Metal Gear: Ghost Babel

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Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
Cover art
Japanese packaging
Developer(s) Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, TOSE
Publisher(s) Konami
Director(s) Hideo Kojima, Shinta Nojiri
Producer(s) Hideo Kojima, Motoyuki Yoshioka
Designer(s) Shinta Nojiri
Programmer(s) Kentaro Kiyohara
Artist(s) Yoji Shinkawa, Ikuya Nakamura
Composer(s) Kazuki Muraoka, Norihiko Hibino
Series Metal Gear
Platform(s) Game Boy Color
Release date(s)
  • JP April 27, 2000
  • NA May 5, 2000
  • EU May 5, 2000
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, two-player competitive
Distribution 16-megabit cartridge

Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (メタルギア ゴーストバベル Metaru Gia: Gōsuto Baberu?) is a 2D stealth action game produced by Konami that was released for the Game Boy Color in 2000. Released in the west under the title of Metal Gear Solid, Ghost Babel was produced by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan after they were commissioned by Konami's European branch to develop a portable adaptation of their 1998 PlayStation game of the same title. The game is not part of the mainline Metal Gear series, but rather it is set in an alternate continuity seven years after the events of the original Metal Gear.

Gameplay[edit]

A stage of Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. The 2D gameplay format was inherited from Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake with a few elements added from Metal Gear Solid.

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 preceding 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". Much like in the original Metal Gear Solid, the player's overall performance is graded with a codename after completing all 13 stages, with the codenames varying depending on the difficulty level chosen at the start of the game.

Game modes[edit]

In addition to the main story mode, Ghost Babel offers the following alternate game modes.

Stage Select
Allows the player to replay previously cleared stages in order to achieve a higher ranking. After the Story mode is completed, "Special" versions of the stages become available where the player must achieve new objectives (such as collecting FOXHOUND emblems or reach the goal without being seen). In this Special training mode, the player controls an unknown agent who goes through a VR recreation of Snake's mission in Galuade, while being supervised by a mysterious entity named "No.4." As the player clears more of these stages, No.4 will disclose details of the game's story not revealed in the main campaign.
VR Training
180 training missions spread across three main categories (sneaking, weapon and advanced) and various sub-categories within each. Most of the missions are recreations of the ones featured in Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
Vs. Battle
A competitive 2-player mode that requires a Game Link Cable, along with an additional Game Boy Color unit and a second copy of the game cartridge. The objective in this mode is to destroy three target drones called WISPs in order to obtain the data disks they carry and access the goal before the other player does. One player controls Snake in his standard sneaking suit, while the other Snake wears a red sneaking suit. The two Snakes are invisible to each other, unless one of them enters the field of vision of the other.

Plot[edit]

Characters[edit]

The player controls Solid Snake, a once 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.[1] 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;[2] and Brian McBride, a CIA agent who provides information about the geopolitical environment of Gindra.[3] Snake is also assisted on-site by Sgt. Christine Jenner, a surviving member of the Delta Force unit sent to Galuade before Snake,[4] and James "Jimmy the Wizard" Harks, a teenage prodigy involved in the development of the new Metal Gear project.[3]

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.[3] 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.[5] 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;[6] Marionette Owl, a former serial killer endowed with owl-like nocturnal vision and attacks with his two bunraku puppets named Osan and Kohal;[7] and Pyro Bison, a pyromaniac armed with a specially prepared flamethrower and fuel pack.[8]

Story[edit]

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.

Development[edit]

The game was produced under the request of Konami's European division to release a Game Boy Color version of Metal Gear Solid.[9]

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.

Reception[edit]

The game received widespread critical acclaim. It has an average rating of 95.61% at GameRankings, making it one of the best-rated games on the site,[10] and achieved a perfect 10/10 score on video game website IGN.[11] 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.[12] Game Informer '​s Ben Reeves called it the eighth best Game Boy game and considered it a good throwback to the MSX2.[13] GamesRadar listed Metal Gear Solid as one of the titles they want in the 3DS Virtual Console.[14]

In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the game a 31 out of 40.[15]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Solid Snake profile" (in Japanese). 
  2. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Campbell, Weasel, Mei-Ling profiles" (in Japanese). 
  3. ^ a b c Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Jimmy, McBride, General profiles" (in Japanese). 
  4. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Chris Jenner profile" (in Japanese). 
  5. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Black Arts Viper profile" (in Japanese). 
  6. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Slasher Hawk profile" (in Japanese). 
  7. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Marionette Owl profile" (in Japanese). 
  8. ^ Konami Computer Entertainment Japan website staff. "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Pyro Bison profile" (in Japanese). 
  9. ^ "Metal Gear Solid Preview - Game Boy Color News at GameSpot". 
  10. ^ "GameRankings highest rated games". 
  11. ^ "Metal Gear Solid Reviews". 
  12. ^ "Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue!" (Magazine). Nintendo Power 231 (231). San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008. p. 72. 
  13. ^ Reeves, Ben (2011-06-24). "The 25 Best Game Boy Games Of All Time". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  14. ^ "12 classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games we want on 3DS". GamesRadar. Jan 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  15. ^ 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.

External links[edit]