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20 Reasons the Metal Gear Solid games suck.

Last week I mentioned off hand that I dislike the Metal Gear Solid games. This provoked a moderate response in the comments section, and realizing the healthy traffic that shameless flamebait usually provokes, I decided to flesh out that thought this week.

First some background. I enjoyed the first Metal Gear Solid. Sure, I thought the story was embarrassing and I wasn't dazzled by the gameplay, but the whole package was so unique and quirky, that I generally enjoyed my time with it. When MGS2 came out a few years later, and was snatching up good reviews like a kleptomaniac in a good review store, it seemed a no-brainer to pick it up. It was right around here that things got stupid.

So technically speaking I guess this list could be rephrased "20 beefs I have with Metal Gear Solid 2," although most of the same problems were there in the original. And finally a caveat: I never played the third game, so if all these problems got fixed up there, then I guess I'm going to look like some kind of asshole. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out specifically what kind of asshole I am.

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1) Snake is capable of eating dozens of tins of rations in a short time span, yet is never seen using the bathroom, or even walking funny.

2) While playing the game, players are forced to take drugs to improve their sniping abilities. As I'm sure you've heard, this has precipitated a marked increase in reported instances of teenage "drug and gunplay" parties. Compounding the problem, this comes at the cost of much less oral sex parties.

3) Halfway through the second game, Solid Snake dies his hair blond and is played by a woman. This is never explained.

4) Shaking down bad guys to steal their dog tags before murdering them is a war crime, and not a "cool feature."

5) The guards in the Metal Gear games will give up searching for you, a heavily armed infiltrator/murderer, after about 30 seconds of half-assed poking around. This is just one of many instances of the series heavy anti-union sentiments on display.

6) The bad guys also never raise their gaze from the floor, constantly scanning the ground about 10 feet in front of them. Terrified of lilliputian interlopers or constantly on the lookout for spare change? You tell me.

7) Male Nudity. Needed more of it.

8 ) In the first game, several characters die from a disease called FOXDIE, which is spread by toilet seats. This has long been proved to be an urban legend.

9) Even though Snake is capable of slaying dozens and even hundreds of enemies at a time, in every encounter he's confronted by an infinite supply of enemies, forcing him to run and hide - a humiliating fate for one so powerful. What kind of message does this send our children? Just what kind of American is series creator Hideo Kojima anyway?

10) Starting right in basic training, professional soldiers are drilled to never display exclamation marks above their heads when surprised. If you ever get the chance to observe this training I highly recommend it: the exercises they conduct to learn this skill are hilarious.

11) Snake's radar doesn't work when he's hiding under tables. Are these tables made out of lead? Is there kryptonite near by?

12) Also, why can't the bad guys see Snake on their radar?

13) Also, how can Snake see bad guys on his radar? Are they made of aluminum?

14) Also, why does Snake have radar?

15) A plot element from MGS2: "Revolver Ocelot gets his arm amputated, and replaced with the arm of his boss Liquid Snake - an arm which later seizes control of his brain." Although all the words in that sentence are common within the English language, in that arrangement they make no sense. "Garbage truck vagina is a vagina stonemason's boner phone" is another example, and will be uttered during at least one codec sequence in MGS4, in all probability.

16) Setting too high of a bar. In the beginning of MGS2, you're told that the President has been kidnapped. Any game that compares itself to Bad Dudes so openly is really setting itself up for a fall. Bad Dudes is the Cadillac of video games.

17) The idea of massive killer robots is a classic staple of Japanese culture, and is fair game as far as plot devices go. But the concept of massive killer robots living within a much larger massive killer robot is stolen almost verbatim from an episode of The Golden Girls. (ep 06e13 - Strange Bedfellows)

18) Too many themes. In Metal Gear Solid 2, the plot touches on elements of existentialism, censorship, evolution, information control, free will, and the meaning of reality. The only other work with that many themes that I can think of is WindowsXP, which is generally regarded as being the worst video game ever made.

19) The scene where Otacon revealed that he had slept with his mother which caused his father to commit suicide and his sister to hate him, wrecked not just the three obvious relationships, but four, if you count my girlfriend, who was in the room while I was playing through this scene, then stood up, walked out the door and never turned back.

20) The ending. If I recall correctly, the ending of MGS2 featured a conspiracy theory which was itself part of a larger conspiracy theory which turned out to all be a dream - a dream that was orchestrated by a separate, gayer conspiracy theory. Then Snake turned, looked right into the camera, made a gun with his fingers and said "Fuck you." I felt that was unnecessary.

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Chris Bucholz

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