As most longtime gamers know, Metal Gear began its career back on the NES, with catchy (if not a little disoriented) gameplay. It never got a full status of popularity, but it certainly was known. Now, some odd years later, Konami has created a sequel to the second Metal Gear, and it is going to rock when it hits American soil.
Picking up a number of years after Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid puts you in the boots of Solid Snake, a slick spy who is up against the corrupt organization that he used to be allied with. Headed by a man with the codename Liquid Snake, the fight will not be easy. Liquid and his cronies will stop at nothing to destroy you, as you are just an annoying insect to them in their quest to launch nuclear weapons from an Alaskan base. Excuse me if my plot details are a little sketchy, but my comprehension of Japanese is not exactly what I would call top notch, and the US demo was very light on storyline information. I do know that you will not be alone on your adventure through enemy territory, as you will have contact with your own base, via an ear communicator.
Konami's main focus for MGS was to create an action game that does not require frenzy button bashing, and a cinematic game that is just the same interactive. It appears that they hit the spot. As Solid Snake, you must creep, crawl, sneak, and shoot through enemy forces while remembering that you must make a consistent effort not to be seen by guards. Your ability list is a big one, and the possibilities seem unlimited in scope. Also much praise goes to Konami for thinking up a very playable cinematic video game. As the game starts, and as you begin to run around, credits come up on the screen just like a movie. After you reach a certain point, the director's name comes up, followed by a very slick Metal Gear Solid logo. Truly a marvel for the movie-savvy gamer.
The graphics in MGS are great for the most part, although a little rough around the edges. The animation is incredibly smooth, but the character models are very blurry and sometimes poorly drawn. This is easy to get by however, as you realize that every little nook and cranny is fully polygonized to near perfection. The designers didn't miss a thing, and to full avail, as the world that they created is truly beautiful in panorama. Everything from the water effects to rats crawling around on the floor are done as good as they possibly could.
MGS also has a wonderfully crafted musical score. It remains creepy and low tone as you sneak around planning your move. But get seen by a guard and the tone changes from low to super adrenaline inducing fast paced music. Escape the encounter with a guard, but he is still pursuing you, and the music gets very low and suspenseful. Add onto this great voice acting (well it sounded great even though I am not sure what great Japanese sounds like) and crisp sound effects, and you have yourself a game that actually sounds right.
So with stats this great so far, how can you go wrong? Well, I have heard a sad report that it only takes the average American gamer (who does not understand Japanese no less) about 6 to 7 hours to complete Metal Gear Solid. Although I have not yet had the chance to find out, the suggestions somewhat disturbs me. I mean come one, I have been waiting for this game for years. Oh well, beggars cant be choosers, and either way you can bet your ass I will be first in line to buy this fine title when it hits my side of the pond.
Andrew the Game Master