Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes Does Not Live Up to the 1998 Original
by Ravi Singh on November 30, 2008
This summarizes what's new about The Twin Snakes.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is an odd title out of the Metal Gear series.
It's the first and, so far, the only remake of a Metal Gear title that has been
approved by Hideo Kojima. It's the second remake, and forth title in general,
out of the Metal Gear series to be on a Nintendo platform. It is the first Metal
Gear title developed by a developer not affiliated with Konami, and the first
to have any involvement from an actual motion picture director.
A hot topic for most Metal Gear fans is debating that The Twin Snakes sucks or
is the best game ever. It's quite the interesting topic because you can never
tell what side someone is going to take simply based on his or her opinions on
what makes a good game good. Of course, wither or not any of these people have
even played the game, the Nintendo fanboy will probably say that The Twin Snakes
was fucking awesome, the anti-Nintendo guy will say that it sucked because it's
on the GayCube, and the person who is insecure about their sexuality will state
that it's at least better than Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty just because
you get to play as Solid Snake instead of Raiden.
Simply put, we rarely see an intelligent view on the issue, both positive or negative.
If we do, it gets drowned out by idiots using caps lock. The thing is, The Twin
Snakes is actually not that bad of a game. The cutscenes are very movie-like,
the graphics are decent, and the gameplay is, well, kind of like Sons of Liberty.
However, not only was it released years after Sons of Liberty, but it's a remake
of a game that was considered one of the best PlayStation releases ever. The Twin
Snakes simply doesn't hold up to the original. It's a remake that is all that
could have been, especially considering all of the talent that was involved in
Inconsistency Between Gameplay and Cutscene
The typical argument against The Twin Snakes involves the cutscenes that were
directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, who's batfuck crazy. Scenes in the original in which
Snake would peek around a corner, hide behind something, or put his hands up end
up looking like this:
Which is fine, except when you play the game, Snake can't jump. Which, once
again, is fine, but what the fuck?
Let's also not forget that he has the slouched look from Sons of Liberty, in
which he's supposed to have aged a lot since the Shadow Moses incident. Snake
never acts like he's so damn flexible during gameplay. Which is why we get the
problem: Why make Kitamura director when you're just going to make the gameplay
be exactly like that of Sons of Liberty? They had to have watched Kitamura's
previous works, right? I mean, Hideo Kojima is apparently a huge fan so... what
the fuck? Why didn't they tell Silicon Knights that Snake should pretty much
be Dante from Devil May Cry? Or at least younger than he is in Sons of Liberty?
Top: Metal Gear Solid (1998) - Solid Snake is irritated that Kenneth Baker
forgot Meryl's codec frequency. He says "Damn."
Bottom: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (2004) - Solid Snake is fucking
irate that Kenneth Baker forgot Meryl's codec frequency. He outs his gun
to Baker's head.
"Konami JPN's polygon demo team incorporate in the game Mr. Kitamura's
extreme directions..." EXTREME. How extreme? How about Solid Snake backflipping
onto a missile to jump up and fire a Stinger missile in mid-air at the Hind
D? Or Snake getting so pissed off that an old guy can't remember a codec frequency
that he actually puts his SOCOM to his head?
Before everyone tries to blame Kitamrua for single handlely "ruining" The
Twin Snakes, keep in mind that he did what he was told to do.
"Mr. Kitamura really respected and honored the original
work, so like the helicopter, the chopper flying up, the scene there is
pretty loyal to the original scene. But then we said, "This isn't it.
If we're going to have Mr. Kitamura do it, we want him to do it his
way." So what you're not seeing now, but what you'll see later on
in the game is totally different. You'll be shocked."
As fun as Kitamura's direction of the script was, it was not consistent
with the game. The scenes with Gray Fox, for example, make sense for his character
considering the boss fight with him. It's too bad that they didn't have Silicon
Knights make Snake NOT look like he was from Metal Gear Solid 2. It's just
weird to see someone look so damn out-of-shape be so damn flexible during
certain moments. Otherwise, the cutscenes are really not that bad. They're
just over the top considering the gameplay.
Sub-par Voice Acting
While the cutscenes are actually good aside from the over-the-top visuals,
a lot of the voice acting simply falls flat. How can this be true if The Twin
Snakes practically recast the same voice actors? That's what I'd like to know.
Dropping the accents of the characters already brought down a few points.
While Mei Ling was from the United States, it's possible that, being raised
in China Town, she acquired an accent. Naomi Hunter doesn't even know where
the fuck she popped out, and Nastasha Romanenko was from fucking Ukraine.
However, it's not just that. A lot of the voice actors delivered a weak performance.
Jennifer Hale was notably the worst, which is sad considering her performances
in the original, Sons of Liberty, and even Guns of the Patriots. What the
Nobody is going to claim that the original Metal Gear Solid has a higher
polygon count or whatever... but why does the remake insist on keeping
everything blue, with a few orange parts?
Anyone who claims that The Twin Snakes looks better than the original
Metal Gear Solid is correct only in theory. You have to take into consideration
the hardware both titles were using though.
In that aspect, Metal Gear Solid is a beautiful game for what can be done
on the PlayStation console. Sure, the graphics are mostly composed of blues,
greens, and grays but the way KCEJ designed the look and the filters allowed
for one to catch the gritty feeling the low-polygon count environments were
supposed to give. Sure, nobody had eyes, but you kind of got the idea that
they did. Just the cutscenes themselves being done in real-time were impressive
as it is.
Comparing it with anything on the GameCube, even The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina
of Time port, would be unfair due to the drastic differences between the
hardware. Even comparing the high-resolution PC port and Dreamcast emulation
of Metal Gear Solid to anything on the GameCube would be unfair since the
port and the emulation do not look like what the development team intended
the game to look like.
However, looking at The Twin Snakes and comparing it to other GameCube titles
is fair game and it's in this aspects that it fails especially in comparison
to the original. I mean, let's use another remake as an example. The first
Resident Evil for the PlayStation was remade on the GameCube. Now I'm not
going to compare The Twin Snakes with a game that uses 90% prerendered graphics
for backgrounds, but the game could have easily looked worse and still be
recognized. Capcom did the best they could making it look as good as it
does. Before the remake, Code: Veronica for the Dreamcast was arguably the
best-looking Resident Evil game out there. Comparing the two titles has
the remake of the first one stand out--although to be fair, Code: Veronica
uses polygonal backdrops rather than pre-rendered ones--which is no surprise
if you compare the Dreamcast hardware with that of the GameCube's. So what
have Silicon Knights done in regards to Metal Gear?
At the time, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was the best looking Metal
Gear game out there. Considering the GameCube's superior hardware, I think
it would even be fair to use Snake Eater--which was in development around
the same time as The Twin Snakes was--as an example, but fuck it, I'll be
nice and stick with Sons of Liberty.
See the problem? The Twin Snakes looks like Sons of Liberty. Fuck, it
looks worse sometimes. Why do character eyeballs in Sons of Liberty look
more real than they do in The Twin Snakes? Ironically, those cutscenes everyone
bashes end up being the best looking parts of the game.
Instead of ripping the maps from the original PlayStation game and then
throwing in edited polygonal models from Sons of Liberty, why didn't they
just, I dunno, work from scratch? Too much time and money, right? Well then,
why bother making a remake?
Modern Gameplay, Dated Environment
Since this is not VERY EASY mode, I am fucked. In Sons of Liberty, there
would have been a decent place to hide that's not your cardboard box.
Solid Snake enters a room. This room has some decent places to crawl
under, hide behind, and there are even some lockers Snake can hide in
now. What to do?
Considering how much ammunition is available for your tranquilizer gun,
you'll probably go into first-person mode and pop all of them in the head
and go to the next area. While shooting them in the arm with a silenced
SOCOM will actually have them look for cover and then call for some help
-- instead of going "Hm?" and ignoring the fact that they just got shot
as they do in the original -- you still can just aim for the head. I know,
you could make the game harder and closer to the original by abstaining
from using first-person mode but... why? It's true that the absence of
first-person shooting was annoying in the original Metal Gear Solid. It's
also true that this feature was a great addition to Sons of Liberty. So
what the fuck is my issue with it?
It's like getting a huge television set in a room where you're going to
be sitting close to the television anyways. If the maps remain the same,
albeit a few lockers here and there, then this makes things easier. Even
boss fights remain unchanged, causing the Revolver Ocelot boss fight to
be easily won by staying in first person, using the triggers to sway left
and right while Ocelot fires, and then firing your gun when you get a
clear shot. As opposed to the original, where you had to chase down the
nutjob and figure out a way to avoid his ricocheting bullets.
In fact, the only location and boss fight that changed enough to qualify
as an adaptation of the current gameplay is the M1 Tank in the Snowfield.
However, even that gets bogged down by something else I'll discuss later.
Besides this area's slight change, nearly every location is the same as
it was in the original. Fine, but the Sons of Liberty gameplay mechanics
don't work well here. In the original, Snake would simply hide or run
away from an Alert and Caution. Sons of Liberty added an Evasion mode
in which heavily-armed guards will actually look for you everywhere. Including
those oh-so-helpful lockers that they added to, I guess, spice up this
They gave their names in vain...
Even in 1998 Metal Gear Solid had one issue: a lack of extras. I
mean, sure, beating what's essentially an hour-long game thrice grants
you a tuxedo, the ability to see Gray Fox randomly dress up as Spiderman,
and possibly see both endings to the same fucking story, each of which
gives you an unlockable item. Three hours later, you're fucking done.
For a two-disc game, that was kind of a joke.
Seeing as how The Twin Snakes is a remake, surely they addressed this
issue? Well, we still get two endings with their respective unlockable
items, but the only thing thrown in that adds any incentive to go through
the game multiple times is the dogtag collection. Of course, collecting
each and every dog tag available in the game gives you... nothing.
Well at least we got ten VR Missi... oh wait, no, those got cut out.
Even Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack believes that a Metal Gear game lacking
extras would be a disappointment... at least he thought so before the
"There will be different modes where you can watch
polygon demos with people in different uniforms. Many, many things
like that - there are a ton. I think these define a Metal Gear title,
really, so to not have them would be a disservice. Players
can expect the same level of detail and some new stuff because this
is a new game."
Totally not worth the effort.
I understand that the GameCube controller is not like the PlayStation
2 controller. So of course it's not going to control like Sons of
Liberty. But come on, couldn't they have at least allowed players
to have some customization over the controls?
The default layout is fine. However if you want to do some complicated
things it gets irritating. For example, the GameCube controller buttons
are not pressure sensitive. Fuck. So how can you hold someone up using
an automatic rifle without blowing your load? Well, you would have
to hold "Y" while holding the weapon button which is "A." You are
going to have to hold it like that and release "Y" if you want to
fire a bullet. Even more annoying is if you're aiming with a handgun
and realize you don't want to fire a bullet. So you have to then hold
"Y" while holding "A" and then release "A" and "Y" in that exact order.
Why didn't they have the "Y" button, which they called the "Weapon
Lock" button be toggled on and off? Or am I just more nuts than Kojima
on acid watching Zeitgeist? Weapon lock, being a quick fix, does not
address the lack of pressure senstivity when it comes to throwing
grenades. So that M1 Tank battle is harder than it should be because
you have to hold the "A" button long enough to be able to throw it
farther... but not for too long or else you'll blow the fuck up.
Why Remake Metal Gear Solid?
How to defeat Revolver Ocelot - Equip your SOCOM. Go into first
person mode. Use the triggers to sway left and right to dodge
Ocelot's bullets. When you have a clear shot, shoot. Wash. Repeat.
Metal Gear Solid was released in 1998 for the PlayStation. Metal
Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was released in 2003 on the GameCube.
Based on the logic that the 1998 game was due for a remake in 2003
for what was then considered to be "next-gen," Sons of Liberty should
have already been remade for the PlayStation 3 in 2006, and we should
be expecting a remake of Snake Eater sometime in 2009, possibly
for the PlayStation 3. Fuck, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid
Snake apparently could have been remade around three times and Metal
Gear Solid should have another remake! Of course, considering the
random decision of making a remake exclusively for GameCube while
it's sequels are developed for an alternative console, these additional
remakes should probably be on the Xbox 360 or Wii.
Which makes you wonder, why the fuck was The Twin Snakes developed
by Silicon Knights, effectively making it's rights exclusive to
Nintendo? This question isn't necessarily one that should provoke
any bullshit from fanboys because on a logical level, it's quite
unexpected. If a remake was necessary, why did Konami outsource
the development of this title, let alone outsource it to a second-party
developer; especially one that has contracts with Nintendo? If you
think about it, fans of Metal Gear Solid most likely bought a PlayStation
2 for Sons of Liberty. Sure, I already had a GameCube for The Legend
of Zelda: Wind Waker, but I highly doubt that fans of the original
Metal Gear Solid who planned on only getting one console decided
to invest their money in a GameCube, especially for a Zelda title.
Nonetheless, even if this was a PlayStation 2 title, it obviously
wasn't necessary and the outsourcing of development ultimately proves
this. If the remake of the title that gave Hideo Kojima the attention
he has now was really that important, there is no way Konami would
have trusted anyone but themselves to make it. Now I'm not going
to claim that this game would have been better if it was on the
PlayStation 2 or developed solely by Kojima Prodcutions (then known
as KCEJ). What I will say is that these actions reveal that the
game was made probably because of some sort of deal between Nintendo
and Konami. Meaning it might have been mostly business that was
driving the development.
The Original Stood Out For It's Time
As odd as it seems, this was pretty epic in 1998.
This is the tragedy of The Twin Snakes. Silicon Knights, Kitamura,
and Konami did a lot of work to rush in this title. Unlike Portable
Ops, this title is actually not bad. However, perhaps because
of the rush and the involvement of too many money hungry corporations,
we got something that is a decent game to kill a few hours with.
On it's own, The Twin Snakes does not stand out. Would it, had
this been an original non-canon story with the same quality? Maybe
the fact that we're used to the original makes what would have
been considered fuck-win be "decent"?
While the story might have been considered phenominal, I don't
think anything else would have stood out. As a GameCube game,
this game doesn't stand out visually amongst titles such as the
2002 build of Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime, and even the launch
title Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. The gameplay
itself, being taken from Sons of Liberty -- a 2001 video game
-- isn't much to brag about either, especially when the gameplay
on the more powerful gameing platform suffers from issues such
as slowdown. Ultimately, there's a lot to ponder about in regards
to how a remake of Metal Gear Solid could have turned out had
it surpassed the original in almost every way possible.