Metal Gear Solid: Integral is an expanded version of the original Metal Gear Solid first released for the PlayStation in the NTSC-J region in 1999 and later released for Windows in other regions in 2000. It includes most of the changes and additions that were made in the NTSC-U/C version of the original Metal Gear Solid (e.g. adjustable difficulty settings, English voice acting, and Solid Snake's hidden tuxedo outfit), as well as new features and changes of its own, including a third disc consisting almost entirely of VR training missions dubbed the "VR Disc." The VR Disc was released by itself for the PlayStation in overseas territories as Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions in the NTSC-U/C region and as Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions in the PAL region.
Additions to the main game
- The voice acting in Integral is entirely in English, although the player is given a choice between Japanese and English subtitles during spoken dialogue. Other text, such as mission logs and item/weapon descriptions, will still be displayed in Japanese regardless of this setting. Because of changes between the Japanese and English scripts, namely the addition of Western sources (such as de Gaulle and Shakespeare) to Mei Ling's list of proverbs and the different game genres and titles mentioned by Psycho Mantis (due to certain games, such as Policenauts and the Tokimeki Memorial series, never getting English releases), some of the dialogue had to be retranslated back to Japanese for the subtitles.
- VR Training mode has been removed from the main menu due to the VR Disc having almost all of the missions.
- In addition to the four difficulty settings present in the NTSC-U/C and PAL versions of Metal Gear Solid (Easy, Normal, Hard and Extreme), a Very Easy setting has been added as well. In Very Easy mode, Snake starts the mission off with a weapon, the MP5, already in his arsenal. The MP5 is functionally identical to the FAMAS, but has unlimited ammunition and a silencer already equipped. The game is otherwise identical when played on Easy mode. Unlike the other difficulty settings, no ranking is given after the player completes the game.
- The torture event against Revolver Ocelot is considerably easier on all difficulty settings. Whereas the number of rounds per successions increases exponentially in the NTSC-U/C on each difficulty setting (i.e. 3 rounds per session on Easy, 4 rounds on Normal, etc.), in Integral, they always last three rounds per sessions regardless of difficulty. This change was carried over to Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
- When Johnny Sasaki (the jail guard) is undressed by Meryl Silverburgh after escaping, he was originally left with his underwear still on in the NTSC-J version of the original. This was changed to having him completely nude in the NTSC-U/C and PAL versions, with his buttocks censored in a comical matter though pixelization. Integral changed back to how it was in the NTSC-J version.
- If a PocketStation (SCPH-4000) is used to save data instead of a standard memory card, a program can be downloaded for the device after the player clears the main game and is given their rank. This program is actually a minigame in which the player is given a top-secret mission by Naomi Hunter to exchange codenames with five other PocketStation users through infrared linkup within a period of seven days in order to create a vaccine against the FOXDIE virus. If this mission is successfully completed, the player can upload the PocketStation's data to the VR Disc and unlock the Ninja missions. An alternate method of unlock the Ninja missions involves the clearing the main game on any difficulty level (except Very Easy) and achieving the highest possible rank (e.g. Hound, Doberman, Fox, Big Boss).
- If the player has data from the original Metal Gear Solid or has already cleared the main game once, then an "alternate round" option will be available when starting a new game which alters the enemy placement and patrol patterns in each area. This will also change the camera angles of certain cutscenes (such as when Snake uses his binoculars to scout the Heliport).
- During a third playthrough on the same save file, not only will Snake wear a tuxedo, but Meryl will be outfitted with her own version of the Sneaking Suit. This change was also carried over to The Twin Snakes.
- Completing the main game once on any difficulty will unlock "1P View Mode" on the Special sub-menu. This mode is just like the main game when played on Normal, except the player can move and shoot while in first-person view mode. By pressing the triangle button twice, the player can switch between the standard overhead view and first-person mobility. However, certain portions of the game (such as the rappelling event and the jeep-riding sequence) will still be played from the standard viewpoint and the player will immediately switch back to third-person when performing certain actions.
- Two new Codec frequency numbers had been added. Calling frequency number 140.66 in certain locations (namely the canyon, the entrance of the Comms Tower, and the snow field) will allow the player to listen to hidden music tracks. Calling 140.07 will display messages from various members of the game's development team. These staff commentaries are unvoiced and displayed in Japanese only.
- VR Training
- Extra Mode
- Movies - Contains two trailers from Tokyo Game Show 1998 and an E3 1997 trailer that features scenes from Metal Gear Solid during pre-development.
- Replay Theater (Japanese version only) - Saved replays of missions from either of the first three modes (Sneaking, Weapon, Advanced) can be be viewed here. The manual for the PAL version (Special Missions) mentions the Replay Theatre mode, but it is not present in this version.
- Photoshoot - For five minutes, Snake can take pictures of either Mei Ling or Naomi. Snake's distance from the models is determined by the player's rank in the main game, with the Big Boss rank allowing Snake to move the closest.
List of VR Missions
- Sneaking Mode (60)
- No Weapon
- Weapon Mode (80)
- Advanced (80)
- Special (80)
- 1 Min. Battle - Vs. Enemy
- 1 Min. Battle - Vs. Target
- Vs. 12 Battle
- VR Mission
- NG Selection
- The title screen of the VR Disc normally shows the Ninja's face in its usual masked form. His unmasked face will be shown if the player has already unlocked the Ninja missions.
- Once every 300 VR Training mission has been completed, a concept artwork of Metal Gear RAY will be shown to the player. This artwork cannot be seen again after the player has saved their data after this point.
Because most of the changes made to the main game in Integral were either minimal or features that were already integrated in the NTSC-U/C and PAL versions of the original Metal Gear Solid (particularly the use of English voice acting instead of the Japanese original and the addition of adjustable difficulty settings), Konami chose not to release the entire Integral set outside Japan, but rather they sold the additional third disc by itself in other regions.
VR Missions, the North American version, was repurposed as a stand-alone game, and as a result the unlocking requirements for the photoshoot mode and the Ninja missions were simplified in that they no longer required save data from the main Metal Gear Solid game, nor the use of a PocketStation (since the peripheral was never released outside Japan). In contrast, Special Missions, the PAL version, was sold as a "data disc" that required players own a copy of the original Metal Gear Solid in order to be played. This was done since the original Metal Gear Solid was released in multiple languages in Europe. Thus, Special Missions extracts the voice data from the original Metal Gear Solid and sets the language accordingly based on the version the player loads. Because of this additional requirement, several bundles were sold in Europe containing the original Metal Gear Solid and the Special Missions expansion. This disc-swapping requirement renders Special Missions incompatible with PlayStation 2 models prior to the SCPH-70000 series, as well as all PlayStation 3 models.
These changes were carried over when Konami re-released all three versions for digital download in their respective regions on the PlayStation Network.
The PC version of Metal Gear Solid: Integral, developed by Digital Dialect, is simply titled Metal Gear Solid on the packaging and has no indication that is based on the Integral version other than a statement on the front side indicating "VR Missions game included." However, the Integral branding is used for the title screen. The documentations for the game (such as the title bar and licensing agreement) refer to this version as Metal Gear Solid PC. It features most of the content from the PlayStation version, with the following changes made:
- The number of discs has been reduced from 3 to 2, due to the content of the "VR Disc" being compressed into the first disc, which features separate executable files for the main game (mgsi.exe) and the VR Disc (mgsvr.exe).
- The PC version has support for Direct X-compatible accelerator cards and can display at a resolution of up to 1024*768. The PC version also has support for gamepad and keyboard controls, as well as limited mouse support.
- All 300 VR Training missions, as well as the Photoshoot sessions with Naomi and Mei Ling, are available from the start without the need to unlock them beforehand. This also means that the VR Disc's title screen already has the Cyborg Ninja's face unmasked. However, the bonus E3 and TGS trailer videos were removed.
- Instead of a separate game mode, mobility in first-person view mode can be toggle on and off at any time by pressing the first-person view button twice.
- The staff commentary and hidden music frequency numbers were removed from the Codec. Calling the Staff frequency in a certain location (namely the room with Kenneth Baker's corpse after the Ocelot boss battle) will trigger a return, but it will only display some leftover junk text.
- Meryl's sneaking suit outfit was also removed. She wears her usual outfit instead when Snake is dressed in a tuxedo like she does in the original game.
- Due to the hardware difference between the PlayStation and PC, several aspects of the Psycho Mantis boss battle were cut out. The sequence where he reads the player's memory card and vibrates the controller was removed, as was the blackout trick he performs at the beginning of the battle. The method for defeating him was also simplified: rather than switching controller ports, players can simply just use the keyboard if they were using a gamepad up to this point.
- Save data can be recorded and loaded from the pause menu at anytime without the need to contact Mei Ling.
- While the characters will still refer to button functions of the PlayStation controller due to the unchanged voice assets, the subtitles and item/weapon descriptions were edited accordingly to use more generalized terms (e.g. "Action button" instead of "circle button").
- Mission logs are automatically skipped over when the player loads save data.
- Most of the framebuffer effects from the PS version (such as motion blur and depth of field) are not simulated accurately.
- The soundtrack was not ported accurately from the original PS version, but instead uses MP3 rips that were downloaded by the developers from an undisclosed fansite. As a result, the Alert theme is only 30 seconds long instead of the full 60 seconds and the Evasion portion that plays when the player escapes is missing. The Duel theme is also missing, and the game simply uses the Alert theme during boss battles. Stereo tracks (for cutscenes and codec conversations with background music) are also played at 32000hz instead of the intended 33075hz, resulting in some of the audio being played off-pitch, while stand-alone music and sound effects are sampled at 22050hz 8-bit (reduced from the 44100hz 16-bi rate used by the original PS version).
Behind the scenes
In the same way that the VR Missions in the original Metal Gear Solid featured arranged renditions of music from the original Metal Gear (namely "Operation Intruder N313", "Theme of Tara" and "Just Another Dead Soldier"), the additional missions in Integral feature new arrangements of tunes from Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (such as "Frequency 140.85" and "Lv. 3 Warning").
The VR Missions in this game are referenced in a flashback in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in which Raiden explains his prior military training to Snake. This is to further the allegory of Raiden representing the player who has played through the original Metal Gear Solid and VR Missions.
The packaging illustration for Metal Gear Solid: Integral was the same one used for the PAL version of the original Metal Gear Solid. It was changed to an image of the Cyborg Ninja for VR Missions and Special Missions.