So I went ahead and picked up the Essential Collection, I guess mostly for collector's purposes...... and to prove my uber hardcore-ness. Don't think I'll be opening the package, but I thought this would give me a great excuse to replay the titles in the coming weeks before MGS4 makes its splash. With that, I plan on sharing a retrospective look at my experiences, then and now, and the series in general. Ten Solid years.... it really has been that long, hasn't it?
So, we'll begin with Metal Gear Solid. I remember my first experience with the game, like a lot of people, was through the OPM demo that debuted a month or two before the game hit here in North America in October 1998. The hype that preceded it completely flew over my head; I was aware that it was some highly-anticipated sequel to two old NES games I had once rented, games I recall being fairly unmemorable and pretty boring. Stealth in a video game seemed like a pretty lame concept at the time, especially in light of less deliberating games that managed to catch my attention so much more easier like SMB and Contra.
So, it was a lark that I happened to receive the demo. (As an aside, I remember enjoying the Hot Shots Golf demo as well.) After my first cycle through the MGS one, I was completely hooked. That small Dock/Heliport section was pretty much the only thing I played for the weeks leading up to the official NA release. Everything about it was totally revolutionary; the excellent cinematic direction, full-on voice acting, and the immersive Alaskan atmosphere. I drained every facet of the demo, discovering how to dispatch the enemies in every conceivable way, always taking turns going through the two different air-duct vents, and deliberately getting discovered just to hear that heart-stopping "Encounter" theme. I watched the included E3 1998 trailer like a zillion times just to hear the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme." (Gosh, I'm hoping like crazy that it really will be featured in MGS4.)
Receiving the final retail game was an awesome day, since that was also the day Xenogears was released. I went over to the guy at EBGames and said, "I'm here to pick up two 'Gear' titles." ^_^ It was odd that I was anticipating XG for the longest, but MGS ended up eating away at the bulk of my playtime that season.
Hearing the new English voices for the first time was a shock to me..... Hayter's now-infamous gravelly voice surprised me, as well as Eiding's. It didn't take long for me to warm up to them, though. As much respect I have for Akio Ôtsuka, Hayter, to me, will always officially be Snake.... cheers to Kris Zimmerman for going with that direction for the voice. It'll be interesting to hear how much more gravelly Hayter can pull off for MGS4.
That'll do for now, I think. I plan to begin playing the game proper this weekend. Impressions to follow shortly, but I'd sure love to hear if you guys have any stories or anecdotes related to the MGS series.