I’m back with ‘METAL GEAR’! again. Before I get to Metal Gear Solid (one day), I’m taking a look at the first two games on the MSX2…well PlayStation 3. I’ve already taken a look at the first Metal Gear game and it’s pretty good, but it’s an early game in the series so flaws were abundant. So would the sequel make some improvements to the gameplay? Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, developed and published by Konami and was first released in July of 1990 in Japan.
It’s 1999; Solid Snake infiltrates a dangerous territory in Africa named Zanzibar Land. His mission: to rescue the scientist Dr. Kio Marv and destroy Metal Gear D. Yep, despite destroying a prototype version in the first game, there’s a new version in Zanzibar Land.
I’m not going to spoil the rest, but all I can say is that it’s more plot driven than the first game and it has that complexity that you may find in future Metal Gear games. It mostly talks about warfare and how nuclear weapons fit into it, all from the imagination of Kojima and his action movies…and watched 5 minutes of the news and stopped because he saw a bright spark of creativity. As for characters, most have been developed and even some returning ones who…well, if you played the first game then what happens at the end did have an effect. Though some of the dialogue can be a bit…cringy, especially when Snake talks to women, it really sounds like something from an 80’s movie.
If you’ve played the first game, it’s the same here but with so many improvements. In terms of gameplay, Snake can crouch, and this is very useful, especially when hiding from enemies when possible, so if they find you, there are places you can hide under now so long as the enemy didn’t see you go under that said spot. You can also use it to avoid making noises, effective, slow on the other hand, but it’s a great mechanic. But you can make certain noises like punching a hard surface to trick enemies into your spot; planning an escape? Wanting to defeat an enemy? Then it’s useful…when it works in your favour.
You now have a radar, it’s basically the map of the area you’re in and the white dots are the enemies, this is fantastic as it gives you time to think of your next move and your next move will always matter. You will need to do this because enemies can see in corners, so their field of vision has been increased; they can even hear your footsteps depending on where you walk since different surfaces may make noises, from the clanging of metal to the creaking of wood; the enemies are smarter and tougher to sneak away from.
In terms of combat, you can still punch and you still have weapons you used in the first game, but unless you’re fighting bosses (And there are a lot of them), or a wimp, you don’t really need to use them against normal enemies so long as you plan ahead; in fact, punching down enemies will give you rations and ammo so take advantage of that.
So do you once again rescue hostages? Nope! I mean there are children around and there’s a reason for them being in a military area. You mostly get a health increase and to do that, you must fight bosses. And let me just say, the bosses in the game are much more creative and much better and pull a good challenge, you got Black Color (Wait, what?), The Running Man (No, not the 80’s movie…though with Kojima, it may have been a reference), and much more.
My only issue with the bosses is that you need specific weapons to defeat them. Don’t have the grenades (or green pineapples as the children call them) to defeat the Red Blaster or the rocket launcher to defeat that damn Hind D helicopter which is off-screen due to the limitations of the MSX2? Well you need to leave the area and backtrack to find them and it’s very frustrating when backtracking and if you’re not careful, you’ll be doing it a lot, and it’s not just bosses too, it’s the entire game.
Also, remember those frequency calls from the first Metal Gear game? They’re back with a vengeance. You see, you’ll be able to call people and sometimes you need to call specific people for plot progression, but nobody ever tells you about any new Codec Frequencies due to, at times, needing to change the codes for security reasons, so go and find a guide or a website from Konami themselves with the Codec Frequencies for help because you will need that help.
In terms of Key Cards, you still need to select them from the menu and find the right ones. However, if you collect the first three cards like Card 1, 2 and 3, you can find a room and find a special card that will open the doors 1, 2 and 3 without needing to change it, and this continues on when you get other keys, so at least it’s less of a headache…to an extent.
The graphics are much better; it looks cleaner and a bit more detailed. The level design is memorable for once, there’s much more to it with a heavy militaristic design. The most hilarious thing about the game are the character in-game portraits, where they’re ripped of from celebrities in their movie roles, like Solid Snake being based off Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon, Big Boss based off Sean Connery from The Hunt for Red October, Roy Campbell based off Richard Crenna from the Rambo movies, Drago Modnar based off…Albert Einstein? Yeah, it’s face-palming, but kind of goofy when you think about it. In later releases of the game, the portraits were changed to have the design from the Metal Gear Solid series.
The music had a massive upgrade, it’s has that 80’s flair to it and I love it, and then you got the opening with music so good, when Solid Snake was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he got a stage of his own and that opening theme was represented. Great stuff!
Overall, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake may have its flaws…some that can make the game all the more frustrating, but it’s still a great game and is still a huge improvement over the first game. With pretty good stealth gameplay and a slightly complex story that would shape the series in the future.
Before the release of Metal Gear 2, there was another sequel made for the NES version of Metal Gear, Snake’s Revenge, released in April of 1990 in the US and in 1992 for Europe. Yep, it seems that this was a western exclusive game.
The game is basically Metal Gear again but with platforming parts. Again, I never enjoyed what I played and it feels clunky and…AH, why do these NES Metal Gear games suck? So yeah, I’d recommend the MSX2 version over this any day.
You can get the original Metal Gear 2 on the MSX2, Mobile Phone, PlayStation 2 via Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Vita via Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.