Damn, the ‘Metal Gear’ Novel Was Freaking Nuts

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chris-littlechild - July 23, 2015

If you've been down with this whole ‘gaming' thing or a while now, you'll know that licensed games are a barrel of balls. Not always, natch, but it's a safe bet. Superman 64 and its ilk have put a lot of us off of games-of-the-movie for life.

But what about novelizations? There's a lot of cash-grabby merchandise you can base on video games, from action figures to Pokémon-branded contraceptives (maybe with Pop Pikachu on your pecker on the box), but novels? That's an odd direction to go in. And the results, it turns out, can be completely batshit crazy too.

Over on Kotaku, Lewis Packwood brought us a brief and mocktastic history of the Worlds of Power series, ten books inspired by NES games. These included Mega Man 2, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Bionic Commando, but the most notoriously sucky of all was the Metal Gear novelization. Hold on to your butts and we'll take a look.

The Worlds of Power novels were created by Seth Godin, a man with as much gaming knowledge as your average great grandma. He and a team of writers half-assed their way through each game in question, and knocked out a plot for the book based solely on that. Which is already a damn bad sign, as early nineties game plots made a Barney the Dinosaur episode look as tense and cliffhanger-y as The Da Vinci Code.

Faced with no real story at all, Godin did what any real man would: just made up any old shit. In the book, Snake reveals that his real name is ‘Justin Halley', and he's the kind of actiontastic badass we'd all give our left ‘nad to be. This being the nineties, the book is ‘full of references to Snake's "muscular body" and "red blood rushing through veins". At one point he karate punches through a brick wall. It's all very Jean Claude Van Schwarzenegger.'

It's a kid's book, you understand, so ‘Justin' can't actually use any of his many, many guns. He's instead left to punch his way through stupid-ass scenarios that may work in games but make no effing sense at all in novel form. These include 'trained giant killer scorpions' and ‘...the time when Snake is almost crushed by a giant steel rolling pin which pointlessly rolls back and forth across a room. Because that's what happens in the game.'

For more on Metal Gear and the Worlds of Power, hit Packwood's The Metal Gear Novelization is Super Weird.

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