By Joseph Walter
Regardless, Snap is a unique experience in the world of Pokemon: instead of capturing the pocket monsters in the traditional sense, you're going on little safaris and capturing them with artful photographs.
It's addictive, immersive and genuinely quite fun. I have fond memories of renting the game and sitting way too close to the TV (admittedly, I still do this when I play it.)
In the early days of the Pokemon craze, there was a palpable sense of mystery regarding the games, the show and the world they took place in. "What are the Poke Gods?" "Are Ash and Misty IN LOVE?!?!" "Did you hear about Mewtwo in the UNKNOWN DUNGEON?" "What's MEW?" (direct quotes from fellow students on the playground in '99.)
Snap nailed the aura of mystery that was lost after so many entries and episodes. The world of Pokemon felt real and alive in the early days, and Snap continues to do so.
This is captured brilliantly in the game's exceptionally cinematic intro. Let's watch it below...
The careful introduction to Todd, the protagonist, is also very well done, and his impressive-for-the-time model and realistic, motion-captured animations sell him as a living, breathing and relatable character from the outset.
I remember being astounded by how much this intro reminded me of the anime, particularly when Todd senses the nearby ultra-rare Pokemon, Mew. After an effective use of first-person, he snaps into action, only to miss the ultimate photo by inches. He then stares off into the sky, with a tangible sense of wonder and disappointment.
Part of the brilliance of this intro is the fantastic score, which teases the motif for the final stage of the game, where Todd will finally get a chance to capture the photo that he just missed out on.
The gentle-but-tense musical composition is a great accompaniment to the rising tension brought on by the slick cinematography, both of which manage to create an incredibly powerful connection to Todd and the concept of the game. Despite not even playing it yet, you're already fully-invested due to how well the scene crafts the excitement of nailing the perfect shot of something incredibly rare.
And when the scene masterfully denies Todd the catharsis that he (and now the player) immensely desires, the intro has completely sold the player on what this game, and its unique premise, is about. And it's absolutely breathtaking.