Policenauts is a cinematic adventure game published by Konami, written and directed by Hideo Kojima. It was initially released for the PC-9821 computer platform in 1994, followed by versions for the 3DO in 1995, and PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996. The game has never been officially released outside Japan, despite plans for an English localization of the Saturn version. Fan translations have been released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions on August 24, 2009 and October 6, 2016 respectively.
Policenauts is a graphic adventure game, similar to Kojima's previous game Snatcher, played mostly from a point and click interface, though during some key points at the game, the player has to go through shooting sequences against adversaries in order to advance, and at one point the player has to defuse a bomb.
Policenauts, like Snatcher before it, pays various homages to previously-existing films, the most obvious being Jonathan's and Ed's respective resemblances to Riggs and Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon.
In 2010, mankind launches Beyond Coast, the first fully functional space colony. Three years later, five of Earth's finest police officers from around the world are chosen to maintain law and order among the first generation of immigrants to Beyond Coast. The chosen men were Gates Becker from Scotland Yard, Joseph Sadaoki Tokugawa from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Salvatore Toscanini from the New York Police Department, and finally Ed Brown and Jonathan Ingram from the Los Angeles Police Department. As astronauts with police authority, they became known as the "Policenauts."
During a space walking experiment, a freak accident occurs and Jonathan loses control of his space suit, drifting away into the vastness of space in front of his colleagues. 25 years later, Jonathan is found alive and well, thanks to the cold sleep module in his suit, which has also helped preserve his youth.
In 2040, Jonathan is now working a hostage negotiator in Old Los Angeles when one day, his former wife Lorraine comes to visit him with a request. Her second and current husband Kenzo Hojo has disappeared and the only clues he left behind are a torn leaf, a set of capsules with the Tokugawa Group logo partially filled in, and the mysterious word "Plato". Although Jonathan is reluctant to accept her request, he later witnesses Lorraine being murdered outside his office by a man in black biker suit running artificial white blood. Determined to avenge her death, Jonathan is forced to return to Beyond Coast to seek the help of his former partner Ed Brown, who is now the chief of the Beyond Coast Police Department's Vice Unit.
Ed agrees to help Jonathan investigate the circumstances surrounding Hojo's disappearance and Lorraine's murder along with fellow Vice Unit members Meryl Silverbergh and Dave Forrest. During their investigation, Jonathan receives information from Karen Hojo, Lorraine's daughter with Hojo and an anchorwoman for Beyond Coast's largest news organization, that Hojo was growing increasingly stressed working at Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals, which is helping research medical solutions to health problems caused by living in space. Jonathan and Ed then run into Tony Redwood, a BCP officer who is part of the Advanced Police (AP) unit, and a "Frozener" (a race of artificially-conceived humans who possess genes best suited to the environment of outer space and run on artificial white blood). Redwood's cold attitude towards questions makes Jonathan suspicious of him, especially when he switches out the capsules that were given to him by Lorraine. Jonathan and Ed also run into former Policenauts Gates Becker - the current chief of BCPD, Salvatore Toscanini, and Tokugawa Group CEO Joseph Sadaoki Tokugawa, the latter of whom Jonathan suspects of being involved.
They receive further leads from the director of Beyond Coast Central Hospital, Chris Goldwin, who helps Jonathan and Ed discover the secret behind the capsules given to him by Lorraine, that Hojo was working on a new drug called K-9, a medical capsule secretly containing illegal drugs. They also receive more information from a co-worker of Hojo's named Jun Ishida, however he is killed by the same person who killed Lorraine, and his body is used by to lure Jonathan, Ed, Meryl and Dave into an unsuccessful booby trap, however Dave is killed by the assassin after a gun fight.
During a raid by BCPD's AP Unit at Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals, led by Jonathan, Ed and Becker, Hojo's body is eventually found. Jonathan is then framed for the murders of Lorraine, Hojo, and Ishida, and is arrested by Becker and Redwood, the latter of whom is revealed to be the one who killed Lorraine and Dave. Ed and Karen work together to free Jonathan from BCPD custody, and Jonathan and Ed travel to the Moon to investigate the Tokugawa Moon Plant. There, they are confronted by Salvatore, who reveals that he, Tokugawa, and Becker were responsible for causing Jonathan's accident, and that all three men are the prime movers behind an illegal drug and organ trafficking ring designed to counteract the negative side effects of being in space for long periods of time. Jonathan kills Salvatore and both he and Ed escape the plant and head back to Beyond Coast.
Jonathan and Ed discover Hojo became involved in the conspiracy to save Karen from her terminal bone cancer, as Becker was revealed to have the same bone marrow type as Karen. He eventually tried to break away with help from Ishida and both men were murdered by Redwood on Tokugawa's orders. Jonathan also discovers that Chris was part of the conspiracy as well, as she was ordered by Tokugawa and Redwood to lure Ishida to his death. He also learns that Chris is the surrogate mother of Redwood. Chris agrees to reveal everything to Jonathan in exchange for her safety, but Redwood kills her in an ambush. With help from Ed and Meryl, Jonathan storms the Tokugawa corporate headquarters, kills Redwood and then confronts Becker. Becker then shoots Jonathan multiple times, and when apparently cornered, Jonathan tricks Becker into revealing the whole scheme through a live video feed, exposing the scandal to Beyond Coast. This enrages Becker who then tries to kill Jonathan in retaliation, but Ed shows up in time and kills Becker, saving Jonathan's life. Meryl and the remaining police arrest Tokugawa, clearing Jonathan's name.
While recovering in the hospital, Jonathan donates his bone marrow to Karen upon learning that he is her biological father. After recovering from his wounds, Jonathan then says goodbye to Ed and Meryl at the spaceport, and returns to Earth.
Cast of characters
- Jonathan Ingram - Aged 55 (but physically 30). The protagonist. One of the five "Original Cops" (a nickname given in likeness to Project Mercury's "Original Seven") that comprised the Policenauts. He was stranded in space for 25 years after a space-walking accident, only to be found alive, cryogenically frozen in his "survival ball". He developed cosmophobia (a fear of outer space) after this incident and has remained on earth as a freelance P.I. in Old Los Angeles. He returns to Beyond Coast under Lorraine's request.
- Ed Brown - Aged 55. The chief of Beyond Coast Police's Vice Unit. He was Jonathan's partner during their days in the LAPD and was also one of the Original Cops. He is a devoted father to both of his children, Anna and Marc. He renews his partnership with Jonathan after 28 long years to solve Lorraine's murder.
- Karen Hojo - Aged 26. The heroine of the game. Daughter of Lorraine and Kenzo Hojo, she is a popular anchorwoman on Beyond and bears a striking resemblance to her mother. She's been diagnosed with secondary aplastic anemia.
- Tony Redwood - Aged 23. A member of the Advance Police Unit, BCP's equivalent of the Swat Team. He is a "Frozener", a race of artificially-conceived humans who possess genes best suited to the environment of outer space. He is an ace pilot who can manipulate an EMPS (Extravehicular Mobility Police Suit, the mecha used by the BCP) as if it was an extension of his own body, which has earned him the nickname "Mr. Goddard", after the EMPS model used by AP.
- Gates Becker - Aged 56. One of the Original Cops, Becker is the chief of BCP and the commander of the AP Unit, giving him the highest police authority in all of Beyond.
- Joseph Sadaoki Tokugawa - Aged 60. One of the Original Cops, he quit BCP many years ago in order to take over his family's company, the Tokugawa Group, following his father's retirement. He is the most powerful man on Beyond and wields considerable influence over the colony's media. He is also the chairman of the ISPA, the International Space Promotion Agency, Beyond's own space development project.
- Salvatore Toscanini - Aged 58. One of the "Original Cops". He quit his job as a police officer several years ago due to a dissatisfaction with the job's lifestyle. He now serves as head of security at Tokugawa's Moon Plant to pay off alimony bills from his two divorces.
- Meryl Silverburgh - Aged 24. A member of BCP's Vice Unit and one of Ed's subordinates, Meryl was once a member of High Tech Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND, but sometime after the unit was disbanded, went to Beyond in an attempt to satisfy her craving for action. She is a big tomboy, but also shows a softer feminine side when she's with Dave. This character serves as the basis for the Meryl Silverburgh featured in Metal Gear Solid.
- Dave Forrest - Aged 25. Meryl's partner within the Vice Unit. The total opposite of Meryl, he is a pacifist who dislikes violence and prefers to apprehend criminals by shooting them in a limb rather than a vital spot. Despite their differences, the two get along well and are particularly close. He is a junk food addict who is always seen eating hamburgers. He is always seen wearing his pilot's goggles on his head.
- Lorraine Hojo - Aged 55. Jonanthan's ex-wife. She married Kenzō after Jonathan was presumed death and then gave birth to her daughter, Karen. Lorraine goes to Jonathan in order to track down Kenzo, after he disappeared for three weeks, only to be murdered by a masked assassin after leaving Jonathan's office.
- Chris Goldwin - Aged 41. The director of BCCH (Beyond Coast Central Hospital), the largest hospital on Beyond. A model during her teenage years, she became acquainted with the Policenauts when they posed together for a magazine cover.
- Anna Brown - Aged 16. Ed's teenage daughter, she attends UCBC (University of California at Beyond Coast), where she is majoring in bioethics. She has taken over all household duties at the Brown residence after her mother, Catherine (Ed's wife), died.
- Marc Brown - Aged 8. Ed's adopted son. Marc lost his real parents after Marc's biological father went crazy and stabbed his wife to death and was about to go after Marc, which left Ed, who had arrived at the scene of the incident, with no choice but to shoot him. The incident has left Marc afflicted with selective mutism and Ed unable to use a gun. Ed describes his relationship with Marc as awkward at best as a result.
- Kenzo Hojo - Aged 53. Lorraine's current husband, and the head of Tokugawa's Drug Delivery System Development Team. He has disappeared from Beyond without a trace.
- Victor Jurgens - Aged 65. BCP's forensic pathologist. A stubborn yet energetic old man, originally from the Soviet Union. Uses a machine called AID (Auto-analysis Identification Device) for all his analyses.
- Jun Ishida - Aged 24. The pharmacist in charge of BCCH's pharmacy.
- Michael Saito - Aged 26. A receptionist and security guard at Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals.
References to/in other Kojima games
- Policenauts contains several references to Snatcher. This includes cameos by Random Hajile, Jamie Seed and Napoleon, the appearance of a Snatcher calendar in Jun Ishida's office and also a reference to Lucas World (the basis for Lucas Land in Snatcher). The music from the club Outer Heaven in Snatcher can be heard in the background of one of the messages on Jonathan's answering machine. Also, Victor Jurgens has a bottle of the same sunscreen found in Snatcher in his office. The police station's shooting range has a hidden Snatcher target as well, complete with a green eye, and the music changes to an exclusive remix of "Pressure of Tension" from Snatcher while the target is used. Finally, one of the newspaper articles on the wall of Jonathan's office is from the Shin Kobe Shimbun, the literal translation of which being New (Neo) Kobe Newspaper.
- A bar called the "Solid Snake" can be seen next to Jonathan Ingram's office during the opening intro in Old LA. Next to it is a sign with the word "Queen" in it, which could be a reference to the Queen's Hospital sign in Snatcher. An Outer Heaven sign can also be seen, referencing both Metal Gear and Snatcher.
- The EMPS takeoff scene from Act 3 can be seen in the original Metal Gear Solid, where Otacon tells Snake about his fondness of anime and how it influenced his choice of studying robotics.
- Two promotional posters of Policenauts can be seen inside the Computer Room in the Nuclear Warhead Storage Building in Metal Gear Solid. A different poster can also be seen in the Computer Room in the B2 Floor inside the Shell 1 Core in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Additionally, in Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel, there is a poster of the cover of the 3DO version of Policenauts behind Otacon on page 135. It is a memory item, with its library entry being JAPANIMATION.
- In addition to sharing one character (Meryl Silverburgh), the Metal Gear series contains a few visual references to the character Dave Forrest. This includes Solid Snake's real name (David), the orange vest worn by Meryl during the ending of Metal Gear Solid as well as goggles on EVA's neck in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Additionally, in an early version of Metal Gear Solid 3's script, The Boss also wore goggles during the battle at the end of the game, and the flowers in the field where the battle takes place were going to be poppies, the plant featured heavily in Policenauts. Solid Snake also smokes Moslems, the same secondary smoke-less cigarettes smoked by Jonathan Ingram.
- Cardboard Box 2 in Metal Gear Solid 2 has a Tokugawa Electronics marking on it. The box sorting devices in the Strut E Parcel Room also bears a Tokugawa Heavy Industries insignia.
- During the loadup screen late in the Tanker Chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2, "Policenauts" is shown in brackets behind the username "Scott."
- The menu selection screen for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance had a red-highlighted chemical bond chart being displayed, which acted as a subtle reference to the Narc drug from Policenauts.
- The exoskeletons worn by Gray Fox, Olga Gurlukovich and Raiden are all made by Tokugawa Heavy Industries. Raiden also appears to use the same kind of white artificial blood featured in Policenauts (a Codec call with the Colonel in Metal Gear Solid 2 reveals that Raiden is using artificial blood during the game, though not the white-colored first generation type; it could be the third generation type, which contains 100% artificial blood cells and is red in color). However, in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, he has switched to white blood, which like in Policenauts requires regular dialysis treatment and has affected his skin pigmentation, making him unnaturally pale.
- Drebin 893's favorite soda Narc, is the name of the drug in Policenauts and like the drug, the soda is presented as being addictive (albeit to a much lesser extent). The drug itself in both instances was also derived from the drug "Nuke" from RoboCop 2.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, Meryl is seen with the same bullet earring she has in Policenauts, except in this case it is on her right ear. Two of the members of the renewed FOXHOUND Unit, Jonathan and Ed, share their names with the main characters from Policenauts.
- There are four character cards based on Policenauts in Metal Gear Acid and its sequel, Metal Gear Acid 2. These are Jonathan Ingram, Karen Hojo, Ed Brown and Tony Redwood.
- Part of the ending theme of Policenaunts, "End of the Dark", is played during the Konami and Konami Computer Entertainment Japan logo screen in Metal Gear Solid.
- In both the comic book adaption of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée, Karen Hojo makes an appearance as the newscaster commenting about the Dead Cell's takeover of the Big Shell. Karen was originally to appear in the game itself as a newscaster in a scene showing a relocated Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island after Arsenal Gear's crash landing in Manhattan.
- In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, certain Militaires Sans Frontières recruits will have a portrait modeled after Jonathan Ingram or Ed Brown.