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My First Foray Into the Metal Gear Solid Franchise

I recently finished Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.  Yes, this was the first time I’ve completed, let alone played, a Metal Gear game.  This has been one series where I’ve always wanted to dive headlong into, but haven’t done so for some odd reason.  But I was inspired to start the Metal Gear franchise due to one singular thing: The Phantom Pain trailer.  When people started unraveling the mysteries and began to speculate that this might actually be a trailer for MGS V, I knew right then and there that I had to start playing these games.  Only a lunatic would create a trailer for a fake game and create a fake developer with a fake CEO named Joakim Mogren (Joakim is an anagram for Kojima) in an attempt to do some crazy marketing for MGS V.  That was the tipping point for me.  If someone is insane enough to do take these ridiculous steps, then your game is something that I need to play immediately.  So in 2012, I decided to pop in a game that was made in 2004, which was a remake of game made in 1998.  And the moment I actually started to play the game is the moment I knew this was a game made a long time ago.

I’m just going to lead off with the weirdest quirk about this game: Why do I need to press A while holding start to open the codec?  Why couldn’t I just press start?  What the hell?!  There’s also no way you could change the any kind of settings during the game.  You had to reset the game and go to the main menu to access the options.  The first person shooting was also pretty awful.  You can’t move while in the first person view, so if you didn’t line up your shot quickly, you were getting hurt.  The movement was also quite annoying when Snake would stick to a wall like glue every time he got near one.  And a little part of me died every time I pulled the right trigger when I wanted to shoot my gun.  There was a just a cornucopia of controller and movement issues that made the actual playing of The Twin Snakes a slog.

Remember in the early 2000’s how every single piece of media was cribbing off of The Matrix and incorporated some sort of acrobatic dodging of bullets? The Twin Snakes is full of that.

But after saying all that, I absolutely adore this game.  The plot sometimes goes off the deep end, but remains just grounded enough in reality where you can relate with its cast of oddball, yet likable characters.  I felt like already knew some of the overarching story beats of the Metal Gear franchise simply through osmosis, but the story provided enough twists and intricacies that I’ve never been privy to.  The voice acting is superb, if not a little goofy.  I don’t really understand why they always say Metal Gear with an accent on the gear, but it always made me chuckle every time David Hayter would grumble out “Metal Gear?!” in surprise.  The way the game would constantly be breaking the fourth wall was also fantastic.  Everyone already knows about Psycho Mantis and the gimmicks he would pull.  But probably the most abstract and strangest moment of them all was looking at the back of the “package” to find out Meryl’s codec number.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t smart enough to pick up what Kojima was putting down on my own.

I can only imagine the shock waves Metal Gear Solid had for the industry when it was released for the PS1 back in 1998.  Honestly, The Twin Snakes wound up being one of my favorite video game stories of the year, and it’s threatening The Walking Dead for overtaking the sole position of number 1.  If I enjoyed the plot of this game to this extent in 2012, I could only imagine how much more impactful it was back when stories in games were usually shallow and poor.  Although the gameplay is definitely clunky, I easily overlooked these flaws in favor of its wildly intriguing story.  Knowing that I was playing a game developed nearly 9 years ago, I was a little more lenient than usual.  Now that I’ve finally leaped over that initial hurdle, I’m dying to start Metal Gear Solid 2 and continue the tale of Solid Snake.



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