"Snake stays Solid on GC"

Back in 1987, the idea of bi-pedal nuclear-capable stealth war machines were farfetched. Come to think of it, it still is today, but the original Metal Gear pioneered action games and spawned a totally new genre in gaming: stealth action. Under Hideo Kojima's wing, Metal Gear became one of the best espionage series ever. For the new generation of game, Metal Gear evolved into Metal Gear Solid, one of the greatest action games of our time. MGS' sequel, MGS2: Sons of Liberty, further pushed the boundaries of stealth gameplay. It is in these two games that MGS: The Twin Snakes came to be.
Not just a rehash or a port, MGS: TS is an improved version of the original. Developed by Silicon Knights in conjunction with Konami, MGS: TS features many things to look forward too. Basically though, it's the original MGS game with better graphics and improved gameplay.
The most notable change in the game is the graphics. No longer blocky and polygonal, the smooth and textured character models are definitely much easier on the eyes. There are very little graphical blips. Framerates, for the most part, remain consistently high. On occasion though, large areas will cause the framerate to dip. This happens very rarely though, so there's nothing to be afraid of. On a whole, the game looks a lot like MGS2.
The sounds of MGS have always been good. Explosions, gunfire, and speech have always been top notch in MGS games. The soundtrack is still great too. However, some things in MGS: TS are completely different from the original, which may either relieve gamers or infuriate them. Mei Ling's notable accent from the original MGS is gone and Dr. Naomi Hunter's voice acting is a lot flatter and duller than before. Voice acting is really hit-or-miss, but Solid Snake's gruff and harsh voice, supplied by X-Men and Hulk writer David Hayter, could not be replaced.
The original MGS lacked a certain aspect that was added in it's sequel: a first person perspective. In MGS2, this allowed for better firing and sight than before since you can see what's directly in front of you. Being added in MGS: TS, this significantly upped the playability of the game. Shots can be directed now, which results in more accurate shots. Shooting out cameras and head shots are now possible. Along with the first person view comes the ever time consuming Dog-Tag retrieval. By sneaking up on soldiers and causing them to freeze, you can make them drop additional items and their dog-tags. These tags are then recorded in your menu. It's not really necessary, but it's fun to do. All the guns are back with the inclusion of two new guns: the M9 Tranquilizer Gun and the PSG1-T Tranquilizer Sniper; both from MSG2. This helps you on your 'non-violent' methods of approach.
Sadly, the game falls short in several areas. The game is a remake, which means the story is old and it's already been told. This doesn't make for a very excitable experience for those who have already played the game. The script and story are still the same, so if you've never played this game before, only then would it be a surprise. And like MGS2, MGS: TS is filled with cinematic sequences. Not just an hour like the original, but more like 3 hours like the sequel. This makes for a very painful experience. Though it tells the story better, the new cut scenes are very long. It feels as if every minute of actual game play has 5 minutes of CG to go with it. You'll gripe during the long conversations and wince when the ending comes. It borders on 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King' when it comes to the time it takes for it to end. Though these things are unpleasant, it doesn't bring down the game too much.
Small bonuses are hidden everywhere in the game. By shooting Mario and Yoshi figures in one room, you get Yoshi saying his name and the famous '1-up' noise from Mario. Psycho Mantis actually reads your memory card data and comments on what games you've played. Try using Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Mario Sunshine save games on your card to get hilarious results.
The game is still a classic, and even better with some of it's new features. MGS: TS is a competent mixture of MGS' core game and MGS2's elements. And with the new guns, the challenge of going through MGS without killing anyone is now much easier. I heartily recommend it to any GameCube owner. Just make sure to have a snack on hand for those long CG's.

Pros:
- Metal Gear Solid on GameCube? Why not?
- Improved graphics and gameplay
- Inclusion of First Person Aiming
- The ability to skip the long CG sequences

Cons:
- Still just Metal Gear Solid. Nothing in the game has been radically changed
- Excessive and long CG sequences

Rating: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/15/04


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