MERRY GEAR SOLID 2 / Insignificant Studios / PC
Not only is it hilarious as a parody game, Merry Gear 2 might actually be the best 2D Metal Gear game short of Ghost Babel. It's certainly more consistently fun to play than most of the "side story" offerings on the PSP and such.
This time out we're Solid Snake in Xmas gear instead of Saint Nick, along with some great Codec impressions of him and Otacon. The mission is to infiltrate the Outer Savin' Mall, where the Ghosts of Christmas are about to meet with the President regarding ... you know what, this is almost as complicated and nonsensey as something Kojima would actually write, but it's a lot more fun here. The gameplay improves somewhat on the prequel with diagonal movement and generally a slicker overall presentation, but it's still the same general style of crackerjack timing in sneaking past patrolling kids (as getting spotted is instant Game Over).
A lot of the game's appeal is in its surprises so I don't want to give those away, but I have to give a nod to whoever did the sound work -- the music is roundly great and I gotta say I never thought I'd hear a Tappy-fied version of "Last Christmas."
The only problem is that just as the game seems to be shaping up to be as long and complex as a real Metal Gear game (at least the 2D ones), it just ends out of nowhere really abruptly. I know it's a self-funded no-budget thing and for that it's amazing, but it's always jarring to think you're only maybe 1/3 through a game and then suddenly it just ends out of nowhere. Leave 'em wanting more though, I guess, which the game definitely did. Any chance we can get these guys jobs at Konami?
* Gameplay Video