As Metal Gear Rising is due out next month and the fact that we’ve seen twenty five years of the Metal Gear franchise I thought it would be great to go over it’s history and hell, is it long story… It all began in 1987, so I’ll be doing the core Metal gear games but leaving out all of the PSP spin-offs and things like that because I’ll be here forever.
Metal Gear (1987):
Metal Gear was released in 1987 on the MSX 2, a Microsoft home computer rarely seen outside of the Soviet Union, Japan and the Middle East. You play as solid snake trying to infiltrate a base in Africa called Outer Heaven which holds a tank capable of launching nukes from anywhere on the planet – this tank was called “Metal Gear”.
It was the first game that started the franchise off and I know it looks radically different to it’s 3D counter parts but it holds the same features such as alert modes, hiding from CCTV, using air vents to hide, and slipping by gaurds using the shadows. It proved to be successful and was ported to the NES in Japan a few months later and a year later in North America and Europe. There were problems with the NES version though because Hideo Kojima was not involved in any development with the console versions, that’s why the game was completely different in certain ways. For example; the levels were laid out differently, there was no second alert stage and the Metal Gear boss was taken out. There were also Japanese to English translations which didn’t make sense too like “I Feel Asleep”. Another Konami team made another Metal Gear titled Snakes Revenge which was realeased on the NES in 1990 again Kojima had nothing to do with the project and the game it self never made it to Asia.
Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake (1990):
This was the true sequel to the first game and ignored the events that took place in Snakes Revenge. This was the first game to have the subtitle of “Tactical, Espionage game” which painted the path for future games. It followed premise of the first game for the fact you were Solid Snake (obviously judging by the title) and you had to infiltrate a base and destroy Metal Gear. These games are very different to the other ones, but the contact number for Roy Cambell has been the same frequency since game started (140.85). It would take another eight years though, before the next metal gear game arrived.
Metal Gear Solid (1998):
Metal Gear Solid was a break through and is considered to be the godfather of cinematic gaming, I remember playing this game at the start, I had to sit through a twenty to thirty minute cut scene before the game started but the thing is it wasn’t boring, it was new, fresh and engaging. The good thing about the scenes they were not played back in some jazz up video that they made, it was done with the in game engine which was revolutionary back in 1998 and this made the game flow better rather than going through a loading screen and then the cut scene.
The game took place on an island called Shadow Mosses and you played as Solid Snake who has come out of retirement to stop a rogue military group called ‘Fox Hound’ that’s lead by Liquid Snake (Solid Snake’s brother). They want the remains of the legendary mercenary big boss in twenty-four hours or they launch a nuclear weapon from the tank Metal Gear Rex.
The amazing thing about this game it was all about using your environment to your advantage, compared to modern games where stealth is more of a gameplay mechanic rather than a genre, Metal Gear Solid makes you take the stealth route because if you got spotted you would be in real danger and take a lot of damage.
Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty (2001):
This was the first MGS game to released on the PlayStation 2 and the fans loved it and it sold millions, but when it was first released fans weren’t happy because you didn’t play as Solid Snake throughout the entire game. The game starts on a flashback mission on a tanker where play as Solid Snake in that chapter. He is a mercenary in this game trying to take down different Metal Gears to save the world, but he gets branded a criminal after the tanker incident and presume dead. The story starts to get confusing in this game because Ocelot has an arm again and you find out that the arm belonged to Liquid Snake who slowly taking over his mind. After you have done the tanker chapter you play the rest of the game as a rookie soldier called Raiden trying to avoid a chemical spill from the “Big Shell” or so you think.
The gameplay was more or less the same as the first Metal Gear Solid but it got a special edition in the form of ‘Substance’ that included different gameplay features such as the ability to aim your weapons in a first person perspective rather than having to aim with the up side camera. The good thing about this game is that they introduced a new system where you can subdue your enemies with a dart gun even the boss you could subdue rather than filling them with bullets..
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004):
This was the last MGS game to come out on the PS2 and another Metal Gear game would not be released for 4 years. This game was very different to the first two MGS games because it wasn’t your typical infiltrate a base or fortress, but instead you were sneaking around in a jungle and surviving by hunting for your own food. Like MGS 2 you didn’t play as Solid Snake, but you played as Naked Snake AKA Big Boss the legendary soldier that Solid snake was cloned from.
This game was set in 1964 during the cold war and you are working for the CIA rather than having units named after animals. The first part of the game you have to go in and save a Russian scientist to stop the Soviets from finishing a tank that could launch nuclear missiles (seeing a pattern here) except at this stage it wasn’t called Metal Gear it’s called the Shagohod. After you find him you find out that your old mentor The Boss has defected to the Soviet union and you get your arse kicked by her and thrown off a bridge.
The game was a different leap in style and gameplay because when they released their special edition of this game they had an 3rd person view which would also be implemented into MGS 4. this game also brought a camo system where you could change snakes’s uniform and face paint to fit the environment that he is in and it will show how much you blend in with the camo index in the corner of the screen, the higher the percentage the more you blend in with your environment.
You can buy Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 in the HD Collection and I would recommend buying it because they are engaging and fun games!
Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of The Patriots (2008):
Metal Gear Solid 4 was the first one to make it onto the PS3 and this game showed what Sony’s console could really perform and it succeed. This game came out back in 2008 and even for that time, graphics are stunning, I did a play through of this game during Christmas and the games visuals still hold up, even today. A lot of people complained about it being and interactive film and yes the scenes are long but that is what it’s like in every Metal Gear Solid game, though the intro of this game was about half an hour – a bit long maybe, but it is an engaging story and the game play is fun.
This game is set nine years after the Shadow Mosses incident from the first MGS game and you play as Solid Snake but he looks very old in this game and the reason why that he looks this way is because in the first game Naomi who was helping you with the mission in the first game injected you with the FOX die virus which started to accelerate snakes ageing making him now, look so old.. Before he dies he has one last mission to take care off which is to kill Liquid Ocelot before he enslaves the whole world with ID control. The metal gear games always had over the top melodrama, but this one kicks it into overkill and has more plot twist than you can imagine. This game is the one to tie up all lose ends from the previous three, but it’s not the last game in the instalment with Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros announced at the end of last year.
The game play of this one was like MGS 3, but the camo system was different in the sense that you had the Octo Camo Suit which would change to adapt to the wall that you were hiding behind or the floor you were lying on. The game was easy to control compared to the previous games it felt that Snake had a bit of weight on him when you moved rather than in the other games it felt like I was controlling a feather and you got caught easily when you made the slightest wrong move. The moment that stood out for me in this game was the start the first chapter where you are in a war zone in the Middle East, and my brother who is a Metal Gear fan said “you can’t sneak through a war zone”, but you can! Because you can use weapons without silencers, you can use the noise of other gun fire to cover your tracks, and essentially you can use the distraction of a fire fight to move round the enemies without them noticing. If you have a PS3 and haven’t played this game I would recommend it and it’s really cheap now if you don’t go and buy the 25th anniversary special edition.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (Feb 2013):
So here we are ready for the release of Metal Gear Rising next month it looks to be a different step into the Metal Gear franchise because as far I can see this is not a stealth game, maybe Hideo Kojima is trying to please the Call of Duty generation if so, I hope it turns out to be a good game. The fans aren’t going to be happy when they have to play as Raiden again, but he does look like a bad ass in this because he is a cyber ninja and who doesn’t like ninjas?
I’m a bit unsure of the story but I know the basics of it. You play as Raiden (obviously) and he has set up his own private security company to protect various people all over the world. This game is set ten years after Metal Gear Solid 4 and it looks like that they have taken a leaf out of the Big Boss story when he sets up his own mercenary company.
So that’s where we are currently with the Metal Gear series, what’s your favourite game in the series? Are you looking forward to Metal Gear Rising next month or do you think it’s something fans aren’t going to like? Let us know by leaving a comment below.