Play or Pass: Metal Gear Solid and Mortal Kombat X

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!


Week eight: (10) Metal Gear Solid and (11) Mortal Kombat X

Metal Gear Solid cover art © Konami, Sony
Metal Gear Solid cover art © Konami, Sony

I don’t do stealth. At least not to the point that it does me much good in games anyway. I’m typically an impatient gamer. In cases where stealth is called for I’ll usually do my best to as sneaky for as long as I can stand it. Sometimes it works well, and I find myself caught up in the very act of being a “ghost,” like in the Batman: Arkham games. Other times, my attempts go ass-up despite my best efforts, as they did in DisHonored. (I was so sneaky for the first third of the game, and then it all when to hell.) And other times, I just say screw it and start out maniacal from the get-go.  This is not to say that I don’t enjoy games that require forethought and planning. But purely tactical games, such as Metal Gear Solid for the PS1, the first game up this week, just haven’t hopped onto my radar, much if at all.

I remember when Metal Gear Solid first came out. And by that I mean, I remember seeing this particular commercial on TV:

The year was 1998, and I had only just discovered the PlayStation and its gaming possibilities. A game like MGS would have fallen under my husband’s umbrella, though I can’t recall if he ever got the game. To me, MSG looked like another military-type game. Me, I liked Nintendo and Mrioa, and MSG carried no bright pixels, no high-spirited platforming action, and no cute, memorable, or squishy characters. In other words, no pizzazz! And that was that. No MSG for me.

I can’t say that my feelings about the MSG series have changed all that much since then. It’s not a series that I’ve followed, although media being the way it is today, it’s hard to not know about everything, all the time, ad infinitum, etc. etc.  I’ve watched a few gameplay videos, and I can say that the game story intrigues me. The mechanics of the game itself don’t look as intimidating as I might have once thought. And speaking of which, I was completely wrong in thinking it was a “military” game a la Call of Duty. It’s really not that at all.

Have I played Metal Gear Solid?
No.

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
Does this first MSG game do things better than its sequels? Is it as important an entry into the stealth genre as everyone makes it out to be? Does it offer something that other games of its ilk and time don’t? Maybe you guys can help with this.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
Actually, sure. It looks pretty interesting, and quite nice there on the ol’ PS1.


Mortal Kombat X cover art © NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros., Sony
Mortal Kombat X cover art © NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros., Sony

I am not good at Mortal Kombat games. I never was, and I never will be. I’m simply too set in my Street Fighter ways to see much past that. However. I remain a perennial fan of fighting games in general, so of course I want to play them whenever the opportunity arises. And when Mortal Kombat X was released for the PS4/Xbox One, I figured that I’d finally get the chance to stretch my fighting game chops a little, as MKX would have marked my entry into current gen fighting games.

It hasn’t happened.

While I’m not altogether upset about this, I can’t say that I haven’t watched MKX videos without at least a little envy creeping in. The simply looks the part. It looks like what I think a fighting game should look like in this day and age. The character renderings and environments are super gorgeous. The action travels smoothly throughout. And, since we’re talking Mortal Kombat here, the moves, combos, and fatalities, are suitably vicious and ridiculous. And that’s a good thing.

The only downside that Sindel, my preferred fighter since Mortal Kombat 3, isn’t playable in the game. She should be. I mean, I can function well enough with Kitana and Meleena, but Sindel is where it’s at.

Have I played Mortal Kombat X?
No.

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
From what I’ve seen and read about the game, yeah, I’d call it a must. At least for this current console generation.  It builds upon the MK structure quite remarkably, and looks like great fun for newcomers and veterans alike.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
YES.

10 thoughts on “Play or Pass: Metal Gear Solid and Mortal Kombat X”

  1. I’ve played the opening of the original MGS a few times since it came out and enjoyed it. I got it from a car boot sale nearly ten years ago with the intention of going through it “for reals” but still haven’t… From what I recall it’s certainly got plenty of charm and character, moreso than other games in the series I’ve played (admittedly not many – MGS2 and the Twin Snakes on Gamecube). I’m also not a stealth fan but from what I remember it’s not very demanding.

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    1. Hmmm…Twin Snakes was the GC remake, right? That’s a consideration since we still have a working GameCube. I feel like MGS is one of those games that either grabs you from the get-go and doesn’t let go, or it doesn’t grab on at all. And if the stealth in it isn’t very demanding, then all the better for me! It’s on the “someday, hopefully” list. (Instead of the less surefooted “someday, maybe” list. 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops, I forgot to reply to this when I meant to. I’m not sure what other people think (I’m not well-versed in the series by any means) but personally I found Twin Snakes a massive letdown. Not that it’s a bad game exactly… it’s well made, but I just couldn’t get into it! The cutscenes were all over the top bullet time nonsense, the gameplay wasn’t compelling and the controls were confusing. They added a lot of features but it felt to me that it was just for the sake of it, rather than improving the experience any. Like they added a first person view… great, but the level design is identical to the original which doesn’t have a first person view and wasn’t designed with it in mind. Same thing with adding in Matrix rip-off cutscenes. The original game’s story is silly but at least it doesn’t bore you to tears! Lastly, if you don’t already own it, Twin Snakes is pretty expensive to get hold of. That’s the case in the UK at least, I presume it’s a similar story in other regions.

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  2. MGS is worth playing although I doubt it’ll have the same impact now as it did when released. At the time, the story and themes were like nothing of I’d ever seen in a game, and it shows off Hideo Kojima’s ability to tell a story (as well as his quirky sense of humour) before the much more bloated and rambling cutscenes of MGS2. Red Metal (who commented above 😊) pulled together a solid post about it recently which is well worth checking out! Metal Gear Solid – http://wp.me/p4CLWp-oN

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, thank you for Red Metal’s link — how funny that we’re riding the same waves! In any event, it may bode well that since I’m not intimately familiar with Kojima’s, perhaps MGS could retain some of its magic should I ever get around to it. Sometimes knowing less about a game, no matter its age, is better than knowing more.

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  3. Metal Gear Solid isn’t what I’d call the best game in the series, but it’s definitely a game I would recommend playing at least once. I found that the stealth elements don’t really bog down the gameplay to the point where it was a chore to get through (unlike the Thief series). Even to this day, it’s considered one of the best PlayStation games, and I’d say that distinction is well deserved for the most part.

    My knowledge of fighting games is, to put it charitably, limited. I didn’t play that many growing up in arcades, so my experience with the genre is limited to the Smash Bros. series.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember just how wildly popular MGS was when it first came out — I wish I hadn’t been so narrow-minded about it then, but I was young and stupid, haha. Seeing videos of it now make me realize just how wrong I was in lumping it together with other “military” games. If the stealth in the game isn’t that bad, then it sounds like something I’d enjoy now. Maybe. We’ll see.

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