Review by _Shuyin_
""This is Snake. Kept you waiting, huh?""
NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND SHOULD ONLY BE READ BY THOSE WHO HAVE COMPLETED METAL GEAR SOLID FOR EITHER PLAYSTATION OR GAMECUBE. THIS IS YOUR WARNING!!!
It must've been about six years ago that I first got into the Metal Gear Solid series. My friend had come over and had brought his PS2 games with him. Among the various games was "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty". Having doubts, I originally rejected the game and wanted to play another one. My friend insisted and said he'd show me a few minutes of it. I sighed with agreement as he popped the disc into the PS2. Not even a minute passed when I was completely blown away by MGS2. I insisted my friend start a new game so I could watch. I sat there for 12 hours - stunned with the realization that I found a new love in my life: Metal Gear Solid.
Everything was perfect about MGS2. The voice actors were perfect, the graphics were flawless, the controls beautifully laid out and the almost movie-like feel to the game. Once the credits rolled and my friend left, I instantly ran for the internet and researched everything that was Metal Gear related. Taking in the information as if it was an addiction, I couldn't help but think of the game that came before this masterpiece - MGS1.
Hooking up with my friend the week after, we searched every game rental store and finally found Metal Gear Solid for the PS1. We popped it in and, while the story itself was incredible and voices impressive - I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed with the overall presentation. Starting with MGS2, I had wished that I could have this incredible story and great voices mixed in with MGS2 graphics and controls. I thought the day would never come - until about a year later my very dream had been announced: MGS1 fused with MGS2 graphics and controls. A year after that, it was released on the GameCube as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
Do did it fill my appetite? You betcha!
Without a doubt one of it's biggest selling points, the (while impressive in 1998) out-dated graphics have been completely redone in the beautiful style of MGS2. The characters all look and move beautifully - they have eyes and their mouth and hair move! Solid Snake looks handsome (much more cleaner looking than his rugged MGS2 appearance), Meryl looks very sexy, Otacon looks young and geeky (like he should), Gray Fox looks fearless and the entire Foxhound Unit all look amazing (Liquid and Wolf especially).
Aside from the character models, the entire Shadow Moses Nuclear Base looks beautifully detailed and very interactive. You're now able to open lockers, shoot fire extinguishers, blow up computers and best of all shoot surveillance cameras (instead of using chaff after chaff grenade!)
The little details included are also very welcome. Now when you're in First Person View your vision is altered to reflect whether or not Snake is wearing his Scuba Goggles (in the original it was as if Snake wasn't even wearing them). The thermal goggles are updated to look more realistic (first introduced in MGS2: Substance) and even the gas mask's FPV looks better. Another neat detail is when you're outside in the falling snow and not move for a little while, snow will actually begin to gather on Snake's sneaking suit. Shooting a person in FPV at close range will cover the screen with blood, looking up at the sky will cause snow to hit the screen and melt, and if a raven is above you you might actually get bird crap all over the screen (yay?).
Another big selling point is the updated controls which were introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2. Snake can now hang off railings, somersault, hold up enemy sentries and (best of all) shoot in first person mode (a feature that should've been in the original game in the first place). Now players are able to accurately aim at soldiers, shoot cameras and... well... anything else you want to destroy, really. Another new feature is now the Sniper Rifle won't automatically set Snake in the prone position and zoom - you're now able to snipe standing up or kneeling, and have complete control on how much you zoom in or out of a target. While these no doubt make some areas in the game easier for the player, the amount of available options given to the player is very welcome. Remember, folks - you don't HAVE to use the new actions if you don't want to. ^_~
However, it should be noted that because this game is played with a GameCube controller, the controls aren't as "solid" as they were on a PS2 controller (the GameCube controller has less buttons!) - so they may take a little while to get use to. But fear not, after the "break-in stage" the controls will feel like second-nature.
The storyline is virtually untouched from the original game - so in other words, it's a masterpiece. The script, however, has been changed slightly from the original US release of Metal Gear Solid. Unlike the original PS1 version, The Twin Snakes uses a more accurate translation of Hideo Kojima's script. While these changes will no doubt stand out for fans who grew up with the original version, they need to remember that this is how MGS1 was always meant to be scripted.
All the voice work has been re-recorded with the exact same cast from the original Metal Gear Solid - however, while Greg Eagles voiced both the DARPA Chief and Gray Fox in the original version, a new voice actor was hired to voice Fox this time around - Mr. Robert Paulsen.
While fans of the original version may prefer hearing the voice work they had matched MGS1 with for six years, I personally prefer the new voice work over the original. Solid Snake now sounds like he does in MGS2/3/4 (David Hater's "Snake Voice" in the original game is slightly different than the one he used in the future installments), Meryl sounds like she does in MGS4 (I personally didn't think she sounded very 'in character" in the original game - she has gotten MUCH better now!), Liquid Snake sounds even better (Cam Clarke's most impressive work yet), Vulcan Raven sounds more intelligent (which he's suppose to be) despite slightly less threatening now. Revolver Ocelot sounds closer to his MGS2/MGS4 voice. Sniper Wolf sounds much more seductive and the ever-popular Johnny Sasaki now sounds much less of an a** like he originally was portrayed and now more comedic to reflect his official status as a comic-relief character.
Some other character's voices have been changed in a more drastic way. Mei Ling's voice, originally having a heavy Asian accent, has now been corrected with an American voice to reflect her having been born and raised in America. Gray Fox was given a new voice (Rob Paulsen) to reflect his unmasked appearance. While Greg Eagles, the original voice actor, did a very good job with the Fox's voice - he sounded very African American, which didn't fit with Gray Fox's pale complexion. Jennifer Hale also voices Naomi Hunter minus the British accent that she provided the character in the original version. Naomi now sounds much colder in this remake without the accent - which reflects a plot-line revealed very late in the game (it should also be noted that Jennifer Hale is using her TTS voice to portray the character in MGS4).
Personally, I love these changes. Mei Ling, whose voice irritated me in the original, now sounds much younger and much cuter (now I love listening to her). Naomi's lack of accent, while bothering some, didn't really matter to me - she sounds fine with or without the accent. And finally, in regards to the new voice for Gray Fox, I can say with complete honesty that Mr. Paulsen nailed the part. Gray Fox has never sounded better in my opinion - whether he's screaming in agony or confessing a skeleton in his closet. It really sounds like the proper voice to come from Gray Fox's lips.
Ah, the ever-popular topic to bring up about this remake - the cut scenes. Unlike previous and future cut scenes, Hideo Kojima personally asked director Ryuhei Kitamura to create the cut scenes for the remake. Kitamura is known for his usage of acrobatics and bullet-time - which is widely known as "The Matrix Effects" nowadays, and thus the new cut scenes in TTS are filled with such (notably how Snake is shown to be more acrobatic than portrayed in previous games in the series).
While the majority of fans felt that this wasn't exactly "in-character" for Solid Snake, I personally accept the fact that Snake could preform such feats in his youth. I mean, the MGS series are known for their over-the-top and otherwise impossible action sequences preformed by various characters. And while it's true the levels of action in MGS games have never reached a scale that's presented in TTS, it's still apparent enough for me to accept these cut scenes to be appropriate for a Metal Gear game.
All in all, they do what they're suppose to do - entertain the player. And while a lot of these are over-the-top and booming with action (even for a MGS game), I still really love watching them.
Like the voice acting, the music was also changed from the original game. While some people really dislike this move, I personally think The Twin Snakes has a really terrific soundtrack - most notably the song playing when Liquid first enters REX (I call it "Kneel Down and Sacrifice Yourself"), the song that plays when Liquid renames the base to "Outer Heaven" (I call it "Fighting the Whole World") and the song that plays as Gray Fox is pinned against the wall by REX and he begins to charge up his Plasma Cannon (I call it "A Cornered Fox").
Unfortunately, the original game also contained a terrific soundtrack and thus some songs are removed from TTS. "Enclosure" is one that stands out, and the original "Metal Gear Solid Theme" (TTS has it's own version of the song). However, Rika Muranaka's "The Best Is Yet To Come" remains in The Twin Snakes - but only for the ending credits. In the original game, it is heard at various times throughout the game - and while the Gaelic song is beautiful, it is almost "over-used" in the original game, so the larger soundtrack was a welcome change to me at least.
Like the original game, beating the game on each ending (there's two of them) will reward the player with a special item - and unlocking special costumes for Snake (Tuxedo), Meryl (Sneaking Suit) and Fox (Crimson Exoskeleton) on the third play through. However, another new extra includes dog tags that were originally introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2. However, unlike MGS2, collecting all of the dog tags doesn't unlock anything - it's mostly for bragging rights.
Other extras include two new weapons originally introduced in MGS2 - the M9 and PSG1-T. Now you can go for a No-Kills game if desired. Other welcomed additions are "short cuts" which were put into the game to shorten the backtracking that the player is forced to do in the original game (who likes backtracking? :P).
All in all, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is, in my opinion, a remake that took everything the original game had and made it even better. For players new to the series, I seriously recommend this game and even for the hardcore fans of the original game - please try to push the nostalgia aside for a moment and take in this new vision of MGS1 with an optimistic attitude. Hey - you might actually really like it ^_~
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/08/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (US, 03/09/04)
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