What the heck is Metal Gear: Ghost Babel?
Metal Gear: Ghost Babel is a stealth action game developed by TOSE and published by Konami for the Nintendo Game Boy Color in 2000. It was renamed to Metal Gear Solid when released in NTSC and PAL territories much to the confusion of everyone. Apparently Konami didn't think westerners would know this game was related to the 1998 PSX hit Metal Gear Solid unless they literally gave it the same exact name. I usually hate people that insist on titles from glorious Nippon instead of their western dubbings. But, I'll make an exception for this game to make things a bit less confusing.
Back to our handheld entry in the series: the game came into being when someone over at Konami's European branch suggested making a portable version of Metal Gear Solid to Hideo Kojima. That wasn't exactly going to fly too well given the technology at the time, so we ended up with this little title instead.
So...is this a portable Metal Gear Solid?
Not in the least. Ghost Babel is a completely new game that plays basically like an evolution of the Metal Gear 1 and 2 on the MSX. Other than being a stealth game that features Solid Snake and a few friends, it has nothing at all to do with its similarly named 3D cousin.
What is the game about?
Ghost Babel is a non-canon entry of the series. It takes place in 2002 (Metal Gear Solid took place in 2005) and serves as an alternate direct sequel to the original Metal Gear. Apparently Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake never took place and the last time Snake dicked around with Metal Gears was solely back in Outer Heaven. Knowing that, a couple familiar faces from the older games as well as Metal Gear Solid may show up.
So do I have to know much about the series to enjoy this LP?
As I said, Ghost Babel only acknowledges the first game. And at the time of its creation not even Sons of Liberty was out yet so anything beyond then doesn't matter. All you need to know is that back in 1995, a badass named Solid Snake was dumped in a military fortress in South Africa called Outer Heaven in order to destroy a nuclear equipped giant robot called Metal Gear. He kicked a bunch of ass, including his CO/secret leader of Outer Heaven, Big Boss, and became a legend of stealthy shit ruining. Also Snake is a clone of Big Boss so he was sorta kinda his dad but don't worry about that too much.
That said, I'll likely be referencing the rest of the series quite a bit. I'd been playing the HD Collection the last few weeks so it's all pretty well in memory. So it can't hurt to be a fan.
So a Game Boy Color game... It can't be as story heavy as the usual Metal Gear games...right?
Hahaha. WRONG! This game has just as lengthy cutscenes and is as heavy on plot as any other entry in the series. Being that it's all text based with way too large font, it makes for some quite a bit of reading. But the story isn't bad at all on its own and is fucking amazing for a Game Boy game.
With that in mind, please use spoiler tags. I don't expect a 12 year old handheld game to go with a spoiler embargo. Just tag 'em and we're square. Discussion of other games in the series is cool. Just use spoiler tags for anything newish like Peace Walker or Guns of the Patriots.
What's this about being rated E?
Ah. Yes. Metal Gear: Ghost Babel has an ESRB rating of E for Everyone for "Animated Violence". One thing definitely censored is the normally chain smoking Solid Snake will NOT be using any tobacco products in this game. The staple cigarettes/cigar item has been replaced with a "Smoke Emitter" for the same rather limited effect in gameplay smokes served.
Having said that, it's clear that the ESRB pretty much looked at the box cover, asked if there was any smoking or blood, was told no, and slapped on their rating without playing a minute of it. This game gets pretty fucking dark at places for a title approved for any kid old enough to read.
How dark we talking?
Dismemberment, self immolation, exploding teenagers. Kid friendly stuff like that. But to say more would be spoiling the fun and we wouldn't want that!
With that said, let's begin...
Solid Snake's adventures in Gindra mucking around with Metal Gear, superpowered terrorists, and cardboard boxes. Featuring intermissions with the hit text based radio play of 1999: IdeaSpy 2.5!
- Episode I: Recruiting Rattlesnake
- Episode II: Briefing Buffalo
- Stage 1 - The Jungle
- Episode III: Sneaking Salamander
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 1
- Stage 2 - The Bunkers
- Episode IV: Codec Chameleon
- Episode V: Delta Force Dalmatian
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 2
- Stage 3 - The Sewers and The Watchtower
- Episode VI: Sewer Shark
- Episode VII: Laser Lemur
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 3
- Stage 4 - The Watchtower Revisited and The Inner Jungle
- Episode VIII: Black Chamber Cheetah
- Episode IX: Backtracking Baboon
- Episode X: Slasher Hawk
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 4
- Stage 5 - The Barracks
- Episode XI: Death Scene Dingo
- Episode XII: Cardboard Box Cougar
- Episode XIII: Prisoner Peacock
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 5
- Stage 6 - The Barracks Blackout
- Episode XIV: Exposition Elephant
- Episode XV: Blackout Basset Hound
- Episode XVI: Marionette Owl
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 6
- Stage 7 - The Northern Canyon
- Episode XVII: Dying Dodo
- Episode XVIII: Explosives Emu
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 7
- Stage 8 - The Power Plant
- Episode XIX: Ultimatum Urchin
- Episode XX: Electric Elk
- Episode XXI: Pyro Bison
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 8
- Stage 9 - The Power Plant Continued
- Episode XXII: Shadow Seal
- Episode XXIII: Filler Flamingo
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 9
- Stage 10 - The Northern Canyon Revisited
- Episode XXIV: Handcuffed Hedgehog
- Episode XXV: Missile Strike Meerkat
- Episode XXVI: Gunship Grasshopper
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 10
- Stage 11 - The Underground Base
- Episode XXVII: Wreckage Warthog
- Episode XXVIII: Padding Penguin
- Episode XXIX: Elevator Egret
- Episode XXX: Black Arts Viper
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 11
- Stage 12 - Metal Gear's Hangar
- Episode XXXI: Trusting Tuna
- Episode XXXII: Metal Gear GANDER
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 12
- Stage 13 - Finale
- Episode XXXIII: Revelations Raccoon
- Episode XXXIV: Retreating Roadrunner
- Intermission: IdeaSpy 2.5: Episode 13
- Episode XXXV: Les Enfants Terrible Tarantula
An unknown operative's adventures reliving Solid Snake's exploits in the fortress Galuade while undergoing special, rather sadistic, mission conditions.
- Special Missions - Session 1: The Callsign of the Reverse Running Man!
- Special Missions - Session 2: The Silent Tyranny of the Ever Alert Mei Ling!
- Special Missions - Session 3: Untouchable Gold Medal Winner of the 2500 Meter Dash!
- Special Missions - Session 4: The Unseen Time Bomb!
- Special Missions - Session 5: An Undamaged Package's Efficient and Thorough Journey!
- Special Missions - Session 6: Ghost Babel - A Quick and Unauthorized Guide!
- Special Missions - Session 7: The Brief Failed Bombing Run!
- Special Missions - Session 8: Mark the Landmines in Time!
- Special Missions - Session 9: Hidden Truths of the Mad Bomber!
- Special Missions - Session 10: A Ticking Threat From Above, Below, and Within!
- Special Missions - Session 11: Tread Lightly and Carry a Big Grenade!
- Special Missions - Session 12: Metal Gear GENERIC!
- Special Missions - Session 13: Mission All Over!
Solid Snake's adventures investigating an unidentified monster at the Big Shell. Starring Hal Emmerich as Walter Bishop.
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 1) - Tactical Monster Hunting Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 2) - Tactical Tabloid Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 3) - Tactical UMA Photographing Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 4) - Tactical Waiting Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 5) - Tactical Monster Battling Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 6) - Tactical Doppelganger Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 7) - Tactical Virtual Action
- Raiden Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 8) - Tactical Girlfriend Action
- Raiden Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 9) - Tactical Purgatory Action
- Raiden Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 10) - Tactical Sequence Breaking Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 11) - Tactical Copy and Paste Action
- Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 12) - Tactical Finale Action
Like any good Metal Gear title, Ghost Babel features an expansive cast of colorful characters. Just so you can keep track of these jerks with ease, here is a little run down on 'em for future reference.
Name: Solid Snake
Affiliation: Fox-Hound (Retired)
Solid Snake, aka "The Legend", is a retired Special Forces operative that was chilling out in Alaska drinking too much and watching soap operas until recruited by Colonel Campbell for the mission into the fortress Galuade. In this timeline Snake is famous for having single-handedly stopped the Outer Heaven insurrection and destroying the nuclear equipped giant robot, Metal Gear, as well as... Well... No, that is it... He has been coasting on that for seven years now. Somewhat sad when you think about it. Forced out of retirement, Snake is now tasked with tracking down and destroying a new Metal Gear in a recently renovated and renamed Outer Heaven all while puzzlingly dressed in heavy arctic camouflage despite the African jungle climate.
Name: Colonel Roy Campbell
Affiliation: U.S. Government, Fox-Hound (Retired)
Roy Campbell was Snake's CO during err... Well, Metal Gear 2 never took place in this timeline so I'm not really sure how the hell Snake and Campbell know each other. Other than this being the Metal Gear universe and everyone and their grandmother being within two degrees of separation from Solid Snake or his dad, Big Boss. The Colonel hadn't been doing anything special so he was asked by the government to go dig up Solid Snake for this mission. Having done that, Roy is asked to stick around for communication support but doesn't really have much to add to the mission so he simply parrots other members of the support staff's advice and hopes nobody notices.
Name: Mei Ling
Affiliation: U.S. Government
Mei Ling is a token overachieving anime girl that has graduated from MIT with a PhD and designed several high tech devices like the Codec and radar all by the age of eighteen. This is weird considering she had also done that in the PSX Metal Gear Solid, set three years later, where she was also listed as 18 years old. So clearly one of these timelines' Mei Lings are lying about their age. Mei Ling is on Solid Snake's radio support team to break the fourth wall by saving his game data. She also comes equipped with a variety of proverbs and assorted sayings in order to deflect Snake creepily hitting on her. A sexual harassment suit is expected to be filed shortly following the conclusion of the mission.
Name: Brian McBride
The Central Intelligence Agency's chief director of African operations. He planned and oversees Snake's infiltration into Galuade. He is also incredibly bored with his job since nobody gives a shit about Africa in the post 9/11 world. As such, he joins Snake's mission support team with a Wikipedia article open on Gindra affairs and is happy to list factoids should anyone care to listen. Given the CIA being established as being cartoonishly evil in the Metal Gear universe, there is roughly an 89% chance he will pull some sort of massive dick move at some point.
Name: Ronard "Weasel" Lensenbrink
Affiliation: Freelance Mercenary
An extremely untrustworthy mercenary, given the nickname Weasel and all, so perfect to join a Metal Gear support staff. Weasel is a heavy hitter in mercenary circles in the days since Solid Snake retired and knows quite a bit about assorted super powered soldiers of fortune. Whether they are covered in bees, wielding five-foot boomerangs, or vampires, Weasel has the scoop. Chance of betrayal of Snake or his team is lingering at roughly 74%.
Name: Sergeant Christine "Chris" Jenner
Affiliation: U.S. Delta-Force
Chris Jenner is a part of the Delta-Force team sent in to assist Solid Snake's operation. Like any special forces team attempting to help in a Metal Gear game, they immediately all died horribly aside from a sole survivor in Chris. In a suspiciously lucky coincidence, she manages to radio Snake soon after he begins his mission and asks him to link up with her within the fortress. Chris assists Snake with insider intelligence as to the enemy's operations as she is disguised as an enemy soldier. And by "disguised" I mean she put on a jumpsuit and slapped on a baseball cap then called it a day. Apparently, blond haired white women are extremely common in Africa so she blends right in.
Name: 'General' Augustine Eguabon
Affiliation: Gindra Liberation Front
The leader of the Gindra Liberation Front (GLF), an ethnic minority regime wanting to kick out Western influences and other vague third world revolutionary keynotes. He felt the best way of doing this was to hijack an experimental nuclear giant robot from the US government, rent out Big Boss' old fortress, and hire a band of superpowered mercenaries for security duty. His status as an actual general is in question as everyone calls him the "General" while making sarcastic air-quotes. Some speculate he simply ran a general store, while others say he was seen peddling for cut-rate car insurance commercials.
Name: Slasher Hawk
Affiliation: Black Chamber
All that is Australian made flesh. And not those poser Crocodile Dundee Australians. He's OG Aborigine Australian. Slasher Hawk was born without a shirt on and so shall he die. Armed with a pair of five-foot steel
Name: James "Jimmy the Wizard" Harks
Affiliation: Department of Defense Contractor
James Harks is chief developer of the Metal Gear project and the only known survivor of the kidnapped research team. Much like Mei Ling, he is an overachieving super genius college PhD graduate by the age of 18. However, instead of coming in a cutsey anime girl package, he comes in a morbidly obese insufferable douchebag container. The kind that goes in the bathroom to take a shit and doesn't close the door, then returns to work without washing his hands. This is canon. Solid Snake breaks Jimmy out of his imprisonment by blasting open a wall to his cell for fear that no other hole would fit his girth. After briefly shaking him down on info about Metal Gear, he promptly dumps babysitting responsibility onto an unsuspecting Chris. It remains to be seen whether leaving the gooniest man in Africa alone with a woman in hostile territory is a particularly good idea...
Name: Marionette Owl
Affiliation: Black Chamber
Marionette Owl is Black Chamber's resident nighttime combat expert. Before joining the mercenary band, Marionette Owl's hobbies included dismembering young women and using their body parts to cobble together life sized dolls. When the FBI caught up to Owl's trail of dead, he gave up the serial murdering gig for the life of a hired assassin. An expert of nighttime ambushes (despite walking around with bright pink hair) due to a genetic anomaly giving him nightvision (that's a thing in Metal Gear genetics, alright?!) Owl now employs his lifesized geisha dolls for a new kind of <extremely silly> murder.
A mysterious person or persons that ruined Black Chamber's day in the past, giving the entire group a raging hate boner against the United States that spawned them. Responsible for Black Arts Viper losing an arm and Black Chamber's website undergoing a DOS attack that crippled their web browsing capabilities for nearly 48 hours. May have something to do with the events transpiring in Gindra.
Name: Pyro Bison
Affiliation: Black Chamber
Pyro Bison is Black Chamber's resident flamethrower expert. Some say that a flamethrower is an impractical weapon in the field. P. Bison doesn't give a fuck. He just wants to burn things. And... No, that's it. Dude just REALLY likes burning shit with a flamethrower... Full stop.
Name: Sophie N'dram
Affiliation: Gindra Liberation Front
Sophie N'dram is the second in command of the 'General'. It is unclear what duties that entails other than standing in attention during prerecorded ultimatum speeches and the like mailed to the President. Apparently, she and the General used to be an item but that fell through. She still sticks around with GLF since meh... she just really doesn't have much else going on in her life.
Name: Black Arts Viper
Affiliation: Black Chamber
Black Arts Viper is the leader of the Black Chamber and self styled of Solid Snake. Granted, he never actually met the guy until this mission. But he still thinks Snake is a lamer. He is a master of traps, explosives, and running the hell away from people with guns. But even with all these skills, he was heavily wounded and lost an arm (which he later replaced with a Hadoken shooting prosthetic) during Black Chamber's government contract being forcefully terminated two years ago. Now he lives on only through the sheer power of will and Revengeance against Fox-Hound and Solid Snake by association.
Name: Number 4
The overseer for "Snake" during his simulated operations under special conditions using the template of Solid Snake's mission into the fortress Galuade. No. 4 possesses detailed background information on the events of that operation he or she may be willing to share for satisfactory performances in the field. Is noted to hates you and everything you stand for.
Covert junk made by the fine folks in the thread goes here.
Nohman shows off Solid Snake's trials against the dreaded poo waters of Galuade.
Spelling Mitsake manages to MS Paint something that looks even better than Jimmy's in-game sprite.
Waffleman_ has a little audio enhanced something for us.
Orange Fluffy Sheep subscribes to a strange religion.
SatansBestBuddy also tries out the whole radio drama business.
CrushedB made something magical.
Orange Fluffy Sheep made these and it went right up on my refrigerator door.
SystemLogoff accepts the futility of the situation.