Being a big Hideo Kojima fan (Creator of the Metal Gear series) I was reading his wiki page when I found out about a couple of games he made when he was much younger. I say “made” but mostly he wrote the story and directed it. They were called Snatcher and Policenauts. We will talk about Snatcher for the Sega CD soon enough (it’s on my to do list) but the one that really intrigued me was Policenauts. While Snatcher was released in the US in English for the Sega CD (Mega CD in Europe), Policenauts was only released in Japan firstly for the PC-9821 then ported to the 3DO, the Playstation and the Sega Saturn. It was never officially released in Europe nor in the US.
So I learned Japanese! No just joking around. I wish I knew Japanese but it’s not easy. Anyway, some fans actually decided to translate the entire game for us English speakers and patched the game with their fan-made English translation.
I played my version of Policenauts on my PSP (emulating the psx) and my first impression was great. The feeling I get from playing a game that only a few people were fortunate enough to own just gets me all excited!
Policenauts is a game that’s heavy on the story telling, but that’s why we love Kojima isn’t it? The game is mostly a point and click adventure with some action sequences in a Time Crisis style. The original game came bundled with a Light Gun for the PSX. It obviously can be played without the light gun resulting in a laser dot on screen that you can move around with your d-pad. Not having a gun had no real impact on difficulty so don’t worry about that.
The game starts off explaining how you (Jonathan Ingram) were once a policenaut sent to “Beyond”, the new human space colony built inside a huge rotating cylinder (Encounter with Rama anyone?), to become one the 5 founding members of the new law and order. A cutscene shows someone sabotaging your space suit and whilst on a routine space EVA something goes wrong and you are thrown into deep space by your “faulty” propulsion system on your suit.
The five members of the Policenauts:
You find yourself luckily rescued 25 years later thanks to the space suit’s cryogenic system that managed to keep you hibernated for all those years without having aged a single bit! The game now switches to the present and shows that you have become a private detective on Earth.
A lady appears at your door and you soon realize who she is. Lorraine was your wife back when you were a policenaut. She married another man (Hojo) after you were thought to be dead. Hojo has now disappeared and she’s asking your help to find him. As you decide whether or not you want to take the case, Lorraine is killed by an unknown person just outside your building.
This is where the story kicks off. I won’t go much into it because I’d have to write an 800 page novel if I had to. The gameplay is the usual gameplay you see in point and click adventures but I noticed something special with Policenauts. Everything you click, and you can click practically anything you see, has a detailed explanation and you never get bored of exploring all the rooms you’re in because of how well written the descriptions are. It really is impressive even for today. Descriptions range from random people to books, photographs, a clock on the wall, a “history” lesson in a museum, food you find around, panels, computers…GORBI (lol), really anything you see can be clicked on to see what your character thinks about it. Oh and yes, you are a Japanese pervert and you DO touch the boobs of every woman you encounter with funny bouncy effects (both visual and auditory ahah).
What to say about this game then, well some people might argue that it’s like watching a movie, but we all know that’s Kojima’s style. Nonetheless it never gets boring and it always wants to make you carry on playing to see how the story evolves. You can expect crazy revelations, incredible twists and intense boob action, yes intense boob action. The story is told fluidly with excellent voice acting (in Japanese), subtitled in English in this version. The spoken parts (quite a lot of them) are used for main story telling. Most of the other parts are just written with text. Music is great throughout the game and the same can be told about the sound effects.
Yes that’s Meryl:
Longevity was great too. It took me about 12 hours to finish the game and considering that I clicked pretty much everything I saw I think the game can be finished in a lot less.
The Policenauts cast:
Concluding, if you are a Kojima/Metal Gear fan then this game is a must have and I’m absolutely sure you’ll enjoy it. The mix between exploring/viewing and action sequences makes for a compelling experience in general. This is a title not to be missed!
One thing…just one thing that pissed me off big-time was that when you die, the characters say stuff like “oh I’ll get him this time” or “Don’t worry we only died once!”. It’s like they know they’re in a videogame and that just ruins the mood and involvement you built up until then. I personally don’t like dieing and think it’s a big deal in games like this so why do they have to make the actual characters say it’s no big deal? Reminds me of the “Funny Games” film remake where the main character rewinds the scene…
Anyway it’s a really small negative point but mostly why I didn’t give it 10/10
Riqz’ Score: 9.5/10
Do I just review good games?!? Mostly yes! Or maybe I’m just too kind.