GB – #6 – Metal Gear Solid

History:

I’m a complete newb when it comes to the Metal Gear series, good thing this project will have me playing just about all of them… Only game I’ve played prior to this one is the NES version.

Expectations:

This game actually looks like an improved version of Metal Gear on the NES, and that game had a lot of things going for it that I really liked. Ultimately, I felt the NES game was a victim of its time, so I’m interested to see what this game will be like. Going in with an open mind!


Day 1:

Minor midday update.

The bad news is that I can’t really see this game well enough to get much enjoyment from it on such a small screen. The good news is that from what I played, which was the first mission and a half, I think I’m really going to have some fun with this one. The game is only 13 stages long, though I assume they’ll get progressively longer and more complex, but I think it all looks pretty manageable. Sadly, to my blind eye, super important things like the radar are nearly useless to me on a proper Game Boy.

Later…

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As expected, playing on the GBA Player was a much better experience, if not a bit pixelated. It was around the end of the second stage where I started to “get it”. Every area was like a puzzle, and every solution meant either being quick, smart, or both. It was actually a lot of fun once I got into the swing of things!

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I didn’t say I was… y’know… good at it though.

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I managed to make it towards to the end of Stage 3 before I had to call it a night. I now have a few new items to use, including the iconic cardboard box, and am trying to meet up with a new comrade.

All in all this does feel like a more fleshed out version of Metal Gear on the NES, which is a really good thing.


Day 2:

I played a bit during my lunch but only succeeded in confirming that I really couldn’t handle this game on such a small screen. The good news is that I played just long enough to find the Lv2 Key Card, opening the rest of the level to me.

I’m actually a bit disappointing, as one of my gripes with Metal Gear was that you had to actually have the key card equipped in order to open doors, adding unnecessary menu time to the game. Oh well.


Day 3:

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I was finally able to make it to the end of Stage 3 and meet up with Chris. At that point, I had to follow her all the way back through the level and into Stage 4.

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DOGS! These dogs are the worse, and I’m hoping they won’t show up too much throughout the game… Aside from navigating around them, this stage wasn’t too long. When I spoke to Chris in Stage 3, she told me about the four soldiers leading this organization, or hired by them… or something…

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Anyway the first of these I’d encounter would be Boomerang With Pet Hawk Guy, who was extremely easy.

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And of course the game makes me feel bad for beating him…

I don’t really have any problems with this game, and I’ve even made peace with the inventory system. Still, it’s not really “grabbing” me. Given that I’m a third of the way through, I don’t see myself quitting this one though. Hoping ot have it beat soon!


Day 4:

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Stage 5 was, well it was something. Any time a level in a game has conveyor belts I know I’m going to be swearing at something…

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This stage would also introduce the Thermal Goggles which were fun enough. Eventually, after lots of backtracking and some trial and error with some C-4, I made it to my target!

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Jimmy informed me that the Metal Gear fires nukes out of a railgun, so, there’s that! Stage 6 looks to have me backtracking through the same area, only in the dark…

I want to enjoy this game a lot more than I am, and I’m not sure what’s holding me back from that. I guess it’s just not my thing?


Day 5:

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Yep, thermal goggles are KILLING my eyes. It’s like the Virtual Boy all over again!

Navigating through the level wasn’t too difficult, especially since I could freely run through all the conveyor belt gates, and it wasn’t long before I made it to the first boss.

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The boss was basically that puppet master shinobi from the beginning of Naruto Shippuden, which is cool. Despite running out of ammo I was eventually able to end the fight.

Stage 7 was a welcome break. No enemies, very short, and all I had to do was navigate a mine field and survive a mortar barrage…

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I also met Viper here, who is this game’s big bad.

Stage 8 looks pretty ginormous, so I’ll be tackling that one tomorrow!


Day 6:

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Stage 8 was definitely on the large side, but didn’t take as long to get through as I was anticipating. The gimmick here was that I had to send guided missiles down narrow corridors to blow up generators that were powering electrified floors. For the most part these were pretty easy, except for the one above which took me about 18 attempts…

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While the last boss was actually fairly difficult, this one was laughably easy. Slow moving, easily avoided attacks. I think I only got hit once because I got greedy with a grenade. Turns out I could have just stunlocked him with the machine gun as I found out at the end of the fight.

Stage 9 had me running back through the same building, planting C4 charges to take it down.

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In true Action Movie Game fashion I was forced to detonate the charges while I was STILL IN THE BUILDING! This had me running through the level while avoiding falling debris and fire. Pretty fun, if a bit short.

Stage 10 was another short one, basically just a straight line to the next boss.

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I actually died on my first attempt as I got careless with my grenades, and didn’t realize that when I ran out new ones would spawn in the area. Second attempt had me blowing this chopper out of the sky with ease.

I’ll say the story so far is fun, if not a bit depressing. It has me wanting to revisit the first game as it’s referenced multiple times throughout this one. I think I have the gist of what I missed though. As I approach the end of the game, perhaps because I’m approaching the end of the game, I’m finding myself warming up to it.

The final stage looks like a doozy, so I’ll be saving the finale for tomorrow!


Day 7:

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As expected, the last real stage of the game was massive, and had me using just about every tool in my arsenal to get through it. That said, the difficulty was still on the light side for the most part, which is nice considering the boss…

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Viper… This guy was a jerk! He runs to different corners of the room and, at set intervals, lays random patterns of tripwire between the pillars. The creates a maze that you have to slowly work through as you get within firing range. You can crawl under the wires to reduce the time, but all the while Viper’s setting off landmines beneath you!

After four attempts I finally got him down. Quite the increase in difficulty after the last boss. That would be a trend as I moved forward to take on Metal Gear itself!

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Metal Gear is a two phase fight, with phase one being insanely simple once you learn the easy pattern. Phase two is not so easy, as you’re dodging drones, machine guns, turrets and missiles, and eventually a giant flamethrower! It doesn’t help that you attacks all barely chip away at the boss’ health, making the final encounter a drawn out exercise in survival…

After a few attempts I did finally manage to wear him down, and the game was over…

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And then Snake and Chris went back to the US and-


Conclusion:

I feel like I’ve been playing this game forever, and nearly fell out of my chair when I was informed that I had completed the game in under four hours! While I’m incredibly relieved to finally have finished this one, I’m also appreciative of it. It wasn’t until about two thirds through the game that I finally started “getting it”. The characters, the story, the gameplay, it all just started coming together for me. I’m finding that, while not enough to have me going back to playing the NES original any time soon, I’ve become invested in the universe to the point that I’m genuinely excited to play future entries of this series. My project will actually have me playing them all in release order from here out, and I imagine I’ll find time to play MGS4 afterwards as well.

Metal Gear Solid on the Gameboy Color looked and sounded great, though it was a shame I was unable to see its details well enough on the small screen. Technically the game handled a bit on the sluggish side, making running, aiming and shooting very difficult at times. I know I complained about the inventory system a bit at first, but really I think with a two button control scheme it was handled in the best way possible.

The difficulty curved nicely, if not a touch steeply at the end, and all in all I found this to be a surprisingly fun and rewarding game to play!

Liked:

– Fun and interesting characters, and a story that had me invested by the game’s end.
– Solid (heh) graphics and sound effects for the GBC.
– Missions were generally fun and the bosses were compelling, even if their difficulty was a mixed bag.

Disliked:

– Control scheme could be cumbersome, and made some scenarios feel a lot more difficult than they should have.
– A couple of the missions necessitated a map!
– Dogs!

Metal Gear Solid

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