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Metal Gear Solid Touch iPhone Review

14/09/2009 Specialist Touch Gamer Review
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Metal Gear Solid Touch iPhone

Metal Gear Solid Touch



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Metal Gear Solid Touch takes a very popular franchise, hollows it out and lives in its shell like some sort of unwanted, dull hermit crab. We're going all gun ho over the next couple of weeks on Touch Gamer and what better place to start examining games with a trigger happy nature than with a name we know and trust from adventures elsewhere, you might ask. Well, plenty, it turns out.

If repetitive, tedious, pointlessly simple and seemingly designed for people who enjoy being patronised, all strike you as descriptions of a good game, then I cannot recommend Metal Gear Solid Touch too highly - this app was built with you in mind. If, as I'm guessing is true of the majority of us, that description makes it sound like a waste of time and money, then I'm afraid it appears that you are simply not part of the target demographic.

It is a pretty well put together game.

To be fair to Konami (who have warrant to be ashamed of themselves), for what it is, it is a pretty well put together game - it's just what it is that's the problem. For example, it looks fine. By which I mean the generic backdrops and simple characters that populate the various shooting galleries that stand in for levels are quite pleasingly rendered. In edition, the still frames that appear on screen partially obscured by rows of text that tell an abridged version of the story of MGS 4, are also proficiently produced.

However, the question we are all more than entitled to ask is whether we deserve a little more for our GBP3 than a glossy, popularly themed venire spread liberally over the top of a dull, ultra-simple shooting gallery game who's levels are interspersed with MGS-wallpaper-backed blocks of text. Personally, I believe we do.

The mechanic works fine - which is not exactly high praise, but given what this game actually has to offer (and *partial spoiler* having just got hold of Konami's new shooter Silent Scope, which I'll be reviewing next week) feels like it should be stated for the record. Basically, Snake starts all the levels crouching behind a wall of sand bags or some such feature, as if he is trying not to be recognised as connected with the game, then when you touch the screen he pops up and points his gun in the direction of your choosing. One nice touch is the use of the pinch gesture to switch from Snake's short-range weapon to a snip rifle, which has the range to target the enemies who are inconsiderate enough to shoot you from afar. However, one nice touch does not a summer make.

Metal Gear Solid Touch is essentially a Happy Meal toy of game.

While we're talking about the baddies, these peeps like to stand up and identify themselves as potential threats, then wait for a few seconds before deciding to discharge their weapons. I find this pause provides a convenient juncture in which to shoot them. Presumably realising that this makes things a tad easy, the makers have included some friendly figures that also jump up, but rob you of life if you shoot them and top your health up if you leave them be. Fortunately for people who don't like games to be at all challenging, there is only a one second gap between someone appearing and them being identified as friends, by a green bar overhead, or foe, by a red one, but about two seconds between then and those that are wrong-uns opening fire. And, ladies and gentlemen, in terms of content, that pretty much covers everything.

So, innovative it ain't; or fun. But, at least it is short.

Basically, it's very difficult not to boil things down to the notion that its essentially a Metal Gear Solid skin spray-painted over a rusty old format, with little to surprise or charm or interest. At the end of the day, a version of Pong where the two paddles are covered with Tony Hawk Pro Skater logos and the background is a picture of the big man himself kick-flipping over Marble Arch and the ball is an blood-shot eye, is still Pong and will get dull just as quickly. Metal Gear Solid Touch is essentially a Happy Meal toy of game.

Whether you're a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise or not, this game delivers equally well - not at all. I wouldn't even recommend it to insomniacs on the basis that some things that are equally soporific are also cheaper.

Written by Nathan Morgan

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Nathan Morgan writes the Touch Gamer column.

"I review a mixture of established iPhone titles and new releases from across various genres. My reviews place particular emphasis on how each game makes use of the unique potential that the interface of the iPod Touch offers."

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