Note: Originally posted March 11, 2002
Since I was 8, I've wanted to be a mercenary. While other girls were playing with dolls, I was hunting down secret missions. The boys thought it was cool, but mom had issues with it. After growing up I ended up doing the usual adult things, going in the military, working corporate, starting a business. But in the back of my mind there were jungles with rebels and countries needing to overthrow dictators. Thinking the closest I would ever come would be books, I pretty much shelved the whole idea. Then Snake came knocking.
For anyone who has ever dreamed of carrying a gun and sneaking into a top secret base, Metal Gear Solid 2 is for you. You start out playing Snake, a mercenary of the usual high training and lethal force. But don't get me wrong, this game is not kill or be killed. It takes a lot of critical thinking to slip around guards, steal pictures and get your butt back out before you are caught. Oh, and killing everyone you meet is considered socially unacceptable here. To do so is to end up with a ton more security. Better to knock 'em out and hide the body while they snooze away.
Konami has taken its idea of the ultimate metal weaponry and carried the second game to new levels. The interaction in the game can change the story line tremendously. While the end result is still the same, you save the planet from a mad dictator and there are enough twists and turns in the game to make your head spin. No one is truly your friend, yet those who are your enemies can swiftly turn out to be allies. In other words, playing this game makes you a little paranoid.
The graphics are fantastic. The body movements are fluid, from rolling to sliding around a corner to even dropping to the ground. The angles of the camera allow you to see everything in first-person as if you were there; there are no real blind spots, unless you are trying to look through something. The detail that went into the graphics of the game allows you to see pictures inside lockers, shoot seagulls which retaliate with reinforced poopers and, well, basically creates a fun-filled, hours-on-end play. The spy toys you get to play with also enhance game play, such as the microphone that listens to conversations over extreme distances if you have it pointed in the right direction.
Sound and Dialgoue
The dialogue is infinite; depending on where you are and what you are doing, some of the conversations can get quite hilarious. I personally recommend calling HQ from the lady's room. It will leave you in stitches. The rest of the sound effects are just enough to give you a better feeling of virtual play, but not enough to be annoying. I personally hate it when a theme is playing in the background over and over to the point you just want to turn off all sound instead of hearing it in your sleep.
Just when you think you have a handle on good old Snake, the game switches characters on you. After playing the hardened mercenary, the new kid can get on your nerves. Yeah, he has some awesome moves and cool toys, but man, is he naive or what? I found his little romantic dialogue with his sweetheart annoying. She seems to want to discuss romantic issues in the middle of firefights. Personally, I would have killed her.
I found throwing in Jack's background to be a bit over the top, an attempt to add more drama to the game when it really wasn't necessary. They could have left the whole thing about his childhood out and it would not have detracted from the game. It seemed to be the only complaint I had playing MSG2. Other than his whining, her mooning over him and their little love chats, the game is a definite buy and keep.
Finally, the boss fights in this game are hairy. And I do mean HAIRY. There are several you are not going to win…you just need to stay alive long enough to get out of there. These are what I truly consider boss fights. The villains are hardcore and they all want a piece of you. If that means wiping out their own platoons to get it, it doesn't seem to bother them. You definitely love to hate these guys. Oh, and the boss fights are not over just because you kill them. No, you are not going crazy. The secret is they are already dead for the most part. Deal with it.
The producers spaced out the boss fights as well, so you are not stuck low on ammo when you have to take on yet another super villain. That doesn't mean the game is going easy on you. It means the producers are sadistic and want to prolong your agony. I know I invented several new swear words.
I am on the second playthrough and have found that after playing it the first time, the second has some sneak bloopers which make it hilarious. Ever see an entire platoon of marines in happy face boxers?
Do yourself a favor. Buy the game. Play it the first time through. Play it the second to better your score. You will find that after the second time around you will want a third shot. You just can't get enough of Snake!
+ Graphics are fantastic.
+ Boss fights are hairy.
+ You just can't get enough of Snake!.