Policenauts: Bizarre Love Triangle

Last week saw a proud moment: a group of fans released a translation patch for the PlayStation version of Policenauts. Many thought that the game, a 1994 digital comic from Metal Gear Solid creator/destroyer Hideo Kojima, was too thick with detailed text for fans to render in English. Well, many were wrong.

I’m very glad to have Policenauts in a language I can understand, as I’ve wanted to play this ever since GameFan first described its sci-fi blend of near-future space colonization, drug-industry conspiracies, shooting interludes, and attempts at an anime version of Lethal Weapon.

Oh, and the New Order references. Kojima can't forget those.

The only troubling part of the game is the way Jonathan Ingram, the blue-haired Mel Gibson stand-in and main character, can grope a lot of the women he questions in his investigations. It’s played off as comedy, and that makes it all the more unnerving when women clearly don’t like Jonathan’s attentions.

Of course, the Policenauts fan’s knee-jerk defense is that the “touch” options don’t show up unless you actually move the cursor over boobs, meaning that you, the player, are the disgusting swine in all this. Not Kojima and his team. It’s not as though they actually made the game and credited a staffer with “breast bouncing supervision.” Oh no no no.

However, there’s something to be said for a game that leaves its worst moments optional and slightly obscured, making it possible to enjoy Policenauts without flicking a secretary’s cleavage. And Policenauts is otherwise enjoyable, as it has both Kojima’s characteristically thorough research and his willingness to continue stacking up plot twists well after everything’s toppled over and caught fire. That’s the good side of Kojima’s insanity, and Policenauts shows plenty of it.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, you can actually navigate Kojima's scripting towards navel-gazing, exposition-driven bunk easier than expected: Solid wordier than Policenauts wordier than Snatcher wordier than Metal Gear 2.

    That's too bad since all in all Policenauts has a more down to earth plot than Snatcher. Plus, everything you point at in the last showdown in Takugowa creates a revenge quote!