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The Story of Metal Gear, Part 3:
Return to Outer Heaven

The Game:

This game was released by Konami in 2000 for the Game Boy Color, and although it was released after Metal Gear Solid, it is set between Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and Solid. To add to the confusion, the game was released in the US under the title Metal Gear Solid for marketing reasons. Despite this title, it is an entirely different game, with its own storyline.

The graphics are of course no match for the Playstation game, and so the game rather gets back to the series' roots graphically, strongly resembling the second game, with the story once again propelled forward in the conversations rather than using complex cinematics. The music is familiar as well. The Gameplay retains all the features from the more powerful Metal Gear Solid. So Snake can still back up against a wall and see around the corner and knock on walls to distract guards. They even improved the enemy's AI, so Guards are much harder to evade once Snake is discovered. The weaponry remains roughly the same, only the Stinger missile launcher is missing. Add to this the availability of countless new VR training missions and the possiblility of 2-player gaming using a link-cable, the game is a worthy addition to the series, unlike the game that shall not be named.

The Story:

Set about seven years after the Outer Heaven affair, and thus 3 years after the conflict in Zansibar Land, the game opens with Solid Snake being approached by his former commander and still friend Roy Campbell to retrieve an army cargo plane which was captured by terrorists and is being held in Gindra, an african nation located on the same land formerly occupied by Outer Heaven. The Gindran Liberation Front, led by General Augustine Eguabon, stole the plane, which contained nuclear weapons and a new model of Metal Gear, in order to gain Gindra's independence and remove United Nations peacekeeping forces. The new Metal Gear had been developed by the US government, after having retrieved the construction plans from Outer Heaven after the original unit was destroyed. Campbell regrets having to send in Snake, but after an Army Delta Force team which had been sent into Gindra before failed to report back, he had no other choice than to bring Snake bac from his retirement.

Being a part of the Metal Gear series, the Gindran Liberation Front did not act alone, but was helped by a secret mercenary group called Black Chamber. Organized similar to Fox-Hound, the code names are just as silly, too: Snake has to go against illustrious figures such as Marionette Owl, Pyro Bison, Hawker Slash and leader Black Arts Viper. As always, Snake made his way into Galuade, the enemy's fortress, evading terrorist forces all the way, and battling members of Black Chamber from time to time.

Snake encountered Delta Force survivor Chris Jenner, and she assisted him via codec as he made his way toward Metal Gear. After destroying the main power plant, defeating Black Chamber, Snake has to battle Metal Gear once again, and again on Outer Heaven's 100th basement floor. After defeating the mecha, controlled by the general, and then Black Arts Viper as well, Snake learns some very interesting and shady secrets about the GLF, Outer Heaven, and the United States government, as usual in Metal Gear, but again, it is good stuff, so don't miss it...

As always, the plot is thick, fascinating and full of twists and surprises. Revealing more would probably spoil the game for those of you who have not played it yet, but rest assured it is true to the character of the series, and gives a lot of insights into events to follow as well as the prior history. The game is fun to play, and after finishing it, I wipped out the old MSX emulator again, to start on the first games. Whee, the memories...

Oh, you want to know more about the title, Ghost Babel? That would be telling, wouldn't it?

Link-cable?

Yep, MG: GB supports this feature with another included game. Each player plays Snake: there's red Snake and blue Snake. After choosing the weapon of choice, both enter a random VR room at a different position. The task: locate three disks hidden in target gems, which double as supply nodes. Both players compete for the discs, so you will prbably need to kill the other Snake, releasing his already captured disc back into the room. A players wins if he is the last one standing (each have three lives) or by recovering all three discs and making it to the exit. The subgame looks sweet, and I hope I will soon find someone to play it with...

Official Metal Gear Games List:
Metal Gear - Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - (Metal Gear: Ghost Babel)
Metal Gear Solid (see also Twin Snakes) - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Substance) - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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