Review by Shirow

"Solid Snake is back...with a vengeance!!!"

Tactical Espionage Action... No, this is not a new movie which will come out soon. This is the genre in which Metal Gear Solid falls. Actually, the game created the genre. Forget what you've seen before, forget what you've read before, forget what you've read about others like Rainbow Six or Syphon Filter and come on into MGS, a world where only the fittest will survive...

In Metal Gear Solid, you are an ex-soldier whose code name is Solid Snake. You have retired since long ago for mysterious reasons but have just been contacted again by your boss, Roy Campbell. The latter needs your help to infiltrate a group who've kidnapped the president of a company, Fox-Hound, and who's threatening of launching nukes. Your mission is simple: take care of the terrorists and prevent them from carrying out their threats.

After a long and superb intro which explains a lot about the game and tons of other stuff, you find yourself in Alaska near the terrorists' base. You'll then talk to your boss for the first time and he'll introduce you to Naomi Hunter who'll give you useful tips throughout the game. The game starts real fast and immediately tests your skill as you are asked to enter the building without being caught by the genome soldiers and the surveillance cameras.

You'll be amazed at the variety of actions you can accomplish throughout the game. Solid Snake can use all types of weapons ranging from the regular pistol to the Nikita Launcher. He can also rely on his hands and even better, can use an enemy soldier as a shield against bullets. You see the game overhead but can put yourself in third person view which is a major plus as this is essential in many parts of the game.

You'll also get to meet a lot of people in the game and you can contact most of these whenever you want. Besides Colonel Campbell and Naomi whom you talk to as soon as you begin the game, others will contact you later: Mei Ling-who saves your game, Master Miller-formerly Solid's colleague, now retired, Natacha Romanenko-the weapons specialist, Hal Emmerich a.k.a. Otacon-a wierd but helpful scientist, and Deepthroat-you'll never really know who he is, he'll be giving you very helpful hints from time to time.

One thing which I really like in MGS concerns the ones who people don't usually talk about. Konami has packed the game with details and I like how each villain has his own story and reasons for being a terrorist. Revolver Ocelot, gun wizard and master at torture; Raven, Konami's Hulk who carries huge weapons with him; Sniper Wolf, the best sniper you'll even encounter; Psycho Mantis, freaking and of course, Liquid Snake himself. But the best remains to be seen yet, Cyborg Ninja. You'll have to fight him but he's not really a villain. You'll see as you play the game!

Most of all, this game has a very deep plot, the best I've seen for a non-RPG. As you progress in the game, you'll learn other things about wars and stuff and this game actually increases your knowledge. Most of all, the cinematics are not just present to show the developers' talent but actually add more depth to the game.

GENERAL RATINGS
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Graphics: The graphics are great. They're a tad better than the PSX version and while the characters could look ugly from time to time, it is not the case here. Well, there are times when the graphics are poor and confusing but it's not that much of a problem. The textures are great and this game has great backgrounds. I mainly appreciate the fact that the enemies are well-detailed and each type of enemy has his own way of acting. The backgrounds are all excellent and the animation is excellent. The game is quick too and I have only noticed minor bugs which do not really affect the game itself so far.

Music/ Sound Effects: Now, this is what I call music. Awesome music for a great game! While it's not the quality of a Square RPG, the music in this game rocks and contributes to this tense atmosphere which will remain with you throughout the game. The themes are not varied as the game itself is pretty short but I like all of them, specially the one just before you are about to face Cyborg Ninja.
The sound effects are well-done and the weapons' noise are quite realistic. Solid makes different noises depending on where he's walking and Konami has just done everything as realistic as possible. The enemies react to the noises, so it just shows you how good this game is in this field.
Thought Resident Evil has good voice-acting? MGS has even better. All the characters have great voices and thankfully, it's all professional here, no edgy or hesitant voice. Solid and Cyborg have the greatest voices you'll ever find in a game and Mei Ling does have a sexy tone in her voice (um...forget I said that!).

Fun-factor: Okay, let's put this as simple as possible...MGS grabs a perfect score in terms of funfactor. the variety of actions you can perform is just amazing and all the stuff you find along the way makes this game as fun as can be. Moreover, people will actually sit down and watch you play this game because it's just like a movie and you are the actor. Good job, Konami. Some actions are very funny to watch and placing a C4 on a soldier's back and blowing it from a distance will make you laugh like never before.

Gameplay: Again, a perfect score. The game is pretty short itself and can be completed quite easily on the first level. There are 3 difficulty settings in MGS which are Easy, Normal and Hard. And hard in this game means HARD!! The enemy's AI are considerably increased and you'll have to be very careful to finish it at this level. But if you manage to beat it, you'll access the Extreme level. I'm still struggling through this one. Moreover, you'll get different items depending on which ending you got and playing the game with these special items is plain funny.

Overall: Metal Gear Solid is one of the greatest games available and I put it above everything else for its originality and its fun-factor. The game that literally created the genre is as good as I was told and will keep you busy for quite a long time. And it's a game that you'll never grow tired of playing. It's simply the best game I've played so far, a classic!

Graphics: 9

Music/ Sound Effects: 10

Fun-factor: 10

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10

PROS AND CONS
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Good Points:
- A very original game.
- Wide variety of actions.
- The enemy finally have a good AI.
- Endless replay value.
- Great voices and cinematics.

Bad points:
- A bit short.
- Really difficult at the higher levels, not for those who
get frustrated easily.

Only one word comes to my mind: Amazing. Yes Sir, Metal Gear Solid is the best game ever, just forget everything else!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/10/01, Updated 11/09/02


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