First Impressions: Comment: Gamers everywhere?will soon be able to?go on Acid trips...legally.
Hideo Kojima -- you son of a bitch! Your Metal Gear series is getting a lot stranger. Of course, you're not its owner. You're just the genius who invented it. But, even masters of their domain can lose their prized possession at some point or another. With the Metal Gear Solid name having dominated the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles within the past three titles, the name's worth alone has been one of the greatest gamers have come to know and love these past couple of generations. And with largeness of a product in mind, gamers want more and lots of it. Well, Konami's plan is to give gamers exactly that. Only, they've shrunk the Metal Gear hunk (Solid Snake) down to pocket format as a launch title for Sony's first and upcoming PSP handheld. In the widely popular action series going the way of the cards, Konami's first killer app on the PSP will be called none other than Metal Gear Acid.
Back to action. Back to duty. Back to sneaking and snapping necks. Well, maybe not that last part. Snake, THE Solid Snake is returning to a new assignment. Set in the year 2016, Snake is contacted to come out of retirement (again) by Commander Roger McCoy, a man with the CIA and an old buddy of Roy Campbell (who veterans of the Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid series remember both as Meryl's uncle and Snake's commanding officer friend). Informed of the situation, Snake finds out that a group of terrorist living dolls has hijacked a plane with 517 passengers on board. One of those passengers is Senator Hatch, a man running for presidency of the United States of America. What these terrorist dolls want is something called the "Pythagoras," a secret project of sorts that's located on the fictional Lobito Island in the Tejan Republic of South Africa. Having sent in a team of HRT members already (or in other words, Special Forces), the HRT squad perished under a military faction's fire there. Now the American government is calling in Snake to get the job done. As Solid Snake, your mission is to infiltrate into heavily guarded grounds and retrieve this Pythagoras object -- for the lives of 517 people are in your hands.
How do you take the prime originator of the stealth-action genre and change its style in a sort of way that would make sense in a completely different but similar genre? You give it cards. That's what Konami's turned its latest portable version of the Metal Gear series into: a card game. But don't think about Acid as just some typically cheap casino type of game where the series characters play the parts of your dealers. Acid isn't that -- it's a strategy title with stealth-action mixed in. Playing similar if different from its usual method of sneaking and striking out enemies from room to room, you've got to wonder how exactly Snake can defeat enemies using cards. Simple (at least in card terms). Snake will carry with him a deck of cards with six randomized cards dealt out in his turn for each stage. The idea of these cards is to substitute Snake's familiar set of action moves, except much more strategically. Snake can use up to two cards out of his six per turn for defeating, sneaking, and of course aiding himself. Whatever action is depicted on the card, like a machinegun card, that card used then will automate Snake firing a machinegun at an enemy. To heal, ration cards can be drawn out. To patch up wounds, picking out bandage cards will cover that angle. To hide from detection, choosing to use a box card is one idea. It's the concept that going by each type of card, this new system for the Metal Gear series will make players think a lot more than they used to.
Besides the standard set of two cards Snake can pull from his six (in which the two disappear after they've been spent), Snake can also equip up to nine equipment cards that have an instant or reactionary effect when worn. Able to select up to two of these cards at first, Snake will be able to place a mine detection card in the equipment slot for viewing fields of landmines. At the same time, Snake will also be able to have a card laid out that can halve the damage he'll incur from enemy offenses. These cards will be lost after each turn though, whereas the regular cards stay afloat for a little longer. The regular cards in fact will have additional features such as giving Snake the power to move up to three spaces in the stead of actually using the card's distinctive power, as well as a number on each card's upper right corner displaying its cost for enemy movements per stage. Based on the number of the two cards Snake has drawn out, enemy movement abides by the total sum. Having two cards selected that equal a number of 27 with a value of "9" for each enemy turn that's taken, for example, would allow the enemy to move up to three times based on that overall amount. Direction is another factor in the deciding consequences of Acid. After all, this is a turn-based strategy game. If Snake is targeted from the back, an enemy can do more damage than he could from the front side. So as Snake, using that noggin to get Snake from point A to point B without dying will be tricky. You'll really have to be aware of the card functions and the limits of them. But this time Snake's also got some help at his side. Teaming up with a woman named Teriko along the way, Snake will be able to get out of tough binds such as in one scenario where Teriko (a second playable character) will be able to knock on a wall in a T-shaped corridor while Snake sneaks up on the guard from the hind side, safe and seductive-like.
Though Metal Gear Acid won't have the same production values as a normal Metal Gear Solid release does, that's not to say it won't reach some alike heights. The longtime voice of the Solid Snake character, David Hayter? Gone. The voices of other characters in the game? Gone. Metal Gear Acid will feature a text-based, picturesque styled storyline instead of what was received in its former next-gen action editions. However, familiar Metal Gear Solid theme songs will be presented here. As will a set of near PlayStation 2 quality visuals. More in the same frame as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the levels and characters of Metal Gear Acid will be in indoorsy type places rather than the thriving abundance of plant life in the recently released Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.