Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Metal Gear Solid
Developer - Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Publisher - Konami
Release date - September 3, 1998

Metal Gear Solid is an action-adventure stealth video game produced by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan and released for the PlayStation in 1998. The game was directed, produced, and co-written by series creator Hideo Kojima, and serves as a sequel to the MSX2 video games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which Kojima also wrote and directed.


The year is 2005, six years after the downfall of Zanzibarland. A renegade genetically-enhanced special forces unit, FOXHOUND, has seized a remote island in Alaska's Fox Archipelago codenamed "Shadow Moses", the site of a nuclear weapons disposal facility. FOXHOUND threatens to use the nuclear-capable mecha, Metal Gear REX, against the U.S. government if they do not receive the remains of Big Boss and the ransom of $1 billion within 24 hours. Solid Snake is forced out of retirement by Colonel Roy Campbell to infiltrate the island and neutralize the threat.


The protagonist is Solid Snake, a legendary infiltrator and saboteur. During the mission, Snake receives support and advice via codec radio. Colonel Roy Campbell, Solid Snake's former commanding officer, supports Snake with advice and tactics. While he initially keeps a number of secrets from Snake, he gradually reveals them. He is joined by Naomi Hunter, who gives medical advice; Nastasha Romanenko, who provides item and weapon tips; Master Miller, a former drill instructor and survival coach; and Mei Ling, who invented the soliton radar system used in the mission and is also in charge of mission data; the player can call her to save the game.

The main antagonist of the game is Liquid Snake, leader of a now-terrorist splinter cell of the organization FOXHOUND, and genetic counterpart to Solid Snake. An elite special forces unit, FOXHOUND contains experts specializing in unique tasks. Members are Revolver Ocelot, a Western-style gunslinger and expert interrogator whose weapon of choice is the Colt Single Action Army; Sniper Wolf, a preternatural sniper; Vulcan Raven, a hulking Alaskan shaman armed with an M61 Vulcan torn from a downed F-16; Psycho Mantis, a psychic profiler and psychokinesis expert; and Decoy Octopus, a master of disguise.

Other characters include Meryl Silverburgh, Colonel Campbell's niece and a rookie soldier stationed in Shadow Moses who did not join the revolt; Dr. Hal Emmerich, the lead developer of Metal Gear REX; and the "Ninja", a mysterious cybernetically enhanced agent who is neither an ally nor an enemy of Snake but does oppose FOXHOUND.


The player must navigate the protagonist, Solid Snake, through the game's areas without being detected by enemies. Detection is triggered by the player moving into an enemy's field of vision and sets off an alarm that draws armed enemies to his location. This also triggers "alert mode" and the player must then hide and remain undetected, at which point “evasion mode” begins and once the counter reaches zero the game returns to "infiltration mode" where enemies are not suspicious of Snake’s presence. The radar cannot be used in alert or evasion mode. In addition to the stealth gameplay, there are set piece sequences that entail firefights between the player and enemies.

To remain undetected, the player can perform techniques which make use of both Solid Snake's abilities and the environment, such as crawling under objects, using boxes as cover, ducking or hiding around walls, and making noise to distract enemies. An on-screen radar provides the player with location of nearby enemies and their field of vision. Snake can also make use of many items and gadgets, such as infra-red goggles and a cardboard box disguise. The emphasis on stealth promotes a less violent form of gameplay, as fights against large groups of enemies will often result in serious damage for the player.

Despite the switch to 3D, the game is still played primarily from an overhead perspective similar to the original 2D Metal Gear games. However, the camera angle will change during certain situations, such as a corner view when Snake flattens himself to a wall next to an open space, or into first-person when crawling under tight spaces or using certain items such as the binoculars or a sniper rifle. The player can also use the first-person view while remaining idle to look around Snake's surroundings or see what's ahead of him.

Progress is punctuated by cutscenes and codec, as well as encounters with bosses. To progress, players must discover the weaknesses of each boss and defeat them. Play controls and strategies can also be accessed via the Codec radio, where advice is delivered from Snake's support team; for example, the support team may chastise Snake for not saving his progress often enough, or explain his combat moves in terms of which buttons to press on the gamepad. The Codec is also used to provide exposition on the game's backstory.

Upon completion of the main story, a result screen is shown after the ending credits, which displays a statistics of the player's performance. The player is evaluated with a codename (most of them animal-based) based on the number of alerts triggered, rations used and enemies killed throughout their playthrough, along with the total playtime, saves, and continues used after a game over. There are a total of 12 codenames for each difficulty level, with the best possible rank on the hardest setting being "Big Boss".

In addition to the main story, there's also a VR training mode in which the player can test out their sneaking skills in a series of artificially constructed environments. This mode is divided into three main categories (practice, time attack, and gun shooting), each consisting of ten stages. After completing all 30 stages, a survival mission is unlocked in which the player must proceed through all ten gun shooting stages in a row under a seven-minute limit.


Kojima initially planned the third Metal Gear game in 1994, originally titled Metal Gear 3, and to release it for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1994. Conceptual artwork, by illustrator Yoji Shinkawa, of the characters Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, who was also a character in the adventure game Policenauts, and the FOXHOUND team, were included in the Policenauts: Pilot Disk preceding the release of the full version of the 3DO game in 1995. However, due to the discontinuation of the 3DO from the market, development of the game shifted to the PlayStation shortly after Policenauts was released.

Kojima retitled the game Metal Gear Solid, choosing this over the working title Metal Gear 3. This was due to the fact that he believed that the MSX2 Metal Gear games were not well known at the time due to their lack of worldwide releases (particularly in North America, where the MSX2 platform was never released and only the NES versions developed without Kojima's involvement were available at the time). He used the word 'Solid' which was chosen due to the game being the third installment in the series, and because it uses 3D computer graphics, as well as being in reference to Solid Snake, the game's protagonist. Sequels to this game also use the Metal Gear Solid title, and generally follow a numeral progression.

The development for Metal Gear Solid began in mid-1995 with the intention of creating the "best PlayStation game ever". Developers aimed for accuracy and realism while making the game enjoyable and tense. In the early stages of development, the Huntington Beach SWAT team educated the creators with a demonstration of vehicles, weapons and explosives. Weapons expert Motosada Mori was also tapped as technical adviser in the research, which included visits to Fort Irwin and firing sessions at Stembridge Gun Rentals. Kojima stated that "if the player isn't tricked into believing that the world is real, then there's no point in making the game". To fulfill this, adjustments were made to every detail, such as individually designed desks.

Hideo Kojima created the characters of Metal Gear Solid. Modifications and mechanics were made by conceptual artist Yoji Shinkawa. According to Shinkawa, Solid Snake's physique in this particular installment was based on Jean-Claude Van Damme, while his facial appearance was based on Christopher Walken. The characters were completed by polygonal artists using brush drawings and clay models by Shinkawa. Kojima wanted greater interaction with objects and the environment, such as allowing the player to hide bodies in a storage compartment. Additionally, he wanted "a full orchestra right next to the player"; a system which made modifications such as tempo and texture to the currently playing track, instead of switching to another pre-recorded track. Although these features could not be achieved, they were implemented in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

Metal Gear Solid was shown to the public at E3 1997 as a short video. It was later playable for the first time at the Tokyo Game Show in 1998 and officially released the same year in Japan with an extensive promotional campaign. Television and magazine advertisements, in-store samples, and demo give-aways contributed to a total of $8 million in promotional costs. An estimated 12 million demos for the game were distributed during 1998.


The musical score of Metal Gear Solid was composed by Konami's in-house musicians, including Kazuki Muraoka, Hiroyuki Togo, Takanari Ishiyama, Lee Jeon Myung, and Maki Kirioka. Composer and lyricist Rika Muranaka provided a song called "The Best is Yet To Come" for the game's ending credits sequence. The song is performed in Irish by Aoife NĂ­ Fhearraigh. The main theme was composed by Tappi Iwase from the Konami Kukeiha Club.

Music played in-game has a synthetic feel with increased pace and introduction of strings during tense moments, with a looping style endemic to video games. Overtly cinematic music, with stronger orchestral and choral elements, appears in cutscenes. The soundtrack was released on September 23, 1998, under the King Records label.

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