On October 24, 2023, it became a lot easier to experience a handful of Metal Gear Solid games thanks to the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Volume 1. In addition to the three numbered games, it also comes with the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2:Solid Snake, the non-canon Snake’s Revenge, and a plethora of bonus goodies.
What exactly differentiates these updated titles from the originals? The entries below detail both the good and the bad when it comes to what has changed. While some vital content is missing, there is also a lot that hardcore fans will be interested in experiencing that they couldn’t find in an official capacity before.
Some of the entries regarding Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 refer to content that first appeared in the Substance and Subsistence versions, respectively. Though these aren’t the literal original versions of the games, they still are brought up in the list. Different regions had different content in the first editions based on which continents got the game first. Other regions would then get these bonuses in the re-releases, making the idea of a true original version murky in the first place.
8 Button Prompts
1998’s Metal Gear Solid is so close to the original PlayStation title right down to the use of the circle button on PS4 and PS5 to select actions in the menu.
However, the button prompts on the subtitled dialogue are the dead giveaway that this is not a carbon copy of the original discs. Even as the voice acting is unchanged and tells you to press the select button, the subtitles will show the actual buttons you need to press, according to the platform on which you are playing.
Oddly enough, this is something you can only do in Metal Gear Solid and is unavailable in the two sequels. Press the two shoulder buttons simultaneously or press the controller’s home button and a separate pause menu will pop up with a new set of options.
In modern games, it is normal to be able to pause during a cinematic, but it was not introduced to the series until Metal Gear Solid 4. It is just a shame it only works in the 1998 game since it has the shortest cinematics of the three titles.
6 No Snake Vs. Monkey
Snake Vs. Monkey was a bonus game in Metal Gear Solid 3 that mixed the series up with Sony’s Ape Escape. Snake had to look for the other series’ apes, knock them out, and then finally capture them. It was not an exceptionally entertaining mode, but it was a nice diversion to have from the main game.
Unfortunately, this release, being a direct port of the HD collection from 2011, lacks this mode. Because Ape Escape is a Sony property, it is easy to imagine licensing issues being the reason why this minigame did not make the cut.
If you look at the original Japanese version of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, it is clear that the close-up shots of the characters take direct inspiration from real-life figures. Sean Connery was Big Boss and Mel Gibson was Solid Snake, for example.
When the game was officially brought to the West for Metal Gear Sold 3: Subsistence, these faces were changed so as not to resemble these celebrities. The version of Metal Gear 2 in the Master Collection retains these updated faces. Hideo Kojima had to wait until Death Stranding to really go all out with using celebrities’ likenesses.
4 No Pressure Sensitivity
Though it is a subtle feature on the PS2 and PS3 controllers, pressure sensitivity plays a big role in the way weapons work in Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. In the original games, you would not fire your weapon if you gently lifted your finger from the button.
With this feature being gone from just about every modern controller, the developers have to utilize a different method for putting down your weapon instead of shooting. The method used for the XBOX 360 version of the HD Collection is now the standard; you have to click on the left stick to lower the gun while still holding the fire button (square on PS5).
Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 both received re-releases with a hefty load of bonus content. If you are from the United States, you might not know that Japan received a similar re-release of Metal Gear Solid, subtitled Integral.
This package has some of the additions from the US release but also has new gameplay modifiers like the ability to move in first-person and. a new weapon (a suppressed MP5 available in the easiest difficulty mode). This collection gives you access to this content, making it worth purchasing and playing through even if you are intimately familiar with the seminal PS1 classic.
The version of Metal Gear Solid 2 available in the Master Collection includes almost all the content from Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. However, it is missing a skateboarding minigame where players can pull off tricks as Snake or Raiden in the Big Shell.
It played exactly like Konami’s Evolution Skateboarding, and it is hard to see why they did not include it as well if it belongs to the same publisher. All the same, Evolution Skateboarding was not well received by critics, so you are not missing a quality skateboarding simulator.
Multiplayer was finally introduced to the series with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. The online component had a cult following until the servers closed in 2007. If you were hoping for a revival of the mode, no such thing has happened.
The best you can do today in any official capacity is play Metal Gear Solid 5’s multiplayer. Would it have been too much extra work to throw these servers back online, and how much fanfare would it have received if Konami had put in the effort?