In 1998, Konami released Metal Gear Solid. It is a game that has made nearly every "Greatest Games of All Time" list you can think of. It is one of the games that literally changed the industry in a way no one believed the industry could be changed. By giving us a unique, cinematic experience and a story to remember for the ages. Very few games of the time could compare to the spectacle of Metal Gear Solid. It is one of the few games so many of us could describe as "Perfect."
In 2004, Konami revisited their classic title and decided to update it for the Gamecube. In the end they gave the game a huge overhaul by keeping the original story in tact and updating the gameplay to include the elements of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The end result is a game that doesn't ruin the nostalgia, but shows us why some games don't particularly need an update they can't handle.
For those unfamiliar with the story of Metal Gear Solid, it centers on an operative being pulled out of retirement named Solid Snake, a legendary soldier. Terrorist have taken over an Alaskan base called Shadow Moses, and they're demanding the government turn over the remains of another legendary soldier: Big Boss, who Snake had defeated twice before. If the government doesn't give into their demands, the terrorist have threatened to unleash a nuclear catastrophe. It's up to Snake to stop them, and he has two objectives. The first is to rescue the DARPA Chief Donald Anderson. The second is to find out if the terrorist have the ability to launch a nuclear weapon and stop them if they do.
The original game was a fantastic foray into terrorist plots and conspiracy theories. The Gamecube remake keeps it all in tact. Every twist and turn has been left unchanged. No one can deny the visual upgrade to the game. It looks beyond beautiful. The character models and movements are so smooth and real. No one would deny that the old classic, while looking good for the Playstation, looks infinitely better on the Gamecube, being that the Gamecube is capable of more. What may annoy some purists of the the classic game is how some of the cutscenes have been changed and how the voice act doesn't come off as strong as it once did. The defining moment of the first game's design were those ingenious cutscenes. They've been redone for the Gamecube, but some wonder if it's been overdone a little. The Gamecube remake features certain scenes that are a little over the top. There's an excessive amount of bullet time action used in the game and characters performing some over the top and unbelievable feats. It's enough to take you out of the absorbing story, if only because a lot of these over the top antics just don't feel like it fits in what the more serious story it's trying to present to us. Stylisitically, the new cutscenes don't quite work as well. Do we need to see Snake jumping off missiles? Do we need to see the Cyborg Ninja cut out a block of concrete and watch him kick it toward Snake before it hits the ground? And in turn watch Snake dodge it like Keanu Reeves does bullets in The Matrix? For some these cutscenes look really cool. For others, it's enough to remind them they are, indeed, playing a video game.
The gameplay, however, suffers from a different problem. There's nothing wrong with the gameplay elements in and of themselves. They are fantastic. Snake can do everything he did in Metal Gear Solid 2; including hanging over railings, holding up guards, rolling and shooting in first person. The elements work fantastically well, as do the guards updated AI. The only hamper to the gameplay is that it makes what was already considered an easy game in 1998, even easier because it was not built up to support the elements which the remake introduces in the first place. They're great gameplay elements. Including the M9 Tranquilizer Pistol is a nice new edition, but including other elements such as being able to hop and hang over ledges, as well as giving you a permanently long life bar, make Twin Snakes easier on the highest difficulty setting than the original game was on the easiest.
Another element that might not be entirely up to snub is the voice acting. All of which have been rerecorded. Much of the script is the same, unwritten. Some dialog sequences aren't, however. Though for some reason some voice actors don't put as much feeling in the voices here as they did in 1998. Cam Clarke (who voiced Liquid Snake) comes off as a little bit more overdramatic than he did in the original. The other characters who had accents have lost them, though that probably won't bother anyone, but there's something about the voice acting that doesn't make it stand out. The writing is superb, still, and the voice acting isn't bad. There are just noticeable differences.
The music score has mostly been rewritten as well. Giving a bit more ambience to some of the areas of the game. But more than that, what's really noticeable is that every boss has their own unique theme music. It's actually a really nice improvement.
As far as enhanced remakes go, Twin Snakes might actually be a little overdone. A game that was perfect, theoretically remains perfect, but the remake has added elements that didn't really need adding to them, because the game wasn't designed around them in the first place. This doesn't mean it isn't worth playing, it simply means that if you're curious about Metal Gear Solid, it's still not such a bad game to play. It just doesn't hold water as well as the original.
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