Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
by Polly

The original Metal Gear Solid for PlayStation, in my own humble and always right opinion, is one of the absolute best videogames of all time. It helped pioneer the action/stealth genre for this generation and brought storytelling in videogames to an all new level. Simply put, if I had to choose only one game to bring to heaven with me (that's where I'm going, because that's where awesome and hot people go) Metal Gear Solid would be it. When I heard that there was a remake of this game in the works for the GameCube, I was stoked. I scurried the net downloading every trailer, demo video, and screenshot I could all the way up to the game's release in March of last year. I was even more excited to hear that the remake would be handled by Silicon Knights of Eternal Darkness fame.

What The Twin Snakes does on the most base level, is it takes Metal Gear Solid and drops it into the Metal Gear Solid 2 engine. At the time, this didn't sound like such a bad idea. Metal Gear Solid 2 was a joy to play. The problem, however, is that they dropped the original Metal Gear Solid into the engine without making any changes. The result is a mixed bag of good and bad.

The game does look alright, but I feel it could have looked better. Every color seems dulled down, giving almost everything a washed-out, grey look. There are no bright hues in the game, and the environments suffer because of it. Backgrounds that looked pretty damn good on the PSX, seem so lifeless on the GameCube, which is sad because I know the GameCube can do much better. Character models are all just remixed MGS2-ish versions of their original PSX counterparts. They don't look bad at all. Their movement just looks downright foreign all the time though. Everyone's movements are stiff and very unnatural looking. The game does manage to stay at a slick 60 frames per second most of the time, unless it's an outside area, then you'll see a bit of a drop. But since most of the game takes place inside of the nuclear research facility, you might not even notice.

The cutscenes have all been completely re-written, and I think it's for the worst. If you're a Matrix fan and can't get enough motion-blur and bullet-time effects then you're gonna absolutely fucking LOVE this game's cinematics. EVERYTHING is bullet-timed. I MEAN FUCKING EVERYTHING! Bullet-timed and over the top fucking ridiuclous. Snake can't just walk past a door, he's gotta fucking cartwheel 20 feet into the air OVER IT! He can't dodge a missile, he's gotta jump up onto it and do a backflip off it to get himself off the roof of a building. I'm sorry, but this just doesn't sound like the kind of stuff Snake would be doing. He IS a super soldier, but he's not a fucking Ninja anime character. It really made a lot of critical points of the game almost laughable.

The music remains mostly the same, which isn't a bad thing. Metal Gear Solid had a great soundtrack, and though some tunes seem to have been tinkered with, it's not a bad thing. All sound effects were lifted from Metal Gear Solid 2. They get the job done, and still sound pretty damn good. My main issue with this game's audio is the utterly SHITTY re-dub. The entire script has been re-recorded. To their credit, they managed to get most of the cast to reprise their roles, but the problem is that everyone sounds extremely bored. The emotion of the original game has been lost this time around. Not only that, but any character that had an accent (Naomi, Mei Ling, Nastasha) now speak without those respective accents and it really takes a lot away from their characters. The central parts of the story lose a lot of their impact, because the actors just couldn't get the job done this time around. A few lines in the script were changed here and there, which I suspect was a request from Nintendo to tone down some of the "ugly" sides of American history. But you'll hardly notice it if you weren't one of those "hang on every single freakin word" people in the orignal version.

The biggest shortcomings, unfortunately are gameplay related. In bringing the original MGS into the MGS2 engine, they've taken away almost all challenge the game ever had. To put it bluntly, the first person mode and M9 make this game entirely too easy. And it could have been remedied if Silicon Knights had taken a bit more liberty with the game and at LEAST changed up the routes guards patrol and changed up the rooms a little more to help the game fit a little more snugly into the new engine. They added a pipe and fire extinguisher or two here and there and maybe a railing you can shimmy across, but it's just kinda tacked on. The boss fights were a big highlight of the original, and they've all been reduced to battles you can just stand still and win. There's no challenge at all. Just stand still and pull out the SOCOM or M9 and plug away at their head and you're assured victory. They really managed to kill the intensity of the boss fights, and the overall challenge of the game on any difficulty.

The Twin Snakes isn't a bad remake, but it is one that wasn't thought out as well as it should have been. They should have taken more liberty with the license and at least studied MGS2's level design a bit and gone from there. If you REALLY HAVE TO HAVE EVERYTHING Metal Gear related, then you should and probably already do have this. My recommendation: If you haven't played Metal Gear Solid and want to experience it in its most glorious form, then pick up a copy of the PSX version. If you're all about the flash and style then this version might suit you better.

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