From the jump, the plot of Metal Gear 2 is immediately absurd. In Metal Gear, the setup was pretty reasonable: “these guys have a nuke with the range to hit anywhere on earth, take it out.” Okay, yeah, sure, that’s fair. Seems like a bad situation that’s not implausible. Now, here’s Metal Gear 2: “Zanzibar somehow acquired all the nuclear weapons on the planet, also all of the oil on earth vanished and Zanzibar is the only country with the technology to produce a microbe that can synthesize new oil so they’re planning on conquering the earth now.”
Um, excuse me? Also this isn’t the Zanzibar in Africa, it’s Zanzibar Land which is apparently wedged between the USSR and China somehow.
My first impression is that visually this game looks a lot better than Metal Gear 1. The three years of time between the games feels like a quantum leap forward. Things are way more colorful and the detail is much higher. For comparison, here’s a side-by-side of the radio call UI:
Metal Gear 2:
Anyway it’s up to our hero Solid Snake to infiltrate Zanzibar Land, extract Dr. Marv, inventor of the oil microbe, and mess the bad guys up good. Commence Operation Intrude F014.
Another huge leap forward: they give you a map. Zounds! It even tracks enemies. The CO is now Campbell after Big Boss unceremoniously vacated the position. Campbell suggests putting myself in the shoes of the game designer in charge of setting up compound defense. Oh buddy you have no idea. Also, Snake now can crawl. This is kind of cool.
The stealth is improved now too – you have a timer until the guards give up which is really useful. The environment is more dynamic too; for example I could crawl under a truck to hide from the guards. The stealth is also more sophisticated – enemies don’t reset their positions screen to screen and will pursue you. Smarter but also I suck at stealth. The initial approach to the Zanzibar Building killed me several times just learning how things work. It’s also very amusing to me that this game has loading screens. I guess that’s good emulation but the last one didn’t, and it feels a bit strange here.
Once inside the Zanzibar Building I get a radio call from Holly White on Frequency 140.15 who says she infiltrated this country last month by posing as a journalist. Why didn’t Snake do that?? Anyway she tells me the building is connected to the tower via a drainage ditch. Glad to see there’s a sewer level in my future.
It is incredibly funny to me that you have to actually hit the button outside the elevator to call it and wait for it to arrive instead of it always just being there like in the original game. I live for this sort of goofy verisimilitude.
Oh, I guess I gotta smoke to reveal the lasers because this game didn’t issue me goggles. So much for Snakes health-conscious lifestyle. Also, enemies now see in a cone instead of a straight line, which I found out the hard way. Anyway, I pick up the gas mask and find Dr. Marv… except it’s an imposter! This happened in the first game too, but I didn’t mention it. I guess they felt it was fun enough to do the exact same thing twice. It’s actually the first boss of the game, Black Ninja. Apparently he’s former NASA which should not give him any military qualification whatsoever but here we are.
Is he an alien?
When he goes down he reveals he’s actually Kyle Schneider, one of the resistance members from Outer Heaven. He claims that he was almost killed by America following the destruction of Metal Gear, as NATO launched a bombing campaign against the now disarmed nation which killed most of the resistance members you’d been working with. Oops. He tells me that we are square and that I should follow the man in the green beret on Floor 1 to find the real Dr. Marv. Okay buddy, I’ll do that just for you. I head down to the first floor and that’s where I wrap for now.
Best moment of Day 3: I got spotted and tried to escape into an elevator, but it turns out that enemies can now follow you onto the elevator! I ran out and the doors closed behind me and they all got carted off to another floor (and probably out of game memory) which instantly ended the alert. Great stuff. I wish I knew if this was intentional or just the vagaries of the way the levels are put together with the elevators.
After ending Day 3 on Floor 1 I realize I have to go right back up to Floor 3 to get the mine detector. Luckily this is like a two second trip since it’s really close to the elevator. Thank goodness. Anyway, the next section of the game takes me to Floor 2. Using the keycard I got from the prior boss, I can get a silencer for my gun. Why wasn’t Solid Snake just… issued all of this gear in advance? He has to lug it around one way or another and it’s not as if I didn’t have it last time by the end. Okay, NOW let’s go back to Floor 1.
From Floor 1 I exit the building into the jungle. Hey, they even have a new music track for this biome.
Welcome to the jungle?
The map doesn’t work in the jungle. You play what is effectively a minigame here where you have to follow a guard from the building through the jungle without getting seen. If you try and navigate the jungle without him present it’s all dead ends. This is kind of cool I guess, but also somewhat annoying because he can see you from offscreen(maybe?) which makes you start over. Feels like (and probably is) just a gotcha, but game you gotta respect the player’s time more.
Eventually I make it through (it took like 6 tries) to a confinement cell. There’s a tapping coming through a wall from a dude (you can see him on your radar) and it’s possible to decode the tapping into a new radio frequency, 140.82. Calling it…
Oh, it’s Dr. Madnar! You may recall he’s the guy who built the Metal Gear in the first game. It turns out he got kidnapped along with Dr. Marv, conveniently. He tells me Marv is in the tower building… and that there’s a metal gear here in Zanzibar Land! Jinkies! This is a finished metal gear, not a prototype like the one in Outer Heaven, and what’s more they’re working to mass produce a lightweight model as well. The metal gear is what allowed the Zanzibar Land government to steal all those nukes. Okay… why did nobody notice? Also he tells me that Big Boss is behind the whole thing. Who could have seen this coming? Anyway there’s a female agent I have to figure out how to get in contact with.
In a hilarious twist, Madnar offers me his daughter’s hand in marriage: “She’s a big fan of yours.” Also he has a zoologist buddy who happens to live nearby (what) and is on frequency 140.40.
Snake: “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get home in time for your daughter’s wedding.”
After leaving the confinement cell the entire jungle is now open to explore without needing to follow anybody. Thank goodness. Also the map starts working again for some reason. The Zoologist is named Jacobsen but he’s got nothing to say to me.
From the jungle I stumble into a desert but my “number one fan” mysteriously calls on the radio to tell me that it’s a minefield. I wonder who that could be, given the prior conversation? It’s really cool that the mine detector now lets you pick up mines as you go over them, instead of just showing you where they are. Holly also calls to tell me the sand is from Okinawa, which means it’ll squeak when I walk on it. Is that a real thing? Anyway there’s nothing left for me here right now so I go back to the jungle and the bit I haven’t explored yet, which is the swamp. There’s a kid here and he says big truck went through even though it’s supposedly bottomless.
Anyway I’m done for now. Weird stuff all around.
The first thing I do is, as I try and remember the controls, accidentally punch the child in the swamp, killing him instantly. Snake!!!
Anyway I go into the swamp and sink. Oops. Guess it serves me right.
Luckily when I died the kid respawned. Just a flesh wound.
I’m not sure how you’re supposed to get through the swamp other than trial and error to find the path. It’s not super hard, but I would have imagined some sort of signaling somehow. Anyway I get to the other side and there’s a kid there, who I accidentally punch instead of talking to. Gosh.
Above the swamp is the Arsenal, and inside the Arsenal is a boss: Running Man.
The way this fight works is that Running Man is never on the same screen with you. The arena is a configuration of four rooms linked in a square. and he moves such that he’s always on a different screen. It turns out I need mines to kill him and I guess when I sank in the swamp the checkpoint hadn’t saved that I got mines… so I have to actually go all the way back through the swamp to re-get them. Cripes.
Anyway, the way to kill this guy from offscreen is to lay mines and then force him to run over them as he evades you. The setup is really obnoxious because you’re on a time limit due to poison gas, and if you lose it resets you back to the desert… and even if you save outside the door like I did, loading that file still starts you at the desert with zero mines. Why would you do this?
Anyway I eventually realize I can leave the room and his health won’t refresh, allowing me to take a breather and thus refill the oxygen bar. This isn’t intuitive, because in Metal Gear leaving a room reset everything including boss health, but it is more logical. Annoying, but also good design in a vacuum. Once I know this mechanic the fight is very, very easy.
His body spontaneously explodes into a keycard, which is very normal.
In the room that Keycard 3 unlocks are some kids. One tells me that the missiles were moved to Building 1. Time to go back across the swamp I guess. Thank goodness I don’t need to re-navigate the jungle and can just beeline my way back.
Back inside the building I can now unlock the door that’s near the exit to the jungle, and a short stroll later I’m now equipped with stinger missiles. There were some unmanned tanks along the path so I imagine I’ll need to fight something like that sooner or later, you wouldn’t make a tank asset and just use it as scenery. I also can nab the Red Card which seems to combine Cards 1, 2 and 3 for convenience. That’s friendly. Anyway, back out to the desert we go now that I have the missiles.
The boss at the north of the desert is Hind D which is I guess a franchise staple.
Didn’t I kill you already?
I have to use the missile targeting system to knock it out of the sky. You can’t move while aiming so there’s a bit of menu fumbling, this isn’t great. Maybe the worst part though is that there’s a very long takeoff animation every time you start the fight so hope you kill it first try. I can’t actually figure out what makes a missile “hit” or not when the boss is offscreen – being in the crosshairs didn’t seem to matter, that often still resulted in a miss. It takes four hits and I have six missiles. The fight is very, very easy. Sadly it didn’t drop anything. Heading north from here leads me to a new building, which is where I stop for now.
Okay, it’s time to tackle the Tower Building. I got into a funny situation where I was running from guards so I jumped in the back of a truck and punched them to death as they came in, then exited once they were all dead… and a bunch more dudes spilled out of the back of the truck. I know why the game does this but it was very goofy. That truck also had a cardboard box in it. Campbell radios and says he’s changing the frequency, and that the new frequency is in the manual. Uh, okay, but this is a digital release Campbell, there is no software manual.
Fine buddy. Never talk again!
I think it is very funny that you have to get into the building by equipping the box and hopping on a weird conveyor belt.
Once inside Holly radios and gives some vague clues about her location, so I guess I just explore until I find the right area that matches her description? I have to say I really appreciate that to use an elevator you have to push the button next to it and wait a bit for it to arrive instead of just walking up to it like it’s any other door.
I descend to the basement. No clue as to why there are small children down here in what seems to be a sewer but sure, why not. There are also plastic explosives. One of the kids asks if I’m friends with the blonde haired girl who I presume is Holly, so maybe she’s down here too. Sure enough she’s behind a hidden wall. There’s a sound cue and the description matches where she said, but how… how did she get into this featureless doorless room that I needed a plastic explosive to reveal?? I presume what is this game’s “love theme” plays while we talk. She tells me I have to go pigeon hunting and gives another ID card.
On the 10th floor there is another bombable wall but the is also a subtle visual indicator (sort of like cracked walls in Zelda) and also an NPC that clues things, which feels far more reasonable to me than just having to guess which wall might have the passage. A kid tells me there are green pineapples to the south. Delicious! They’re actually grenades. Delicious! These in hand I can now approach the next boss: Red Blaster.
What even is this fight? There are tripwires but this guy’s aim is so bad you barely need to move. He crawls around like Spider-Man throwing bombs down on you, and you throw grenades up at him. I beat this guy on my first try without taking a hit. I can’t tell why they made this so trivial. He drops nothing, sadly.
Climbing up to floor 31, Holly calls to tell me they painted the door to the roof shut but that I can blow it up. Hey, thanks! Also, that seems very inconvenient for anybody who might want to use that door. Why not like… lock it? The pigeon I need is here but it runs away from me. I probably would not have remembered that at some point I met a bird expert but I did, and radioing him gives me the info to progress: give the bird a ration made of beans or potatoes. That’s a B2 Ration which thankfully I have. I cannot imagine getting here and not having one and then needing to backtrack to find one. Disgusting. The pigeon has a coded message on its leg that decodes to a new radio frequency to call.
The clue is “HELP! WIS.OhIO KIO MARV…”. I have no idea how I was supposed to get a radio frequency from this, but looking up how to solve it actually taught me that I can call Campbell for hints. Maybe if I’d just been trying everything I would have known this already, but I haven’t really used the radio much outside of when I get a call from somebody, and also Campbell changed the frequency and I don’t have the manual. Thankfully the internet does – he’s now on 140.66. Campbell thinks this might be a state-based puzzle and says to call McDonnell Miller. I would like to point out that in an earlier release, the game did not use lower-case letters which made this even more confusing. I dunno if the below screenshot is from an earlier localization or a fan translation but it really muddles things – thankfully on Vita this isn’t an issue.
They just have to tell you the h is lowercase.
Anyway the solution is to turn the numbers upside-down on a calculator which gives 014051M, or 140.51M. Apparently M indicates that it’s a radio frequency? Today I learned. What player is going to know this though??
Finally I get through to Marv, but he speaks Czech and I have no idea what he’s saying. “Better call Madnar” Snake figures. Madnar says to get in contact with his pal Gustava, the only woman in Zanzibarland it seems, so he suggests setting up an ambush in the ladies’ restroom to ensure I find her. Classy, and also nonsensical: if she’s in hiding and there are no women why would she not just use the men’s restroom to avoid blowing her cover?
Madnar said Gustava’s in the same building that he is, so back through the desert I go. I have to say I am not a huge fan of how much back and forth there is in this game – I feel like it’s jerking me around a lot. Go here! Now here! Back here! Now back there! Incidentally I think this is the rough halfway point for the game. I’m not sure how many more new areas there are to explore, I think at this point it’s mostly opening up new doors with new keycards and exploring back and forth.
I actually forgot where the elevator in this first building was so I ran around until I found another one and worked my way up. This involved jumping in a trash chute and almost getting crushed in the disposal system, where I bet I’ll need to explore more later. On the third room I find… a spare computer mouse. I’ve got some questions. What kind of computer am I going to need to use where the mouse just won’t be right there? Does everybody in Zanzibar Land carry their own personal mouse, for security reasons? That would be very funny. There’s a second mouse right nearby too, so I can use both hands to work a PC. [NOTE: after writing this I read the menu description for the Mouse and it turns out they’re robots that look like computer mice. This is way less good.]
In this zone being seen means you get gas grenades dropped, and you have to evade while your O2 is draining. This was a nasty shock that almost killed me, but I guess it’s one way to up the tension. This is also where the remote controlled missiles live, which means we’ve at this point effectively geared up to where we were at the end of Metal Gear. I also find some night vision goggles, for seeing in the night. At this point I think I’ve fully explored the third floor. On to the fourth.
On the fourth floor a small girl tells me that there’s only one bathroom here, on the southeast side of the floor but she’s too scared to go at night. Are they seriously going to actually force me to ambush this woman in the bathroom?
There are also two really weird (and maybe creepy) rooms full of soldier mannequins. The second room has real soldiers too, which spot me as soon as I come in. Is this a jump scare?
The fidelity isn’t there for this to be spooky but it could be in a remake.
Eventually I find the restrooms. There’s a bucket in the men’s room that I steal (gross) and I guess this game is really going there, so it’s time to camp out outside the women’s room until somebody shows up. After a really long time and resetting the guards on the floor since they all despawned, she goes in and it’s confrontation time. She thinks Snake is flirting with her which he probably is. Snake says she used to be an Olympic ice skater but she denies it. She translates for Marv and tells us to follow her into the elevator that is located in the women’s restroom into the sewers. It’s a shortcut, she says.
Floor B3 is gross and grimy. There aren’t really guards but there are these giant robots that will kill you in one hit if they touch you. They’re like those sweeper things from Labyrinth I guess, though why they’re here is anybody’s guess. The sequence is really short and an elevator takes us up into the confinement cell where Dr. Madnar is. What a convoluted way to access a prisoner. He gives the ID card 5. There’s now a train of NPCs following Snake which is very weird for this series (so far). Back in the sewers all the robots are mysteriously gone. Partway through the escape Madnar says he has some business to take care of and wanders off. Snake explains that because Madnar is old his “business” is of the urinary variety. Classy, again. This leads into a story from Gustava about her mother’s days in the sewers of Warsaw evading the Nazis, which shifts suddenly into a discussion about dating and marriage. She was dating a guy named Frank, who we know is Grey Fox, but her family was denied asylum in the west so they couldn’t marry. Some real tonal whiplash. Madnar returns from his break and we can continue.
Out of the sewers, there’s a bridge that we can only cross one at a time. Madnar goes first, and when Gustava tries to cross, Madnar blows the bridge. What a betrayal! Gustava confesses her love to her bathroom buddy, gives Snake her brooch and ID card 6, and dies. This is bad stuff all around. Kojima, I know you’re not good with women in your games. This entire Gustava bit, front to back, isn’t helping your case.
Madnar goes off with some guards, and in walks……..
Sidebar: the entrance of the Metal Gear is very funny because the top half of the screen goes black for a few seconds and you can hear the metallic sounds of the gear walking, then it reveals. I imagine this was to save on having to animate the thing actually walking, but it’s very silly in execution.
Grey Fox is with the Metal Gear, he claims he’s taking Madnar with him. Oh, so it was the Metal Gear that blew up the bridge from offscreen? Uhm, okay. Grey Fox says we should go home, he’s not going to kill us for old times sake. Thanks buddy.
Holly calls and says that if we get a hang glider from the first floor of the Zanzibar building we can proceed despite the bridge being out. Time to backtrack all the way back there. Back through the jungle and desert we go. Supposedly I’m now a little past the halfway point for the game. At this point I can say I am feeling the length. My play clock says it’s only been a few hours, but it FEELS really, really long. The narrative sequence that I just did was the first real time the game has had any quieter moments or breathing room, and I think that the pacing would be improved a lot if there were fewer bits where you’re just evading guards and more puzzle/trap sequences where you can stop and think, or story bits (actually… given the plot beats that just happened maybe not) where there’s a bit of room to decompress from constant enemy exposure.
Also, I’ve seen the list of bosses in this game and I’ve only fought four, so the back half of this game must be a real boss gauntlet. Another pacing issue…
Okay, time to backtrack to the Zanzibar Building. Now that I’ve got a bunch more keycards I can poke around there more, and quickly get the Blue Card, which combines ID cards 4, 5 and 6. I appreciate the game doing this, it reduces the inventory clutter and the juggling of all these IDs.
There’s a kid on the fourth floor who says that if I put Gustava’s brooch in the sauna or freezer, it will change shape. Why does this random child know this?
Near the room with the brooch youth is the infirmary. It’s full of napping guards and the floor is loud so you have to crawl through. At the way back there’s cold medicine. I guess now I am protected in case I have to sneeze. It’s attached to the sauna, so I guess I can check that brooch. Egads! Its shape is alter’d! I hope that the sauna-relaxing towelclad guard sprite never gets used again, that it was produced just for this room.
The sauna changed the shape of the brooch into a key. Interesting. There’s a locked locker right near here so I guess that’s what opens that. Inside is a cassette tape that holds a recording of the Zanzibar Land national anthem. Oh yeah, ages ago I learned that when the anthem plays all soldiers stop and salute. So I guess this is for a puzzle.
Poking around in the basement with the blue card yields a wealth of booty: an O2 tank, a camo mat, some gas grenades, a mouse… jackpot. I think this should let me swim now. Also, there’s an SMG. Rat-a-tat. And body armor. All the good stuff is down here!
Anyway there’s a huge door right by the vent I used way back at the beginning of the game to get into this building that the Blue Card can open. It’s full of guards… but I play the anthem and they all stop.
Propaganda is a heck of a drug.
Actually I think they’re all dummies except one, which does deaggro with the anthem. Either way, they were guarding a hang glider. Bonzai! I wonder if it’s possible to just fight your way through here and ignore getting the cassette. Probably. Now it’s time to pursue Grey Fox. Back through the jungle and desert…. Again…………
As I take the elevator back up to the busted bridge though, there’s a twist! Grey Fox calls me and says FRIENDSHIP ENDED WITH SOLID SNAKE. He has sent the Four Horsemen, an elite close-quarters assassination team, to end me. Time for some elevator action.
“We get our orders directly from the President.”
This boss isn’t hard, but it is very annoying. It’s basically just a fight against four regular mooks but they have a very, very large health pool that isn’t shared between them and their damage is higher. If you get close to one they jump to the walls and won’t come down or attack until you move away, so realistically you can lock two of them out of fighting at a time just by standing close by. Once one of them dies the fight is basically over because you can just fight a series of one-on-ones. They drop ID card 7.
When the fight ends the elevator has its cable cut or something and plunges back to floor 1 while an alarm sounds. I guess I better take the stairs. Well, there aren’t any that I’ve found, but there are plenty of other elevators so I just waltz to the next-closest one and go up. On floor 10 where I had to bomb all the fake walls and thought there was good signaling there’s an unmarked wall I need to bomb to proceed. Okay, I take it back. That’s not so great.
Behind that bit are the stairs, because that’s a logical place to put your stairs. They’re packed with goons and there’s no real way to avoid being seen so it’s just a mad dash to ascend. You have to climb the other ten flights. This is what they call metal gear rising. I love it. Final Fantasy VII’s stairs sequence rules and so does this. Just make me climb the actual amount of stairs. Don’t shortcut it.
Out on the balcony my “number one fan” calls and says I can only make the jump when the wind blows north. Hmm.
The trick is to use gas grenades to see the direction of the wind, which is cool, but I used mine all up and the wind never changed. Then I used the glider and it worked anyway. Maybe I got lucky?
Once across the gap, there’s a short walk to the next boss: Jungle Evil. Why wasn’t he in the jungle?
Welcome to the Evil?
For this guy you hide behind a box and throw grenades when he pops out of the tall grass. His arena is huge – four screens, the same as the Hind D – but there’s no reason to ever move off the first one. I don’t really know what they were going for here because it’s very hard for him to hurt you. Maybe if you only had a gun, things would be different. He drops ID card 8.
Jungle Evil was guarding a facility building of some sort. Inside, there are eggs. Okay. Maybe I can eat them later.
Some kids tell me that they keep animals in a room to the northwest and that the laser fences get turned off at night. Some security! I came from the northwest so I guess that was the egg house. Actually the eggs have hatched into Snake and an Owl. The snake eats all my rations. Why…
Equipping the owl make it hoot and the guards that controls the gate to the next aria think it’s nighttime so they turn off the lasers. That’s kind of funny. Inside a kid tells me that B1 rations have chocolate in them. Tasty. One of these houses has a sewer sweeper robot in it for some reason. Probably to troll the player.
I take an elevator into the basement of this area and my number one fan calls again with a warning. Night Fright, the last surviving member of the legendary guerilla unit the Whispers is stalking me. It’s time for yet another boss fight.
Night Fright’s deal is that he’s invisible unless he’s shooting at you. He doesn’t show up on radar either. As a result you just gotta shoot at him when you see bullets coming at you. The floor is squeaky so you can hear him coming but that’s about it. Luckily with body armor he is very, very easy. I just sat there and traded bullets with him until he died, you can get a lot more hits in than he can because he gets stunned for a second when shot.
Something I didn’t realize until a boss or two ago was that this game actually has a “level” or “rank” system much like Metal Gear 1, it just doesn’t explicitly display it. Each rank up increases your health bar length and how many bullets/weapons you can carry.
Sadly I can’t proceed further because there’s a room filled with acid and a door I don’t have the keycard for. When I reach the locked door behind the acid (which kills me once, but then I recall something something child clue… equipping B1 rations neutralizes the acid…) there’s another call from the number one fan. Jungle Evil has ID card 9, which opens the door. But he only had 8, Snake replies. The fan says that Evil must’ve dropped it somewhere Time to explore and backtrack? I eventually get it from the grass field where he was. I admit I actually walked over the place where you grab it and it wasn’t there, it seems like you can’t sequence break this because the card does not spawn until you are told of its existence. Bogus.
ID card 9 in hand I go back to the acid room and finally reach Dr. Marv! Dr. Madnar is here and says it’s too late – Marv is dead, his heart gave out from the stress of imprisonment. Snake says wait a sec, what’s that bruise on his neck? Madnar says don’t worry about it, the plans for the OILIX are safe because Marv left a copy of the plans behind for emergencies. Also he loved video games, and hid the plans inside an MSX game cartridge made by a fictional Japanese video game company named Konami. The plans are locked inside a locker now, but Madnar doesn’t know where the key is.
At this point Holly calls and says Madnar is bad news – he’s been a double agent this whole time, playing both sides and feeding secrets across the east/west political divide. Madnar was behind the theft of the OILIX all along. Who could have foreseen this?
“I’m afraid you’ve got me, Snake.”
Turns out that all he wanted to do was finish Metal Gear and the scientific community rejected him as madman, so he swore revenge. Then he jumps on Snake’s back and attacks! It’s a boss!
“I can’t breathe…”
To get Madnar off your back you have to use remote missiles to hit him since he’s always behind you. Your health is constantly draining from being choked, and Snake yells “I can’t breathe…” throughout the whole fight which definitely reads today with some associations that did not exist when this came out.
Once Madnar is toast (or is he?) Gustava’s brooch should unlock the locker, but it’s the wrong shape, so I need to go back to the freezer to make it right. Back to the Zanzibar Building I go…
A truck ride acts as a shortcut back to the tower building, thankfully (but am I going to have to glider back?) and from there I just have to cross the desert and the jungle for the umpteenth time. In the Zanzibar Building I use ID card 9 to unlock a door to the Green Card, which condenses cards 7, 8 and 9. Now if they let me combine Red, Blue and Green into some sort of Master Card that would be great. Up to the fourth floor cold storage room where I freeze the brooch, then back through the jungle, desert, tower building, acid room… so much backtracking in this game. At least I don’t have to go up to the roof and glide again – there’s another transport truck.
Inside the locker is… nothing! There’s a hole in the back though. Crawling through, it seems some rats have stolen the cartridge and if you touch one it’s lethal. Demonic rats. They can be lured out of the hole with a B3 Ration and shot. Something about this game and animals and food always going together. I grab the cartridge.
Madnar is still alive. He gives me a gift to give to his daughter Ellen, and tells me how to destroy the new Metal Gear: use grenades on the legs. Seems easy enough. Then a pit opens and Snake falls. Grey Fox taunts us: “The final delusion of a senile old man. There’s no way to destroy this Metal Gear, Snake!” It’s time to take this sucker down.
BOSS FIGHT: METAL GEAR D
This gif is basically what I did except I didn’t even bother to move in front of it.
This guy is very easy. I just stood on the side of the room and threw grenades while dodging the various projectiles it lazily lobbed. I dunno if there were more mechanics that I just didn’t see, but the fight is overall representative of the entire gamut of bosses thusfar: basically trivial. At least this one had some spectacle to it, the sprite is huge and cool.
After Metal Gear blows up Grey Fox steals the game cartridge and lights Snake on fire, so I have to toss out my entire inventory since it’s burning me alive. A door opens to the next room and Grey Fox is there – time for another boss fight!
Grey Fox plays Slappers only! ruleset since you just had to toss out every single item in your inventory. He does almost no damage but the room is lined with invisible land mines so you gotta stay in the middle. I was worried he’d kill me but he actually poses very little threat. I spent most of the game’s combat in punch mode to conserve ammo because I am a packrat and it pays off here.
Grey Fox talks about his reasons to being loyal to Big Boss, how Big Boss pulled him out a situation of racial abuse and then rescued him again when he was being tortured as a special agent. He also reveals he’s been the one helping Snake as the number one fan, due to his conflicted feelings on this entire scenario. Tragic? I guess, but also I cannot understand that level of loyalty to a guy who wants to nuke the planet. He explodes and leave the cartridge behind. He is now reunited with his love Gustava.
A voice calls out “Over here, Snake!” so I follow it through a few rooms. The voice was Big Boss. I’m shocked. Shocked! Big Boss has some weird circular logic about how war is the reason for human existence and all must be fed into its gristmill.
I don’t really think this is well-written at all. Anyway time for yet another Big Boss fight.
A Red Beret distinguishes him from the other kind.
This is a puzzle fight. Since Snake has no gear, you just have to run away from him. There are a bunch of doors and one of them has an ID card behind it. You just have to run around trying all the doors with the card until you find one that opens, and then repeat with the next card you find. Eventually Snake finds a lighter and an aerosol spray can, makes a flamethrower, and the fight is over at that point as the flamethrower can shoot through walls and has infinite ammo. Big Boss burns to a crisp.
Holly shows up to complain about how her undercover uniform was too tight in the chest. Are you kidding me Kojima? She gives Snake a gun and he says “Yeah, I can see how this would be hard for a woman to use.” My face: -__-
The two of you call for extraction and run for the exit. Move speed is turbo. Wish it were always this fast! This is another chase sequence with guards coming after you like the stairs bit was. You get to the point and have to hold off waves of guards until the rescue gets there but there’s also a pitfall trap just to troll you with a one-shot death. Come on, why is this here in the middle of the jungle? Just as Snake runs out of ammo and gets surrounded, Charlie’s chopper arrives and extracts them, just in time for Christmas. Holly and Snake live happily ever after. The End.
Post-credits, Snake and Holly turn in the OILIX recipe cartridge but then Snake vanishes. Holly is peeved because he promised he’d buy her dinner. Sigh.
I didn’t really like this game very much – as I mentioned, it felt very, very long, the backtracking became comical by the end with how often they expected you to walk across the whole world, and the pacing left a lot to be desired. All of that said, this game is a universe above the original Metal Gear in quality. It feels much more like a complete idea, something I reasonably could have picked up in the past few years from an independent studio. Many parts of it feel fresh and modern even by the standards of 2022, and I could easily see a remake with some tuning and quality of life updates being a big hit. I don’t think that there’s much here that needs changing to modernize it effectively. I’m just not big on stealth games and I eventually just started ignoring the need for stealth and running through the zones because I’d seen them so many times and was tired of waiting for patrols. Also by the end I had so much health and so many rations that damage became irrelevant – only one-hit kills mattered.
Play Time: 6:31:56
Alert Mode: 165
Humans Killed: 152
Ration Used: 22
Special Item: Not Used
Code Name: Zebra
Final Rating: 6.5/10 – LordHuffnPuff says “a colossal improvement, if overlong and frustrating at times – check it out!”
Next Time: Metal Gear Solid