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1998: Solid Snake Reminds Us of Our Youth
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 12, 2002   |   Episode 17 (Show Archive)  

The Scoop: We all know that Metal Gear Solid 2 was one of the best selling games of 2001, and its prequel, Metal Gear Solid, is considered one of the greatest PlayStation games around. But the history of Solid Snake is checkered with a bumpy past, and some real headaches.

The original Metal Gear was released in Japan for the MSX, a game playing computer that just about every country EXCEPT the United States fell in love with. Even in 1987, Metal Gear stressed sneaking over action, and its success would lead to a N.E.S. port a year later. Even though the original Metal Gear team had nothing to do with the U.S. port, it was, for the most part, faithful, outside of upgraded graphics and some changes to the map layout.

It's Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, however, where things get a tad tricky. Kojima, the original programmer of the MSX Metal Gear, returned to make one of the most intense games ever made. Like it's predecessor, Metal Gear 2 was all about stealth, story, and not alerting the guards. Problem is, Solid Snake was an MSX game, and was never ported to the United States.

Instead, we American gamers were given a game called Snake's Revenge. It is a little bit Metal Gear, a little bit Contra, and a whole lot of crap. The game offered very little, if any stealth game play, and was generally considered a dud. Many considered this to be Snake's final mission.

But eight years later, Metal Gear's potential was met, and we were giving a game that would be revolutionary in scale, not to mention being just down right fun. At it's core, Metal Gear revived an entire franchise, one that many had considered D.O.A. years earlier. Metal Gear Solid have the last laugh, as it became one of the best selling PlayStation games, and easily one of the best reviewed.

The Other Side: While Metal Gear Solid is an exciting game textured with a compelling story, it is open to some criticism. The game itself is only a few short hours long, and really, there's not much to do after you've experienced the game a couple of times. The story can be a tad preachy, and feels like it's written with a crayon, but only on occasion. Of course, these complaints are generally easy to look past, and most gamers don't complain about such trivial concerns.

The Impact: Metal Gear Solid didn't just jump start one aging franchise, but paved the way for countless other games fueled on nothing more than the memory of their greatness. Games like Shinobi, Metroid, Pong, Contra, Centipede, and scores of other updates. This trend has taken the industry by storm, and finally a lot of characters bring yesteryear are getting their place among the current crop of games. Of course, it could be argued that these companies have simply run out of ideas, and are feeding us the same old crap, with a name you remember. But, here at Defunct Games, we choose not to look at it that way.

At the time, though, Metal Gear Solid proved that you could make an exciting game, and not need to make it a run and gun action game. Metal Gear Solid forced you to sneak around, and be seen as little as possible. This element has since been imitated numerous times, but never done as well. Splinter Cell, Prisoner of War, and countless other games owe a great deal to Metal Gear Solid, especially
considering the awful treatment Metal Gear 2 received over here.

Where Are They Now?: The Metal Gear franchise is alive and well, still bringing in huge numbers, no matter what platform it's released for. Metal Gear Solid 2's pseudo-expansion pack, Substance, was released recently for the Xbox, and soon on the PC and PlayStation 2. Metal Gear Solid 3 has been all but announced for next years E3. And rumors persist that the original Metal Gear Solid will be remade for the GameCube, in a similar vein to what was done recently with the Resident Evil franchise.

Perhaps most importantly, we are going into a year that is set to be filled with updates, remakes, and compilations. Perhaps trying to get lucky, or make lightning strike twice, Sega, Square, Tecmo, and other companies are touching up titles like Panzer Dragoon Orta, Ninja Gaiden, Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy Tactics, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and other titles are all slated for a 2003 release. 2003 should bring back a couple of memories, unless you are just getting started in this thing we call gaming.


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