Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Metal Gear Solid
|METAL GEAR SOLID|
|Developer:||Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (West)|
|Publisher:||PSX: Konami Computer Entertainment, PC: Microsoft|
|Release date:||PSX: 1998, PC: 2000|
|Game modes:||Single player|
|Platform:||PlayStation, ported to PC|
|Input:||Keyboard, Mouse or joystick (PC)|
Metal Gear Solid, commonly abbreviated as MGS, is a stealth-based game developed by Konami and first published for the PlayStation game console in 1998. It is the third (canonical) game in the Metal Gear series and was produced and directed by Hideo Kojima, with artwork by Yoji Shinkawa. The game is known for its short, intense gameplay followed by lengthy, deep cinematic segments.
The suffix Solid not only references the game's protagonist, Solid Snake. It also alludes to the fact that this is the first Metal Gear game to use "solid" 3D graphics, and it being the third Metal Gear game (solid = cubed = 3). Kojima has also said that it was meant to poke a little fun at Squaresoft (as a square is two-dimensional, and the game, as mentioned, is three-dimensional).
Origins, style, and success
Metal Gear Solid was ground breaking in its use of spoken dialogue, an intricate if somewhat obtuse plot, and cinematic presentation. The availability of 3D graphics and the extensive storage capacity of the CD-ROM format compared to what the Metal Gear team had to work with in 1987 and 1990 made it possible to render a more complete vision of Metal Gear's classic "Tactical Espionage Action" than the previous games for the NES and MSX.
After a teaser showing at Eł in 1997, it became one of the most highly anticipated games ever. Upon its release in 1998, it topped the sales charts. The English-language version of MGS was released in Japan with a variety of extra features as Metal Gear Solid: Integral in 1999. Integral was ported to the PC in 2000 to be released internationally. While the PlayStation version of Integral was not released outside of Japan, the VR missions from the game were released separately, as a budget-priced "expansion pack". In the NTSC-US region it was named Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, and in PAL territories it was dubbed Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions.
During a training mission on Shadow Moses, a nuclear weapons facility on a remote island off the coast of Alaska, Special Forces unit FOXHOUND rebel, annexing themselves and the advanced weapon system Metal Gear "REX" in the single biggest act of terrorism in history. At the request of the government, Colonel Roy Campbell, the former commander of FOXHOUND, summons Solid Snake out of retirement and sends him to infiltrate Shadow Moses in one last solo covert operation.
Aiding him in his mission are Dr. Hal Emmerich, a.k.a. "Otacon", a former Metal Gear developer; Meryl, Col. Campbell's niece; and a team of the top specialists in various fields, who communicate with Snake via a two-way videophone dubbed the Codec. Opposing him are FOXHOUND's members, elite- if highly unusual- special forces operatives with mercenary backgrounds, led by Liquid Snake, the man with the same codename- and face- as Solid Snake.
In the middle of his battle against FOXHOUND, Snake encounters a cyborg ninja, who thirsts only for battle. This mysterious figure turns out to be Grey Fox, Snake's former FOXHOUND comrade who defected to the enemy and fought against Snake in Zanzibar. With the support of the cyborg ninja, Solid Snake fights a decisive battle with Liquid. After destroying Metal Gear "REX", Snake is confronted by Liquid, who reveals that they are twins. Each of them is a genetically-manipulated clone of the 20th century's greatest soldier, Big Boss, FOXHOUND's former leader. Snake's sins as a soldier, and his destiny to follow in his "father"'s footsteps, loom. After a long and protracted struggle, Snake finally defeats Liquid and escapes Shadow Moses to find his own purpose.
The entire game was fully voiced with an unprecedented amount of quality voice acting talent. The majority of the game's dialogue takes place in radio conversations between Solid Snake (Akio Otsuka/David Hayter) and other characters in the drama. The player was also free to initiate additional Codec calls during gameplay, which allowed the player to pick up additional details outside of the core storyline.
The rest of the plot takes place in fully voiced cut scenes whose cinematic quality was considered groundbreaking for its time. These scenes featured motion captured movements, elaborate camera shots, and special effects. They were rendered in real-time using the game's 3D engine. Most noticeably, the characters' mouths did not move during dialogue and instead a slight jiggle of the head was used to represent speech. However advantages were conferred, notably the freedom of placement of the camera and its ability to move without limitation (e.g. through walls). In this sense the game may be viewed as an example of machinima.
Upon completion, the game features a rolling demo mode, where the player may watch every cut scene and codec conversation in the game, without playing through the game. There are over four hours of dialogue. The sheer amount of detail required the game to ship on two CDs.
Metal Gear Solid was one of the first video games to carry a definable "moral" and "meaning". In this case, it was vehemently opposed to nuclear proliferation, and broached such themes as love and killing. It brought the idea that even the most basic media of expression allow meaningful objects with artistic merit to be produced.
Metal Gear Solid's score was composed by a number of Konami in-house musicians, including Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake composer Kazuki Muraoka . It set the style for the later games in the series. The in-game music has a more synthetic feel, often similar to ambient music, which increases pace and begins to introduce strings during tenser moments. It has a distinctly videogame-style looping nature. Cut scene music, on the other hand, is more overtly cinematic, with stronger use of orchestral and choral elements.
A relaxing and contemplative ending theme by Rika Muranaka , named "The Best is Yet To Come", covers the game's end-credits sequence. Its Gaelic vocals afford the player a chance to relax upon completion, and consider the events which have just taken place. An alternate ending theme, which is heard when the player beats the game three times, was written by Policenauts composer TAPPY . This theme was previously featured in the game's trailers, and also set the style for later Metal Gear games.
These three styles (synthetic game music, orchestral cut-scene music, and a vocal ending theme) are revisited throughout the later games, for example Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
The music used during the VR missions is a reworking of one of the themes from the first Metal Gear.
In the first quarter of 2004, a remake, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, was released for the Nintendo GameCube. It features re-recorded voice acting, updated graphics, and improved gameplay features borrowed from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
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