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Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

 This story is dedicated to all those cyberpunks who fight against injustice and corruption every day of their lives.

All controversy begins with DOUBT


On June 6, 1996, a chemical weapon known as Lucifer-Alpha under development in Russia, is released into the atmosphere, resulting in the death of 80% of the Eurasian and Eastern European 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".

Fifty years later, 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. It is up to Gillian Seed, an amnesiac working for an Anti-Snatcher task force called J.U.N.K.E.R., and his Robot Buddy, Metal Gear, to track down the source of the Snatchers and discover Gillian's mysterious connections to them.

A graphic-adventure game written and directed by Hideo Kojima, set in a Cyberpunk universe (with clear Blade Runner overtones), with all of the quirkiness the game designer is known for, and more than a couple Shout Outs to other Konami games and the Metal Gear series. In Japan, Snatcher was originally released for the PC 88 and MSX2 computer platforms in 1988 and then remade for the PC Engine in Super CD-ROM-ROM format in 1992, followed by another set of re-releases in 1996 for the Play Station and Sega Saturn. The only English version produced is the 1994 Sega CD version, which regularly sells on eBay for about $200, thanks to the game's limited distribution of a quarter million copies (due to the decline of the Sega CD add-on at the time of its release).

Highly recommended for anyone with old Sega equipment (or KEGA Fusion); everyone else can follow along with the Let's Play's of both the original (in both screenshot and video formats) and SD Snatcher by Something Awful's Slowbeef and Snatcher counterpart 0xBEEF.

Though no sequel to Snatcher was ever made, the game was remade on the MSX2 as a Super-Deformed RPG titled SD Snatcher, and a Spiritual Successor titled Policenauts was released for various platforms.

Snatcher provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital
  • Adventure Duo: Somewhat inverted as the main character is the Handsome Lech, and the Robot Buddy is the down to earth one.
  • After the End
  • Alien Blood: Snatchers leak green 'blood' out of theirs mouths once defeated.
  • All There in the Manual: The manuals for the PC-88, MSX2, and PC-Engine versions all featured an elaborate plot guide with information about the game's backstory and setting. The American Sega CD manual is unfortunately very basic by comparison, including only the character bios and a guide to JUNKER HQ. The European Mega CD manual thankfully has the whole plot guide translated.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Well, when you only have three people staffing your HQ...
  • Always Night: Subverted in the ending sequence, when daylight finally returns to Neo Kobe. Just in time for a large chunk of the city to get blown off the map.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance
  • An Asskicking Christmas: The plot of Snatcher takes place in the last week of December. "Jingle Bells" plays in Alton Plaza, and Napoleon even greets you in a Santa outfit at one point.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: In the ending, Gillian and the JUNKER team - what's left of it, anyway - depart to destroy more Snatcher factories around the world, starting with Moscow. "THIS CONFLICT HAS JUST BEGUN."
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Snatchers have a conveniently-placed "vent" on their cranium, used to adjust the size of their skulls, which is their sole vulnerable spot.
  • Audio Adaptation: The Snatcher Sound Clip, a mini-CD that was given out as a Preorder Bonus to people who purchased the PC-Engine version, featured a short radio drama which involved Metal and Jamie pulling a prank on Gillian on the day of his birthday.
  • Badass Biker: Random Hajile, a Badass Billy Idol/Sting/Yazan Gable/Roy Batty look-alike.
  • Badass Longcoat: This seems to be standard JUNKER attire. Both Gillian and his predecessor Jean wear one.
  • Badass Mustache: Benson Cunningham.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: Metal Gear's introductory scene. Doubles as a Mythology Gag.
  • Blood From the Mouth: Harry Benson.
  • Bounty Hunter: Random.
  • Bowdlerized: In coming to America, some bits of Fan Disservice nudity, some off-color jokes and some of the gore was removed. Katrina's age was also bumped up from 14 to 18, which makes Gillian's (largely untouched) Handsome Lechery all the creepier in retrospect.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It's Hideo Kojima... what did you expect?
    • Painting the Medium: At one point, the player is asked to turn up the volume to listen for a faint noise. When a loud explosion occurs shortly therafter, Gillian complains his ears are ringing. "That's because you turned up the volume," Metal cheerfully replies. To which Gillian blames the Snatchers.
  • Captain Obvious: Metal Gear would like to remind you that you are now on the trope page for the game Snatcher.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: An extension of Video Game Cruelty Potential, as Gillian can hit on most every woman he comes across, despite being married. Including in front of his wife.
    • Though this is justified, at least somewhat, by Gillian and his wife having split apart because neither of them can remember each other anymore.
    • You can even choose to hit on the 14-year-old daughter of the man whom's decapitated corpse you were looking at just a little while ago. So, maybe drop the "chivalrous" part, depending on how you play the game.
  • City Noir
  • Concealing Canvas: The vase picture in Cunningham's office.
  • Console Cameo
    • In the 8-bit versions of Snatcher, the computer used by Jean-Jack Gibson is either, a PC-88 or MSX2 depending on the platform the game is running. In later versions Gibson uses a PC-68, a completely fictional model.
    • A much more subtle example comes in the model numbers of Metal Gear and Little John in the 8-bit versions, which referenced the platforms that Snatcher was originally released for: "Metal Gear Mk. II/SR" (the "SR" was a specific model version of the PC-88) and "Little John msx011".
    • In the end of the CD-ROM versions, Metal Gear Mk. II is rebuilt into the console the game is running on depending on the version (i.e. a PC Engine Duo, a second model Genesis with Sega CD attachment, a PlayStation or a Sega Saturn).
  • Cool Car: Gillian's turbocycle. Contrary to the name, its actually a 3-wheeled hover car, with joysticks instead of a steering wheel.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Outer Heaven.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The final Snatcher nest.
  • Crusading Widower: Jean is out to avenge his wife, who was slain by the Snatchers.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: Somewhat justified in Queens Hospital. The first floor waiting area is identical to the secret basement, giving the illusion of two hospitals.
  • Cyberpunk: And a fair-sized Kitchen Sink thereof.
  • Da Chief: Cunningham.
  • Death By Origin Story / Off with His Head: Jean Jack Gibson.
  • Death Cry Echo: Snatcher-Lisa.
  • Defictionalization: Now you too can enjoy the delicacy that is Neo Kobe Pizza!
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Gillian joins JUNKER in hopes of recovering his lost memory.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Gillian is a very perverted guy.....
  • Dirty Communists: The Snatchers began life as a secret Soviet project.
  • Drool Hello: Blood drips from the ceiling in Cunningham's office. Upon glancing up, you see his Snatcher grimacing back at you.
  • Dynamic Entry: Random's debut, in which he relieves Gillian of the task of shooting the Snatcher strangling him using a mirror as his guide.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Dr. Elijah Modnar and his father Petrovich were mentioned in the original PC-88 and MSX versions, but didn't actually appear until the CD-ROM versions. However, they both make an appearance in the SD Snatcher RPG remake.
  • The Engineer: Harry.
  • Evil Laugh: Chi Shu Oh.
  • Explosion Propulsion: Gillian and Metal Gear after outrunning a Time Bomb planted inside the factory.
  • Exposition Break: The finale is one comparable in length and impact to most Metal Gear games.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Harry is actually Gillian's son, having aged normally while his parents were put into a cryogenic freeze.
  • Fan Disservice: Following the shoot-out with Snatcher-Lisa, she falls backward onto the floor with her breast exposed... An image which is juxtaposed with her exploded head and metallic skull. The nudity was removed from the CD-ROM release.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Tries to claim we should all trust each other more... by besieging us with Ridiculously-Human Robots who exploit that trust for the purpose of destabilizing society. Clearly a Broken Aesop as well.
  • Fantastic Drug: Liquid Sky.
  • Faux Symbolism: "My Neo Kobe Pizza! It sank just like the rest of this city's gonna!"
  • Flashback Effects: Elijah Modnar's flashbacks are shown in a blood-red negative exposure, like an undeveloped roll of film.
  • Floating Timeline: All the dates in the Sega-CD were moved five years ahead from the Japanese version. Thus, the date of the Catastrophe was moved from June 6, 1991 to 1996 (allowing the translation to shoehorn a 666 reference), while the actual year the game takes place was changed from 2042 to 2047. This was because the English version was made in 1994, three years after the date when the Catastrophe took place in the Japanese version.
  • Fortune Teller
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: There's an easy, portable test to determine if someone is a Snatcher or not. It requires a search warrant to use on civilians, but in true Blade Runner fashion, apparently no one thought to regularly test the people who are in charge of destroying Snatchers.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Who wouldn't want a business card stating their occupation as a "Japanese Undercover Neuro-Kinetic Elimination Ranger"? Probably the ones who would want "Naked Kind" in the middle, vis-a-vis the Japanese versions.
    • Judgment Uninfected Naked Kind & Execute Ranger, for the sake of completeness.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Even in the censored dub,you could get Gillian to call a phone sex line.
    • He can also call a prostitute with another number from the same source. She correctly deduces that the reason people in the game can only talk about sex in double speak is because someone is watching them.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Chin Shu Oh reveals his true Snatcher nature in this way.
  • A God Am I: Elijah Modnar.
  • Going by the Matchbook: Finding a matchbook from the Outer Heaven bar is one of the red herring clues to the identity of the Snatcher that has infiltrated the JUNKERs.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The Benson Snatcher's final words in the original 8-bit versions is said in Russian (Желаю вам усцеха, "I wish you luck").
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: The game predicts the destruction of the Soviet Union by an airborne biological weapon in 1991 in the Japanese version and 1996 in the English version. Never mind the fact that the Soviet Union was dissolved by the time the English version was released in 1994. (The original PC88 version was released three years before the Union's collapse.)
  • Gross Up Close-Up: When you find the decaying skeletons. Bit of advice: when exploring the hospital, don't eat anything. Just trust us on this.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Katrina's hair color is blue in the game, even though it's listed as "dark brown" in the Snatcher Pilot Disk and colored that way in most official illustrations (as shown in the cover above), while Lisa Nielsen (a witness in Act 1) is described as being raven-haired by Metal, despite her hair being green in-game.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Mika explains how to shoot your Blaster at the start of the game. Metal Gear will take over in explaining other new game controls for the rest of the game after you meet him.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Jamie.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Random and Metal Gear. The latter gets better though, and the former gets to do it twice.
  • Hostage Spirit Link: A game ending one.
  • Hover Board: While inspecting the board in Surfer Dude Ivan Rodriguez's apartment, Gillian comments that he must be a recreational "air surfer".
  • Human Popsicle: Gillian and Jamie were put into suspended animation during the 90s, and haven't aged since.
  • Human Shield: Cunningham takes Mika hostage for this purpose.
  • Info Dump: Reading through every entry in JORDAN's Fact File can easily take an hour or more, depending on how fast of a reader you are.
  • The Informant: Napoleon.
  • Kill and Replace: And how...
  • Kill Sat
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Gillian shoving his gun barrel into Ivan's mouth.
  • Jump Scare: Used liberally. Jamie answering the videophone while wearing a Snatcher mask is the most glaring example. Also, once you reach Queens Hospital with Random, be prepared once you see that an inactive Snatcher you could've sworn was there a second ago has disappeared.
  • Just Between You and Me / Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Chin Shu Oh.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Gillian and Jamie were originally Soviet scientists working alongside Elijah Mondar. Unbeknownst to Jamie, Gillian was also a CIA spy.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The original PC88/MSX2 version features people dressed up as Kamen Rider, C3PO, a Xenomorph, Cornelius and Kanegon at the Outer Heaven costume party, along with a bartender dressed as a Metaluna Mutant. The PC Engine version adds Guyver to the mix. They were all replaced by Konami characters in subsequent versions (including the bartender, who dresses up as the Golem from Salamander in the 32-bit versions), avoiding this trope altogether.
  • Let's Play: Done by slowbeef twice.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The reason Elijah Modnar continues the Snatcher project long after it was suppose to be discontinued. When he grows too old though, it later replaced by delusions of World Domination.
  • Luke Nounverber: Mika Slayton.
  • Mad Scientist: Elijah Mondar.
  • Magic Brakes: Gillian's sabotaged turbocycle.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: Somewhat justified, as Gillian notes that "nobody uses those things anymore" upon finding a floppy disk.
  • Master of Disguise: Napoleon.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: To say that Modnar took it hard when Jamie rejected him is an understatement. He leaked the Lucifer-Alpha virus to kill off everyone on the continent, then when that didn't take, developed a horde of robots with which to repopulate the Earth.
  • Ms. Fanservice / Token Mini-Moe: Katrina.
  • Mister Muffykins: Referenced rather darkly, as a new pet craze in Neo Kobe is animals that can be used as cute purses, and tend to be internally lacerated by sharp objects.
  • Mole in Charge: Cunningham.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Not exactly subtle. Chin Shu Oh expressly compares the Snatcher's fear-mongering tactics to that of the Nazis.
  • New Neo City: Neo Kobe.
  • Nice Hat: Harry's red cap.
  • Nightmare Face: A recurring theme with the Snatchers, whose faces usually end up in bad shape.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Averted. Gillian overhears Katrina's Evil-Detecting Dog (Alice) barking at the trees outside, but it turns out to be nothing. Later on, however, Alice's disemboweled body is found in the yard, having been thrown through a closed window. In the Japanese version, her body is still twitching.
  • No Ending: In the 8-bit releases, the planned ending was actually left out due to time constrains. This was fixed for the CD-ROM versions.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: Elijah Modnar.
  • Not My Driver: Gillian hops into a taxicab, only to discover that the Not Quite Dead Chin Shu Oh is the cabbie.
  • Not Quite Dead: Random survives his own Suicide Attack by virtue of being a Snatcher himself.
  • Nuke'Em: The military uses their Kill Sat to eradicate Neo Kobe.
  • Obvious Beta - The original PC-88 and MSX2 versions released in 1988 were rushed for release due to the fact that Kojima and his team were taking too long to finish the game. The originally planned ending was omitted from this version and the game ended on a much darker note than originally planned. Elements from the unused ending appeared in 1990's SD Snatcher before the full ending was added in the later disc-based remakes of the original Snatcher.
  • Oddly Small Organization: JUNKER consists of a mechanic, a "Chief" who does nothing but sit at his desk all day, a glorified receptionist, and only two agents who are on active duty. There were supposedly four other guys, but they were killed or incapacitated just before the start of the game.
    • By the end of the game, Gillian has become JUNKER's top-ranking officer by default!
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, since there are two Bensons working for JUNKER.Which becomes an important plot point.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Chin Shu Oh shoots Gillian and Random in their arm and leg.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: "You're Insane! Humanity won't be so easily dominated! You underestimate the strength of the human spirit!" - Gillian.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Isabella Velvet and Snatcher-Lisa.
  • Production Throwback: Since this was Kojima's first game after the original Metal Gear 1987, there's quite a few references throw in. Most notably Gillian's robotic partner, who was built after the "Metal Gear menace from the late 20th century" and whose leitmotif theme is the "Theme of Tara" from the original MSX game. Other references includes Benson Cunningham's former membership within FOXHOUND, the Outer Heaven nightclub, and the inclusion of Dr. Pettrovich as one of the developers behind the Frankenstein Project that created the Snatchers.
  • Ransacked Room: Katrina's apartment.
  • Removed From the Picture: Harry's childhood photograph of himself cuts out the portion showing his parents. It turns out that his parents are none other than Gillian and Jaime themselves, who were kept in cryogenic stasis for decades, causing them to be physically younger than their now 55-year-old son.
  • Replicant Snatching: The Trope Half-Namer. Fittingly enough, Blade Runner is the other half.
  • The Reveal: Metal Gear identifies a decomposing body as that of the real Benson Cunningham.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Gillian's reaction to Harry's death.
  • Robot Buddy: Metal Gear, Gillian's partner in his investigation.
  • Robot Religion: The Snatchers worship Elijah Modnar as their creator, and even attend church in his name.
  • Robot War
  • Rubber Band AI: Doing well in the practice gun shooting sections makes the in-game sequences almost impossible. It is recommended to do intentionally poorly to keep the difficulty down. And even then, if you're running the game on an emulator (and, let's face it, in this day and age, you probably are), you'll either have to be a keyboard magician or, if you're using your mouse as a Light Gun stand-in, aim high with your cursor to compensate for that tiny arrow not lining up directly with your shots.
  • Say Your Prayers: You have the option of saying this to Metal Gear when Gillian's turbocycle goes haywire. Averted when Gillian admits to Metal that he's not the praying type. Still, it does open up the command that allows for escape, and a delightful fourth wall observation.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Random Hajile's name is "Elijah Modnar" spelled backward, a reference to Random being a bioroid created in Elijah's image.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You
  • Secret Underground Passage: The hidden tunnel to the 'real' Queens Hospital.
  • Shooting It Out of Their Hands: Gillian blasting the gun out of Ivan's mitts.
  • Shout-Out/Video Games: In the Sega CD version, the Outer Heaven bar is filled with clients dressed in Konami costumes, with characters dressed as Goemon, Sparkster, Simon and Dracula, Bill and Lance, and Mr. Ueda. The Play Station and Sega Saturn versions replaces Bill and Lance with Light and Pastel, Sparkster with Pawapuro-kun, and Mr. Ueda with "Designman". The bartender was also redesigned to resemble the Golem boss from Salamander.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: In the Japanese version several locations in the game were named after popular 80's bands such as the Joy Division costume shop (which became Plato's Cavern in the English version), the Alphaville computer (Alpha-One in the English version), and Queen Hospital (Queens in the English version).
  • Signs of Disrepair: "QUEENS" Hospital reads as "OLEEN" Hospital, thanks to burnt-out neon sign.
  • Sinister Subway: The Snatchers use this to navigate around the city in the daytime.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Several characters have their names spelled differently depending on which version of the game. Notably, Random Hajile is known as Randam Hajile in Japan.
  • Suicide Attack
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: The fake "skeleton" in Queens Hospital is anything but.
  • Super Identikit: The JUNKER computer room's "Montage Mode".
  • Technology Marches On: Jean's floppy disk. Partially justified in that Jean is shown to have old-fashioned tastes, since his computer is a PC-68 from the 1980s.
  • Throwaway Country: Most of Russia and continental Eurasia a good 50 years before the game begins, due to a seemingly unrelated virus. SD Snatcher does a good job of tying it into the plot, though.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Double Poly Subverted
  • Translation Correction: JUNKER originally stood for "Judgment Uninfected Naked Kind & Execution Ranger", a random string of English words that doesn't have any coherent meaning together. In the Sega CD version, it was changed to the (slightly) more sensible "Japanese Undercover Neuro-Kinetic Elimination Ranger".
  • Transplant: Metal Gear Mk. II eventually found work as Old Snake's Item Caddy in Metal Gear Solid 4, while Cunningham got a Race Lift and was turned into a Scary Black Man in Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops. Half of everyone else, though, couldn't score anything bigger than their own cards in the Metal Gear Acid series.
  • Two Keyed Lock: Actually a three-keyed lock. To unlock the rooms in Queens Hospital requires the input of Gillian, Random, and Metal Gear simultaneously.
  • Updated Rerelease: Since the original PC-88 and MSX2 versions released in 1988 were Obvious Betas, Kojima and his team saw fit to remake the game four years later as a CD-ROM game for the Turbo Grafx 16, adding not only the originally planned ending, but also improved graphics and voice acting. The PC Engine version was released as Snatcher CD-ROMantic. The later Sega CD localization and PS/Saturn rereleases are based on this version.
  • Used Future
  • Voodoo Shark: Why does nobody ever use the easily portable, perfectly effective, completely non-invasive Snatcher detector without a warrant? Respect for civil rights! This would be a perfectly fine explanation if it didn't completely undermine the Snatchers' plans. How are they supposed to turn people against each other out of fear and mistrust when people are that trusting?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the PC Engine version, Mika and Katrina are nowhere to be seen in the ending and not indication is made of what became of them since their last appearance. The expanded ending in the Sega CD localization clears up what happened to them and they both make an unvoiced cameo at the end of the 32-bit versions as well.
  • You Didn't Ask: Metal Gear knows everything about Gillian and Jamie's pasts, but is forbidden from talking about it.
  • Your Head Asplode: Freddy getting shot by Random.