Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Review

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Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Review

by Nikki Wolf » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:36 pm


Release Date - July 20th, 1990 (MSX)
Platforms - MSX (played/reviewed), PS2 (as part of MGS3: Subsidence), PS3/Xbox 360/PS Vita (as part of MGS HD Collection)
Costs - Varies by platform/seller, so go see for yourself Emulating's free
Availiability - eBay, Amazon, Playstation Network, Xbox Live, Gamestop, some ROM site

So you've survived Outer Heaven, killed your former supervisor, and destroyed the omnipotent threat known as Metal Gear. Peace may have been brought upon the world...but peace doesn't last forever.

The canonical sequel to 1987's Metal Gear, this game takes place three years after the events of Outer Heaven, placing the player back in the battle-worn shoes of Solid Snake as they must explore the nuclear powerhouse of the world known as Zanzibar Land. Is this sequel really an improvement over the first?



As stated, this game takes place three years after the events of the first game, bringing back all the characters of the first game, as well as bringing in some new people into the cast. The story is much more complex this time around, though it's best for you to play for yourself to understand. In case you don't, I'll explain the best I can below. Spoils ahoy, you have been warned:

SPOILERS wrote:Taking place in a military base known as Zanzibar Land, Snake's mission is to infiltrate the premises and find out what's going on in the nuclear superpower of the world. It starts out by searching for the missing Dr. Zio Marv, a Czech scientist who has came up with the idea for "Oilix," a microorganism supposibly to be used to generate cheaper oil-based products. Caught off-guard by a decoy that turned out to be Black Color, Snake soon learns the whereabouts of the real Marv, only to be led to a prison cell that he used to be kept inside. Upon contacting the other man across the wall by codec (Dr. Petrovich), Snake soon learns that Marv was actually relocated past the Tower Building and into the underground Detention Center. Marv did manage to leave a message attached to a carrier pidgeon, whose location happens to be on the very top of the Tower Building. This message, when properly looked upon, reveals the doctor's codec, though it turned out that he can only speak Czech. Because of this, Snake must locate his previous bodyguard by the name of Natacha, in order to translate what Marv has spoken to Snake. With this, they learn the location of the Detention Center and managed to rescue Petrovich from his holding cell. Upon trying to cross the bridge to reach the Detention Center, a mysterious walking tank shows up to blow up the bridge, killing Natacha as well as giving the guards a chance to effortlessly arrest Petrovich. It turns out that Grey Fox, former FOXHOUND soldier and comrade of Snake's, occupies this walking tank, dubbed as Metal Gear D. He lets Snake walk off alive, warning him that he is to return to his country if they are to remain friends. Against that notion and standing up for what's right, Snake hangglides over the chasm that seperates the Detention Center from the Tower Building and makes his way to free Petrovich and Marv from their cell. Soon realizing that it's too late, Snake walks into the cell to see that Marv was strangled to death. Petrovich reveals that the OILIX plans have been stored on an MSX cartridge behind the locker and that nobody can reach it. Suddenly, Snake gets a call that revealed that Petrovich was actually assisting with the construction of Metal Gear D, and that he was the one that killed Marv. In an attempt to hide what Snake has learned, he latches onto Snake's back and neck, only to be fatally blown off of Snake by means of explosions. He shortly reveals Metal Gear D's only weakness before passing on, with a correctly-time pit opening up below Snake, placing him deep underground where Metal Gear D is located. With Grey Fox in the cockpit of the titantic machine, he vows to humiliate Snake by finally killing him off. Unsuccessful at that, Snake takes what he learned and destroys Metal Gear D. Unhappy with the results, Grey Fox robs Snake of the MSX cartridge and escapes into a nearby room filled with land mines, and asks Snake to a fist fight to the death. Upon losing, Grey Fox drop the cartridge and gives Snake his final goodbye. Snake then hears a faint whisper from a room up ahead, soon to find out that Big Boss is still alive and was the one that was running Zanzibar Land. Wanting to give Snake a "soldier's death," Big Boss takes up his machine gun and starts chasing after Snake. Having literally nothing on him to fight back, Snake scavenges the entire area for anything to assist him, and comes across a lighter and a spray can. With these common tools in hand, Snake finally puts Big Boss to death by means of lethaly igniting him. Relieved of his duties and finally killing his archnemesis, Snake manages to escape by helicopter from Zanzibar Land, happy to be free of his nightmares of being on the battlefield.

I think that the story in this game has been done a lot better than in the previous game, though I guess it's from all the plot twists going on. Hideo Kojima, you know how to keep me engaged DX

Graphics and Sound

The graphics, man. For MSX, this game looks gorgeous. Not to mock the first game, but that game looked like things could blend in with each other, whereas everything in this game just stands out from one another. So bright, so colorful. I love it. This is got to be the best-looking MSX game I've played...though I've not played many MSX games.



The music in this game is also top-notch. Definitely lest repetitive than in the last game, which is due to each area using a different theme from time to time. The boss battles also have more music to them too, and unlike the first game, the boss music makes me want to fight. It gets me pumped. It gets me PSYCHED! IT MAKES ME WANNA BLOW SHIT UP! GRRR! The sound effects are also good, too. You pretty much have to be paying attention to sound effects anyways, due to having to walk constantly...and something I'll explain, in a bit.

Part of the OST, provided by oldskoolgamertje


I'll go ahead and say this right off the bat, as this affects gameplay big time: The frame rate in this game (at least the unmodified MSX version) is choppy as a pair of scissors. If this is the version you decide to play, download the patch from this site that smooths out the frame rate:

Aside from that, the stealth mechanic is more emphasized within this game. With the introduction of the Evasion period and prolonged Danger period (all of this carrying over into later iterations), it forces players to really watch their actions, along with giving them plenty of time to hide from the enemy. Speaking of hiding, you can now go prone and crawl underneath certain areas (trucks, tables, vents, etc.) to avoid enemy conflict and/or reach certain areas inaccessible by walking. The many levels of this game allow for the player to stay safe like this, so take advantage of it.



Enemy AI has also been given a much-needed upgrade, especially to accomodate for some of the changes made to the sequel. First off, certain floors generate sound that enemies in the same room as the player can hear, and thus be put on alert. While this temporarily leaves them in a vulnerable state in the exact position they stand in, the player must be cautious of where he'll approach the enemy. Enemies can also be cautious of when you use your trusty Cardboard Box, by shooting at it if they think it's suspicious. Flinching will alert them to your presence, though they don't do anything if you stand still. Enemies can also move to different screens of the same floor you're on, so keep an eye out on your radar.

Speaking of which, this game introduces the radar system that's further implemented in later games. Your vision is limited to a 3x3 grid with your current screen in the middle, but it's very handy for helping you plan ahead. Very accurate portrayal of your and enemy locations. Of course, the radar gets deactivated if you're spotted, so...don't get caught now.

Item respawning has been given a much-needed nerf in this game: Instead of respawning upon reentering the very exact screen, you have to load up a new area and then reenter the previous area in order to respawn consumables (as in going to a different floor in the building and then coming back to the floor you were on). With this, enemies can also be around the general area that you want to reach, which gives a bit of a challenge with refilling your ammo/rations. Of course, some people are going to find this frustrating, so I guess not everyone's going to be happy with how item respawning works.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake gameplay, done by oldskoolgamertje

A minor praise, but I like how rations have been done in this game. They're split up into three differnt types of rations, which you can only hold up to 4 of each (12 total) when you get that high up in rank. Not only that, but each ration has a purpose now...well, except for B2, which is just for nomming on. Yeah, it's gimmicky in a way, as the second usage of these rations are only used around the end of the game, but NYEH!

The one thing I didn't like about the previous games were the bosses. They were either really easy...or still easy, but with an added level of frustration. This time around, I think bosses are much better, though I think a couple of them were borderline frustrating. Spoilers below, as I think explaining would help out:

SPOILERS wrote:Black Color (Kyle Schneider) is your ninja boss of the game, spamming shurikens and warping all over the place. For a first boss, he can be a bit tough, if you ask me. Though he doesn't have too much health, so taking him out shouldn't be too much of a problem. Running Man is a cheetah, in terms of his speed. Rightfully so, as you can never catch up to the guy. But what makes this boss fight fair is that you can detonate your Plastic Bombs from anywhere, which you need to do with correct timing if you want to kill him. Just pay attention to your radar, and you should be good to go. Hind-D makes a return and actually flies around the battlefield, though with your Stingers able to lock on to any screen in your 3x3 radar, it's not a difficult fight. Just hide in a bunker when he comes by, shoot two Stingers when he's off your screen, and there you go. Red Blaster is your booby traps sort of person, keeping you locked in a cage as you and him toss grenades at one another until one croaks. Not too difficult when you figure out that his barriers are breakable, though you just got to get your timing right. Ultra Box, in my opinion, is the most frustrating out of them all. Four guys that drop in and out of the elevator you occupy, spamming bullets everywhere like no tomorrow. About the only strategy you have with these guys is Land Mines and eating rations. Predator (not the extraterrestial Predator) is a guerilla tactics soldier that uses the thick grass to his advantage, by means of sneaking up on you and escaping any late fire. I'd say he's the fairest of them all, as long as you use your cover to your advantage. Night Sight, being a man of no sight, isn't as frustrating as I thought he would be. Yeah, you can't "see" him, but you can see where his bullets are coming from and hear where he's currently at. He does have a lot of health, but he's not that difficult, especially if you trap him in the upper right screen of the battle area. Dr. Petrovich, if you can even call him a boss, just latches onto your back and follows you around, hoping to strangle you before you can shake him off. Just keep rations on you and deploy explosives, and that should be good enough. Metal Gear D is definitely a sight to behold, as he takes up a great portion of the screen. He fires standard bullets wherever you go and launches homing missiles at you, which I don't think are that hard to avoid. The strategy with this beast is lob grenades at its legs and dodge. There you go. Grey Fox (no, not the Crit Sandvich admin of the same name) traps you in a room surrounded by mines, and forces you into a fistfight to the death. No items; just fists. If you can get him into walking into a circle, it makes the fight easier. Otherwise, with how fistfighting is handled, it's a bit clunky. That, and Grey Fox has way too much health. Big Boss, making his final role as the final boss, traps you in a room with him with no means of attacking him...until you learn that you can gather up the tools needed to make a makeshift flamethrower. He's definitely smart enough to keep you moving about and try to hunt you down, and it's also satisfying to watch him finally burn to ashes.



I also have to point out that there are still some cryptic moments in the game, like with the swamp and the locker key...and maybe the tap code, if you don't know how the prisoner tap code is decoded. But I don't think there are many cryptic moments in the game, aside from all of that. Oh, and the Bucket in the game's completely worthless. Okay, gripe mode over.


This is definitely a much better game than the first Metal Gear, overall. After playing this, I view the first Metal Gear as an experiment of what Hideo Kojima wanted to do, and Metal Gear 2 as a means of taking what was done in the first, polishing it up, and flesh out what has already been done. This game definitely pushed the limits of what the MSX could do, while at the same time established what a stealth game can and should be. If you're a fan of Metal Gear, I really recommend that you check this game out.

*If you want to see more reviews I've typed up, look for them on my Steam profile.

All screenshots of the game have been provided by me. The videos are owned by oldskoolgamertje on Youtube, so all rights go to him.
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Nikki Wolf
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Re: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Review

by Balubish » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:10 am

Well I had the first one Snakes Revenge - Metal Gear 1
Oh I remeber it as yesterday :D

This guy also have some good points:



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