I had always wanted to try Snake's Revenge, the sequel
to Konami's (well, technically Ultra's) Metal Gear. And
while it certainly isn't a bad game. I can't quick say
that it lives up to its predecessor.
Once again, you take the role of Solid Snake. Colonel
CaTaffy, who tried to take over the world before by
creating a "Metal Gear" (a walking robot with thermonuclear
capabilities) has now joined forces with Higharolla
Kockamamie to take over the world again. And two
of Snake's friends were killed by these creeps, so this
time it's personal (well, it explains the title anyway.)
For those unfamiliar with the original Metal Gear, the game
is an unconvential adventure game. Though at first look
it seems to be vaguely similar to Zelda in a modern
setting, it's actually very different. The game emphasizes
stealth...instead of running in guns blazing, you're
supposed to sneak around the enemy guards to accomplish
tasks, find new items and weapons, infiltrate the
facilities and eventually finish the game. There is a password feature
so you can pick up where you left off.
Well, that's what the original game was about. Unfortunately, they
decided to change the formula around a tad. It has the same stealth
element, but at times it's absolutely impossible to sneak around
enemies. Right at the beginning of the game, when you're creeping through
the jungle, there are enemies riding on little helicopters. There is pretty
much no possible way to get past these guys without being spotted.
And when you are spotted, a legion of turban-clad commandos will come
out to silence you. There are also times when you simply walk on the
screen at the wrong spot and call attention to yourself without
really doing anything wrong. What's the point of sneaking around if you're
just going to get spotted no matter what you do?
The game keeps a similar interface and pace as the original, but since you're
going to get spotted a lot more often, this doesn't quite work out. Snake
is kinda slow and can only move/shoot in the basic four directions. On
the other hand, the enemies move quickly, can shoot in any direction,
fire accurately and always attack in numbers. It's very difficult to move
and kill all of these guys without at least taking some damage.
For some idiotic reason, side-scrolling scenes have been added at various
points. These don't control very well, plus they're just annoying. Most
of the time to get out of enemy view, you duck. Well, you can't shoot when
you duck, only stab (useless) and lay explosives (also useless.) And at
times when the enemy is on a lower vertical level than you, it's almost
impossible to jump down and dispatch them before they see you. Overall, these
scenes bring down the enjoyment of the game, but they aren't too
There are a few other quirks too. When you rescue a certain amount of
hostages, you get promoted. That means that your life meter gets longer.
But this is rather pointless, because with a higher rank more enemies come
out when you're discovered and their bullets do more damage. Food and ammo
is also in short supply, but the designers made up for this by having
enemies occasionally drop these items if you punch them to death. Finally,
most people that have played Metal Gear know that you can stock up on
items by exiting and re-entering a room. Yet novices wouldn't know that.
For example, when you come across the oxygen tank, you'd first think you
need only one. Once you get to an area where you need it, you then learn that
you need two or three to survive. Just great. And finally, there is the
place that you resume after dying. The game seems to "save" whenever you
cross certain areas, so when you die, you'll go back there with all the
items you had when your last crossed it. This can be good if you got
some new items. This can be bad if you use all of your rations.
There are a few new cool features. There's only one new weapon unfortunately
(the powerful shotgun) but the grenades, remote control missiles, machine
guns and other favorites are still around. You also get a knife for hand-to-hand
combat, but you can still use your fists. The old tranceiver to get advice
from your comrades is still around too. This is actually vital near the
beginning of the game...instead of running right into the enemy base, you
have to listen to the tranceiver messages from one of your buddies, hide
at the entrance of the base and he'll let himself get captured. Then you
can move in. There are neat little twists like this throughout the game
(like when you try to rescue him, only to find out that the messages
have been sent by a spy.)
There's a bigger variety of scenery as well. In addition to the standard
jungle and indoor buildings, you'll make your way onto a train and a ship.
It's just something that gives the game more distinct looks at different
places. I also particularly like dodging the spotlights at the
beginning of the game, even if sometimes it's impossible to avoid getting
The graphics are much cleaner, even if Snake looks like an idiot. Unfortunately,
with the crisper graphics, the game lost some of the grittiness of the
original, which I rather liked. The music, on the other hand, is actually
quite good, especially in the jungle. A nice little scream when the enemies
see you would've been nice, but that may be asking too much.
Snake's Revenge is your typical sequel...it tries too hard to be better
than its predecessor and doesn't quite succeed. Making the game more action
oriented didn't really work. And although I've spent most of this review
complaining, it's still a fun game
to play through, even if the constant deaths and replaying certain sequences
can get on your nerves.