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Mia Plays Metal Gear Solid

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Space Raton:
-Introduction-

Hi, welcome. Welcome to the first installment of Mia Plays. As discussed previously, the theme here is that I’ll be playing games I am mostly to wholly unfamiliar with, and writing about my impressions as I go. I’ll try to put my stopping points at obvious divisions between chapters or segments in the story, though that will necessarily be improvised. An important point here is, while I encourage discussion about the game at hand, please be very thorough in tagging spoilers! I want my reactions to the game to be as authentic as possible, so I don’t intend to read anything spoiler-y.

The first game I’ll be tackling is Metal Gear Solid - yep, the original, for PlayStation. Despite this game having been around for a long time and spawning many, many sequels, I never ended up playing a single title in the series. I’ll take a moment to share the extent of my prior knowledge about Metal Gear Solid:

-You play as an espionage agent named Solid Snake, who sneaks around and also sometimes shoots guns.
-The titular “Metal Gears” are giant robots of some sort, though I have no idea what their function is. Really I only know about them because they showed up in that one Brawl stage!
-Despite the series being heralded as a masterpiece for over a decade and a half, it’s I think over now because apparently the guy in charge of it got banned from ever making more video games.

I’m probably exaggerating a little on that last point, but still, seems like it’s about time I saw what this series is about.

Space Raton:
Edit:
FlexCapacitor Hey @Mia Kris how much do you know about the Metal Gear 1 and 2 story before MGS?
Mia Kris Nothing. So little, in fact, that I did not know there were stories before MGS!
Mia Kris Guess that's quite the oversight, huh!

Welp, um, keep that in mind too!



-Part 1-

From the first couple minutes, it’s clear that this game intends to be really, y’know, cinematic. The introductory cutscene that plays as soon as you boot up the game consists of shots of a submarine cruising through an expanse of darkened waters, intercut with brief views of our protagonist, Snake, inside a cramped mini-submersible that’s about to be launched from the sub. The cinematography here is really impressive, mainly because there are very few games this old where I’d even think to use the word “cinematography” when describing the opening. Maybe Ocarina of Time, but the fantasy setting there didn’t capture the feeling of watching a real movie; aside from the blocky polygons and textures, the opening of MGS feels like it could have been pulled straight from a classic spy film. I don’t mean to go too far in praising this, because a lot of modern games do too much to emulate movies and end up worse for it, but for 1998 (yes, I had to look that up) the production quality of this intro must have been quite impressive.

The story setup in the intro was a lot more straightforward than I expected. As Snake prepares to launch out of the sub, “The Colonel”, clearly Snake’s CO, gives us the rundown on the mission. A terrorist group is threatening nuclear war. Their demand is the “remains of Big Boss”; I expect that finding out who, or what, Big Boss is and how his/its remains are important will be a major plot point later on, but for now I’m cool with just knowing that that’s the important macguffin on the table here. Snake is being sent in to infiltrate a military base to determine just how much of a nuclear threat these terrorists (whose nationality was mentioned but I can’t recall it, dunno how relevant it’ll be) actually pose. The Colonel warns that they will at least pose a threat to Snake himself, as they’ve allied with FOXHOUND, an espionage organization of which Snake is a former member. The Colonel rattles off the names of five or six dangerous FOXHOUND agents, who sound to me like they’ll make a nicely rounded roster of boss encounters. Special emphasis is placed on Liquid Snake - the man with the same codename as Solid Snake!! - and honestly I’m looking forward to it. They’ve made it clear from the start that Snake has a history with the bad guys here, and if my hunches about how this’ll play out are correct, it’ll be very interesting to see all that backstory gradually unwind.

After this explanation, the gameplay proper gets started pretty quickly. Aside from the Colonel calling up to let Snake know he has a comms system in his eardrum, there’s no real tutorializing before we’re tasked with sneaking past a room full of guards. Like with the intro cutscene, the atmosphere here is great; the damp, secluded cave feels tense and imposing while still making it clear you’re in a secluded area where you can test out the basic controls without the risk of running into Ocelot or Liquid Snake or whoever.

Having been thoroughly an N64 gamer during the late 90s, the way the gameplay handles here was a little different from what I’d been expecting or had seen before. Since there’s no C-buttons or the like, camera movement is automatic and context-sensitive, which took me a bit to wrap my head around, but it’s not bad. The camera angles when you look around a corner, or the first-person view when ducking under an obstacle, always direct your focus to what’s up ahead; flailing a Lakitu-cam around in this setting would likely just give a lot of jumbled, unnecessary information. Your more general awareness is instead provided by a radar, which had just enough range to be helpful but not enough that you could play the whole game just by looking at it. I appreciated that a fine balance of watching the radar and carefully peeking around corners was necessary to sneak past the guards.

Once Snake makes it up the elevator and into the outdoors of the base proper (in an unexpectedly snowy mountain area), we’re introduced to two more characters. The Doctor (whose full name I didn’t catch) designed Snake’s “sneaking suit” (looking forward to more info on exactly how this suit is, uh, suited to sneaking) and makes multiple references to things like genome soldiers, gene therapy, and nanotech. This is the point at which it becomes clear that we’re not just playing a 70s spy movie; there’s gonna be some decidedly futuristic sci-fi elements in play, too. Gene therapy, whatever that process may entail, seems to be fairly commonplace in this setting, as not just Snake but also the enemy’s low-ranking guards have gone through it. We also meet Mei Ling, a technology expert, and her and Snake waste no time in flirting SO BLATANTLY, like, wow. Snake makes a couple such comments with the Doctor too, so like, we’ll see how that all plays out I guess? If I’m prompted to choose a “route” in this dynamic then the game will have become way sillier than even I expected.

The game then presents a brief segment where Snake does some basic reconnaissance on the outside of the base - it’s all auto-pilot, though it looks like I’ll have the opportunity to manually control stuff like the binoculars later. Truthfully I've barely played any stealth-focused games even aside from this one, so I don't have much to compare too, but I like that they're giving me a chance to thoroughly survey an area before sneaking into it, and providing multiple potential means of approach.

That’s all for now, though - this has been a pretty thorough examination of the intro. I look forward to the next bit of sneakery.

Space Raton:
-Part 2-

As noted in the edit above, it was brought to my attention just after my first play session that MGS ~isn’t the first Metal Gear game~ ...I really had no idea! I considered wiki-reading the story for the previous games, but y’know what, I think I’m just gonna keep rolling blind and see how much of this I can figure out anyway. Aside from dropping a couple terms I wasn’t familiar with, like Big Boss or genomes, there’s nothing too indecipherable going on with the plot just yet.

The next segment of the game is less concerned about painting the broad strokes of the plot, at any rate, and is more about getting down to business on sneaking into the base. Now, the first outdoor segment didn’t seem to me to involve as many options as the colonel suggested. Really the only way I found in was one stairway leading up to an air duct - I may not have been super thorough, though! This segment introduced a couple new mechanics. First are genome-enhanced guards, who I guess just have a slightly bigger vision range than the guys in the first room; they aren’t very much better about hearing my footsteps if I’m running around three feet behind their backs. I also encountered security cameras - getting spotted by these alerts nearby guards (and I think spawns extras?) to your location. Now, I did mess up and get caught a couple times on my way into the building. Luckily, the game doesn’t seem to send you back very far when you die, and gets you back up and running fairly quickly. That’s something I think I’m going to be very grateful for going forward!

It wasn’t too long before I got to the first air duct segment. The game goes into a first-person view as you crawl through the ductwork, and there are occasional grates that give you a glimpse of the contents of upcoming rooms, as well as occasional brief cutscenes where you overhear dialog between the facility’s guards. The ducts have a cramped, grim feeling, scoring points for atmosphere, but they aren’t a lot of fun to crawl through. There isn’t much interactivity besides peeking through grates (I kept hoping I’d be surprised by a headcrab that I’d get to shoot), and it feels like Snake crawls reaaaalllly slowly relative to how long some of the ducts are. Hopefully they spice up these bits later on.

After a little bit more weaving my way through cameras and guards, I managed to find my first gun. I initially thought that there might possibly maybe be first-person gun shooting, but shooting instead uses the same top-down view as basic movement; it took some (misadventurous) trial-and-error to get the hang of the controls, but it’s really quite simple. Even the starter pistol has laser sights and aim assist, making it easy to shoot guys down once I got into the swing of it, which then of course led to me promptly running out of ammo. Welp, lucky thing the guards still aren’t too tough to sneak past!

Eventually I made it to an elevator leading to a basement that’s some sort of prison block. Here they’re holding the DARPA chief, the rescue of whom is one of the main goals of my mission. It doesn’t take long to drop into his cell via air duct, which triggers a fairly lengthy dialog scene. The cheif explains to Snake that the terrorists are indeed a significant nuclear threat, since they have.... a metal gear!! Fortunately for those of us who haven’t played the previous games, Snake and the chief explain that metal gears are basically walking tanks capable of launching nuclear missiles. I was prepared for them to be like, EVAs or something, so they’re not quite that outlandish (though still very dangerous!). The chief reveals that the nukes the terrorists have are password-protected, which is why he and the president of [arms company whose name I already forgot] were kidnapped in the first place; their passwords have already been taken by the mind-reading Psycho Mantis, whose powers sound wild as heck and what is even gonna happen if I run into that guy. Soon after explaining this, the DARPA chief has a sudden heart attack which was almost certainly not a coincidence. This gets a reaction out of a mysterious woman who’s being held in the next cell; it appeared, as I called Mei Ling to save my game just in case my name gets written in a death note too, that the woman had actually broken out of her cell and was fighting with the guards! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how that plays out, mainly because I have literally no other way out of this room with a dead guy, please help me.

Scrow Funk:
In case you haven't already, you should peep the manual! There's some good tips in there. http://www.replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.1185

Lolicon Jon:

--- Quote from: Scrow Funk on December 18, 2015, 07:15:44 AM ---In case you haven't already, you should peep the manual! There's some good tips in there. http://www.replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.1185

--- End quote ---
:yeah!: :yeah!: :yeah!:

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