Metal Gear Solid. Just saying the name evokes memories of creeping through the snow-frosted halls of Shadow Moses as Solid Snake, and the intense frustration of hiding as a naked Raiden on Arsenal Gear of the shores of New York. The series has a long history—Konami recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, which makes it older than I am. And with the upcoming release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and the recent announcement of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, it might just be about time to take a look back at the legacy of the series. But keep in mind that as these games are really old, and the latest game was released years ago, there are some heavy spoilers in this article. You have been warned.
It all started with a Japanese man named Hideo Kojima (who, as it turned out, would go on to become one of the biggest trolls in game development history), who wanted to make a game with a pulpy story with a message about war. The first game, Metal Gear, was going to be an action game for the MSX2. But the technical limitations of the machine prevented Kojima from putting in too many enemies on the screen. Seeing this limitation, he decided on a different approach. He based the game around hiding from enemies rather than straight out fighting them, and more or less invented the stealth genre in games. Besides that, Metal Gear would go on to become the first game to feature one of the most popular and well-loved badasses in gaming history – Solid Snake.
Metal Gear Solid
After a sequel on the MSX2 (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake), the first Metal Gear game in full-blown 3D arrived. Called Metal Gear Solid, the game had you play once more as Solid Snake, who had retired after the events of Metal Gear 2 and was living peacefully before being kidnapped and brought back into service for FOXHOUND. This time, a group of agents from FOXHOUND had rebelled and taken the island of Shadow Moses hostage. They were demanding a truckload of money, along with the corpse of Big Boss (the Big Bad of Metal Gear 2 and Solid Snake's ‘father’). Metal Gear Solid introduced some new concepts to the series, some truly amazing boss fights and one of the most iconic voices in gaming history—David Hayter as Solid Snake.
Solid Snake in Metal gear Solid
Every antagonist in the game has his/her moments, right from Psycho Mantis messing with the fourth wall to Revolver Ocelot's homoerotic boss fight and torture sequence dialogues. But after fighting Metal Gear REX and Liquid Snake (Snake’s genetic twin, cloned from the same man – Big Boss), and solidifying Snake as a complete badass, we move on to the most controversial game in the series.
Now, the game was a critical and commercial hit. It was more or less printing money for Konami, but Kojima wanted to be done with the series. He made that clear by releasing a new IP – Zone of the Enders. But he soon started getting angry hate mail and death threats from fans of the Metal Gear series, so he set out to troll the entire fanbase, which brings us to…
Psycho Mantis was an epic troll of a boss fight
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
If Metal Gear Solid made you think about Kojima’s lack of sanity, Metal Gear Solid 2 on the PlayStation 2 was definite proof that he was insane. The game was met with acclaim from critics and fans alike for the new gameplay mechanics, but the bait-and-switch and completely insane story left a bitter taste in almost everyone’s mouth. You start out playing as the legendary Solid Snake again, but that doesn’t last, as after a couple of hours Solid Snake is lost at sea and you play as a new agent—Raiden.
Before the bait-and-switch
Raiden was hated by everyone, mostly because of his effeminate looks and constant whining. He is also arguably the best protagonist you could come up with for the story, because while MGS2's plot has the series’ staple twists and turns, towards the end, the game starts going down the “Complete Mind Screw” road. The entire plot starts revolving around the S3 Plan, which is originally called the Solid Snake Simulation by Revolver Ocelot.
The plan essentially involves putting another soldier (Raiden, in this case) through a situation as screwed up as Shadow Moses to see if he can become as badass as Snake. While the S3 Plan later turns out to be something else entirely, parallels between the Shadow Moses incident (Metal Gear Solid) and the Big Shell incident (Metal Gear Solid 2) are very clear. The underwater infiltration at the beginning, a Cyborg Ninja (Gray Fox in MGS1 and Olga Gurlukovich in MGS2) and the boss fights against aerial vehicles (Hind in MGS1 and Harrier in MGS2) all are very similar.
After the bait-and-switch
While Metal Gear Solid 2 ended at a rather depressing note, with Raiden disappearing and the Patriot AI system taking over the world, Kojima took a trip back in time to bring us the origin story of Big Boss in…