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Just a Reminder… (For Future Re-Releases)

Editorial by Ravi Singh, Posted on September 03, 2006

After the re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, titled Subsistence, I must say that the bar for re-releases have been put really damn high. You can go ahead read my review for this re-release, otherwise I’ll spare you the ass kissing because I’m sure you’re sick of that already. Let me just jot down a summary of the additions:

New camera – that doesn’t replace the old. Added shit in the original game – camouflage items, the ability to watch every single cutscene whenever, more Monkey missions, yeah. The classic games – the first two Metal Gears, somewhat tainted, but still mostly in their former glory. Online Mode – All new gameplay. Sure it uses the same engine, but it’s new to Metal Gear, with maps not found in the original. If you ask me, this probably took Kojima Productions the longest time to get everything going correctly. Cheap – It debuted at $29.99 (in comparison to Snake Eater’s debut at $49.99 and Snake Eater’s current price of $19.99). Ok, the Limited Edition disc added an extra $10, but that’s only because they KNOW you guys would pay an extra ten bucks just to watch a game you’ve played too many fucking times already. It’s okay, being a “I must always have the complete collection” person myself, my Limited Edition box is sitting next to my 5-disc special edition of Blade Runner

But a look at some of the features in previous re-releases such as Metal Gear Solid: Integral would make you realize why casual gamers only go out and buy these versions if they have not already bought the original. Sometimes, they don’t even bother – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was available used for $9.99 when Substance came out!

I have taken my time to go over a few Metal Gear re-releases and bitch about them so just in case Hideo Kojima (who probably checks this site every hour, right before he checks his secret MySpace) reads this.

Case One: Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions

Let’s imagine a father and his son. The father’s name is Ted and the kid, let’s call him Jeff. Jeff tells Ted he wants a game called Metal Gear Solid for his PlayStation. So Ted goes out looking for a game called “Solid Metal Gear” or some crazy shit to buy. It is Jeff’s birthday, after all. Finally, he finds it. He brings it home. Jeff’s pissed.

VR Missions destroys families!.

That’s because he accidentally picked up Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (or Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions if Ted and Jeff reside in Europe) which is actually supposed to be part of a three-disc package called Metal Gear Solid: Integral.

Why is Jeff pissed? Well, unlike Integral, VR Missions does NOT include the original game. Now I’m sure you have seen many movies being re-released on DVD as a “Special Edition” or something, which is pretty much the same movie with a bonus disc that has, I dunno, commentary, interviews, a documentary, deleted scenes… would anyone outside of a ridiculous fan of the movie buy the second disc by itself? Even if it had the cool packaging?

Fuck, VR Missions had what could quite possibly be the most bland packaging. Yes, more bland than the North American boxart for Metal Gear Solid which was red text on white. At least that looked slick if you are into minimalism. The VR Missions boxart had the Ninja on the cover and a lot of green. Only one part of this is true to 25% the game: green. The Ninja? A whopping three or four missions set in the same area. What a tease.

I enjoyed the VR Missions, myself. It’s just that they are a supplement to the actual game, like a second disc to a DVD re-release. Konami obviously were too busy jerking off to realize that had they packaged the game with the VR Missions disc, as originally planed and in fact released to the Japanese, then people like Jeff would actually bother buying it. Instead, they decided to push the “Ninja Missions OMG!!!!!1″ campaign, which instead made fans somewhat pissed off. This perhaps inspired the development team, KCEJ (now Kojima Productions) to use their own misleading hype machine…

Case Two: Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

Unlike VR Missions, Substance gave a good package, all on one disc. Europeans even got a hold of The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2, which I think is a much better idea than selling it by itself (for reasons summarized by the Special Edition DVD analogy I mentioned earlier), but whatever.

However, almost every single news source claimed that Substance will have the ability to play the second part of the game, The Big Shell, as Solid Snake. Some even went ahead of themselves and talked about how you can do the things Snake did while Raiden was out and about, such as fight Olga and Fortune, and “maybe” Ocelot.

Why?

KCEJ’s initial trailers for Substance simply showed some new features. So most of the people who saw Solid Snake, in Pliskin attire, shooting guards with his M4 in the Plant, believed that this was, in fact, showing the ability to play as Solid Snake when he went under the disguise as Plisken during The Big Shell incident. The clips of Raiden using his sword in the Tanker caused some to believe that Raiden would be playable in the Tanker Chapter, perhaps to show the VR Mission he tells Snake he completed that involved Solid Snake blowing up the Tanker. Of course, most fans didn’t give a shit about that, as the idea of playing the story as Solid Snake instead of Raiden gave them a hard-on because, like, “Raiden is so gay, dude!”

KCEJ should have cleared everything up, for GameNOW Magazine photoshopped (oh shit, is it lawsuit time?) some screenshots that looked convincing… for an April Fools joke. However, like many gaming magazine April Fools Jokes, people took it and swallowed it like a bitch. I’m sure there were a lot of sales for Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball once Electronic Games Monthly mentioned a “topless mode” as their April Fools joke. So after the screenshots made their way to European websites under the title of “Metal Gear Solid 2X,” people reportedly got either the magazine or computer monitor too wet.

So then it was finally revealed, only a month before the North American Xbox release, that Substance will absolutely not have the ability to play as Solid Snake during the Big Shell incident. It was all a misunderstanding, as the game will have the ability to play as Solid Snake in the Big Shell area – under stories that did not actually take place in the Metal Gear series timeline, but rather, just for fun.

I’m fine with that, but this did create a situation for fans to be disappointed with the re-release.

That’s not just it. Konami made a deal with Microsoft to release the port to Xbox at the end of 2002 – months before the PlayStation 2 version was to be released in 2003. This allowed Microsoft to claim that it was “ONLY ON Xbox” for it’s television commercials. A lot of fans without an Xbox wondered if they would ever get the re-release. Konami kept quiet. Japan did get Substance on, and only on, PlayStation 2 in 2002. So fans either shrugged and bought the Xbox port, or they went through the trouble of importing the Japanese version. To add on to the “false advertising” claim, the Xbox version did NOT have the Snake skateboarding mini-game. Konami didn’t clear up the matter, most likely due to their contract with Microsoft.

So pretty much, Substance caused a bit of a mystery in North America and Europe until March 2003, when the PlayStation 2 and Windows PC versions were released. The PlayStation 2 version contained the Skateboarding minigame, and all were relieved… except for the fans who bought the Xbox port or imported. Whatever.

So if I must make an analogy… imagine people saying that a re-release of a movie would have a bonus disc with the movie in the point of view from a rather popular character… which is misunderstood, as the bonus disc only contains some deleted scenes that centered on this character… and gets released only on the Sony PSP’s UMD format, with no word on a DVD version until months later. Or, how about we don’t used an analogy for this? Thanks.

Lastly, Substance lacks some… substance. It’s grand that you can play as different forms of Snake and Raiden… too bad they all pretty much go through the same fucking levels!

Japan-envy?

Case Three: Metal Gear… sort of.

The Nintendo Entertainment System remake of Metal Gear was ported on GameCube and bundled as a part of a Japan-only Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes GameCube bundle.

…and nobody really cared. It’s just the NES version.

But hey, the box art for the port looked classy.

Case Four: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

First off, for those of you who remembered this site’s petition, it’s a strong possibility that it may have had something to do with the classic gems Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake coming out of their closet. But we’ll never know. Thank you Konami!

Despite the “We do not reply, so fuck off, or else we’ll sue you for having Snake Eater screenshots!” attitude to a petition consisting of over a thousand fans pleading for a re-release, Konami did release the classics and most of us are grateful.

First they were released to Japanese cellphones. Then the cellphone versions were ported to the PlayStation 2 as part of the Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence bonus features. Of course, they wouldn’t be mentioned here unless there were something added, right?

Lets talk about the changes! Metal Gear featured a full on translation (which alone would have been good enough), an easier difficulty, a Boss Survival mode, and a new unlockable item, the Bandanna, which is pretty much like the Bandanna in Metal Gear Solid, unlimited ammunition and all. Also, some of the names of characters randomly changed:

Dr. Pettrovich is… Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar. No biggie there. Coward Duck is now Dirty Duck. He got his name because he is a closet fan of Christina Aguilera. Shoot Gunner is now Shotmaker, because he’s the guy at parties that sets up the shots and is all like “Hey bro take a shot with me!” Lastly, The Arnolds are now… Bloody Brad. Singular. Apparently, this name change makes lots of sense because now the rational of them being pissed off and always running into Snake is due to the fact that despite all their efforts, there is no blood in the game.

Oookay. But besides that, Metal Gear was untouched. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, however, got some more changes.

Oh, Hugh.

Yes, the same changes make to Metal Gear were made to it’s sequel’s re-release, including some name changes: Dr. Pettrovich Madnar is… Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar. What’s with the Drago, man? Black Color has his name changed to Black Ninja, despite the fact that he is light blue. Natasha Markova is now Gustava Heffner, since some people were like “Nastasha is in Metal Gear 2?” No. Natasha and Nastasha are two different names. Also, Kojima probably is planning to bring up Gustava in Guns of the Patriots, and somehow link her to Hugh Heffner, who is a member of The Wisemen Committee, obviously. Yozef Norden, everyone’s favorite character, is now… Johan Jacobsen, or Jay-Jay for short. How cute. Ultra Box is now the Four Horsemen, because Kojima doesn’t like the band Ultravox anymore. He is, however, a big fan of HORSE The Band. Night Sight is now Night Fright, which is just childish. I mean, fuck, get a night light.  Or at least have one testicle drop. Predator is now Jungle Evil. I didn’t know what to say about this name, so I did a Google Image search and got this horrendous image below:

…and now I know why “Jungle Evil” instills more fear at heart than “Predator.”
09/03/06 – As of today, the image shown here does not appear in Google image search.

In addition, we got some graphical changes. Woo! The first graphical change differentiates the three kinds of Rations, for people who can’t read, but aren’t color blind! Snake also decided to smoke non-branded cigarettes because he’s too cool to be a corporate whore. Oh, and since apparently any artwork not done by Yoji Shinkiwa must be burnt, all the avatars in the game are replaced.

Solid Snake now looks tuffXcore, even more grittier than when he shows up to Shadow Moses.

Colonel Campbell also decided to drink some protein shakes, because his face is a lot more full.

Oh fuck! Do not mess with George Kessler, who not only looked furious in the original, but now is even more furious because he is The Thing from Fantastic Four!

Holly White looks the same, except now she looks like she is from one of Otacon’s Japanese animes. That, and when you see her you go “Holy FUCKIDY FUCK, she is pretty damn white!”

They decided to kill off Natasha and re-use Naomi Hunter to play as Gustava. Cool.

The same goes for Master Miller, who now looks like Liquid Snake. In fact, take a look at him and Snake:

Don’t they look familiar? Could Master Miller actually be the missing Gas Snake? Oh snaps!

Pettrovich looks like he shaved off his eyebrows?

Kio Marv got a nosejob and… is that Sokolov? No, it’s not.

Apparently, the original portrayal of Gray Fox was incorrect, for Gray Fox actually bleaches and styles his hair before he goes devil hunting in the basement of Zanzibar Land.

Lastly, Big Boss. No more Connery. You’re the boss now, dog.

Characters looks better when they are extremely pasty white, because nobody is down with the brown.

So, okay, they decided to change the pictures for the continuity of the series. I accept that. You can’t have Solid Snake look like Mel Gibson, and then be the clone of Big Boss, who looks like Sean Connery. Did they changed the avatars so they can make the game look better? But why is it that no matter what gun Snake has equipped… he is always holding the god damned Ingrahm. Damn it all.

Ironically, one of the reasons why the Metal Gear Solid 3 re-release was such a great deal is because of the inclusion of the re-released classics. But then, I actually like the re-release of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, I was just ranting about the unnecessary changes that weren’t really needed. Honestly, they are manageable. It’s the lack of the instruction manual that is a bigger issue since the game basically tells you to look at it and, well, you don’t have one. Konami makes you go on the internet. How times have changed.

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