Metal Gear Impressions

Outer Heaven is just a phone call away, as we found out at the Tokyo Game Show.

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TOKYO--Konami's Metal Gear franchise--starring Solid Snake, perhaps the first lone-gun supersoldier to rely on stealth rather than bravado--has been a hot-button item of late. The buzz surrounding Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has built to a crescendo, and Metal Gear Acid looks like it will be one of the PSP's most interesting launch titles. By contrast, Solid Snake's arrival on mobile has gone mostly unnoticed--except, perhaps, in Japan, where i-mode handsets have had the pleasure of Snake's company for more than a month. We checked up on Solid Snake's progress at the Tokyo Game Show, and we found that the covert operative appears to be in fine form.

This version of Metal Gear is not quite identical to the one you may remember playing on the NES, where Solid Snake infiltrated Outer Heaven from a secure drop zone. In this case, Snake begins the game wounded, and he is immediately pursued by armed guards. He is, however, still equipped with his trusty transceiver, which he uses to communicate with headquarters, and his martial arts skills are as polished as ever. Good thing, since Snake is once again completely destitute of weaponry at the start of the adventure.

Other than the strangely unfamiliar storyline, Metal Gear sticks to the NES version's graphics, sound, and gameplay mechanics, which are all essentially identical to the 15-year-old console version of the game, albeit in miniature. Outer Heaven is still a utilitarian's dream resort, trimmed in gray concrete and brown wooden crates, and the grounds of the fortress are still pocked with transport trucks, sentry posts, and aggressive canine guards.

Judging from our time with Metal Gear, it seems that Japanese mobile gamers would do well to keep their guard up during their morning commute.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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