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Metal Gear Solid

aka: Hejin Zhuangbei, MGS, Metal Gear 3
Moby ID: 2511
PlayStation Specs
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Description official descriptions

Metal Gear Solid is a sequel to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. After the tragic confrontation with Big Boss, the hero, special agent Solid Snake, decided to retire and has since then lived in a secluded region in Alaska. But the US government recruits him once again for a dangerous mission. The members of Foxhound, a renegade special forces unit, threaten to use a devastating nuclear weapon if the government doesn't hand them the mortal remains of Big Boss, their former commander. Foxhound is now led by a talented, ambitious young man with the codename Liquid Snake. Knowing that the visual resemblance between this new terrorist mastermind and himself can not be coincidental, Solid Snake agrees to infiltrate the new Foxhound base, destroy the unknown nuclear weapon, and find the truth about his own identity.

The gameplay in Metal Gear Solid follows the prototype established in the two earlier Metal Gear games. Solid Snake has a limited arsenal of weapons and cannot allow himself to pave his way to the goal by killing all the enemies. He has to stay unnoticed, hide, crawl, wait for the right moment, sneak, and use various gadgets that will prevent him from alerting the enemy. Boss battles and some other sequences are played out as action-oriented set pieces, with the player having to figure out the weakness of the enemy in order to succeed.

The game utilizes a traditional top-down view, but the graphics in this installment are real 3D. Conversations with Snake's allies and cutscenes are used extensively to advance the plot and gain more insight into it.

Spellings

  • メタルギアソリッド - Japanese spelling
  • 合金装备 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 特攻神諜 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation version)

173 People (148 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Solid Snake
Liquid Snake
Meryl Silverburgh
Naomi Hunter
Hal Emmerich
Roy Campbell
Mei Ling
Gray Fox (Ninja)
Nastasha Romanenko
Revolver Ocelot
Vulcan Raven
Psycho Mantis
Sniper Wolf
Donald Anderson
Kenneth Baker
Jim Houseman
Genome Soldier A
Genome Soldier B
Johnny Sasaki
Enemy Soldier
Computer Voice
European package design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 94% (based on 35 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 239 ratings with 11 reviews)

The definitive PSX experience.

The Good
Usually, when the term "movielike" is applied to a game, it's not a compliment. FMV watchfests like Wing Commander III or Dragon's Lair, while good games in their own rights, just don't seem to pull you in to their plots, and there's not enough game in the experience to make you happy.

But with Metal Gear Solid, calling it movielike is a tribute to the amazing job pulled off by Hideo Kojima and Konami in making a masterpiece that furthers the argument for videogames as an art form.

The well-developed plot puts you in the role of Solid Snake, a retired ex-member of the underground government group Fox-Hound. He is called back into service when the members of Fox-Hound suddenly seize a military base in Alaska, and threaten to launch a nuclear weapon unless the government turns over the remains of legendary soldier Big Boss within 24 hours. The plot easily matches those of most RPGs for complexity and depth, and manages (most of the time) to avoid being too cheesy. And expect a few curveballs along the way.

When you get right down to the gameplay, it'll be familiar to anyone who has played the NES incarnations of Metal Gear. You operate mostly from an overhead view, though there are a few scenes where Resident Evil-style camerawork is used for dramatic effect. Your job is to go from section to section of the base, rescuing the two hostages and eventually trying to stop a nuclear launch. Stealth is emphasized heavily; you have to sneak past the guards when their backs are turned, and you can employ a variety of techniques, including tapping on the walls to lure them away, throwing chaff grenades to confuse surveillance cameras, and even hiding inside a cardboard box. Of course, you can't always stay hidden, and like all good action heroes, Snake winds up using pretty much an entire arsenal over the course of the game. With so many different playstyles possible, the gameplay doesn't get boring easily. The boss battles are each unique, and you'll have to play through them a couple of times before you figure out the "trick" to beating each boss. Top-notch gameplay.

The graphics are also choice. At its heart, the gameplay is 2D, but everything in MGS is rendered using the game's versatile 3D engine, right down to the maggots in a prison cell. The graphic design also pays insane attention to detail; you can see breath vapor in the cold outdoors, and Snake will leave footprints in the snow that become covered up over time. Some nifty effects are also used during flashbacks and whenever a mysterious Ninja appears onscreen.

The sound has to be heard to be believed. Unlike RPGs, which sometimes read like a novel, every word in MGS is spoken by top-notch voice acting that tops even the Legacy of Kain series. Konami really went nuts on the CD format here. The soundtrack is great too, with dramatic orchestral arrangements during battles, and soulful tunes during dramatic turns in the story.

All in all, never have the fun of video games and artfulness of cinema blended so well. Five stars!

The Bad
Fine, make me nitpick.

  • The graphic design, as I mentioned is great, but the engine itself ain't all that hot. Low-res textures give everything a very pixelated look, and since the cut-scenes all play out using the in-game engine, the character's faces are static. Snake himself doesn't really have much of face.

  • While the in-game cut scenes are almost all terrific, the Codec screen (Snake talking to his backup, usually used as a hint and summary system) is not. 2D still faces here, people, like listening to a radio play. And the Codec sequences can run a little long, and there's to real way to skip them.

  • The game itself will only give you about 20 hours of play. While you are encouraged to play through it twice to get both endings, that's it. 40 hours is all ya got. Still, at $20, you get your money's worth. Definitely a better deal than spending one quarter as much to see a two-hour movie.

    The Bottom Line
    MGS may not have the best graphics, or the most consistent gameplay, and the delicate balance between game and movie is still a little skewed towards the movie. But folks, that movie ain't half-bad, and this is by far the most engrossing, detailed, immersive, and above all ENTERTAINING experience on the little grey box.

PlayStation · by Anatole (58) · 2001

A good barometer of what console gamers think serious gaming is. That is: Arcadish, overhyped, childish and with lots of cheese.

The Good
Well for a while Metal Gear Solid's action sequences were fun. The action is furious and the cinema aproach to it makes it very exiting. There is a very nice animé feel to the graphics which are pretty acceptable yes, though they are nothing we haven't seen before. The sound of the game is excellent, from the voice acting, the sfx to the music it really shines through....what else... well I should point out that if you are a nostalgic dude and want to re-live the old Metal Gear nes gameplay this game pretty much captures the entire gameplay spirit, it even feels like an updated copy at times, with the "use the cigarettes to pass the laser" or "hide in the box on the trucks" and of course the stupid "guide the missile" sequences. Oh yeah! and the action figure line from McFarlane Toys rocks! be sure to check it out!

The Bad
Well, all I have to say about this game is that it confirms the worst prejudices the pc gaming community has towards the console community. That you play shallow, commercial kiddie-crap. That you are to videogames what N'sync is to music. Really, the amount of popularity this game had on the playstation serves only to back this up.

But why is the game so bad you say? well, first of all the story. It is the single lamest, infantile piece of crap I've ever encountered on a videogame. Suffice to say that Tetris or Street Fighter have more compelling stories than this. It's the kind of over-ambitious aproach to storytelling that has brought us such masterpieces as say...Street Fighter: The Movie, or Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.....yeah, it's that bad. You are placed on the shoes of the super-badass spec-ops agent Solid Snake, who is sent to save the world from a group of former spec-ops agents gone bad who are threathening to release the infamous Metal Gear. All through the game you'll be treated to the worst collection ever assembled of cornball dialogue and action movie clichés. The dialogue is truly painful to listen, taking its roots from every bad action movie starring Lorenzo Lamas you've ever seen. Worse are the video sequences, a particularly awful one comes to mind: you get explained by a certain character what the Metal Gear is supposed to be, and he starts babling about him being a manga fan (because the MG is a mecha) what's next? you get showed an expository animé sequence (showing some giant-robot show) explaining to us how the japanese use this, and were the first to manufacture bi-pedal robots...... I first stood in sheer confusion at what had just been showed to me...then of course I broke up and started laughing out loud.

Want more inconsistency? Get this: you are the super-duper special agent who is sent to danger equiped with.....nothing! that's right! not even a stupid knife! The bad guy (who, of course, shares a nasty secret with you) knows were you are and could send an army your way...but no! he'll wait to the "final confrontation", every character dies in a "dramatic" way, most of the time with "ah, you have beaten me, you were a worthy opponent" as their last words.

Sorry, but I can't stress enough how bad the story, how cheesy the characters are, how utterly childish the whole thing is...But that would be okay at least if the gameplay was good, right? well gameplay sucks too. You can only carry one piece of equipment at each time (so if you want to use the bullet-proof vest and smoke a cigarette you are out of luck...just like in real life!). And the much-touted "sneak" gameplay is a joke, there are some interesting details, but otherwise this is an arcade game with deliriums of grandeur. Since the game is played mostly from a top-down view it wouldn't be fair if enemies that weren't even on screen could see you, right? thus when you switch to 1st person perspective you'll see that a guy standing 12 feet away in a clearing with both of you standing up can't see you! More unintentional laughter courtesy of ms. Snake comes in the way of characters that are oblivious to gunshots, etc. In all, the "sneaking" doesn't even get to Thief's knees.

Moreover, the game is blindingly easy, with every emphasis placed on "twitch" arcade reflexes. Even the things that are supposed to be puzzles can be bypassed with no use of neurones whatsoever. Case in point, there's a certain boss whom you just can't kill by conventional means. Fail to exterminate him enough times, trying to think you must make a strategic use of some sort of specific equipment, or use some special tactic, and the game will actually TELL YOU what you need to do to defeat it. And surprise, surprise! it involved just fidling with your controller. Even the super Metal Gear that's supposed to be a world-wide threat can be destroyed by the combined might of you and your gamepad.

The Bottom Line
In all, Metal Gear Solid is a title that has remained frozen in time. It's like gaming hasn't made any advances besides getting better graphics, and clearer sounds. Mario works because you make a lot of concessions to it. MG: Solid instead tells us that it's a super-realistic cinematic thriller and ask us to make no concessions to it, and that's what kills it. If this game had just said to the world Hey! I'm nothing but a high-tech arcade game, then we could have believed it. As it stands MG:S dies by overhyping itself and pretending to be something it isn't, and sadly, that includes being a good game.

You can however, use this game as an excellent example of the mentality behind console gamers. Try asking people for their opinions on this, and you'll be able to pinpoint with amazing accuracy the persons that think Super Mario is the very best of videogame entertainment, and the ones that don't listen to N'sync and Britney if you catch my drift.

PlayStation · by Zovni (10504) · 2001

The Running Gun Blues

The Good
There were only two Metal Gear games that I played prior to my most recent playthrough of the series, and the Gamecube remake of Metal Gear Solid was one of them. Back then, I really didn’t enjoy the game, and my most vivid memory of it was being thankful it was over. Now that I’ve played the original Metal Gear titles on the MSX2, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the series and felt that I was well prepared to give the first in the Solid series another chance, this time on the original Playstation. I went into it expecting to enjoy it with a newly gained perspective of the series. Unfortunately, I just feel that same way I did after completing it the first time.

Metal Gear Solid starts out the same way as the previous two games: Snake arrives at a compound filled with enemy combatants and must infiltrate it with nothing but his wits and a pack of cigarettes. Where Solid diverges from the original series is in both its new 3D polygons and a much greater focus on storytelling. Before you even start, you’re given the option to view a rather lengthy set of briefing videos that outline the mission Snake’s about to embark on in great detail. It’s optional, since much of the information provided is also given in dialogue, but it underlines the great effort taken to create a deep story experience.

This time around, Snake is tasked with rescuing two hostages and preventing terrorists from launching a nuclear device. The terrorists are composed of soldiers from Snake’s old unit, FOXHOUND, and they make up the game’s diverse rogues gallery. While Metal Gear 2 had some interesting bosses, Solid takes it a step further by giving them unique personalities and building them up before finally placing you at odds with them. This leads to some extremely memorable encounters, and is perhaps Metal Gear Solid’s most outstanding feature. However, the attempt to make them well-rounded characters unfortunately leads to them launching into absolutely ludicrous monologues both before and after their battles.

While Metal Gear Solid does have a case of the early 3D uglies, the presentation holds up remarkable well due to a great artstyle and sound design. It’s hard to believe that the voice acting came from the late 90’s, since most of the performances are extremely well done; passable even by today’s standards. Characters and environments are blocky and pixelated, but excellent texture work, the use of atmospheric lighting, and adherence to the series’ typical blue-grey colour palette make them visually appealing, despite their obvious age.

Despite the many changes that Solid brings to the series, there are still portions reminiscent to earlier games. The item collecting is still present and still satisfying, though it’s somewhat diluted by the game’s more linear progression and some superfluous items. Certain portions feel directly ripped from Metal Gear 2, such as a puzzle that requires you to heat and cool a key card to get it to fit in different locks and a certain encounter where Snake must confirm the identity of a character by following her into the women’s bathroom. Unfortunately, many of these additions feel useless within the game’s new structure. The aforementioned key puzzle in particular already required a great deal of backtracking, and Solid’s linearity and insistence on constantly popping up new storytelling sequences makes the sequence even less tolerable.

The Bad
I’d be hesitant to call Metal Gear Solid’s narrative bad, since it does feature a decent amount of depth, memorable and well-rounded characters, and an interesting progression. However, it’s hard to actually appreciate it when it’s mired in so many problems that it would likely take a lengthy essay to properly cover. The root of the problem isn’t in the story, which is largely a repeat of the previous games, but rather in the storytelling. Gameplay is frequently interrupted by cutscenes or codec communication sequence, and these interruptions tend to be long and drawn out.

This is the price of those diverse and memorable characters; long and overdramatic dialogue. Every character in the game is so quick to spill their life story that it quickly gets ridiculous. You’d think you were in a chat room full of teenagers, rather than on a covert infiltration mission. Almost every boss gives a long monologue as they die the clichéd slow death, telling you all about how tragic their life was and how great you are for finally giving them peace. Any character who talks to you over codec feels the need for venting their every insecurity. This does have the benefit of creating sympathetic villains and conveying motivation, but there are better ways of handling character development. This is the storytelling equivalent of publishing someone’s diary.

If you’re not listening to a character prattle on about how they were born on the battlefield, then they’re probably over-explaining the game’s technology and political climate. I can’t say I’ve ever wondered how a key card works in the game, yet Metal Gear Solid takes the steps of carefully explaining how that door slides open when you get near it. This is the sort of thing that goes better in flavour text. If I cared, I’d ask. I imagine the goal of all this superfluous information is to make the game world feel more real, but over-developed trivialities sit beside ridiculous ideas like the ability to manufacture the perfect soldier by splicing specific genes. The mere fact that so much effort went into making certain elements of the narrative airtight and realistic just makes the many preposterous elements harder to swallow.

I hate to spend so much time harping on the game’s writing, but when the game is so ridden with cutscenes and dialogue it’s hard to ignore. By my estimate, somewhere around one-third of the entire game’s running time is taken up by cutscenes, and this is taking my numerous deaths into consideration. It seems that for every two rooms traversed, a cutscene is there to interrupt, and the constant starting and stopping becomes extraordinarily aggravating until it all culminates in the most excruciatingly eye-roll inducing ending I think I’ve ever sat through. If the narrative just played nice with the gameplay instead of constantly getting in the way, I would have been much kinder to it.

It doesn’t even feel like the designers knew what to do with the gameplay. As mentioned, many of the gameplay elements from the early Metal Gear games have been replicated in the new 3D engine, but the structure had to be completely gutted in order to accommodate the cutscenes. Exploration has been scaled back considerably to the point where the game feels restrictively linear. Yet, despite dropping exploration entirely, the designers make a half-hearted attempt to cram it back in there. Rooms are still locked until you get a key, so backtracking is still necessary, but few of the rooms contain something that makes the trip worthwhile. Worse yet, some of the forced backtracking is unreasonably forced. The worst case of this is a boss battle that has to be interrupted while you travel back to one of the game’s first rooms in order to retrieve a weapon. You then walk back to the boss, defeat them (potentially), and get sent all the way back there in a cutscene, only to have to walk back again. It’s ridiculous!

What makes this even more intolerable is the horrendous camera angles which seems to be stuck between poorly emulating the perspective in Metal Gear 2 and trying to present something more cinematic. The result is a view that is zoomed in way too close and angled way too high, making the whole game feel frustratingly claustrophobic. This forces reliance on the radar, which works okay, for the most part, allowing you to accurately see an enemy’s field of view, but the problem is that it gets frequently jammed. So if you’re unfamiliar with the position of enemies and auto-turrets, you could easily wind up walking into the line of sight of one that is carelessly positioned right outside the camera’s perspective.

The Bottom Line
You’ll have to forgive me if, after the excellent Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, I’m extremely disappointed with Metal Gear Solid. Even if Solid’s storytelling and dialogue were spot on, the gameplay from the previous games had to be so scaled back that very little remains of what makes the first games so satisfying. What was held onto feels more like ornamental additions held onto for tradition’s sake, such as pointless backtracking sessions and items that are basically unnecessary. It’s not all bad, though. While I found it to be frustrating to play, its outstanding presentation ensures that there are a lot of memorable moments and characters to meet. I just wish it wasn’t all bogged down in a completely MEDIOCRE experience.

PlayStation · by Adzuken (836) · 2015

[ View all 11 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Zovni's (really old) review for this is great! Simoneer (29) Oct 5, 2010

Trivia

Action figures

For the US release of Metal Gear Solid, McFarlane Toys was entrusted with the sculpting of an action figure line based on the game by Konami. Consisting of one series, the lineup includes: Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, Ninja, Revolver Ocelot, Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven, Liquid Snake and a limited edition Psycho Mantis repaint. This series has been re-released several times (later in double-packs).

Copy protection

It is rather important to keep the box for the PlayStation version of the game, since it features a frequency for the CODEC communicator thay you will need to progress through the game in one of the screenshots.

Emulation

One of three games to be emulated on the short-lived bleemcast! PlayStation emulator for Dreamcast.

References

Members of the development team hid images of themselves throughout the game. These images or 'ghosts' as they are referred to are only visible by taking photographs of certain areas in the game with the camera item.

References to the game

This game is referenced in the Eiffel 65 song, My Console.

Rumors

There were untrue rumors about Greg Eagles, the actor who voiced Grey Fox, being dead. In fact, he was mistaken for Kaneto Shiozawa, the actor who voiced the same character in the Japanese version of the game, dead in 2000.

Voice acting

Due to union regulations, the voice cast (with the exceptions of David Hayter and Doug Stone) used pseudonyms during the recording sessions, and were credited that way. Here's a list with the voice actors names and their respective pseudonyms: Cam Clarke (James Flinders), Debi Mae West (Mae Zadler), Jennifer Hale (Carren Learning), Christopher Randolph (Christopher Fritz), Paul Eiding (Paul Otis), Kim Mai Guest (Kim Nguyen), Greg Eagles (Greg Byrd), Renée Raudman (Renee Collette), Patric Zimmerman (Patric Laine), Peter Lurie (Chuck Farley), Tasia Valenza (Julie Monroe), Allan Lurie (Bert Stewart) and William Bassett (Frederick Bloggs).

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • February 2006 (Issue #200) - #12 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #17 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
    • October 2004 (Issue #200) - #12 on the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #32 Top Game of All Time
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #70 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Ace of Sevens, Big John WV, chirinea, Evil-Jim, Grant McLellan, Indra was here, J. Michael Botorff, PCGamer77 and Zovni

Analytics

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Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
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LittleBigPlanet: Metal Gear Solid Meryl Costume
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Related Sites +

  • Hints for Metal Gear Solid
    The solutions are revealed one tip at a time to give you just the help you need. If you're stuck, these hints will help you.
  • JUNKER HQ
    This fansite is dedicated to the games produced and/or designed by Hideo Kojima and contains all kinds of trivia, artwork, plot summaries, discussion forums and more.
  • Metal Gear Solid PC
    Official Site
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Unofficial Site
    A fansite that contains information about the whole Metal Gear franchise, including galleries, interviews, downloadable content and discussion boards.
  • Wikipedia: Metal Gear Solid
    Information about Metal Gear Solid at Wikipedia

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 2511
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

PS Vita added by GTramp. PlayStation 3, PSP added by Foxhack. PlayStation added by Grant McLellan.

Additional contributors: woods01, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, tlm, tarmo888, DreinIX, —-, Paulus18950, Caelestis, Patrick Bregger, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy).

Game added October 19, 2000. Last modified May 24, 2024.