|Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes|
|Developer: Silicon Knights
Release Date: 26/03/04
The long internet-rumoured remake of the Playstation classic, Metal Gear Solid, has finally been released on the Nintendo platform. As soon as the subtitle "The Twin Snakes" was announced, people went onto presume it had some sort of multiplayer or co-op mode in it. Of course, this is incorrect, and it is named so due to the connection between the game's hero, Solid Snake, and his twin brother…
So what we have is a six-year-old Playstation game, rebuilt using the Metal Gear Solid 2 graphics and gameplay engine. Apart from the obvious major graphical overhaul, this includes the little features from MGS2: Sons of Liberty such as hiding dead/knocked-out enemies in lockers, hanging from ledges and of course, the ability to shoot your weapons from the first person view point - extremely handy.
For those that aren't aware, this is a straight remake of the original - there are no new areas to play in, no new twists in story and every item is in the exact same place as it was on Playstation, so people expecting something along the lines of the Resident Evil remake may be slightly disappointed. To be perfectly honest this wasn't an issue to me, just the chance to play the game again looking this good with all the cool features from the sequel was enough to get me interested.
Graphics, for the most part, are of exceptional quality. Textures and models are very nicely detailed, and the visual style Konami used on Metal Gear Solid still works wonderfully today. You do however get the odd blurry texture that almost looks like it's a Playstation leftover that they decided not to change - strange but true. These are typically on the edges of the world so you don't really notice them too much. Cut scene quality is without doubt the best I have ever seen in a videogame. Using the in-game engine, these link sequences are running in real time and look outstanding. When you see the Ninja doing his stuff down that corridor you'll be amazed. Camera pans and positioning is brilliantly executed, and it really adds to the atmosphere that Konami are so famous for. For me, MGS was the game that truly started cinematic atmospheres in videogames, and it has once again set the benchmark with 'Twin Snakes.
Controls are handled well enough on the unorthodox controller. Konami/Silicon Knights have used the analog triggers to good effect. On Playstation you obviously have 4 shoulder buttons for selecting weapons and items, but on the Gamecube controller you have just two triggers. To bring up the inventory you press and hold L or R, and to quick select the last used item (such as a gun), you quickly tap the trigger/s. Works well enough. The controls in general take an hour or so to get used to, and some actions are still very awkward to perform. For example, firing is done by letting go of 'A' instead of pressing it, which is just backwards, and you need Olympic standard finger movement to be able to run and hold your gun out (and don't even try to go into first person mode straightaway after running - that requires three buttons to be pressed (required for "holding up" guards). Using some weapons such as the sniper rifle which you generally use lying down can be painful as the 'zoom-out' button is mapped to the same button as 'stand up', and if you zoom-out too far it won't just stop the zoom function, it will unequip the weapon and stand Snake up - this is incredibly frustrating when in boss battles.
Overall though, the game is absolutely fantastic. Sneaking around the beautifully designed base is brilliant fun, and the boss fights are the best around. Psycho Mantis still reads your memory card and comments on certain saves, and he still messes with your mind in other ways. The way to defeat him is simply game design genius, and rumble feature is used to very good effect.
Konami put a lot of effort into making their MGS series as cinematic as possible, from the music (which is either rewritten or slightly remixed in Twin Snakes), the cut scenes, and story twists, it all adds to up to a fantastic experience that everyone should play at least once in their life.
Yes this game is a remake with nothing really new to offer, but it was a classic on the Playstation, and it hasn't lost any of its magic in the Gamecube remake. Highly recommended.
- Great, involving story.
- Fantastic to play, great boss battles.
- Beautiful graphics and cut scenes.
- It IS a complete remake with nothing much new.
- Controls are fiddly, and are starting to show their age now.
- Long cut scenes and regular breaks between game play wont appeal to all.