Metal Gear Solid 2

July 6, 2008

Spoiler warning: This post contains spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 2. Read at your own risk.

I just finished beating Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty last night, and boy is it a fantastic game. I played the first Metal Gear Solid during the summer of 2005 (yeah, I know I’m a little late to the party). Before then, I’d never played it nor seen it played, but I had heard a number of rave reviews. After finding the original PlayStation version in the bargain bin at EBGames (now GameStop), I decided to pick it up, and I was not disappointed. In retrospect, I should have just picked up Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, the GameCube remake, but I didn’t realize at the time that it was a remake as opposed to a whole new game.

Some time passed, and I found myself interning at Google in the summer of 2006. I was once again picking through the bargain bin at another GameStop, and lo and behold, I found MGS2 there for real cheap. I remembered having really enjoyed MGS, so I picked it up. Why I didn’t go out and get MGS2 immediately after beating MGS, I don’t know, maybe I was too busy with other games and schoolwork or something.

I started playing MGS2 that summer and got about halfway through the Tanker chapter, up to beating Olga Gurlukovich. And then I stopped playing, for no good reason. I hadn’t gotten far enough into the game where it had a hold on me, and at the time I was really obsessed with Guitar Hero. So I put MGS2 on my backburner and forgot about it, intending to one day pick it up again and beat but never quite getting around to it.

And that brings us back to 2008. As you should know (if you follow video games at all), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots released this past June 12. I was drooling after seeing the trailer. But I couldn’t just skip MGS2 and MGS3, that would leave holes in my understanding of the plot of MGS4 and surely spoil the plots of MGS2 and MGS3 for me. (Side note, after watching that trailer again after beating MGS2: Hey, that must be Raiden (the ninja) fighting Vamp! He’s sure gotten good at using that sword.)

So a couple of weeks ago, I started playing MGS2 again. I decided to restart from the beginning, since it had been almost two years since I’d last played it and I was only a couple of hours in. The tanker chapter was exciting and got me hooked. Seeing Ocelot steal Metal Gear RAY, blow up the tanker, and run off into the sea was chilling.

After that, I was no longer Solid Snake, I was Raiden. It shocked me to learn that Raiden’s name was pronounced RYE-den, not RAY-den as I had originally thought, even though it’s pretty obvious if you realize it comes from Japanese.

Anyways, I played through the game over the past few weeks, taking careful steps not to spoil anything for myself. I played it on Normal difficulty with Radar Type 2 (radar normally available but not available in infiltration mode, or whatever it’s called when guards are searching for you). My score wasn’t that good; I don’t remember how many kills, deaths, continues, and saves I had, but they were all two digits. I attempted to go to to enter the code it gave me at the end, but that site seems to have been taken down and replaced by some Chinese parking site as of at least September, 2007. I didn’t collect any dog tags because, well, I just didn’t know about them. I avoided FAQ sites like the plague, and they don’t really mention dog tags in game. I know about them now since I checked out the FAQs to see what I missed on my first playthrough. On my next playthrough (which probably won’t be for a while), I’ll probably play on Expert and try to get all of the dog tags.

I’m not going to bore you with all of the details of my play through, but here are some points of note:

  • As soon as Iriquois Pliskin opened his mouth, even before it displayed David Hayter as his voice actor, I knew it was Solid Snake. He just had to be. I’m sure everyone figures this one out pretty quickly, though, it’s pretty darn obvious.
  • Running around naked in Arsenal Gear was rather entertaining
  • The Colonel going crazy at the end was also rather awesome. He was spouting out all sorts of ridiculous things like “I hear it’s amazing when the Purple-stuffed worm in Flap-jaw space, with the tuning fork, does a raw-blink on Hari-kiri Rock! I need scissors! 61!”
  • Hideo Kojima is brilliant. He managed to put in an Internet meme. During the fight against a ton of enemies in the bright blue room near the end, I appeared to have gotten a Game Over screen for no obvious reason. Except instead of saying the usual MISSION FAILED, it said FISSION MAILED, and the game continued in the top-left quadrant of the screen. The Exit and Continue buttons were replaced with Emit and Continent. After some time, the game returned to normal. This reminds of the fight against Psycho Mantis in MGS, where the screen goes black with only the green text HIDEO in the corner at the beginning of the fight, making you think your game console stopped functioning or something.
  • The second-to-last boss fight made me drop my jaw. I thought that a fight against a single Metal Gear REX at the end of MGS was pretty crazy. When seeing that I had to fight a whole army of Metal Gear RAYs here, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And yet, it was a surprisingly easy fight. They only seemed to engage me one at a time, with an occasional RAY shooting a missile from the sidelines. It was just equip the Stinger missile launcher, shoot a RAY in the leg, quickly shoot it again in the head, and always move when not shooting to dodge its attacks.

Final review:

Gameplay: 10/10
Plot: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 5/10
Overall: 9/10

Yeah, I know that 9 is not the average of those other numbers, but it was a really damn fun game. I highly recommend it to anyone that hasn’t played it, although if you’re still reading and haven’t played it, I’ve unfortunately spoiled some of it for you (though hopefully not too much).

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