By Mento 8 Comments
We're back once again with the renegade master and her apprentice, the beleaguered Naked Snake, in the newest (and penultimate) edition of this low-tech appraisal of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater. The action's getting hot and heavy where I'm at right now, so I can't see there being much game left.
As always, here's the requisite spoiler warning: Passed through a mountain. How vague is that? I outdid myself.
I want to discuss the Codec Crew today, because I rarely touch upon what those jokers are up to and why you'd ever need to call. I've been reliably informed multiple times that this is the Metal Gear Solid where you want to be calling up your support constantly, for a couple of reasons. Major Zero is your dry British CO and the source of any direct hints for where to go next. He also has that same sort of Campbell oddness to him, where he's terse and authoritative most of the time and then suddenly crack a joke and leave you perplexed. Para-Medic is, of course, the person you want to call whenever you catch a new animal or plant and need advice on whether or not you should eat it. She'll also save the game, almost all of which are followed with a discussion about an era-appropriate movie (she's a film buff). Sigint is the guy to talk to whenever you equip a new item or weapon, or pick up new camouflage. Eva, when she's available, gives you more direct information about the area you're heading to or the bosses you're facing.
What I've noticed is that if you keep talking to these guys about new things, exhausting their dialogue, their little portraits eventually reveal more about them, including their size, blood type and voice actor. It seems to be contingent on how many unique conversations you've unlocked, rather than progress through the game. I don't know if you get anything from unlocking all their profile entries, but it's given me enough reason to check in on them frequently. Plus it's funny when Para-Medic yells at me for eating cute animals and not knowing what the latest Japan fad is. Like Rose, she's gotta be based on someone's girlfriend.
Volgin Nerve Pinch
- Into Groznyj Grad proper now, and this place looks fortified as hell. Guards, spotlights, the whole shebang. It seems the inner courtyard has multiple regions, separated by doors and tiny vents.
- Looking around for stuff before heading to the big weapons lab. Found "Groznyj Grad Torture Room". Now why would this be here...?
- Captured Raikov and stuffed him naked in a locker. A locker that had a MGS 2 poster in it. He even spoke about "this being the day we met" when I interrogated him shortly before knocking him out. Gee, is there some in-joke about this Raikov guy I'm missing?
- Para-Medic, the goof, didn't know it was me when I Codec called her in the Raikov disguise, even though this is a radio and all she's getting is my voice. I mean, I assume they don't have little cameras in my suit, but then these guys seem to know an awful lot about what I'm up to.
- Noticed a programming trick: the doors that separate areas have L-shaped walls or secondary doors blocking the view from the inside. It's so they don't have to load whole areas if you wanted to look in or out of the door from the other side.
- My stamina got pretty far down while I was running around looking for the entrance to the West Wing weapons lab. I noticed a growling noise and figured it was the guard dogs until I saw the hunger meter. I guess that would give me away if I was hiding? Oh Kojima, you think of everything.
- The main route to the rest of the weapons laboratories is actually through the locker room, I discovered after about 30 minutes of searching inside and out of the building. Sure, all right. Makes sense to direct all foot traffic through a room where people are constantly butt-naked. Maybe you're required to change into proper lab clothes to get to the west wing?
- Decided to take my mask off two steps into the highly secure weapons lab. Genius. Might as well throw that thing out of a window and let it get run over by a truck too, while I'm at it. Harvey Fierstein worked all night on that thing, Snake!
- Met Sokolov, after letting Eva do her thing (I guess she has no problem getting around the base either? Impressive for a hostage). He explains how the Shagohod works. Apparently it launches itself and then launches the nukes while in mid-air? I wasn't paying attention. It does something fancy to get around the limited range problem of ICBMs from this era anyway.
- Eva, aka Tatyana, is looking more dubious by the second. Sokolov explains that she's a KGB agent who is sleeping with Volgin for information to sinister music and a shot of her smirking as she walks away. Except... we sort of already knew all that?
- I got rumbled. Volgin figured out I wasn't Raikov by grabbing my dick. Sorry, sorry, my bad, didn't mean to make a crass joke. What I meant to say was: he literally felt up my shaft and determined it wasn't the usual size. Ooookay?
- He also kneecapped poor Sokolov, and then The Boss showed up to disarm me. I then got the holy crap kicked out of me by Volgin. That looked pretty brutal. I guess it's to the Torture Room then? They built one on this base for a reason after all.
- I'm still unconscious, but I heard Volgin beat the snot out of someone else until he killed him. Sounded... gooey. I'm guessing Sokolov, but they're keeping me in the dark for some reason.
- Ah, I'm wearing a bag. That explains why I can't see anything. Now it's time for the electrical torture scene, because Vietnam movies. Or maybe Star Wars movies, by the way he's tossing those bolts from his hands.
- Volgin wants The Boss to cut out my eyes to prove she's not still loyal to her old apprentice. If I know anything about how Big Boss is supposed to look, I know she or someone else will get at least halfway.
- Tatanya tried to help us, but Ocelot finally figured out who she was. He decided to do his gun juggling act again. Snake did the brave thing and knocked his gun aside, but lost his eye in the process. So now we know how that happened. The slogan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise: "It's always Ocelot's fault."
- Huh. The Boss shot me in the leg and then told me to run. Getting some mixed messages here. Also some supernatural ones, as The Sorrow was behind her holding up a "144.75" sign. It's either a Codec frequency or he forgot to write "Austin" on it.
- Found a fork in the jail cell. Getting some major deja vu here. Maybe I'll find a flute next?
- Tried that frequency The Sorrow was kind enough to lend me. It, uh, magically opened the jail door? Kind of expecting some kind of handkerchief/ketchup ploy or something a little more practical, but I'm not one to look a ghost horse in the mouth.
- I noticed I have two foreign objects in me (avoiding the usual prison jokes for a moment): a transmitter Ocelot punched into my back, and the bullet The Boss left in my leg. The fork can remove both but... that's gotta hurt. At least they didn't give me a spoon.
- While I doubt the transmitter was put there with good intentions, The Boss's bullet is a fake death pill. That's one way of eluding the guards, should it come to it.
- Finally managed to get to the sewers, but now there's dogs after me. I really don't like killing dogs if I can help it. Fortunately I can tumble through them and stun them.
- The Fugitive moment. Either leap off the waterfall at the end of the sewer pipe (sure, "water"fall) or get shot by Ocelot. Now there's a (Morton's) fork.
- I decided to leap off. And now I'm in... Hell? I guess this is where The Sorrow lives when he's not floating around holding up "You Can't See Me" signs (which, given he's a non-corporeal entity, is entirely his prerogative).
- So I'm not sure what happened. I mean, yeah, SMAKA Alert #9: I recalled that The Sorrow uses the vengeful spirits of those you killed against you (and why I was warned ahead of time to kill a few dudes to get the proper effect) but that was still kind of an odd boss fight either way. He didn't even have a health bar. Not that he looked particularly healthy. I want to say he was doing some eerie Silent Hill nurse head jiggles throughout, but it was hard to follow him.
- In more detail about what this "fight" entails, I walked after the departing specter of The Sorrow in a waist-high river, but besides a bunch of dead fish and the previous Cobras, there wasn't a whole lot of resistance. He eventually killed me, but I was able to use my revival tooth to wake up in real world, despite the fact that the tooth doesn't work that way.
- I get some backstory for The Sorrow after resuscitating: He was a former Allied soldier in WW2 and part of the Cobras, but went back to the Soviet Union after the war was over. His power was the ability to communicate with the dead. He got killed by The Boss two years ago as part of her mission, but they were clearly very close. I guess he still hovers around to keep her and her loved ones safe.
- Maybe I would've got more from that scene had I actually been killing folk. (I really don't think I killed that many fish though.) I'm not sure what his beef with me was, either, unless it was to make sure I was strong enough to help The Boss in some way. Maybe it was a Seventh Seal "see if I'm worthy to return to the living" situation. If I remembered to call everyone a dozen times, maybe I'd have some answers. (I don't think I want answers though. The mystery is cooler.)
- Regrouped at some random waterfall, at any rate. Eva was there and gave me all my gear back. I think I had about a dozen weapons on me, so I apologize for your hernia Eva.
- YO I THINK EVA IS GIVING ME SIGNALS. MAKE-OUT SIGNALS. THESE CAPS SYMBOLIZE HOW SUBTLE SHE'S BEING. I mean, I get it, Snake's a bit slow on the uptake, but still. Also Snake still don't want none unless you got anacondas, hon. (Not a euphemism. He can eat those things all day.)
- Back in Groznyj Grad (how many more times will I have to check the spelling on that?), and I gotta sneak back into the Weapons Lab again. I get wanting to make full use of your art assets, but this has to be the third trip in and out of Groznyj.
- I found a MGS1 Sneaking Suit in one of the lockers in the east wing of the lab. I mean, fuck it, why not. I just talked to a literal ghost who shot ghost energy at me. This one has CCCP printed on it, so I guess it's a Soviet prototype.
- This is a fun mission. I gotta plant C3 on all four of these fuel tanks, avoiding all the troops and miscellaneous workmen who are really SOL for deciding to come to work today. It's a big hangar and there's not a whole lot of hiding places.
- Alas, I got caught by the trio of doom, who also caught Eva/Tanya. I got my ass kicked by The Boss yet again. Who is she, Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX?
- The Sorrow keeps appearing out the corner of my eye to remind me how much time I have left on that C3. But first, I gotta get another history lesson about Volgin's mysterious "Philosophers' Legacy", the source of his immense funds. We all have time for this, guys. Pull up some chairs and put the kettle on, we can share this Ramen while we talk at length about this.
- Volgin tells Ocelot to take a hike before he can shoot me, so it looks like I'm going to fight the bastard lovechild of Zangief and Blanka mano-a-mano.
- Volgin's an interesting fight. He'll shock you with this hard-to-dodge homing bolt if you try to maintain distance and wear him down with your guns, and each shock completely depletes the bullets in the chamber. It's a costly way to fight, so instead CQC is the preferred option. He also has a few techniques involving electrifying bullets so it's usually the best idea to just roll around until he's done showing off.
- Ocelot's here too, but he's content to let us duke it out. I think he might have had enough of Volgin being a dick. He gave us another one of his little jazz hand gestures with a smirk before departing, but that could mean anything from "I hate you but, damn, I respect your strength" to "I'm playing Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats this Fall! Watch out, Broadway, here I come!".
- I simply have to pick the right moment to throw him to the ground, and I can sneak in a kick or a few tranq shots while he's prone and vulnerable. I'd say it was an easy fight, but for one snag.
- Y'see, I did plant a whole bunch of explosives earlier and now I only have five minutes to escape, which is tough when there's a giant pissed off lightning Russian between me and the ladder out of here. It's very much another scenario like the fistfight with Liquid at the end of MGS1: less about patience, more about balancing technique with evasion. I gotta be aggressive because there's a timer, but at the same time I can't afford to be careless.
- Volgin collapses, and Eva shows up with her motorcycle. The Boss pretended to escort her away for an execution, but turns out The Boss is possibly on our side and has let her go. We get about 50 yards before Eva decides to get off the bike and give a soliloquy about her feelings. Again, these people have no sense for when is a good time and place for this sort of thing.
- Anyway, Volgin suddenly emerging in the Shagohod finally convinces her to get a move on, and we're onto the big chase sequence. Because everyone loved the jeep shooting sequence at the end of MGS1, right? Barf.
I believe I shall end it on a cliffhanger, as it were, as I've gone on long enough and I have no idea how much of this game is left. The Boss is waiting for us at the escape point, and Volgin's clearly still in the mood for some more violence, so that's at least two bosses for next time. I'll see you for what will surely be the final update.