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Metal Gear Solid

03 September 1998
Metal Gear Solid - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.19 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
1,981 Ratings / 8 Reviews
#54 All-time
#3 for 1998
A crack government anti-terrorist squad takes over an obscure Alaskan nuclear disposal facility with the aid of an army of genetically-modified 'genome soldiers'. They have threatened to launch a nuclear missile if the US government does not hand over the preserved body of 'Big Boss', the greatest soldier that ever lived. The only person who can successfully infiltrate the facility, rescue the two hostages and thwart the terrorists' plans is the legendary Solid Snake - you.
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In early 2005, special forces unit FOXHOUND stages a hostile takeover of an Alaskan nuclear disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island. Under the leadership of Liquid Snake and with the help of an army of genetically modified Genome Soldiers, they threaten to launch a nuclear missile if their demands; the remains of former FOXHOUND commander Big Boss, and 1 billion US dollars; are not met. Legendary soldier Solid Snake is forced out of retirement and tasked with infiltrating the facility and putting a stop to the terrorists.
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Releases 11
1998 KCE Japan Konami  
2xCD-ROM
JP 4 988602 465594 SLPM-86114 / SLPM-86115
1998 KCE Japan Konami  
2xCD-ROM
XNA 0 83717 17031 0 SLUS-00594 / SLUS-00776
1999 KCE Japan Konami  
2xCD-ROM
IT 4 012927 020067 SLES-01508 / SLES-11508
Show all 11 releases
1999 KCE Japan Konami  
2xCD-ROM
GB 4 012927 020067 SLES-01370 / SLES-11370
1999 KCE Japan Konami  
2xCD-ROM
ES 4 012927 010440 SLES-01734#2 / SLES-11734#2
1999 KCE Japan Konami  
3xCD-ROM
JP SCPS-45412 / SCPS-45413 / SCPS-45414
2000 KCE Japan Microsoft  
2xCD-ROM
XNA
2020 KCE Japan Konami  
Download
Metal Gear Solid Platinum
2xCD-ROM
AU 4 988602 749786 SLES-01370
Metal Gear Solid Greatest Hits
2xCD-ROM
XNA 0 83717 17063 1 SLUS-00594 / SLUS-00776
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Title
Metal Gear [メタルギア] was an admirable if unsuccessful attempt to implement stealth-based gameplay in a 2D setting imposed by the technical limits of the time. The basic mechanic is line of sight: Snake is able to stay hidden as long as guards are facing away from him or if their vision is blocked by obstacles. The problem with the game, from a design perspective, arises from the top-down camera. The third-person perspective always gives the player either too much information or too little: the player is aware of any surrounding guards that happen to be on the same screen, but completely unaware of guards that happen to be offscreen. This results in a three-way mismatch between what the player sees, what the player character should be able to see, and what the guards can see. The binoculars try to compensate for the player's offscreen blindness, at least, but this is clearly an awkward necessity.

Metal Gear Solid was an attempt to bring the same kind of gameplay into a 3D setting, but despite the more advanced technology it retains the same basic limitations. The camera perspective is (usually) more or less the same as in Metal Gear. Whether this is again due to technical limitations, or simply an inheritance from the earlier games, I'm not sure, but it's awkward for the same reasons, and perhaps even moreso given how much larger the maps can get, even with the added compensation of a radar screen which, nevertheless, vanishes when an alarm is triggered. I also find it hard to argue that the camera is an "artful" choice like the fixed camera angles of Resident Evil [バイオハザード].

Given that the two games were released in the same year, I think it's fair to contrast Metal Gear Solid with Thief: The Dark Project. Thief is a first-person game. This fact alone solves all of the problems with Metal Gear's camera perspective: since both player and guards are limited visually by line of sight, there is no informational asymmetry, and the limitations imposed on the player by this perspective are intuitive. But Thief's stealth system incorporates more than just line of sight. For example, every surface of the game makes more or less noise depending on the material. This allows guards to detect the player even when line of sight is broken. But the reverse is true as well: Thief's sound propagation allows the player to pinpoint locations of guards they can't see, introducing another symmetry to the gameplay. Moreoever, the rules for how this system works are introduced at the very beginning of the game and applied consistently throughout, allowing for interesting and varied level design without the need for arbitrariness. This points to another limitation of Metal Gear Solid: while its stealth gameplay does incorporate ideas besides line of sight, these are less rule-based mechanics than caprices of the designers, seemingly abandoned as soon as they are introduced.

This kind of inconsistency plagues Metal Gear Solid at an even higher level. The game, as it turns out, is not really a stealth game, or at least not for very long. Snake begins the game as a pretty weak character by videogame standards, hardly able to stand up to the most basic goons in a fair fight. But as the game progresses, and as Snake's health bar lengthens, the game becomes more like a conventional action game, and a pretty stiff one at that. The back half of the game is pretty much a sequence of boss battles and action setpieces, with a few other gimmicks thrown in for good measure. For all my problems with Metal Gear Solid the stealth game, it's much better than Metal Gear Solid the action game, and it's strange to see the game, as it goes on, play to its weaknesses rather than its relative strengths.

As for everything else: well, to be honest, I never fully bought into the hype behind Hideo Kojima as a storyteller or as a thinker, but when I first played these games years ago I at least considered myself along for the ride. But as the years go on I'm inclined to be less generous. And that leads to perhaps the biggest disappointment of Metal Gear Solid: when all is said and done and all the cutscenes are skipped, it's a shame how little game is actually left.
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Title
A long-standing revolutionary in the medium
When looking at a game with such a powerful legacy as this one, a couple of things need to be kept in mind. One is that, due to how influential it was, the tropes and design elements used have likely been borrowed and improved on by later works in the medium, e.g. “Seinfeld is Unfunny.” The other point to note is, and this is especially true for video games, the work in general will feel dated, mostly because some parts of its design or playability that were more acceptable on release are now criticized and antiquated.

Specific to Metal Gear Solid, it manages to dodge quite a few of these complaints, and in some ways it still outshines many present-day games both in storytelling and presentation. Based on the script writing, lengthy cutscenes, and general presentation, it’s clear MGS was going for that “movie-like” feel, a term commonly used to lambast modern games for not meeting the full potential of games as a storytelling medium. And yet MGS manages to skirt around that criticism by both taking advantage of video game storytelling in many parts of the game (like using the codec and active breaking of the fourth wall), and by just killing it on the presentation front. Seriously, these cutscenes don’t just emulate the feel of movies; Kojima clearly has an understanding for the cinematography, acting and sound design that makes movies as effective at telling stories as they are. Even with faceless dolls, flat polygons, and obvious video file limitations splitting up cutscenes, the story he tells is fantastic, bombastic, and kinda moving at points.

And just to go a bit further on that, Solid Snake is such a compelling character here. I always knew Kojima liked his postmodern, strange stories, but all the talk I’ve heard about Snake over the years–always hovering near the top of any “Top 10 BADASSES in Video Games” listicle–is a far cry from the cold, depressed loner without a purpose he’s actually written as. By presenting the game entirely from his POV, the player themselves can share that “what am I really doing here?” feeling as all the machinations play out, revealing Snake for the pawn he is. When he’s questioned on that purpose, all Snake can say is “I have a job to do,” with the same energy as Cpt. Willard from Apocalypse Now saying “I am an assassin.”

But now for the part where Metal Gear Solid’s gray hairs are most obvious: the gameplay. On one hand, Kojima and co. clearly put a lot of effort into the design and programming to make this the best stealth and action gameplay on PS1, and to some extent they succeeded. On the other hand, this game feels like a 3D remake of the original Metal Gear, with some design elements not translating over as well as others, and the PS1’s limitations significantly holds it back. It’s crazy how some elements now seen as basic in stealth games like picking up and moving bodies, moving while in cover, or even just walking slowly are not here. You can’t even knock out enemies in a way that leaves them incapacitated longer than a minute, all you can really do stealth-wise is avoid. It doesn’t help that trying to see anything without the radar is a struggle because of the zoomed-in overhead perspective and lack of camera control, besides being able to see in first-person by pressing triangle. I wouldn’t care about that so much if they didn’t turn off the radar for hard mode; I switched to normal after struggling with it for a while, it’s obvious hard mode is intended for a replay with some memorization of guard placement, because the game is otherwise too reliant on the radar to go without it on a first playthrough. Like it’s built to use the full top-down view of the original Metal Gear, but it doesn’t have that so the gameplay just doesn’t work as well. At least the AI being kinda dumb helps with that (though at the time, it was revolutionary enough for a guard to say “who’s footprints are these?” in the snowy areas). I’m also aware of the “Twin Snakes” GameCube remake, which makes it play closer to MGS2, but that brings in the opposite problem of things designed around the original’s gameplay now being much easier, like the Sniper Wolf fight. Also Snake jumps on a missile on that one…it ups the ridiculousness to almost Bollywood levels.

I’ve already played through MGSV, and gotten a taste of 2, 4, and the original Metal Gear. I wanted to do a playthrough of each MGS game starting with this one, and so far it’s off to a great start. While it definitely has its dated bits, Metal Gear Solid overall stands the test of time and makes for an enthralling playthrough, with a movie-like presentation that remains unmatched. While later games of the series do expand on this game’s ideas with more resources and better hardware, I’ve yet to see if they use that to present their stories better. Here’s hoping.
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Pluginmonkey 2021-12-26T03:29:36Z
2021-12-26T03:29:36Z
4.0
1
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Didn't aged that much tbh I must be a zoomer of some sort
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liliyanon 2022-05-13T09:50:00Z
2022-05-13T09:50:00Z
3.5
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Revolução em forma de jogo. Como Kojima e cia. conseguiram entregar isso no Playstation 1 é de cair o queixo.
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gabrielctps 2022-03-10T02:30:08Z
2022-03-10T02:30:08Z
4.5
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European Extreme is Playing With Cigs Always Equipped
What more can you say? So much has been said about this game that it seems like all there is to do now is defend it against detractors, of which Kojima has accrued a lot in his career--especially as it intersects with his work on Metal Gear.

Is this a movie game? Does it feel bad to play? Did it "age well"? I find it impossible to get outside of my own head on these questions, since this is a game I've been playing here and there since it was new. The one thing I can be sure of: no one had ever done this before, and outside of the MGS series I think it's hard to find any real peer. MGS is such an event that it not only inspired a lot of games to ape it, but also caused a long wave of games that were basically reactionary to it.

At the end of the day this game has stuck with me for so long that at this point I find every room, every area, every encounter, every item or weapon iconic. Nothing looks like this game, nothing plays like it, nothing sounds like it. It is one of the most intuitive early 3D games in the entire era, and for all of the complaining done about how it controls I find it remarkably well thought-out, it just happens to be the first entry in what would become the "house style" of the series. This game will tell you everything about itself and it wants to, so let it. And make sure you make plenty of your own CODEC calls, there is so much to miss.

When the PlayStation is ancient history, this will be the one game people will remember it by.
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An unprecedented cinematic epic with great visuals and a brilliant soundtrack. In this sense the game stunned back then and still stuns today thanks to superb presentation and cutscene direction.

Juxtaposed with Metal Gear Solid's ageing gameplay, though, the overall package takes a hit and is held back from greatness. Aiming is awkward, often requiring that you spray-and-pray entire clips at enemies just off-screen, and movement has a general clunkiness to it, making the couple of hand-to-hand boss fights in the game more frustrating than perhaps was intended. Worse, a handful of significant pacing issues take a sledgehammer to the storytelling's flow and sense of tension: namely, having to backtrack multiple times in critical moments.

Despite its flaws, Metal Gear Solid is an enjoyable look at the series' modern history and remains an impressive example of ambitious elevation in video game storytelling, nearly a quarter-century on.
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ColdVein 2021-11-29T22:45:15Z
2021-11-29T22:45:15Z
3.5
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Catalog

Projekt_Cloudz Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-27T02:29:01Z
2022-09-27T02:29:01Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ca_Game Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-26T20:42:36Z
PS1 • XNA
2022-09-26T20:42:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Stealth
lukejohnwild Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-26T03:10:14Z
2022-09-26T03:10:14Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
boekplate Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-25T23:40:32Z
PS1 • XNA
2022-09-25T23:40:32Z
7.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Theboombringer1 Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-25T11:43:02Z
2022-09-25T11:43:02Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PashaAlex Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-25T00:51:57Z
2022-09-25T00:51:57Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Tacianoreisborges Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-23T14:40:02Z
2022-09-23T14:40:02Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AGUMorbidD00d Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-23T03:43:30Z
2022-09-23T03:43:30Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pensiero97 Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-22T23:38:40Z
2022-09-22T23:38:40Z
9
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sam_burgerFan Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-22T19:46:31Z
2022-09-22T19:46:31Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GOLD3N_Y3ARZ Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-22T06:00:19Z
2022-09-22T06:00:19Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MajorThotticus Metal Gear Solid 2022-09-22T05:03:36Z
2022-09-22T05:03:36Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Also known as
  • メタルギアソリッド
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  • Previous comments (42) Loading...
  • RomanDogBird 2021-09-09 07:00:15.715625+00
    reply
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  • Banana_PD 2021-12-01 16:52:16.967149+00
    My Disc 2 is scratched and freezes the game after REX fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck
    reply
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  • MisterFeik 2021-12-20 16:22:42.69011+00
    The difference between the two endings is so jarring. Otacon's ending is one of the best written things in gaming. The other one is...ok, I guess.
    reply
    • lno579 2022-01-07 19:05:08.139575+00
      havent experienced the otacon ending myself because i did the button mashing but the other one is good cmon
    • A_Latin_Guy 2022-05-08 21:21:45.830622+00
      The Meryl ending is super James Bond-like.

      idk it fits right with the games tone.
    • deadass 2022-06-01 23:39:03.155565+00
      when I got to the torture scene I just straight up didn’t get what I was supposed to do so I got the Otacon ending 🤷
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  • FarioMerreira 2022-01-26 02:01:57.524051+00
    Shut up in there, willya? [2]
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  • MoeHartman 2022-02-09 07:13:20.298043+00
    I really don't see what's supposedly so bad about the controls. I think people are just thrown off thinking about it as a 3D game, when it's actually just like the 2D Metal Gear games only with occasional first person segments. If this game has terrible controls, then so do all the 2D Zeldas, as there's barely any difference.

    This is by far my favorite game in the series. It's really refreshing going back to it and seeing how briskly paced it is. All killer no filler. It's just one fantastic set piece after another with just the right mixture of cutscenes and play.
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  • RomanDogBird 2022-03-26 06:44:17.059355+00
    metal gear?
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  • lychees 2022-07-11 05:10:09.025485+00
    started this yesterday and am about halfway through it. i honestly love everything about this game, and it might just be a 10 for me once i finish it. the gameplay is obviously pretty outdated to me but its still fun even though i dont really like stealth games.
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  • bobwilson 2022-09-12 22:23:40.90686+00
    first third of this game is still unsurpassed in all of gaming[/spoilers]
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