Friday, November 10, 2006

Metal Gear Ac!d 2

Sometimes, something comes along that is so left field, it leaves you slack jawed in amazement.

Step forward Metal Gear Ac!d 2 on the PSP. This neat little strategy game involves the usual Metal Gear paraphernalia such as guards, robot guards, security cams, guns, more guns, and of course ration packs. Not to mention the gravitationally challenged breasts...

The action takes place in a turn-based environment following rules I've yet to get my head around. You collect cards, you see. Cards for guns, for special moves, for attacks and defense, and of course for ration packs. The strategy is in choosing the right card at the right time, from the ones randomly dealt out to you. If it all sounds terribly boring, it's not. It's quite a challenge to get out of a typical MGS tight spot using limited move and weapon cards.

The graphics are great, having a cool not-quite cell shaded look using nice cartoon style characters fully rendered in 3D. I'm not trying to provided a review of the game here. Gamespot has a decent review if that's what you're after.

So, what's so left field then? Could it be the fact you can play the game in true, stereoscopic 3D? Nope. Although using the supplied SolidView (read: cardboard tube with lenses), the graphics engine generating 2 slightly offset images (thus allowing you to see the action in 3D) is a neat trick, it's hardly 'out there'.

No. What had me falling off my chair was the SolidTheatre, a kind of bonus - extra, if you will. Here, you switch to 3D mode and you play the first 'clip'. It's a nice pre-rendered sequence featuring Snake, a plane and some other bloke, complete with wooden translate-o-script in caption form.

Of course, you can't read the captions because of the lenses and the fact it's 3D and cool and so forth. Anyway, scroll to the next clip... You want more Snake? More grim faced, bandana gun toting nonsense? How about instead a cute piece of Japanese totty toying with a real gun. I kid you not. 3D video footage of some Far Eastern lady playing with an automatic pistol. WTF?

This I was not expecting.

But a pleasant surprise. I'm not complaining. Do you see me complaining? In fact, after completing a level, the first thing you do is check (brandishing cardboard tube) to see if any more por, er, clips have been unlocked. And then feeling slightly crestfallen when another pre-rendered action sequence featuring Snake et al pops up.

But that's the great thing about this game - they've left in all the crazy Japanese stuff that might otherwise be excised for a typical US/Euro release and it's all the better for it. Despite the po-facedness of the game itself (actually some of the dialogue is quite funny, especially when characters start to swear), these clips show the developers to be the krayzee chaps we all knew they were.