The Original Metal Gear- Time For A Facelift? - mbellacio Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Original Metal Gear- Time For A Facelift?

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Starting my first experiences on the Gameboy Advance, PSP and PS One, I have grown to really love the Metal Gear series. I love the seemingly-endless grand saga that it has spawned. I love the always changing and always compelling art styles, I LOVE the gameplay and the pacing that you find in almost every single Metal Gear title. And I also can't help but think that while Hideo Kojima is entertaining us with his considerable story-telling prowess, he is also making us think ever so slightly about the seriousness of war, nuclear weapons and what it means to be a free individual versus a pawn.

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Don't be fooled by it's size. This is one of the best Metal Gear games you can find.

 

My first experience with Metal Gear was on the Gameboy Color playing Metal Gear Solid. That was perfect for me because the look and feel of that title was almost identical to the original Metal Gear titles released on the NES and MSX2. Playing on that tiny little 8-bit screen felt like reliving some of the best moments of my childhood. I can still remember the first time I saw ads for the NES Metal Gear in some of my old Transformers comic books when I was a kid. Even without actually seeing the game in action, that single full-page ad had me jazzed to play it. You could tell that Metal Gear was a game like no other. It seemed to combine the best elements of an RPG with some of my favorite action titles like Ikari Warriors or P.O.W, or others. But here was a game (during the 8-bit era no less), that made you stop and think carefully about how you were going to proceed. Strategy was everything. It wasn't just about blasting your way through hordes of enemies in a button-mashing frenzy. Metal Gear was like your favorite rich food. You couldn't rush through it. You had to savor every little nuance of the gameplay.

Years later, I still feel the same about Metal Gear. I have not yet had the privilege of playing Metal Gear Rising, but even with it's more "action-oriented" gameplay, I think I would still love it just for the joy of keeping up with the story. That's the true genius of the Metal Gear saga to me. Stepping into the world of Solid Snake is like reading old Marvel and DC comic books for the first time. The sense of discovery alone is fantastically entertaining. It's something you can get absorbed in and follow, and anxiously await the next unraveling of the elaborate mythos.

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This single one page ad was all it took for me to get hooked. Ahhhh, good times.

 

But despite my great love for the Metal Gear games, especially with the direction taken by the titles of the past two generations of consoles, I do have one small gripe. The original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake were released over 20 years ago on a system that was not intended for western markets. That system was the MSX2 as many of you may well know. And while the MSX was a very capable little system, especially for it's time, the years have not exactly been kind to it. Granted, the MSX2 version of Metal Gear runs laps around the butchered version that landed on the NES, but 8-bit is 8-bit. I think most of us have developed considerably more advanced tastes in 20 years. We've been spoiled by insane polygon counts, texture-mapping, HD visuals, and screen resolutions that fall just shy of true photo-realism. Nvidia is already showing us things that seem to plunge headlong into the "uncanny valley". And all of this brings me back to my main gripe. The original Metal Gear's from the MSX2 need a remake.

While graphics like this were the stuff of dreams in the 80's, there's little doubt they could be better.

 

No, I don't necessarily want to see some HD remake like what we got with Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the Gamecube, but I would like to see something that allows us to have a more "crisp" vision of the first two Metal Gear games. Think of a Metal Gear 1 & 2 that had graphics on the scale of Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3. How sick would that be? As good as the original games were, you can't tell me that a little nip-tuck here and there wouldn't make for some serious fun. I also think it would present a great opportunity for Kojima to fill any holes in the plot, and perhaps even expand the universe with some new hidden secrets.

As we get more and more details about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I must say that I am beyond excited to see where Kojima-san takes us this time. And to see the new Fox Engine in all of it's Hi Def glory will probably be one of the most memorable experiences in gaming for years to come. But sometimes, I get that crazy retro vibe and want to re-experience some of those classic moments I had when I was younger. Obviously going retro is very hot right now as is evidenced by the new Far Cry: Blood Dragon demo that recently came out. And on the indie development front, retro gaming has been nothing short of a gold mine.

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If you haven't already experienced the Metal Gear games, you owe it yourself to start!

 

Heck, maybe if we're really, really insanely lucky this generation, Nintendo will pull their thumb out of their $%#@! and treat us with some tasty reboots of favorites like Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons, or the earliest Metroid titles. What about a Castlevania reboot? And while I would love to see these classics emerge again with some clever new twists and a new coat of paint, I would be saddened if any reboots were rushed along merely for the sake of cashing in on lucrative franchises. But, overall I still say that Metal Gear 1 & 2 still deserve to be redone. Hey, even the Mona Lisa gets a "touch-up" from time to time so that future generations can appreciate it.

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