Reviewed on GameCube.
Metal Gear Solid is, for me, the greatest game of all time and this version of the game is the definitive one. That being said I'm still going to review it as there are some negative aspects to it (no game is perfect) and there is also a mildly amusing story behind me having a copy of it in the first place.
I first bought the game in 2004 or 2005 when I had a GameCube, I loved it but in my youthful foolishness I sold my GameCube and all of the games that I had for it. I regretted this when I later discovered that the Twin Snakes is a) rare and b) expensive. Then when I went to buy my N64 about a month ago Alan asked the guy in the shop if they had a copy and it turned out that they did! Alan was reluctant at first due to not wanting to spend loads of money but after a lot of saying about how its the best version of the game and its also an investment as its rare so the cost of it will only increase he finally relented. He then bought it but didn't play it due to his large collection of other games to play. (This is heresy if you ask me, do they still burn people at the stake?) Then a couple of weeks ago I asked him to borrow it and, in his somewhat awesome generosity, he let me. I've just finished it and I'm just as impressed by it today as I was eight years ago.
The game is more or less exactly what it was when it was released on the PlayStation only the graphics have been dramatically improved, the mechanics from the second MGS game such as hiding in lockers and hanging from ledges have been added, cutscenes have been changed and some of the voice work has been redone. These changes are all pretty much big improvements, the only one that isn't the use of the new mechanics simply because, other than being able to shoot in first person, they are fairly useless. MGS didn't really need the mechanics from MGS2 and years of playing it without them mean that, even with the changes to the Alert phase (Caution mode has been added) and the changes to guard behaviour (they are much smarter) I can still handle it using tricks and techniques from the PlayStation version of the game.
The other changes are all welcome though, the graphics are massively better, Snake actually has a face this time around! Also the cutscenes are just awesome! They are far more action packed and really up the movie like quality that the game has, they also serve to make Snake and Liquid seem a lot cooler than they already were. Some voice work has changed, for instance Grey Fox is voiced by a different actor this time around, but fortunately the voice work is still second to none so this is a change that is totally acceptable.
There have also been changes made to the rewards for completing the game. All of the old ones such as Stealth Camouflage are there but you can also unlock skins such as that of Otacon or Meryl by completing the game numerous times with their respective endings. This adds a little more incentive to replay the game, not that a game as awe inspiring as this really needs an excuse to be replayed.
So what about the negative aspects? Well as I have already said the new mechanics are largely useless. Aside from this though there are other issues. The game used to have two very boring moments, one was going to get the PSG1 and the other was doing the Pal Card (you have to set it to different temperatures and there is a lot of back tracking involved). This game solves the PSG1 issue by having a PSG1-T in a room not far from the Sniper Wolf fight but it doesn't find a way around the tedium of back tracking to change the temperature of the card. This isn't a game ruining problem, I have been playing the game for years and its only ever been a minor issue but still if this problem was gone then the game would be so close to perfect I might die of sheer joy. The other problem is that you still can't skip entire Codec conversations in one button press, you can fast forward them quicker than before but you can't skip them instantaneously and this is a big issue because there are so many of them - and I have heard them a lot of times.
Reviewing this game is a joy because its just so damn good. This version features better graphics, a more flexible difficulty level, better mechanics, better level and cutscene design and even more incentive to replay it. If you are a fan of Metal Gear and you don't want to track this down (it costs £40-50 on eBay) then you seriously need to get your head looked at.
This is the greatest game of all time and it achieves this by quite some way. Buy it and buy it now.