Don’t Sleep On This Metal Gear Spin Off

Don’t Sleep On This Metal Gear Spin Off

While Metal Gear Solid’s 2023 Master Collection has more than its fair share of technical issues, it still packs a ton of solid Metal Gear action for you to play through. Like the full version of 1999’s Metal Gear Solid VR Missions (which do not require a VR headset, in case you were wondering), a spin-off to 1998’s Metal Gear Solid that distills the core stealth and gunplay action of MGS into more than 300 trials and challenges so you can perfect your sneaky game.

But that’s not all, VR Missions also boasts a few unique challenges like “Mystery Mode,” where you’ll have to solve a murder mystery. And it even lets you play as Gray Fox in his cybernetic Ninja outfit for a few missions.

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Metal Gear Solid shipped in 1998, and while many may argue (myself included), that it’s a timeless game, it’s certainly clunky by modern action game standards. While it’s a sneaking game, you can’t crouch-walk, or even walk slowly, like you can in modern games. And combat with enemy forces can feel very rigid and unforgiving. Given that so much of the appeal of MGS is its cinematic story and gripping geopolitical intrigue, it’s never fun when outdated gameplay mechanics make that experience harder to access.

How to access VR Missions in the Master Collection

Screenshot: Konami / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Upon starting up the first Metal Gear Solid in the Master Collection, you’ll spot VR Missions right under MGS in the Game Selection mode. Unlike the VR training missions packed into the base game, this is a far more expansive version of those digital environments.

Snake hides from a guard in Metal Gear Solid VR Missions.

Screenshot: Konami / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

Playing VR Missions first lets you enjoy the story of MGS more

Back in the day, I actually played all of VR Missions before the full MGS experience (thanks to my parents getting confused over which version to get me for a holiday present). The result was that once I finally got my hands on Metal Gear Solid in its narrative, two-disc version, I was already familiar with every gun and all of its sneaking mechanics.

VR missions are still related to [Metal Gear’s] narrative, even if there are no cutscenes or codec conversations.

You don’t have to play through all of the 300-plus missions packed in here. But going through the various modes will help you acclimate yourself to the game’s basic mechanics so you’re not stumbling over them while trying to get through the story of Metal Gear Solid.

Snake presses himself against a wall while the camera shows a guard sleeping on the other side.

Screenshot: Konami / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

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And if you’ve already finished Metal Gear Solid, VR Missions is a great way to just enjoy the gameplay loop of MGS without any narrative interruptions. Toss on a podcast or something and get to practicing your sneaking skills.

Snake sneaks past laser sensors while smoking a cigarette in Metal Gear Solid VR Missions.

Screenshot: Konami / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

There are also VR Missions for MGS2

Fire up Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in the 2023 Master Collection, and you’ll find “Missions” in the main menu of the game. Select this and you’ll be taken to a generous suite of VR missions featuring MGS2’s gameplay (including some experimental ones like a first-person-only mode) with both Raiden and Snake. These were originally featured in the follow-up release to MGS2, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.

Raiden hides against a wall while a guard approaches.

Screenshot: Konami / Claire Jackson / Kotaku

And technically speaking, the VR missions are still related to the overall narrative, even if there are no cutscenes or codec conversations. Playing either the standalone VR Missions release from 1999 or the MGS2 VR missions kind of serves as a prequel to Sons of Liberty, as early on in the campaign, Raiden names off a few training missions matching the descriptions of levels found in VR Missions.

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Unfortunately, by the time we got to Metal Gear Solid 3, the tradition established by VR Missions and MGS2: Substance of letting the player drill the basics via exclusive training missions was gone. Still, these copies remain great ways to soak up the sneaky essence of MGS’s action.



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