Morning commute with Solid Snake

You might not believe it, but the original Metal Gear Solid makes for a great portable game. I didn’t think it would when I got it for my PSP, mostly because there’s a lot of talking. And the more talking in a portable game, the less accessible it becomes.

There’s something about Metal Gear Solid though. This was Hideo Kojima before he was worshipped as a combination auteur and deity. Back when he still had something to prove. So when you boot MGS up on the train, you soon discover that the philosophical ramblings go quickly, and they’re oddly soothing. Of course, in my case, they’re also all in Japanese, which means that many of the words simply wash over me. But I don’t know that it would be any different in English.

As for the gameplay, every room in Metal Gear Solid poses an individual threat. Make it past the guards in one room, and suddenly you have to deal with a security camera, or maybe a boss. It makes it easy to tackle one room when you’re on the train, put the PSP on standby, and pick it up again a little later. Don’t ask me why it works. Some games just work well on portable systems, and Metal Gear Solid is one of them.

So far though we’ve only really seen adaptations and spinoffs on portable systems. Ghost Babel was a great game that hearkened back more to the original MSX episodes than its PlayStation predecessor. Portable Ops and Ac!d both have their fans, from what I’ve heard. But there’s nothing quite like the games that you’ll find on the Sony home consoles. I imagine that Kojima believes a game like Metal Gear Solid 4 can’t be done on something like the PSP or the Nintendo DS.

I wonder, though. It might be true that the tiny screen of the Nintendo DS and the PSP can no longer contain his awesome artistic genius. But then again, I would love to see the creativity going into something like GTA: Chinatown Wars poured into a portable MGS title instead. I would love to see an MGS that has more in common with its console forebears, but narrows its focus and cuts straight to the chase. Call it the anti-Metal Gear Solid 4. As luck would have it, there is indeed a portable MGS on the way…for the iPhone. And while it certainly looks pretty, it hard to say what it’ll be all about. Surely they can’t make anything that’s all that complex in a system that relies solely on title movement and its touchscreen for input? Well, we’ll see. But my spider senses tell me that this is just a side project, and that Kojima is focusing his attentions elsewhere, especially since he’s delegating production duties to a first-timer in Yasuyo Watanabe.

So for those yearning for a portable MGS, I guess we’ll just have to settling for Portable Ops. A dark prospect for some, I know, but I’m kind of keen to check it out. And, of course, I’ve still got the first Metal Gear Solid and Japanese Snake. If nothing else, sneaking through Shadow Moses on my morning commute can be a wonderful reminder of hopes that will most likely never come to pass.

15 thoughts on “Morning commute with Solid Snake

  1. Lucky Japan and its selection of PS1 games on PSN… so much classic awesomeness there. Even though I still have my original copy of MGS1 and VR Missions, I think I’d plunk down the cash for a portable copy.

    Oh and you can count me down as one of the people who liked the Acid games (or at least the second one which I grabbed new for $9 last spring.) It’s worth trying if you can get it for cheap, although it is definitely a very different beast.

    Also am I correct in assuming that the screenshot for this post is from the “Twin Snakes” Gamecube version?

  2. Quick question, how do they handle the codec frequency that you were supposed to get from the back of the package in the downloadable version? Is it included in the electronic manual?

  3. “Do I detect MORE subtle MGS4/Kojima bashing on this blog?

    Give it a rest, guys.”

    It deserves every ounce of vitriol thrown its way. MGS4 lost the focus of the previous entries and because a shadow of its former self- as much Gears of War as Metal Gear Solid.

    MG:PO wasn’t much better, though. The lack of a second analog stick, despite insistence on a 3D camera, really hurt the game. Well, that and the tacked-on, 98% pointless side-story plot.

  4. So let’s see…here’s a post that talks about how great MGS is, and how great it would be to have a true portable MGS, and all Hero can do is get his panties bunched up over some imagined slight? Stay classy, fanboys.

  5. I predict that MGS for iPhone will involve answering codec calls with the little green “answer” button and will require you to use an ersatz in-game Google Maps to find your way around.

  6. Back when I had a hacked PSP, I threw MGS on there for fun, and found the controls a little unwieldy, mainly due to not having 4 shoulder buttons.

    How do they fix that in the official releasE?

  7. I’d kill for a MGS game on the DS. If it had the lockpicking from splinter cell translated to the touchscreen and other fun uses of the touchscreen I’d be in heaven.

  8. It is in no way an imagined slight, webmaster. The current, frequent posts about MGS4 (which is an odd decision in the first place, considering when it came out and the context the posts are in) have been down on MGS4, despite throwing in a few good words about Kojima’s previous efforts.

    Kat: MGS is a game that requires silence and stealth and has a ton of talking. How can you concentrate on a train? :P

  9. Oh. Sorry, I’ll see to it that all future posts are white-washed to conform to the accepted message of Metal Gear Solid 4 discussion; beatings will be administered to anyone who displeases you, as clearly there is no room for a contrary opinion.

  10. I may be very, very alone, but the Metal Gear Game Boy Color game has always been my favorite in the series. The story has always put me off, but I love the tactical gameplay – moving from one room to the next.

    You’ve convinced me to give MGS1 another chance.

  11. He just came up wit the concept of that game. He wasn’t the writer or director.

    I guess I shouldn’t blast all handheld gaming. The Psp is awesome.

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