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Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) artwork

Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) review

"I have been a big gaming fan for a few years now, but I probably would be nothing more than a casual gamer right now if I hadn't of come across Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid (MGS) was THE game that made me so desperately want a Playstation. I would go to Wal-Mart and play the MGS demo every time I went there. No matter how many times I played the demo, it never got old. "

I have been a big gaming fan for a few years now, but I probably would be nothing more than a casual gamer right now if I hadn't of come across Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid (MGS) was THE game that made me so desperately want a Playstation. I would go to Wal-Mart and play the MGS demo every time I went there. No matter how many times I played the demo, it never got old.

Obviously, after I got my Playstation I bought MGS shortly after. I played the game all the time, anxiously awaiting the next big battle or plot twist. For a while, MGS was my favorite game. It's still one of my favorites to this day. It's just an incredible game.

Basically, Metal Gear Solid is a third-person action/adventure game that plays out much like a modern action movie. You play the role of Solid Snake, a famous mercenary. As Snake, you are sent to an Alaskan nuclear weapons disposal facility that has been taken over by terrorists. Your first objective is simple enough - rescue two high-level officials that are being held hostage by the terrorists. After that, your goal is to take out the terrorists themselves and prevent them from launching a nuclear weapon that could destroy the entire world. While it's not the best-sounding story in writing, the game delivers it in a way that is sheer brilliance. Dozens of well-designed cinemas and character conversations tell the story in a most impressive manner.

The bosses you will meet up with in the game are an interesting bunch. You'll cross paths with a mind-reading psychopath, a wolf-loving sniper, and a giant Indian shaman, among others. All of the terrorists have their own detailed back-story and are a blast to fight against.

Stopping the terrorists is by no means easy, especially since you are alone for the entire journey. There is no backup for you - one bad move and youíre dead. Itís best to stay away from unnecessary battles. If a guard spots you, an alarm will go off. The alarm, in turn, causes enemy reinforcements to track you down and attempt to kill you. The enemies here aren't the usual blithering idiots either - they are actually intelligent adversaries.

The overall enemy AI is pretty good, although it does suffer at times. If an enemy notices a footprint in the snow or hears an odd noise, they will look around the area to see what created that distraction. However, they will give up looking after a few seconds. This enables easy getaways. Also, the enemyís field of vision is not very far at all. The guards can only see a few yards in front of them. Still, the AI is good enough to make you think about your next move. You can't win the game by just mindlessly shooting everything in sight - eventually, you will be cornered and killed.

Although he is a one-man army, Snake does have some help during the game. He has the ability to use a very unique communication system known as CODEC. By pressing the select button at any point of the game, Snake can get in contact with others involved with the mission. Among the people he can contact are Colonel Roy Campbell, the head of the mission; Mei Ling, the woman who saves your game data; and Nastasha Romanenko, an incredibly smart nuclear analyst. There are others that Snake will meet throughout the game as well. If youíre ever stuck, asking someone for help via CODEC is a smart move.

Snake also benefits from a radar system. In the top right corner of the screen, there is a tiny radar that will show where other people are in the area. The radar also shows an enemy's field of vision. Some people complain that the radar makes the game too easy. However, for them, I point to the ''hard'' and ''extreme'' difficulty levels. The radar is not used there. Both the CODEC and radar systems are innovative and add a lot of value to the game.

Aside from the CODEC and radar systems, Snake profits from a plethora of weapons and items that can be found throughout the game. Snake basically starts his mission empty-handed. He has no weapons or items to speak of, aside from a pack of cigarettes he somehow managed to smuggle via his stomach. Itís not long before he is able to acquire new weapons - they are easy to find in the early areas.

Snake has a wide array of weapons to use. As the game progresses, he will have access to everything from remote-controlled missiles to sniper rifles to grenades. Snake can pick up many helpful items as well, including health-saving rations and card keys (they open up new areas for you). Everything is utilized, too; you can expect to use just about everything at least once during the game.

Solid Snake has several different moves/techniques that can be used throughout the game. He can climb ladders, crawl inside air ducts, hide under cardboard boxes, and take a quick peek around corners. He can also strangle enemies and break their necks, or just rather knock them out using an effective punch-kick combo. If you're having trouble using these techniques, you can perfect your skills by using the game's VR training mode. Mastering these techniques is essential to succeeding in the game.

Believe it or not, Metal Gear Solid isnít perfect. It is plagued by a couple of problems, albeit minor ones. For one, the game is over too fast. Most should be able to beat the game in under 10 hours, even if they watch all of the cinemas and listen to all of the CODEC chats. There is plenty of reason to beat the game more than once though - there are lots of goodies waiting to be unlocked. The other notable problem is having to backtrack to areas you have already been to. Thereís actually not a lot of backtracking to do, but it is tedious nonetheless. Still, even with these problems, there is no doubting Metal Gear Solid is a fantastic game.

Metal Gear Solid's graphics were absolutely breathtaking when it was released way back in 1998. To this day, MGS doesnít look bad at all. Sure, there is a lot of polygonal clipping and there are also quite a few jaggies, but those are minute problems. The sheer amount of detail put into the environments and characters shows the tremendous effort Konami put into the game. When you run around in the snow, footprints are left behind. When you step in a puddle, a splashing noise is heard. The various types of weapons and their accompanying explosions look fantastic as well. It was a marvelous looking game in í98, and itís still pretty good now.

The gameís audio is just as good as its visual department. The music is excellent. When youíre just wandering around by yourself, a low-key tune plays. When youíre in the heat of combat, a more up-tempo and fast-paced theme plays. The sound effects are also great. Youíll easily recognize the difference between hitting an enemy and hitting a wall with gunfire. Even so, the best part of the sound is definitely the gameís voice acting. The voice acting is simply amazing. From Solid Snakeís gravelly tough guy voice to Sniper Wolf's Russian accent, the characterís voices are acted out fantastically. The voices really make you want to listen to all of the CODEC conversations - they certainly should not be skipped.

Metal Gear Solid is simply amazing. Itís easily one of the greatest Playstation games of all time. Every area of the game is incredible. From the tremendous stealth-based gameplay to the gorgeous graphics, everything is outstanding. The gameís few problems are minor, and donít detract much from the game at all. For the $20 (or less) itís priced at now, you canít afford to pass up such a great game. Everyone should experience the greatness that is Metal Gear Solid at least once.


Best Feature - It's hard to narrow it down to one thing, but....the intriguing story tops the list.
Worst Feature - It's over too fast.

shady's avatar
Community review by shady (January 28, 2004)

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