Review by deftoned

Reviewed: 03/18/04

I nice looking PORT. Great for newcomers, but a letdown for veterans.

For those of you who have never played Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation, you will be in for a treat with The Twin Snakes for the Nintendo GameCube. The Twin Snakes is a remake of the monumental and hugely successful game that was originally released in 1998. However, if you have played the original and are hoping for a remake along the lines of Capcom's Resident Evil, you may walk away yearning for more. Even if you've beaten the original many times (like I have), The Twin Snakes feels just like another play through.

A port is basically taking a game and brining it to a console in the next generation, adding very little or nothing at all. A remake on the other hand is taking a game, and updating things dramatically in a few areas. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, although is a remake, feels more like a really nice looking port. Yes, the graphics were overhauled and a few things were added, but overall, the game FEELS AND PLAYS exactly the same. Resident Evil (for the GameCube) felt like a completely new game compared to the original. With all that Resident Evil brought, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes lacked.

Metal Gear Solid is the continuing story of Solid Snake, one of the world's greatest solider who is (forcefully) taken out of retirement to infiltrate a military base being run by terrorists. The terrorists are from Snake's former special ops unit FOXHOUND. The story is gripe full of twists and ''no way!'' moments, easily worthy of any award—definitely top-notch writing. The story was quite original... back in 1998. If you never played the original game, you are in for a treat; but unfortunately, there is absolutely NOTHING new for the veteran solider. I can’t really review the story since it is the same thing. Either way it is very, very good.

In 1998, Metal Gear Solid was one of the prettiest games created. Environments were detailed and animation was smooth. Cut-scenes were gorgeous and graphic were believable. Silicon Knights and Konami must be applauded for improving on an already beautiful game. The Twin Snakes is beautiful. It really resembles Metal Gear Solid 2: The Sons of Liberty with the fluidity and smoothness. Cut-scenes were completely redone from scratch and look great. Graphics were rarely choppy, but did occur a few times. Also, jaggies are apparent in places, but definitely not PS2 bad. The Twin Snakes look beautiful, but it didn't really push the GameCube's power—we’ve seen better. Another BIG letdown was the Codec sequences—they are EXACTLY the same. Metal Gear Solid 2 had the Codec scenes in 3D and looked great; unfortunately, they are green 2D faces from 5-years-ago. Big letdown there.

Voice acting in video games is mediocre at best in 2004, so you can imagine how ear piercing it could have been in the late 1990's. Luckily, Metal Gear Solid broke that mold and gave gamers a magnificent job. Solid Snake sounds gritty and tough. Revolver Ocelot sounds cunning and mysterious. Otacon sounds naive, yet heart-filled. The voice acting for The Twin Snakes is just as good as the original. While some of the older tracks were used again, a lot of dialogue had to be redone, and each voice actor/actress does a great job. Unfortunately, two accent heavy characters seem to have lost their accents in the 5 years since the original game. Most notable is Mei Ling... Somehow her Chinese accent has disappeared. The voice actress does a good job, but veterans have to wonder why the accent went AWOL. Sound effects are effective for the most part, but are a bit lacking. For example, gunfire doesn’t sound as top-notch as other games, and with a name like Metal Gear on the box cover, one would expect much more.

The soundtrack is spectacular. Many of the original tracks were reused, and many new tracks were added. All are well placed and timely.

Okay, now that all the superficial stuff (graphics and sounds) is out of the way, it's time for the cream-filled-center. The controls are nearly the same as the PlayStation version. However, the transition from a PS controller/Dual Shock to the GameCube controller was a bit clunky. The controls are basically the same, but they felt clunky with the GameCube controller. For example, with the PlayStation controller, your Codec is activated via the Select button. Since the GameCube controller has no select button, you are required to press Start and the A-button. Sure that’s being nitty-gritty, but something like that could have easily been avoided. Gameplay-wise, The Twin Snakes added many features that were introduced in MGS2. Snake can now hang off railings to avoid enemies and he can also stuff bodies into lockers. They were nice additions, but were not handy at all. In fact, the only times I ever used a locker or hung from a railing was when I tried it out for the first time. The original game was created without these features so throwing them in was pointless. You can easily beat this game without ever using those features. The First-person mode is also found in The Twin Snakes making shooting a whole lot easier. But there is a trade-off, FPM makes boss battle incredibly easy. Ocelot, Mantis, Raven... all way too easy! There is almost no challenge at all! A couple new weapons from MGS2 were added into The Twin Snakes like the M9 tranquilizer. Not really adding much, but nice to have.

There really isn’t too much replay value either. There are a few things to unlock like the good ol’ Bandana, the Sneaking Suit, Snake’s Tuxedo, but there really isn’t much else. There are no quirky mini-games like the skateboarding from MGS2. The dog tag collection is now included, but it’s not that spectacular. Even for rookies to MGS, there isn’t too much to do once you beat the game. It’s even worse for veterans. Also, the game felt a lot shorter than the original. I clocked in at about 8 ½ hours on my first play through on normal… and I was taking my time exploring and collecting items. Now that I’ve beaten it, I really have no desire to go back and do it again, since it’s going to be the same thing as the PS version. Lastly, there was a major lack of Easter eggs and goodies to be found throughout the game. MGS2 was filled with them, so there is no excuse. Sure Mario, Yoshi, and a GameCube are found in Otacon’s lab, but that’s really all there was! The is an Eternal Darkness and Zone of the Enders 2 poster, but nothing else.

In all, if you never played the original Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation, give this game a shot! Metal Gear Solid still is one of the greatest games of all times. The story is amazing and complex. The gameplay is stunning and the presentation is unmatched. If you don’t want to pick up the original (which you can find used easily for under $15-20), give The Twin Snakes a try. Rent it first, and then decide.

However, if you’ve already infiltrated Shadow Moses, just stick to the original. Yes, it is a remake, but 95% of the game does NOT feel new. People’s opinions on Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty are hit or miss. But with all that it added to the MGS series, it is inexcusable how much The Twin Snakes lacks. In my opinion, this game is solely for those that have never played Metal Gear Solid or those that are really hardcore fans of the series.

If I had to pick only one Metal Gear Solid game this year, MGS3: Snake Eater would be it. 7/10

+ Pretty graphics
+ Outstanding story
+ Added moves from MGS2
+ Remake of one of the greatest video games of all times...
- ...but feels more like a port than a remake
- Doesn’t bring anything new to the table
- Voice acting in the original game was better
- New moves from MGS2 are useless
- First-person-mode makes the game too easy
- Lack of Easter eggs
- Low replay

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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