Worlds of Power #2: Metal Gear

You’ve played Metal Gear.  At least one of them, and probably several.  This was the original (sort of), and it was incredibly hard the first time I played it at age six.  Unlike Blaster Master, Metal Gear has a compelling story of espionage, stealth, and dog-punching.  Of course this could translate well to a novelization.

It didn’t.

Another adaptation “created” by F.X. Nine, Metal Gear made a lot of mistakes.  For starters, there’s the cover.  For whatever reason, World of Power had a policy against showing weapons on the covers of their books.  I mean, I get that it’s for children, but there has to have been a better way than this:

How stupid does this look?  By editing out Snake’s gun, they’ve got him awkwardly holding his clenched fists up like he’s throttling an invisible giraffe.  Or holding an invisible gun, I guess, but it’s stupid either way.  I mean, you’ve got Solid Snake, one of the greatest bad-asses in video game history, named after a classic Kurt Russell character, modeled after a classic Michael Biehn character, holding someone’s invisible penis up to his face.  Terrible.

But, as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.  You can, but let’s give this one a shot anyway.  The book starts off as follows:

Justin Halley strode purposefully through the underground hallways of Fox Hound Command.  At age twenty, he was the youngest captain ever to serve in the U.S. Marines Special Forces antiterrorist squad known as the Snake Men.  His code name — Solid Snake.

Wait, what?  What the fuck?  Solid Snake’s name is Solid Snake.  You don’t need to give him a new name.  You certainly don’t need to give him a pussy name like Justin Halley.  Justin Halley is a guy whose girlfriend cheats on him with an entire soccer team, and who always forgives her because he’s a bitch.  He’s not an elite supercommando who fucks up enemy soldiers and dogs like they’re nothing.

And the “Snake Men?” Really?  You can’t call the group the Snake Men if you call their youngest hotshot Solid Snake.  None of the other Snake Men have snake-related code names.  Though, I guess there’s a similar issue in the game with Gray Fox being a member of FOXHOUND, but that’s not quite as blatant.  In the book, none of this shit makes any sense.  Not to mention how fucking awful the “Snake Men” is as a name for a top-secret paramilitary unit.  Actually, I’ll mention it.  That shit is terrible.

The story is a total mess.  First of all, apparently this dipshit is the best of the (sigh) Snake Men, so his superior officers have decided to send him in to stop a terrorist plot that might otherwise end the world.  Oh wait, that’s not it at all!  They’ve decided to send him deliberately into a guaranteed suicide mission that won’t directly affect the terrorist plot at all, and just to make sure he doesn’t accidentally accomplish anything, they’re going to feed him false information the whole time!  All this while admitting that he’s their best soldier!  Good use of resources, gentlemen!

WTF moment: Snake finds the cigarettes, which he doesn’t take, because they might be poisoned. Because terrorists often leave poison cigarettes lying about on the off-chance that an enemy spy might pick them up and smoke them.  And, just because it’s a book for kids, he points out that, even if the cigarettes aren’t poisoned, “they’re deadly enough on their own.”  What a bitch.

Furthermore, the book ruins the story by cutting out the huge  plot twist that comes at the end of the game.  In fact, Big Boss isn’t in the book at all, and the villain is referred to as CaTaffy the entire time.  That name never appeared in the game, and was a product of the localization in the instruction manual.  It’s pretty stupid.

Another feature of Worlds of Power books is the useless game hints they include, like “You can often defeat the Shotgunner if you hit him ten times.”  First of all, often?  Sometimes it’s enough, but sometimes not?  And second of all, how does this affect my strategy?  I feel like “hit the bad guy” is a pretty standard practice in video games.

In conclusion, this was embarrassing.  It’s one thing to throw some stupid shit into a story about Blaster Master, which had a story that was, at best, incomprehensible, and at worst, completely fucking awful.  Metal Gear had a cool story, and this book takes out the best parts and replaces them with whining and Public Service Announcements.  Fuck you.

Score: 0.0/5

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Wow, how sad. Being a Metal Gear enthusiast and having played and owned the entire game series, I had to check out this book to see if it is worth adding to my collection. After reading your review, I can see it is most definitely not. This thing is an insult to the entire franchise.

This was a great read for me as a kid (maybe because i was too young and could not make it very far through the actual game?) but i must admit, your review is very entertaining.

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