Review by Larcen Tyler
"Snakin', not stirred!"
OK, I'll admit the original Metal Gear didn't really blow me away when it was first released (but then again I was too young to understand what it was all about when it debuted.) So giving the series some time to be worked on again over and over untill the creators were able to find the perfect system for it (namely the PlayStation in this case.) And with all that time came the ability to make it into a game that would wow even the most skeptical video game player (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating there, but still) With a game as realistic as Metal Gear Solid was, you'd think there'd be no way to make it even better than it was. Fast forward three years to 2001 where we now have the processing power of the PlayStation 2, and take the great game of Metal Gear Solid, enhance it so that it uses it's newest system's power to the fullest extent, and you have Metal Gear Solid 2, a game with the word 'classic' written all over it!
If the original game's graphics blew you away, then you're probably going to need to glue yourself to your seat when you see these graphics. The movements are extremely realistic and never stilted, and there's never any slowdown, even with a great deal of activity on the screen. To top that off, objects you see in the background are more than merely static images. If you shoot at a pipe, steam will shoot out. When you come out of the rain or water, you'll see water dripping off of your character. You'll even see little tidbits such as the exclamation point that appears over a guard's head when they spot you, ice cubes melting, and magazines that open to different pages when shot at. Even the blood, while it appears more often than in the first game, appears in more of a realistic fashion rather than a 'Mortal Kombat' style of gore galore.
If you run across a metal floor, odds are you'll hear your footsteps clanking on the floor, and if you run through a puddle, you'll hear sloshing sounds. So you'll definitely hear them here. You'll also hear the guards, except it's no more of that simple 'What was that noise?' You'll hear them call for backup, report an intruder, or gasp if you get the drop on them. The dialogue sequences are no slouch either, as every word you hear spoken is voiced with such emotion that it makes you wonder if they're really alive! And, of course, the game comes complete with music that sets the mood based on what's going on at the time.
Snake's got a new set of controls with him. He can creep slowly or run fast, plus he can do things like hang from ledges, perform diving somersaults, and even swim! He also has new methods of attacking, including the ability to aim from a first-person view, giving you a better sight of what's going on.
For those who are uneducated, basically, your goal is to avoid being seen as often as you can. For those who remember the first Metal Gear Solid, you may think you know what to expect. Well, think again! These guards aren't simply the type who'll say 'return to your post!' if you elude them long enough. If they spot you, but you manage to give them the slip, they'll beef up security in the area where you encountered them. If you choose to knock the guards out using your tranquilizer gun, be warned that their commanders will wonder why they aren't responding and send an investigation team to find out what's wrong. If you choose to engage your enemy, they'll send in more troops, only these will have things like automatic weapons or riot shields!
Fortunately, you can also do things like take a guard hostage by getting close and holding them up at gunpoint! Just don't get cocky or they might turn the tables! If you knock a guard out or kill them, their body won't disappear, meaning that other guards can spot them and become alerted, meaning that you must hide the bodies out of sight or in places like lockers.
The first half has you playing as Snake once again, along with Otacon from the previous game. Your goal is to infiltrate a tanker and find out information on a new Metal Gear weapon. The rest of the game has you playing as a new agent code-named Raiden who must infiltrate a filtration facility in an effort to stop an environmental disaster. What happens next is...I can't tell you!
It's a long game with a gripping storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat, but what makes things even more interesting is there are so many neat things to try. Have you tried putting a guard in a locker after putting him to sleep? How about shooting at the food in the pantry? Just about everything can be interacted with in at least one way, and it's so much fun to fool around every which way you can as well as trying new and unusual things to see if they can hurt or help you at all!
The first one revolutionized PlayStation games, and the second one is definitely a revolution for PlayStation 2 games to come. If you haven't experienced Snake's newest adventure, then what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your PlayStation 2 as Solid as it should be!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/01, Updated 11/26/01
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