Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

February 5, 2006

[i]Metal Gear Solid[/i], released in 1998 on the Playstation, is praised for revolutionizing the stealth action series, not to mention the excellent storyline it had. The graphics were superb, although now they are extremely dated. In fact, after playing [i]Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty[/i], you might think they are downright ugly in this day and age.

Enter [i]Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes[/i] for the Gamecube. [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] is, in all truth, the same exact game we all played around six years ago. Although at the same time, it’s almost like a completely new game. Silicon Knights, a developer known for games such as [i]Eternal Darkness[/i] for the Gamecube, has teamed up with Konami to bring back Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i], in the way we have all wanted to play since we first saw [i]Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty[/i].

The graphics are the biggest draw in [i]Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes[/i]. They resemble the graphics its sequel, [i]Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty[/i], showed off on the Playstation 2 in 2001. Actually, since the Gamecube has more graphical power than the Playstation 2, the graphics may actually be slightly better, although any change would be near unnoticeable. Of course, the graphics really only fuel the already incredible storyline in the form of brand new cutscenes.

It would probably be best for novice players to know little of [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i]’s storyline. The game series is known for its conspiracy and epic turns in the storyline. In fact, you play through most of the game knowing little of what is actually going on. To be frank, if you were to read the story from the manual or watch the opening cutscene, then you would be surprised when you enter latter parts of the game’s story at how much the story has changed. There’s also the fact that if anyone who hasn’t played the original were to hear any part of the game’s later story, it would probably wear some of the surprises out of the game.

But it is fairly safe to reveal at least some of [i]Metal Gear[/i]’s storyline. You play as the famous Solid Snake, the hero of the [i]Metal Gear[/i] series. You were once with the organization known as Foxhound, but since, Snake has moved to Alaska to lead a quiet, peaceful life. One day though, you are kidnapped, and brought to a submarine underwater in the Bering Sea, and informed of a national crisis. It seems Foxhound, the very organization you used to belong to, has captured a facility on the island Shadow Moses, and is now threatening to launch a nuclear missile if their demands are not met. So now it’s up to Snake to infiltrate the base and stop the terrorists from going through with the launch, as well as rescue hostages being held at the facility.

People who have played the original [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i] will know exactly what’s going on, and will know every twist and turn the ever-changing storyline takes. That’s where one of [i]The Twin Snake[/i]’s first problems comes into play. The fact is, almost everything about this game is the same, save for updated graphics, cutscenes, and a few other newer game mechanics. While most of the game’s cutscenes look amazing, you have to play through the game again just to see them. Although that may not be a problem, as many people who have played the original MGS for the first time have played it over and over again on the Playstation, solely because the gameplay and story are so satisfying. As long as you don’t expect huge changes in the game, and want to experience [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i] in a new way, then you should have no problem with [i]The Twin Snakes[/i].

Of course, you might also have to look at [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] from the viewpoint of one who has never played [i]Metal Gear Solid[i/]. If you have never played the original, then this will be a completely new game experience for you. In fact, while the game gets a lowered score for being the same game from 1998, for a person who has never experienced [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i], this game would get much higher marks. Not only will you get to play the gameplay of the original for the first time, but you will also be in for many unexpected surprises from the storyline.

While mentioned earlier that [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] game is, for the most part, the exact game from 1998, there are some changes besides the graphics and cutscenes. In fact, [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] takes many mechanics from its sequel (or perhaps prequel in some ways), [i]Sons of Liberty[/i]. While in the original [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i], a soldier’s body would disappear after death, [i]Sons of Liberty[/i] eliminated that, requiring you to hide a dead body to prevent other soldiers from finding it. This has been added into [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] as well. Another thing taken from [i]Sons of Liberty[/i] is the first person viewpoint, where you can press Z to get a first-hand perspective of your surroundings, as well as aim your weapons to get in a headshot, which kills guards instantly and deals heavy damage to bosses, as well as disable cameras.

Snake’s arsenal hasn’t really seen much change. You have a SOCOM handgun, as well as stinger missiles, guided Nikita missiles, C4 explosives, and more. You also have items like rations which restore health, and mine detectors. Along with that, you have items which help you sneak up on enemies or avoid detection. For instance, if you find a book which pictures of women in it, you can lay it on the ground and wait for solders to take notice, and while they are looking at the book, you can take the opportunity to sneak up and attack. There are also boxes that you can hide in to avoid guards. There are two new additions to Snake’s arsenal; both which appeared in [i]Sons of Liberty[/i]. The M9 tranquilizer gun, which can put guards to sleep, and the PSG1-T sniper rifle are both found in the game.

The guard’s A.I. has been upped to the quality of the A.I. in [i]Sons of Liberty[/i]. A lot of newer detection methods have been placed in the game. There are several times in [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] when you have to keep in mind that killing a guard could lead to you being detected. For instance, like mentioned earlier, since the bodies of soldiers don’t disappear, if a guard finds a dead body lying around, he will raise the alert and more guards will be sent into the area. Some guards also radio in to guards who are not in the area. If you kill one of these guards and the unseen guard radios in and gets no response, he will send troops in to investigate. Even so, the guard’s A.I. isn’t on par with that of an actual human being. Even though the A.I. is good for a video game, it seems strange that you can walk right by an enemy or be right on the other side of the room without them noticing. Still, this doesn’t mean the A.I. is horrible by any means; just don’t expect a perfect transition of real life intelligence to a video game in [i]The Twin Snakes[/i].

[i]The Twin Snakes[/i] also brings back the faithful Codec device. In fact, the Codec takes over a good part of [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i] and [i]The Twin Snakes[/i]’ storyline, by having characters speak to each other through text with pictures of each character talking. These aren’t graphically impressive, and the still Codec images are still from the old MGS (versus MGS2’s 3-D avatars), but they help to fuel the story along. The Codec also provides you with helpful hints, by contacting people who will give you advice on the given situation. The radar also makes its return appearance, although you can have the option of having it off (which makes things MUCH harder). The radar will show the enemies in an area, as well as their field of vision. Of course, it has its flaws, and won’t work in tight areas and gets jammed just as easily as any other kind of radar. Still, it’s a helpful asset to the mission.

The voiceovers in [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i] were great. For the most part, all of the voices for each character return in [i]The Twin Snakes[/i]. David Hayter still voices Solid Snake, so hardcore fans can rest easy. Some characters though have suffered a bit in the transition, but for the most part, all the voices in the game are enjoyable in their own merit.

In it’s entirety, if you watch every cutscene (which you should, at least the first time through), you will probably spend a lot of time with your controller on the ground. Be aware that there is probably just as much movie as there is game to [i]The Twin Snakes[/i], but thanks to the enjoyable storyline, most will enjoy the sometimes long-winded cutscenes. Speaking of the cutscenes, they are probably the things that make [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] great enough to play through again. You’ll most likely drop your jaw at certain cutscenes with a certain cyber ninja, and most of the cutscenes just look downright amazing. Of course, it was inevitable that with the creation of [i]The Matrix[/i], many movie and game companies would use the bullet time effect. [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] doesn’t disappoint, and in the end, it really uses it a little too much. Most of the bullet time scenes are ridiculous as well, with Snake dodging seemingly impossible to dodge bullets while strafing at times. Still, they look really nice, even if they are way too over the top.

In the end, [i]The Twin Snakes[/i] is just a rehash of [i]Metal Gear Solid[/i] with a few new features and much better looking graphics and cutscenes, but considering that many people played through the original over and over again, this is a welcome update. If you don’t want to shell out the money to play the same game from 1998, at least give it a rent or borrow. If you have no problem with playing through again, and realize that there is no significant change in the gameplay, then by all means get [i]The Twin Snakes[/i]. Just be sure to note that what you’re playing is essentially what you might have played years ago.

Score: 2/5

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