Newest Review: ... stealth. Your goal is to sneak through Shadow Moses to your objective, trying not to cause casualties or alert enemies. You enter the g... more
Snake? Snake? Snaaaaaaaake!!
Metal Gear Solid (PS)
Member Name: madav2000uk
Metal Gear Solid (PS)
Advantages: One of the best games ever made! Ever!
Disadvantages: Quite short
I've been a fan of the metal gear series since the first game came out for the NES way back in the 80's. Even back then, the series was lauded for its inventiveness, such as the emphasis on stealth over brute force and the always-fun ability to hide from enemies under cardboard boxes. Sadly, the game never became as popular as it should have, due to its incredibly high level of difficulty. Even with a cheat for infinite lives I never managed to complete the game! As such, its sequel, Solid Snake, passed under the radar for most NES gamers.
Cue 1998 and a revamped, re-imagined Metal Gear is released for the Playstation, entitled Metal Gear Solid. It took the world by storm, garnering rave reviews from all but the harshest game critics and is considered by many to be one of the best games ever released on the Playstation.
The storyline is fairly simple, although there are plenty of plot twists along the way. You take the role of Solid Snake, a special ops commando who is assigned to infiltrate Shadow Moses Island in order to neutralize a terrorist organization known as Fox Hound. You are aided in this quest by your support team who communicate to you over a radio system known as the Codec. They give useful information such as tips on where to go next and how to defeat certain enemies.
The majority of the game consists of you traversing the enemy base, trying not to be detected. You have a radar at the top of your screen which shows where enemies are and their field of vision. Step into their vision and they detect you and you suddenly find yourself being chased by numerous armed bad guys. In these situations you can either fight or hide but as the emphasis of this game is on stealth, Snake simply isn't very good at taking on multiple enemies at once and a painful death usually ensues.
So what's so good about it? Short answer - pretty much everything! From the moment you start the game, you can tell that a lot of time and effort went into making this game as inventive and fun as possible. Little touches such as enemies being able to detect footprints you leave in the snow really add to the realism of the game. And is there anything more fun than knocking on a big metal crate to entice the enemy towards your position and then rushing round the other side and strangling him from behind? The game also features some great set-pieces, such as a rooftop battle with a helicopter and the iconic car chase at the end of the game.
Boss battles are also very inventive. During the fight with one boss the screen goes temporarily blank. When the picture re-appears the boss suddenly seems to be able to read your every move and you can no longer hit him. The solution - take your controller out of port one and plug it into port two so the boss can no longer read your mind. How cool is that?
It has to be said though that although the game is really very good, it's not quite perfect. Lengthy codec conversations are a major annoyance in both this and subsequent entries in the series as they just take way too long and are often fairly uninteresting. Thankfully there is an option to quickly skip through these. The game boasts a wide array of weapons, from handguns to rocket launchers but sadly if you're trying to be as stealthy as possible then most of these weapons are useless as they cause too much noise. Graphically the game is also looking a bit dated now. At the time the cut scenes were really impressive but by today's standards they look very blocky. Still, when a game is this much fun graphics play only a small part in the enjoyment process.
As this game is fairly old, you can pick it up really cheaply, usually for less than a tenner. It's a fairly short game, I think the first time I played it I completed it in 8 hours. But it does have replayability value because you can get special items and costumes for Snake if you beat the game under certain conditions, such as not killing anyone and never being detected by the enemy. If you're new to the Metal Gear series then start with this one because in my view it is still the best, although Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is almost as good.
Summary: Although looking a bit dated now, it's still one of the best games you'll ever play