*This review won third place in VideoGameGeek.com’s monthly video game review contest (in which I got beat my by other review–Hydrophobia). The theme was any game rated M or above.*

Metal Gear Solid VR Mission

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Metal Gear Solid VR Missions – US Cover (The EU version is just zoomed in 25%)

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Back Cover

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Japanese Cover


      Metal Gear Solid had some VR missions being built around the game, but the designers had more ideas than would fit on the disc and decided to create a separate product for the VR missions. Thus, we have this.

      Inside, there is no instruction manual, just a small art paper that unfolds for TV warnings. Booting up the disc shows you a small movie with Solid Snake (the character you play) doing many of the VR missions you are about to experience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmzUgBZZAe4).

      VR Missions is set up into 4 categories: Sneaking Mode, Weapon Mode, Advanced Mode, & Special Mode.

Weapon Mode & Advanced Mode

      In Weapon Mode, you are given only one of the weapons (of 8 total) along with a limited amount of ammo. You then must play through 5 levels for each gun and destroy all the targets (most of which move around). After you complete these levels, you can then complete for the fastest time in getting the level completed, where any extra ammo you have on you subtracts from your total time.

      Weapon Mode can be hard on occasion because you actually have to follow targets and watch their patterns. Only knowing where they will be at certain times will make it easier to plan when and where to shoot them so you can get them all destroyed quickly. Also, just because you have that weapon, doesn’t mean you can’t still use your hands.

      The format for Advanced Mode is the same as above, only now you fight against real people. To me, however, these humans made it easier than the targets to get the best time. For instance, on the Stinger level, the Targets come from all angles and you have to turn not only 360 degrees, but also look up and all around as the Targets fly all around the level, but the humans are on the same plane as you. Also, since Advanced Mode is people, you will get 3 seconds removed from your time if you complete the level without being seen. I will now describe each weapon and how they play for both sections since they are so similar.

SOCOM

      One of the more challenging weapons to use. You Hold the Circle button to have the gun auto-aim in front of you, then release it to fire a shot. To get the best times, you have to learn how to use this because every bullet counts, and if you misfire even 1, you can lose out on 1st place. Most targets take 3 shots, but I occasionally kept shooting 4, having to reply the level again. I don’t feel this weapon was made with timed attacks in mind. However, once I got to the human levels, I found it just a little bit easier.

C4

      You have a C4 Explosive that you can lay on the ground, and can then detonate later. Both the Target & Human levels of this are really fun and only slightly challenging.

FAMAS

      My most hated weapon in this game. It’s basically a machine gun that has no aim at all. You tap the Square button to fire, and hold it for rapid fire. You can auto-target automatically, just make sure to use the control stick and not the directional controls. It was the only human mission where I died before I could even get to the time trial.

      I really hate this weapon. It took me the longest to get that best times here. You basically have to cheat to win these levels. When the level starts, keep the X button held. You will now run while holding your weapon, and can fire, also. Just don’t release the X button and hit it again or you will go into a crawl position, immediately ruining your chances of a good time. I don’t understand why run and crawl were not separate buttons.

Grenades

      The Target levels are Medium to Hard and really need you to think and strategize how to plan the grenades and their explosions (as it takes 5 seconds after you throw it before it explodes). Oddly, these levels have the biggest gap between your score and 1st place, as I constantly found ways to improve the 1st place score by nearly a minute.

      Oh, but then you get to the Humans. This is the only level where the Human level is harder than the Target level. You sort of have to cheat, too, by preparing to throw a grenade, allowing yourself to get knocked to the ground. Why? When you are knocked down, you are temporarily invincible, so the grenades explosion won’t hurt you, but it can take out lots of enemies.

Claymore

      Place the Claymore mines on the ground (which are hidden from your view) so Humans and Targets explode when they get in front of it. If you have the mine detector (sometimes hidden in the stage) you can see the mines and what direction they are facing. You can also place them on the ground in front of you to have them explode the enemy instantly, but if a stray bullet moves you even slightly, or you tap the directional pad at all, you will walk in front it and explode, too. Though it is amusing that the AI doesn’t feel the need to move when they see you placing a mine. Both the Modes are really fun for this one, and not all that challenging (expect for the final Target level).

Nikita

      This is a missile that, once fired, you then control with the control pad. If it faces any direction for more than 2 seconds, it goes that direction as super-speed. You can also control it in first person, as well as make it explode whenever you want (useful when the target is just slightly out of reach).

      Next to the FAMAS, these levels are the most frustrating, especially the levels with corridors you have to navigate through. It’s hard to control to avoid the super-speed, so you end of wiggiling the rocket (which looks weird on screen) just to prevent an instant explosion into the wall, and in 1st person, it can be hard to tell if you’re too close to a corner.

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You must guide the missile up ramps to blow up the red box targets.

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      This is a sniper rifle that you must use in 1st person mode. Both modes are challenging, but not to hard. The Targets still require planning ahead to know where they will be.

Stinger

      This is one of the easiest weapons to use in both modes. You have a rocket launcher that is operated in 1st person, and it has an auto-target. Once the target locks, and you fire, you don’t have to watch the rocket hit your target, and you can immediately go to the next target.

Sneaking Mode

      There is also a Sneaking Mode, one I enjoyed a lot. It is split into 15 levels. You must do each level twice, once with No Weapon, and another with the SOCOM (both are timed). When in SOCOM, you must kill every enemy before the exit appears, but being seen instantly ends the mission. With No Weapon, the exit is already there, and you must get to it without being seen or the mission instantly ends (you don’t have to kill anyone, you can just hide and run to the goal).

      It’s a little hard, but not too difficult. Plus, you can cheat a little here too. You can throw a guard onto the ground, and still have 3 seconds before he gets up, and by then you could already be at the exit. Plus, it doesn’t count as being seen. This feels like cheating, but I feel the developers knew people would use this, as the times I got were only slightly near 1st place when doing things like this.

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Level 1 & Level 15 of Sneaking Mode

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Can you sneak past these 5 guards without being seen?;
Also, in Weapon Mode, you have to kill them all silently before the goal will appear.

Special Mode

      You have to unlock this mode by getting a certain number of the game complete. These levels are all really fun and have many different game types to play. Every missions is timed, except Mystery and 1 Minute Battles.

Mystery

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      Through 10 levels, you have to figure out the murderer in each one by looking at 1 of 3 suspects, and choosing the right culprit and dragging him to the exit. For instance, in one, a murderer has lost his glasses at the crime scene. You have to drag each suspect away from their standing position, and whichever one walks into the wall on his way back and knocks himself down is the killer.

Puzzle

      Ten (10) Puzzle based missions. These can be a tad frustrating. Some are hilarious, such as the one where you knock a guard so that he keeps knocking into all the other guards like dominoes, each falling off a ledge in the process. Some require thinking differently than you have been (or finding ways to abuse the game mechanics). The hardest was figuring out you have to plant C4 on the ground, then on a human. You have to explode it so he flies north, and once in the air, you have to explode the other grenade so it takes out the camera.

NG Selection

      Eight (8) completely random and strange missions, all of which are really fun and unusual, such as World’s Smallest Stage where you have to kill 1 soldier in a small 3 x 4 grid without being seen and fighting a UFO with a rocket launcher.

Variety

      Ten (10) completely different missions, such as throwing grenades and people into holes, punch-killing invisible soldiers, and fighting giant sized guards.

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You heard that last sentence right; giant guards. Not pictured: UFO battles.

1 Minute Battles

      You have 1 level for each Weapon I’ve stated before, as well as No Weapon, with each of these having two levels; 1 for Targets, 1 for People. The goal is to kill as many Targets or People within 1 minute to get first place.

Vs 12

      You start with a completely different weapon set and limited ammo for each level (You are only given 3 max of each weapon except for rare instances with the SOCOM), and must kill 12 people within a time limit. This is really hard to figure out as each weapon usually causes an alarm. One of the most frustrating categories.

VR Mission

      You have to complete 10 levels, back to back. You have to incorporate everything you’ve learned into these 10 missions and beat them all in 7 minutes to get first place. Having a few more combination missions like this would have been really fun.

Ninja

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As the Ninja, you can take all 3 of these guys out in 1 second

      These are 3 really fun levels where you control the Ninja and slice and dice your way through guadrs. The only thing that’s missing is that this would have been a lot more fun with just a few more levels.

     

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Final Breakdown

      Story: N/A

There isn’t one.

      Music: 2 out of 10

The music is repetitive, as you will hear the same background music for each individual mission, and the same sound effects at the beginning and start of each mission.

      Graphics: 5 out of 10

The graphics are just grid based for most of the levels. The only exception is a mystery level or two which takes place in a fully decorated room. Most graphics are just used from the main game, with nothing new really added. However, the graphics do look decent for what they are.

      Fun: 18 out of 20

This game is made just to test your reflexes and brain, and it’s really fun to do the main levels, and though occasionally frustrating to get the best times, is still worth the playthrough. I found myself liking the Special & Sneaking levels more than the ones with the weapons.

      Extra: 10 out of 10

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This is seriously a special feature; taking pictures of polygon girls.
The rumor of this game is that it’s only rated “M” because you can take a picture of her panties

Unlockables include, strangely, photography rooms. You have 3 rooms where you can photograph a girl at her desk, a girl standing, & another girl standing. You can get closer to her the more you play the game. I don’t really understand the point of this, especially since a picture takes up an entire block of memory (not to mention just being creepy).

Also, you have 3 trailers that Konami made for Metal Gear Solid shown in 1997 before the game was released. Also, there’s the intro movie at the start, and a demo movie with the programmers beating missions certain ways to give you hints, if you wait at the starting screen long enough.

      Controls: 9 out of 10

The controls are simple, you move with the directional pad, duck with X, run with X if you hold it, hold R2 to access your weapons, and hold R1 to access items. However, once you pick up a weapon, each one has a different control scheme (see Weapons above) with a different button used to fire it (and in some cases, a 1st person perspective). This gives more variety to the game.

The most frustrating thing is trying to choke a guard. You have to be perfectly still, or hardly moving (making it hard to choke moving guards). If you are moving at a walk or run, you instantly flip the guard. The annoying thing to control is crawling, because the controls change depending on what direction you are facing, but luckily, you don’t need to do it often.

      Challenge: 10 out of 10

God yes is this game challenging. If you liked Metal Gear Solid’s weapons and wanted to play them in more bite-sized levels, this game will give you a fix. Just know it will take you many, many hours to master and complete the game 100% with the fastest times possible.

      Replay: 5 out of 10

The replay is built into the game’s structure. You can complete the level (finally, after many tries) only to find you didn’t get the 1st place time score. Guess you’ll want to keep playing until you get it. However, once I was done with the game fully, I don’t really have a reason to play it again for another decade.

      Bonus Points

      Level Design +10

The levels are designed exceptionally well, and require some thinking to proceed. Some even include false areas to make you think that it’s a better place to go and accomplish the objective. It took some thought to plan and program these levels correctly.

Total Points: 69 out of 80

      The entire game is fun if you are just playing to play through each mission (except for any FAMAS and Nikita level) and having no story, is easy to pick and play whenever you want. But, if you are going to try and get the best times, it will get a little frustrating on the Weapons Mode (Targets), and with some levels on Advanced Mode (People). Overall, I enjoyed it, as it caused me to think and experiment with different ways to do things to get a better score.

      For help, I recommend watching this YouTube walkthrough http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=A30E52E32C3ACE16 as someone did a whole walkthrough getting 1st place for everything; useful on occasion when you can’t figure out how to get a faster time.

Mission 1.5 – Meet The Allies / Search People’s Rooms

      I am told to meet the man in charge of the group still loyal to the Empress (Loyalists). Instead, I swim around the entire docking area. I am immediately damaged by sources unknown. Are there piranhas in the river? I swim around the left tower, but find nothing but colorful scenery (I’ve been in prison for 6 months, I needed to partake in the air and view the surroundings I had missed—though finding rare items washed upon the shore seems plausible, too). I then start searching the entire Loyalist house and steal people’s things (I told you, I can’t help myself). The gold is so tempting, and so shiny– and when I get close to it, IT GETS EVEN SHINIER!

      I also start reading through everyone’s personal journals; I do want to know about the people that have helped me. A poor whaler was defeated by the struggles of city life (was that the boatman?). I also learn that they wanted to free me for some time. Am I just an instrument to further the plot—their plot against this new nation?

      I meet up with Admiral Havelock (the leader of the Loyalists) and a noble named Treavor Pendleton. Pendleton says everyone is equal here, but I heard on his Victrola (I’m sorry, Audiograph; damn, I really read those Thief novels too many times while I was in prison) that no one understands he has problems, even though he’s heard ordering champagne from his servant as he says this.

      Admiral Havelock tells me they fight to take back the city from the Spymaster, who is now the Lord Regent and ruler of this city. I want to believe these people, but I could just be used again. Havelock tells me to talk to their inventor and get some rest, as if I’ve already decided to join them. I want to speak up for myself and tell him just because he busted me out doesn’t mean I’m going to instantly join him, but I find that, after having not talked to a single person in prison for so long, that I can no longer speak.

      I speak to the inventor, Piero. He has a bit of an ego trip. Reading all his papers, I find that he thinks himself superior to Sokolov, and believes his plague elixir is better. His papers give off lots of aggressive tendencies and hostility at not being recognized, as well as displaying feelings of inadequacy. I wonder if the Loyalists know how much of a dangerous man they are harboring. It is only a matter of time before he invents something dangerous (like robots that run on steam and shot canons from their arms) or turns into a villain to fight against us just to show us all how brilliant he is. I’m going to get close to this guy so that when he snaps he still considers me a friend.

      He shows me lots of tools and gives me a mask. Sweet; like Garrett, I now have a mechanical eye that zooms. This will be helpful is spotting whether or not people are facing me when I try to sneak by them. Since I am famous in the city, he recommends I wear it. He also has lots of tools that seem tailor suited to fit me. Has he been building all this since I was in prison, just for me?

      I find a letter from Havelock stating to Piero that they don’t have much money, and to stop requesting so many things. At least now I have a reason to justify my klepto ways; I can now say it’s for the greater good (new sweet gear). I already angered Havelock when I stole some of the gold from his bar and started chucking bottles into the air. Though why Peiro couldn’t find out that an item he needed was in the dumpster in the alley next to his house, I’ll never know (how long had it been there? It looks like this trash has been this way since the plague started—leave your workshop and explore the outside world around you!). I also run into Callista, who says her Uncle is the Captain of the guards, and wants to know if I could save her Uncle from Campbell’s plan to kill him. Apparently, he is the only person in the City Watch that is uncorruptable. I wish I knew if she were telling the truth, as I feel that I should know this since I did travel with this man for 4 months.

      I then try to explore the tower, but there is no way inside. Realizing I’m completely trapped, with no doors to leave and find out how this connects to the city, and no walls to mantle over, and realizing that I did just break out of prison and was running for life and am possibly exhausted, I go to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can begin my quest to look for Emily and keep my promise to Jessamine.

      I wake up, but as soon as I walk outside, I find that the entire world is gone. All that exists is a blue haze filled with crumbling buildings and…a whale? It is here I meet the Outsider of legend. He gives me a power called Blink, which allows me to move at distances with great speed. I use it to explore the back of every building, and even the rocks near every building and corner. However I am not careful and fall into the abyss. Luckily, the Outsider teleports me back, saying that I cannot die here in my dreams.

      I see a construction of Jessamine’s death. Why are you showing me this? I also see Emily being held by 2 guys, and the Lord Regent playing with a map as if controlling everything like a chess game. All of them are completely frozen. What are these images? A few are just people getting killed or crumbling buildings and I wonder what they have to do with anything. The Outsider also gives me a magical heart that tells me the secrets of places and people when I point it at them. Garrett had a talking body part on his adventure–an Eye–but luckily, my magical talking object doesn’t make sarcastic quips at me; it just tells me the truth. It also tells me where magical runes and charms are so that I can call forth other magical powers. The Outsider says I have the potential to change this city, and looks forward to watching my actions.

      When I awake, I find the tattoo still on me. And, I move incredibly fast though the air. I now have powers, powers which I can use to save Emily and avenge my Empress.

Continue To “Mission 2 – Kill The Religion: The City”

Return To “Mission 1 – Prison Escape: Sewer Escape”