Wednesday 20 February 2013

Metal Gear Review (NES)

Ever wondered what ‘Outer Heaven’ was and why Snake and the rest of the characters kept talking about in Metal Gear Solid? Well, this is where it all started in  the first adventure for Snake way back in 1987 when Konami tried to add stealth into the modern gaming language, and as you may gather due to the franchise missing the sixteen-bit era it was not an entirely successful venture. 

The story goes that Snake is dropped behind enemy lines and must infiltrate Outer Heaven before killing comedy named leader of the opposition forces ‘Vermon Ca Taffy’ and taking down the deadly Metal Gear. Vermon who was a once ‘tranquil shepherd boy’, has outlawed democracy and forced homeless villagers to become terrorists - a more evil blighter surely does not exist! 

Stealth is still very much the order of the day, although implementing it on the NES means there are many limitations. Forget about the tricks of the later games (no strangling guards or wall hugging) and don’t even think about hanging from a ledge either. However, certain elements are in place. For instance, the silencer must be found before firing any of the guns you come across or the whole place will come down on you, and they will not stop after a certain time either, they just keep coming. The Codec also has a key part to play with the conversations being as long-winded as ever. 

Graphically, the game takes a top down approach. Though the animation is poor, the characters, vehicles and different locations are all detailed and at least mean that you have a clear understanding of your surroundings - essential when sneaking around. There is a touch of flickering present at times but it only happens on occasion and though it can complicate matters by making enemy soldiers nearly invisible it doesn't take away too much from the title as a whole.

Gameplay is problematic, the idea of the game is very good, but really this is not the format to implement it on. Snake moves around well, but there just are not enough moves available to make sneaking about as fun as it should be, furthermore combat is reduced to punching or shooting. This is made worse by the fact that both are too awkward to be affective when you are trying to take someone out quickly. What really makes the game fail though is the difficulty, it's so hard that on your first couple of goes you'll likely not get past the first four or so screens, which is simply ridiculous. 

Hardcore is not the word as you even get a complete map, a players guide and a chart of what does damage to what with the boxed version of the game. Yet you will still will not be able to get anywhere. This could be the hardest game ever made and it would not have taken that much work to sort it out, as it is though it remains frustrating and impenetrable with an unfinished feel. 

Overall, Metal Gear is not a great game, anyone who played this originally would never guess in a million years that is would become such a landmark title on the Playstation. There are nice ideas to be found, but they are implemented without flair or consideration of how they are meant to be achieved. It's all well and good telling a player to be stealthy but at least give them the moves to have a fighting chance. All in all it's a real shame how the game turned out, while not awful it's just too hard to be worth seeking out. If you must have the origins of the series it would be wiser to find the MSX version.



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