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"Metal Gear"

Posted: 09 June, 2021

I know Hideo Kojima's work isn't for everyone -- even I struggle with some of the non-interactive elements he puts in -- but, like it or loath it, Metal Gear Solid is seminal. What's more remarkable (in my opinion) is that it was born, practically fully-formed, on the 8 bits.

If you're a European then your first experience of the franchise may well have been Metal Gear Solid [PS1], a game I marvelled at technically and studied from a design perspective. Sure, the dialog can be all over the place and there're some issues with requiring the player to remember radio frequencies that I'd probably fix nowadays, but it had an ambition and scope way beyond anything I'd ever seen before. And you've got to remember, this was before GTA 3 landed. But unbeknownest to me Metal Gear Solid was actually a sequel; I'd discover much much later that "Solid" was just an excellent way to say "now in 3D", and the roots went all the way back to the MSX*.

Living in europe I was more likely to bump into a PC Engine than an MSX, so I didn't get to play the original until recently, but I did have a copy of Metal Gear on the Gameboy, and that is, in all honesty, utterly brilliant. There's so much at a level-design and gameplay-mechanics level that's instantly recognisable from the 3D games that I've given it to some of my students as a coursework to break-down. It's genuinely fun to play and pull apart.

So yeah, I'm a bit of a fan, and I'm completely made up that in 2021 -- the year of the Amiga -- I get to see a proper version land on my fav machine! The scene's one and only H0ffman has taken it upon himself to do a line-by-line source conversion, and not only that, he's improved the music, added some missing graphics and done a load of touch-ups on the side. For free!

It is a thing of absolute and complete beauty that I'm genuinely in awe of. It plays fantastically, and is a great entry-point into the franchise if you've never played it before. I cannot recommend it enough.

This is H0ff's first game project. God only knows what the man's going to come up with next if this is his starting point. I doff my cap, sir!!

So yeah, give this some love:

*I'm ignoring the NES games; the first port is modified, and as far as I know, Kojima-san had nothing to do with Snake's revenge.