It's hard to imagine that I only started this game a few days ago, but here I am, with it finished and a whole mess of thoughts on it. So I'll do what I usually do and try to express my thoughts and feelings on it while also pointing out what I did and didn't like. So away we go!
First I should clarify that before this game I had absolutely no experience with the Metal Gear franchise. I played Snake in Super Smash Bros Brawl once, but besides that it's always been this big thing I was never a part of. People freaked out over the games, announcements, and the man behind it all. But for me it was always just white noise, since I never saw a good place to jump into the series. It's not like I didn't enjoy the games I played, but I was always curious as to Metal Gear, and what could inspire such a passionate following. Well a bit over a month ago I managed to find a copy of Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection, which has MGS 1, 2 and 3 in it. So I bought it, but I wasn't able to play it right away because I was missing a PS1 memory card, which I managed to find this week.
So that's all the backstory for how I got into this series, but lets get right down to the game itself. The original Metal Gear Solid, released all the way back in 1998. I'm sad that I never got to play it sooner, because I think years of innovation and streamlining have spoiled me. I can only imagine how revolutionary the game was when first released. The stealth, exploration, story, and combat have all been reused and built upon by so many games since MGS that it's really difficult to see how unique it must have been on release.
All that said, the game holds up surprisingly well. The stealth and combat is rather basic, but that is much more due to hardware limitation then anything else. It's still really fun and surprisingly tense at times. The clunkyness actually works, for the most part, to help deter senseless shooting. I couldn't be a one-man army that destroys everything in sight, and that helps enforce the stealth aspects. Though it isn't like the clunky controls and movement are an overall good thing. There was a number of times I did things I didn't mean to, or missed an attack because of the poor directional movement and aiming. Bosses suffer a bit because of this, especially the ones where hand to hand combat is involved.
For the most part though, the boss battles are great. They feel involving and sometimes very personal. I must say though, I've never seen so many people able to take so many missiles to the face without keeling over. I also found the bosses to be a good challenge at the best of times and a brutal one at the worst It felt like the boss fight wasn't over when you demonstrated you knew how to beat the boss, it was over when you perfected beating that boss.
I thought the story to be very well done. I often hear complaints about Hideo Kojima's writing, but I think it fits very well with setting and cast. There's a lot of characters with different motivations and backstories, and secrets, lots and lots of secrets. From start to finish I found it to be a short, but exhilarating ride full of twists, betrayal and the most human emotions laid bare. Heck, there was even a few moments I started to get choked up. Kojima does a fantastic job at building sympathy for even the vilest characters.
The game on a whole isn't overly long either. I managed to complete it in a little under 10 hours, and I'm sure it could easily be done in much less. It never felt like anything was dragging though, nor did it feel like segments were rushed. Everything played out at a nice pace and the high tension scenes were all broken up to help contrast their importance. I wasn't exactly what you would call, good, at this game, as proven by my results below, but I beat the game so I'm satisfied.
It's all encompassed by the excellent soundtrack that has everything from beautifully sad vocals to fast paced orchestral's. The voice acting is also really well done, there's some very convincing voice work that really adds to the experience.
So that's my thoughts on Metal Gear Solid. I know that there's a few of you on TAY that have played it, so feel free to speak up about this game. I'm also planning on jumping right into Metal Gear Solid 2, because why not? I enjoyed the first so logic dictates that I'll enjoy the second!