Metal Gear Solid (PSX) Review

Click here to view the Metal Gear Solid description page for screenshots and more information.

Review by The Every Gamer (October 2017)

Score: A

   I finally did it, I’ve started on the Metal Gear Solid series. Now I’ve already reviewed the two Metal Gear games that were originally released for the MSX2, created by the legendary Hideo Kojima. But now the series will go 3D with the help of…the 3DO…yep, just like Policenauts, it was going to be released on that piece of shit console. Thankfully, it was discontinued and the game was moved to the much better PlayStation. Metal Gear Solid, developed and published by Konami, was released in 1998 in Japan/US and in 1999 in Europe.

   The game is set in a remote island in Alaska’s Fox Archipelago, codenamed ‘Shadow Moses’. DARPA Chief Donald Anderson and ArmsTech president Kenneth Baker have been kidnapped by terrorists, and these terrorists were formally part FOXHOUND members , a special-forces unit the main character was previously part of. The reason for this is that they demand the remains of Big Boss and $1 billion, within 24 hours. If the US fails to meet these demands, they will use Metal Gear REX to launch nuclear missiles at the country. So Solid Snake (hehe), a once retired soldier forced back into action by Colonel Roy Campbell, is tasked with infiltrating Shadow Moses and defeating the terrorists. However, there will be many twists and turns to the plot that I won’t spoil for you.

   All I can say is that it’s a very complex plot and OH BOY do you get a lot of plot here, in fact, there’s more plot than game, but at least the plot is interesting and using references to real life can sometimes make it all the more haunting. Characters are really great, there’s a lot to them apart from one who just spews proverbs that don’t really matter, other than being your guidance. I know future plots in the series would probably only get better or much deeper, but for 1998 this was awe-inspiring.

    So the gameplay is, of course, Stealth; where you must go around and do stuff, sneaking about without being seen by enemies. If you’re seen, the area will be on alert-mode and you have to hide without the enemy seeing you or try to escape the area if seen…most likely you’ll get killed, but at least the checkpoints are plentiful, especially if you save. But to help you with your sneaking, you’ll have a mini-map, showing you where you are and the enemies’ field of view, so you can easily sneak past them. It’s up to you (and a little info from friends throughout) to find weapons and all-sorts of gear to help you along the way. Most, if not all of the items you find will be used to help you throughout the game, especially a cardboard box, because Metal Gear Solid wouldn’t be what it is without that box.

   During the game, you’ll get codec calls from people (just like in Metal Gear 2), you’ll get advice from some, you’ll get instances that further the plot, and even some secrets unveiled. And yes, this is probably the most recognisable part of the game, but it’s the deep characters that make it all the better.

   I’ll tell you this right now, the gameplay has some heavy similarities to Metal Gear 2, and actually borrows a lot from that game, from hiding underneath stuff, to making noise to make the enemy go to that spot so you can sneak past, to having to take your time on noisy surfaces, to even the card key later down the road. So if you’ve played the previous game, then you should know how Solid should work, but the only reason why this made it perfect was because it was in 3D and it takes advantage in making a game that trumps whatever the previous title did. Everything just sticks together from the story, to the characters…well almost the characters, anything involving melodrama, especially with a female character during the game, can sometimes end up being…cringe. It may sound silly, but when the melodrama in Metal Gear Solid is done right (for the couple of instances), it’s done well.

   We also have bosses: they’re pretty good and have some interesting patterns to them, though they’re only challenging when you don’t know what to do. But of course me and every other player will never forget is the Psycho Mantis boss and him messing with you, though I won’t tell you what he can do, but I’ll give you a clue: it involves your controller.

   I was quite scared about what the controls were going to be like since the best PS1 games had tank controls. But I was relieved when I found that the movement was smooth and functional that makes the gameplay hold up even today. The graphics are fantastic for the PS1, sure a bit dated by today’s standards, but for what the developers could do with polygonal characters at the time, it’s impressive. The level design is excellent, all the areas have an aura that makes you feel unsafe and for a Stealth game, that’s a massive plus in my book. Sure, it’s bleak, dreary and has the same stone cold metallic feel all around the place, but I think it’s the right thing for this game if you want to immerse yourself in this lonely place…lonely being that you have to find a way to get passed everything.

   The music is absolutely well done. It just makes the game all the more atmospheric and even if you haven’t played any of the games in the series, you’ll recognise some pieces. But they’re absolutely fantastic, I have no problem putting the volume up and blasting the TV for some of these pieces…possibly getting a complaint from the neighbour.

   Overall, Metal Gear Solid is surprisingly near-perfect and the gameplay is timeless. It’s a highly enjoyable game from the moment you pop the disc in…and then the second disc after several hours in. I enjoyed the plot, the characters and each of them are woven effortlessly into the game. Though if you’re looking for full-frontal gameplay, then not a chance here since the plot takes up most of the game, but that’s not a bad thing here since the plot is near enough engaging, even during and after the credits of the game, I was still invested in it. And it doesn’t matter if this is a game from the 90’s as it still holds up even today, so it’s a must play.

You can get Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation, PC and PlayStation Network.

Leave a Comment