Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Thursday 3 May 2007

Greatest Games of All Time!! - Issue 2

For this one I'm going to discuss the first in a series of several games, the 3 of which I will discuss being from the Playstation and PS2 range. Other games in the series began on Nintendo, with remakes and portable versions appearing on later Nintendo systems. What I'm talking about is of course the "Metal Gear" series, created by the genius that is Hideo Kojima.

The first game in the series entitled "Metal Gear" follows the mission of Snake, the newest recruit of FOXHOUND and clone of the legendary Big Boss (discussed later and in more detail in future Issue). The game is set in the year 1995 and takes place in South Africa. His mission is to infiltrate Outer Heaven (a fortress), rescue Gray Fox (who is also in FOXHOUND) and later to destroy Metal Gear itself. In the turn of events it emerges that Big Boss is in command of Outer Heaven, and wanted to use Metal Gear to make Outer Heaven a world Superpower. Ultimately, Snake defeats Big Boss and destroys Metal Gear, but whether or not Big Boss survived the explosion of Outer Heaven is left in mystery as Snake receives a message saying: "We will meet again!".

Following the success of the "Metal Gear", Hideo Kojima put into development the sequel: "Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake". This however only appeared in Japan, instead Europe and the US got an inferior game entitled "Snake's Revenge", developed by a different company.

In "Metal Gear 2", Snake has come out of retirement following the Outer Heaven incident to work for FOXHOUND once more, this time under the command of Roy Campbell. This time the game is set in 1999. Snake is ordered to rescue Dr. Kio Marv from Zanzibar Land (similar to Outer Heaven). Snake meets the same doctor from the previous game who designed the Outer Heaven Metal Gear and learns that Big Boss survived and is in control of Zanzibar Land and also is forcing into production a new Metal Gear called "Metal Gear D". The pilot of Metal Gear D is revealed to be Snake's former buddy Gray Fox. Eventually, Snake retrieves the OILIX formula which Dr. Marv developed, defeats Gray Fox in hand to hand combat and kills Big Boss for the second and last time.

It is following these two games that brings to this Greatest of All Time, "Metal Gear Solid".

Metal Gear Solid

Console: Playstation and PC
Released: 1998


Metal Gear Solid's protagonist is Solid Snake, a legendary infiltrator and saboteur. During the mission, Snake receives support and advice via radio. Colonel Roy Campbel, Solid Snake's former commanding officer, supports with mission advice and battle tactics. Campbell is joined by Naomi Hunter, who gives medical advice; Nastasha Romanenko, who provides item and weapon tips; and Mei Ling, who saves the player's progress onto a memory card.
The main antagonist of the game is Liquid Snake, leader of FOXHOUND. An elite special forces unit, it contains experts specializing in unique tasks. Members are discussed in Issue 2.5. Other characters include Meryl Silverburgh, the niece of Roy Campbell; Dr. Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, the lead developer of Metal Gear REX; and Cyborg Ninja, a mysterious cybernetically-enhanced agent who opposes both Solid Snake and FOXHOUND.

In 2005 (six years after the events of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake), FOXHOUND and the genetically-enhanced Next-Generation Special Forces unit lead an armed uprising at Shadow Moses, a remote isle located in Alaska's Fox Archipelago and the site of a nuclear weapons disposal facility. In the process, they acquire Metal Gear REX, a nuclear-capable bipedal tank, threatening the U.S. government with a nuclear reprisal if they do not receive a large cash ransom and the remains of the "legendary mercenary" Big Boss. Solid Snake, in retirement at Alaska's Twin Lakes, is forcibly dispatched at the request of Colonel Roy Campbell to penetrate the terrorist defenses and neutralize the threat.

The details of the game's story can be found here:


I've listed the main ones above, and in Issue 2.5 I'll be addressing the villains.

Solid Snake - I've detailed much of Snake's past in the opening paragraphs. In
this game however, Snake is confronted by his brother Liquid Snake, and we learn that they were both cloned from Big Boss. Also, Snake meets the cyborg Ninja, who is revealed to be Gray Fox, who was found virtually dead after the Zanzibar Crisis.

Meryl Silverburgh - Meryl Silverburgh serves as Solid Snake's sidekick and love interest in Metal Gear Solid. She is former FOXHOUND commander, Roy Campbell's niece, and a member of the "Next Generation Special Forces" (reserve members of FOXHOUND). During the mission she is captured and subjected to torture and "things even worse than that". In the end she escapes with Snake, provided that the player did not submit to the torture. Meryl plays a key role in Snake's first encounter with Sniperwolf.

Colonel Campbell - Snakes advisor. He contacts Snake throughtout via codec, helping the player with hints to progress further in the game aswell as tips on certain bosses. He was the original leader of FOXHOUND, preceeded by Big Boss and succeeded by Liquid Snake. Campbell has the upmost respect and confidence in Snake's ability, but leaves Snake in the dark on key issues regarding the mission, and is temporarily removed from command by the Secretary of Defence.

Naomi Hunter - Medical advisor. Whilst 'healing' isn't a huge factor in MGS1, she often details information about Snake's nanomachines, and other drugs in his system. Later it is revealed that she administered the lethal FOXDIE drug to several operatives in the simulation, not including Snake of course. She isn't overly fond of Snake, who thinks of him as a ruthless killer, and is suprised when Snake shows compasion for Meryl. She also gives Snake information regarding Gray Fox's transition to the Cyborg Ninja.

Mei Ling - The technical advisor. She offers Snake information regarding any technical equipment he is using such as his soliton radar and the codec. She is responsible for saving 'status', i.e. when you want to save, you call Mei Ling on your codec. She completely idolises Snake, and often refers to him as the 'Legendary Solid Snake'.

Otacon - real name Hal Emmerich. Otacon stands for Otaku Convention, as his character is a fan of Japanime. Otacon is one of the chief designers of Metal Gear REX, or more importantly its software. Snake is sent to rescue Otacon after meeting the Arms Tech President, who tells Snake that Emmerich is his best chance to destroy REX. When Snake reaches his lab, we see Otacon corned by the Cyborg Ninja. Snake defeats the Ninja and part of the Gray Fox history is revealed. Otacon then assists Snake for the remainder of the game by providing him with information regarding the base.


Unless you've actually played MGS1, it is very difficult to explain how the gameplay works. The premise of the entire game (and of the entire series) is STEALTH. This is no typical shoot 'em up game. YOU WILL NOT SURVIVE if all you do is shoot. The idea is to sneak around avoiding detection. Should you be detected, spotted by a guard for example or trip a sensor, the game immediately enters 'Alert' mode. A timer replaces your map which shows a red countdown timer. Guards will come after you, chase you, shoot you and try to kill you outright. Of course you can fight back, but you can't keep it up forever cause they'll keep coming! Should you manage to escape, the game then shifts to 'Evasion' mode. You still don't have access to your map, and the red timer is now replaced with an orange timer. In this mode the guards will search EVERYWHERE for Snake. They know you're out there. Should you be caught, you return to alert mode. Assuming you find a super cool hiding place, the orange timer will go down, gameplay will revert back to normal, and you will once again have your map.

Speaking of the map, it shows Snake's location, guards locations, the guards field of vision, cameras and their field of vision, door and everything else. Should you enter a guard's/camera's field of vision, that's when they spot you and you enter alert mode.

Snake has numerous tricks however to avoid being seen and staying out of alert mode. Now the obvious thing would be to shoot the guard. Now that's ok, but if you have a loud weapon, other guards will kill you. Solution: a silencer. What if you don't have one? Well Snake can knock out the guards with kicks and punches, or he can run up behind them, grap them and snap their neck for a silent kill.

Or he can just avoid killing altogether!! If Snake presses himself up against a wall, by pressing the 'ACTION' button, Snake will tap on the wall and lure the guard in that direction, thus clearing the way for Snake to run around through a door or whatever.

But how then do you avoid cameras? Two ways: one throw a chaff grenade which disrupts the camera but also knocks out your radar or, wait for the camera to swivel around, then slowly walk along pressed against the wall until you're standing right underneath the camera at it's blind spot. Then when it swivels the other way, peg it!!!
Other bits of particular gameplay come in say when you are descending the communications tower on the rope, with the Hind D chopping away at you, or the closing sequence where you man the machine gun on the back of the jeep, or when you are being tortured by Ocelot.
Now all this gameplay has only gotten better in MGS2 and MGS3, which I will detail in a later blog.

This is a tricky one really. The game feels very long...especially when you play it for the first time, but subsequent times the game flows much faster, partly because you know what's coming up. At two discs it's long enough. This issue was corrected in MGS2 and 3, by increasing the number of guards, number of cameras, mines, longer boss fights, etc. as you upped the difficulty.


MGS1 is certainly not as replayable as FF7 but it does have a good re-playability factor though. This ties in with the unlockables below.


They're are a few, but once again this was greatly improved upon in the later games and the way you unlocked things was also greatly improved. This I will discuss another time!

Completing the game will get you 'The Camera', which you can use to take pictures and save onto a Memory Card.

Completing the game three times I believe replaces Snake's sneaking suit with a tuxedo.

Completing it four times I think will then replace the Tuxedo with the Cyborg Ninja's armour.

The only thing the player can decide is whether Meryl survives. In the torture scene with Ocelot, if you submit, Meryl dies, and you escape with Otacon. This results in you unlocking the 'Stealth Camouflage’, which renders you INVISIBLE to everyone and everything except bosses and animals. Which is very handy for all that sneaking. If you don't submit, Meryl survives, and you escape with her. She gives you the 'Bandana', which gives you unlimited ammo. It can be quite handy for tricky boss fights or messy encounters with the guards.

So that's this one for the moment, and here's the summary. Stay blogged for Issue 2.5!!!

Story/Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Gameplay: 910
Longetivity: 7
Re-playability: 7
Unlockables/Secrets: 10 (Only because the Stealth Camo is so entertaining!)

With the movers and shakers!!
~The Damo

1 comment:

Ann Marie said...

Again it sounds like a good game and that you know what you're talking about.