Review by Katon

"A great game made even better by the geniuses at Silicon Knights."

The original Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation was one of those games which defined an entire generation. Coming out of the golden era of the 16-bit systems, developers were just beginning to understand how to harness the new power and graphical capabilities of the new consoles. The brilliant Hideo Kojima revived Konami's dormant Metal Gear series and produced one of the first games which made it feel like you were actually playing a movie. Metal Gear Solid had an excellent story and addictive gameplay; thus, it was quickly branded a classic, one of the best ever. Of course, this built huge expectations for the sequel Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which, although it was not a bad game, was disappointing to many fans. The name ''Raiden'' became much-reviled among MGS fans. Now, in 2004, the Metal Gear series is making a comeback with two games, a remake of the original and Metal Gear Solid 3. While it remains to be seen how MGS3 will fare, Silicon Knights has made put forth a tremendous effort with Twin Snakes, and every gamer out there should try to grab a copy of this one.

Silicon Knights has taken the good from both MGS and MGS2 and combined them into one silky smooth game. The basic mission from the original is still intact, but the new moves added in Sons of Liberty are also present here. Solid Snake is still the sneakiest guy around, and the stealth-based gameplay is quite exhilarating. And this is coming from a person who usually detests stealth games. The guards in the remake are much smarter than in the original version, so if you take out some enemies, you will need to hide the bodies or risk detection. The remade environments seem to have fewer hiding places now, so your skills will need to be very sharp. The first-person point of view has been added to your arsenal, and there is a great boss attack mode also included.

I would be very remiss if I did not mention my absolute favorite part of MGS: the bosses. The original MGS had, in my humble opinion, the best group of bosses ever seen in a game. Sniper Wolf, Revolver Ocelot, and Vulcan Raven were unique and fun to play against. Moreover, the infamous boss fight with Psycho Mantis still has to rank as one of my top five gaming moments ever. Thankfully, all the bosses are present in their 128-bit glory. What was old is new again with these epic battles; even if you are a veteran of this series, you will have a blast going up against Foxhound once again. In addition, you have several difficulty levels and the dog tag collecting from MGS2 to occupy your time. Finally, there are several unlockables which add to the replay value of a game which is not terribly long, even with the remixed FMVs.

The story is familiar to any MGS fan, so I'll just provide a brief overview. You are playing as Solid Snake, who has been forced into investigating the action of Foxhound at Shadow Moses Island. A new Metal Gear named Rex has been created at the facility, and it is up to Snake to infiltrate the facility and take down his former teammates. I won't spoil the story for any newbies, but suffice to say, it is one of the classics in gaming.

The graphics have been brought up to MGS2 levels, but there are some problems here. The character models all look great, but there is occasional slowdown at times when there is too much action on the screen. This is really unacceptable for a game of this generation, but it is not pervasive and is easily forgiveable. The animations seem odd at times but are also generally well done. The few problems here are outweighed by seeing this game get the graphical polish it so desperately needed.

The sound has been a strong point for the MGS series. Despite my strong leanings toward Japanese voice acting, I have always enjoyed the English voices in this series, and that is basically true here. Some of the voices changed for the worse (Mei Ling), but some of them changed for the better. The soundtrack has been remixed for Twin Snakes, and I have to say that I generally enjoy, but it seems like much was changed when only some minor tweaking would have done. Still, MGS stands up to most other games in the sound department.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is another one of those instant classics from Kojima. Veterans can play the game with some added features and more, while newer gamers can experience one of the best games ever for the first time. With MGS3 due later this year, it's shaping up to be a big 2004 for Snake and crew. Kojima is going to have a hard time surpassing this masterful remake of his original classic. Do yourself a favor and fork over the $40 for this one. You won't be disappointed.

Overall: 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/15/04

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