the US. I know the Sega CD sucked and had no software available for it, but where was everyone when Snatcher came out!? Boy, was that embarrassing - having it fail so badly.
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- Snatcher at MobyGames
- JUNKER HQ - Snatcher research, scans and information
- Two-part Snatcher commentary on Hideo Kojima's podcast (Japanese)