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Metal Gear Solid Review

Johnny_Liu By:
GENRE Action 
PUBLISHER Microsoft 
M Contains Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence, Mature Sexual Themes

What do these ratings mean?

Gaseous Snake not included.

Ah, Metal Gear. Metal Gear Solid 2 is about a year away, but some of you out there still haven't played the first one. You know who you are. Those who have sworn off the Playstation to cuddle up to their power guzzling PCs. Well, no excuses now. It hath been ported!

Metal Gear Solid for the PC includes both the original Metal Gear Solid, as well as the ho-hum Virtual Missions. While Virtual Missions was a nice little bonus that helped up the ante of the whole package, you'll be playing this game for the main story mode. What has always been the beauty of MGS was that, like few games before, it felt like taking part in a movie. The PC version is no different.

You are Solid Snake, retired Special Forces agent and former member of Fox Hound. Tired of the pain and strife of being a soldier, you have taken to a rustic life in Alaska. Not much there but unadulterated forests and woodland creatures, until your torrid past catches up with you. Former members of Fox Hound have returned, threatening to launch a weapon of limitless destruction. You get yanked out of retirement and sent to extinguish the threat.

The life of a government operative isn't easy. It's not like those Bond movies, what with all the women and cars and women driving cars. As Snake, you can't just saunter into a crowded room full of baddies, blurt out some innuendo and get out scot-free. Since its early NES days, Metal Gear has been about stealth. So, you have to do like the real spies do - lurk along the walls and use evasion to get past the enemy. If you get detected, you have to hide until the enemy gives up their relentless search for you.

Though sometimes hiding just doesn't cut it, and you'll need more than a few weapons to help you out. MGS is all about reality - no magic John Woo guns with unlimited bullets. Ammo conservation is key for the harder settings of the game. There are also a plethora of items that you can find clever uses for. A pack of cigarettes isn't just a source of cancer, but also useable to spot laser detectors.

All environments and characters are rendered in polygons. And with the increase in graphical mojo from the Playstation to PC, you can take advantage of some sweet high resolutions. It's tasty, but if you've played the Playstation version already, it's still nothing more than digital MGS. The hi-res doesn't change the game in any way besides making everything crispy and sharp. But fonts don't get the same makeover as the polygons; to most, they'll appear noticeably jaggy.

There's still detail aplenty - footprints in the snow, a foggy warm breath hitting the icy Alaskan air, and an Alaskan timber wolf peeing on you. Suffice it to say that this was a REALLY good-looking game for the time it came out. It stands the test of time more than decently, but like I said - this is a port.

PC gamers are also able to play the whole game from the first-person perspective, which was actually included in the Japanese PSX iteration MGS: Integral. While not nearly the kick-ass fragfest of Unreal Tournament, it's still a nice addition for the US market.

The sound still comes out very well, with movie quality orchestration. And for once, the voice talent is actually talented! Whoah-ho-ho!

There's something about Metal Gear that demands a controller. Even trying to take it into a new frame of mind, the keyboard is simply lacking next to the ol' PSX Dual Shock. The greatest losses are the trigger buttons. The index and middle fingers are usually used for compulsory actions; selecting through weapons and equipment work perfectly for that. Look around, though. I think Gravis makes some controllers that should do the trick. However, you can't replace the rumble feature that added to the whole experience of the original.

As a port, this is everything it should be. Nothing has been lost, and all that Metal Gear goodness is still there. But that's just it. It's a port - nothing more. Of course, when you port a game and don't do anything to update it, you'll port over all the flaws and inadequacies as well.

MGS has always had the ability to bring you into the game with its tremendous cinematic quality. But some of the movies just go on for too long, and you'll often watch two faces talking to one another on com-units for a while. At times they pull you in, but other times they put you off. Like that whiny scientist talking about love...ugh.

Don't swallow the line that there are new features and gameplay modes, because it's pretty much untrue. What they really mean is that VR Missions have been tossed into the mix. However, VR Missions has always been, well, boring. The gameplay is still fun, but there isn't the driving plot to keep you going. After a few plays, you'll get tired and go back to the real goods.

This is still a great game, and I didn't expect anything more from this well-done port. They certainly didn't do anything to screw up the game. But then there's another part of me that really wishes they had put in some extra effort, perhaps a brand new gameplay mode or a bonus side story. And while it doesn't change the grade, I wish the price were as cheap as it is now on the Playstation. Still a great game, but just wait until next year for the real show.

B+ Revolution report card
  • Great gameplay
  • Hi-res graphics and sweet sound
  • Cinematic
  • Immersive movie experience
  • Sometimes too much movie
  • Just a port
  • Keyboard not too good
  • Blah blah VR Missions

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