|Release date(s)||April 27, 1990 (JP)|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
|Distribution||3½-inch DD floppy disk x 3 (MSX)+ Cartridge|
SD Snatcher is a role-playing video game by Konami for the MSX2 computer platform released 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.
As with most RPGs released at the time, the game consists of overhead exploration of areas and menu-driven turn-based battles. However, it abandoned random encounters and introduced an innovative battle system, which uses a first-person perspective that allows the player to aim at specific body parts of an enemy and disable certain characteristics. For example, shooting a robot's wheel will render the robot immobile, making it less likely to avoid the player's gunfire, or shooting its legs will reduce its agility, attacking its weapon will reduce its strength, or continuously attacking its weak point could lead to a potentially quicker victory. As with other RPGs, the player can upgrade their weapon and purchase auxiliary items that can be used in battle to help the player out. The game also introduced an auto-battle feature, where Metal Gear can take control of the battle. Each of the firearm weapons have different abilities and target ranges as well as limited ammunition that needs to be brought or found separately. Such a battle system has rarely been used since, though similar battle systems based on targeting individual body parts can later be found in Square's Vagrant Story (2000), Bethesda's Fallout 3 (2008), and Nippon Ichi's Last Rebellion (2010).
SD Snatcher follows the same storyline as the original Snatcher. Like in the original game, story is set in the year 2042, where the player takes control of Gillian Seed, an agent of the JUNKER organization assigned to investigate a breed of cyborgs known as Snatchers, who prey on humans by killing them and taking their place in society. There are several story differences between SD Snatcher and the other versions of Snatcher due to the change in the game's genre. SD Snatcher is notable for featuring an alternate version of the originally planned ending that was cut from the PC88 and MSX2 versions of Snatcher before their release. This planned ending would later be included in the subsequent CD-ROM versions of the original Snatcher, beginning with the 1992 PC Engine remake.
As stated above, SD Snatcher was released exclusively in Japan. In the early 1990s, the game was translated by a Dutch group of fan translators called Oasis. Although the quality of this translation arguably was not so good, it enabled many people outside Japan to play this game as well. In 2011, a re-translation project was started known as Project Melancholia. The release of this new English translation was expected to be around early 2012. On 2 January 2014 the project was released. This translation is not distributed freely though - the group requires monetary compensation for their patch. A demo translation is available on the site for download for free.
- Kurt Kalata, Snatcher, Hardcore Gaming 101
- European date fixed for the action / RPG Last Rebellion (Translation), Jeuxvideo.com
- Konami. "Snatcher CD-ROMantic" (in Japanese). PC Engine. Level/area: Playing manual, page 2.
- Project Melancholia website