Policenauts (Saturn) Review

Developed by Konami
Published by Konami
Directed by Hideo Kojima
Released on PC, Saturn, PS1, 3D0

If my co-host wrote an essay about Policenauts it seems only fair that I, the guy that actually played it, should also write one. About 60% through the game, I deleted my save file. The Sega Saturn memory bank is linked to the watch battery that checks the internal clock. Even after the internal clock battery dies it is still a closed circuit to the save files. Remove the battery the save files disappear. There went my save.

I had spent 80% of that 60% playthrough complaining about the game. The sexism was horrible. Why was there even an option to grab every female NPC’s boobs. Why did Jonathan Ingrams go from morose to City Hunter horn-dog trying to scope some panties. Yeesh.

Why did the English-translation apparently add a bunch of cursing?

How did an astronaut lost in space for 25 years dethawed and brought back to Earth not swarm in fame? Why did none of his partners or ex-wife even visit him? How did he end up being a slum detective in the ruins of Neo Angeles?

This is a Kojima game though. An early one, but a Kojima game. You get plenty of real and fake science about space travel. You get an excerpt on the first Japanese person in space. Did you know those that grew up in space had a calcium deficiency. This is an author who grew up with City Hunter, Gundam, and Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon is a hell of a movie. The sequels are various levels of a joke. Lethal Weapon has themes and ideas and a premise. It ends with a water soaked pointless fist-fight. It’s a Christmas movie. It’s a Vietnam movie. It’s rich in identity and themes.

Policenauts wants to be some form of Lethal Weapon or a noir or a police story set in space. It’s messy and made messier by the above hideous sexual assault that follows Hideo Kojima’s works like black mold. Here I am trying to say anything else about the work but keep returning it. Let’s try again.

My co-host already hammered out the noir imagery. So let’s get into the Lethal Weapon imagery. Jonathan Ingrams is Mel Gibson. Ed Brown is Danny Glover. They also mix Ed Brown with Reginald VelJohnson from Die Hard. He had a traumatic experience with a gun outside of also being an astronaut who then ended up a beat cop on the space station he help mold. Jonathan is dealing with, I guess, coming out of being dead for 25 years and no one caring.

His ex-wife meets him and then is murdered by a mysterious android. He then meet a mysterious android on the spaceship to the Space Colony hehelped found and where his wife lived. Are these related? Well the android is opposite Jonathan on the disc. You then can get some information about no need for bras in space. Thanks. I needed that.

I’m just describing the plot. I don’t need to do that. Here. I say Visual Novels are the worst way to read a anime. Now that anime is a text website. It is almost the same experience as playing the game, and will take a fraction of the time. That longplay is probably less gross than the game.

But for all of it’s horndog-ness, this is a visual novel with no moe characters (though the women do betray their own character for femi-I’M DOING IT AGAIN.). This is mostly an “adult” story about two cops trying to solve a mysterious case. Leads go cold. You see clues before you know they are clues. Eventually you shooting a bunch of guys in lightgun segments. Which note on that. You’re just trying to deal enough damage to the target so go absolutely crazy with that fire button and don’t try to play it like a lightgun game.

Wow am I telling you to play this game? I don’t think so. Ed and Jonathan are the only real characters. For their well-roundness how everyone else is cliche’d grinds. There are good moments for both of them. Their ending is good, and then there is a final hammer in Hideo Kojima can’t write women characters.

I restarted the game after my save got deleted. For it’s faults and problems, it provided comfort food. My Japanese level was right for it being challenging to parse the ?pseudo?medical-science mumbo-jumbo and fully understand the story beats. I could unwind with it in a way that almost any other Visual Novel would have someone screaming Goshujin-sama and my eyes rolling back to stare at my brain shrinking. For that it is a rarity. “I could just watch Lethal Weapon again,” I think. This is not Lethal Weapon or a Sci-Fi story. It’s a police story you can enjoy if you can somehow turn off any feminist critic. hmm.

Policenauts gets a 9/10

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