Perhaps you're one of the very few who has missed all the hype about Metal Gear Solid. Or, perhaps you're one of the rarer few who hasn't believed said hype. If you're in the first category, you should know that Metal Gear Solid has been termed 'one of the greatest games ever.' If you're a member of the second group, you probably want to know one thing: does it live up to this moniker? (And if you aren't in one of these two groups, then you most likely own the game already, so no need to review it for you...).
To both of those minorities I say, Believe the Hype. But don't merely expect what the magazines have been saying for the last two years, that Metal Gear Solid plays like a spy thriller, with action and plot to rival most of what Hollywood has to offer, not to mention the derivative majority of other video games. And don't simply accept the potentially great graphics, which push the Playstation to its limits in both technical and aesthetic wonder. By no means should you sit down to play Metal Gear Solid and think that you know what is in store.
Because you don't. As much as I (who have anxiously awaited Metal Gear Solid's stateside release) knew, believed, and expected Metal Gear Solid to be a great game, I had no idea how great. After playing a small portion of the Japanese version, I was certain this was a fantastic game, despite my inability to understand the plot and characters. Now that I have played the American version, I can honestly say that Metal Gear Solid is a work of art.
Metal Gear Solid has achieved a synergy of game elements--graphics, sound, character, storyline, and gameplay--that works to elevate it above and beyond the perceived limitations of the medium of video games. When the filmmaking process was invented, the first real movies were essentially filmed stage plays that only capitalized on the novelty of seeing moving pictures. It took years before filmmakers truly explored and expressed themselves in the revolutionary new medium; to this day, filmmaking is still advancing in artistic and technical leaps and bounds. And so with video games. While some developers might be content to wow you with the spectacular graphics your Playstation can provide, just like some once wowed with the magic of 'moving pictures on the screen,' the developers of Metal Gear Solid, much like say, Charlie Chaplin, have truly exploited the medium. Metal Gear Solid provides what videogames have always promised, but so seldom achieved : an interactive, potent, moving experience.
Not only is it wonderful that Metal Gear Solid has lived up to the tremendous expectations given it, it is stunning the degree to which it surpasses them. You will be surprised. You will be stunned. You will be shocked. (Which reminds me, this game uses the Playstation Dual Shock controller to an effect that would make William Castle's Tingler jealous.) By taking advantage of both videogames' influences--cinema, fiction--and its innovations--interactivity and spectacle--Metal Gear Solid delivers. Metal Gear Solid beats the hype.
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