Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Nostalgia Lane: Metal Gear Solid

When I look back at my time with the original PlayStation, what surprises me most is how short of a window I actually spent with it versus the wealth of experiences and memories that came from it. I purchased my PS1 in the summer of 1998, and by 2000 I had gotten a PS2 and was phasing out the original.

Yet there were so many amazing titles that I enjoyed during this time, including the legendary Metal Gear Solid. Like plenty of others, I first encountered with with a demo disc of the opening level. This I played extensively until I bought the whole thing and absolutely feasted on it during my last year of college.

There really wasn’t another game like this that I had ever played up to that point in my life. It was a seductive mixture of stealth elements, cinematic storytelling, action setpieces, a bit of Metroidvania exploration, meme quotes, and secrets.

Metal Gear Solid — the third in the series — put players in the role of Solid Snake, a special ops agent sent to a remote Alaskan island fortress where he’s got to infiltrate a base, put down tons of highly skilled bad people, and stop a nuclear missile-launching robot from activating. Along the way, the comms radio and various cutscenes kept the stakes high with a multitude of characters, secret agendas, and betrayals.

Unlike a lot of other action titles at that time, MGS rewarded brains, daring, and stealth rather than running and gunning. It rewarded you not to be noticed, since drawing too much attention would most likely get you killed in short order. So there was a lot of sneaking around, distracting guards, hiding in cardboard boxes (!), and using a wide variety of tools to accomplish your goals.

Even with the jagged polygons, MGS had a style that looked good (and still does, in a sense). And it played so smoothly, which was paramount to the think-on-your-feet gameplay. But what I liked the most was how inventive it was for the time. There are so many little secrets, multiple ways to accomplish tasks, fun gadgets, and bosses that sometimes had to require out-of-the-box thinking.

I mean, that first time when I had to fight Psycho Mantis and eventually realized that the only way to beat him was to switch controller ports? Genius.

Weirdly enough, it would be the last time I really liked a Metal Gear Solid game. I did get the second one on the PS2 and was — like everyone else — disappointed that you didn’t get to play as Snake for half the game. I also grew pretty weary of the twisty-turny overly philosophical storytelling by the end of MGS and was in no mood for even more of that nonsense in the second one.


One thought on “Nostalgia Lane: Metal Gear Solid

  1. Great game, an all-time classic to be sure! I only wish the voice acting hadn’t been so horrendously bad (at least I remember it that way).

    Snake? SNAKE?? SNAAAAAAKE!!!!

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