Metal Gear Solid (Game Boy)
|Metal Gear Solid|
North American box art
|Director(s)||Hideo Kojima (supervising director)
Shinta Nojiri (director)
|Designer(s)||Shinta Nojiri (director)|
|Mode(s)||Single player Two-players competitive|
Metal Gear Solid, released as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (メタルギア ゴーストバベル Metaru Gia Gōsuto Baberu ) in Japan and Asia, is a 2000 stealth action game produced by Konami for the Game Boy Color. Named after the 1998 PlayStation game of the same title, the Game Boy Color version of Metal Gear Solid (or Ghost Babel) is not a conversion of the previous game, but an original game produced specifically for the portable platform. The story of Ghost Babel is not set in the same continuity as Metal Gear Solid, but instead serves as an alternate sequel to the events of the original Metal Gear, set seven years after Solid Snake's mission in Outer Heaven. It is not part of the main canonical timeline of the Metal Gear series.
Ghost Babel follows the overhead 2D format previously used in the 1990 MSX2 game Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake while adding a few new elements introduced in Metal Gear Solid. As with previous games in the series, the objective is to infiltrate the enemy's stronghold while avoiding detection from guards or surveillance systems. The player can acquire numerous items and weapons to help them fulfill their mission. One difference from the MSX2 games is that the screen now scrolls when Snake moves throughout a single area instead of using flip-screens. Moreover, all the characters in the game now move in eight directions, allowing both, the player and the enemies, to move diagonally in addition to the four cardinal directions. Snake now has the ability to flatten himself into walls like he does in Metal Gear Solid. By flattening himself, Snake can move across the wall (allowing him access to tight passages that are not accessible by walking), scroll the camera behind his position to scout the area ahead, or knock the wall to lure nearby enemy soldiers. Depending on the difficulty, the number of punches required to defeat an enemy soldier differs and in the higher difficulty levels, the enemy soldiers will be knocked unconscious for a while after the first series of punches instead of simply being defeated. Crawling is now assigned to the Start button (instead of pressing two buttons simultaneously) and the changing of weapons and equipment is done on the main game screen rather than on separate sub-screens. Like in previous installments, the player communicates with various allies via a wireless communication device (the Codec), which is also used to save the player's progress.
Unlike the console installments, Ghost Babel uses a stage-based structure, with a total of 13 stages. After completing a stage, the player's performance is graded from "Terrible" to "Excellent". Previously completed stages can be replayed to improve grades. After the Story mode is completed, a "Special" game mode becomes available where the player can replay these same stages, but with new objectives (such as collecting FOXHOUND emblems or completing the stage without being seen). Other additional game modes includes a VR Training mode, where the player can test their sneaking and shooting skills in over 180 missions (some of them based on missions featured in Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions), and a 2-player Vs. Battle mode accessible via the use of a Game Link Cable and another Game Boy Color with a copy of the game.
Like in the original Metal Gear Solid, the main character in the game is Solid Snake, who was once a legendary hero following the events of the Outer Heaven mission in the original Metal Gear but has since left unit FOXHOUND and is now living in retirement in Alaska. He is brought back out of retirement by former FOXHOUND commander, Roy Campbell, who serves as Snake's commanding officer in his new mission. The rest of Snake's radio support crew includes Mei Ling (the only other character from the original Metal Gear Solid besides Snake and Campbell), a communication expert who saves the player's progress; Ronard "Weasel" Lensenbrink, a mercenary who provides information about the weapons Snake uses and the enemy he faces; and Brian McBride, a CIA agent who provides information about the geopolitical environment of Gindra. Snake is also assisted on-site by Sgt. Christine Jenner, a surviving member of the Delta Force unit sent to Galuade before Snake, and James "Jimmy the Wizard" Harks, a teenage prodigy involved in the development of the new Metal Gear project.
Snake's main adversaries are a separatist guerrilla faction known as the Gindra Liberation Force, led by a mercenary named Augustine Eguabon, also known as "The General". His second in command is a woman known as Sophie N'dram. The GLF are assisted by four surviving members of Black Chamber, a defunct special forces unit whose members are given animal-themed codenames similar to FOXHOUND. Black Chamber are led by Black Arts Viper, a boobytrap specialist who wields a prosthetic left arm. The other three members are Slasher Hawk, an Australian Aborigine armed with two giant boomerangs who is accompanied in battle by a hawk, a guardian deity in his tribe; Marionette Owl, a former serial killer endowed with owl-like nocturnal vision and attacks with his two bunraku puppets named Osan and Kohal; and Pyro Bison, a pyromaniac armed with a specially prepared flamethrower and fuel pack.
A new Metal Gear prototype (codename Gander) has been stolen by a separatist guerrilla group in the region of Gindra in Central Africa. The group, known as the Gindra Liberation Front (or GLF), plans on using the prototype as a means of achieving victory in an ongoing civil war. Solid Snake, the FOXHOUND operative responsible for the destruction of the original Metal Gear seven years before, is brought back from his retirement in Alaska. His mission is to infiltrate the group's headquarters Galuade, the fortress that was formerly Outer Heaven.
During the course of his mission, Snake teams up with Chris Jenner, a surviving member of the Delta Force that was sent before him to retrieve Gander. His main adversaries are Black Chamber, a group of mercenaries with abilities and codenames resembling those of FOXHOUND. In the end, he uncovers a conspiracy involving the GLF and US Government.
The game was produced under the request of Konami's European division to release a Game Boy Color version of Metal Gear Solid.
In the Japanese and European releases of the game, the CODEC frequency 140.07 (a frequency that was also used in Metal Gear 2 and the Japanese PlayStation version of Metal Gear Solid: Integral) is included next to Shuyo Murata's entry in the credits. Calling this channel in-game launches Idea Spy 2.5, a comical radio play. Murata would go on to write a similarly styled extra in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, before co-writing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and becoming co-director of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In 2006, Idea Spy 2.5 was adapted into an actual radio drama streamed on Konami of Japan's website, with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima playing the title role. Shuyo Murata also plays one of the boss characters. The full drama was released on CD in Japan on February 14, 2007.
The game was extremely well received by critics, achieving an average of 95.92% at Game Rankings. It is the 12th best-rated game on the site, and also achieved a perfect 10/10 on video game website IGN. Nintendo Power listed it as the 11th best Game Boy/Game Boy Color video game, praising it for successfully bringing elements from the three dimensional games. GamesRadar listed Metal Gear Solid as one of the titles they want in the 3DS Virtual Console.
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Solid Snake profile" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Campbell, Weasel, Mei-Ling profiles" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Jimmy, McBride, General profiles" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Chris Jenner profile" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Black Arts Viper profile" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Slasher Hawk profile" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Marionette Owl profile" (in Japanese).
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Pyro Bison profile" (in Japanese).
- "Metal Gear Solid Preview - Game Boy Color News at GameSpot".
- Metal Gear Solid Reviews
- Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue! (MagazineNintendo Power 231 (231). San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008. p. 72.).
- "12 classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games we want on 3DS". GamesRadar. Jan 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- ゲームボーイ - メタルギア ゴーストバベル. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.111. 30 June 2006.
Further reading 
- Metal Gear Solid Game Boy Color review, from ConsoleDomain.co.uk