Metal Gear Solid is considered one of the most iconic series ever made. I would venture to say that it revolutionized the stealth game genre. So with a friends copy in hand I decided to try this game out for myself. What I found was a game that was a game that met my expectations, surpassed them, and at times made me very, very angry. The one constant with the game was that it captivated me from start to finish.

Metal Gear Solid is technically a sequel to Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, which were on the NES. Playing those games isn’t required to understand the story as any references to the other games are quickly explained. The game is a stealth game that is largely cinematic, and when I say cinematic, I mean CINEMATIC.

The Metal Gear series has been widely known for it’s long and stylized cut scenes. It is true that very often these cut scenes are long but if you are willing to sit down and take in the story you find that the characters and the plot in this game work so well that even the longest and most wordy cut scenes don’t feel too boring. While playing the game I kept thinking about Heavy Rain. In Heavy Rain the developers strived to create a real interactive experience that focused on story, eschewing game play almost completely. One of the most common complaints about the game is that it doesn’t feel like a game at all.  Quantic Dream, (Heavy Rain’s developer) this is how you do it! Konami made a game that had fantastic gameplay while also having a large focus on story.

This brings me to the next part of my review: The Gameplay. In MGS, you play mainly from a top down perspective, looking down at Snake. This style works for the game as it lets you see other soldiers patrolling or searching for you and it gives you ample time to hide. The perspective loses some of it’s charm when you are in a firefight and cannot even see the enemy in front of you. I would have liked to have a first person perspective with the gun (a feature implemented in the sequel) The game encourages you to find creative ways to get from one room to another as the game could be played in many different ways, For instance: One player could play through the whole game sneaking around without killing a single enemy, while another could sneak up on them from behind and snap their neck. Both achieve the same goal in keeping you undetected. If you do get detected, the game punishes you, as bullet fire can make mince meat out of you. The game has plenty of interesting ideas, such as locking you in a room quickly filling up with toxic gas and no way out. It is up to you to be creative in saving your own skin.

That said, this can be a very difficult game. Be prepared to die. A lot. Many of these deaths come from being careless and forgetting that this is a stealth game and not a shooter. In my experience though, most of the deaths come from the bosses. The bosses in this game are indescribably original and they put any other game’s bosses to shame. They are incredibly creative and require active thinking from the part of the player. These bosses can take a while, but when you finally find out the enemy’s weak point, they’re toast, which is incredibly rewarding.

Fortunately you are not alone in this fight. You have a support team that you can reach at any time via your codec. The codec is very useful as you can contact someone to save the game or contact someone who will give you a hint on what to do next or remind you of your objective. These characters all have full personalities and are a joy to talk to. Their conversations with Snake feel real. Which leads me to one of the crowning achievements: Solid Snake. In my opinion Snake is one of the best written characters in video games. His development through the game is stunning and he truly kept me invested in the game. I wanted to keep Snake alive, pure and simple.

Overall. This is a classic game. The blend of gameplay and story is near flawless, the characters are fully formed and relatable, the game is exciting and tense and delivers an experience unlike one I have ever had before, If the game was a bit less punishing, it could be perfect.