Happy 22nd Birthday Metal Gear Solid – What Made it Great!
Peter Donnell / 3 weeks ago
Few things make me feel old, because I’m just a big kid at heart. Well, except the bad back, regular indigestion, sciatica, the CTS in my hands, and my failing eyesight, and saying “I’m just a big kid at heart”. However, few things make me feel older than the utterly iconic Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation 1 reaching the age of 22. That’s right, arguably Hideo Kojima’s finest creation more than old enough to drink and smoke. Released way back in 1998 on the Sony PlayStation 1, it utterly redefined what we knew about gaming, and set Hideo Kojima’s name in stone as one of the finest game designers ever!
Of course, it’s not the first Metal Gear game, or Hideo’s first, or last Metal Gear Solid. While I won’t dive into the drama around Metal Gear Solid 5, mostly because I thought it was a brilliant game in its own right, I will focus on what made Metal Gear Solid so god damn fantastic 22 years ago yesterday, I’m a day late, I was on holiday. Bring on the videos!
The opening music, the absolutely tremendous lighting and cinematic effects, at least for the PS1 era of gaming. It set the bar very high for the PlayStation 1, and to this day, I still think it’s got one of the most impressive graphics/art styles ever. The introduction is to the point, sets the stage, and leaves you to get on with it how you see fit.
Stopping your gameplay to make a call, or even just getting random codec calls. The Codec calls are one of the finest things in the franchise, however, Metal Gear Solid stands out the most. There are countless hours of voice-acted dialogue and well… none of it was boring to me, actually, a lot of it was bloody brilliant, filling in huge plot twists, tutorials, backstories and much more. Heck, there were even a lot of jokes thrown in too.
The AI may be dim-witted in Metal Gear Solid 1, but ironically, that’s what made it fun! That’s right, something a lot of modern stealth action games seem to forget about, fun! Phrases like “huh, whose footprints are these” only to follow them, get themselves punched in the head, and still not notice you. Bloody hilarious. It worked well enough to keep the action and stealth working, but was daft enough that you could play around with it.
The Boss Fights
This franchise has spawned many of the finest bad guys in any game ever. Not only that, but every boss fight was utterly unique and clever. From simple gun-slinging shootouts to fighting enormous Metal Gear robots, to taking down a god damn helicopter. Eat your heart out modern games, because Metal Gear Solid paved the way when it came to ambitious action, while still throwing in entertaining dialogue and cutscenes throughout too.
Catching a guard with his pants down. Trying to catch Meryl before she fully changed her outfits. Tricking Psycho Mantis’s mind-reading abilities by using the second controller. Unlocking things like infinite ammo or invisibility after completing each ending. When it came to easter eggs and secrets, this game had it all in huge doses. Not to mention just straight-up breaking the 4th wall so casually (video below). Not to mention, that torture scene is very important to how the game ends, despite being so early on in the game!
What are your favourite Metal Gear Solid moments? Let us know in the comments! And let’s be honest, there’s a lot to choose from. From the original NES classics right through to the modern Metal Gear Solid 5 on PC, there’s a lot to choose from, but which one is your favourite?