Otacon: Have you ever… loved someone?
Solid Snake: That’s what you came to ask?
Otacon: No, I was wondering if even soldiers fall in love.
Solid Snake: What are you trying to say?
Otacon: I want to ask you. Do you think love can bloom even on a battlefield?
Solid Snake: Yeah. I do. I think at any time, any place, people can fall in love with each other. But if you love someone, you have to be able to protect them.
I love something, but I never asked someone if I should. Yes, even Playstation enthusiasts can fall in love with this something. There are two factions on this battlefield: Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. Like Solid Snake said, “…if you love someone (in this case, something), you have to be able to protect them.”
Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation was an incredible video game. It received high-praise after it was released from nearly every gaming outlet and publication. Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) rated the game a 40 out of 40, Playstation Magazine Volume 42 gave it a perfect 10, and GameTrailers even said in their Top Ten Best Games of All Time video that, “…[it] invented the stealth game.”
Spring forward to 2004 with the release of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the Nintendo GameCube. Many people were excited to see what this new graphic overhaul would do for the already-near flawless game. With the addition of new controls based on the controller scheme from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, I thought everyone would love this updated game.
Metacritic.com has many favorable reviews from well known magazine publications such as Nintendo Power claiming that, “It improves on the original in every aspect…” GameInformer Magazine mentioned how it is, “Something that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.” However, some critics had mixed reviews. Edge Magazine stated that, “…some of the reworked sequences end up interfering with the game’s pacing while failing to bring anything of substance to the experience.” GamePro Magazine thought that the new Metal Gear Solid 2 control scheme was unnecessary.
Like it or not, this game exceeded my expectations. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was the first game in the definitive series that introduced me to the story of Metal Gear Solid. I knew little about the story going into it, but the twists and character development was incredible. I cannot believe that this game was originally created in the 90s, because many of the story elements still work in modern games. Simply put, this game has one of the best stories ever told.
Defending this game is no easy task. I have had countless discussions with people who say Twin Snakes is an abomination to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Many of them back up their claims with little facts and forceful opinions, yet they have an abundance of knowledge of the controller schemes from the original Metal Gear Solid 2. I will bring up multiple arguments I hear about and defend them to the best of my knowledge.
One thing you cannot argue, or I will not let you argue with is the graphics improvements for Metal Gear Solid. The graphics for the GameCube are far greater than those on the Playstation. With no official Metal Gear Solid HD remake in sight, the graphic in Twin Snakes could be the closest thing we get to an HD remake. One great thing was that many of the scenes used motion capture, which shed a new light on prolific scenes. Ryuhei Kitamura worked as the cinematic director for the game, but Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, probably helped extensively since this was a very important game for him. I do wish that they would try another remake so everyone can play it with newer controls.
Which brings me to my second argument, the Metal Gear Solid 2 controls for Twin Snakes. The new game engine brought new controls for Metal Gear Solid fans. Many newcomers to the series, like myself, really enjoyed these controls. They were intuitive and easy to use. The first-person camera helped out with trying to tranquilize enemies and hanging from the rafters was nice, but I will agree that it was probably unnecessary most of the time.
Many people state that the added first-person shooting mechanic ruined the flow of the game, but I believe it just made it better. The way I see it, Metal Gear Solid was all about navigating certain areas, trying to use your stealth and plan your next moves accordingly. I did all of that, and I believe better, with the new controller scheme. I planned when and where I would put enemies to sleep, I tried to remember which areas I could hide in when enemies chased after me, and sometimes, I just enjoyed taking out waves upon waves of enemies for fun. I do not like how the Playstation controls limited you from doing this and more.
When arguing the merits of Twin Snakes versus the original Metal Gear Solid, people often use the cutscenes as a point to argue on. I can bet you that the developers decided in the very early stages of the project that they wanted to have “Matrix-like” cutscenes. You either love them or you hate them. I thought they created beautiful moments that are still relevant. The Metal Gear Solid franchise has been known for doing slow-mo scenes. Ryuhei Kitamura probably insisted that these scenes needed to be changed, and I have no problem with that. Part of that reason could be that I never played the original Playstation version, but with how the Metal Gear Solid series has played out, I think I have developed some fondness for the slow-mo cinematic tool. Sure, it made the game a little more unrealistic, but nearly the entire game is unrealistic. I do not feel like this would ruin the game, so I will agree to disagree based on how people often have differing tastes with regards to this cinematic tool.
Metal Gear Solid still proves today that it can withstand any generation of gamers. I was nearly 10-years-old when the Playstation game came out, and I was a teenager when Twin Snakes arrived. Once I make time, I will replay the entire Metal Gear Solid series in chronological order because I really love the story, gameplay, and characters. I have to thank Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for getting me into this wonderful series. If it never released on the GameCube, I may have not ever discovered the beauty of Metal Gear Solid. As Solid Snake said in my opening dialogue, “But if you love someone, you have to be able to protect them.” I will forever protect Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes until my last dying day.