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Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Silicon Knights Under the supervision of: Konami Computer Entertainment of Japan
Produced by: Hideo Kojima
ESRB Rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence, and Suggestive Themes
For: Nintendo Gamecube
Price: $35.00 on LeapTrade

Imagine this: a gun that fires bullets propelled not by gunfire, but by magnets. This gun would speed up the bullets so much that the bullets would shatter bones on impact, virtually making the bullets more painful than, say, Minority Report: Everybody Runs. Or a regularly fired bullet. Your choice. Anyway, now picture a nuclear missile launcher that could do the same thing, propelling the missile via magnets instead of by rockets. It would make nukes untraceable and undetectable until the very last moment. Not good.

Story

This is the concept of Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. A walking battle tank called Metal Gear, armed with nukes launched by rail-gun (the very guns mentioned earlier), a Vulcan electron laser (a nasty thing that isn?t anything you?d want to run into), and many other armaments has been created in secret at an Alaskan military base. The base?s leaders, members of the elitist military organization FOXHOUND, has taken the facility by force, requesting the remains of their former leader, the greatest soldier in the world, Big Boss. If their demands are not met, they will launch within twenty-four hours. They have also taken two hostages: DARPA chief Donald Anderson, and the President of ArmsTech (maker of the Metal Gear) Kenneth Baker. This is where you, playing as retired FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake, come in. As a veteran of two different incidents involving FOXHOUND (the Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land incidents), both told in The Twin Snake's Special menu, and told in the previous games Metal Gear (NES) and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (MSX, a Japanese system; not released in the U.S.), you must rescue the hostages and disarm Metal Gear within the allotted time. America is waiting for you. The world is waiting for you. As always, this is a solo stealth mission. If you get captured or detected, your commanding officer Colonel Roy Campbell will disavow all knowledge of your actions. Good luck.

Graphics

Metal Gear Solid is a deep, complex tactical stealth game. It invented the stealth genre. All games that came after it, Splinter Cell, Everything or Nothing, and more all relied on the sense of being a single operative alone in a hostile environment filled to the brim with enemies that are not smart but are dangerous by the sheer numbers of them. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is no different, but somehow is better. It manages to be both exciting and innovative (something that is kind of weird for a port of a 1998 PS1 game), and yet compelling in a new yet tired genre. One of the reasons for this is the graphical realism that the developers managed to fit into the game. Yes, that means there is, quite unfortunately, blood, and some decapitations (okay, three), but overall, the game manages to make a convincing scenario all the more real because of the things that are happening in the world today. While spy thrillers are generally not realism-focused, Metal Gear Solid is. Character models are extremely detailed and realistic. Blood flows from wounds if you enter water after a battle. You can grapple enemies and break their necks, and then hide the bodies in bathroom stalls or lockers, or a multitude of other disposal techniques. Of course, you don?t have to kill, and you can knock enemies out, shoot them with a tranquilizer, or any other way you can think of taking them out, because you will have to get past them, one way or another. On a lighter note?when you go into a snowy environment, you need to either move very slowly or crouch and move, because the snow holds your footprints, and enemies can react to that. Graphical effects such as that, and others like water running down the screen after you emerge from it, help create a graphically realistic game that excels in many areas including animation, lip synching, ambient effects, and many others too numerous to list here.

Game play

This is, truly, one of the most difficult and rewarding gaming experiences I have ever played in my life. It manages to achieve a sense of personal involvement with the story by doing what so many games (and movies it seems) fail to do: creating dynamic, complex characters with many layers that seem as if they are real people. Maybe I?m sick. Maybe. But play Ocarina of Time and then tell me that video game characters can?t be deep and complex. Of course, that really doesn?t involve game play. It involves the actually experience of playing the game, but game play? No. Spanning two discs, two action packed, awesome discs full of spy story action, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a rousing conspiracy thriller chock-full of more plot twists than Clancy could follow. I?m finding that the term ?game play? is becoming more and more hard to define with the advent of multi-genre games such as Breakdown and Beyond Good and Evil. The truth is, 'game play' in itself is more the experience of playing the game, not the controls, not the graphics, not the sound, and not the appropriateness. This is, I think, what makes game play so hard to rate for me. It is a broad category, subject to different connotations and opinions; the reviewer is really giving his opinion about the experience of playing the game. For one reviewer, the game might be buggy, or seem like it. For another, that same game could be the most awesome, cinematic experience ever recorded into digital data and plopped onto a cartridge, disc, or whatever you happen to be playing on.

So the entire Metal Gear series has been marketed with the phrase Tactical Espionage Action, whereas Splinter Cell, a game that is in much the same vein, was marketed as being Stealth Action Redefined. Both are games that you can move through without killing a single soul; in Metal Gear Solid, the bosses even have stun meters that allow you to knock out bosses and not kill them. It?s kind of hard with some of the later bosses, but usually possible just the same. Perhaps the best, most appealing part of The Twin Snakes is that you gain some new innovations and additions to Snake?s arsenal of moves that came from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (and the director?s cut Substance): first-person shooting and hanging from ledges using your Grip meter, which displays how much power and strength remains in your grip on a ledge, steel beam, bar, pipe, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The incorporation of classic game play and new innovations from the sequel to the critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid into a fused and solid foundation that became The Twin Snakes shows in almost every aspect of the game. A deep plot, with more than one branching path, and core game mechanics more solidly built than George Lucas?s Star Wars behemoth (before the more recent movies), MGS: TTS is a game that should be experienced by every single lover of the spy genre that plays on a GameCube; if that person doesn't own a GameCube, this is the title to buy one for.

Sound

The sound is, by all standards, completely excellent. Voice-acting is, for the most part, spot on, with only a few weakly acted parts thrown in. David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake, is perfectly cast, managing to make a rough looking, rough sounding character have a dose of humanity, which is exactly what Solid Snake needed to succeed. As for the musical aspect of the game, something that lovers of Final Fantasy and other such rich musical games know, music can significantly add to the experience of a game, be it an RPG (Final Fantasy), shooter (XIII), action (Metal Gear Solid), adventure (Beyond Good & Evil), or racer (NFS: Underground), music can help a game set its mood, or just add that little extra element to the game play, a la Mario, that helps the player defeat a level, boss, etc., etc. MGS: TTS does this surprisingly well, with a rousing cinematic score that is, more or less, better than the score of a Bond-movie. There are really no ambient noises in the game, save footfalls or a heartbeating. What is there is done surprisingly well, and with little to no interference with the game itself. In one portion of the game, there are wolves howling into the snow packed Alaskan wilderness. This is, for the most part, a very cool effect?until you meet the wolves, that is.

Control

Very intuitive, very well established, and more importantly, easy to learn. When viewing the control of this game, it can only be compared to a similar game, like Splinter Cell. Compared to Splinter Cell, this game performs much better and much more responsively for a more fluid and involving game experience.

Appropriateness

Here is where, just as in most games, the game falters. XIII had its problems with language, Aggressive Inline had its problems with sexuality, and MGS: TTS has its problems with blood. A lot of blood. The first place this is a problem is when you meet the female protagonist, Meryl. Both of you have to defend against an onslaught of guards; when the game enters a cut scene after this segment, it shows smeared and splattered red blood everywhere, plus just a few dead bodies to show where this came from. Another character decapitates two different men, injuring one (taking his hand), and killing the other, with his ninja katana. The latter is a scene with quite a bit of blood in it as well. Mostly, though, the blood is presented in a fairly unrealistic fashion. It looks kind of black in game play, and when it comes out, it fountains out and splatters the walls and floors. When the man gets his hand cut off, he looks at his bloody stump, and then screams as a fountain (literally a fountain) of blood erupts in a gory geiser from the evil man?s arm. Note that the blood can be turned off.

Sexuality is barely present in the game, but it is there. Early on, Snake is talking to Dr. Naomi Hunter, who performed a strip search on him before the mission. He complains, and she tells him, quote 'you can perform a strip search on me later,' end quote. Snake informs Meryl, later in the game, that he thinks she has a ?great butt? but she blows him off by saying she was genetically programmed not to be attracted to men. Soon afterwared, she asks him to make love to her (this is part of the story, and there is a major plot point there, so I won?t disclose it. Just be aware it is there.) When Snake first meets Meryl, he talks to her (she is wearing a guard's uniform), and the camera shows a nude guard, bent over, with his butt blurred out as a joke. Finally, the Lord?s Name is taken in vain several times during the game. It is not as bad as in, say, Enter the Matrix, nor is the language, but it is there. I would say it is said less than five times. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a well made game with Hollywood production values, an excellent voice cast, and superb sound. I would recommend it for any lover of spy or action movies, along with lovers of stealth and action games, mostly due to its twisting plot and intense action. These players should be in their mid- to upper-teens, however, possibly in the area of 16+. In other words, if you or your children watch rated R movies, they should be fine playing this game. Be warned about the suggestive themes and the blood, as well as the inappropriate usage of God's Name.

Graphics A Game play A+ Sound A- Control A Appropriateness D-

Overall 92%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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