Is it worth playing old 2D Metal Gear games?

So, being primarily a Nintendo/Sega/Arcade guy growing up, I’ve still never played a Metal Gear game and have always wanted to jump into the series.

I’m tempted to play either Metal Gear Solid on PS1, the port of Metal Gear from MSX2 as part of the PS3 Anthology, or Metal Gear on NES as an introduction to the series.

What do people recommend? Are the 2D titles from the series enjoyable to play?

Oooooh, this thread was made for me! Full disclosure: Metal Gear Solid for PS1 is my all time favourite game ever, so I come from a position of strong bias.

Normally, I would recommend people start with MGS (PSX), however since you have a love of Retro games like everyone on this board, I would definitely recommend beginning with the original Metal Gear. Play the MSX versions as part of the anthology (Available on the MGS3 Subsistence PS2 release, or as part of the PS3/360 collection). The NES version is fun, but it’s a jumbled port of the original MSX game, with a couple major differences that make it frustrating today, and best enjoyed only by mega fans of the series or those who are already familiar with the MSX original.

My recommendation would be to spend some time, maybe around an hour, with the original Metal Gear, and see what kind of progress you make. You’ll know very quickly whether it’s clicking for you. If you’re not feeling it, I’d still recommend playing through the game, but just grab a walkthrough to make things easier: it suffers in places from mid 80s “adventure” design, aka hidden passages with only the vaguest of hints to find them.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is a completely different beast. The jump in complexity, design, graphics, music and overall enjoyment from the original is mind boggling. Furthermore, there’s a lot of plot elements from that game referenced in MGS on the Playstation, and the payoff for playing MG2 on MSX first would be exciting to see.

A good analogy I would make would be Metal Gear on MSX = Legend of Zelda on NES. Metal Gear 2 on MSX = Link to the Past. The jump is that big.

I haven’t played any of the 3 metal gear games but I have played the entire solid franchise and I think the best of the bunch is MGS1. I played it for the first time only a few years ago so there’s no nostalgia goggles clouding my view

Interesting. I didn’t realize that.

How are the PS3 ports of MG 1&2 in the complete compilation vs the PS2 port? Is MG2 also available on PS2?

Yes, the MSX localizations for both MG and MG2 were done originally for the MGS3 Subsistence release on PS2. When creating the PS3 ports of MGS3, they based in on this release, so it has (almost) everything the PS2 release had, including MG and MG2.

As for port quality: on PS2 I believe they ran in 480i. In my memory, the font used for in game text is higher res than the games themselves which is a bit jarring. PS3 runs in 720p I believe, can’t remember what type of scaling is used, though it definitely doesn’t have any smoothing filter or anything of the sort.

I’ve played through MG and MG2 three times: First time was using translated MSX ROMs before the release of MGS3 Subsistence, then again on PS2, and finally again on PS3. I don’t remember any major differences between the PS2 and PS3 versions, though this was before I got heavy into image quality, and even knew what things like 240p vs 480i meant.

There were a couple of slight changes when they ported from MSX to PS2 (and 3), the biggest change being the character portraits in Metal Gear 2 were redone to match the art style of the Metal Gear Solid games. In the original release, they were less stylized and greatly resembled some pretty famous actors (Big Boss looks exactly like Sean Connery, for example).

What was the original native res of the games? 240p?

Pretty sure most MSX games are 256×192. (edit: double checked and it is 256x212)

+1 for Metal Gear 2, it’s absolutely incredible.

I’m kinda curious how the releases stack up. If I have time, I’ll boot up my PS2 and PS3 versions later tonight to compare.

Ooooof, the PS2 version is rough. Below is a comparison: using PS2 via RGB and deinterlaced with the Framemeister vs PS3. The PS2 version is blurry and smeary, whereas the PS3 is pretty sharp.

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480i vs 480p summed up in a single picture

NES Metal Gear gets a bad rep. It’s more colourful and while it’s a remix that has no actual Metal Gear (lol), at least it runs at 60fps. The MSX games run at <30fps, choppy as.

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Metal Gear 2 on MSX2 is my favourite one and I didn’t properly play it until after Metal Solid 1-3. I don’t care much for the excess story interruptions in later games. MG2 is just excellent stealth action with a Snatcher-like soundtrack.

The biggest issue with NES Metal Gear, besides the aforementioned lack of Metal Gear (lol indeed), is the “new” jungle section added to the beginning of the game. It’s poorly designed, and a bad introduction to the mechanics, not to mention if you die at any point during that section you’re forced to start all over again. Once you actually reach the main facility where the MSX game starts, the NES version is a pretty darn good port.

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I quite enjoyed the NES game when it first came out. There wasn’t anything else like it in the North American market at the time, and importing MSX games wasn’t really possible for most people. Today, I don’t feel like going back to it much, though.

I like the jungle, it mixes it up graphically, and is quite short.

NES has better music and sound too (as usual, MSX wasn’t much chop).

But really the 60fps and more responsive controls are the real winner. I have MG on actual MSX and maybe these emulators are fixing the framerates? It’s choppy as hell.

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Do all MSX units fair equally in terms of performance?

Yeah, it’s a regular MSX2 game, not programmed for 2+. Metal Gear 2 is even worse, choppy as hell.

I believe you can essentially overclock them on a (rare, expensive) 2+ Turbo, which is essentially a MSX with an overclock option built in. But then it runs too fast. Someone has made a patch to fix this too, but now we’re in the realm of expensive hardware, flashcarts and homebrew, and they still don’t hit 60fps.

MSX can be quite jarring, as in a lot of ways the games look like slightly nicer Famicom games, but they run really badly. It’s like that weird feeling from Return of Double Dragon which runs at 30fps on SNES, it’s just weird as in those gens we expected 60fps.

So sounds like PS3 versions are the way to go.

They definitely have slowdown, especially Metal Gear 2, which really taxes the poor MSX2. But they never feel unplayable, considering the stealth gameplay vs a twitch shooter.

Another thing to consider, MG2 has a “copy protection” of sort, where you need to consult the manual to decode a message. The PS2 version didn’t come with a copy of the manual, so Konami eventually posted the relevant part on the MGS3 website. The PS3 version has a digital manual so you can get past that part.

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haha this was a bit of an oversight

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