Huh?! WHOSE FOOTPRINTS ARE THESE? There’s another game that we’re going to have to shamelessly cover before we get to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty? It’s like one of my Japanese animes.
[Writer Update: I just had one of the weirdest weekends of my life, immediately following a hectic return to school. Cut me some slack for missing the last two weeks. I’m fired.]
Yes, yes, lady and gentleman, we have yet another Metal Gear Solid game to cover that you may not have known about before we get to the “most confusing”, “most convoluted”, and “weirdest” entry in the entire franchise, other than Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots of course. This little gem comes courtesy of some alternate sequel, multi-verse, pseudo-handheld-cash-in philosophies and was released April 27th of the year 2000 in Japan and May 5th, 2000 in the rest of the world. I speak, doubtably, about Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, or Metal Gear Solid for the Gameboy Color as it was referred to as here in the Western world.
Essentially, this was the first attempt to bring the Metal Gear universe into all of our collective pockets for portable play, back when every major title had to have some sort of handheld spin-off. Obviously that trend never died. The game, for apparent reasons, had to bring back to the graphics, isometric view, and music of previous games in the series in order to be fully realized on the smaller and less powerful hardware, but honestly… it plays great. The European Konami studios did a great job with the title, as it stays true to the series in terms of style and gameplay mechanics.
I won’t divulge too much of the plot, as since the game exists in an alternate reality bubble (or maybe it’s the real reality and the rest of the series is an alternate one?!) most of the characters from the rest of the series are absent in this title. The only returning faces that you, the player at home, will experience are Solid Snake, Roy Campbell, and Mei Ling. And, speaking frankly, a majority of the game’s plot is pretty throwaway. It plays really well and brings us everything that we’d come to expect from a handheld MSX2 style Metal Gear, but that’s all. Even with these similarities though, the game is broken up into individual stages with grades received after each one, in order to help make the game and narrative more digestible for on-the-go play.
In a nutshell Solid Snake partners up with Kris Jenner…I mean…Chris Jenner, a Delta Force operative and Meryl fill-in that is surviving in guerrilla territory, to try and stop Metal Gear Gander. The Black Chamber is the small group of odd baddies that stand-in for MGS1’s FOXHOUND, or FOX-HOUND if you really want to bring up the terrible MGS1 subtitles, as the flavor of the week end bosses. The General is the primary antagonist, and of course works as a gap filler for Liquid Snake. Spoilers be damned: Solid Snake wins, that saucy so-and-so!
Besides the general MGS flavored plot-line, the GBC cart is surprisingly packed with quite a lot of goodies, including a secret CODEC frequency with a radio drama on it, 180 VR missions (with some lifted from the PS1 disk), and even Metal Gear Solid‘s first multiplayer mode, which manifests itself in a 2 player versus mode.
Overall it’s a great little package, and if you manage to get your hands on the cart definitely pick it up! The music is great too!
Next week: METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY IS FINALLY UPON US! Four part mini-thesis extravaganza!
Pro-Tip: There’s a Metal Gear: Ghost Babel poster that can be seen in Metal Gear Solid 2 in B2 of Shell 1.