Final Fantasy VIII

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Final Fantasy VIII, 1999

A year ago, when I was doing up a piece on classic gaming couples for CHUNK.ie and The R.A.G.E. for St. Valentine’s Day, I was actually struggling pretty badly. Yes, there were a whole host of tantalising will-they-won’t-theys like Link and Zelda. There were also friend-zone jobs like Mario and the Princess, and even a rare reversal with Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose. And there’s even pairings that eventually turned sour, like Snake and Meryl. But proper romantic love stories? They were quite tough to shoot my arrow through.

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Spyro the Dragon

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Spyro the Dragon (1998)

It’s the Halloween period, which can mean one of three things. To little children, it’s an almost too good to be true tale of free sweeties for doing just about nothing at all bar making yourself look silly in a costume for an hour or two. And for older adults, it represents buying two truckloads of sweets from the local wholesalers, only to do your best not to answer the door anyway, or at least frantically try to delegate the grand task to someone else.

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Metal Gear Solid

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Metal Gear Solid (1999)

Originally appeared on CHUNK.ie in association with The R.A.G.E.

Review, 04/05/14

A stealth-based game? Well, they may be an ideal cup of tea for some people, but usually I can do without. Who wants to lose a game when they get seen, when you can have an action-packed, frantic shootout and blast your way out instead? The Metal Gear Solid games tend to be a different story altogether though, what with their flagrant disregard for the fourth wall and their US-based madcap plots from frustrated-film-director-turned-Americophile Hideo Kojima.

It’s perhaps easy to forget that the groundbreaking Metal Gear Solid 1 for the PlayStation wasn’t the first game in the Metal Gear series. For the MSX2 home computer, which you probably didn’t grow up with, you had Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (confusing titles ahoy). There was an NES port of the original Metal Gear which was decent at the time but hardly inspired, and then you had the even more moribund Snake’s Revenge (no longer part of the wildly expansive Metal Gear canon, which is saying something). In short, this was the game that made waves for the series. It’s interesting to note that these first two artifacts may be played on the special Subsistence edition of Metal Gear Solid 3.

The premise of the game: you are Solid Snake, grizzled, husky veteran soldier, formerly of special forces unit FOXHOUND. Positively ancient in his late thirties, Snake just wants to eke out his retirement in peace, although chose the harsh climes of Alaska to do it in. Fate rebuked him quickly enough for this, as it so happens that a massive terrorist plot is getting underway on Shadow Moses Island in Alaska’s Fox archipelago. The terrorists, as it happens, are being led by members of FOXHOUND. And like any terrorist group worth their salt, they have a nuclear weapon ready to be launched.

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