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Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes Package Art
 GENRE
  Stealth-Action
 DEVELOPER
  Silicon Knights
 PUBLISHER
  Konami
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

When the original PlayStation Metal Gear Solid was released, it offered players a new type of experience. Combining classic action gameplay (complete with shoot-outs and large explosions) with covert stealth elements, Metal Gear Solid created a whole new genre. Now, countless rip-offs later, the original is reborn featuring the excellent story of the first game combined with the second game’s superior gameplay; Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is indeed a genetic hybrid of concepts.

visuals

Twin Snakes’ graphics have been completely overhauled. Gone are the hazy PlayStation character models; replaced with smooth, shiny models, free of most of the texture issues associated with Sony’s outdated hardware. Characters now feature much higher polygon counts that accentuate facial features, clothing and weapons. Snake’s face is crisper than ever and his hair is no longer a curved block on top of his face; it now comes with lifelike textures and curves that blow in the wind. In addition to crispy faces and blowing hair, Snake and the gang feature full facial animations that breathe life into their characters.

Lighting is much improved and characters shadows are much more lifelike. Shadows are cast differently depending on your character’s position in relationship to the games light sources. Particle effects such as water, blood and steam are vastly improved. Water drips off objects and even runs down the camera. Blood (and, believe me, there is plenty of it) splatters in various directions realistically, soiling the environment. Fire is particularly impressive and is improved even from Sons of Liberty.

However, the crowning jewel of the graphics department is most certainly the cut-scenes. The PlayStation original was known for its grand cut-scenes and the GameCube version most definitely doesn’t disappoint. Directed and choreographed by Ryukei Kitamura, director of the highly acclaimed film Versus, the cut-scenes have completely been reworked and lengthened by 50%. Fans of bullet-time and lots of “explosive” action will not be disappointed, in fact, they will be ecstatic when they see Twin Snakes in action. The cut-scenes give the game even more style; making what was already a slick pony into a masterpiece of polish and presentation.

With that said, it is necessary to point out a few flaws in the visuals. First off, some of the textures do appear blurry and unfinished. It’s a shame really, because it could have been avoided with just a little more work. My only other issue with the game’s graphics lies in the frame-rate category: Sometimes, mostly during periods of action packed combat, the game’s frame-rate drops noticeably. It creates a small annoyance given that MGS2 ran more smoothly on the more technically inferior PS2 hardware.

Unfortunately, the game’s codec radio sequences have not been upgraded; they are in fact, identical to the PlayStation’s version.

audio

Twin Snakes runs in Dolby Pro Logic II, giving it the full surround sound treatment. Most of the original voice actors have returned, including David Hayter, voice of the game’s hero, Solid Snake. All of the voice acting is top-notch, giving the game’s story believability. The game’s music is outstanding, fitting the atmosphere and adding emotion to the gameplay. The games main theme has been reworked to a more powerful piece of music that should satisfy. Sound effects, ranging from the sound of gunfire to the bark of wolves, are effective and suck players into the game. Two very happy thumbs up.

gameplay

Twin Snakes includes the original Metal Gear Solid’s entire gameplay repertoire enhanced with the more advanced features found in the game's sequel, Sons of Liberty. Snake will have to sneak past guards, crawl through air ducts, and hide in enemy lockers. He can utilize high-tech gadgets such as night vision goggles, infrared scopes and ear-implanted high-frequency radios while he fights his way to victory. Snake is able to engage enemies at close range with hand-to-hand combat or take out adversaries carefully from a distance using the game’s many weapons. You can hold-up guards (be careful, their AI is much improved!) and take their dog tags, choke enemies from behind, and shake dead soldier’s bodies in the hope of finding items.

Dispatched a guard and don’t know what to do with the body? Grab’em and stuff’em in one of the many lockers scattered throughout the game. Hear a guard coming to check on the noise? Jump off the railing and hang on to the edge as he walks right past you, then climb back up, grab him from behind and break his neck. These are just a few of the gameplay choices available in Twin Snakes.

Twin Snakes features plenty of weapons that you can now fire in first-person mode. Throughout the game you will have the opportunity to use weapons such as the M9, SOCOM .45 pistol, FA-MAS assault rifle, PSG1 Sniper Rifle, as well as a full array of grenades and C4 plastic explosives. Later in the game you’ll even get to utilize shoulder fired missiles.

The controls, for the most part, are good. The control stick operates digitally instead of by analog, so Snake is limited to just walking and running, nothing in-between. Using the GameCube controller, gamers can make Snake perform some awesome moves. The newly added first-person view allows the player to look around with full analog control, making gunning down enemies from a distance a breeze.

And that brings us the gameplay’s first real problem: Boss fights. The added first-person mode makes the boss fights entirely too easy. During one encounter with a certain Russian gunman, it is possible to win the fight while standing in one spot the entire time. This is just plain silly. Solid Snake deserves better boss fights. Yet, the addition of the first-person mode, overall, is a blessing. I just wish they had balanced the boss fights a bit more.

As I mentioned earlier, the enemy AI has been dramatically enhanced for the Twin Snakes. This makes it much more difficult to sneak around, which adds to the challenge of the game. However, since the game uses the same basic level blueprint of the original, which was designed around the old AI, evading the guards once caught is overly challenging, even frustrating at times. There just aren’t many places to hide because the guards seem keen on checking everything now.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes does justice to the original game’s legacy, surpassing it on almost all accounts. The great gameplay found within the game’s two discs are backed up by the game’s incredible, believable story. Even with the title's faults (unbalanced difficulty, sometimes irritating radio transmissions, and an occasionally choppy frame-rate) this is the best Metal Gear game of the series to date.

Featuring intuitive and responsive control, open-ended puzzles, excellent pacing and a wonderful story, this remake is definitely worth the $39.99 price tag attached to it. Even if you’ve played the original to death, there is definitely enough new gameplay to be found to warrant a revisit to the Shadow Moses nuclear disposal facility.

final score 9.1/10





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Staff Avatar Zach Pharr
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