Metal Gear Solid: Kept You Waiting Huh?

Theo Andrews ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Twenty-five years after its initial release, Metal Gear Solid (1998) and two of its sequels have been re-released once again. This time, for modern consoles such as the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series S/X. It is a “Master Collection” containing not only the first three Metal Gear Solid games, but the first two Metal Gear games, which were made for the MSX2, as well. The creator of Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, is a very big fan of western media, especially western films. This can be seen in many of his games. Some of his influences include the James Bond films, Escape from New York, Blade Runner, and many of the films in Stanley Kubrick’s filmography. It is a game of its own to try and guess all the film influences in the Metal Gear Solid games. Some are more obvious than others, such as the opening credits to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which includes a song titled very much in the style of James Bond title songs . However, before Snake Eater released, Metal Gear Solid is where it all began, starting with the Shadow Moses Incident. 

The first Metal Gear Solid game, simply called Metal Gear Solid, is an experience of its own. A game unlike its contemporaries, it breaks the fourth wall in unique ways. A game whose story includes countless twists and turns. A game whose gameplay is very dated but like any Kojima production, there is a method to the madness. The atmosphere is unparalleled, oozing tactical espionage and action. In Metal Gear Solid, you play as Solid Snake, a government agent sent to the island Shadow Moses to investigate a coup that took place there and find out information about the weapon Metal Gear Rex. The story grips you, making you want to find out what is really happening and why. Every answer spawns more questions, until it is all neatly tied together in the end. Metal Gear Solid is highly praised but it can be quite difficult due to its early Playstation-era backtracking and graphics. 

After the Shadow Moses Incident is the Big Shell Incident as presented in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty which is arguably the best of the Metal Gear franchise. A vast improvement from the first when it comes to gameplay, graphics, and story. Sons of Liberty’s story is about a man named Raiden, sent to an oil clean-up facility called Big Shell to rescue the president and stop a terrorist group. The gameplay is so much sharper and fluid than the previous game. Gone are the days of trying to find out where the enemies are. Its story, while similar to the first game, has equally satisfying reveals and also doubles as meta-commentary and possibly a prediction for the future. Players who are worried about artificial intelligence should play Sons of Liberty. It does a perfect job of showcasing the pitfalls of AI and how dangerous it can be.

Long before any of the three aforementioned incidents would be Operation Snake Eater, which takes center stage in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Out of the three games, Snake Eater is the most ambitious and the most difficult. Unsurprisingly, the graphics are an improvement, but it takes a step back in terms of gameplay and story. The game seems to think more means better, but not in this case. Having silencer durability, which is a big deal in a stealth game, is absurd, and the new healing system is pointless. Thankfully the story is still engaging, just not as engaging as the previous games’ stories. You play as Naked Snake, the man Solid Snake is cloned from, infiltrating a Russian base in the 1960s to prevent nuclear war. It is filled with the usual twists and turns and as a prequel does a good job explaining some of the backstory of the beloved Metal Gear Solid characters. 

Metal Gear is a franchise that some can find hard to get into. The story can get a bit convoluted and the gameplay is very unique to the franchise. However, audiences agree it is worth giving it a shot. How a man and a company from Japan are able to make perfect commentary on American politics is astounding. The influences make the Metal Gear franchise one of the best in video game history. No one knows when the other four Metal Gear Solid games will be re-released but it better be soon. While there will be no more Metal Gear games made by Hideo Kojima, the nine that exist are a unique and beloved addition to the gaming industry.

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