After my ear­lier revis­it of one of my favourite games from the PS1 era, Metal Gear Solid, I felt a com­pul­sion to go back and play my favourite game in that series, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Metal Gear Solid has a fan­tas­tic sto­ry, with twists and turns that still felt like a suck­er punch to the gut. As much as I loved it, though, it has aged very bad­ly. There was just a grain of dis­ap­point­ment when I final­ly put the con­troller down. Would the same be true when I went to revis­it the third in the series? Let’s dive in…

2-MGS3-300x225Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
takes place in 1964, chrono­log­i­cal­ly the ear­li­est game in the series. You play as Naked Snake, who would lat­er become the nefar­i­ous Big Boss. Early in the game he is betrayed and left for dead by his men­tor and moth­er fig­ure, The Boss. Later, you are rede­ployed to recov­er a cache of nuclear war­heads which were stolen and to extract the sci­en­tist who is being forced to devel­op a spir­i­tu­al for­bear­er of the tit­u­lar Metal Gear weapon, the Shagohod. Like the first install­ment, it’s a fair­ly stan­dard plot with the real attrac­tion being the way the sto­ry is told and the char­ac­ters involved. Being set in the 60s, MGS3 is a lov­ing pas­tiche of cold-war era spy movies, com­plete with a James Bond-style intro­duc­tion. In my view, the song which accom­pa­nies this intro sequence goes down as one of the best tracks that video games have to offer.

boss-metal-gear-solid-3-300x169The char­ac­ters are incred­i­ble this time around. The array of vil­lains are much more devel­oped than in the first game. After defeat­ing each boss (with names like ‘The Pain’, ‘The Fury’, ‘The End’), I gen­uine­ly felt bad about killing them. Even though they don’t get much screen time, the char­ac­ters are so well writ­ten that it doesn’t mat­ter. The only excep­tion to this is the char­ac­ter of Volgin — osten­si­bly the Dragon to The Boss’s mas­ter­mind — but he comes across as a bit 2-dimensional com­pared to the oth­er incred­i­ble vil­lains. The char­ac­ter of Snake is as fan­tas­tic as ever. He’s much more anal­o­gous to Solid Snake than the mon­ster he would become. This makes per­fect sense since you find out exact­ly how Big Boss emerged from the man they call Naked Snake.

The two big draw­backs in my last review were the game­play and graph­ics. They felt dat­ed to a point where I couldn’t ful­ly enjoy the expe­ri­ence. Metal Gear Solid 3 does not suf­fer from this in the slight­est. Even being a low-poly-count game from the PS2 era doesn’t detract from the title for a sec­ond. It’s clear that even back in the day it was push­ing the con­sole for every­thing it had. The game­play is amaz­ing this time too. This game is how you do a third-person stealth action game right. Everything is spot on. The con­trols feel flu­id, the shoot­ing is nice­ly bal­anced, and it actu­al­ly feels like your weapon has some weight to it. The cam­ou­flage sys­tem gives the stealth an extra dimen­sion, mak­ing you think much more tac­ti­cal­ly about it than in the first game. The hunger sys­tem adds to this, mak­ing the expe­ri­ence much more like sur­viv­ing in the wild than a sim­ple mat­ter of shoot­ing bad guys in the head. You’re not only fight­ing ene­my sol­diers, you’re also fight­ing with every ounce of your­self to live in a harsh envi­ron­ment.

The_End_greeting_The_Boss-300x176There’s a sec­tion of the game I feel like I have to high­light. About halfway through the game you’ve beat­en two of The Boss’s unit, and you’re begin­ning to get a sense of just how deep the sto­ry goes when you go into the third boss bat­tle. Prior to revis­it­ing this game, the afore­men­tioned fight occu­pied a love­ly place in my brain as one of the real­ly great moments in video game his­to­ry. Upon this replay, I can tell you, the boss fight with The End should go down as the great­est moment in video gam­ing his­to­ry. The idea of the fight is to echo the bat­tle from MGS where you have a sniper bat­tle with an oppo­nent who is con­stant­ly mov­ing. In the first game, this took place on a snow­blown field with the ene­my, Sniper Wolf, dodg­ing your shots until she set­tled down to take aim. The MGS3 incar­na­tion is a very sim­i­lar sce­nar­io, where The End is roam­ing about the Jungle set­ting, wait­ing patient­ly for you to enter his crosshairs. There are numer­ous dif­fer­ent areas you can enter, and it makes the expe­ri­ence feel much more like a hunt. You have to use every tool at your dis­pos­al to defeat this old bas­tard. You shoot, he moves. You track him, he shoots. You die. Repeat. It’s so well exe­cut­ed that I was on the edge of my seat through­out the entire sequence. It’s noth­ing short of phe­nom­e­nal.

This game. Just… wow. I am so glad I went back to play it. It’s rare that a game is actu­al­ly bet­ter than you remem­ber it on a sec­ond playthrough. I was a lit­tle wor­ried that, after my expe­ri­ence with revis­it­ing the first install­ment, I might find yet anoth­er game that fell short of my fond mem­o­ries. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater blew them out of the water. With a self-contained sto­ry that is very well told, I rec­om­mend that every­one play this. Whether you’ve played this game or not, stop what­ev­er you’re doing now and immerse your­self in it. I promise you won’t be dis­ap­point­ed. BurtonConsoleConsole RetrospectiveConsole,Metal Gear Solid 3,PS2After my ear­lier revis­it of one of my favourite games from the PS1 era, Metal Gear Solid, I felt a com­pul­sion to go back and play my favourite game in that series, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Metal Gear Solid has a fan­tas­tic sto­ry, with twists and turns…
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John Burton
John is a tat­tooed astronomer. He hearts games, movies & beardy music. He also bakes a lot and looks through tele­scopes less often than he’d like. Helps with GamerGiving char­i­ty stream­ing as well!
John Burton

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