Welcome back, faithful Finkites. I suppose you’re wondering where I’ve been lately. Well, like most of you, no doubt, I have been engrossed in what could easily be described as a video game for the PSThree, Konami’s latest blockbuster, MGS Solid IV: Patriot’s Guns.
Knowing that this game was going to be incredibly popular, I decided that I would have to play it for myself. I took some time off of work so that I could camp out outside a local video game store to insure that I would be the first person to get it. I camped outside for two weeks prior to the game’s release and for a whole week after its release date waiting for copies to arrive. It wasn’t until then that I learned that “Games Workshop” doesn’t carry video games. They only stock things like tiny, metal dolls and, I don’t know, train sets or something. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed that this so-called “Games Workshop” doesn’t consider video games to be games. The Fink had some strong words that I thought about saying to the store’s manager, I can tell you that much.
After packing up my camping gear, I went into the GameSpot on the other side of the mall and secured my copy of the game.
Now, I have never played any of the previous MGS Solid games as I am not a fan of first-person shooters. After hearing that this sequel was played in the third-person, I knew that it was time to dive in! I was surprised to find that the game is very similar to Walt Disney’s classic laser-disk arcade game, Dragon Slayer. In MGS Solid IV, much like that old quarter muncher, you simply watch a movie and press the occasional button to choose the next path. It’s not the most involved style of gameplay, but it does help create the illusion of an interactive movie.
I enjoy a good story as much as the next fellow, but I must admit that I had some trouble following the one presented here. Let me see if I can explain this to you. Warning! There may be some spoilers from this point on. Consider yourself warned (by that bolded word that says, “Warning!”).
You control a soldier named Old Snake, who is apparently the father of Solid Snake, the hero of the previous MGS Solid games. Old Snake is dying because he has robots in his body, but before he dies, he decides to go on one final mission to kill his brother, who is an evil cowboy. Old Snake lives on an airplane with his friend (?) Hal Otacon. Together, they have a young daughter named Sonny, who enjoys cooking eggs. There is a lot of deep thoughts and symbolism in this game. I believe that the eggs represent either rebirth or cholesterol.
Along the way, Old Snake learns something that I couldn’t really follow. It was something along the lines of him being a clone of his brother or his brother is really his father or that he was his brother’s father and that his brother was a clone of him. Something along those lines. Either way, he also meets his mother who doesn’t like to zip up her top. I would be quite uncomfortable hanging out with my mother if she insisted on dressing in that fashion.
I’m also not sure where Solid Snake is during all this. Maybe a sequel will reveal the answer to that question.
There’s an interesting crossover with the Mortal Combat series. The mighty thunder god, Raiden, makes an appearance in this game, but for some reason he’s now a robot ninja, much like Cyraks and Sektor. Raiden performs some impressive martial arts here, but sadly, none of his patented fatalities.
Old Snake also befriends a ragtag group of mercenaries known as the Rat Pack. One of the Rat Pack members, Akira, defecates a lot, which causes the female of the group (I believe that she’s Old Snake’s daughter) to fall in love with him. It’s a very touching story about how love can bloom anywhere–even on a battlefield.
A lot of people are calling this game a masterpiece. I’m not so sure. It’s pretty clear that the game’s creator, Video Kojima, has an epic story to tell, but it was just too darn confusing to follow. The other big problem is that as a game, there’s not much to it. As I mentioned before, you don’t really control the game–you simply press a button or direction when you’re prompted to. The rest of the time, you’re just watching a movie.
Oh, yeah…there was a smoking monkey in the game, too. It was probably a robot.