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Metal Gear Solid

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by Konami

mgs_1.JPG (11820 bytes)So, you’re all alone; you only got a pack of smokes and a pair of binoculars. Are you worried? Are you afraid? Nay. You’re Solid Snake, a master of stealth and weaponry of every kind. All you gotta do is take on your old team (FOX-HOUND) and stop them from launching nukes on Washington. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, what happens if they do launch the nukes? Well, ya know...

I’ll admit I didn’t play through the original Metal Gear on the classic Nintendo, but I had a blast with this one. Metal Gear Solid shows without a doubt that the PSX is still the best next-generation system. Where else can you get over 100,000 words of spoken dialogue in a console system? MGS was fun from beginning to end, but the end came a little too soon. The game only took me about 12 hours to complete, which is kind of a let down after all the hype this game received. Don’t get me wrong, though; those 12 hours were the most fun I’ve had on my PSX for quite awhile.

So, how does MGS look on a 32-Bit system? Almost perfect! This game made me feel like I was really Solid Snake. The PSX’s ability to create realistic 3D environments never ceases to amaze me. The camera operates in a 3rd person view, similiar to Resident Evil’s, but since MGS is using a 3D engine it can easily change to a 1st person view by a push of a button. One of the most important effects of the graphics engine is the ability it gives you to peek around corners. By just backing up against the edge of walls or objects the camera zooms in and reveals what’s around the next corner. But amongst all of these little goodies I did find a problem. When you are spotted by a guard the camera remains the same as it would had you never been seen. The problem? Well, a lot of the camera angles have a very limited viewing range, which makes it almost impossible not to get shot to pieces during some gun battles. Since MGS is using a 3D engine they could have pulled the camera back, giving you a broader view of the surrounding areas. Not too big of a deal, but did make some areas unnecessarily messy. I must also mention the unique approach to cinema scenes MGS uses. Instead of using FMV the designers chose to use their amazing 3D engine to create the cinema scenes, which works perfectly in my opinion. Which brings up my next topic...

mgs_2.JPG (9186 bytes)The sound... what about the sound? It’s gotta be good, right? Oh yeah! From the choking sounds of you strangling a guard, your footsteps through a water puddle, or slamming a rocket into Liquid Snake’s chopper, MGS delivers. It doesn’t stop there though; MGS fills 2 CDs with actual speech! This is an element that has been missing in far too many console games. Having actual speech makes the whole gaming experience much more entertaining; it just brings you more into the game and story.

Now how about the controls? Are they easy to learn? Well... yes and no. I didn’t have too much trouble getting the hang of moving around, but I just couldn’t figure out how to crawl. The only other problem that I would imagine people would have with MGS’ control is scaling the sides of walls and objects. This came a little more naturally for me, but I would still find myself cruising around a corner when I was just trying to take a peek. Getting the hang of this does take quite a bit of practice. When you backup against a wall you will be pushing one of the four directions on your control pad. Once you’re against a wall you can sidestep left or right, but what you must remember is the direction you’re pushing when you’re against the wall. To sidestep to the left or right you must use the diagonal directions on your control pad. So if you’re against a wall and you’re pushing left then you can move up the wall by pushing diagonally up and to the left or down the wall by pushing diagonally down and to the left. It’s not really all that difficult; it just takes some practice.

mgs_3.JPG (11302 bytes)I must also mention the amazing weapons that MGS places at your disposal. You start with nothing and must acquire all of your weapons onsite. The first weapon you find is your trusty old Socom pistol. You later find a suppressor to muffle the sound, which will enable you to put together some stealthy kills. There’s nothing like sneaking up behind a guard taking a whiz and popping him in the back of the head with a couple of shots from your pistol. Although you will probably use the Socom the most, there are plenty of other weapons to chose from. You have several different grenades, such as chaff grenades that knockout the enemy’s radar, stun grenades that, well, stun enemies, and the standard frag grenades that just blow stuff up. You of course do have a machine gun, but the missile weapons are just too fun to use. The Stinger missile launcher is just plain awesome. What else are you gonna use to take out a chopper?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... You must buy a Dual Shock controller for this game! If there is ever a reason to buy a Dual Shock controller this game is it! Konami wanted MGS to have the best effects possible, so what did they do? They hired one person to do nothing but program the effects for the Dual Shock controller. When your hit with a bullet you feel it, when you see a chopper taking off you feel it. Very cool.

The bottomline is MGS is one of the best PSX games to date even though it is a little short. There is some replay value in that you can try different difficulty levels to see if you can really live up to Solid Snake’s reputation. I had fun playing this game and I won’t hesitate to recommend this game to any action adventure fan.

cheat.gif (1707 bytes)--Jon Hall