Wildcard Wednesday: Metal Gear Solid
Posted by Anthony Bacchus
Wildcard Wednesday is where we open up the floor to one of our writers to talk about any game that they have fond memories of, on any platform. From Pole Position on the Atari 2600, through to Journey on the PS3, no game is off the table. This week, Anthony talks about the well revered PlayStation classic, Metal Gear Solid, and why he believes it's one of the most important games every gamer needs to play.
It's been a long time since I played the original Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation but it remains one of the few titles that I remember quite fondly. I remember the first time I picked up the controller at a friend's place in 1998 and witnessed the opening cinematic of Snake infiltrating the weapons disposal facility. I was a dedicated Nintendo fanboy that religiously stuck with GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64 sessions and I was no way prepared for the groundbreaking experience MGS was ready to crash onto me. Soon after, a spot was made on my basement table in which Sony's first ever game console snugly fit into, and thus began my first foray into the world of PlayStation.
I could go on and on about the robust inventory system, the tight stealth mechanics, and the "twist-at-every-turn" story but this isn't a review article. No, what elevated MGS above and beyond most games was it's variety of distinct characters, regardless whether they were an enemy or ally to Snake. The FOXHOUND enemies that caused trouble for Snake in his quest to destroy the giant Metal Gear known as REX are what make MGS such a replayable and joyous affair. The unforgettable boss encounter with Psycho Mantis that had me on the verge of tossing my PlayStation controller across the room in frustration, was undone by it's “fourth-wall breaking” solution. Honestly, I was flabbergasted to realize all I needed to do was (SPOILER ALERT!) change controller ports. How cool was it that he was able to describe who you were by reading other save data from the memory card? So much of MGS turned my expectations of what a video game could be and in many ways, pushed me into my fascination with the gaming industry today.
Psycho Mantis rocks hard as a distinct favourite character in the series, but every one of the FOXHOUND baddies has their own moments to shine throughout the game. Tossing grenades inside of an M1 tank to prevent Vulcan Raven from running you down, the palm-sweating sniping battle with Sniper Wolf, and the legendary one-on-one tussle with Ninja is on my personal list for best boss fights ever. All the while, the urgency of the story was told through fully voice-acted characters, in-game cutscenes and the iconic codec that allowed you to speak to your cohorts at almost anytime. It was a clever way to develop many of the characters like Colonel Campbell, Meryl and russian weapons specialist, Nastasha, whom was full of lengthy weapons history. The codec was also a pretty handy hint system too.
Many of these elements caught the gaming world by surprise and it was definitely one of the defining games not only on the platform, but for the industry as a whole. Games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are credited for pushing what was possible in video games and Metal Gear Solid is just as impactful and worthy of that legacy. It was a milestone in introducing people to a new genre known as stealth-action, which continues to be a part of modern games today like Splinter Cell: Blacklist and The Last of Us and it's cinematic storytelling was unmatched at the time. Since then, Hideo Kojima and his team have created amazing experiences in the franchise and have created a wildly deep and intricate mythology. And even though I don't think the original MGS is the best in the series, it remains one of my cherished early gaming memories.
Metal Gear Solid has also stood the test of time and still lives up to this day and can be played on a multitude of platforms now. Aside from PSX, you can play it as part of Sony's PS1 classics on your PS3, Vita and PSP. A recent Legacy Collection came out in July for PS3 that combines every MGS title. And lastly, the Nintendo Gamecube saw an exclusive remake called Twin Snakes with newly enhanced visuals and assets from MGS2. Twin Snakes is an absolute treat for fans and I would love to see that version re-released at some point in the future.
Does Metal Gear Solid share the same sentiments for you as they do me? Do you have a favourite game in the series? How excited are you for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? Do us a "solid" and leave a comment down below.