|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Kojima Prod.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Metal Gear Solid series has been one of the most critically and commercially successful series of all time. The first title is credited with essentially creating the stealth action genre, and many attribute the success of series like Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six to the precedent set forth by the Metal Gear series. This series is truly classic among game fans. And while many people around the world have played this classic series, many have not. And for those who have never been able to get around to enjoying this series, there is now a way to enjoy all three of the main console entries in the series for under $30: the Metal Gear Solid: Essential Collection.
I, much to the chagrin of many of my fellow co-workers, have never delved into the world of Metal Gear Solid. Unfortunately I was rather young when the first title hit, and I never could say I had much interest in the sequels. But it was always on my gaming "to-do" list, and I was very excited to play these games consecutively over a period of three intense days.
One very important thing to note right off the bat is that these discs are in their original format. That means that the original Metal Gear Solid title is in it's original PlayStation black disc format, so if you are planning on playing these titles on a PlayStation 3, make sure yours is one of the 20, 60 or 80 GB models that are backwards compatible. But if you're playing on a regular PlayStation 2, then you should be good to go, as long as you have an original PlayStation memory card.
Now that you know all about the technical specs, how does the gameplay hold up? Well, as one of the previously uninitiated Metal Gear Solid elite, I can say without nostalgic bias that the gameplay in these games is extremely fun and engaging. The first Metal Gear Solid, which was originally released over ten years ago, has a very simple stealth based action system that definitely has a larger focus on the natural hiding aspect then the rest of the series. It has some pretty awesome level design as well, and holds it's own among modern games for its unique combination of strategy, stealth, and of course, gunplay. The original Metal Gear Solid is also a really great title because of its very involved story. The story in Metal Gear Solid revolves around Snake, an ex-armed forces member who gets himself into several dangerous situations involving an extremely dangerous nuclear device: the Metal Gear. But this story isn't only about Snake's missions. In addition to Snake, there are a whole host of secondary characters with very developed backgrounds whom you'll end up caring a lot about. The story also takes some very interesting twists and turns that you never see coming. I can definitely see why the original Metal Gear is considered such a masterpiece. If you have never played the original for whatever reason, this title is worth the price of the collection.
And although the original Metal Gear is definitely the most important entry in the series, I have to say that my favorite Metal Gear Solid title has to be Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The version that is included in the collection is actually Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. This is essentially a director's cut of the original title, and has several extra missions and some unlockable material. Metal Gear Solid 2 continues the story of Snake and takes place almost directly after the events of the second title. The Metal Gear Solid story reaches a fever pitch in this title and every level seems to bring some new or interesting revelation to light. And even though the story is an excellent part of Metal Gear Solid 2, the upgraded battle options are what made this title really stand out in my opinion. While the initial Metal Gear Solid had a great battle system, it definitely feels a little basic to a modern audience. But Metal Gear Solid 2, despite being nearly seven years old itself, definitely feels more on par with modern games, and features more acute controls, better weapons, and squad-based play.