The Urge to Write ~ Metal Gear series retrospection
January 01, 2014

So I'm coming now to bring my thoughts together on what I felt about the original Metal Gear games on the MSX. I'll touch up a bit on my history with the series, then get into what stuck out to me in these games. The things that are interesting! 'Dese are Kojima joints, after all! So enough with the sentimental bullshit and let's get to killing dudes.


"Ice skating?" "WE ARE ULTRA BOX." "I am Runner Man." "UH OH! THE TRUCK HAVE STARTED TO MOVE!" "Don't get greedy, Snake!" "Nyaaaa!!"

When I was a kid I played Metal Gear on the NES. The cartridge and box artwork will always bring the nostalgia of being a kid back to me. Like any half decent NES games would leave an impression on a kid in it's era, I think. Metal Gear was always "that badass game where you punch dogs in the ass" and "get all the badass weaponry like a fucking G.I. Joe." Metal Gear was always "that game with the hidden death pits" inspiring nightmare fuel but then eased by the catchiness of the death jingle. It was also a game with lines many of us know and love, such as "UH OH!! THE TRUCK HAVE STARTED TO MOVE!!" and "I FEEL ASLEEP!". Even a child could recognize grammar that poor. And as the years went by gamer's all around recognized these lines as being classic 'engrish'. In other words, a "SHIT ASS TRANSLATION!" But I for one have held these quotes to be icons of an early time in gaming. And even as icons of my childhood. I feel like everyone who played Metal Gear as a child must share these feelings.

When Metal Gear Solid was released in America I was in 7th or 8th grade. Beside the hype of the PlayStation, MGS was a premier title. It was a game with a proportion unmatched. The story and dialogue was gripping, it was compelling! When Meryl was shot by Sniper Wolf, we all felt our hearts skip a beat, we didn't expect it! Her screams were visceral and real. Metal Gear Solid was full of unique moments in which we were tied to Snake and his adventure, who he met, the bosses and allies. Psycho Mantis is the best boss in video gaming history. The bosses bustled around their own gritty cores: they were characters with a sordid history of their own. And their deaths were ended and somehow justified by the special ops hero, Solid Snake, the "living legend" war hero. Metal Gear Solid was a tangible universe that reverberated deeply in our fantasy.

The sleek white design of the jewel case cover art even gave a slick impression. Even for the American release, I think the cover art took the Japanese approach with minimalist design. To me the impression was, "There is something special in here."

The nugget moments of Metal Gear Solid left a strong impression to me and it became one of my favorite games. I loved showing it to my friends. It was exciting. Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 both were great, but the feeling of the first is unmatched.

Roughly 10 years after the release of MGS, I decided to find an MSX emulator and try the original MSX titles. I had only heard they were good, yet, hardly a single gamer would praise them specifically over the NES title. Not a big surprise considering the MSX was only a European and Japanese computer. And only untill the ports in MGS:3 Subsistance, I believe, and in the MGS HD collection could we play the MSX games.

The intro is different from the NES version. In the MSX, Snake swims underwater to infiltrate the base, similar to the into to MGS. And you begin immediately in a base unlike the NES, where you are deployed via parachute outside of a facility you eventually reach. Beyond this the game ends up being played quite similarly to the NES version. The Gas Mask is the first key item you need. The other main difference is the music. And this quality would be a main reason to play the game as the MSX2's audio hardware has a real bass to it. The bosses and level design was changed around a bit, but I was surprised to find that many sections were quite similar to the NES version. There's an area with airborne jet soldiers who chase you around like bees. But I don't want to explain all the differences in this post, I'd rather talk about what was interesting or funny. Like a stationed helicopter who is easily defeated by stepping into a safe spot and lobbing grenades. The cardboard box is present and actually works to avoid enemy detection! And unlike MG NES, you battle Metal Gear in the MSX version. But he's defeated by detonating plastic explosives in a specific order on Metal Gear's feet. Quite odd, and specifically annoying as the last direction was forgotten by the NPC who tells you. Pretty epic.

All in all, MG MSX is a solid game and notably improved with different situations compared to the NES game. However, I think I've exhausted my lust to write now so I'll leave this entry at this.
Hopefully I can write something about Metal Gear 2 MSX as it was more interesting than the first game. And a completely new experience unlike MG1 compared to MG NES. I am hoping to get back to writing game reviews for Honest Gamers as well so I hope this will be the catalyst to bring me back. Well, cheers HG.

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