Gaming History 101

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Metal Gear (MSX) Review

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No, don’t be confused this is not Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation or the reboot (Twin Snakes) on the GameCube. It’s also not that Metal Gear game on the NES that everyone played in American and absolutely no one played over here in Europe (quick commentary at the end if interested). Nope, this review is for the very first Metal Gear game released for the MSX microcomputer way before the Solid days and back when Kojima and Konami were better friends. This is a game no one had played in America (until the re-release) and was slightly more popular in Europe. This game along with the MSX sequel titled Metal Gear: Solid Snake (not to be confused with the NES sequel Snake’s Revenge, which is not cannon nor Kojima developed) are both available on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita. They are also available to play on Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence on PS2. For this review I will be covering the PS Vita version but after spending some time with the 360 and PS2 versions, they’re all pretty similar with very minor differences.

Metal Gear puts you in the shoes of a rookie soldier with the code name Solid Snake. Your job is to infiltrate a place called “Outer Heaven,” rescue the hostages, and destroy a new weapon that can launch nuclear missiles called Metal Gear. It’s very likely you’ll be going back to play this game after one of the other titles in the Solid series. So, you probably have some familiarity with the plot and most likely know about the twist at the end. Everything is presented in text and unlike any other game in the series the story sections of the game are short and sweet. Even though I knew exactly where the story was heading it was still interesting to see how it reached that moment.

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Written by jamalais

August 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in NES, PC/Mac, Reviews

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Extra Credit: From MSX to MGS – The Evolution of Metal Gear

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As part of our Metal Gear Solid week, Jam and Fred are discussing the evolution of the Metal Gear series until finally resting upon the 3D remake of sorts, Metal Gear Solid.  Discussions are had about the MSX outings, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, before finally appreciating the PS1 classic Metal Gear Solid.

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Written by Fred Rojas

August 23, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Extra Credit – MicroSoft eXtended (MSX)

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For this extra credit Fred goes solo to discuss Japan’s only semi-exclusive microcomputer, the MSX.  Created by Microsoft as a computing platform, the MSX is responsible for many cart-based titles that found mass success on the NES and even today.  It’s an impressive library on one of the most niche worldwide consoles/computers of all time.

Opening Song: Main Theme – Nightmare on the MSX
Sequence 1 break: Intro/Main Theme – Metal Gear on the MSX
Closing Song: Main Theme – Salamander on the MSX

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

Gradius Series (Konami)

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Responsible for plenty of attributes to the shmup genre, notably the space aesthetic, but the most significant thing I remember about the title “Gradius” is how often people mispronounced it.  Okay people, I’ve confirmed this with Konami, the pronunciation is “grah-dee-us”, not “gray-dee-us”, “grah/grey-die-oos” or any other awkward pronunciation.  It’s pronounced simply how it is spelled.

The Gradius series has withstood the test of time with the first technical iteration in 1981 and the most recent actual game released in 2008 (Gradius ReBirth on Wii).  In that time the series has graced almost every console and portable that has come out, although recent iterations have been predominantly collections.  Not only that, the series is responsible for a few offshoots including my favorite shmup of all time, Salamander (Life Force in US), and the Parodius series.  Despite critics rightfully complaining that each new title in the series seems to harken back to the original, I feel it is the series staples that keep dedicated fans and strong sales.  I grew up knowing this series on the NES, although I am told that in Japan and Europe it has a more significant presence on the MSX.  Like all shmups, it does bury its roots in the early days of the arcade and to me is still on that short list of video games you must play before you die.  Nowadays the list of titles is quite long, but after recently playing the series over last week, I still find the original title (not necessarily first in the series) to be the most significant.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm