Hands-On: Metal Gear GBC

Here are media and impressions from Metal Gear Ghost Babel for the Game Boy Color.

The portable adventures of Solid Snake may attempt to mimic the style of its PlayStation counterpart, but the gameplay is more along the lines of the NES game that made the series popular. The transceiver works in much the same way as it did in Metal Gear Solid, provided you with a means to contact important personnel and to save your game.

A good deal of the game's beginning moments centers on running around a maze made of bushes. But you aren't alone in this envirornment. Enemies are all over the place, and it's imperitive (believe me, your life bar and your ammo count will thank you in the end) that you make stealth a number one priority. If spotted, you're subjected to the same countdown timer system as in the PlayStation version. So shooting off your guns is a no-no unless absolutely necessary. The preferred method of attack is to sneak up behind the pistol-packing soldier and punch him a few times for a silent kill.

Other moves in the game include the ability to crawl on your stomach, which allows you to remain undetected underwater or in large patches of deep grass. You can also hide up against a wall and look around corners to see what's going on in this little third-person, top-down world. Graphically, the characters are really small, but most of them (especially Snake himself) are well-animated.

MG: Ghost Babel could be a very interesting Game Boy game. The basic framework for a good portable game is present, but we'll have to see what Konami does with this one prior to its release.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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