GameSpite Quarterly 2, #15: Metal Gear Solid

15. Metal Gear Solid
This article pretty much sums up everything I like about MGS — everything except the incredible sense of rightness I felt as I crept through a tank hangar, the camera pulled up at a high overhead angle, and suddenly realized that this really was a thoroughly modern sequel to the NES game I loved so much. (Later I learned the NES game was a sham, but never mind that.)

19 thoughts on “GameSpite Quarterly 2, #15: Metal Gear Solid

  1. Minor nitpick: at the bottom of the page, Ocarina of Time is listed as both the next article and the previous one.

    Great read, though, as always. I’ve never played a MGS game (the idea of 45-minute long cutscenes scares me on a fundamental level), but perhaps someday I’ll have to fix this.

  2. My parents lament that we should already have flying cars by now. I lament that we don’t have nano machines and metal gears walking about already.

  3. the NES version was not worked on by hideo kojima, and in fact was practically an entirely different game than the msx version.

  4. Thanks for the clarification, that is very interesting. Are there any documents that detail the development of the NES version, rationale behind the development, etc?

  5. For me it was simply a matter of hiding under a cardboard box that made me fall head over heels for MGS.

    I guess the rest of the game was pretty ok, too.

  6. If I might link to another blog…

    There’s some interesting information on the differences there, beyond the usual suspects. Personally, I’ve always liked the NES version, but I’d like to play through the MSX version. Various emulation of the game, though, yields odd slowdowns dependent on the number of enemies on-screen, which is kind of weird. Maybe the version on the bonus disc of MGS 3: Subsistence is better.

    Also, for the record, I enjoyed Snake’s Revenge as well. That game catches too much flak for not being an “official” entry.

  7. dtsund – The first entry has some cutscenes, the longest of which is probably 3 to 5 minutes. You should give that one a go anyhow.

  8. Ah, finally, one of my favorite games of all time makes this list! But to be fair, I just haven’t played a lot of the games on this list, particularly the PC games.

    Next to FFVII and FF Tactics, this is probably the PS1 game I’ve replayed the most. Sure, after playing MGS3-4, it’s hard to go back to the overhead view (for me, at least), but still…. an amazing experience. Great article.

  9. Tomm’s entitled to his opinion but I feel that the article is a little too hyperbolic.

    For example, I think Super Mario 64 was a much better “Mario for the new era” than MGS. It was a more convincing translation of a genre to 3D and the game was actually PLAYED in 3D unlike MGS which was mostly played in the game’s tiny radar, which represented the true simulation behind the fancy but illusory presentation.

    I don’t think the story was ever that great either. At best it’s a GI Joe opera, hardly a high water mark for video game storytelling.

    I can’t help but feel that most of MGS’s best moments play out in cutscenes or within EXTREMELY limited arenas that aren’t much fun to play. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but for me it was a game about POTENTIAL rather than delivery. It realized very few of its aspirations, it played awkwardly and it was never as cinematic as Kojima wanted (an aspiration that was realized later in the series).

    Yet despite it’s MANY MANY MANY flaws it filled the mind with grand visions for the potential future of the medium. And that’s it’s true legacy.

  10. Chris – I don’t think you disagree as much as you think, given your last sentence. Mario 64 said “here’s how to do what we’ve been doing but in 3D” MGS said “this is what 3D gaming is about.” That’s what makes it “the SMB of this era.”

    I do think your gripe about story is out and out wrong. Do you remember what game stories were like back then? Yes, when compared to high literature or cinema MGS is kind of lame. But uh… perspective dude.

  11. I think the two things MGS really wowed me with at the time were the actual high quality voice acting, and the vaguely implied shadowy facial detail. I wish that had caught on better. Made for one of the best-aging 3D games on the system.

  12. I think I actually prefer the overhead view… When Peace Walker was announced, I couldn’t help but pray that they abandoned a 3D camera in that game for classic controls/perspective, which would work wayyyy better with the PSP.

  13. To this day, I had never bought the hype more then I did for this game. But I have to say, I was pretty terrible at it.

    As an aside, the first time I ever went to New York, I bought Xenogears, which I suppose is akin to getting mugged. Hell of a town.

  14. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the most striking part of the game, to me.

    The part that really got me about the game was the relationship between Meryl and Snake. Even though I knew what would happen, I took the “easy way out” and submitted to Ocelot’s torture. As I progressed and neared the end of the game, I hoped against hope that Meryl would somehow survive, even though I already knew the game couldn’t end that way. When I finally arrived at the end and found that Meryl was dead, it killed me. I have never felt worse about a decision in a video game. To this day, I still feel like a terrible person for betraying Meryl.

    Ever since then, I haven’t touched the game. I don’t need to. That painful memory is enough to help me know that it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.

  15. Best part of MGS In my oh so not-humble opinion: Meryl gives you a disc at some point, then later tells you to contact her with the codec frequency on the back of the disc case. Spent like, a weekend (this was before my family had the internet) trying to figure out how to look at the code on the back of the disc, and then I realized that there was a picture of Snake talking to Meryl via codex complete with frequency on the back of the game case!!!!

    Genius. Although I’m sure it pissed off the kids who rented it sans the case.

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