Review by Shevers
"If It's Not Broke, Don't Fix It"
I've not felt this nostalgic since... ever
I'm sure everyone who hasn't been too engrossed in the Annual Paint Deying competition on channel 2 for the last six years has heard of Metal Gear Solid. It has to be the most well known game since Pong. It was the game which started today's obssesion with stealth-em-ups, such as Tenchu and Splinter Cell.
Without MGS, there would have been no Thief, no Splinter Cell and obviously no MGS2. It seemed simple enough, sneak through a terrorist base as quietly as possible, save the world, rinse, lather, repeat. But it became one of the best games to grace the screens of PS1 owners.
Now there is The Twin Snakes, the remake of the original for the GameCube. It has the same plot and characters from MGS1, with extra gameplay features from MGS2, and better graphics.
PLOT - 10/10
Metal Gear Solid's plot is quite frankly the best video game plot ever. To me. It has more twists than a certain crooked San Fransisco street, and has some inspired characters to boot.
Basically, the story starts off with Solid Snake being taken from his home in Alaska to meet back up with his former commander, Roy Campbell. Campbell tells Snake he has been selected to go on a one man mission to infiltrate a nuclear base being held by terrorist members of FoxHound - Snakes former unit - to free two important hostages and find out if the terrorists have Nuclear capabilities. Snake accepts - grudgingly - and the mission begins. I won't attempt to list all of the twists and turns of the storyline, both because I don't want to spoil it and because it would take me too many weeks.
Solid Snake is a brilliant lead character, and voice actor David Hayter deserves some kind of oscar for his performance as Snake. Back home is Colonel Campbell, who is a very well done character, as well as Naomi Hunter - doctor and FoxHound specialist, Mei Ling - Chinese scientist who apparently designed the Radar and Codec used in the game, and Nastasha Romanenko - Russian weapons specialist.
There are also allies out there with you that you meet. Meryl Silverburgh, captive soldier and Campbell's 'neice', and inevitably the love interest in the game. The other is Hal Emmerich, or Otacon. Otacon is a bit of an oddball, and the lead scientist of Metal Gear, the nuclear equipped walking battle tank featured in all of the Metal Gear games.
To top these characters off are a host of brilliant - if a little over the top - bosses, the members of FoxHound. First is Revolver Ocelot, pistol master who we find out more about in MGS2. Then there's Vulcan Raven, the incredibly strong native american shaman. Also there is Psycho Mantis, a psychic who has the honour of probably having the best cut-scene. Sniper Wolf is a kurd sniper, and finally Liquid snake, who looks exactly like Solid Snake. His story is best found out from playing the game.
GRAPHICS - 8/10
The graphics were obviously the first thing to be changed from the original. The environments are a big improvement, and for the GameCube are above average. Most of the character models are very good, particularly those of Meryl and Otacon, for some reason. Character movements are smooth and fluid for the most part as well.
The only problem is the colour pallette. Most of the game is a dull collection of greys and greens, along with the white snowfields. It may have been revolutionary with the PS1, but it doesn't quite cut it here.
Having said that, the graphics are on the whole very good.
SOUND - 9/10
Along with the story, the sound is probably the best part of the game. Most of the characters from MGS1 have returned to their parts for the remake, with a few exceptions like Naomi Hunter.
Most of the voices are about as good as the original's. There are some not so good voices, though, like the Ninja, who sounds like he just doesn't care any more, and Naomi, who is fine, but not quite the Naomi veterans know and love. It would have given me a very nostalgic feeling if I had heard Naomi's classic 'You're welcome' in the briefing, but the new actress doesn't say it in the brilliant way the old one did.
Another problem with voice acting is Mei Ling. She no longer has that oriental twang in her voice, and I really don't like the new Mei Ling's voice. Of course, having said all this, the voice acting is still incredible.
As for the music... well, it's fine. It does its job, but the original MGS1 music was some of the best game music ever for me, and not having the old boss music is horrible for me. That and the trademark 'Sad Music' Enclosure is gone. It used to be a great sad tune, capable of actually bringing out emotions, but now it's gone. Too bad.
GAMEPLAY AND FUN - 9/10
I want to bring one thing up right now. The VR Missions. They're gone, caput, they've vanished. The VR Missions in the original were incredible, and they added to the replay value. And they let me here the old Naomi voice say 'Impressive, Snake' (Yes, you guessed it, I loved the old Naomi voice). But, sadly, they're now gone, and all that's left is a mediocre attempt to make up for it with the Boss Survival, where you take on all the bosses one by one with the same health bar. Only fun for five minutes.
As for the game itself, it's still as wonderful as I remember it. The part with entering the Pal keys had me almost sick with wonderful nostalgia. So there's the game for newbies, and the nostalgia for Shadow Moses Island veterans. Adding to the gameplay is the MGS2 abilities of hiding in lockers from enemies, and hanging from balconies, as well as 1st person shooting, which is integrated very well, except that they make Psycho Mantis too easy. All the additions from MGS2 add a lot to the game.
Also, the Dog Tags are back from MGS2. As far as I can see, you get nothing but pride for collecting all the dog tags, but it certainly adds to the replayability after losing the VR missions.
I also want to point out that the bosses (Perhaps with the tank excepted) all seem to have gotten easier. Or maybe I've gotten better. Either way.
OVERALL - 9/10
The Twin Snakes remains an excellent buy, despite a few problems. Overall, it's an improvement over the original MGS, and unless you actually have the original with you, I recommend you run out and buy it. Now!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/03/04
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