Hideo Kojima is one of the video game industry’s biggest celebrities. He is most famous for creating the iconic Metal Gear Solid franchise and Death Stranding. His ill-fated demo P.T. also earned considerable acclaim. Tragically, Konami then unceremoniously destroyed it and canceled the Silent Hills project Kojima was working on. But for all his high-profile projects, Kojima has been in the industry for a long time. It stands to reason that some of his games are considerably less famous than others. This is certainly true of Policenauts, a 1994 graphic adventure game. It came out alongside some of the earliest entries in the illustrious Metal Gear franchise. Here’s a look at this bygone Kojima title, and why it’s worth remembering.
This 1994 adventure stars Jonathan Ingram, an astronaut who spent 24 years floating unconscious in space after a shocking accident launched him into orbit. Following this trauma, Ingram becomes a detective. His career eventually brings him back to the space colony where he used to live, the site of the accident that jettisoned him into space. He comes to investigate the murder of his ex-wife and the disappearance of her husband. Of course, he is eventually drawn into a much larger conspiracy. The truth of his initial accident comes to light as he investigates a sinister organ-trafficking ring. Eventually, he must reveal the dark heart of the colony where he used to live.
Policenauts is primarily a point and click adventure game. You can freely navigate the screen and investigate items and points of interest at your heart’s content. During conversations, you have a range of dialogue options you can select, like in any good RPG. By investigating screens and following the right leads in conversation, you can eventually uncover the truth. Policenauts also features a few first-person shooter sections where you must defend yourself from armed criminals. The Sega Saturn port lets you use a light gun for these parts.
Policenauts Main Characters
Like any good mystery, Policenauts features a wide range of characters for you to interact with. It’s up to you to determine what role, if any, each character has in the conspiracy that has engulfed Beyond Coast, the colony Jonathan once called home. Here are some of the most important figures in your investigation.
- Jonathan Ingram: The main character of Policenauts is a former astronaut. His 24 years stranded in cryosleep left him with a severe fear of outer space. This fear led him to remain on Earth as a private investigator. However, the murder of his ex-wife forces him back to the colony.
- Lorraine Hojo: Jonathan’s ex-wife remarried after his accident, since he was presumed dead. After her new husband’s disappearance, she seeks Jonathan’s help. Tragically, a mysterious assassin guns her down shortly after she leaves Jonathan’s office.
- Kenzo Hojo: Lorraine’s vanished husband was an employee of Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals. The company is a major power in Beyond Coast. It also serves as the heart of the conspiracy Jonathan eventually uncovers.
- Ed Brown: Ed is Jonathan’s former partner and the head of the vice unit in Beyond Coast’s police department. When Jonathan returns to the colony to solve his ex-wife’s murder, Ed resumes their partnership and aids him in his investigation.
- Karen Hojo: Lorraine’s daughter works as an anchorwoman in Beyond Coast and aids Jonathan in his investigation of her mother’s death.
- Tony Redwood: Tony is an artificially conceived human. His genetic modifications make him perfectly suited to life in Beyond Coast. He is particularly skilled at using mech suits in his duties for the Beyond Coast police.
- Gates Becker: Becker is the chief of police in Beyond Coast, and he also leads the AP unit, Beyond Coast’s equivalent of a SWAT team.
- Joseph Tokugawa: Tokugawa was a former police officer, but when his father retired, he quit the force to take over Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals. The size and scope of the company makes him the most powerful man in Beyond Coast.
- Salvatore Toscanini: Another former police officer, Salvatore quit several years before the events of the game and now serves as a security officer for Tokugawa.
- Meryl Silverburgh: Meryl works for the Beyond Coast Police Department’s VICE unit, making her a subordinate of Ed. She has a rich history, having once served as a member of special forces unit FOXHOUND. She should also be familiar to fans of the Metal Gear franchise. After Policenauts, Meryl was lifted from the game essentially whole cloth. She is now a prominent character in the Metal Gear series instead.
- Dave Forrest: Meryl’s partner in the VICE unit is her opposite in every major way. He is a pacifist and junk food addict, but he gets along well with Meryl in spite of their differences.
- Chris Goldwin: Chris is a former model who now serves as the director of Beyond Coast’s hospital. She has a surprising history with the Policenauts dating back to her model days.
- Anna Brown: Ed’s teenage daughter is currently studying bioethics at Beyond Coast’s university.
- Marc Brown: Ed Brown adopted the 8-year-old Marc after killing the boy’s biological father. The man had gone mad, murdered his wife, and tried to kill Marc too. Both Ed and Marc are traumatized by the event, which has rendered Marc selectively mute and prevented Ed from using a gun.
- Victor Jurgens: Victor serves as the forensic pathologist for the Beyond Coast police, making him an indispensable member of the investigation team.
Policenauts Cheat Codes
There are no official cheat codes available for Policenauts. The game is a story-heavy narrative experience, essentially on par with a visual novel, so there’s not much for cheat codes to modify. As mentioned before, however, there are sections of first-person shooter gameplay where you must trade fire with criminals and assailants. These segments are the closest Policenauts ever gets to having a traditional action gameplay experience. While the game still doesn’t include any cheats to modify these sections, you can apply some yourself, using peripherals like the Action Replay or GameShark. Here are a few codes that should work for these systems or an emulator that can simulate them, courtesy of GameHacking.org.
- Infinite Bullets: 80062AB0 000A
- Infinite Energy: 80068A08 012C or 80068DC0 012C
- Infinite Health: 8006225C 270F
Policenauts Cheats FAQ
Is there an English version of Policenauts? Policenauts came out exclusively in Japan at first. Since Konami, a Japanese company, published and developed it, it was unlikely to see an international release. A lot of games of the era didn’t. Konami did actually plan to release an English translation of the game in 1996, but the project never actually went through. Kojima cited technical problems with the game’s dialogue system which made an English translation too difficult to put together. English-speaking fans of Kojima’s work still clamored for a localization, however. Eventually, a fan-led translation project for the PS1 came out in 2009. This is your best option if you want to experience Policenauts for yourself but don’t speak Japanese.
Is Policenauts canon within the Metal Gear Solid universe? Given Kojima’s infamously esoteric approach to world building and storytelling, it’s worth taking a close look at the connections between Policenauts and Metal Gear Solid. The character of Meryl Silverburgh is essentially identical in both games, despite the differences in setting and time period. Multiple other references to Policenauts exist in the Metal Gear franchise. You can find posters advertising Policenauts in various locations in-game, for instance. When Otacon cites anime as the inspiration for his career choice, a clip from Policenauts plays in the background. This suggests that, while Policenauts and Metal Gear might not take place in the same universe, Policenauts is present in the other franchise all the same. Policenauts seems to exist in the Metal Gear world as an in-fiction anime.