Review by Unleashed Vortex
Konami took two key ingredients to create a masterpiece. The classic Metal Gear Solid was easily the best game on the Playstation and it's popularity was so immense that Konami decided to re-release the classic on new 128-bit software. The second part of the mix was the style and new methods introduced in Metal Gear Solid's sequel, the sub-standard Sons of Liberty. This one was loaded with new control mechanisms and new features which enhanced the gameplay a lot. It also had breathtaking graphics, which surpassed the original by miles but it was flawed by a complicated storyline and mercilessly boring FMV sequences.
Twin Snakes takes the original MGS game and mixes it with the graphics, the control scheme and extras of the second game. Everything happens on the remote Alaskan Island, Shadow Moses. A seemingly innocent nuclear weapons disposal facility used to train the next generation special forces unit FOXHOUND. It wasn't all fun and games, the unit revolted and captured the island. They also took two visitors hostage, the DARPA chief Donald Anderson and the president of Armstech, Kenneth Baker. These two men are head of the two biggest nuclear weapons manufacturers on earth. The terrorists demand that they receive the remains of the super-soldier Big Boss so they can use his DNA to create more genetically altered soldiers for their forces. If their demands are not met, they will launch a nuke.
A top-secret mission is organised by the former commanding officer of FOXHOUND, Roy Campbell. He manages to persuade stealth master, Solid Snake to sneak into Shadow Moses with two mission objectives: rescue the two hostages and find out if the terrorists have the ability to launch a nuke. However, this is just the beginning for Snake; as his mission develops he'll encounter many new friends and foes. He'll also discover some dark secrets that he'll wish he never dug up.
As you are well aware, the game revolves around stealth. When you enter an area, you'll see a radar at the top of the screen. This will show your presence as well as all obstacles in the area and the field of vision of your enemies. The radar will be immensely useful for your stealth actions, it will guide you when you sneak up on foes and will also allow you to see where security cameras are. However, there are two problems about the radar that stop you from being completely reliant on it. If you are spotted by an enemy soldier, the alarm will cease to function until you lose him. Even if you do hide from the enemy, the radar will go into an evasion stage. This puts all guard in the area on an alert mode, they'll search the area for you for a while. A meter will appear on your radar and start to decline. When it reaches the end, the guards will go back to their normal position.
Although Snake is sent alone on his mission, he is being constantly watched by Campbell and others. Snake can communicate with others on his mission by using the codec system. This is a small communications device that has been implanted in the ear of Snake so only he will be able to hear it. Judging by long codec conversations, it's quite funny how guards don't here Snake talking to himself when he's right next to them. You can contact numerous allies on the codec for various types of information. Campbell and his assistant, Naomi Hunter will give you hints on how to solve puzzles, get through areas and defeat bosses. You can also contact Mei Ling who will happily save your game for you, if you give her a quick flirt. As you encounter more characters, you can add them to your codec and talk to them whenever you want. You may be contacted by the codec throughout the game, you'll know it by the annoying ring and the flashing CALL logo, pressing A will answer it. Thankfully, you can skip codec conversations if you're replaying areas of the game.
Snake has a variety of techniques that he can pull off for stealth purposes or for combat. Snake can crawl, somersault, climb and hang off walls. He can also press himself against walls and peek around corners which is handy for double checking if the coast is clear. If you're in a violent mood, you can creep behind soldiers and choke them like a chicken. It's cowardly but sadistically fun. If you keep on pressing A really fast, you'll snap the guy's neck. You can also knock out guards by punching them constantly. Snake has a mean two punch and a kick combo which can knock the enemy for six, you can also plaster them against the wall which adds more damage. You can also pick up the dead/unconscious bodies, in a very erotic way and hide them from other soldiers. Hiding them in lockers or out of regular patrol areas is the best COA to take but if an enemy finds a dead body then you'll find a hoard of heavily armed guards coming right for you.
A new addition to the Twin Snakes is the first person shooting, an infinitely handy mode. If you're getting attacked by enemies that are a distance away, you can go into first person mode. Snake can collect six different types of guns, three types of grenades and can also use C4 to blow down walls or stick on enemies backs. The most basic weapon is the M9, you get it automatically if you play the gam on easy. This gun is a tranquilliser which will put enemies to sleep for a long time, it may take a while for it to kick in so the best thing to do is hit him in the head. When he's down you can use your socom (semi-automatic pistol) to blow his brains out while he's sleeping (gruesome, isn't it!) Snake will also get a Sniper rifle called the PSG1, you can use this to shoot rats and do battle with the voluptuous Russian babe, Sniper Wolf (hotter than Meryl?). Unfortunately, your aim is a little shaky with this gun so you'll have to pump yourself full of drugs for it to work.
Snake can also acquire the FAT-MA assault rifle. This automatic baby is perfect fro sweeping the area clean of charging enemies. If you're get spotted by someone, you can rip out your FAT--MA and blast all of these genetic freaks into hell. You can also get two types of rocket launchers, the stinger missile is great for blowing stuff out of the air and it has a lock on first person mechanism which is great for bosses. You'll have to use it against heavy duty bosses like Liquid Snake's Hind D and the actual nuclear equipped walking battle tank; Metal Gear. The nikita missile is a unique weapon which allows you to control a missile through a first person viewpoint. You'll have to navigate through a gas filled room to blow up a generator which is powering an electric floor. Grenades are quite plentiful, they come in three types. The first ones are standard grenades that blow up, the others are stun grenades and chaff grenades. Stun grenades knock you soldiers and chaff grenades will cause cameras and other electric equipment (like your radar) to stop working for a temporary amount of time.
You will also find floating and rotating boxes scattered around areas, the majority of these are weapons while some of them are items which will help you a lot. Rations are in the green boxes and they can boot your health significantly. However, if you are bleeding they will not stop it. The life bar will go red and start to slowly decrease, using a bandage will stop this. Two very handy items are the scope, which you can use to spy on enemies that are far away and the thermal goggles, which can reveal claymore mines in the ground and infra-red security beams. The cardboard box can be used to cloak Snake; unfortunately, guards aren't that dumb and if you sit around in your box, they'll find it suspicious and unveil you.
Throughout the mission, Snake will encounter various characters that will either help him or try to kill him.. He bumps into a young woman named Meryl, who was dragged into the FOXHOUND revolt. Snake and Meryl team up together to find out more information about the terrorists, their plans and capabilities. She'll also aid you in a fire fight when you first meet her. She's got a lot of spunk but ends up getting in trouble and into Snakes heart, he even walks in on her getting changed. His words speak for all men who see their girlfriends with her underwear on; You've got a great butt! Meryl and Snake will work as a team through a portion of the game. Until, disaster strikes and Snake will be forced into a not so fun torture session with one of FOXHOUND's leaders.
Snake will have to do battle with the five leaders of FOXHOUND. Usually, he dukes it out with them twice in various stipulated battles. The first one you encounter is the sadistic cowboy, Revolver Ocelot who you'll fight in a deadly game of tig and tag. His gun has six bullets which take a while to fire and reload, so you'll have to shoot him in the back when he's loading up. Unfortunately, one of the hostages is in the middle of this game of chase and he's been loaded with C4, one careless shot will blow you all to kingdom come. Later, he'll capture you and lock you into his little torture toy. He'll load you with electricity which chips your health down, pressing A rapidly will replenish it. You can also surrender but if you do, he'll blow a hole in Meryl's head.
Do you want that on your conscience?
Other bosses include a tank, you have to throw grenades into the hatch to kill the driver. You'll have two incredibly fun sniper fights with Sniper Wolf and a duel with the evil Darth Vader wannabe, Psycho Mantis. He'll use his psychic powers to read your memory card (So, you like ACTION games, eh?) and throw chairs at you. Snake will have a fun game of cat and mouse with the behemoth, Vulcan Raven, a big fat guy with a chain gun that you don't want to mess with. This genetic super freak not only runs around topless in Alaska but he takes a pack of stinger missile hits. You could shoot one right between his eyes and he would barely flinch. Most importantly, you'll duel with a mysterious cyborg ninja. He wants to fight you, for sport. His athletic abilities, stealth camouflage and sword may be more than a match for Snake. His identity is quite mysterious but when Snake discovers the truth, he'll get a blast from the past.
You'll confront your ultimate nemesis a grand total of four times. The evil Liquid Snake, the terrorist leader and Snakes twin brother is the mastermind behind the revolution. His face may look the same but there isn't a shred of solid in this guy at all. Firstly, he'll attack you in his precious Hind D, a big ass helicopter that you'll have to blow up with stinger missiles. Then, he'll come back for round 2, a seemingly unfair fight. Solid Snake vs. Metal Gear, the walking nuclear battle tank equipped with a rail gun, an endless supply of missiles and a powerful kick. I wouldn't want to be in Snakes shoes. You'll have an incredibly fun fist fight with him on the ruins of Metal gear and then have a shooting spree car chase which will determine the final outcome. Non-stop, pant-wetting, blood-pumping action is the perfect contrast to the majority of stealth missions that you have to slowly creep through.
Visually, Twin Snakes is on par with MGS2 on the PS2. All of the characters are well animated, beautifully detailed and are teeming with personality. It kills the original Metal Gear Solid with one swift blow, animated faces with expressions truly destroy the blurry lines that they used for faces on the PSX. The surroundings that Snake creeps around in are atmospheric; the outdoor environs are swept with snow, beautifully captured. The dark warehouses and dull rooms are packed with gritty realism that the Ganecube manages to execute well. Thankfully, codec conversations remain in their original format and are not brought into 3-D like MGS2. This brings the Metal Gear Solid feel into the game, the 3-D ones would have looked crappy if they had brought them forward.
The sound score has also been revamped completely which was a minor disappointment. The score on the original was great but Konami have ripped its throat out and replaced it with a new set of tunes. They are okay, setting the scene well and all but they just don't live up the theme songs that the original game provided. The voice acting was edited a bit, the script is virtually the same but it's the same actors who provide the voices for the characters.
If you loved this game on the PSX , you'll love it even more now. The enhanced gameplay features make the game more advanced to control. The array of moves that Snake has really makes the gameplay even deeper than before. This was how Metal Gear Solid was meant to be experienced, all of the PSX problems have been cemented over and replaced with concrete solutions. It's a GCN classic and something that all players need to experience. Konami's re-cooked masterpiece is even more delicious than it was before.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/13/05
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