Mini Review: Metal Gear 2 – Solid Snake for the MSX – 1990

by on March 7th, 2015
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The Story:

Well, here’s the gist from what I can recall. It was 1999 and the Cold War was over. The nuclear powers of the world had agreed to disable their nuclear weapons. Oil was at an all time low and on the verge of completely disappearing. That’s when Dr. Kio Marv developed Oilix, an algae capable of creating oil. Dr. Marv was kidnapped not long after publicizing his creation. Zanzibar Land, a country for soldiers, was soon implicated in his disappearance. Their plan was to use Oilix to become the world’s top Oil supplier, and then acquire WMDs and become the only Nuclear power. Solid Snake is then called in to fix the problem, just as he had done 4 years earlier during the Outer Heaven uprising. That’s when your mission starts.


Actually, it was today, November 24 of 2011, Thanksgiving day, that I finally completed this game. It was here where many of Snakes’ trademark abilities first came to light. In Metal Gear 2, Solid Snake can punch walls to make noise and attract enemies and either lure them near his location for an easy kill, or to divert their attention elsewhere to create an opening and proceed unseen. Snake can crawl, and there is even a rather creative section in this game where you must crawl in a room full of sleeping enemy guards, to avoid walking on the noise amplifying tiles (?). It sort of reminded me of the section in MGS2’s Tanker Chapter, where Snake had to crawl carefully to avoid being seen by the crowd of Marines. I was actually surprised at how much Metal Gear Solid 1 took from Metal Gear 2. If you’ve played MGS1, you will definitely recognize these sections:

1: Meeting a female operative in the ladies’ room.
2: A long, and I do mean long, section where you have to run up a flight of stairs while enemy troops chase you. I think this is even longer than MGS1’s stair sequence.
3: Having to ‘cool’ and ‘heat’an object vital to the mission, so that it changes shape.
4: A fight against several armed goons in an elevator.

The Boss Fights

Some of the boss battles were challenging and fun. The first that comes to mind is The Running Man. The running man’s primary ability is his running speed, hence the name. The fight takes place in several screens as the room is quickly filling up with toxic gas. Because the Running Man is so fast, you will never be able to catch up to him. So what you have to do is equip your mines and place them in the areas that you know he will run through. But you have to be quick or else the gas will eat away your health bar until you’re dead. My personal favorite boss battle in Metal Gear 2 is the fist fight against Gray Fox. This was the most challenging moment in the game. You’re confined to a very small room full of mines. Throughout the fight, Fox will run around like a crazy idiot and try to punch you. You’ll have to run around quite a bit while being careful not to step on the mines. That’s easier said than done. Eventually, Gray Fox fell.

I’d say few of the bosses in this game were very memorable, though they may have been exciting back in 1990 when the game first released. The Hind D was disappointing, as was the fight against the supposedly super high tech mega nuke launching killer mech called Metal Gear D. I admit, I died perhaps 2 times and it was tougher than MG 1’s Metal Gear model, but it became too easy once I figured out a sound strategy. Big Boss… oh how disappointing were thee. Wow. The supposed greatest soldier of the 20th century, The Boss’ most beloved apprentice, the man who destroyed the Cobras, killed Colonel Volgin, destroyed the Shagohod, killed The Boss, refused the DCI’s handshake and took down Peace Walker was killed by a lighter and a little fire. You’d have to be an awfully inept gamer to lose against Big Boss in this game. He’s that easy to beat.

Yeah, I know the game is old and I should cut it some slack, but I just can’t picture Big Boss going out like that. It was just such a simple and appallingly easy fight. The Big Boss I know from Snake Eater and Peace Walker deserves better than that.

If there is one thing to hate about Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear series, it’s the constant back tracking, and it is at it’s worst in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. I know you folks who played MGS 1 probably can’t believe anything is worse than having to backtrack through Metal Gear Rex’s lair several times, or having to go all the way back to the Tank hangar for the PSG1, but MG 2 beats it by a long shot. Having to go back and forth from the Tower Building to the Zanzibar Building was so frequent, that sometimes I just felt like quitting the game altogether. But alas, I stuck it through to the end and the fight against Gray Fox made it all worthwhile.

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