For a PS1 game, the graphics in Metal Gear Solid are quite average really. I mean they pretty much got the best that they could out of the PS1 system. Unlike FF7, the cutscenes in MGS utilise the same models used in the gameplay. Like any good game, the storyline progresses through these magnificent cutscenes and codec conversations. As gaming technology has gotten better, graphics have improved and hence so have the cutscenes. The sequel Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, is acredited as being the first game to resemble a Hollywood film. Without the gameplay you would literally be watching a film with hours of cutscenes. This is due greatly to the story writing genius that is the series' creator Hideo Kojima. There'll be more for me to say when I blog about MGS2 and MGS3.
Last blog I covered the main 'good' characters, so know I'll take a look at the magnificent array of creative villains we meet throughout our travels on Shadow Moses, a trend which continues to the game's sequels. The villains in this game are members of FOXHOUND (the unit which Snake was a member of in his early days) and is under the command of Snakes brother (also a clone of Big Boss) Liquid Snake.
Liquid Snake - serves as Metal Gear Solid's main antagonist against Solid Snake, who is also his genetic twin. In the game Liquid poses as Snake's former survival coach Master Miller and tricks Snake into activating the new version of Metal Gear, Metal Gear REX. We first see Liquid as the pilot of the HIND D on the helipad, when Snake takes the elevator from underground cavern. Liquid is then present when Snake is being tortured by Ocelot, and Snake also figts off Liquid in the HIND D at the top of the communications tower. After this the entire final act of the game involves Snake and Liquid fighting, first with Liquid piloting Metal Gear, secondly in a bare handed fist fight, and finally in a car chase before Liquid is killed by the FOXDIE virus (which was injected into all members of FOXHOUND at some point except for Snake and Ocelot). Following his appearance in Metal Gear Solid Liquid was named the "Greatest Villain of All Time" by IGN.
Revolver Ocelot - Revolver Ocelot is introduced in Metal Gear Solid and is a Russian gunslinger who specialises in interrogation. He serves as Liquid's right hand man and encounters Snake twice, the first time while Snake is attempting to rescue ArmsTech president Kenneth Baker, the second time is when Ocelot tortures Snake while he is captured. Once the mission is complete he is the sole survivor of the FOXHOUND unit. After the game credits have rolled it is revealed through a one-way phone call the Ocelot is secretly a double agent sent in by the US President to recover REX's dummy warhead data.
Vulcan Raven - Vulcan Raven is the Inuit member of FOXHOUND who wields a giant Vulcan cannon and has shamanic powers of intuition. Raven was also an employee at Big Boss's fortified nation of Outer Heaven prior to his involvement at FOXHOUND. In Metal Gear Solid he does battle with Snake twice, the first battle with Raven in an M1 Abrams tank, the second in a freezer with Raven being killed. During his death scene he gives info on the real identity of the DARPA Chief (who is the first hostage Snake rescues. He mysteriously dies moments after he tells Snake about Metal Gear REX.
Cyborg Ninja/Gray Fox- Gray Fox appears in the form of a "Cyborg Ninja" in Metal Gear Solid. He is equipped with a powered exoskeleton and katana that can slice through steel. Throughout the mission he provides Snake with anonymous messages via Codec, using the pseudonym "Deepthroat". Snake does battle with Fox in a laboratory while on his way to rescue Hal Emmerich, a scientist held captive. Fox assists Snake in destroying the radome on Metal Gear REX, but is killed by REX, being piloted by terrorist leader Liquid Snake.
Psycho Mantis - Psycho Mantis is a psychic expert for the FOXHOUND unit. Prior to joining FOXHOUND, he worked with the KGB and the FBI. His special abilities include the psychic powers of psychokinesis and telepathy. He also claims to be able to read the future, but this is implied to be a use of telepathy to find out what his opponents will do next as opposed to true clairvoyance. In Metal Gear Solid Mantis encounters Snake twice, the first time he takes control of Meryl's mind, the second encounter he and Snake do battle, with Mantis being defeated.
When Solid Snake faces Mantis, Mantis demonstrates his psychic powers by breaking the fourth wall. In the pre-battle cut-scene, he activates the controller's rumble feature, then reads the player's memory card and comments on how often you saved the game and your preference on certain other games. In the original PlayStation game, he reads off the titles of Konami's other games while in the remake Twin Snakes, he reads Nintendo's games. Then, at the beginning of the actual battle, Mantis causes the screen to go completely black except for the words "HIDEO" in green all capital text in the top right corner of the screen, much like TV or VCR on-screen-displays, in an attempt to throw the player off. He was truely a boss that not only confused the player character Snake, but also the player.
Sniper Wolf - Sniper Wolf is the Kurdish sharpshooter of the FOXHOUND unit. Though snipers usually work in pairs, Sniper Wolf works alone. She is also another "disciple" of Big Boss, the antagonist from the previous two Metal Gear games. In Metal Gear Solid she fights Snake twice, the first time results in Meryl being captured, and Snake being tortured, in the second battle she is killed.
Decoy Octopus - Decoy Octopus is a member of FOXHOUND, and, with the rest of his unit, went rogue during the Shadow Moses island incident. Octopus specialises in impersonation. In Metal Gear Solid he impersonates the DARPA Chief after Ocelot killed him, and is killed by the FoxDie virus. He is the only member of FOXHOUND whom Snake does not fight.
And of course....
Metal Gear REX - Metal Gear REX, designed by Dr. Hal Emmerich, is the model of Metal Gear that appears in Metal Gear Solid. It is characterized by a railgun that, as is revealed in the game, can deliver undetectable nuclear warheads to anywhere in the world. In addition to its railgun, REX differs from the preceding Metal Gear D in that its legs are heavily armored and reinforced, not vulnerable like its predecessors'.
The Metal Gear REX has near-impenetrable compound armor, a pair of vulcan cannons, anti-tank missiles, and a free-electron laser, to protect itself from conventional forces. Its primary weapon, however, is a magnetic railgun capable of delivering an untraceable nuclear warhead anywhere in the world, without the propellant trail or launch flare that gives away the launch position of a traditional ballistic missile. Because of its sealed, one-man cockpit and thick armor, its sensors are concentrated in a radome on the left side of its body; this radome is very vulnerable to attack, and destroying it effectively blinds the REX, forcing the cockpit to open. In this state, the REX is vulnerable as its controls can be easily destroyed (In Metal Gear Solid, Emmerich, states that this was intentional, declaring that nothing can be complete without a "character flaw").
In Metal Gear Solid, weapons company ArmsTech bribes DARPA chief Donald Anderson to get covert US government funding for development of Metal Gear REX, and sends a single prototype to be tested at a nuclear weapons disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island. However, the Shadow Moses facility is taken over by the rogue special forces unit FOXHOUND, who then attempt to use it as leverage to extort the US government.
It is revealed in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that Revolver Ocelot, the sole FOXHOUND survivor, escapes with the blueprints for REX, however, and soon sells them onto the black market. As a result, variants of REX spread worldwide. The Metal Gear RAY is designed in response, to combat these variants of REX, and render them useless.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater fills in the background of Metal Gear REX. According to that game, the idea for REX originates with Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin, a Soviet weapons designer, who compares it to the theory of the missing link between apes and men. He shows Naked Snake (who is actually Big Boss, more on this later) his design drawings, which appear quite similar to Metal Gear REX, calling it the missing link between infantry and artillery. Infantry can go anywhere but are easily destroyed and carry limited firepower. Artillery can inflict and sustain far more damage, but are at the mercy of terrain. In short, for a tank to be perfect, it needs legs. At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, Ocelot reveals he stole these designs from Granin.
As is standard with Hideo Kojima nowadays, he releases a directly related game to accompany each of his titles about a year and a half after the main release. In this case, the game was called Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions. The sequels follow ups were named Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. More about these in other blogs.
Special Missions offered the player 300 VR missions, some obvious combat based missions, others like taking a photograph of Naomi Hunter or solving a murder mystery. Special Missions also allowed you to play as the cyborg Ninja. If players were exceptionally good at the game, and achieved 100%, they were treated to an image of Metal Gear Ray, the Metal Gear mecha that appears in MGS2.
It would take me too long to go into any real detail on these 300 extra missions, but just take it from me that it was an excellent addition to the series.
It should also be noted that Metal Gear Solid was re-released on the Nintendo Game Cube. The game was re-rendered using PS2 graphics that were achieved in MGS2 and also brought many aspects of MGS2's gameplay over to the original. This game was titles Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, and was arguably one of the most successful games on the Gamecube.
Well there you have it. Maybe I'll take a break from the Metal Gear series in the next blog...we'll see.
The UN is right, you can't be more 'un' than you are now!