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Review - Metal Gear Solid (PS1)

Started by Nightcrawler, March 19, 2013, 11:50:52 AM

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I usually don't play many modern action type shooter games, but I had taken some interest a few years ago on 'Tactical Espionage Action' as Metal Gear calls it. The whole stealth approach was a new spin for me personally. At the time, my elbow disabilities would not allow me to play through an action game like this.I am finally at the point where I could get through these games with only moderate discomfort. That's aside from those damn button mashing torture scenes! They were literally like physical torture for me in real life. So, I played through Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2.

Metal Gear Solid:

I ended up playing the PC version. I could not get into the Gamecube version. They killed much of what I liked about the game. The music was replaced with techno, the voice acting was made to be much worse with everybody dumbed down to generic, wooden voices, the controls were awful, and the MGS2 gameplay didn't work well in the environments designed for MGS1. No thank you to the Gamecube version! The PC version kept the original soundtrack and voice acting, and looked much better than the PSX port. I believed this to be the best version for me to enjoy.

I have to say the voice acting was excellent and made the game. It was probably amongst the best voice acting I've personally seen in a video game. The game has pretty aged graphics these days, especially with no facial animations. There was definitely going to be no emotional response or involvement coming from those graphics. However, all of that was out the window when the voice acting is added and the characters came to vivid life.

What's even better is the characters all had their own back-story, thoughts, and motives. They were given good development. I liked that the cast of characters was kept rather small so each one could receive decent treatment. This applied to allies and villains alike.

I had never played a game by Hideo Kojima before. Although the story got far fetched in several places, I enjoyed the way the story was told. The pacing was pretty continuous throughout and there weren't any dull moments where nothing was going on. I can see why he gets talked about across the net. For better or for worse, the story, characters, and story telling was unique. In my opinion, it was unique in a positive way. I am interested in playing some of his other works. My only major complaint for the story is some concepts are pretty far out there and caused me to step out of the story for a bit because it became a bit unbelievable in an otherwise realistic, emotional story. I also liked the twist on historical facts. I actually learned a decent amount of things as well from all the fact telling from talking to the characters often.

Much of the story was told by the codec radio screens. Sometimes, it felt a little low budget when major things were happening without any real presentation. Although, I give it a pass for the fantastic voice acting that brought even the radio screen to life. I imagine it really was a budget decision anyway as a game of this size in full 3D was new and costly back then.

The gameplay was generally decent and attempted to be varied, however it was a bit rough around the edges. I enjoyed that there were usually always multiple ways to accomplish your goal. If one method seemed to hard, I could take a different approach. The sneaking was usually fine, however the high action parts were a bit clunky. Using some of the weapons precisely and avoiding attacks was sometimes very frustrating right up to the end. Even the end scene of driving the jeep and shooting out the back, I found myself spraying bullets everywhere and barely being able to hit the enemy.

I found the boss fights to be very difficult, and sometimes containing stupid gimmicks such as the infamous psycho mantis fight where you needed to use a different controller. That fight was infuriating and I cheated to win. Boss fights came out as more frustrating then the fun to me. The tank fight with the clunky gernade throwing mechanics was just the beginning. The only way I could beat Raven was with claymore mines. Then, Metal Gear was also ridiculous. I played on normal difficulty and that was good for me in the game, however I would have liked the boss fights toned down.

Overall the game was generally positive and the voice acting and story presentation really won me over. The freedom in approaching getting through the areas in different ways helped overcome the rough edges on the game play. I had a good enough time that I moved on to play the sequel. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.


The Metal Gear series is a personal favorite of mine. It's my favorite non-RPG series of games, and one I've been playing since the NES days. Metal Gear Solid when it first came out (which I'm sure many people remember) was a landmark gaming moment. It looked amazing, it sounded amazing, and one of my personal favorite things about it was the voice acting. For the day it was without a doubt the best acting I'd ever heard in a video game. Hell it still stands up to this day, and although I disagree about the voice work in Twin Snakes, I will not deny that the original's is better.

The story goes that the voices had to be redone, because the voice work in MGS had background noises that were picked up when they tried to port it to the gamecube. Supposedly (I don't know firsthand whether it's true) David Hater took a massive pay cut to get as many of the original voice actors back as possible. Paul Edding as Colonel Campell seals the deal for me.

I agree that the game play hasn't really stood the test of time, and it's difficult now, having played later games in the series to go back and play this one. I replayed it last year when the HD collection came out, to play the whole series in order.

I've always personally considered the boss fights the best part of the series. Some of them, like Fatman in 2 (as you mentioned) frustrated me, but on the whole I think they're one of the best parts of the series.

Just as a Kojima joke, in 4 there's flashbacks to MGS, and the graphics used are considered to be how things looked back then. You receive facial camouflage of Snake from MGS, in all its blocky PS1 glory.
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