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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 10/21/07 ] = Things Are Never The Same

It was 1991, I had played the hell out of Metal Gear on my NES, and I was dying to play the sequel. After finishing Metal Gear, I wondered what else could possibly happen in the sequel, Snake's Revenge. I had seen a few screenshots of the game, but it was ultimately the title and box art that had me hyped; Snake's Revenge sounded and looked awesome. And at that time (which many have forgotten or since turned their back on), awesome it was. Fuck what has been said about this game; it is a good game, and a worthy successor, at that. Some don't classify it as a "true sequel" and this and that other bullshit, but the game is actually as good as the original. It's not that the original Metal Gear isn't a good game, it's just that Snake's Revenge is highly and unjustly underrated. A lot of the stupid assholes who go around calling the game things like "a pile of turd" weren't even around when this game was released; they weren't fans until Metal Gear Solid (but act like they know old-school). I was actively gaming when Snake's Revenge came out (unlike many others who have judged it), and I can still remember playing it in during a bitter, long winter in Cleveland, Ohio. I thought it was a good game then, and I still think it's a good game now.







Snake's Revenge carries on the same unique formula of sneaking, hiding, finding, saving, and killing from its predecessor. Both games can be played more aggressively for a challenge, but the emphasis is on what has come to be known as "stealth." While not quite as good as action war games like Commando, Ikari Warriors, or Guerilla War, the breed of action in both Snake's Revenge and its predecessor is unique. Many think that the two titles owe their unique formula to "stealth" because few (if any) other games shared the concept of "stealth" at the time; true, the concept of "stealth" is an important element of the gameplay, but there is also heavy emphasis on finding weapons, using items, and saving hostages. There is also importance on using certain weapons and items at certain times; for example, using the thermal goggles to see normally-invisible laser motion-sensors. These things combined, Metal Gear was a good title that was unique and challenging for its time, and Snake's Revenge carries over the one thing that ties every entry in the series together: variation.

Variation is a signature element of every entry in the Metal Gear series; each title is different, but the same. Varied gameplay is what has made the series popular since its 3-D debut with Metal Gear Solid. Like Metal Gear, obstacles such as moving bridges and platforms, spiked floors, motion detectors, and other stage hazards vary the running and sneaking gameplay of Snake's Revenge. In fact, one could even say that the motion detector laser and search light parts in the Metal Gear Solid series were directly influenced by that which Konami used first in Snake's Revenge. These obstacles, while annoying at times, provide a mix unique and fun unlike any other game in the genre at the time.

But Konami put a lot into Snake's Revenge for the time; various actions such as location-specific radio communication and shooting flares trigger events needed to get through the game. There are even some parts where Snake needs to use explosives to destroy walls and uncover passages; these actions are what make Snake's Revenge a deeper game than its predecessor. Having come straight from Metal Gear, when I got Snake's Revenge I was stuck on the first stage for about a week because I didn't know that I had to make radio contact to trigger an infiltration scene! The first Metal Gear has parts that loosely resemble such events, but in the sequel they are more sensitive and complicated. Not that MG isn't a deep game, it's just that in SR triggered events are more refined.

One of the things I liked most about Snake's Revenge was how everything was put together to form one cohesive experience; the game could be played straight through, without any hang-ups. Despite how good of a game the first Metal Gear is, it has undeniable issues; the worst thing is how certain parts of the game were pretty-much impossible; even after several months of playing the game nonstop, I still couldn't get through the bullshit desert and jungle mazes. Even with the compass item equipped, I still couldn't get through them! By far, some of the absolute worst areas I've ever seen in an action game. These areas don't slow progress to a steady crawl, no; progress stops completely. Mazes like that are bullshit; nobody wants to play something like that. Thankfully, in Snake's Revenge there are no cheap, confusing mazes with random outcomes to navigate through. Everything is straightforward, and the areas are structured-well.





I've even heard "gamers" criticize SR because you start the game out with weapons, but who really doesn't want to have a weapon or two from the beginning? No disrespect to Hideo Kojima and crew, but starting out with just a pack of cigarettes sucks (especially to those who are Straight-Edge). Who the fuck wants to start a war with nothing but a useless pack of cigarettes? In SR you start out with a knife and the Beretta, which is great because you can start out kicking ass from the very beginning. Being able to choose between the knife and your fists is also an option (and a good one, at that).

And while we're still on the subject of guns, the MG series is known for its weaponry variation, and SR has a pretty good assortment of new guns and explosives (albeit not as many as MG). One of the reasons I really liked SR when I first got it (back in the day) was because Snake could use a Shotgun; with its three-bullet spread range, I always broke out the Shotgun in heated situations to get rid of multiple attackers at once. I was also happy to see the Automatic Assault Rifle (which replaced the Mac-10 from the original MG) upon obtaining it, and immediately set out to alert the guards so that I could mow them down with its quick, sporadic shot range as they appeared onscreen. While it's difficult to say if I like the Shotgun and Automatic Assault Rifle in SR more than the Mac-10 in the original MG, I can say that the weapons in SR are fun to use. There are also a shitload of new items to use in SR, including (but not limited to) X-ray Lens (for spotting secret passages), Power Armor (for moving large objects), and spike-proof boots. There's even Truth Serum for when the enemy won't cough-up enough details!

However, SR also has one undeniable issue. While the overhead-perspective action carried over from the first game is great, Konami took the aforementioned variation too far and made a mistake. Something went wrong and they threw in some badly-designed, awkward side-scrolling levels between sections. Many criticize the game for this, and with good reason; in the side-scrolling levels the character design is off, the control is shit, and the difficulty level is stupid-hard. And since they occur after certain overhead sections are cleared, being thrown into these levels after getting out of an elevator is like a kick in the balls. In other words, you go from pleasure to irritation and frustration when the game shifts gameplay styles. This part of the game really sucks. It doesn't completely break it, but the game definitely takes a hit. It's one of the only things that I really dislike about the game; if Konami had taken the side-scrolling sections out of the final version, SR would have been an awesome game.

The rest of the level design in SR is great, though. Where most of the first game took place within enemy compounds (surrounded by ridiculous mazes), SR spans across a variety of locales that include prison camps, jungles, trains, an ocean liner, and even a castle. In addition, the areas in SR are more detailed, and have a modern, improved look from that of the previous game. Where the locales of the original MG were subtle, the areas in SR are brighter with more color and shading to compliment the added detail. Not to say the first MG lacked detail, but back then I remember noticing more detail and shading in SR. And while not much fighting takes place while you're on them, one of the coolest parts of SR is riding on the roofs of cable cars that stretch from compound to compound; now that's what I call espionage!








As previously mentioned, the visuals are similar to the first game, but with a little more detail. The characters are a bit more detailed, and the enemy to boss proportion is different. Where the first game had more bosses than normal enemies, in SR there are more normal enemies than there are bosses. Snake fights a good variety of enemies that include variations of your token guardsmen, grenade-throwers, gas mask-wearing jerks, walking gunner-robots, and even airborne light helicopter troops (which were loosely reintroduced in Metal Gear Solid 3). Bosses are typical Metal Gear fare in their unorthodox design; Snake goes up against a squad of fat-fucks with grenades, a huge tank (ala MG), a rushing team of roid-heads in football gear, and Big Boss, along with a pissed mecha version of Big Boss.

As for Snake, some say he looks like steak-head, but I think he looks cool; in MG, the enemy was bigger, but in SR he's built enough to make short work of any takers (especially with the knife he's been given). Although his vertical running animation could have been slightly better, Snake animates well, and so do the rest of the characters in the game. There are also a few different types of hostages; in SR, Snake saves standard, information-bearing hostages (as in the first game), unarmed enemy personnel (who usually need to be sprayed with Truth Gas before spilling their guts), and even Jennifer from MG (a familiar friend who Snake seems to stumble in on during a bondage picture-shoot)!

Last but not least, the audio of SR. I haven't heard much about this part of the game either because many who judge SR haven't even heard the game (let alone played it), or because it sounds good. The music is just as catchy as that of the original MG, with a tone of urgency that keeps you in the game. There are some good parts in SR. Some may say that the music in SR is horrible when compared to MG, but both games have some good tunes that are easy to get into. The sound effects are good, too; you can tell it's a Konami game by the way the explosions and gunshots sound. There are other games on the same hardware that I think have better audio (Code Name: Viper, for example), but what you hear in SR accompanies well what you see onscreen. Plainly put, it sounds like a Konami game (which is good, since they've always had great music programmers).

So, considering what I have talked about thus far, some may be wondering why it is that "fans" are shitting on SR left and right if it's such a good game. Well, SR isn't a perfect game, and neither is MG; both have flaws which prevent them from being perfect games. However, most of the critics hate SR because it was supposedly not developed in Japan, but in America. It is assumed that because SR was developed in America that the game wasn't made by a Japanese team (like the first game), but this seems wrong. I recently finished the game again, and Japanese names came up in the staff credits; K. Yamashita, Y. Okuda, and S. Fukuoka, were listed as programmers, and A. Nozaki was listed for graphics. Now, if SR wasn't developed by a Japanese team, then why are there Japanese names in the staff credits (along with their corresponding roles in development)? Sure, maybe Kojima didn't direct SR, but the game seems to have been made by staff that came from Konami Japan. Either way you go, it's stupid to hate the SR because it was developed in America; I love Japanese games, too, but it shouldn't matter as long as development lies within Konami and its staff. Snake's Revenge is good.



Snake's Revenge is often compared to the Metal Gear Solid, which is unfair because in the 8-Bit era it had more of an impact. Of course when you compare (or even loosely compare) an 8-Bit game to its 32-Bit younger brother, the 8-Bit game won't seem as polished and refined. Both were made in different eras, and technology progresses rapidly; Snake's Revenge wasn't a perfect game, no, but it shouldn't be judged by the standards that the Metal Gear Solid series set with the rapid progression of technology that came after its conception. Sure, some things are better in SR than MG and vice versa, but both are good games and cannot be compared to their younger (and bigger) 3-D counterparts. The point? That SR belongs in the MG series and shouldn't be ignored because it supposedly wasn't developed in Japan or directed by Hideo Kojima. It seems like America got the better end of the deal with an exclusive (drastically different) version of the sequel to MG, anyway. The side-scrolling parts have no redeeming value, and Snake's vertical animation could have been a little better, but other than those things SR is a fun game to go through. With slightly different focus (more token enemies than bosses, more traps and hidden passages), SR offered fresh gameplay as good as that of its predecessor. The Metal Gear series has really never fell into any specific mold, so each subsequent entry is hard to judge off previous entries, but Snake's Revenge does a good job of carrying over key elements characteristic to the series. It's a good game if you have the balls to go beyond the garbage reviews and actually play it...