Back in 1998, Konami released a Hideo Kojima directed game called Metal Gear Solid, the sequel to the MSX (and NES remake) Metal Gear. This game received near perfect scores or perfect scores in every magazine or website. The game sold millions of copies worldwide and so did the sequel. Now, a third game is coming and most Nintendo fanboys didn’t have the chance to get a taste of what Metal Gear Solid really was, so Hideo Kojima, after talks with Shigeru Miyamoto and Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack, decided that we would get our share of Metal Gear Solid in the form of The Twin Snakes, a remake of the PlayStation game. I should tell you, before going on with this review, that this is the game that made me buy a PSX (and FF7 of course, but mostly MGS), and I have finished it more than a dozen times on that system and on every difficult level. Even though I already knew the game by heart, I still bought the remake, and I hope that after you’re finished reading this review, you will too as it is a truly amazing game and even though it’s pretty short, it’s worth 40$!
First off, let’s start with the story. You are Solid Snake, and the US government has decided that you’ve been retired for too long now and they need you for one final mission. A group of terrorists lead by Liquid Snake and a team of 5 super soldiers, as well as many genetically enhanced soldiers, have taken control of a base in Alaska and they plan on launching a nuclear missile if they don’t get paid. Unfortunately, the US government doesn’t really want to pay, so they send our friend Solid Snake as a one-man army to save the day. Unfortunately for him, everything turns out really bad as everyone he has been sent to save mysteriously dies and everything he has been told isn’t exactly true. I won’t tell you all the little details as it could spoil the whole story, but you’ll really get shocked at times as there are lots of crazy plots twists. The story is extremely deep for an action game, with lots of emotional moments, all of which is told through dialogues or cutscenes. A good thing to know is that all cutscenes have been remade by a Japanese movie director called Ryuhey Kitamura who seems to have been inspired a lot from the Wachowski brothers, so expect a lot of bullet time effects. Some people like it, some think the original’s cutscenes were better, you’re the judge, but I thought that even though it made the game seem even less believable than it already was, it was pretty fun to watch and it makes for one more reason to buy the game!
Now, before we jump into the more technical stuff, you might want to know how this game plays. Well, since the GC controller has fewer buttons than the PSX controller, they had to change a few things, but when you get used to it, it feels all very natural. First off, the A button is your action button, used to fire weapons, throw grenades, etc. The B button is used to punch your enemies, and to detonate C4. You also use that button to knock on the wall to distract your enemies. Then, there’s the Y button which is used to interact with objects like using cards to access a computer or accessing an elevator. The X button is your crouch button, but if you’re running it is used to roll. The L and R buttons are used to access your items and weapons, and when you press the Z button you get into the first-person mode which can be quite useful at times.
Using all of what Snake is capable of, you’ll have to go through an entire base without being seen, and if you do, be ready to fight as the guards will call for help and they’ll hunt you down until they find you and kill you. Unfortunately for you, the AI has been upped quite a bit over even MGS2, so you’ll have a hard time escaping. Even I had to let myself die most of the time because it was just too much, especially when playing on extreme difficulty. Fortunately for you, you have an on-screen radar that shows where your enemies are and how far they can see, but they have an extremely good ear and they hear nearly every sound you make so you might want to walk really slowly at times or throw objects to lure them to some corner far from you while you make your way to the nearest elevator and get to the next area. This is what you’ll be going through most of the game, but did I mention there were boss battles? In fact, there are many. Remember those 5 super soldiers I told you about before. Well, it seems they all want a piece of Snake as you’ll have to fight them all to death. There’s a lot of variety as you’ll have gunfights, at some point you’ll have to use only your fists for some hand-to-hand action, then you’ll be throwing grenades at a tank, then missiles at a helicopter, then you’ll use your PSG1 as you’ll need this gun’s scope to fight against a sniper, then you’ll be against a psycho guy who can fly and who reads your mind and can tell every move you are going to make. All this to take you to the final battle against Metal Gear, a giant walking battle tank! This game has a lot of variety and you won’t get bored while playing it.
Now, the part that some found disappointing, the graphics. They are actually quite good for the most part, there are lots of nice effects that put the NGC to test, nice character models and I’ve never seen animation that good, especially in the cutscenes which are all done in real-time by the way. The only problem is that some textures in the game are quite blurry, and at points, the framerate can slow down quite a bit. It won’t harm the gameplay in any way, but it seems these days that people seem to watch those things more closely, and if you are the kind of guy that looks for the flaws in games all the time, then you may get mad at the game as you’ll see them often. It may have used some more polishing, but the game is still playable and the game only slows down in some areas so you shouldn’t have too many problems with it.
Now, for the audio part! The music is excellent, I mean, the original’s music was already perfect, but this time, they added more techno stuff that fits extremely well with the new cutscenes and action sequences. This all depends on you of course as some fanatics will say the music in the original was better, but hey, people all have different opinions, but if you like techno, you’ll like the music in MGS: TTS. The sound effects are pretty cool, and the voice acting is the best I’ve seen in my life. The only drawback to it is that they couldn’t get all the actors from the original back, so Grey Fox’s voice (the Ninja) is not the same and I thought the original was better. Besides that, the game also supports Dolby Pro Logic II and even though I do not have the receiver to try it, I heard it was pretty good.
The game has 2 different endings and some secrets to discover, but most non-diehard fans won’t even botter. The game can also easily be finished in less than 10 hours on the first try (6 for me) and then if you play it a lot, you’ll eventually finish it in less than 2 hours, and even on the hardest difficulty levels, the game isn’t all that difficult. You might want to rent it first, but in my opinion, it is an amazing game that deserves to be bought, even if it is only to show our support to Nintendo and Konami so that they co-develop more games in the future.