The Games That Made Us Gamers: Metal Gear Solid
Way Over My Head
I did not get a PlayStation until I was eight years old. Back in those days, I lived in the Philippines and daily life consisted of breakfast, school, family and spending countless hours in the evening watching the Discovery Channel and Cartoon Network. I never even considered playing videogames to be something that would take up my time, since the closest I ever got to playing a videogame was when I visited my aunt, who owned a GameBoy.
That all changed when I visited Canada for the first time and my uncle gave my grandparents a present to give me when I met them: a PlayStation console. From that point on, I could not be parted from it. My addiction to watching TV took a backseat to playing videogames. Gran Turismo and A Bug’s Life: The Video Game were the only games that I had at the time, along with the disc full of demos that came with the console. That demo disc contained Metal Gear Solid, the game that would become my “gateway drug” into the wonderful world of videogames and its many elements.
Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet
When my mother came back from the States, I was thrilled that she picked up the game for me. Because I had played the demo so much, I knew how to get from the warehouse at the beginning of the game to the DARPA Chief’s cell quickly and quietly. For an eight year old, I consider the stealth part impressive. To have a child figure out a way to get around enemies without firing a single shot or setting off an alarm is admirable, since kids today only want to shoot bad guys in shooters.
The fact that a main part of the game was stealth was completely new to me as well. Some of the games on the demo disc were hack and slashers or shooters. The game stood out because I learned that stealth was key and, unlike other games, it was possible to reach the next room without chopping someone’s head off or burning them alive, but that did not mean weapons could not be used. Solid Snake is the best agent in the government and he is being sent to stop the terrorist group FOXHOUND and prevent a nuclear attack, only to find out that they have a Metal Gear up their sleeves. Expect heavy resistance and use any means necessary to stop the enemy. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
Alerts and Bosses
Nothing scared me more back then than the sound of an enemy guard seeing you and that exclamation point appearing on their head, because once discovered, I panicked. Sneaking around was easy, but confrontation was much harder. In the words of psychology, alerts were more of a flight than fight situation for me. Escaping through vents, cardboard boxes or the next room were my main options when the alert went off. Luckily enough, I grew out of my comfort zone and could handle an alert with gunfire or a mix of combat and evasive maneuvers.
Another thing that amazed me were the boss fights. Unlike the boss battles of A Bug’s Life which featured intimidating but comical bosses, Metal Gear Solid showed me some of the most badass bosses you will ever encounter in video games, and each name was more awesome than the last. Psycho Mantis “read” your mind by blacking out the screen for a few seconds and the only way to beat him was by putting the controller in controller slot 2 (which was a really cool idea). The mighty Vulcan Raven and his M1 tank could only be beaten with a handful of grenades and the Cyborg Ninja’s speed could only be matched by hitting him when he stopped running around. However, nothing could prepare me for the epic battle against Metal Gear Rex. This colossal mechanical beast with a laser, rockets, and bullets was beaten by Stinger missiles and the Cyborg Ninja.
Noticing a common theme here? These boss battles were so unique because the method of taking down each boss was unthinkable, but also very clever. Who came up with the idea to destroy a tank by throwing grenades inside it because I need to give that person a high-five. The closest thing to a “normal” boss fight in the game was the fistfight against Liquid Snake atop Metal Gear Rex and that included a timer that counted down to the death of Snake’s companion, Meryl Silverburgh.
Gets Better (and Makes More Sense) With Age
Like wine, this was a game that I enjoyed more as I got older and I understood its message and theme with the knowledge that I have gained in the past 13 years. As a child, I played this game with my dad who I handed the controller to at certain parts of the game because they became very difficult for me. Some of the methods that he used in the game are still used today by me when I replay the game.
This is the first game that I really fell in love with and the series is what made me purchase the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. In fact, the first game that I received with my PS3 was Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The stealth action genre was born from this series and its memorable characters will be in the annals of gaming forever. This game gave me a great story and I truly hope to show this game to the next generation of gamers because this game helped me to define my criteria of what games are, good and bad. To this day, my dad still asks if I keep the copy of the game that was given to me, and I always respond by saying that there would be no way that I would ever get rid of this game. Metal Gear Solid is a big part of my childhood memories and was the game that made me the gamer that I am today.