Metal Gear Solid 2(1)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth
Year: 2001
Developed by: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Published by: Konami
Platforms: PS2
Feeling Like: Children of Freedom

King St. was a very ordinary place that was extraordinary for me. I adapted to on-campus life immediately, even sooner to our off-campus abode where myself, Danimal, Lipsit, Fuzz, TD and Randy attempted to balance our schooling and video gaming as best we could. Some were better at it than others, though in the end we all graduated. For a laugh, we all pitched in and created our “Fridge of Shame” where we’d post our worst possible score on a quiz or test. This was to keep us humble and to remind each other that we’re all in this together. Danimal originally scoffed at the idea, but was rebuked enough that he quickly relented. Mine wasn’t an exam mark, but rather than email from my 4000 level Psychology Professor.

I still have it handy.

Hi Henry,

Absolutely dreadful – two words that summarize the draft – you need to do a lot better than this.

I left the draft with comments with Alice in the Psychology Department Office


Dr. B

His blunt brutality still makes me giggle. I’d prefaced the email mentioning I wasn’t done my big assignment, but wanted some feedback. Well, I got it. A much needed kick in the ass, I ended up doing alright in the course and Dr. B was a good prof, but goofing around and drinking all day wasn’t going to help me pass the course.

36A King
Top(left to right): Lipsit, Danimal, Fuzz Bottom(left to right): Randy, TD, Me. Not pictured: Dr. B

The access to the variety of entertainment was intoxicating, as much so as the alcohol. We pooled together a giant collection of not just video games, but accessories, DVDs and all manner of consoles were at our fingertips. Everybody had a TV or monitor in their own room, but the main area (2 TVs right beside each other, naturally) was free reign. The best part was, you’d get frequent commentary, passers by and aid when you needed it the most.

That was the best part about playing video games at 36A King St. I always had a helping hand.

And I needed a lot of help with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

The franchise receives a lot of accolades for clever design, and 4th wall breaking puzzles. Quite frequently, a solution is something gamers have never seen before, or thought to do. In my experience, just because the way to defeat a boss is unique doesn’t make it fun. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was impressive and unique, but I can’t say I loved every minute of it.

Metal Gear Solid 2(2)
The second I go to choke this guy out, he’s going to turn around and ruin my day.

Take Vamp, for example. He’s a vampire, or a pseudo vampire soldier Son of Liberty guy. I distinctly remember that you couldn’t just kill him, because he’s a vampire and re-animates. I murder him over, and over again only to fail accordingly. What is going on here? The actual way to defeat him, I think, involves some sedative and kung fu combo. It escapes me, but I’m going to do my best and not look up anything about the game like I usually do when posting articles for veracity’s sake. Why should I bother with this one? The entire reason it’s as high/low on the 500 as it is, depending on your view, is that Metal Gear Solid titles are bonkers, zany self-indulgent snorefests that are also exhilarating, exhaustively hilarious and poignant unlike anything else in gaming. It’s not because of the shooting mechanics, or the level design or normal things you’d address in a critique, or a review. It’s all feeling.

I do recall fans were feeling outraged at the apparent bait and switch regarding the protagonists. For many players, Metal Gear Solid IS Solid Snake, the David Hayter voiced, scruffy badass ninja secret agent macho man. Instead, the majority of the game has you playing as Raiden, the not-so-scruffy, blonde, pretty boy new character. I couldn’t care less, but I it ruffled more than a few feathers with the hardcore Metal Gear audience. Very little of the advertisements indicated that this would be the way things were. Well, did I still have to worry about soldiers finding knocked out comrades lying in the hall because I couldn’t be bothered to hide them in lockers? Yes? Then it doesn’t matter who I’m controlling. Now, how the hell do I get past this door?

Metal Gear Solid 2(4)
I must begrudgingly admit, Metal Gear Solid 2 is still goddamn cool

My frustration never reached a zenith thanks to the inhabitants of 36A. TD would always calm me down and politely suggest the exact thing to do, under the pretense that it was “only a guess.” Fuzz would confirm when the game was being tricky, but also scold me into playing the right way.

Lipsit was the superior guide. My Metal Gear Sherpa, if you will.

He’s level headed, while I’m more quick to react. He’s more methodical, I’m more emotional. I’m short, he’s tall. He’s good at basketball, I can spell basketball. It makes no sense we’re really good friends, but we are. He has a high tolerance for bullshit, tested frequently by living with a man who would wake up at 6am on a weekend and play Guitar Hero 2 very loudly in the main area (not me, but Danimal). Me asking frequently which weapon was best to use was a cake walk for him.

The best part is, we all enjoyed watching each other play games, regardless if we knew them inside out or if it was a brand new release. We’d gather, we’d comment, we’d encourage. We’d play co-op if possible. We’d be patient with each other. We’d give deadlines when a date was coming by, or if the main areas needed to be cleaned. Randy was our unofficial Leonardo and would announce a house wide tidy when necessary; if not for him, we would have spent the entire two years living in filth.

Metal Gear Solid 2(5)
I swear, our living room didn’t always look like this.

Lipsit would always recommend a certain area I hadn’t explored yet, or subtly suggest that I was going about a battle the wrong way. It was awesome. Another instance of hanging with great friends, drinking and eating like crap, occasionally doing homework but mostly trying to justify another marathon session of video games.

I know there was a big oil tanker thing, a bizarre ending that questioned Raiden’s sanity (and mine), some terrific callbacks to Metal Gear Solid and a high level of quality in terms of the technical production. Those are my lasting impressions. If you want a detailed, insightful look at the game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, you’ve come to the wrong 500.

Metal Gear Solid 2(3)
Heh, if only.

I tend to convince myself that [insert whatever game you’re reading] was played during Spring Break Reading Week, the holiest of holy weeks when you’re an undergraduate. Nine straight days of no homework, no assignments, no mid-terms, no exams and no responsibilities. After all, when else would I have the time to put down the Sons of Liberty, rescue the president and take down psychic soldiers? But I can’t say that for EVERY game, can I? Just because I have upswings of happiness recalling a game, doesn’t mean I did it when I had no cares in the world, it just means it was a good game. Or I played it with Lipsit and the gang watching. Or both.

Previous 309 Mighty Final Fight                                                                  Next 307 Oxenfree