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SD Snatcher (MSX)

SD Snatcher MSX
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Genre: Role-playing (RPG)
Perspective: Top-down
Art: Anime / Manga
Pacing: Turn-based
Setting: Sci-fi / futuristic
Published by: Konami Industry Co.
Developed by: Konami Industry Co.
Released: 1990
Platform: MSX

Because of the SD prefix, many people call this Snatcher a parody of the original Snatcher. However, apart from chibi heroes, there is nothing parody in the game. The style and presentation have changed, but not the essence. And just because of the style, a sharp contrast of form and content is created. Agree, it is strange to see a bloodied corpse, whose head is three times the face value. And in SD Snatcher you will certainly see it, because the plot moved straight from the original source. Another thing is that a similar plot does not make both games the same. The original Snatcher was a graphic adventure, an atmospheric, sometimes dark story of a nighttime metropolis. SD Snatcher is not like that - it's a classic Japanese role-playing game, where the scenery is flooded with light and color, and small, big-headed characters walk around it. Yes, due to the chosen style, the departure from the original atmosphere is noticeable, obvious and inevitable, but the cyberpunk comic did not become a caricature of itself, but turned into a completely different, self-sufficient game.

But the script has remained unchanged. In the near future, Neo Kobe City is being terrorized by bioroids - cyborgs, outwardly indistinguishable from ordinary people, except that they destroy these people, taking their places in various leadership positions. "Why do they need it?" - a question, the answer to which our hero Gillian Seed, who joined the division of junkers (Japanese humor, yeah), specializing, in turn, in the destruction of bioroids, must find an answer. In addition to social problems, Gillian has enough family problems: since he and his wife were discovered in a radioactive zone, they are both tormented by deep sclerosis (stop snorting, 1988 - then it was still original). But intuitively, the newly minted junker feels that solving the mystery of bioroids will help, so to speak, remember everything.

In the original adventure game, which was more like a book, this story was followed by a detailed and fascinating development. Gillian could go after any skirt that turned up, let go of comments about every little thing, looking at the scenery, and he could only uncover a gun and actually shoot someone on big holidays ... In the 1988 Snatcher, everything was built around the script. That is why the scenario was realistic, logical and not subject to a number of conventions, under which classic RPGs are forced to adapt. But SD Snatcher is exactly what an RPG is. That is why she got the script adapted to the genre, read - greatly simplified and with the same conventions. When crowds of aggressive (it’s not clear where they came from) robots run through the streets, you have to buy weapons at your own work (!!!), and the mayor’s headquarters in a skyscraper turns out to be Papa Carlo’s little closet, where there is only a table and a mayor ... And even if you endure brackets the message of the translator of the English patch (and SDS, of course, was officially published only in Japan), that due to the character-by-character replacement of hieroglyphs with the English alphabet, half of the dialogues had to be cut off, the text is still much less than in the progenitor game. But at the same time, much more than in the role-playing games of those years, and the plot is much more original than many single-genre creations that came out later. Because here, albeit in a slightly shuffled (modified / supplemented) form, all the key events and characters from the first Snatcher have been preserved, and the story itself continues beyond the place where the unfinished version with MSX ended. And it was this ending in a thoroughly modified form that subsequently entered the re-releases of the adventure game for PC98, SCD, SS and PSX. The only thing I would not recommend is to get acquainted with SD Snatcher before playing one of the mentioned remakes. Better, of course, in a remake from the Sega CD. Firstly, there is an exclusive official English translation, and secondly, the most complete ending.

Although, an interesting fact, the ending of SDS is somewhat different from all non-superdeformed versions of Snatcher. But once again contacting the constant loadings of the MSX emulator is not at all for the sake of the ending.

What were the then classic role-players? Solid meat, when endless battles pissed me off with frequent random encounters and lulled me to sleep with static images with a first-person view. Just moving around the world map could destroy the entire emergency supply of nerve cells prepared for troubled old age...

What did Konami do about it? Total destruction! All three of the most infuriating features of the roles of that time were simply annihilated, offering a replacement so adequate that one involuntarily wonders why, even after the release of SD Snatcher, many enthusiastically continued to ride the old rake, stamping batches of the same type of dragon-quest-clones.

First things first, random spawning enemies have been removed from the game. You can see them in advance, and with proper skill, there is a chance to bypass them without getting into a fight. If desired, all opponents on the scenery can be killed, but when they return again, they are restored, leaving the possibility of pumping. Next, the world map was removed. It is likely due to the peculiarities of the MSX hardware capabilities, which would increase the number of Georgians at times. This and the fact that you do not need to wind long kilometers through the same type of caves make the storyline more dense, and each location is plot significant.

In SDS, of course, there are enough downloads, but there are not as many of them as it could be. New areas of Neo Coub City are opened for visiting gradually, and the hero gets to them by car (i.e. on autopilot). And in accordance with the plot, there are new points where you can go straight from the headquarters of the junkers or from any other place where there is a telephone booth to call a taxi. The game was released on several discs for MSX, but was planned in such a way that it was not necessary to constantly change discs in the next dungeon. The only exceptions are illustrated plot scenes and the recording process - for them, disks will still have to be shuffled. In the case of recording, however, the emulator quicksave serves as a rescue.

Well, the main change is the combat system itself. For 1990, she is amazingly good. All that unites her with her numerous predecessors is the first-person view and step by step. But, as it turned out, a lot of new things can be introduced into this ossified scheme.

Enemies are divided into sectors, sometimes up to several dozen in number, each of which is a separate zone for defeat. Hitting a certain sector reduces certain characteristics of the enemy: attack accuracy, speed, strength, armor ... More powerful reptiles must first disable what is responsible for their accuracy. Even the most seasoned terminator will find it difficult to hit the hero if he is blinded first. Or lower the attack power to a minimum and then shoot where you have to. True, it is not always clear where exactly to shoot, since the configurations of enemies are very diverse, but over time, the best way to destroy any reptile is found. And the fact that they are bastards - you can be sure of that. Some, for example, know how to call for help right on the battlefield, and there are twice as many reptiles. And the help will continue to arrive, if the special antennas responsible for the "help of a friend" are not fired in time. Other comrades can block the use of items, thereby disabling the healers, but what they do with it is also amenable to shooting. And all these bastards are able to move left and right, leaving from under our fire completely or substituting for it not those sectors that we so carefully aimed at. But the most vile thing is self-destruction. If some creature shoots all the attacking mechanisms (of which there may also be several), then after a while, feeling its helplessness, it simply explodes, and we lose valuable experience. To blow up the enemy personally, it is not necessary to destroy all available sectors, you must again destroy certain of them. But our hero is far from defenseless. And if at first he only has a pathetic parody of a weapon capable of attacking an extremely limited area of ​​\u200b\u200bspace, then over time, having accumulated some money, it will be possible to acquire guns that inflict real shelling on impressive territories. However, there is one peculiarity here. A barrel that shoots at one sector of the enemy hits the target more painfully than a thing that hits several sectors at once, spraying impact force between them. In addition, the weapon, like the hero, has its own increasing level, and, therefore, even by the end of the game, a variety of guns do not gather dust idle. After all, they have different types of cartridges. And if the ammunition in one barrel ends, then you have to use another.

For especially wasteful players, there is a whole set of gadgets purchased separately. To then get some mine from the inventory and carefully place it to the right or left of a particularly frisky opponent ...

The combat is worked out in the most thorough way, it is immediately clear that it was not done for show. The game is far from the easiest (how do you like monsters near the end, killing with TWO shots?), but there is no outright cheating on the part of the computer. Anyone can win - everything depends on the system.

In addition, the gameplay is brightened up by many small but unusual moments that slip here and there. And, of course, Kojima even then liked to stuff various jokes into his games. Here you have the mechanical partner Metal Gear, which, following the prefix SD, turned from a small robot into a pocket robot, and a movie about Godzilla in the cinema, and the hero from the first Snatcher, Randam Hagil, disguised as a bioroyd in a panda suit!

And do not pay attention to the fact that two frames of animation provide an imitation of character movements while walking, the beginning of the nineties is the era of the reign of NES, then almost everywhere it was like that, but not everywhere the scenery was so detailed, varied and saturated with colors. Diverse and opponents. Enemies are only partially animated, but they themselves and the destructibility of each (!) Of their sectors are drawn to the conscience. Thank you for this, the battles are visually really not annoying, which is usually not the case with role-playing games of that time. But there are also animated portraits of heroes and pictures framing the plot. By the way, an amusing detail: in all the plot pictures, portraits and cutscenes, the characters are depicted in a super deformed form, but in the final scene they somehow acquire normal proportions. It's like the ending was prepared for the unfinished original Snatcher, but then thrown here ...

Having slightly simplified the plot of the visual novel and supplemented it with new mechanics, Kojima and his comrades created not some kind of appendage, and not even one of the best role-playing games on MSX, but one of the best role-playing games of those years. An interesting, difficult, somewhat innovative and unfairly forgotten game, all the shortcomings of which are easily attributed to age. And the old school is really able to please if it is a properly prepared old school.


Before the fight with the last boss, do not ignore the hint about the antidote and take the trouble to get it by returning to the laboratory located a few screens earlier. Otherwise (regardless of the level of pumping!) You will die immediately after the first spray of the virus, which the boss will surely arrange for you sooner or later.