MERRY GEAR SOLID / Insignificant Studios / PC

Just what Xmas needed ... more tactical stealth action! Merry Gear Solid is perhaps the greatest conceptual mash-up ever. Thwarted by increased military jet patrols, Santa can no longer rely on his sleigh to deliver presents, and instead embarks on a Sneaking Mission. The game covers his adventure through a ten-story house as he attempts to put presents under the tree on the topmost floor, all the while dodging a rather disturbing army of cloned tots who are trying to get a peek at the mythical fat man in red.

The game plays more-or-less like the original Metal Gear games on the MSX and NES, and details of the Metal Gear Solid games up to #3 (this was released originally in 2006) are faithfully (and hilariously) reproduced. Santa begins with only the ability to press up against walls - which extends the view by about half a screen length - and knock on them to create distractions. He'll encounter a small cadre of weapons and items on his journey through the house, however, including a candy cane that he puffs on vigorously to reveal laser traps, and a Nerf Gun kitted out with tranquilizer darts.

I'm hesitant to say too much about this one because it lasts only maybe half an hour at most, and the humorous surprises really make up the whole experience. It's almost more of a one-off joke experience than a game, but it's a great one well worth the small 10 MB download, and is about the best Christmas-themed game that I can think of offhand. An absolute must-play for anyone who's ever played a Metal Gear game - you will Lol.

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