It's a mere month from today that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots sees its international release. As an exclusive to the least-popular next-gen game console, MGS4 will have a far more limited audience than its more recent predecessors. So to tide over those of us who will be going without, a trip down memory lane seems an appropriate alternative. is currently producing an exhaustive reflection on the history of the venerable Metal Gear series, dating back to its solidless origins. Presented in multiple installments, the first episode is a hardy 20 minutes long and covers only the first two games for both the MSX and NES:

When my brother and I got our NES as a joint birthday gift 21 years ago this month, one of his first additions to our nascent library was Metal Gear. Though not as focused on espionage as its descendants, this progenitor offered challenging gameplay and an intricate world and storyline to decipher and. When Metal Gear Solid came out, the highest praise I was surprised to give was that it often made me feel like I was playing the NES original.

I never cottoned to the NES sequel — the side-scrolling action sequences gummed up the flow for me — but I always knew series mastermind Hideo Kojima considered it mostly apocryphal. The above retrospective reminded me that there was a truer sequel for the MSX that was republished for the PS2 as part of Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence — a more accessible (and legal) alternative to MSX emulation. I passed on Subsistence two years ago, but now a bout of nostalgia prompted me to look for it.

I first looked in Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection, released two months ago for the PS2. This pack compiles all three Metal Gear Solid games into a single $30 package. I checked's review to see if the MSX titles were in there … but they are not. Only the core game of Subsistence, which was originally packaged with a second disc of bonus content, is present in The Essential Collection. Consider further that The Essential Collection's version of Metal Gear Solid is the PSOne original, not the superior and remastered GameCube edition The Twin Snakes, and that it does not include the separate disc of VR missions, and there's little reason for a veteran of the series to re-invest in this archive.

Until I'm successful buying Subsistence on eBay, thus granting me a 25-year-old computer game to play in lieu of a new PS3 title, offers plenty more reminders of other games I've missed. Part two (of three?) of their Metal Gear retrospective is is predicted to be released this Thursday, with plenty of other histories already available, including for franchises Final Fantasy, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda.

4 thoughts on “Metal Gear Retrospective

  1. Ken Gagne

    Parts three and four of the retrospective are now available, encompassing Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, respectively (with Portable Ops included in the latter).

    The retrospective's fifth installment will cover more handheld MGS titles.

  2. Ken Gagne

    Parts five and six of the retrospective are now available. Part five reviews the handheld games: Ghost Babel for the Game Boy Color, and Metal Gear Acid 1 & 2 and Portable Ops for the PSP. Part six doesn't look at the franchise as games at all, but instead is a recounting of the plots and storyline of the entire series in chronological order, starting with MGS3.

    And, of course, Metal Gear Solid 4 itself came out yesterday.

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