Well, at least I thought I was revisiting a classic. Inspired by the events of Guns Of The Patriots (don't worry, no spoilers here), I decided to pop in the old 2-discer for a bit of reminiscence, before catching on after about ten minutes that I knew the intricacies of the game all too well, going as far to predict Snake's hardly-gaming-history first meeting with Mei Ling word for word. See, after finishing this game some 32 times, I'm confident I know it better than I know my mum.
No game, except maybe the sequel, Sons Of Liberty, has ever had me coming back for more as often as Metal Gear Solid. Even the excellent latest offerings don't have the same pull on me. And despite the fact that it is effectively rendered obsolete by later improvements in control, its never been bested for character or style. From FOXHOUND's fantastic freaks to the man himself, Liquid, no game has ever surpassed this for quality villainy. The setting is excellent. The discovery of support from Otacon and Meryl in such a remote oppressive surrounding is a genuinely comforting feeling. The music is excellent. The sound effects are something I never thought about until recently, but honestly, they add so much to the game, from the satisfying 'clak' of picking up an item to the horrifying "!" of being discovered, sound design in this game is flawless. The script is the best of the four, with the least waffle and the easiest plot to comprehend. The performances are spot on first time around, from David Hayter's best outing as Solid Snake to Cam Clarke's inexplicably but deliciously British Liquid. The gameplay is innovative, from the truly baffling Mantis fight to the backtracking Sniper Wolf battle and the final showdown with Rex, where timing is everything. The PACKAGING is even excellent, with that cool as hell cover and the lovingly illustrated and detailed manual, and the sneaky hint on the back of the box. Best of all, is the sense of elation felt upon completion, and the thrill of starting all over again. While Sons Of Liberty may be my favourite of the series and other games take my best-ever spot, nothing, in games, music, film or literature has ever made me feel like Metal Gear Solid, and I doubt if anything will again.