The game that defined the stealth genre and invented the cinematic presence in video games is back in a remake that goes beyond recognition as a masterpiece.
Under the supervision of Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear series, and the powerful creativity of Silicon Knights, gamers are treated to an unforgettable experience. The Twin Snakes (TTS) contains the same story line as the first Metal Gear Solid and combines it with all the added game play elements of Metal Gear Solid 2. If gamers would happen to load up the first Metal Gear on Playstation 1, they would probably puke from the jagged character models the pixilated texturing. This remake uses state of the art character modeling techniques, texture mapping, and motion capture devices to enhance game play and make the player feel like they are inside the game.
Metal Gear Solid is the first game to create a story line so deep that the game plays just like a movie. Many cinematographers using next generation graphical capabilities have reworked all the game’s classic cut scenes. Each scene delivers an enhanced and more exciting experience. Some scenes even use slow motion bullet time to create some edge-of-your-seat action sequences. Each scene with the Ninja is incredibly cool to watch and you’ll wish you can go back and rewind it (you can unlock a movie theatre mode in time). During these cut scenes, you actually get to see how much of a bad ass Solid Snake is because you will see Snake fight in hand to hand battles, dodge a mass of bullets, and speak a little bit a trash. If anyone has labeled the GC as a “kiddy system”, TTS totally proves them wrong simply through the opening Ninja scene where he shows no respect for human life. This scene alone is one of the bloodiest and violent scenes I’ve even seen in a game. Because each scene has been changed, the voice action has also been redone. Most of the dialogue stays the same, but a few noticeable changes have been made to make the story a little easier to follow. The Metal Gear series has set the standard in video game voice acting. Each character sounds how they look and speak with a passion unsurpassed by any other game.
Metal Gear has a massively high level of detail in every department: audio, game play, story line, and visuals. Not only are the movie scenes full of detail, so is the in-game play. Icy cold breath will realistically protrude from each character’s mouth. Snake’s bandana will flow right along with the falling snow. Water will flow from the TV screen. At one point, Meryl shot directly toward a TV screen causing it to crack and shatter. Using these interactive camera tricks is a great way to make the player feel like they are a part of the game.
Besides from the massive visual makeover, the game play is similar to Metal Gear 2 Sons of Liberty. Snake can now drag bodies into lockers, hang from ledges, and most importantly shoot in first person view mode. Because the original Metal Gear didn’t allow players to shoot in first person mode, entire boss battles and level design had to be completely reworked. Players can now snipe enemies from a room away and take out surveillance cameras with a well-placed SOCOM shot. This free form of combat really opens many doors. Because players can now perform these new maneuvers, the A.I. has been kick up many notches. The enemies are even smarter than the ones in Sons of Liberty as they now travel in pairs, sweep every nook and cranny, and radio for help very quickly. On a slight downside, there are not really any new weapons. However, players can find the M-9 and PSG1-T; weapons that were Sons of Liberty exclusive.
Those who have played the first Metal Gear Solid will recognize the deep and unforgettable story line. The player takes control of an extremely tough solider named Solid Snake. It is up to Snake to single handily infiltrate a terrorist controlled island, rescue hostages, and stop a nuclear launch. This many sound straightforward enough, but the story is so deep, the only way to describe it is to play the game yourself. Because the game’s story is takes so many twists and turns, you will probably want to play the game a few times through to absorb every detail.
Since Snake is alone, it is best to avoid confronting enemy guards. The only way to properly sneak around is through the use of a clever camera system. Each of the game’s cameras add to the creative game play. Normally, the camera is above Snake, looking down. However, if he stands up against a wall, the camera automatically changes so the player can see what is around the corner. The wonder of this system may appear standard in today’s games, but Metal Gear was one of the first to do it.
The game even has many easter eggs which are references to other video games. After the battle with the Ninja, the player can clearly see a Mario and Yoshi doll sitting on top of a computer. If they are shot with the pistol, Mario will make a “1-UP” noise while Yoshi will say his name in his regular cute fashion. Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear, also produced the hit games Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders 2 on PS2. When Snake first meets Otacon, he references Japanese anime and a cut scene from Zone of the Enders 2 is shown. Silicon Knights also produced the cult classic Eternal Darkness on the GC. A poster of this game can be found on the inside of a locker. The player can even spot a GameCube stationed on a desk with a wave bird connected to the Cube’s start up screen. Even the pictures of the main men in charge of this game can be found in Psycho Mantis’s office. Pictures of Hideo Kojima (Konami) and Denis Dylack (Silicon Knights) laugh at Snake while hanging on a wall. Plus, the Psycho Mantis battle is even more unique than before. He will read your memory card data and talk about Nintendo games like Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Zelda. The game’s hidden extras are bountiful and the player will wonder what bonuses he will come across next.
Besides from the sweet visuals, the game boasts new musical scores and sound effects. Fans of the series will recognize a slightly newer version of the Metal Gear theme song. Not only does the game run in Progressive Scan for the visual department, but Dolby Pro Logic II can also be used for an impressive sound experience. The sound effects have also been redone. Snake’s footsteps sound different when walking on different surfaces. Even knocking on different types walls sounds a lot better. It’s this amazing amount of detail that truly sucks the player in. There is nothing better than hearing the sound of a single bullet shell bouncing off the ground followed by a shwoosh when you holster your weapon.
The only thing that may feel a little uncomfortable at first is the GC controller. The game was built using the Playstation’s dual shoulder button scheme. Because the Cube controller only has one set of shoulder buttons and an awkward “Z” button, the play control had to be adjusted. Since the shoulder buttons are pressure sensitive, a quick tap will quickly select and deselect items and weapons but if it is held down, new items can be equipped. The “Y” button is used for the action button which will allow Snake to jump over ledges, climb waist high platforms, and turn on elevators. If “X” is tapped, Snake will kneel, then crawl. “A” is used to fire a weapon while “B” punches. If “B” is held down, Snake can run and gun at the same time. This must be used in order to hold up guards for dog tags. Once Snake holds up a guard, he must walk in front of him using this same technique. In order to make an enemy solider drop his dog tags, the player must slide his finger off the “B” button, continue to hold down “A”, then hold “Z” with his index finger all while aiming at the guard’s head. Getting used to this on the GC controller will take a little bit of time. Also, since the Cube controller lacks a “Select” button, the Codec can only be reached when you press “Start” and “A.” Pausing the game requires a combination of buttons also, but it uses “B” instead of “A.” This Pause menu now displays a 3D map of the rooms and places that Snake has visited. Hitting two buttons to go to one of the main screens just seems a little silly, but you can’t do any better because there are not enough buttons. Originally, TTS was going to have GBA linkablity but it was scrapped due to lack of time. The GC to GBA linkablity could have solved this strange Codec button combination plus it could have been used for a number of other things like an extra radar or bonus material. It is a shame that the GBA function wasn’t taken advantage of because it could have made the game play even more immersive.
Players are able to control Snake with either the D-pad or Analog stick. In my experience, the Analog stick is a little easier to use because it seems a little more responsive and it works better in first person view mode. However, if players are accustomed to using the D-pad, they will feel right at home because the game plays well using either form of control.
The game also has a lot of unlockables to keep the game fresh and exciting. Each time you complete the game, a new item will be unlocked. Items like infinite ammo and stealth camouflage are items that are added to your inventory. Snake will even play in a tuxedo if you play it long enough. Plus, a Boss Rush mode and Movie Theatre mode will be unlocked giving time. Each new item is enough reason to go back and play through this game again. Plus, each enemy solider can be held up to drop a new set of dog tags. Dedicated players will want to collect them all. If you know what you are doing, you can probably finish the game in about 3-4 hours if you skip all the cut scenes. This may seem a little short, but the game play is so well done, each second is gaming bliss.
Even though this game has been made before, you cannot help but feel engulfed by the detail of the graphic realism, the action packed cut scenes, and ground breaking game play. Even if you played this game to death on PSOne, this game needs to be owned by any video game player. Metal Gear’s achievements in overall quality rank it high among any titles in gaming history and it should be a part of any gamer’s collection. Metal Gear Solid is a classic that will give today’s gamers memories like Mario did for the NES generation. Buy this game and never let it go!