The classic game of espionage and stealth that started on the Japanese MSX game systems and later the NES, has returned in grand style in the 90ís on the PlayStation. If you ever needed a reason to buy a PlayStation, it just arrived.
Solid Snake is here and I for one couldnít be happier. Ever since I played the two level demo, I have been hooked. Games with this amount of intelligence, quality, imagination and fun are a rare breed. Metal Gear Solid has all of this without breaking a sweat. Be warned though, this isnít a Rambo game. If you think youíre gonna just blow everyone away, you wonít last long in this game. Stealth and planning are the name of Snakeís game and if I were you, Iíd do it his way.
The predecessors to this game, featured a top down perspective that worked extremely well. You were able to see guards and whatnot as you skulked around army bases searching for that walking nuclear mech, Metal Gear. MGS also plays from a top down perspective, but allows you to get a Snakeís eye view of your surroundings at any time. Couple that with the "Scope" and youíll be able to get a zoomed in look in complete 3D of your environment and enemies.
You start your mission with nothing but a pack of smokes and must find your weapons and gadgets along the way. As in the first games you are armed with a transmitter (Codec) which gets you in touch with various operatives for advice, mission briefs and sexual harassment. (Youíll see, that Snakeís a charmer...) As you make your way around the Alaskan base, the story line becomes more involved and complex, which may have some people scratching their heads at times. Donít worry, if you miss something, youíll be reminded of it later.
Graphically, this game is dark and a tad grainy, but thatís completely incidental. You will stop caring about the grainy textures 1.2 milliseconds after a guard discovers you, believe me. The levels are exquisitely detailed, providing game environments just as impressive as Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII. All the cutscenes are done using game graphics and helps keep you immersed in this thrill a minute masterpiece.
The gameplay is what this game is about and it delivers. From hiding under trucks and watching your enemyís feet walk by (from your field of vision) to tapping on walls to attract a guards attention to breaking their necks or using them as a human shield when you are confronted, this game just doesnít let up with the fun. The realism is unparalleled. Any game that letís you use a cardboard box as a disguise is okay in my books. Yes, the cardboard box is back and youíll need it. Other gadgets like the thermal goggles which are helpful for seeing things the naked eye canít see or the Nikita Remote Controlled Missile, just screams out imagination and quality game design.
The voice acting in MGS is above average. Thereís only a couple of stinkers in the whole lineup, and there is a BIG lineup. Most deliver their lines with the appropriate timing and drama. Musically, MGS is fantastic. From the opening song with the female voice, youíll know you are in for a movie experience.
The Dual Shock controller is an absolute MUST, for MGS. You need to buy one NOW. Snake controls well enough with the digital pad, but the analog is just tighter for this sort of game. As well, the inventive use of the vibration of the dual shock must be appreciated as it draws you just that much deeper into the game reality. The game just doesnít "feel" right with the digital pad, thereís no added tension.
Yes, MGS is amazing, but still falls short in a couple of places. The amount of talking (listening on your end) is sometimes just too long. I actually became restless in a couple of places. Yes it advances the story along, but it could have been shorter. My other bone of contention is that if you take away the yakking, you end up with a pretty short game. If you think youíre gonna get the 80 hours plus you received in FFVII, think again. The average player will make it through in about 10-12 hours the first time, and much shorter the second time. My last beef is with the flashing/disappearing enemies. This game attempts to be so realistic and then your fallen enemy blinks a few times and then heís gone. I think that takes away from the reality, and could have added to the gameplay. If a guard discovers a dead guard, then the hunt is intensified. Tenchu the great Ninja game from Activision, left the dead where they were and not only was it more realistic, but helped you mark your territory.
In conclusion, the faults of MGS have to be overlooked when faced with a package this incredible. This will be the game that everyone will be playing, talking about and demanding for Christmas and the rest of 1999. I highly recommend this game and give it my highest approval rating yet. Donít waste time. You need this game. NOW SOLDIER!