How Metal Gear Solid snuck into my heart

Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation One is the greatest game of all time. In my mind it is perfect.

Photo by Rhett Noonan on Unsplash

Even today in the world of three dimensions and virtual reality, it is a game that draws me back. Additional pixels and awards could not steer me away from my opinion.

Solid Snake in the first Metal Gear Solid is the perfect hero and all others pale in comparison.

A multiple of completions

I do not remember how many times I completed the original Metal Gear Solid. It was so long ago that I unwrapped my shiny new PlayStation, the original that is, not the PS One. All I remember is that Metal Gear Solid was the first game purchased, and I loved it.

The gameplay drew me in, and I was hooked, like a moth to the flame. It was a stealth game at its core that never took itself too seriously, yet offered a challenge and a story that held your attention.

The not taking itself too seriously was key for me. I had always been fascinated by stealth by ultimately when playing through games of this nature I tended to get a little bored. Splinter Cell was too much but Metal Gear Solid was just right.

For the first six months of owning the PlayStation, all I had was Metal Gear Solid. I must have completed it at least half a dozen times, but it never felt dull.

Even though there are only two separate endings, I was not bored. Every minute I was trying something new or fully appreciating a new unlock, like the stealth camouflage or unlimited ammo.

A story that moves you

A key feature within the game is the story. You would assume that this is true for all games but there are stories such as those within SpyHunter and those within Metal Gear Solid. SpyHunter has a surface level story that you don’t care about much like Mission Impossible. What you care about is the action. Metal Gear Solid has depth.

With Metal Gear Solid you have romantic overtones, loss, shades of grey when it comes to evil, conspiracies and manipulation. All of which is wrapped up in a 10-hour narrative. It is something that no other games come near to offering.

The Last Of Us covers many of these points but is more survival horror and didn’t move me as much. In the second game when Ellie is having flashbacks and the creators touch on the futility of it all, you are moved, but nowhere near as much as Metal Gear Solid.

Something that we can all relate to

In addition to the story was the characters. From Meryl to Otacon and Snake to the Colonel. You feel for them in different ways. The lies that the Colonel needs to tell and the lengths that Meryl will go to prove herself. No matter who you are, you will be able to relate, at least in some way to the characters.

Otacon was always the one that I could always see myself being. He was nerdy, into computer programming and easily led by a woman. This was me all over, well I had the desire to be a computer programmer but marketing and writing came a lot easier.

Otacon does attempt to be brave and is at certain points, but it doesn’t stop Snake from first finding him and seeing him wet himself. This, as a 31-year-old man is not a reflection of my bowel habits. It is to emphasise that everyone can find certain aspects of at least one character from Metal Gear Solid relatable.

Otacon grew as a character and I always saw that as my strength, someone who was loyal and would learn.

The desire to overcome torture

Anyone that has played the original game will remember the multiple endings. One in which you save Otacon and one in which you save Meryl.

To save Meryl you needed to complete a torture sequence. This, at the time of the Playstation One, involved mashing a button very quickly to keep your life bar up.

It was impossible and I wasted layers of skin attempting to do so. This was until I purchased a ‘Turbo Controller’ and could then sit back, relax and enjoy the alternative ending. I am referring to it as an alternative ending but for all I know, Mr. Kojima always intended it to be the main ending. My ineptitude was what prevented me from seeing.

The point I am attempting to make here is that even though I would fail to complete this part, I always came back. I always had that desire to find out what would happen if you completed the torture sequence and rescued Meryl.

The difference was an alternative ending, which may not sound like a lot but then and still now, it is. When you have a game as good as Metal Gear Solid you want to squeeze all the details from it.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes was a remake of the first game with elements from the second. It was a hybrid of sorts, which I had a desire to buy but never play.

Even though it was at the heart of it, the same Metal Gear Solid, it was changed. It looked and felt different and that somehow takes away from the love of what I affectionately call the greatest game of all time.

It is something that piques my interest when it comes to the Playstation 5, but really I know where my heart is. It is with those blocky 3d graphics and witnessing the power of moving one controller slot to the next. Simplicity is always best.

A final thought

Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation One is the greatest game of all time. I believe this as the characters are relatable, it covers many genres, makes you smile and cry, at the same time as encouraging you to play again.

Replayability aside, it is a unique story from one of the most unique minds in the business. If you have not played, then grab yourself a PlayStation Classic and join the cardboard box revolution today.

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