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Metal Gear Solid
for the Sony PlayStation

reviewed by Donald Melanson

Metal Gear Solid picks up a few years after the two classic NES games, with the player taking the role of Solid Snake. Despite what at first glance appears to be a simple plot (save the world all by yourself), it is actually a very well thought out and intricate story, perhaps more effectively told than any other console game, due much to the excellent voice-acting and impressive cinema scenes.

Cinema SceneAs everyone knows, a game doesn't make it on story alone, it needs gameplay to match and Metal Gear Solid delivers here as well. Virtually all of the game takes place in third-person mode with the player not having any control over the camera, there are a few instances when it switches to a first-person view (crawling through pipes, for instance). There is also a first-person view button used to look around but not move, all of this is handled very well.

I do recommend spending a fair bit of time in the practice mode though, since there are a number of subtleties that take some getting used to. The controls are just about as good as they can get in this type of game, with only the rare occurrence of a camera angle that hinders the view. Like most games that take advantage of it, the analog control stick adds significantly to the game. It also makes the most effective use of force feedback that I've ever seen, I can't think of a better reason to get a dual-shock controller.

In-Game SceneEven with great gameplay, the area where Metal Gear Solid really excels is in atmosphere, it's the espionage equivalent of Resident Evil. Much like Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, the attention and focus required is significantly higher than that in the Quake variety of games. This ultimately results in a more satisfying single-player experience.

However, the story plays a much more prominent role in Metal Gear Solid than in Goldeneye. On the other hand, Goldeneye requires more practice and mastering of the controls and in that sense probably has more replay value. Essentially, these two games are perhaps the best example of what is possible on their respective systems.

The only major drawback to Metal Gear Solid is it's length, an experienced gamer will probably be able to finish it in no time, and even a casual gamer shouldn't have much trouble on the medium difficulty setting. But it's a truly amazing game while it lasts and one that should not be missed.

b i o
Donald Melanson is the editor of Mindjack Magazine and is constantly learning on the job. He enjoys listening to all sorts of weird music, messing with computers, drinking coffee, and putting things off `till the last minute.

The writer of this article welcomes your comments: