Konami released a version of Metal Gear Solid in Japan called Integral, which not only offered up a "remixed" version of the game with altered enemy patrol routes and such, but included a shit ton of bonus VR Missions. For whatever reason, they decided Integral wouldn't sell well in the West, but they did clip out the "shit ton of VR Missions" part and sold it here as this game.

There's a pretty big discrepancy between the game's original sales pitch and the reality of the situation, however. It claims "300 missions", but doesn't mention that a good deal of those are repeats that just add maybe some new guards or some different qualifying condition in the same old map that you play several times over. The most highly touted feature was "play as the Ninja", but of course it doesn't mention this is only for three brief self-contained missions, and that you have to grind through 85% of the game's other missions before it is unlocked. Honestly it kind of reminds me of those old pirate-made "100-in-One" NES carts where it was actually like ten games each repeated ten times with some minor variant.

The game is divided into four sets of missions, but only two - Sneaking and Weapon - are accessible at the start, you have to grind out access to the others by completing certain percentages of the ones you already have available. I'll go through each grouping one by one.

SNEAKING - This consists of 15 missions, nearly all of which are lifted from the VR training included with the original Metal Gear Solid. So if you've played those, this is 15 missions of old hat ... which you then repeat again in a "time attack" form, then again in "Socom mode", then yet again in "Socom time attack." So that's 60 of the game's 300 missions not only derived from missions played in the original game, but that you have to do 4 times over again here!

WEAPON - Weapon mode is basically boring-ass target shooting in 5 levels with each of the game's main weapons. Then you do it again in time attack. So that's another 70, bringing the total of boring/crappy/rehashed missions to 130 already, or nearly half the game's content

ADVANCED - This is a somewhat more entertaining version of weapon mode as you face guards and can now set off alarms, the only goal is to wipe everyone out however you like. It's unlocked fairly easily, but the downside is you have to grind each of the 5 Weapon Mode levels before you can play the corresponding weapon in this mode

SPECIAL - Finally, what little fun stuff there is after you've ground out most of the first three modes is located here. Unfortunately, you get no access to it at all until you've completed 50% of the rest of the game - or 150 missions - and then you only get access to the Puzzle mode, which is cute but annoying as it's a rather random and finicky series of using the game's physics to bowl over sets of unreachable guards. Mystery Mode is probably the best bit once you get to it, as you solve Genome Soldier murders and such by looking around a room and tagging things/grabbing people, but once you've figured them all out once there's not much impetus to return to them. There's a "VR Mission", the aforementioned ninja missions, a battle against a giant Genome soldier, and some other things, but all of the really interesting stuff requires grinding through at least 80% of the rest of the game to unlock.

As far as other bonus materials, a few uninteresting trailers are tossed in half-heartedly, and there's a "photography mode" with Naomi and Mei Ling that only the hardest of polygon pervs will find interesting in the least (they're fully clothed, gents.) On the aesthetic end of things, looking at the same "VR" background almost 300 times in a row gets old real fast, but on the plus side the game's soundtrack is a collection of remixes of the very good soundtrack from the Metal Gear 2 MSX game.

I'm left feeling like this game is the closest thing to shovelware that Konami has ever released. You'd have to really be in love with the mechanics of the first MGS game to sit all the way through this one. Some of the "Special Mode" stuff is neat and good for a chuckle, but not nearly worth the intense grindery that Kojima Productions wants to subject you to in order to get to it.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video