Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

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Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Metal Gear 2 Boxart.JPG
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Director(s) Hideo Kojima
Artist(s) Shuko Iwamoto
Tae Yabu
Tomohiro Nishio
Writer(s) Hideo Kojima
Composer(s) Masahiro Ikariko
Mutsuhiko Izumi
Yuko Kurahashi
Tomoya Tomiya
Kazuhiko Uehara
Yuji Takenouchi
Tsuyoshi Sekito
Series Metal Gear
Platform(s)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (Japanese: メタルギア2 ソリッドスネーク Hepburn: Metaru Gia Tsū Soriddo Sunēku?, commonly abbreviated MG2) is an overhead action-adventure stealth game (officially promoted as a "Tactical Espionage Game"[2]) that was originally released by Konami in 1990 for the MSX2 computer standard exclusively in Japan. Metal Gear 2 was directed and written by Hideo Kojima, who also designed the MSX2 version of the original Metal Gear. The game is unrelated to Snake's Revenge, a separately developed Metal Gear sequel for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was released during the same year in North America. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake did not have an official English version until its inclusion as a bonus game (along with the original Metal Gear) in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for PlayStation 2 in 2006, almost 16 years after its original Japanese release.

In the game, Solid Snake must infiltrate Zanzibar Land, a heavily defended territory located in Central Asia, to rescue a kidnapped scientist and destroy the revised Metal Gear D. The game significantly evolved the stealth-based game system of its predecessor "in almost every way," introduced a complex storyline dealing with themes such as the nature of warfare and nuclear proliferation, and is considered "one of the best 8 bit games ever made."[3]

Gameplay[edit]

The ability to crawl under tight spaces and hide from enemies was first added in Metal Gear 2.

Metal Gear 2 builds upon the stealth-based game system of its predecessor. As in the original Metal Gear, the player's objective is to infiltrate the enemy's stronghold, while avoiding detection from soldiers, cameras, infrared sensors and other surveillance devices. The biggest change in the game was done to the enemy's abilities. Whereas the guards in the previous game could only see in straight lines, the guards in Metal Gear 2 all have a field of vision of 45 degrees. The guards can also turn their heads left or right to see diagonally and move from one screen to another (instead of remaining stationed in one area). The enemy can also hear any noise made by the player, which usually occurs when the player punches the wall, fires a non-silenced firearm, uses an explosive, or walks over certain types of terrain. If the player is discovered by the enemy, then a counter will be displayed on the upper right side of the screen that will go down after the enemy has lost track of the player. When the counter reaches zero, the alert phase will go off and the game will return to normal.[3][4]

The player has been given a variety of new maneuvers and tools to help them remain undetected and complete the game. For example, the player can now kneel and crawl in addition to walking, allowing the player to avoid making noise, pick up land mines, and hide under tight spaces such as under desks or inside air ducts. A radar with a 3x3 grid on the upper right of the screen shows Snake's current position in the center screen (as a red dot), with enemy soldiers as white dots, allowing the player to determine what's ahead. However, the radar is disabled when the player is in alert phase. The radar can also be used with the mine detector equipped to determine the locations of any placed mines or launch stinger missiles onto an airborne target. Many of the weapons and equipment from the first game are brought over as well as new items such as robotic mice used to distract enemies, a camouflaged mat and three different types of rations with special attributes each. The player no longer needs to rescue hostages to increase in rank; instead health and carrying capacity is increased each time a boss is defeated.[3]

The transceiver has been greatly revamped from the first game as well. The messages the player receives are now based on their current situation and mission objective, rather than the room they're currently in, making them less fixed and more dynamic. The transceiver now displays Snake's face, as well as the face of the character he's currently communicating with. The player can also talk to children living in the fortress to gain new information; the player is penalized with loss of health if he kills a child. The areas are more varied than in the previous MSX2 game and a number of puzzles must be fulfilled to complete the game, such as luring a carrier pigeon with a specific kind of ration, chasing after a female spy to the ladies' lavatory, and deciphering secret tap codes to gain new frequency numbers.[3] The overall game system of Metal Gear 2 served as the foundation for its 3D sequel, Metal Gear Solid.[5]

Plot[edit]

Metal Gear series
fictional chronology

Characters[edit]

Solid Snake, formerly retired FOXHOUND agent and hero of the original Metal Gear returns as the playable character. His new mission is to rescue the kidnapped Czechoslovak biologist Dr. Kio Marv from the forces of Zanzibarland. He is assisted by a radio support crew consisting of Roy Campbell (spelled "Roy Kyanbel" in the original MSX2 version), his new commanding officer; McDonnell Miller, a survival coach and drill instructor; George Kasler ("George Kesler" in the MSX2 version), a military strategist; and Yozef Norden (renamed Johan Jacobsen in the later revised versions), a wildlife expert. Also assisting him on-site are Holly White (spelled "Horry" in the MSX2 version), a CIA agent posing as a journalist; Natasha Marcova (Gustava Heffner in later versions), an StB agent and Dr. Marv's bodyguard; and Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar, the Metal Gear designer from the first game, who was captured along with Dr. Marv. Also appearing in the game are Big Boss, FOXHOUND's commander-turned-traitor from the first game; and Gray Fox ("Grey Fox" in the MSX2 version), who disappeared following the events of the first game.

The bosses of this installment consist of Black Color (Black Ninja in later versions), an experimental drug-enhanced space ninja (who is revealed to be Schneider from the original Metal Gear); Running Man, an agile mercenary; Red Blaster, a grenade throwing expert; Ultra Box (the Four Horsemen in later version), an assassination squad specializing in confined spaces; Predator (Jungle Evil in later versions), a jungle warfare expert; and Night Sight (Night Fright in later versions), an assassin who uses a state of the art stealth suit that renders him invisible.

Story[edit]

Solid Snake confronts Gray Fox in one of the final battles.

A major oil crisis seriously affects the global economy in the late 1990s, with petrol deposits running out faster than previous estimates. Efforts to adopt alternative energy sources or attempts to drill for more oil fails to take up the slack. To counter the problem, Czech scientist Dr. Kio Marv bio-engineers a new species of algae, OILIX, that could produce petroleum-grade hydrocarbons with little expense and effort. He unveils the algae to the World Energy Conference in Prague and was on his way to a demonstration in the United States when he was kidnapped by soldiers from Zanzibarland, a Central Asian country established in 1997 after a successful independence war against the CIS. NATO discovers that Zanzibarland's leaders plan to hold the world hostage by controlling the supply of oil through OILIX and nuclear warheads pillaged from old stockpiles marked for dismantling in light of global efforts toward nuclear disarmament. FOXHOUND's new commander, Roy Campbell, brings Solid Snake out of retirement and sends him to Zanzibarland to rescue Dr. Marv on Christmas Eve 1999.

Over the course of his mission, Snake teams up with Holly White, a CIA operative posing as a journalist, and Gustava Heffner, an StB agent and Dr. Marv's bodyguard. He is also reunited with Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar, the Metal Gear inventor from Outer Heaven, who claims to have been once again kidnapped and forced to work on another Metal Gear project (named Metal Gear D) for Zanzibarland, as well as oversee mass-production of smaller, non-nuclear-equipped Metal Gear units. Snake learns from Dr. Madnar that Big Boss, Snake's former superior, survived the events of the first game and now leads Zanzibarland.

As Snake, Heffner, and Dr. Madnar head toward Zanzibarland's main prison, Heffner is killed by a missile fired by Metal Gear D and Dr. Madnar is recaptured by the enemy. The new Metal Gear's pilot is revealed to be Gray Fox. Determined to finish his mission, Snake fights against Zanzibarland's elite mercenary force and manages to reach Dr. Marv's cell.

Snake arrives too late, unfortunately, as he finds Dr. Marv's corpse and the OILIX data. Holly later tips him off that he actually died under Dr. Madnar's torture. In addition, Snake learns that Madnar volunteered his services to Zanzibarland to finish work on Metal Gear as revenge against the scientific community shunning him after the events of the first game. Snake incapacitates Madnar when the latter attempts to attack him.

Snake faces off against Gray Fox in Metal Gear D and eventually destroys the mech. Both men later fight hand-to-hand in a minefield, and Snake finishes him off. As he tries to escape, Snake meets Big Boss. Having lost his equipment and with no weapons at his disposal, Snake is forced to improvise using the only items he can find, a lighter and aerosol can. Fashioning a makeshift flamethrower, Snake defeats Big Boss for the second time. Snake and Holly escape together, and they deliver the OILIX formula to Campbell.

Production[edit]

After the release of the NES version of Metal Gear, Konami commissioned the development of its sequel, Snake's Revenge, without the consent of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima.[3][6] According to Kojima's account of the events, he did not have any plans to develop a Metal Gear sequel at the time. He was unaware that Snake's Revenge was being produced until he became acquainted with a member of the development team on a train ride in Tokyo. The employee briefed him on some details of the project and asked him to create a true sequel. By the end of the train ride, Kojima had already envisioned the basic premise for the game. After being given the go-ahead by his bosses at Konami the next day, he began developing Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake with the MSX division of Konami.[6] Metal Gear 2 serves as a follow-up to the original Metal Gear, ignoring the events of Snake's Revenge (which was unreleased in Japan), and every canonical Metal Gear title released afterward acknowledge only the events of Metal Gear 2, relegating Snake's Revenge to an apocryphal status.

Release history[edit]

Snake's portrait in the original MSX2 version (left) and in the re-released version (right).

Unlike the first game, which had an English version produced for the European market, the MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2 was never officially released outside Japan, though a fan translation was produced.[7] The original Metal Gear Solid includes plot summaries of the first two MSX2 games which are accessible in the Special mode under "Previous Operations".

A version of Metal Gear 2 for mobile phones was released in Japan on October 1, 2004 for the i-mode, EZweb and Vodafone services prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater through the Konami Net DX website. This was the first time the game was ported to another platform since its original MSX2 release. In 2005, Konami released an expanded edition of Metal Gear Solid 3 subtitled Subsistence, which included, among other new content, remade versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. The release of Subsistence in North America and the PAL region marked the first time Metal Gear 2 received an official international release. This version is also included in the HD Edition of Metal Gear Solid 3 released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Vita in 2011.

The re-released version of Metal Gear 2 features the following changes from the original MSX2 version: the character portraits were replaced with new ones drawn by Yoji Shinkawa, certain characters (including enemy bosses) were renamed, and Snake's cigarettes now deplete his life gauge when equipped (resulting in the addition of thermal goggles as an alternative item that detects infrared sensors). The re-released version also has two difficulty settings (Original and Easy, the latter allows the player to carry twice the amount of ammo and perishable items and makes some of the bosses easier to defeat), a "Boss Survival" mode that is accessible after the main game is cleared once, and an unlockable bandana item that provides Snake with unlimited ammo when equipped.

The PlayStation 2 version, much like the MSX2 original, requires the player to use the instruction manual for reference to solve certain puzzles (such as deciphering Tap Codes or learning a certain frequency number). Because the North American version only came with a condensed manual that did not include the information the game asks for, Konami posted the solutions to those puzzles in a FAQ page on their official website.[8] Metal Gear 2 was released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on March 30, 2010. The Virtual Console version, though based on the original MSX2 game, features the same revised character designs from previous re-releases.[9]

Reception[edit]

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake has received near universal critical acclaim by retro game reviewers. According to Paul Soth of GameSpy, the game surpassed its predecessor Metal Gear in every way. In addition to praising the gameplay, he also praised the game's "gripping, well written storyline" for its "rich characterization" and its "same quality of storytelling that made MGS so compelling." He concluded that players will not be disappointed by "the great gameplay and story," and that it remains "one of the best 8 bit games ever made."[3]

Game Informer was more critical of the game, however, giving it a 7 out of 10. They wrote that in order to reach the most pivotal moments in the game's story, "you must endure some of the most ridiculous situations Solid Snake has ever seen," and that "the game's focus on constant backtracking and keycard acquisition makes it too repetitive." They concluded that "only diehard fans will find the experience rewarding" and that the best way to play the game is through the bonus disc of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.[10]

The game system of its sequel Metal Gear Solid, despite its transition to 3D, would remain largely similar to its 2D predecessor Metal Gear 2.[5] As such, Retro Gamer regards Metal Gear 2 to be "as close as anyone can get to playing Metal Gear Solid in 2D", putting it above the Game Boy Color game released a decade later in 2000.[4] Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com referred to Metal Gear Solid as "basically a high-spec remake of Metal Gear 2."[11] Nickolai Adkins of 1UP also noted how much of the scenario and plot elements in Metal Gear 2 were recycled in Metal Gear Solid, ranging from "Snake emerging from “retirement” to rescue a kidnapped non-soldier personnel" in the beginning to "an escape sequence where Snake is accompanied by his female accomplice/love interest" at the end.[12]

Soundtrack[edit]

Arranged music based on Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake were used for the VR Training disc in Metal Gear Solid: Integral (which was released in North America as Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions). Additionally, Integral features two hidden tunes based on Metal Gear 2 available via a secret codec frequency in the main game. One is an arranged version of the "Theme of Solid Snake" (accessed from frequency 140.66), while the other is an arrangement of "Zanzibar Breeze." The "Theme of Solid Snake" also made an appearance in Nintendo's crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Shadow Moses Island stage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Metal Gear Solid HD PS Vita Euro release date announced | Uncategorized". Official PlayStation Magazine. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  2. ^ Konami. "Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake" MSX2. Level/area: Front packaging. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Paul Soth. "GOTW: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake". GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  4. ^ a b Retro Gamer (15), 2005, p. 32  [1]
  5. ^ a b "Metal Gear Solid". IGN. Retrieved October 22, 2006. 
  6. ^ a b Steven Kent. "Hideo Kojima: Game Guru, Movie Maniac". Archived from the original on 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  7. ^ "English Metal Gear 2 Development Committee". G&T Soft. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  8. ^ "METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SUBSISTENCE - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS". Konami. Archived from the original on 2006-04-23. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  9. ^ バーチャルコンソール 『メタルギア2 ソリッドスネーク』 (in Japanese). Konami. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  10. ^ Game Informer (190), 2009, p. 94 
  11. ^ Parish, Jeremy (February 17, 2012). "Metal Gear Solid 3: The Boss of Stealth Action Games". 1UP.com. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Adkins, Nickolai (January 31, 2012). "Lost in Translation? A look at the digital re-dux and the trends that inspire them". 1UP.com. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 

External links[edit]