Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes Updated Impressions, Part 4

Our final in-depth look at The Twin Snakes focuses on the storyline, cutscenes, and extras you'll see in the game.

Last week, we took you on an up-close-and-personal look at Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, the soon-to-be-released GameCube-exclusive remake of 1998's classic tactical espionage action game. We invited you to send us any remaining questions that you had regarding how the game has finally shaped up. We've used all your questions to shape a series of updates, which, in a piecemeal fashion, address the main issues you all brought up. Today, we'll be looking at the changes to the game's storyline, the new cinematic scenes created by director Ryuhei Kitamura, and the extra content you'll find in the game. If you're a hardcore MGS fan, we've got all the dirt you really want to know. And if you're not a hardcore MGS fan, then approach with caution, because we're going to get into some of the specifics about the plot and characters here, which you may not want to have revealed.

The pregame supplemental material, such as Snake's briefings, further fleshes out the storyline.

Storyline & Cutscenes
Some readers had specific questions about how, if at all, the storyline of The Twin Snakes differs from that of the original Metal Gear Solid. For instance, one reader wondered if, in light of Raiden's disrobed torture sequence toward the end of Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake would lose his trousers during a certain sequence of The Twin Snakes. The answer, fortunately, is no, though he still loses his shirt. We noted that the button mashing in The Twin Snakes is actually a lot easier than it was in the original, at least on the game's default difficulty. We were in no danger of having to submit to the game's torture sequence (which in turn paves the way to one of the game's different endings), even though Ocelot kindly pointed out that we hadn't saved our progress in quite some time and could risk subjecting ourselves to a big, fat game over.

The original Metal Gear Solid featured a supplemental briefing sequence, which gave a lot of background on Snake's mission and how he was selected for it. One reader wondered whether that sequence made it into The Twin Snakes, and the answer is yes. However, this sequence no longer uses hand-drawn still images. Instead, it's now fully 3D and is shown from the perspective of several different security cameras in a room that contains Snake, his commanding officer Colonel Campbell, and Dr. Naomi Hunter, who gives Snake a special shot during the scene. You may switch between camera angles and can generally fiddle around with the perspective during this drawn-out series of cutscenes.

The Twin Snakes' new cutscenes are mostly an improvement over what you saw in the original game.

One reader, who mentioned that he's seen Konami's recent 27-minute trailer of The Twin Snakes, wondered just how much more unrealistic, or over-the-top, the cutscenes are now in comparison to the original. The answer is: They're definitely somewhat more over-the-top. In some cases, the new cutscenes can seem a little too extreme, like when the ninja cuts a slab of concrete from off of the ceiling and sends it flying at Snake. In some other cases, though, the cutscenes are actually a marked improvement. For example, when Snake is captured after his first battle with Sniper Wolf, no longer does he simply throw up his hands and come quietly, which seemed a bit ridiculous in the original game. Now, he actually manages to subdue his three assailants...and only when he realizes that Sniper Wolf has him in his sights does he finally submit to capture.

The cinematic director of the game obviously took some liberties in cases like this, but he didn't mess with the storyline. You can expect the same drawn-out, melodramatic speeches from the game's tragic bosses after you take them out.

One thing that surprised us is that the classic game-over screen from MGS has been noticeably changed. You still hear a random character screaming Snake's name, but you no longer see the words "Game Over" as they are spelled out.

A lot of readers have questions about the extras in the game. Unfortunately, we're not equipped to answer them all, as of yet, since we haven't fully completed the game--let alone completed it on every difficulty setting and without killing anybody and stuff like that.

Some wondered whether The Twin Snakes would feature VR training missions as in the original MGS or in MGS2: Substance. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it.

One reader wondered whether the "ghosts" were back. After finishing MGS, you could replay the game with a camera, and taking photos of certain game areas would reveal ghost images of the game's developers. Since all the other quirks and Easter eggs from MGS seem to have made the transition in to The Twin Snakes, we assume that the ghosts are still in there too.

Are there any extras, such as developer interviews or making-of featurettes? No, not that we can tell.

Is Gray Fox playable? We don't think so. However, this near-final version includes some debug code that says "Demo Meryl Locked" and "Demo Otacon Locked," which implies that these characters are unlockable in some fashion. (UPDATE: A snarky forum user dutifully pointed out that the reference is more likely to the game's two different endings.)

Are Snake's stealth camouflage, bandana, and tuxedo secrets still in the game? Again, we would assume yes, from what we've played.

Still got questions about The Twin Snakes? Then buy the damn game when it comes out!

You may have seen that the game has a few GameCube-exclusive touches in it. Otacon's office features Mario and Yoshi toys that are prominently on display during one cutscene between him and Snake. He's also got his very own GameCube in there, which can be shot up and destroyed during the fight with the ninja. Furthermore, in the sequence where Psycho Mantis reads your mind, rather than look for Castlevania saves, he'll spot saved data from such Nintendo titles as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and will comment accordingly. These and other sequences, where the game interacts with your memory card or controller in some unorthodox way, are generally the same as in the original.

Is it fun? What would you rate it on a scale of 1-to-10? You'll have to wait till the review in early March to get the straight answer to these questions, but for now, we trust that you've got a pretty good sense of what to expect from the game. MGS purists will probably like some of the differences here more than others, while those new to the MGS series will be in for a surprising and often strange experience. In the end, The Twin Snakes seems like it's going to deliver on its basic promise of remaking 1998's Metal Gear Solid with better graphics, MGS2's gameplay enhancements, and some new cutscenes.

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