Retro gaming, four of a kind: top Metal Gear Solid games inc. MGS GBC and more

Posted on 3 September 2015
By James Brookfield
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Following months of hype and controversy Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is finally available.

Last week, Four of a Kind listed four of the best non-metal gear Kojima games and this week, the trend continues as we discussing the top retro Metal Gear titles. It must be noted games such as; Metal Gear Solid 4, Peace Walker, Revengeance and Portable Ops will not feature due to the retro context.

1. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (NES)

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake not only uses the blueprint of its predecessor to create an even better game but is also superior to Snake’s Revenge (often considered the unofficial, non-cannon follow-up to Metal Gear).

The plot is more multifaceted than the original, creating many twists and turns to maintain interest throughout. Some of the most famous gameplay mechanics of the series are evident in Metal Gear 2 such as: a radar, the ability to crawl into hiding spaces and fourth wall breaking instances.

Visually the game is stunning, animations are fluid and sound effects are distinct.

2. Metal Gear Solid GBC (Gameboy Colour)

As alluded to some Metal Gear games are viewed as non-cannon. However it does not mean they are poor games and Metal Gear Solid GBC is a perfect example. Released after Metal Gear Solid the narrative is set seven years following the events of the original Metal Gear but on an alternate timeline.

Though faintly confusing, this is an advantage as the power and graphical capability of Game Boy Colour is on par with NES. Overall Metal Gear solid GBC blends the retro basis of Metal Gear with a contemporary. For example the gameplay mechanics and visuals are similar albeit appear more modern due to a newer console.

To an extent the developers knew the Game Boy Colour’s limitations but also embraced them to make a simplistic yet a strong entry to the series.

3. Metal Gear Solid (Playstation)

Metal Gear Solid is not only the benchmark for all 3D incarnations of the franchise but creates one of the most in-depth, engrossing stories in video game history containing; espionage, military tactics, nuclear tensions, the paranormal and human cloning. Additionally Metal Gear Solid is the forerunner for overt cinematic presentation due to well crafted cutscenes and characters that the player can invest in.

Admittedly the 3D graphics are crude, cutscenes are occasionally too long and at times the controls are frustrating but this can all be forgiven due to memorable moments including; locating Meryl’s frequency code on the back on CD case, the introduction of Gray Fox, the revelation of Les Enfant Terrible, Snake’s imprisonment and escape and the iconic boss-fight against Pyscho Mantis.

4. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Playstation 2)

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater means a new approach due to two major alteration; setting the story within the cold war era and Solid Snake not serving as the main character. It was a bold choice, especially given the decisive choice of Raiden as the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2, but proves to be positive as the game is a thrilling experience owing to; references to 1960s spy films, an actual historical event and Naked Snake’s rise from renowned solider to revered figure. Also the cold war setting means the narrative focuses on more basic, humanistic elements rather than science-fiction tropes and reliance on artificial intelligence.

The jungle environments of Russia further improves Metal Gear’s famous stealth mechanics, enabling the player to utilise various camouflage suits to blend in with surroundings. The game introduces hunting as a gameplay aspect. Players have to subdue animals for food and medical supplies in order to survive rather than use ration packs and medkits. Graphically Snake Eater is extraordinary controls are more fluid. Essentially every aspect of the game is correct.

That concludes this week’s Four of a Kind and the discussion of the top retro Metal Gear Solid games. As always feel free to leave a comment telling of your favourite Metal Gear games that may or may not have appeared on the list.

Honourable Mentions: Metal Gear (NES), Metal Gear Acid 2 (PSP), Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (Playstation), Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes (Gamecube) and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Playstation 2)