8-Bit Dreams: Metal Gear Solid

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8-Bit Dreams is a semi-regular feature here on Faux, where we take a look back at the undisputed legends of gaming; the console classics that shaped the platforms we know and love today. This time we look at the Playstation classic, Metal Gear Solid.

‘Metal Gear Solid’ follows Solid Snake, an elite soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralize a terrorist threat from FOXHOUND, a renegade special forces unit. Snake must liberate two hostages; the head of DARPA (an advanced defense research team) and the president of a major arms manufacturer, confront the terrorists, and stop them from launching a nuclear strike.

Metal Gear Solid was met with a huge array of praise on its arrival and is often cited as one the most important game releases ever. It help solidify the “Stealth” genre and re-defined aspects of gaming that still hold strong in some of the biggest franchises today. It’s safe to say, franchises like Syphon Filter, Splinter Cell, Hitman, Tenchu, Assassins Creed & Rainbow Six wouldn’t be in the form they are in today, without Metal Gear.

The series is produced and developed by Hideo Kojima a Japanese game producer and former vice president of Konami (the company that publishes Metal Gear). He hasn’t had many notable games published outside of Japan besides the Metal Gear series but if you ever get a chance I suggest you check out his other games Snatcher & Policenauts.

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What made ‘Metal Gear Solid’ such a unique game was its commitment to a cinematic style of story telling and the level of variety provided in both the games inner challenges and end of level boss fights. Its my opinion that the PS1 incarnation is the most well rounded version of the series and whereas later versions may be more advanced with better graphics and expand on the well thought out formula of game play from the first game. The sheer balance of story telling, outright action, puzzling challenges and cinematic tendencies make it the most complete title in the series. My main problem with the later games is the reliance on the cut-scenes to tell the story and the sheer length of them. Konami & Sony went so far as to ban reviewers from talking about the length of the cut-scenes in Metal Gear Solid 4, for fear of bad press and loss of sales.

My favorite stage of the game is the first boss, Revolver Ocelot. After finding arms tech president Kenneth Baker strapped to a ‘Saw’ like trap rigged with C4 explosives, Revolver (so called because of his love of handguns) appears and challenges snake to a fight. The fight takes places in a square room, the center is rigged with the explosives and a series of trigger wires. Snake has to avoid the wires, not shoot the explosives and chase revolver. Its a tactical game of cat and mouse, coupled with the need for some precision shooting. Check out the intro scene below.

Metal Gear Solid consistently ranks as one of the top 50 games of all time and it would easily be in my top 10. Too many hours have been logged fighting through its vast world and too many hours have been wasted toying with some of the games comical features, like hiding in a cardboard box and chasing guards (if you have played it, you’ll know what I mean).

You can check out the full trailer for the game below.