This cyberpunk adventure should appeal to all fans of the genre, and is one of the best games on the Sega CD.

User Rating: 9.4 | Snatcher SCD
"June 6th, 1996. A mysterious explosion destroys the Chernoten research facility near Moscow. Lucifer-Alpha, a powerful biological weapon under secret development there, is released into the atmosphere, creating a deadly biohazard. Carried by the trade winds, Lucifer-Alpha spreads throughout eastern Europe and Eurasia, destroying 80% of the populace. Half of the world's people die. The greatest biohazard in history later becomes known simply as, "The Catastrophe". But at this time, who could have possibly imagined that the ultimate biohazard wouldn't occur for another half-century?

Fifty years later, mankind faces its greatest crisis, the appearance of a mysterious android life-form. Its purpose and origin are unknown. Is it a new form of weapon, or perhaps an invasion from some other world? They appear during winter, killing humans and infiltrating society by taking the place of their victims. Employing an artificial skin, they can sweat and even bleed. Part organic, part machine, they are almost impossible to distinguish from those they kill. As they steal their victims bodies in order to take their place, these mysterious invaders become known as... Snatchers."

The intro sequence to the game, consisting of remarkably good voice-acting coupled with remarkably good graphics for the Sega CD, lays out the general theme, set against an eerie tune that inspires a feeling of awe and dread. Based in the not-too-distant future, in an island city reminiscent of Blade Runner, Snatcher has you playing the part of a Junker -- a kind of special government agent charged with tracking down and destroying the ubiquitous Snatchers. Soon after getting acquanted with your new home at the Junker HQ, you recieve an emergency call from Jean Jack Gibson, a veteran Junker who has cornered a suspected Snatcher in an abandoned warehouse. From here on, you're plunged deep into the story and there's no going back.

Snatcher is best described as an interactive comic-book -- while it's technically a game, the majority of what you'll be doing is simply selecting options from a menu to examine and utilize various items and places, interspersed with a few action scenes where you'll be shooting it out against Snatchers and their robotic minions. While this could easily make for a boring game, the storyline in Snatcher is sufficiently deep, with numerous plot twists that I honestly didn't see coming, to hold your interest from start to finish.

You can expect around 6-10 hours if you play without using any kind of guides (though a couple of places are tricky enough to require one), and the combination of superb voice-acting, a slowly-unravelling plot that still leaves plenty shrouded in mystery until the end, and high-quality music that perfectly captures the essence of the game will have you glued to the screen from start to finish. Perhaps my favourite aspect was the mystery of the Snatchers, with tiny hints here and there giving clues as to their true origin, but leaving more than enough room for speculation as the mystery builds.

It's hard to say much more about the game without spoiling the surprise, and if you play this game with no prior knowledge of what's going to happen next, the experience is simply unsurpassed. While the interface may seem a little clunky and basic to begin with, it only takes a few minutes of playing before it becomes second-nature, and the richly-detailed world draws the player in so much that you won't want it to ever stop.

Overall, this is without a doubt the best game available for the Sega CD, and an all-time classic which is overlooked by many retrogaming fans due to being published on a relatively unpopular console. If you have any interest whatsoever in cyberpunk, mystery, or adventure games... get your hands on a copy of Snatcher. You won't regret it.