AHOY THERE SAILOR SPOILERS AWAIT SO DONT CRY AT ME IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED BEFORE
Metal Gear Solid, in my opinion the greatest game ever made. I’m talking explicitly about the original on the PS One but I’ll likely mention all of them here at one point or another. I’ve wanted to talk about this game for a long time but never had the medium to do so I suppose so I’ll do it now.
I remember when I first played MGS, it was on my PS2, if you’d believe me. It was also a demo disc that game with my sisters first PlayStation. I also had one, but it wasn’t really mind it was my dads and I mostly played Crash Bandicoot 2, James Bond Everything or Nothing and some Toy Story game. Now I’ll never forget the first time booting it up, Metal Gear Solid? What the hell is that, I thought to myself. Now I was only about 6 or 7 at the time and had never come across the Japanese control scheme, whereby circle is input and X is back, on US and EU games X is input and Ciricle is back so I ran into a wall right away. I assumed the game was dodgy and went and played Twisted Metal. That could’ve been it, but I tried it again. Greeted at the title screen by “Press START” I decided to try this to access New Game, amazing, it worked! Excited by anticipation I was firstly, overwhelmed with emotion, unexplained emotion, with the intros music while Snake swims to the facility. “The Best is Yet To Come” by, Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, an Irish singer. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I loved it so much, I’m not much of an Irish speaker, but I can tell when someone’s speaking it. (Point of note, a small portion of Ireland speaks Irish daily, the rest of us are English speakers). But the tone changed rapidly once Snake made his way to the facilities basement level, he rose from the water just for a moment to survey the situation ahead and you could hear someone speaking, a man, blonde, British accent, warning the guard of my impending infiltration and to stay alert. I’ll forever remember the words, “Stay alert. He’ll be through here, I know it”. Snake climbed from the water, removed his flippers, called Campbell and after the conversation control was handed over to me.
Now remember I had no idea what kind of game this was, so I got caught fairly instantly. The “!” and the instant tone change from quite sneaking to loud battle almost gave me a small heart attack. I ran looking for somewa my to fight back but all Snake had were his fists. I was killed within a minute. I started again, but this time I was ready. Or so I thought. I realised I had to await an elevator but where do I hide? What do I do? I couldn’t figure it out. That night while lying in bed, I closed my eyes and got sort of a mental image of the area, I tried to draw a picture in my mind of how to beat it, how do I get by this area? The next day I had it. I crawled under the pipe, pressed against the wall ahead. Waited for the guard to walk forward. Then turn around and continue in the direction I was headed. Once his back was turned I used Snake’s punch kick combo and ran ahead and hid behind the small obstacle just in front of me, once the elevator arrived I ran towards it and I was home free. As the elevator made its way to the surface, Snake began stripping off his water gear, once I was at the surface and the conversations were over, I went inside. Through the vents and into the Tank Hanger, taking the elevator to B1 floor to find the DARPA Chief. He and Snake had their talk, Donald had his heart attack, then I was heart broken – “TO BE CONTINUED..” In the classic MGS game over screen font. I must have played that demo a hundered times.
There wasn’t a game like this to me, it was honestly amazing, it was a few years later I managed to pick up my own copy, but damn! No PS1 memory card! A few weeks passed, I never got much farther than fighting Raven before having to turn the console off and start again tomorrow. But when I got my memory card, with nothing else to get in the way, I was ready to finish Metal Gear Solid. By this stage I had actually already finished Metal Gear Solid 2, a few times at least. But that didn’t matter. I was going to finish this game and not a force would stop me.
Reliving the moments I’d been through so many times, meeting Donald (the DARPA Chief), meeting Meryl and fighting Raven and then, what I’d only seen on a bonus DVD with MGS2, my fight with Gray Fox. The man with the same code name as me, oddly enough. I came before the game but it was weird fighting me, in a way. It was a strange feeling, though. Snake had so many guns at this point, but they were all useless against, Fox. The only weapon I could use effectively were my punches and kicks. An amazing fight, but I only regret not playing the prior games, Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, so I could have understood how meaningful our battle together was. I obviously understand now, but at the time it was fairly meaningress. Nevertheless I loved every second of it.
After a long ass sequence of cutscenes about Japanese robots, it was time to move on. I had to find, Meryl. By uh, looking at people’s butts. You’re the pervert, shut your mouth. But once you’ve found her you have to chase her into the.. the.. women’s bathroom. Okay look, I know it all sounds terrible but honestly it’s not. Just, keep reading I promise it’s okay. Then Meryl sneaks up on Snake and scolds him for being in the ladies bathroom. She’s taken her uniform off and doesn’t have pants on…. Okay fuck it. I give up trying to make this sound less perverted than it is. Damn it Konjima. Anyway, after another wee chat, onwards you go!
Then we reach Psyhco Mantis, who uses Meryl as a puppet to try and shoot Snake. Obviously you can’t shoot Meryl, you’ll kill her. You can’t punch her either, that causes damage. So you have to throw her till she’s knocked unconscious. After which Mantis gets very angry with you, then the fight commences. But what? He’s reading my mind, what the hell!? How do I beat him? It’s quite clever, you switch controller ports. Mantis’ AI reads your controllers button presses and that’s how he knows when you’re going to attack so changing to port 2 stops that. Hurray! You can kick his ass. During the fight, Mantis uses Meryl again after getting annoyed you keep besting him, he proclaims that, “You are powerful indeed. But I know your weak point! Meryl, stand right where he can see you and blow your brains out!!!”.
After you beat mantis he gives you a bit more exposition and opens a secret door for you. You’ll head out and after going through some wolf dogs who attack, Snake on sight or smell, but love Meryl she’ll tease you and say, “hey what’s wrong Snake? I thought you were good with dogs?”, a call back to earlier when Snake said he was a dog musher. Proceeding through the door ahead, Meryl informs, Snake there’s mines in the area and to stand back. She makes a path of footprints in the snow for you to follow and informs Snake she can see the mines after Mantis’ mind control.
Following the path Meryl left for you, (if you step on a mine she groans and shakes her head), you get a cutscene where you see a laser sight trained on, Meryl. Snake shouts “Meryl!” But before she has time to react she’s shot. Badly wounded she can only lie where she is, Snake takes cover beside her but too far to help her. She tells him to go on without her and Campbell calls to inform you that there’s no fighting Sniper Wolf without a PSG1, to go find one. So you make your way back to the armoury on B2 of the tank hanger. You don’t want to leave her, but you can save her either.
I wanted to be a soldier. But I was wrong, war is ugly, there’s nothing glamorous about it. Go on living and don’t give up on people. Don’t forget me. Now go!
Once you’ve gotten your rifle and you’ve made your way back to the communications tower, the battle with Wolf can begin. Meryl has been moved by the time you return, once you’ve beaten wolf you’ll make your way to the catwalk she was fighting you from, she’s not there. But there is a blood trail down the stairs. The only way to go is the adjacent door, but once your walk towards it, Snake is captured, knocked out and wakes up in the Shadow Moses torture room. It’s here you meet face to face with Liquid, the leader and man from the elevator. Your twin brother. After a small chat liquid leaves to make some prep for the nuclear launch they are planning and your left alone with Ocelot. He wants answers from Snake but he has none So he decides to test, Snake and gives him a choice, submit to his torture and he will kill Meryl, survive the torture and she will be spared.
Once the torture is over and you escape the cell your in, you suit up and head for the communications tower, after you reach the top of tower two you fight Liquid and his Hind-D. Then it’s on to Metal Gear. You meet Raven again and fight once more. You arrive at the hanger for Metal Gear REX and input the PAL Key’s to override the launch, but acting as your mentor Master Miller (Kazuhira Miller) Liquid tricked you into activating REX because they couldn’t actually learn the codes from the DARPA Chief or President Baker.
A fight with Metal Gear ensues and you meet Gray Fox once more who helps you destroy REX’s Raedome and open the cockpit to REX, liquid kills Fox and the battle continues.
Snake, we’re not tools of the government. Or anyone else. Fighting was the only thing, the only thing I was good at. But.. At least I always fought for what I believed in. Snake, farewell.
You destroy REX but get knocked out due to the explosion. There is a final fight with liquid, he falls to his apparent death. Depending on whether your submitted to the torture earlier you will escape with Meryl or Otacon. During your escape via Jeep, Liquid tries to ram you off the road but you both end up crashing and Snake ends up stuck under his car, Liquid comes to kill you, but is killed by FOXDIE.
And that’s Metal Gear Solid. The emotional and tragic end of Gray Fox, Meryl (in my first playthrough) and Sniper Wolf, I barley didn’t cry. Even when Wolf, one of the bad guys is killed it’s almost tragic. She lies, lung shot, her last words, asking Snake to kill her.
Okay, Hero.. Set me free..
And he does.. The camera pans to white, you hear a gunshot and it’s all over.. Wolves howl, Otacon holds back tears. He shouts to Snake for guidance, he simply replies, “if we make it through this, I’ll tell you”
What was she fighting for? What am I fighting for? What are you fighting for!?
Metal Gear Solid is the greatest game ever made. And I hope it remains in the hearts of all its fans forever. I hope you will help carry its legacy to future generations. A masterpiece of writing and game design. It’s the perfect game. It envokes emotion I’ve never felt before, and that’s why it’s genius.