The Metal Gear Solid series is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed franchises in video game history. Created by legendary Japanese developer Hideo Kojima, the series perfected the stealth action genre and helped demonstrate video games’ potential for mature storytelling.
This introduction highlights the major narrative arcs of the Metal Gear Solid series: its revolutionary beginning, continued innovation, legacy and overall impact on video games as an interactive storytelling medium. The concluding thoughts summarize the key takeaways about the series’ place within the history of gaming.
• The game is set in 2005 and follows Solid Snake, a special forces operative sent on a covert mission to infiltrate and investigate the actions of a rogue military unit called FOXHOUND, which has taken over a nuclear weapons facility called Shadow Moses Island.
• The story explores themes of genetics and eugenics, focusing on the concepts of “genes” and “memes” passed down through generations and their impact on history.
• The game play heavily emphasizes stealth, giving players options to sneak past enemies, hide in boxes, and use various distractions to remain undetected. However, there are also options for direct combat when stealth fails.
• The cast of characters features some memorable and over-the-top personalities like Revolver Ocelot, a flamboyant gun-twirling antagonist, and Liquid Snake, Solid Snake’s genetic clone and rival.
• The visuals utilize pretender 3D backgrounds and 2D sprites for characters, but the graphics still hold up well thanks to the art direction and creative level designs.
• The music by composer Harry Gregson-Williams features synthesizer-heavy tracks that help build tension during stealth sequences and action set pieces.
• The game revolutionized the stealth action genre and is credited with popularizing stealth mechanics that have been utilized in countless other stealth games since.
Most Memorable Moments in Metal Gear Solid
• The opening corridor sequence – This tense stealth sequence at the beginning of the game sets the tone perfectly and teaches players the stealth mechanics in a memorable way.
• Fights with Revolver Ocelot – The gun-slinging boss battles against Ocelot are some of the most fun and epic moments in the game, with Ocelot taunting Snake during their various face offs.
• The fight with the Hind D helicopter – Having to battle a massive Hind D helicopter gunship by shooting its tail rotor is a thrilling action sequence.
• The appearance of Metal Gear REX – When players finally see the hulking Metal Gear REX mech for the first time, it’s a jaw-dropping moment that demonstrates the scale and ambition of the game.
• The interrogation scene with Meryl – The tense cat-and-mouse interrogation scene between Snake and Meryl shows off the game’s creative use of stealth and psychological tension.
• The plot twists – Several major plot twists, like the reveal that Meryl is actually Sigint in disguise and that Liquid Snake is Snake’s genetic twin brother, catch players by surprise in amazing ways.
• The monologues by Colonel Campbell – The lengthy radio conversations between Snake and Colonel Campbell cover deep topics like the impact of information control and memes on history, creating memorable, thought-provoking moments.
Those are some of the major highlights that really stood out to me and have stayed with me over the years since first playing Metal Gear Solid. The combination of unique gameplay mechanics, over-the-top characters and plot twists, and thoughtful themes make for an experience that is unforgettable and full of memorable moments.
What are some common criticisms of Metal Gear Solid?
• Excessive cutscenes and dialog – The game has a lot of lengthy cutscenes and radio conversations that some players found overly long and tedious. This was a common complaint even when the game first released.
• Convoluted and confusing plot – The story attempts to cover a lot of complex themes but does so in a way that some players found unintentionally confusing and convoluted, especially with all the plot twists.
• Over-the-top characters – Some of the characters, like Revolver Ocelot and Liquid Snake, are intentionally meant to be over-the-top but this didn’t work for all players who found them a bit too ridiculous.
• Dated gameplay – While innovative for its time, some elements of the stealth and combat gameplay have aged and feel a bit clunky and limited by today’s standards.
• Camera issues – The fixed camera angles in some areas could be problematic and obscuring, especially during action sequences.
• Lack of direction – Some players felt lost or confused at times due to a lack of clear guidance about objectives or ways to complete certain tasks. The game relies heavily on player experimentation and problem-solving.
• Repetitive level design – Later parts of the game start to feel more repetitive and formulaic as players progress through similar corridors and areas.
• Limited enemy AI – The artificial intelligence controlling enemies is fairly rudimentary and noticeably limited, even for its time.
Those cover some of the major criticisms leveled at Metal Gear Solid over the years. Despite that, the game is still considered a classic for its impact on the stealth genre and innovative storytelling within video games at the time. The complaints tend to highlight aspects that have not aged as well rather than undermine the overall gameplay and narrative experience.
Some of the most popular games that have been influenced by Metal Gear Solid
Splinter Cell series
The Splinter Cell series of stealth action video games were created by Ubisoft and are based on novels by Tom Clancy. The games follow Sam Fisher, a highly trained covert operative working for a black-ops division of the NSA called Third Echelon. Using high-tech gadgets and superior stealth skills, Sam carries out top secret espionage and spy missions.
The first game, Splinter Cell, was released in 2002 and was praised for its innovative stealth gameplay, realistic graphics, and compelling espionage-themed story. The game featured state-of-the-art lighting, shadow and AI techniques that pushed video game technology at the time. It quickly became a classic and established the blueprint for the series.
The gameplay focuses heavily on stealth, reconnaissance and avoiding detection. Sam has a wide array of equipment to aid in his espionage, including night-vision goggles, listening devices, and non-lethal weapons. Players can complete levels in different styles ranging from full stealth to more aggressive tactics. The open-ended level design gives players strategic freedom to complete objectives how they choose.
The series is widely considered to have been inspired by the Metal Gear Solid games, borrowing and iterating on many of its stealth mechanics and gameplay concepts. However, the Splinter Cell games develop a distinct aesthetic and tone inspired by real-world espionage and geopolitical intrigue.
In all, seven main Splinter Cell games were released between 2002 and 2013 to critical and commercial success. The series is known for pushing the technological boundaries of stealth gameplay and graphics at the time of each release. Fans appreciate the thoughtful spy-themed narrative, detailed stealth mechanics, and strategic freedom offered in each installment. Overall, the Splinter Cell series is considered one of the best stealth action franchises in video game history.
In summary, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series is renowned for its innovative stealth gameplay, realistic graphics, atmospheric spy fiction themes, and creative freedom given to players in how they approach missions. The games helped define and popularize the stealth action genre following in the footsteps of the iconic Metal Gear Solid series.
• Hitman series
Hitman is a series of stealth action-adventure games by Danish developer IO Interactive in which players take on the role of a professional assassin named Agent 47. The first Hitman game was released in 2000 and has since become a long-running series with 8 main games and several spin-offs.
The games take place in large, open-ended sandbox levels and give players full freedom to complete assigned assassinations through strategy, planning and creative use of the environment. Agent 47 has a large array of disguises, weapons and tools at his disposal to help him infiltrate guarded locations and silently eliminate high profile targets.
The gameplay focuses heavily on stealth, strategic planning and creative murder, requiring players to think systematically about how to complete their assassinations. In true sandbox fashion, there are often multiple pathways and methods for eliminating each target, rewarding experimentation and emergent gameplay. However, players can also opt for more direct, action-oriented approaches.
The Hitman games are widely considered to have been influenced by the Metal Gear Solid franchise, borrowing and iterating on its stealth and sandbox-style gameplay. However, the espionage and spy fiction themes of Metal Gear Solid are replaced with a darkly humorous and satirical tone that pervades Hitman’s assassination missions and environments.
The games have been praised for their large, intricate levels; huge array of unlockable weapons and disguises; creative usage of the environment for kills; and emergent systems that give rise to unexpected situations. However, the stories are considered thinly plotted and often trivial.
In summary, the Hitman franchise is best known for its humorous, violent yet creative approach to third-person stealth sandbox gameplay. Players are given a large amount of freedom and a diverse array of tools to complete high stakes assassinations in truly memorable ways. The series draws significant inspiration from Metal Gear Solid while carving out its own distinct niche focused on the fantasy of being a professional hitman.
• Tenchu series
Tenchu is a stealth action game series developed by Acquire and published by FromSoftware. The series consists of 6 installments released between 1998 and 2020. The games take place in fictional feudal Japan and follow the adventures of two ninja assassins, Rikimaru and Ayame.
The gameplay involves sneaking through levels with the primary objective of silently assassinating targets. Players have tools like shurikens and smoke bombs at their disposal, as well as the ability to hide in shadows, climb walls, and hang from ceilings. However, getting detected by guards often leads to instant death, forcing players to carefully plan their movements and tactics.
The original Tenchu game was released for the PlayStation in 1998 and was influential as one of the first 3D stealth games. It was co-created by Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, and borrowed many stealth mechanics from it. However, Tenchu placed a stronger emphasis on melee combat compared to the firearms-centric Metal Gear Solid.
The Tenchu games are set in a distinctly feudal Japanese setting with a strong emphasis on Japanese culture and history. Players assume the roles of ninja characters and interact with elements like shoguns, samurai, temples and castles. The stories are largely linear but feature some role-playing elements with equipment upgrades and character progression.
While the Tenchu series didn’t reach the same commercial success as Metal Gear Solid, it helped define and popularize the stealth action genre, particularly with its distinctive ninja theme. The games were praised for their detailed graphics, realistic enemy AI and intricate level design. However, later installments received criticism for becoming too repetitive and easy.
In summary, Tenchu helped pioneer the 3D stealth action genre along with franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Thief. The series stands out by placing players in the role of ninja assassins carrying out missions in feudal Japan. While the gameplay grew stale over time, the original Tenchu games are still fondly remembered for combining stealth mechanics with melee combat in a uniquely Japanese-themed experience.
• Assassin’s Creed series
Assassin’s Creed is a long-running series of action-adventure stealth games published by Ubisoft and developed mainly by its studio Ubisoft Montreal. The first game was released in 2007 and the series is well known for blending open world exploration and历史 as its main setting.
The games are set in different time periods across history and feature fictional stories about the ongoing struggle between the Assassin brotherhood and the Templar order. Players take on the role of an Assassin and use stealth, parkour movement and melee combat to eliminate targets while exploring historical settings.
The gameplay is a mix of action-adventure and stealth, with an emphasis on vertical exploration of the open world environments through climbing and parachuting. Players have a variety of weapons at their disposal but the focus is mainly on assassination using stealth. The modern day framing story features a present day protagonist experiencing the memories of their Assassin ancestors through genetic memory.
The series draws significant inspiration from the gameplay mechanics of the earlier Prince of Persia and Metal Gear Solid games, borrowing ideas of free-running alongside stealth and social stealth systems. However, Assassin’s Creed blends these concepts in the context of historical fiction, resulting in a more story-driven experience.
The Assassin’s Creed games have been widely praised for their detailed and immersive historical recreations of cities like Jerusalem, London and Paris. However, later installments have received criticisms for becoming stale and repetitive due to ubiquitous features.
In summary, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is best known for transporting players into immersive simulations of historical time periods while telling fictional stories about the ongoing conflict between Assassins andTemplars. Though initially innovative, later games struggled with fatigue due to releasing annually, yet the series remains popular for its blend ofhistorical tourism, action gameplay andinteresting lore.
• Uncharted series
Uncharted is a series of action-adventure games developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The first game was released in 2007 and the series consists of 4 main installments following the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake.
The gameplay is a mix of third-person shooting, platforming and puzzle solving with a strong emphasis on exploration and cinematic set pieces. Players control Nathan Drake as he travels the world searching for historical mysteries and treasures while being pursued by other treasure seekers and mercenaries. Gunfights and hand-to-hand combat are also frequent.
The Uncharted games feature meticulously detailed, visually stunning environments inspired by real world locations. Players explore diverse settings such as the mountains of Nepal, The Atlantic Ocean, Arabian deserts and more. The graphics, animations and visual effects are often praised for being cutting edge.
While not a stealth series like Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted draws inspiration from it in terms of its cinematic presentation, storytelling and creative cutscenes. Uncharted perfected the art of ” corridor shooting” – funneling players through linear paths filled with scripted set piece shootouts and action sequences.
The games have been widely praised for their exhilarating action sequences, visually stunning environments, likeable protagonist in Nathan Drake and entertaining treasure hunting plotlines. The characters, voice acting and musical score are also considered highlights. However, some critics argue the gameplay becomes too scripted and repetitive.
In summary, the Uncharted series redefined the action-adventure genre with its perfect blend of visceral action, cinematic presentation and enjoyable storytelling. While more focused on shooting and set pieces than stealth, the games demonstrated how Metal Gear Solid’s innovative storytelling could be adapted for a less tactical but equally thrilling experience. Uncharted set new standards for visual fidelity, voice acting and score within video games and is widely considered one of Sony’s flagship franchises.
• The Last of Us
The Last of Us is an award-winning action-adventure survival horror game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released in 2013 for the PlayStation 3.
The game is set 20 years after a pandemic has ravaged the modern world. Players control Joel, a survivor who is tasked with escorting a teenage girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States. As zombies and hostile survivors threaten them, Joel and Ellie develop a strong bond.
While featuring combat and shooting, the gameplay puts a strong emphasis on stealth and resource management. Players must scavenge the environment for weapons and supplies to craft items that aid Joel and Ellie’s journey. Mechanics like listening mode and hiding in tall grass add to the stealth elements.
The gritty, authentic storytelling focuses on the deep emotional connection that develops between Joel and Ellie throughout their harrowing journey. The characters, voice acting and writing were praised for their depth and developmental arcs.
Though not a traditional stealth game like Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us incorporates many stealth elements that give players the option for a more tactical approach. It also shares a darker, mature tone with Metal Gear Solid while telling a deeply human story about the relationships that form in the midst of hardship.
The Last of Us received widespread acclaim for its story, characters, voice acting, music, atmospheric environments, accessibility options and emotional weight. However, some critics felt that the gameplay of combat and stealth was not as groundbreaking.
In summary, The Last of Us demonstrates how games in different genres can still incorporate meaningful stealth elements while crafting an experience focused on story and character. Though more focused on survival horror and action, The Last of Us shares many similar elements with Metal Gear Solid, including tactical combat choices, resource management and a bleak yet moving narrative. The result is one of the most critically acclaimed games of the PlayStation 3 generation.
• MGS series itself
The Metal Gear Solid series has been one of the most influential and critically acclaimed gaming franchises since it first released in 1998. Created by the visionary Japanese developer Hideo Kojima, MGS perfected the stealth action genre and became known for its deep storytelling, complex characters and thoughtful exploration of themes like war, technology and politics.
The original Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation revolutionized stealth gameplay and cinematic storytelling in video games. It featured a mature, espionage-themed narrative; innovative stealth mechanics; and memorable, over-the-top characters. The gameplay involved tactical planning and creative problem-solving to sneak past enemies undetected.
The series has continued to innovate and push the boundaries of video game storytelling. It features idiosyncratic, memorable stories with intricate plotting and stark political themes. The characters are nuanced and complex, with deep backstories and motivations. Combat is tactical and systemic, rewarding patient, strategic planning.
However, some critics argue that the series’ narratives become too convoluted and self-referential over time. The long cutscenes and constant plot twists also lead to issues of accessibility and replay value for some.
Despite its flaws, MGS is remembered as one of the most creative and influential game series of all time. It helped define the stealth action genre and demonstrate how games could mature as an interactive storytelling medium. The series continues to be acclaimed for its creativity, ambitious scope and unique blend of tactical gameplay with thought-provoking social commentary.
In summary, the Metal Gear Solid series represents one of the pioneeringexamples of how video games could tell mature, meaningful stories in creative ways. Though not without flaws, MGS perfected the art of cinematic stealth gameplay and demonstrated how interactive media could explore complex ideas around technology, geopolitics and human nature. The series remains one of gaming’s most memorable, beloved and critically acclaimed franchises.
Metal Gear Solid innovated stealth gameplay and cinematic storytelling within games, presenting a formula that has been copied and expanded upon in countless other titles. Its influence can still be felt in many modern stealth and action-adventure games to this day.
Despite some flaws, Metal Gear Solid’s unique blend of over-the-top storytelling, thoughtful exploration of big themes, and tactical stealth gameplay helped make it an enduring classic that is still fondly remembered today. It demonstrates how games can mature as an art form by pushing creative boundaries, combining gameplay with meaningful social commentary in an visceral, interactive way. Metal Gear Solid remains an exemplar of a distinctively “video game” experience, created by one of the medium’s true visionaries in Hideo Kojima.
In summary, Metal Gear Solid is a game that skillfully combined stealth gameplay with cinematic storytelling in an innovative way, setting the stage for an entire genre and lineage of games that followed in its footsteps. It remains an iconic classic worth experiencing for any fan of tactical stealth and thoughtful narrative design in video games.
While it’s certainly not required to play the games in order, it will make understanding Metal Gear’s overarching plot much easier. Here’s a guide to playing each Metal Gear Solid in order, and a few details about where the titles land in the timeline.
Same universe as well. It takes place four years after MGS4. There’s some references to previous installments, but overall you’ll get the story even if you’ve never played any MGS game before. The only returning characters are Raiden and Sunny from MGS4.
Do you actually have to play all 11 entries? No, you actually do not! Four of these games are optional. Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops are the shortest stories in the series that are all explained in the direct sequels of each respective game through pre-mission briefings.
No, you actually do not! Four of these games are optional. Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops are the shortest stories in the series that are all explained in the direct sequels of each respective game through pre-mission briefings.