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Metal Gear Mania

OK, so the PlayStation 3’s raison d’être — Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots — has finally been released, bringing the legendary Metal Gear franchise to a close. As I started to read the reviews of the latest installment, I remembered way back in 1998 when I bought Metal Gear Solid at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall, completely on a whim. It was one of my most memorable PSone gaming adventures — I spent hours playing it.

While Metal Gear Solid 2 was a disappointment to me (and to many others, apparently), and I never touched the third game in the series, I am starting to become interested in the final installment. The reviews are through the roof, and the gameplay videos look captivating. The problem is, I would have a hard time appreciating most of the story in MGS4 because I’ve only played a small fraction of the games that came before it, and the storyline is of utmost importance in this series.

Deciding to remedy this, last night I dug through boxes in my closet until I found my original PSone copy of Metal Gear Solid, the same one I bought ten years ago, and threw it into my PS3. It looked pretty dated, but I was surprised at how much of an improvement the PS3’s “smoothing” feature made on the picture. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find my copy of MGS2 — I think I probably traded it away for something a long time ago.

Today, though, I discovered that Konami has released a Metal Gear Solid: Essential Collection, which, for a mere $30, gives you Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence in one box. The perfect primer for Metal Gear Solid 4.

Now I’m seriously thinking about buying this.

5 thoughts to “Metal Gear Mania”

  1. Oddly enough, I too pulled out my copy of MGS and played through it about a month ago. It doesn’t look as good on a PS2, but it was still fun.

    I hated MGS2 when I had it, because it seemed like it was nothing but cutscenes, with a few minutes of gameplay thrown in every so often. I used to have the two-disc version of MGS3 (whose bonus disc came with versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2), but I traded that in a while back when I needed some cash for other games.

    MGS3 is better than MGS2, but it had a bit too much micromanagement for my tastes — for example, you have to kill your food to keep your health up, yet the food spoils pretty quickly (and you get sick if you eat spoiled food). If you get injured you have to go through an almost Trauma Center-like process of patching your wounds. Then there was the camouflage, which seemed to need changing every screen (and there were dozens of different styles, including face paint).

    If you do end up getting MGS4, let me know what you think.

  2. I remember being very annoyed with MGS2 because there were some very egregious departures from the original MGS — namely, the fixed (and often lousy) camera angles, no 360-degree view, and your aforementioned “hour-long cutscene every five seconds” gripe. I hear that the “Substance” version of the game is an improvement, however, I don’t know in what way.

    Thanks for the info about MGS3. I actually know nothing about that game except that it’s set in Snake’s past. It does sound like a lot of micromanagement, but I’m still intrigued.

    Guess I’m just on a war/combat game kick. I’ve played a lot of games from other genres recently and now I feel like something else. A friend let me borrow his copy of Call of Duty 4 recently and I loved it, but had to give it back and now I want something else in the tactical warfare arena, but not a shooter — something with some substance (no pun intended). For that, Metal Gear works.

    I’m currently trying to scrape together enough stuff to trade in so that I can actually pick up the first three games in that boxed set, as well as MGS4. Might head over to the store tonight, if I can.

  3. Well, I had the Substance version of MGS2 for the Xbox, if that’s any indication. The cutscenes don’t get any shorter. 🙂 And trying to switch from third person to first person for shooting was completely awful, especially after playing MGS (which had very limited first person view options).

    As for MGS3, it’s actually is about “Naked Snake,” who in the series is actually Big Boss, the main enemy in both MG and MG2 (and who is referenced endlessly elsewhere in the series). It takes place in Russia during the ’60s and nukes blah blah blah blah. I did have some fun with it (and still think about re-buying it), but often I got gummed up trying to sneak around. From what I recall, it wasn’t very forgiving if you accidentally got found out (and there were plenty of places to try your patience in sneaking).

  4. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah, MGS’ first person view was pretty horrible but it did come in useful fairly regularly, if only to see if a path was clear out of radar range.

    If I can’t put together enough trade-able goods for both the boxed set and MGS4, I might just go with MGS4. The reason being that there is a 20% extra trade-in credit special going on right now if you buy MGS4 or some other brand new AAA-list game in the same transaction.

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