It could be argued that 1998 was the start of Sony's domination of the gaming industry. The PlayStation was selling in ridiculously large numbers, never which had been seen before in the gaming industry. Sony had established a huge sales lead over the Nintendo 64, and it would only grow from there in the coming years. There were several reasons for this. You know, the same old spiel of marketing, listening to fans, attracting older people to gaming, blah, blah, blah. But undoubtedly the biggest factors were the games. Tomb Raider was hailed as the second coming, Gran Turismo had refined the racing genre, and then there was the big one. Metal Gear Solid.
Metal Gear Solid was the first truly original game in years. Never before on such a huge scale had we before seen the stealth 'em up. On top of the new, exciting game play, came one of the best stories in the history of gaming, quality graphics, beautiful sound, and intoxicating atmosphere. This was THE game that sold countless PlayStations, as people the world over became Solid Snake, and unraveled the mystery of his existence.
So what does this have to do with Nintendo? Recently, series creator Hideo Kojima, the man behind Nintendo's games, Shigeru Miyamoto, and those responsible for Eternal Darkness, Silicon Knights, formed an odd friendship. But we shouldn't complain. You see, this friendship has led to the rebirth of Metal Gear Solid. With input from Miyamoto and Kojima, Silicon Knights are setting about bringing the game kicking and screaming onto the GameCube under the guise of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
TTS will follow the framework of the PlayStation title, sporting the same story, the same environments and many of the same gameplay elements, but will also bring the gameplay innovations featured in the PlayStation 2 sequel, Sons of Liberty. These include, but are not limited to a first person view for both shooting and viewing the surrounding environment, the ability to peak around the corners of walls, being able to hang off ledges to avoid being spotted by enemy patrol units and the option of hiding in a locker, should you foolishly stumble into a guard's line of sight.
The cut scenes have been treated to a complete recreation, at the hands of Japanese film director Ryuhhei Kitamura. The scenes will be shot with the newest in motion capture techniques, which should make the game closer to an interactive movie than ever before. The vocal cast - most notably David Hayter as Solid Snake - have all recorded new lines for the game, which is most welcome.
The biggest difference in the game - seeing as it's been six years (!) since the original title - will obviously be the vastly improved graphics. As you can see from the screenshots to the right, Silicon Knights have spared no effort in making the game as close to sex for your eyes as games can possibly be. The character models have had a healthy injection of polygons, and the gameplay areas have been almost completely reconstructed, resulting in an extremely impressive result.
As mentioned, the story stays the same. Solid Snake been convinced to come out of retirement for just one more mission. He must infiltrate an Alaskan nuclear missile disposal facility - which has, of course, been captured by terrorists - and see whether or not they have the capacity to launch a nuclear bomb. And if they do, stop them. Of course, the story follows countless twists and turns on the way to the finish, though. The story does create a problem, though. Undoubtedly one of the most attractive things about the game is the story. With this in mind, is the game really worth paying full price for? Can Silicon Knights include enough new features in the game to truly make it a new experience? Only time will tell. But for those who haven?t played the original game, be very, very excited.
Rest assured that Matt, our illustrious leader, will be beating the down the door of his local gaming emporium on release day in order to bring you a review as fast as he can.