Review: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
By Konami/Silicon Knights
1 Player
Gamecube
Rating: M For Mature

In 1998 Metal Gear Solid was released on the Playstation to much fanfare and hoopla. Many to this day hold it to be the greatest game of all time. Deciding that it never met a remake it didn’t like, Nintendo entered into a partnership with Konami to have Metal Gear Solid remade for the Gamecube. Konami, already neck deep in the development of Metal Gear 3, said you want it, you make it, we’re busy. But ask anything you want. Nintendo, having a second party developer on its hands with nothing better to do asked Silicon Knights to handle the remake. What they produced will have you feeling a great sense of deja vu all over again.

Story:

OK here we go. Take a deep breath. Solid Snake is called out of retirement to deal with a terrorist incident involving his former unit, FOXHOUND. The Terrorists have taken over a nuclear disposal lab and have threatened to light off a nuke or two if the US government doesn’t accede to their demands. Of course nothing is that simple, and they wouldn’t call the game Metal Gear unless there was a Metal Gear in the game somewhere, but I won’t spoil it for you, even if it is a remade game. I will say there is nothing in the story that wasn’t there the first time.

Story Rating: 8

Gameplay:

When it was released in 1998, Metal Gear Solid was the first mega-hit game to use stealth as a core element of gameplay, but it wasn’t the first game to do it. That fell to the first Metal Gear game, released way back on the NES. Despite that, the game was at that time a marvel of innovation. The idea that you could play through the entire game without killing anybody was a novel concept.

Fast forward to 2004 the gameplay is still enjoyable, but not nearly as innovative. With a few moves brought into the game from Snake’s Metal Gear Solid 2 experience, and advanced AI for enemies, the gameplay is updated just enough for it to be a challenge. You are still rewarded with an easier time of things if you don’t go around killing everything that moves, and you can indeed finish the game without killing anyone. Doing so doesn’t earn you anything though, which is kind of ironic if you look at it from the story line point of view. Play it and you’ll understand. Or I’ll be an idiot.

Gameplay Rating: 7

Graphics:

At the time it was released Metal Gear Solid was a technical marvel, it managed to make even hardened N64 fanboys believe that even a piddly little Playstation could produce state of the art graphics. Looking at it today, it still looks like the best game to come out of the 32 bit generation. But like the man Ash once said, “Honey, you got REAAL ugly!”

The Twin Snakes takes what was an awesome looking 32 bit game and turns it into a decent looking current generation game. The Gamecube is clearly capable of more, but this isn’t a horrid looking game either. There is a tiny amount of slowdown in some areas of the game, and the level design, which is almost entirely the same as the old game, lends itself to camera angles that are either too far away for detail or overhead.

Lastly, in what might just be a nod to the original game, all of the original graphics for the CODEC scenes were carried over. If you never played Metal Gear Solid 1 or 2, the CODEC is essentially Solid Snake’s radio, how he talks to his commanders and how you save the game. Anyway, what you see in The Twin Snakes is exactly what you would have seen in the original.

Graphics Rating: 7

Sound:

Making the decision that it’s never a bad idea to give voice actors more work, Silicon Knights and Konami decided to have the entire script of the game re-recorded. Most of the original voice actors return, including David Hayter as Solid Snake. Your save contact, Mei Ling, has had her voice recast, so she no longer sounds like she once did. Otherwise you’ll have your own opinion as to if they should have kept the original recordings.

Musically the game is well made, it was in 1998 and it is again now. You may not even notice what has been changed. Sound effects are all realistic and well done. From Vulcan Raven’s mini-gun to Psycho Mantis’ breathing mask, you could easily think you were there if you closed your eyes. And what more do you want than that?

Sound Rating: 8

Control:

When you first pick up The Twin Snakes and begin playing it you will feel very disoriented if you’ve ever played the original. You will see what looks like the old Playstation game but you won’t be using your trusty dual shock controller to move Snake. The Gamecube controller feels very out of place for a while, but you will eventually get used to it. As the joystick has one less button than Sony’s old standby, Silicon Knights were forced to use the Start button as a modifier for two other buttons, the A and the B button. One does the job of the old Start button, while the other does the duty of Select.

When a character in a stealth based game has difficulty leaning up against a wall and seeing around the corner you know they’ve screwed something up. Sadly this is the case with The Twin Snakes. Leaning against some walls is easy enough, but others, usually when the camera is at an odd angle, turns Snake into a spasming fool. Lying on the ground and attempting to turn is another example. You figure it out eventually, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to a person.

Control Rating: 6

Replayability

You earn rewards for finishing the game without submitting to torture, but you also earn a reward for submitting to torture. Depends on how you want to play the game again. You can also find a camera in the game (near the armoury) that lets you take pictures of supernatural occurrences. Lastly, the tuxedo is back. Read a FAQ to find out how to get it. I don’t know that I’d say these are rewards worth going after, but for me they weren’t enough.

Replayability Rating: 5

Originality:

Well it is a remake. And aside from a few new moves and all new cinematics, there isn’t a whole lot here that wasn’t seen six years ago.

Originality Rating: 3

Appeal:

I’ll admit this game holds a certain amount of appeal, even as a remake. After all, it’s a remake of the GOOD Metal Gear Solid, not the horrid sequel. And there is indeed a reason why so many people believe Metal Gear Solid was the best game of all time. The game has many unique gameplay elements to it, from the Psycho Mantis battle to the twisting storyline to all the nifty things you could do with C4. The only problem I had was once you did it the first time there was no real need to do it again. That plus the very heavy handed nuclear weapons bias in the story line (Nukes bad, ok I get it) and the long winded conversations on the CODEC make you wonder why anyone would want to play the game again. I do heartily recommend you play it at least once. The Twin Snakes is a game you should experience if you never played the first one.

Appeal Rating: 7

Balance:

When judging Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, you have to look at the amount of entertainment you will receive compared to the amount of time it will take you to finish the game. If you never played the original, or if you loved the first game to death and have to have the remake, it is totally worth picking this one up, just to experience it. As the song goes, we’re here for a good time, not a long time.

If however you played the game the first time it was made, or if you simply must have your games last longer than a typical work day, then this probably isn’t a purchase for you. But by all means give this one a rental, it is a well made game, deserving of your rental dollars at the very least. Since Metal Gear Solid was such a popular game, I’m going to score this assuming most of you have played it already. Bump it up a bunch if you never did.

Balance Rating: 4

Miscellaneous

This is an interesting game for me. This is only the second time I beaten this game. I owned the original, beat it once and never picked it up again. I felt insulted that I could beat the game in a day. Now I’m older and wiser. I’ve played and beaten the Twin Snakes remake and I can’t say I missed anything by not playing it again. For me this isn’t the greatest game of all time, it is a creative diversion. I know others will disagree, but for me this was part one of a series that got more praise and more hype than it really deserved. The remake shouldn’t be faulted for this; it’s still an excellent experience. It just isn’t an experience I want to repeat more than say, once every six years or so.

Miscellaneous Ranking: 6

Story Rating: 8
Gameplay Rating: 7
Graphics Rating: 7
Sound Rating: 8
Control Rating: 6
Replayability Rating: 5
Originality Rating: 3
Appeal Rating: 7
Balance Rating: 4
Miscellaneous Rating: 6

Short Attention Span Summary
Rent it if you played the original. Own it if you didn’t.