Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spoiler Free Guide to Playing Metal Gear Part 1

One of the most popular video game franchises of all time is also one of the most confusing.  Not only is this because of the insane storyline, but the release order or games and history behind them all can get a little intense at times.  I'm here to help.  I present you a short, but spoiler free history of the Metal Gear series.  I won't be giving away any major plot points here, I might even leave out some minor points just to safe, but be assured, after reading this article you will know which game to start with and where to get it!

Warning!  If you plan to play these games for the story, avoid anything that could potentially have spoilers!  You will enjoy it much more!

Metal Gear Solid (1998)

So, let's start in 1998.  Metal Gear Solid is released for the PSX and is a major success.  The game is praised for its graphic, entirely recorded dialogue, intricate boss fights, and innovations that just weren't heard of at the time.  The game focuses on a retried soldier, codename Solid Snake.  He is brought out of retirement for one last mission, because he is the best.  A missile base in Alaska has been captured by terrorists, and they plan on shooting some nukes off if their demands aren't meant.  Snake is sent in to silently stop this entire operations.  I'm not going to ruin it for you, but the story gets great.  Even though this is the first Metal Gear game most American gamers played, it was far from the first.  Let's jump back eleven years.

In 2004, a enhanced version was released on the Gamecube under the name Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes.  This version featured the same story as the original, but with the engine from Metal Gear Solid 2.

Metal Gear (1987)

This was the first Metal Gear game.  Due to its age, it isn't typically mentioned, even though I think it should be.  It was Solid Snakes first "big" mission.  Originally released on the NES in America, the gameplay is certainly dated.  It is a top down shooter/stealth game.  You run from section of map to section of map, either sneaking by or getting caught and fighting everyone off.  There are many gameplay mechanics seen in future Metal Gear games, like the cardboard box for example.

In the game, and elite soldier Gray Fox is sent to South America to assess a threat, he is captured and Solid Snake, a rookie, is sent to get him out.  Once there, they discover Metal Gear, a bi-pedal, nuclear equipped walking battle tank.  It's not spoiler to say Snake stops the Metal Gear from destroying the United States.

This game was released as part of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and is included on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990)

Originally released in 1990 in Japan, this game didn't have a United States release until 2006.  This game is a direct sequel to Metal Gear, and features Solid Snake as the main character once again.  This game builds upon the stealth gameplay established in the first, and adds other features such as radar and the ability to crawl under desks and into vents.  It had the same top down style as the previous title.

The story is somewhat similar to the first, but much more intricate.  Solid Snake apparently retired between the events of this game and the last, as he is brought out of retirement and sent to a Central Asian country known as Zanzibarland.  He is tasked with finding and destroying another Metal Gear.  I highly recommend this game, even if you can't get through the first one.  The storyline really is great, and the final boss battle the mots intense 8-bit battle I have ever seen.

This game was released as part of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and is included on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)

Three years after the release of Metal Gear Solid, we get a sequel.  This game is somewhat deceptive, and I think it initially hurt it, but that has died off now.  Without giving too much away, the game was advertised to star Solid Snake, and it does, for the first half.  Then we get to play as Raiden, a completely new character to the series.  This game has wonderful graphics, that still don't look bad, and built even further on the stealth aspects.  This game added first person shooting, hanging from ledges, and some other features that add to the realism of the game.

The storyline takes place a few years after the events of Metal Gear Solid.  Snake has quit working for the government, and now works for a philanthropy group.  This goes around dismantling Metal Gears, because at this point in the story, they are becoming more common than ever.  Anyway, Snake boards an oil tanker to check out a Metal Gear, when it is boarded by Russian soldiers.  Some things happen, and a lot of oil is dumped into the harbor.

A few years later, an oil removal facility has been built, but now some terrorists have taken it over.  Without Snake, the government sends in their new recruit, Raiden.  He is a rookie, but has hours and hours on virtual reality training.  Raiden goes in to stop the terrorists, and things get crazy.

A version known as Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was released that had bonus features not found in the original game.  While not changing the story, some of the bonus features add to it and show where certain characters where during the story.  This game was released as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)

Three years later saw the release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.  Snake Eater takes place in the sixties, and now you are probably wondering how Snake could be so old in the sixties and not be a senior citizen in 2000.  Well this is a different Snake, Naked Snake to be precise.  The game follows Naked Snake as he is dropped into Soviet territory to rescue a weapons designer.  Once there, they find the Shagohod, a precursor to Metal Gear.  Snake must destroy this before it attacks the United States.  

This is, by far, my favorite Metal Gear game.  It takes place in the jungle, and survival is the key.  You have to eat, change camouflage, dress your wounds.  It takes realism to a new level.

This game was released again as Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and included extra features including Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2.  The game was released in HD with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Released in 2008 for the PS3, Metal Gear Solid 4 could be considered the perfect Metal Gear game.  It has built on everything else the previous games did right.  I can't even begin to explain the story without ruining something, so I really won't, but I know after you play MGS2 and MGS3, you are not going to be able to stay away.  It's a much longer game than previous titles, and has a lot more confusing storyline material, but its worth playing!


This raps up part one, with part two I will talk about the portable titles, spin off titles, and future titles, as well the best and cheapest ways to experience them all.  Thanks for reading!

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