By Mento 9 Comments
It's Whacking Day for poor old Snake as we continue to head further into a game Kojima wrote after staying up all night watching a marathon of The Deerhunter, From Russia With Love and Ninja Scroll: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Spoiler Alert: I am currently at the part of the game where you need to backtrack to an earlier area, fighting a boss along the way. Again, I hope that's familiar to anyone who's played the game and too vague to reveal anything for anyone who hasn't gotten that far.
I talked about the camouflage last time, so to cap that off I want to talk about how these unique boss camos work. Taking out each boss non-lethally leaves behind a camo they were (almost certainly not) wearing that provides some unusual beneficial effect, presumably as a reward for taking those bosses down with nothing but a tranquilizer peashooter. Ocelot's is some egregious leopard-print nonsense that doesn't seem to do much, but each of the Cobras I've met so far left behind an interesting outfit that imparted some amount of their power. The Pain's hornet print allows me to avoid getting attacked by insects, while The Fear's allows me to blend into any surroundings but quickly saps away my stamina. The next two guys coming up both leave some interesting gear: one lets me recover stamina in the sunlight, and the other makes you fire- and explosion-resistant, if a little conspicuous.
Besides the camouflage, the only other major shift to the Metal Gear Solid formula I can determine is eating food to not die. It's about as self-explanatory as I've made it sound so far, but it's worth calling up Para-Medic to check if the mushrooms or bugs you've just found are actually safe to eat. I've had a couple of instances where I either got food poisoning or went to sleep for a few minutes. Neither's particularly helpful.
The End is Just The Beginning
- Codec buzz suggests we're about to meet The End, so I believe this update will be another Cobra twofer.
- Honestly, the forest outside the new warehouse exit is kinda dull. Specifically, it's the same as the last bunch of forests. In fairness, there really isn't much you can do to make a forest less foresty than all the other forests.
- However, this particular patch of forest appears to have an old man shooting at me with a high-powered rifle. The End is supposedly a hotshot sniper, and though he's said to not use spotters I'm pretty sure this parrot is helping him. I kind of want to shoot it down, but it's not making things easy.
- Oh yeah, he also absorbs sunlight like a plant and can talk to the forest. I guess he can't just be a regular 100-year-old sniper. Everything has to be goddamn magic.
- The key to winning this, I believe, is to sneak up on his hiding place with effective camouflage. I mean, that's been explicitly stated, so look at me being all Grandmaster FAQ over here...
- You know? This fight was sort of the opposite of The Fear. Same sort of deal, of course: your foe is hidden in the forest and is activately putting you down while you search for them, but that fight sort of went sour due to weird AI behavior. With The End, I began to appreciate how his smart AI worked.
- The End will shoot at you as soon he spots you, wait a few minutes after realizing his cover's blown (the map will actually tell you where all his sniper spots are, and which one he's currently occupying if he just revealed himself) and then jog to a different part of three separate regions to re-plant himself. The idea is to make the distance to him without being in his line of sight, because once you're close you can either sneak up on the guy for an easy hit, or try to shoot him as he's leaving, or follow his muddy footsteps if you were too late and hope to get lucky next time. Once in close proximity the fight got a lot easier, though it was still quite a challenge to keep up with the spry old fart.
- Oh yeah, and he shoots you with tranqs too. Kept having to fix that in the Cure menu before my stamina drained completely. Too bad my tranqs don't have the same continuous damage effect.
- The End also explodes, despite looking like he was happy to simply drift off into an eternal sleep in his beloved forest. I'm starting to suspect this isn't deliberate boss behavior. I've only just recalled that there's another Cobra I missed: The Fury. You know, Ninja Scroll also had a petty villain that kept blowing up her rival bad guys after they had failed to kill the hero. Just sayin'.
- No, I'm impressed with that fight. I haven't been with any of the bosses so far, but that was a neat set-up that forced me to use my wits. I'm glad I didn't make it too easy on myself with the goggles (though I did use the D-Mic once Zero told me about it, if only to ascertain that I was in the right area).
- Before I leave The End, I'll just toss in SMAKA Alert #7: I'm aware that he'll die of old age if you save the game, wait a week (or move the PS3's clock forward) and reload. I'm also aware that you're called the babbiest babby that ever babbied its way across the babbiverse if you opt for this strategy.
- Leaving the forest, we head through a non-descript tunnel to some mountain roads. I feel kind of out in the open up here, but it's nice to have a change of scenery.
- I say non-descript, but this tunnel has, well, a ladder. The ladder. The ladder to end all ladders, in fact. So long that the game throws in a quiet rendition of the game's theme while you climb. Consider this SMAKA Alert #8, because how could you not have heard about this thing? It's this game's "Fission Mailed".
- The mountain path is a little intimidating. There's a bunch of guards up here that almost caught me by surprise, and I'm finding Emperor Scorpions lying in wait all over the place too. Of course, where's there's scorpions, there's also incredibly fast winds: it often felt like I was about to get blown off the mountain with how hard the wind was blowing.
- This next area has a chopper flying by every so many minutes. It's also filled with dark niches in the side of the mountain, so I quickly put two and two together and hid inside one every time the chopper flew by. I switched to this bizarre leopard/zebra print camo I grabbed after the Ocelot fight, and it seems to be super effective up here. And here I was thinking it'd only work as camouflage in New Jersey.
- Hmm... there's some AA guns up here if I want to stop hiding from this chopper... nah, best not. I've gotten this far without killing anyone (at least directly). Talking of which, I've heard I should kill some folk for a better scene later, but there's a big ol' gold trophy for a no-kills run... hmm... maybe I can reload to before that scene happens and try killing a few dudes beforehand?
- Another scene with a half-dressed Eva. Now we're having a Lethal Weapon 3 scar-off. Looks out Volgin's been playing knife tic-tac-toe on this lady's back.
- Also she gave me a key for the tunnel, figuring that Granin's wouldn't work, and also some more Ramen. Can we knock it off with the instant noodles? There aren't any kettles for miles.
- I have to pretend to be a "Major Raidenovich Raikov" to sneak into Groznyj Grad. A guy that looks a lot like Raiden, oddly enough. I guess this is where that gag Raiden mask comes in? Way to upgrade a dumb joke to a vital key item.
- Raidenovich is also apparently disliked, disrespected and a homosexual. I guess Kojima read too many internet messageboards after MGS2 came out.
- Eva wants make-out times, but Snake's having none of it. That's not very Bond-ian of you, Snake. The tradition is to make out with all the girls and then have approximately half of them die. Yeesh.
- Colonel Volgin just did his best Final Fight impression on that lovable souse Granin. Dude got roasted inside a filthy barrel and deposited onto the dirt, like a serving of Metro City's Famous Fried Chicken.
- Let me unpack the rest of this cutscene: The Boss rides in on her horse, warns that The Fear and The End are both gone, rides off after advising Volgin to tighten security. She's going after the Davy Crockett missile launcher, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to get shot with that thing. Ocelot, meanwhile, suspects "Tanya" after smelling her perfume (which he also remarked upon back when he held her hostage hours ago). Again, it's probably a cat thing.
- Volgin also accused Ocelot of being a tiny bit in love with Snake which... yeah, I'll buy that. Not as much as he loves grandiose hand gestures though!
- Scene ends and I'm left overlooking the impressive Groznyj Grad. It's a secret research base almost on par with Shadow Moses, and it looks like there'll be some classic-ass classic MGS sneaking action up ahead. But first! I gotta get off this damn mountain.
- Heading back down, there's a few new guards around here patrolling the trenches I was using to sneak by the first lot. I don't know what the deal is with the masks, but these guys make a lot of noise so they were easy enough to evade. To the underground tunnel!
- Man, this tunnel's intense. Giant hole to nowhere and huge pillars everywhere. It's like the Mines of Moria down here.
- Talking of which, I guess we need some kind of badass fire demon to complete the ensemble. The Fury makes himself known here, a Vulcan Raven-esque flamethrower expert whose speech patterns are as intense as his flames.
- "I came back from space." Gagarin? I now notice he is wearing a modified spacesuit. Are you telling me a cosmonaut is a legendary WW2 hero?
- Oh hey, he's just like the trench guys I passed. So were they, like, practice? The Vulcan Raven thing seems apt now, since this seems to be a fight where I need to avoid frontal confrontations at all costs, and sneak up behind the guy instead via the passages in this maze-like room. I say "maze-like", but it's really more like a giant, Bomberman-style grid. Fitting enough, I suppose. I keep wanting to punch these barrels to see if a kangaroo egg comes out.
- Man, he's certainly a lot faster than Raven. He uses his jetpack thing to blast around at high speeds, and I'll frequently lose sight of him and have him drop down right next to me. I'm taking a lot of damage from his flamethrower too. I guess if he spots you the goal is to spend the next 30 seconds getting the hell away from him until things calm down again.
- It is not easy to avoid these flames. He leaves them wherever he goes, and being in their light makes me an obvious target. I think I'm better off sticking to the perimeter and other areas he hasn't been through in a while and surprising him as he comes around a corner.
- It's clever how your best chance at knocking him over (which does more than just chip damage and gives you more time to get away as he slowly gets back up) means getting behind him and taking advantage of his slow turn cycle to put the necessary number of shots in, but because he leaves flames behind to illuminate you, you're really setting yourself up for trouble if he decides to turn around before you get a shot off. That's not even considering what happens if you walk into a flame and set yourself on fire.
- Eventually, The Fury falls, but then the game decides that a flaming spaceman isn't enough spectacle and he turns into a some kind of demonic fireball ghost before exploding, once again screaming his own name. Still no explanation as to why the Cobras are all detonating upon death, then.
Anyway, this'll be a good place to stop. Though his life was a story told by an idiot, full of sound, The Fury signified nothing. I guess I'll have to ask The Boss if I want any clear answers. Something tells me it's not going to be easy to pass through this enormous base, though. I'll see you all for the next (and possibly final?) part.