2007. PS3. Metal Gear Solid 4.
Next year, Hideo Kojima is releasing the latest in the Metal Gear Solid series, entitled “Guns of the Patriots.” This PS3 soon-to-be hit is sure to present the best graphics seen in a “Metal Gear” game—so good, they're like real life—but can it measure up to the earlier “Metal Gear” games in terms of plot and gameplay?
Harken back, if you will, to the first “Metal Gear Solid” game to come out on Playstation. At the time, that game sported the best graphics around. Its graphics were trumped by each new installment in the series, but its story and gameplay were never outdone.
Outer Heaven was a group of rebellious mercenaries led by Big Boss—the greatest soldier who ever lived. The group's main objective was to usher in a new age—an age of endless war—where mercenaries rule, and where a man lived based on his skill in battle—at least until Snake stopped him. You read in the games’ briefings that Snake defeated them before and is being called back into service to stop another group's attempt to re-create Outer Heaven.
In “Metal Gear Solid,” a group of six elite soldiers—with far-out but believable specialities—known as FOXHOUND, turns on its government and takes over a nuclear waste facility where the United States had secretly been building a new type of war machine: a bipedal tank with nuclear capability known as Metal Gear. The group seeks to realize the dream of Outer Heaven. It gets better.
The location is Shadow Moses Island in the cold darkness of Alaska. The facility is a grimy, old concrete and steel monstrosity surrounded by snowfields, and the terrorists have tanks, helicoptors and a small army.
Of course, Solid Snake is called in to stop FOXHOUND in a one-man rescue/search-and-destroy mission. Alone in this bitter, painful and stark environment, Snake must survive numerous encounters with the members of FOXHOUND as he tries to put an end to the nuclear crisis. As the original “Metal Gear Solid” unfolds, plot twists and new objectives come with every turn. The two hostages you are sent to rescue die. A mysterious ninja is in a battle-ready exoskeleton, who is strangely familiar to Snake.
Snake is carrying a disease designed to infect and kill everyone in FOXHOUND—and maybe himself.
The leader of the rebel group, Liquid Snake, is actually Solid Snake's genetic brother!
It's a lot to live up to. “Metal Gear Solid’s” soulful soundtrack is the backdrop to a cinematic story. Snake’s closed-off heart, hardened by so many kills, is foiled by a scientist and a girl who are frightful and “green” in the face of death. “Metal Gear Solid” explores the consequences of killing, the nature of death and the lack of real glory in war. Snake’s clashes with FOXHOUND members explore the philosophy of the warriors, as the experts of war go forth with hate and desperation against each other. Snake’s final talks with his defeated foes, before battle wounds kill them, are somehow tender and remorseful. One of the terrorists nears death as Snake walks away from him, telling the hero his path is paved with the bodies of his enemies, telling him their souls will haunt him forever. Another bleeding foe asks to be killed with a final shot while helpless, to be set free at last from the pain of life. Still others are hard as nails to the end, while all their morals, betrayals and burdens collide.
Have the others measured up?
No. Especially when the second of the Metal Gear Solid games failed to deliver on a of couple important points. Of course, it wasn't really about Snake as much as it was a sequel to the first game. The framework set up for yet another game by letting the player in on the fact that (fictitiously, of course) our country is run by a shady group of 12 people known as the Patriots, who are behind every government decision and have been since the beginning of the 20th century.
Then, “Metal Gear Solid 3” came out and didn't explain as much who the Patriots were as it did how they came about, and everyone who played it realized by then that the Metal Gear Solid series was bound to have more sequels. At $50 a game, who needs that?
And that's not even an estimate of how much “Metal Gear Solid 4” is going to cost. Since Sony, the makers of Playstation, announced PS3 games could cost up to $99, it's a sure fact that they make a lot of money off the Metal Gear Solid series.
But why shouldn't they, if it's a great series? Thinking back again to the first Metal Gear Solid game, it could have stood on its own without another in the series.
Then came "Sons of Liberty," the second game. Then "Snake Eater," the third.
And don't forget that before the Metal Gear Solid series began, two games were made for Nintendo, also called Metal Gear.
Is it possible these games are just being made to have sequels?
Oh yes, definitely.
But that doesn't mean you won’t play the game, or buy it and a PS3. Except for the exorbitant prices, why shouldn't you play “Metal Gear Solid 4” to see if it can live up to the standard? But the standard was set two systems ago with “Metal Gear Solid.” So while you wait, revisit the classic, for it has delivered more thrills than any game the series has delivered, and it likely won’t be beat by technology.