Review by majikmonkee75
Reviewed: 06/13/03 | Updated: 06/13/03
Snake's Revenge is a dish best served not at all...
Back in 1988, while we were all being “wowed” by the NES, and it’s action titles like Commando, Contra, and Metroid, an obscure game called Metal Gear popped up in stores and rental locations. I disliked the original Metal Gear at first, until I became a fan of games like Zelda that require time, patience, and exploration to win, then it became one of my favorite games. Oddly, I had never heard of “Snake’s Revenge” until I visited our local used video game store and saw it in the “3 for $5” bin. “A sequel to Metal Gear?” I thought. “Why have I never heard of this?” Well, sadly, this game doesn’t live up to the original, and many of the improvements attempted actually made this game harder to play. Read on for the gritty details:
The trouble with this game is that its story is never really clearly laid out, and it seems like its focus changes frequently as you play through. I’m lead to believe that this was Nintendo’s attempt at plot twists and intrigue, but I really didn’t know what I was doing most of the time in this game. I was like, “Why is this called ‘Snake’s Revenge’? What’s he trying to get revenge for?” After playing it like the 5th time I think I figured out that he was mad because his friends who he starts the mission with bite the dust, but the game doesn’t establish them as close buddies of his except briefly in the manual, and I just wasn’t feeling that vengeful. The worst of it all is that the ending of this game is unbelievably corny, and kind of makes a joke of the storyline from the original. I can’t tell you why...you might find this game worth playing, and if you already know the ending, there’s nothing to fight for. I learned after purchasing Metal Gear Solid that there was actually a game just called Metal Gear 2 released only in Japan that was the REAL link between the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear solid, and it sounds much cooler story-wise than this game was. Okay story, but it definitely lacks something.
Let me start off by saying that this game is incredibly hard. It’s almost too hard. I was an accomplished Metal Gear player by the time I picked up this game, and it still was so difficult right from the start that it turned me off from playing it on several different occasions. Finally, I managed to survive long enough to gather enough items to stay alive, but discovered that the game never gets any easier as you go on. The gameplay is very basic: sneak around various enemy controlled locations, attempting to collect items and complete different objectives while trying to remain unseen. Most of the challenge of progressing through this game lies in finding the special item that will get you past certain obstacles that will keep you from moving on to certain areas. These items can be hard to find, and for all the trouble it takes to get them, a lot of them are only used once. You go up in “rank” as you rescue more hostages, allowing you to hold more ammo and health items, which you will definitely need. It seems like it’s easier to be spotted by the enemies in this game than in the original, and if you are, a seemingly endless flood of foes will assault you. Unlike in the original Metal Gear, running to the adjacent screen will not stop the enemies “alert”, and they will continue to chase you down until you have defeated enough of them, which is no easy task. There are some bosses in this game that will make you cry blood, and some appear impossible to beat without taking cheap hits and lots of damage. The most noticeable new feature of this game is the side scrolling areas you will encounter inside most bases. I found them fun for the first few minutes, but the challenge of these becomes insane later in the game, and nothing is more frustrating than surviving multiple screens of this mayhem only to find out that you need to go back for an item or you went the wrong way entirely. Your bullets travel slowly with limited range, and you will often fight strange, floating mine-like enemies that you can barely destroy before they touch you and other cheap enemies. Other not-so-enjoyable additions to this game are spikes that appear out of nowhere on the floor and weird “robot” guys and stuff that attack you when you’re spotted in certain levels instead of the regular soldiers. The ever-present floor pit traps are still abundant in this game, and are huge points of frustration in certain areas. This game is just too hard for the average casual gamer, and most people will get frustrated trying to stick it out to the end. One of the worst aspects of it all is that it is possible to get to the end of this game but be unable to win it, if you are not properly equipped, as there is nothing to indicate the need for preparation for the end. This is a guaranteed way to get gamers seeing red, especially after all of the trouble they will have to go through to get to this point, and a huge oversight on the part of the designers. Overall, this game just feels like it’s very lacking, and doesn’t seem to tie into the original, except in the most ludicrous ways. If you’ve played the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid but skipped this game, you’re not really missing anything at all.
The graphics in this game are passable, but certainly not anything special. I’m not sure why Snake is wearing blaze orange in this game though instead of the camo suit he wore in the original. Is he planning to try and sneak up on deer, or does he want to increase the odds of being spotted by his foes to add to the challenge? With a few exceptions, the environments lack imagination, and a lot of the scenery and locations seem to repeat themselves, making things extra confusing in the huge, mazelike fortresses near the end. The have improved your view when using the transponder so that you can actually see who you are speaking too, so that at least has been improved. Overall, not too bad by NES standards.
I thought that the sounds in the first Metal Gear were a little odd, and that carries over to this game. You won’t really notice them for the most part, though. The music is all right, but seems a little to “uppity” at times. I’m not sure it really sets the mood of the game that well, which is something of a disappointment. The original Metal Gear did a much better job of this, and few of the tunes in this game resemble those of the original, which might have helped. Most likely you’ll play this game with the sound off.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this title, but this wasn’t it. Snake’s quest just lacks direction, and it seems like even he doesn’t know where he’s going next or why. Yes, the elements that made the first Metal Gear fun still exist in some form here, but they are greatly diluted by the extreme difficulty of this game. Metal Gear seemed to have found a balance between fun and challenge that is missing here. If you’ve played Metal Gear Solid before but never this game, don’t bother. It will probably only make you fighting mad. A definite “rental only”, if even that.
Rating: 2.0 - Poor
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