I’m not sure why I was so worried that Drew and Dan over at Giant Bomb would get ahead of me in this sneakathon to experience all the Metal Gear games, to fully absorb their cool and zany and ridiculousness, one after the other. Well, I’m aiming to play ’em all, but I believe they’ll be skipping Peace Walker, and already bypassed the original MSX2 titles and, thankfully, the lackluster VR Missions.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater goes the distance in terms of providing a realistic setting where sneaking, where hiding in grass and tiptoeing around booby traps, makes much more sense than an isolated oil rig or even an Alaskan nuclear weapons disposal facility. The trick to super-sleuthing through a Cold War jungle is to no longer rely on your old tricks, such as a radar and pressing against a wall before peaking out from behind it to pop a guard in the noggin with a tranquilizer dart. I spent the majority of my time as Naked Snake laying flat on his stomach, crawling through tall grass and closely monitoring my camouflage meter. My trek from screen to screen wasn’t a perfect, spotless run, as my stats at the bottom of this post will reveal, but when I got through a scenario relatively unnoticed, with only snoring bodies left behind, it sure felt awesome and super spy cool.
I’ve already talked a bit about some of the game mechanics, as well as my love for healing radio frequencies. For this post, I’d like to quickly examine that classic Metal Gear Solid juxtaposition of realistic and bonkers, of military-driven jargon and a man that shoots bullet bees from his mouth. You could compare it to a James Bond film–for me, I’m thinking of Roger Moore’s Moonraker–where the action is certainly outrageous, but believable in some slant of light. Perhaps if you squint. The weapons are traditional and accurate for the time period, but a number of items, such as porn, toss-able venomous snakes, and the crocodile cap, can lead to rather amusing moments. The game even goes so far as to comment on its James Bond-like elements, with Naked Snake refusing to be put next to such a goofy master spy.
Also, more so than the previous games, one of which had you staring closely at Meryl’s butt, there’s a high amount of sexuality here, starting naturally with EVA and her zipped down bikini outfit, kiss of death lipstick, and press LB to stare at her chest sequences. Later on, there’s breast and crouch grabbing, as well as nods to Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin’s bisexuality. Some of it is handled better than others, and yes, scene where EVA removes the tracker from Naked Snake’s nether region, I’m looking directly at you.
Lastly, other than the lengthy cat-and-mouse chase with The End and emotional, time-restricted last go against The Boss, the rest of the boss fights are a major disappointment. Yup, I’m even including the Shagohod. Gone are the gray characters you are battling with, replaced with cartoonish, black-and-white named goons that mostly only say their codename and then explode when you defeat them. I don’t think I could tell you much about The Pain, The Fear, or The Fury, as the game barely reveals anything about them. Remember how you got to know Metal Gear Solid‘s Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf intimately after defeating them? That kind of stuff doesn’t happen here. These COBRA unit members are merely roadblocks, and they don’t take too much work to bypass; once you do, you’ll never think of them again.
As per tradition, I took a snapshot of my end game stats screen:
I think that 22 hours and 45 minutes logged play time is a bit bloated; a few times, I left the game on the “pause” menu or sitting at the end of a codec call if I needed to do something else or got a phone call. I killed 142 people, but I swear the majority of those were after the fight with The Sorrow. Leading up to that legendary encounter, I was pretty conservative with lethal rounds. Other than that, I’m not sure what to make of the crocodile title rating…is that good? So-so? For beating the game on Normal difficulty, I got a bunch of special items, like a tuxedo and The Boss’ Patriot gun, but I’m not going back into the jungle just yet. Though I did miss the Trophies to poison a guard and blow up an ammunition shed. Hmm.
For some reason, I always thought that Peace Walker came out next in the series. Nope. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is up next, and I know very little about it, save for something about a funny install process and that Snake–as in Solid Snake–is old and coughing up blood. I’ll get to it soon. That is so long as another sneaking mission doesn’t occupy my attention first.