The Metal Gear series of games has always been entertaining to me. I remember playing the first Metal Gear on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with the 8-bit sprites and two frames of animation for running. The emphasis on not being seen was an interesting departure from the “shoot first, ask questions” run and gun style of gameplay that was dominant on game consoles at the time.
Then the series broke new ground on the PlayStation, adding superior graphics and retaining the “stealth” gameplay that made the first so popular. The series also became very story oriented, with a focus on character driven drama during the cutscenes. The cutscenes were so well written, you could just put in the disc and watch them. In fact, after you complete the game there is the option to do just that. In all, there were just under two hours of cutscenes that felt like an action movie, with a lot of reflection by the main characters about their actions as soldiers.
The latest in the series is on the PlayStation 2, and is Metal Gear Solid 3. I have not picked this one up yet, as I am waiting for a price drop. Reviews are fairly consistent, saying that the game still retains the aspects that make it attractive for fans of the previous games, but still being innovative enough to warrant a play through. The story however, is a prequel, and is set in the midst of the Cold War. An interesting touch.
What I enjoy about the series is the amount of detail that they put into making these game worlds. They are, in fact “worlds,” and not just maps, or levels. The game designers put a lot of work into making everything as “real” as possible. They visited with military advisors and went to ranges to shoot the weapons they modeled in game. All that and they manage to keep the “realism” while making the games enjoyable to play.