METAL GEAR SOLID
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 11, 2020
Welcome my friends, to another episode of the Big Red Timemachine. I must urge you to be very, very quiet if you value your own life. So, what am I doing hiding away in this dusty ventilation duct? Well, I'm trying to save my skin, actually. You see, all of a sudden, Dennis' butler, Jeeves, has returned, quite inexplicably I might add, to our Big Red HQ. At first it seemed fine, but I'm on to him now...
So, why am I suspicious of an aging and slightly balding butler, you ask? Well, for one, the guy shouldn't be alive. And yes, I am very sure of that, because usually people die 100% of the time when you chop off their head with a machete. And no, that was not a very nice thing to do, but I never said I was proud of doing it, now did I. Nevertheless, the guy suddenly shows up at our door and Dennis started his whole "finer things in life"-shtick. He furthermore deployed some kind of hallucinogenic gas in our HQ, causing Dennis to become even more snooty and causing me to constantly see the thing I fear most... killer steampunk Steven Seagal robots!
Two weeks ago, I overheard Dennis and Jeeves talking about "Setting me straight" and "getting me to see things their way". Now, while this may sound quite harmless, I know a thinly veiled death threat when I hear one, so I ran. Alas, the impostor Jeeves found me and took me back here. Luckily, he locked me in my old office where, much to my delight, I found my old machete. So I lured Jeeves in my office with a brilliant ruse, hacked his right arm off and ran for it. And this, ladies and germs, is how I got to be hiding in this ventilation duct. I've been creeping around our HQ very stealthily for days now, hoping to catch that damn butler off guard and saving what's left of Dennis' and my own sanity.
However, all this creeping around did give me an idea for a game to revisit. So let's all creep our way to the Big Red Timemachine, strap ourselves in and make our way to the year 1998. Ah yes, 1998; the year in which I turned 18, the year in which the final episode of Seinfeld aired and, of course, the year in which we learn of Bill Clinton's penchant for certain things to do with cigars It is also the year in which we would join a guy who made creeping around into a higher art-form. It's time to get our sneak on and save the world from evil dudes as we play a little Metal Gear Solid!
Developed by Konami and written, directed and produced by none other than Hideo Kojima himself, Metal Gear Solid saw the light of day on the Playstation in September of 1998. The game follows the exploits of infiltrator and saboteur extraordinaire, Solid Snake. And let me tell you, this guy has a pretty full agenda, if you ask me. He is on a mission to put a stop to the evil plans of a rogue special forces unit called Foxhound. At the same time, he must also rescue two hostages, as well as deal with numerous enemy forces AND save the world from an imminent nuclear attack! Now I don't know about you, but to me this seems like quite a lot to do...
Metal Gear Solid is actually the third entry in the Metal Gear series, following Metal Gear 1 and 2, the former of which my once esteemed colleague Dennis revisited some time ago, back when things were still hunky-dory at our Big Red HQ. Metal Gear Solid made the transition to 3D graphics, while maintaining a semblance of the top-down view that was also used in the first two games in the series. Also, the game still revolved around stealth rather than head-on gun fighting. As Solid Snake, it was your job to sneak around enemies, dispatching them without them seeing you, or to avoid them completely.
To this end, our buddy Snake must make good use of his innate stealth skills, as well as various cool gadgets like a pack of cigarettes that can be used to detect previously unseen security lasers, a cardboard box disguise to help him blend in with his surroundings and infrared goggles that enable him to get the upper hand in certain situations. . A radar at the top of the screen shows Snake the position and field of view of enemies in the area, so he can determine the optimal path to take. If you are spotted, a sharp alarm sound will be heard and the guard that spotted you, now with a red exclamation mark above his head, will come over to investigate or, if he's close enough, attack you on sight. When the alarm sounds, the game goes into Alert Mode. This means that the radar will no longer work and enemies will come looking for you with only a single thing on their mind; ending your life rather prematurely.
Luckily, Snake can hide like a champ, so that is what you must do. You can crawl under things, hide around corners, basically everywhere, actually. As long as you remain unseen the game shifts into Evasion Mode and a timer will start counting down to zero. When it reaches zero, the game will shift once again, back into Infiltration Mode, which is the normal state of the game. Now, your enemies are no longer aware of your presence and will revert back to following their usual routine. When this happens, you can come out of hiding and try to circumvent the enemies once more, hopefully this time without being seen.
Now, creeping around and saving the planet usually isn't a one man job, so Snake has a few friends to help him on his mission. He keeps in contact with them through an in-ear audio piece called a Codec. This way, he receives useful information on how to deal with enemies, tips on medical issues, survival tactics and the like by a host of cool characters. Naturally, the enemy also has a few high-ranking people and this is where the boss-fights come in. Whenever this occurs, Snake must closely observe his enemy, find their weak spots and exploit them to the best of his ability in order to dispatch them and come one step closer to saving the world from certain destruction.
The use of 3D graphics as well as the top-down view simultaneously managed to keep the game in-line with its predecessors, as well as catapult it into a new age. The latter of the two was even more evident by the option to shift the camera into first person perspective whenever Snake remained stationary, giving the player the ability to assess the situation at hand in more detail and plan their strategy accordingly. Also, the game's focus on stealth rather than action is often said to have, almost singlehandedly, spawned the entire stealth genre. Metal Gear Solid was, at the time, one of those games that just hit all the marks; the game looked awesome, sounded awesome and played like a charm. The cool characters and the superb soundtrack really complemented the rest of the game, turning it into one truly awe-inspiring experience.
Well, it has been fun sneaking around with you all, ladies and gentlemen, but I must really return you to the safety of the present. Sorry for dropping you off miles from the Big Red HQ, but I just got a reading on my security terminal, indicating that, as I suspected, Jeeves is on the prowl once more, hunting for me. Now, I can maybe turn this thing around, if I could just get Dennis to see his "butler" for what he really is... a killer robot on a mission to utterly destroy everything we worked for all these years! Yes, I know it is hard to believe, dear readers, but our friendly neighborhood Jeeves is actually the leader of the ultimate evil in this or any universe; the Steven Seagal Killer Robot Squad.
** A sudden gust of wind rocks the Big Red Timemachine and a bright white flash tears through the night. ***
Oh damn, he found me! Run for your lives, dear readers, the robots have come to kill us all!!!
*** Sounds of laser-weaponry being fired, followed by a huge explosion and the lamentation of the women ***
AAAAAAHHHH, NOOOOOO! YOU BASTAAARD!!! I WILL...
*** The microphone cuts out and leaves nothing but ominous static noise ***
METAL GEAR SOLID