I'm a huge fan of the Metal Gear series. I must have finished the original MSX2-game dozens of times. It would take years before I found out there was actually a second Metal Gear game (named 'Solid Snake'), and I played that using an emulator.
The cool thing about the second Metal Gear is that it continued the story of the first game, with old friends turning into new enemies -- and it had the infamous radar-view.
Very few people know of these two games, even those who proclaim themselves fans of the series -- don't they wonder about the story-lines in Metal Gear Solid? If you're one of those people, play the two original games with an emulator, available here.
Even later, I learned that a third Metal Gear game was being developed for the Playstation. I bought a Playstation and the Metal Gear Solid Limited Edition package (including a T-shirt and a large poster!). And once again, I was blown away by the game and the storyline. Hideo Kojima writes intricate storylines, and the game played liked an action movie. In fact, klik watched me play the game to see how the story would unfold.
Then came Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty -- on the PS2. So I bought a PS2 to be able to play that game (yes, I know -- sad, but I just couldn't help myself). With this incarnation of the Metal Gear game, it became apparent that Kojima would rather direct a movie than make a game: cut-scenes longer than 30 minutes abound, and there was less game and more story... I am ambivalent to the whole Sons of Liberty game.
And now there's Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The story is set before the previous parts, and it shows us the birth of the Fox unit -- just after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Metal Gear has a strong theme of how our genetic heritage affect us (as well as the more obvious anti-nuclear message), and I'm already guessing what the relationship between the various people in this part and the 'original' Solid Snake is.
Again, we're 'treated' to cutscenes lasting more than half an hour -- but so far the story is pretty good. I was a bit pissed when I found out that, after sneaking around for two hours, I had only gotten past the 'prologue' and all the stuff I had acquired was 'reset'.
The James Bond-like opening theme is spectacular, though. It's not the first time a Metal Gear game alludes to James Bond: after finishing Metal Gear Solid twice, Snake suddenly wears a tuxuedo under his wetsuit at the start of the third time you start the game! And there's some talk about 'From Russia with Love' during a radio-conversation with Para-Medic in this part. Amusing.
One of my strong suspicions has been confirmed: it was the Russians all along! The first Metal Gear is set in South Africa, the second on Zanzibar. But the names of the scientists and the weapons you find all gave a very strong Russian feel to it -- though it's never said that you actually battle the Russians. Only after the second Metal Gear game do the Americans get their hands on the plans of Metal Gear and start manufacturing their own.
Or perhaps it is all just a ploy of the extended Snake Family for world domination, and they're just using the Russians and Americans for their own nefarious purposes... I'm hoping this game will explain all that stuff that the previous games only allude to.
Of course, the new episode has introduced various innovations -- most of which I'm pretty impressed with. Hunting for your own food, the whole camouflage deal, it all adds tremendously to the whole 'self-sufficient sneaky intruder'-feel. I could have done without the 'self-surgery' -- it doesn't add anything to the game because you have the same routine for pretty much every type of wound.
I can't wait to continue playing, but alas: there is lots of stuff to do in the house...