Review by Spudwiser
"Die Hard Fans Need Not Fear Where Metal Gear Treads"
I am a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. I did play the original for Nes, and SNES but didn't enjoy them as much as the "Solid" series. I am a huge fan of Konami's 1998 release of Metal Gear Solid and when I heard a Canadian company was going to take a crack at Metal Gear I was thrilled albeit worried at the same moment.
Metal Gear Solid was and still is one of those games that draws you into its web the moment you press NEW GAME on the start screen. For most people who have a GameCube this was your one and only chance to experience A Metal Gear Solid title on your system, and it was the whole reason I bought a Gamecube. It was hard to believe I bought this game a week after getting my Gamecube and let it sit in my car while I worked a 10 hour shift, all the while it was calling out to me softly from the dash of my car.
The first thing I did when I got home at 4:00 AM, yes thats right it is not a typo, I worked from 7:00 PM to 4:00 AM, I eagerly popped it into my system as I calculated If I could take the next day off sick to play it through to the end in one sitting. A five to eight hour feat if you do not skip all the cut scenes. More on those in a minute. I loaded the game, drooling over the beautiful new animated start cut scene, with an actual Roy Campbell, and Naomi Hunter full figure sprite... YAY
After watching that little piece of cinematic glory I say to myself, "Myself, should I watch the briefing, or jump right in? and Myself answers "Watch the briefing!" I run to the kitchen and check to see if the Nectar of the Gods, otherwise known as Pepsi, is stocked and loaded. Yes, 2 cases, which I managed to hide in the back of the fridge, and a full bag of ice in the freezer. I load my cooler and drag it to my chair, which is a modified office chair.
At 4:45 AM and I finish the briefing, by now I am on my second can of pop and third cigarette. I click new game and await the new goodies that have been added. Now, all of the Metal Gear Solid games with the exception of Snake Eater have a small area at the beginning, usually with a few guards, that you can get the feel of the game. The first thing I notice, as I am playing on easy, is I have an M9, a gun made famous by Sons of Liberty, but not avaliable in the first Metal Gear Solid. Second thing is I can now go into first person mode and aim, again a feature made famous by SOL and not the original. Now after I dispatch the guards and play around I receive a call on my codec you now can notice...something different.
I wondered if they would keep the original dialogue, or re-record everything so that they can add Dolby Surround to it all, well the re-recoded the voices and not for the better, especially on the codec transmissions. Now, since the addition of voice acting to video games, next to Star Fox 64, Metal Gear Solid for PS1 was one of the first titles to have voice acting through the entire game, and I must admit, it was pretty damn good. Well, I don't know what happened here, but there is no "feeling" to the voices and it is relatively disappointing, but I get over it.... slowly.
As I make my way through to the DARPA Chief, I do notice that all the guards patrol routes are the same.... Much to my disliking. I figured that I would get a totally different game here, not a port with pretty graphics. Well boys a girls, for the most part this is a port, and because it is a port it is now easier because you can use hang aiming, FPV aiming, and hang to avoid enemies, which now makes me wonder, "Why did I put it on easy?". Well because of this...um how can I put it without cursing, OVERSITE, MAJOR OVERSITE, I have now made it to the DARPA Dude with minimal effort, and I am treated to the cinematic that started the espionage ball rolling in the original. It is nice to see that they left the voice inflections alone here, really nice. This is pretty much how the rest of the voice acting sounds when it comes to cut scenes. It is clear and crisp and it isn't drowned out by the background music, which is nice because that was one of my Major beefs with SOL.
Well, all the music thus far is the same with some re mastering, but the same none the less, and the cut scenes believable too, but what you are about to see and hear, will shock you to the core of your existence. We have now fought and defeated Revolver Ocelot, who's voice is done by the same man (Patric Zimmerman) but sounds old and decrepit, we are met by the Ninja, (Who's suit looks incredible, especially when it is smeared in blood later in the game.) and whats this, TECHNO MUSIC!? Techno music has no right in a Metal Gear Solid game. I don't want to hear fast electronic beeps and boops and bangs, I want loud percussion instruments and beautiful vocals. Thank God they leave "The Best Is Yet To Come" alone. Now as you are watching this cut scene you are realizing something, he is dodging the Ninja with Matrix Styled moves. Well I am hear to tell you something, he uses them A LOT, and they don't belong in a Metal Gear game. I thought he was trained by the U.S. army... not Morpheus.
Well truth be told boys and girls, we have a solid title here. Now i know you are probably thinking "He is bashing this game for realism when you fight a walking nuclear death mobile'. Well that may be true, but he wasn't doing slow motion kick flips and jumping off missiles in the original, and that is what the remake is supposed to be. I really think Hideo Kojima kept far away from the project, which is what allowed things like this to enter. When this game was being developed, they were still developing Snake Eater and finishing the polish work on it. Snake Eater was Kojima's nest egg, which is why a small, almost non-existant company such as Silicon Knights could come up out of the woodwork with this game and slaped Kojima's name on it and say "Here you Go".
Really this game is the first, big budget game that Silicone Knights has launched that I can remember. As I have said in other reviews, Metal Gear games seem to set an invisible standard, that all games of the same genre, epically Konami games have to reach for. This game had all eyes watching it from the moment it was announced, and considering what It had to live up to, it came out strong. Even though it was a tough title to find in some places.
What people have to remember here is re-makes, outside of the Resident Evil series, are never as good as the originals. We see the same thing in movies. Other than the small things like some of the music and some cutscenes, we have a pretty playable, smooth, very nice albeit easy game. It is a welcome collection to the franchise and one that should not be passed up. But if you are new to the series and want to start from the beginning, I would recommend the original, PS1 version, if you can find it to play. If not, than stick with this.
Overall the games meaning and Kojima's views are not lost, which really is the basis of the whole story of Metal Gear Solid. All of the Solid series have been a history lesson. Although Solid and SOL never used actual presidential names and such, you still know what they are implying. For the most part myself, along with many other fans are surprised that people look at this game so openly, considering. usually Kojima bashes the United States on past mistakes and future blunders. Maybe because the game doesn't touch on the one great taboo "Religion", is why the game has been excepted as what I call "A great piece of fictional history". Even though MGS and all of the Solid titles after it comes at you full bore with history and political ideology it isn't as hard on the head, as lets say, the religious aspect of Xenogears?
I do recommend this game as a rental, which is probably all you are going to find it as, out side of Internet Retailers. If you have a chance that you can maybe borrow it from a friend so you are not rushing to the conclusion, that would be the best way to go. Pick this title up and play it with an open mind, you will not be disappointed.
Final Score: 7 Spuds out of 10
Rating: M for Mature.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/06/06
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