| Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes,
| The Good
Card-based strategy is a nice change in genre
Lots of cards to collect
Challenging, yet fun
| The Bad
Story and presentation is a bit odd at times
Card-based theme sure to turn some off
Let me get this out of the way: Metal Gear Ac!d is
NOT a stealth action
game. It's not a Hideo Kojima game that fits into the Solid
series timeline. It is, though, an interestingly deep turn-based
strategy title that uses a card-based means to provide some
excellent action. And before you get too upset, the card-based
strategy manages to work well within the stealth action that
Solid Snake has always been famous for. After some time with
this title, you will be pleased with how Konami has implemented
this "side story".
Since this title obviously falls outside the main story arc,
it does seem to take some odd liberties. Instead of being
told with action-oriented cutscenes, the story is given to
the player in still illustrations with text boxes and character
portraits. Codec sequences often just show Snake's model kneeling
while these text boxes/portraits play out. The story itself
proves to have a standard set-up: terrorists have taken over
a research facility on Lobito Island and are using a hijacked
plane as a bargaining tool for a military project called Pythagoras.
Snake is sent in with the aid of a psychic and eventually
runs into a female partner. Once the setup is established,
expect tons of turns and twists and more than a few odd plot
angles that are sure to come out of left field (like the fact
that the plane is hijacked by murderous
Metal Gear Ac!d presents each level in a turn-based
grid-oriented strategy, where the player is given a certain
goal or location to reach. While the game is presented more
like a strategy RPG, it certainly retains it's stealth mechanics.
Enemies have a certain line of sight and Snake has the ability
to crawl or flatter against a wall and knock to draw attention.
Using the Triangle Button will allow you an overhead shot
complete with enemy stats and their line of sight.
While the game looks like your standard turn-based strategy,
the introduction of a deck of card will quickly present you
with a whole series of new mechanics to get used to. Snake
has a deck of cards, comprised of weapons, actions, characters
and other assorted themes, which can be used to move, equip
(weapons, equipment and special effects). At the beginning
of a mission, six cards are dealt to the player, who must
start planning how they use their cards. After using a certain
number of cards, the player ends their turn and nearby enemies
get their turns. When the player uses all the cards in their
deck, the deck automatically reloads, given the player additional
Cost. Cost is like wear and tear on the body. The more you
get during a turn, the longer it will take for your next turn
to come up, so it's in your best interest to watch you Cost
as the game progresses.
As you progress in the game, you'll earn new cards, or be able to buy them from the Card Shop at the intermission. Most levels will have card packs or weapon cards that can be found in the level. If you score well be remaining stealthy, you can earn more cards. While gamers who like to collect will enjoy this part, it proves to be beneficial as the more cards you get, the better your deck becomes. Also, you will earn Key Cards that allow you access to locked areas of previous areas.
Cards come in all types. Equipment can be equipped for added
effects to actions. Weapons come in two types: ones that can
be immediately used and discarded and ones that can be equipped
a reloaded when you want to use them. Both have their uses
and successful planning will keep you well prepared for combat
when the time arises. There are character cards featuring
characters from previous titles (Ninja, Sniper Wolf, Olga,
etc.) who have some extraordinary effects and attacks. These
come with their own small cutscene pulled from the original
Even though the game slowly shows you new aspects to it even
a few hours in, there is a good bit of challenge at being
stealthy. Players will really have to think with their heads
to build a good deck and use the cards to their best effect.
If not, things may get to be a seriously pain in the ass.
Each level can take some time to complete, especially since
most are multi-staged. Fortunately, the game features in-mission
saving, so you can continue when you have the time.
Along with the main story is an unlockable multiplayer mode
than can be played wirelessly. In this mode, you are set in
a VR setting and given the task to acquire Pythagoras discs,
which will open up tasks once you've acquired three of the
discs. Players can win this mode by finishing the goals, killing
enough of the opponent's characters or just having more discs
at the end of the time limit. Since what the player can see
is based on line of sight, multiplayer proves to be more challenging
than the single player is on many fronts.
Visually, Metal Gear Ac!d is a shining gem that manages
to look better than most strategy RPGs that have shown up
on the PS2. Konami has made sure to take their Metal Gear
Solid style and pack it into this title. Areas and character
models both look excellent and act in a manner that fits with
the series. The card and character art is fantastic and the
cut-scenes you get from certain cards add a nice touch to
the gameplay. In fact, I am completely amazed at how many
effects and details Konami managed to get onto this handheld.
Sure, the PSP can't push out the high-end details that Konami
achieved with Snake Eater, but what
they've managed to get here still looks great and is sure
to be a benchmark for the competition.
Audiowise, Ac!d borrows from the series' standard
catalogue of effects and music. It won't take long for players
to become familiar with their surroundings in a aural sense
of the phrase. This time around, though, there are no voice-overs
for the cutscenes. In fact, the only time there is voicework
is for the oddly inappropriate advertisements for the Card
While most of the gameplay core is solid and really doesn't
need much in the way of revision, there are a few elements
that still keep this title from greatness. The camera, when
not overhead, can be hard to place in certain tight locations.
Also, by the nature of the game being card-based, you are
going to find yourself begging your deck to cough up a needed
card. Hopefully, you won't be in the heat of battle when this
If you're a fan of turn-based strategy, Metal Gear Ac!d
is well worth your time to play. The play mechanics are well
realized and thankfully add something new the to genre. If
you're a Metal Gear fan, the card collection aspect alone
will make it worth you time for nostalgia's sake. While I
know this title won't be for everyone, the people who do pick
up on it will get their money's worth.