Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes Review – Definitive 50 GameCube Game #16

The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.

Famed Canadian video game developer Silicon Knights went Nintendo exclusive in 2000, and ended up making two of the GameCube’s finest mature rated games. There was the mind-bending Eternal Darkness, which I assure, we’ll get to on this list, and the artful remake of PlayStation classic Metal Gear Solid, known as The Twin Snakes.

The Twin Snakes retains and magnifies all that made MGS a classic. “Tactical Espionage Action” doesn’t begin to describe the raw charm, utter absurdity, and mesmerizing storytelling contained within.

Solid Snake’s mission sounds straight-forward enough: infiltrate a nuclear weapons facility operated by terrorist threat FOXHOUND, neutralize the enemy, and rescue a couple of hostages, but playing the game reveals countless layers of plot complexity and characterization I would hate to spoil here.

Game design remains relatively faithful to the PlayStation original, with environment layout and enemy locations staying virtually unchanged, although many objects, like lockers and fire extinguishers are added. Gameplay, on the other hand, sees a deeper revision, with many elements from Metal Gear Solid 2 being added. In particular, a first person view allows the player to target enemies in a fashion similar to FPS games, whether that’s an improvement or not is up for debate.

As much as levels and layouts matter to the stealth action of Metal Gear Solid, it’s probably the preposterous flair for storytelling from creator Hideo Kojima that is best known. And while the original contained plenty of drama, the remake really ramps up the insanity with copious cutscenes involving impossible action comprised of Matrix-style bullet time and moves no one could hope to pull off in-game. Konami actually brought in a film director to remake the cutscenes of the original game in his own outlandish style.

Voice acting is also redone for superior sound quality, mostly by the original cast. Voice talents from game actor legends David Hayter and Jennifer Hale included.

Of course, the original Metal Gear Solid profoundly changed gaming through its innovations in story telling and stealth action gameplay. Obviously, its remake could not hope to achieve such seismic influence. Rather, it brings that classic game into the modern era with thoughtful tweaks and improvements, allowing those who missed the original a new point of entry to the series, and old fans a chance to relive the magic.

By the way, Silicon Knights ended their exclusivity deal with Nintendo in 2004. This was followed by a promising, but ultimately disappointing partnership with Microsoft that eventually led to Too Human coming to the 360. That game had originally been in the works for the PS1, and later the GameCube.