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SummaryA good barometer of what console gamers think serious gaming is. That is: Arcadish, overhyped, childish and with lots of cheese.
The GoodWell 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 BadWell, 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 LineIn 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.