Monday, July 11, 2011

Metal Gear Solid: The PSX Classic I Missed...Still Amazing 15 Years Later

It's been almost 15 years since the original release of Kojima's masterpiece on the original Playstation. When it was first released, I wasn't much of a gamer, and when I did it was mostly Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Since it's re-release on the Playstation Network, I promised myself I would play it to get a better understanding of the series mythos and to see just how good this game was. Even at a 14 year disadvantage and a technological handicap of the same time period, this game can beat out most modern games without so much as a breaking a sweat. This game is great!

Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake as he infiltrates an Alaskan military base where terrorists have taken over. On this same base, the military has not only hidden nuclear warheads, but a mysterious new Metal Gear, a giant bi-pedal mech capable of launching said nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe. The story is well paced and full of intrigue, per Metal Gear Solid style. This is the story that sets the basis for the rest, so it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that it lives up to the series name sake. The characters are all unique and I even felt a twinge of anger when one of the characters is not given a detailed fleshing out like the rest (it's one of the enemies that Snake never fights. That's not a spoiler but when you play you'll know).

Over 15 years later and the Enemies are still Smarter than some Modern Games.
The game play is stealth at it's best. The camera is viewed from a top down angle that would seem cumbersome, but flows very well. There were very few (if any) times that I had to fight with the camera. Snake is able to crawl, duck, walk, run, flush himself against a wall, and even knock on a wall to gain enemy attention in order to make his way about each level. The level design itself allows for some areas to be linear with one way from point A to point B, while others are open with multiple paths to follow. Though the base isn't big by gaming standards today, very rarely is there a feeling of 'too little' when on a mission.

The enemy A.I. is fantastic, pulling no punches what so ever. I made the mistake of thinking 'old technology, old game play standards' and found myself getting caught far easier than I expected. The learning curve isn't difficult, but believe, this game is a challenging stealth game. Combat is handled with CQC hand to hand, which includes a few swift punches followed by a kick, choke hold which can be held to either make the opponent pass out or even kill them, and weapon CQC. Though it is effective, the easier and more efficient way of handling enemies would be weaponry, and though the arsenal looks limited compared to the newer iterations of the series, each weapon 'class' is represented well with strong choices. From a handgun to an automatic rifle to a rocket launcher to a sniper rifle, Snake can fit a lot into his tiny stealth suite, and each weapon is necessary for both story progression and for combat. And all of them are necessary to get past the games great boss fights.
The Epic Final Battle. Bring lots of Rations.
Boss fights may start to waiver from modern video games, but Metal Gear Solid is a perfect piece of evidence as to why bosses can add so much more to a game. Every boss fight is different, requiring a different matter of handling both the boss's incoming attacks and damage dealing to the boss itself. A quintessential example would definitely be the Psycho Mantis boss fight, which I will not spoil for you! Not only is each boss fight challenging and fun, they are also filled with story progression and characterization. These fights are what make the game characters and story so memorable, especially having seen Snake's final tour de' force in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (

And as if the game couldn't get any better, there are multiple endings (variable on whether or not you succumb to the torture or not) and each ending wields a new item to help speed up the next play through, which is amazing.

Though some can't look back at the games of yesteryear and play them like I can, I strongly urge anyone whom has enjoyed the Metal Gear Solid series, whom enjoys stealth games, or whom is looking for a great game with Solid game play (pun intended...) to pick it up. $10 off the Playstation Network is well worth this piece of gaming history.

10 out of 10

Interesting Sites:
the Wiki Page:
the GameFaqs: 
the IGN Review:

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