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I’ve been waiting a while to break this one out, but the wonderful folks at 1MoreCastle.com decided to create a Review A Great Game Day, and it all just clicked. The original Metal Gear Solid came out on the Playstation One on September 3, 1998 and received critical acclaim from pretty much everyone who reviewed, including Entertainment Weekly. After the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in 2001, with its new gameplay innovations and a somewhat disliked new protagonist (to say it as kindly as I can), Hideo Kojima, the series creator, teamed up with Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo to create this wonderful, must-play remake of the original on the Nintendo Gamecube in March of 2004.
Big Boss, his heirs in his shadow
Metal Gear Solid is the story of Solid Snake (tee hee), a veteran from Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, who retired from military service following the latter game’s events. Forced back into service by a commando squad and his old commanding officer, Solid Snake begrudgingly accepts his new mission; infiltrate a secret American nuclear base, rescue two VIP hostages, and assess the threat posed by former soldiers-turned-terrorists from Snake’s former outfit FOXHOUND. The mission soon becomes more complicated when he discovers the facility is actually developing a new version of Metal Gear, the titular walking tank, capable of firing an undetectable nuclear warhead from anywhere in the world. Stakes are high in this one, no?
Oh, this one is Rated M…
For fans of the original, you’ll be happy to know the original music sounds better, and the voice acting is completely redone by the original voice actors. For new players, the music is absolutely fantastic. Harry Gregson-Williams, the composer for most of the series, treated this game like a motion picture, and the quality shines through, even today. Listen to a few tracks and try not to be moved by them. And the voice acting was unique for the time in that it was actually impressive. Talents like David Hayter, Jennifer Hale, Paul Eiding and Cam Clarke immersed you so deeply into this game you wouldn’t be surprised if you felt the cold Alaskan air if you played it in the Summer.
In addition, because it uses the same engine from Sons of Liberty, you also get a much better looking experience than you ever could have on the PSone. Gone are the pixelated, limited animations of the characters and backgrounds. You can actually see emotion of the faces of the characters. In addition, the cutscenes are reimagined as well, so instead of just watching the Cyborg Ninja react after the boss fight, you get a well-choreographed hand-to-hand cinematic that proves to you the years of military experience these two have under their belts. And fans will enjoy the minor changes to the cutscenes as well, though the one where Snake uses a Hind D missile as a jumping point to get a better shot will make some eyes roll incredibly far back, but is still thrilling.
A bromance in the making…
The downsides of this one are pretty minor, but worth mentioning. Certain scenes, like the fight against Revolver Ocelot and a certain sequence in a Terminator 2-like foundry are made much easier with the new controls. In addition, with so little changed from the original maps and characters, it’s really more of an upgrade than a remake, especially when compared to Capcom’s Resident Evil remake for the same console.
Such an amazing boss fight experience, still one of the best
When I first played through the original game, when my cousin Matt had come over with a mod chipped copy, I was impressed with a few things, like how enemies could see my footprints, how I always had an ally to call if I couldn’t figure out what to do next, and how at one point I actually had to look at the back of the game, find a codec frequency and then I could advance. In later years, I came to see how incredibly detailed the game was. The game has remained mostly unchanged from 1998, but now that I’m old enough to have learned from world history, the entire game now possesses a whole new reason for excitement, and a whole new motivation to stop the radical FOXHOUND unit.
A whole new Metal Gear
Concept: Update one of the best PSone games for new audiences with MGS2 under the hood.
Story: Complicated and full of twists, also one of the best I’ve seen. Read the summaries of the last two games, though. Otherwise you’ll miss important story points.
Gameplay: Uses MGS2’s engine. A huge improvement over the original. Stealth is well done, though combat isn’t a smooth as you would like.
Graphics: Gorgeous compared to the original, better than most Gamecube games, but also nine years and two console generations old.
Sound: One of the best qualities of the game, from convincing voice acting to an epic score.
Fun Factor: Great gameplay and story is complimented by groundbreaking innovation, from interesting boss fights to easter eggs to fourth wall breaking. It is always fun, even in the sad moments.
Replay: Some may need a replay the game to fully understand the story, everyone else will be doing it to enjoy the extras you get, like the camera, stealth camoflage and bandana, or maybe just to enjoy Snake in a tuxedo. Worth at least three replays for each of the two endings and a fun playthrough.
Moment of Truth
Liquid vs Solid: Who really wins?
It’s 2013, and they’re still making Metal Gear games. Its modern popularity began with the original Metal Gear Solid, and this game makes the original more fun, more cinematic, and closer to the current games in the series. What more do you need to know? If you can find it, get it, play it, you will enjoy it.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was Rated M for Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes and Violence, all of which are easily deserved. It also deals with subjects like the START II accords, nuclear proliferation and governmental corruption, which some won’t know too much about, so as always, if you have kids, play it for yourself first.
How were you introduced to the Metal Gear Solid franchise? Let us know in the comments section below!