By Mento 5 Comments
Hey hey, hi hi. Welcome to Part Two of this journey through humid south Russia to save the world from a Soviet madman who shoots electricity out of his arms in the very serious Cold War thriller Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. When I last left you, Snake just got bopped by the Boss, and a Boss bopping is no easy thing to walk away from. Our Virtuous Mission a failure, though hardly Snake's fault, we're left injured and currently awaiting an emergency evac as the bad guys set off nukes to cover their tracks.
Once thing I've come to appreciate this game, speaking from someone who's about an hour or so ahead of this observations list, is that it doesn't play anything like MGS2. If anything, it feels like one of those cases similar to Zelda II where there was some fan backlash over the things they changed, or a lack of focus with the gameplay (because MGS2 wanted to do a lot besides sneak around, and none of it was particularly fun), and so MGS3 feels way more like the first. It also means that, while you can still totally hold people up and aim your gun "south of the Borscht belt", it's not a good plan as the soldiers are extremely observant and will go hostile before you can get the drop on them more often than not. After my little tantrum last time after a few alerts (and some extremely inconvenient hoops to jump through to reset), I came to realise that the reason the game felt justified in bumping up NPC senses is because they want you to really take advantage of the camouflage system they implemented at great expense.
But I'll go into what specifically I like (and don't like) about the game's new features in another update. Since I'm going to be creating a lot of these bulletpoint lists for MGS3, since I'm looking at one per boss fight, I figured I'd give myself a regular space to talk about the game rather than dump a big mini-review at the end of the final update. Even so, I don't want to bog down these intros too much. Talking of bogs (and boggles)...
Is that Ocelot? He Remembers Me! (The Fox-Eared Asshole!)
- Looks like the intelligence agencies are pinning this nuke on poor Snake, as he gets better in a secret security ICU somewhere on American soil. What, you mean all those makeshift splints weren't enough?
- Oh, Volgin's mini-nuke launcher was actually named after Davy Crockett. So that reference got upgraded from non-sequitur to just stupid.
- We're listening to Khrushchev and Lyndon B Johnson soundalikes argue about the Virgin Cliffs incident. We have one week to stop Volgin and The Boss, if these vague threats from the Russian premier are anything to go by.
- Major Tom's changing his nick for this mission. To Ziggy Stardust? Nope, turns out that he wanted to name himself after The Great Escape's tunnels Dick, Harry and Tom, but confused the tunnel that actually helped the POWs elude the Nazis. He's now going to be called Major Dick.
- All right, so no, he's actually Major Zero now. We also have a new weapons guy to replace The Boss: Mr Sigint.
- Did the check-in with the Codec Crew. Para-Medic's gotten a lot more flirty. Sigint isn't who I was expecting, but then I've played a lot of games lately where the one PoC on the cast always seem to be a gun expert (Deadly Premonition, Far Cry 4...). Major Zero's still telling me which direction to go.
- Did I mention that we're using "The Patriots" and "La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo" as passwords when we meet up with our contacts? Because that seems important. That organization still exists in the world in 1964, right? I mean, if they all "died" a hundred years before MGS2.
- I caught a flying squirrel almost completely accidentally; I was aiming at fruit, since it seems like the most reliable food source. Guess where you're going, little guy? One big chomp! #skillfullyscrunchingsquirrels
- Was that a horse I heard? Oh shit, it is a horse.
- Oh, and the Boss is here too. I guess the stealth mission jig is up already? She just beat my ass again, like Final Fantasy IX's Beatrix only dressed like a Mass Effect character, and proceeded to blow up... something. I guess the drone thing I flew in with? With no gun and a huge explosion causing a ruckus, I'm guessing this area's going to be swarming with guards soon.
- I didn't even notice Snake was wearing The Boss's bandana--which he grabbed just before being flung off that bridge--until she pointed it out. Nice touch. That bandana's an indelible part of Snake's image so I'd understand why Kojima would "Star Wars Prequels" a backstory for it.
- Oh yeah, and I spotted her ghost pal again. The Sorrow, I'm guessing. I guess ghosts are the only way to trump vampires. (Well, except for maybe an invisible mummified wolfman, but let's not get ahead of ourselves with MGS4 predictions, here.)
- Heading back to the burned out buildings where I found Sokolov. There's been a few soldiers along the way, but this place is totally deserted. It kinda feels like a trap, even. Might as well grab all this stuff before trying Sokolov's room and tripping whatever malady is about to strike.
- Talking of which, one of the first items I grabbed around here was a cardboard box! Kinda hoping we'd get some origin story for Snake's penchant for hiding in shipping containers too. Maybe a scene where The Boss explains the basics of QVC.
- Also found some zombie facepaint. I'm guessing there's all sorts of additional uniforms and facepaint that can be found. There's an impressive amount of depth to this camouflage stuff. Reminds me of how Final Fantasy Tactics had a geomancer spell for every terrain type you could think of.
- This "zombie" facepaint is actually just a skull. I don't really see any opportunities for camouflage with this, unless I'm going to a La Parka fan meet. Maybe the more effective bonus camouflage stuff is better hidden later on.
- Still on Pre-Ambush Item Hunt, I will admit to acting on a hint from the present Metal Gear Scanlon playthrough when checking the crawlspace under these buildings for more stuff. Didn't find any items, but I did catch a rat. That led to a pretty fun conversation with Para-Medic. Turns out you can totally probably eat one, Black Death be damned.
- By the by, if you want to talk about ludonarrative dissonance, try juxtaposing this lady's burgeoning attraction to Snake in important story convos with how often he calls her up to tell her about the various species of vermin he's going to put in his mouth.
- Nice, found a mine detector too. They sure did leave a lot of useful stuff floating around.
- Oh boy, the scenes that follow. To summarize: We meet EVA, finally, and it was that blonde getting hit on my Volgin too, or at least looked a lot like her with her hair down a bit. She takes out a bunch of guards, unzips down to her navel for some reason and we get a big ol' prompt to stare at her cleavage for like a minute straight.
- She gives us a new gun, at least, to replace the one The Boss dismantled. None of that was a euphemism. She also gave us a scientist disguise, which'll probably come in useful later. Oh, and there was even more exposition and mission briefing that doesn't seem interesting enough to include here.
- Upon waking up from a nap, we get at least two more scenes where I can stare at a half-naked EVA, and then it's go time. By which I mean, we're surrounded by Ocelot and his men and Snake is forced to take them out. Not sexy go time. D'oh.
- So what follows is essentially a mini-boss fight of sorts. If I'm quick, I can run out of the room and leave by another exit before Ocelot's goons find me (they're slowly inching towards the room I start this part in, i.e. Sokolov's room). However, the exits are blocked and I'm given a number of enemies to remove on-screen: 7. I only have one gun here, and it's of the lethal variety, so if I want to take down everyone without any kills (which I've been told, like 2, is the preferred way to go about things. I always try for no death runs in stealth games regardless, anyway) I gotta use CQC. Except, well, it's not going to easy to drop a guy if four of his pals are standing directly behind him.
- I discovered that I can run and hide for a bit and they disperse to look for me, making it easier to isolate and knock them out. Some fun divide and conquer business, though of course the penalty for getting dogpiled/dying is a two minute-load reloading process. Good thing I got that box, huh.
- Guy on the roof was definitely the trickiest. CQC doesn't account for height differences.
- Ocelot wasn't with those six, but he did manage to take Eva hostage at some point. Regardless of how many utterly perplexing "this bitch is wearing perfume"s he threw out, neither of us were intimidated, and the stand-off eventually lead to what I can only describe as "a display of motorcycle-kata". He also took our advice and got himself a fancy new revolver; not that it stopped him from getting smacked in the face with a revved tire.
- Two more items while doing one last sweep of this place: an AK-47 (seems a bit... loud? for a stealth mission) and some thermo goggles. Love these things. I found 'em during the intro and they're super useful for picking out wildlife hidden in the bushes. I had a real problem catching any birds prior to finding them.
- Following the early areas is another lake filled with crocodiles. Sure. I like that the goggles do nothing here, as everything under the water's surface is too cold to register as a heat signature. Looks like I'll need to rely on the motion sensor if I want to catch any fish. Maybe avoiding the crocodiles before they can eat me is the more pressing concern.
- This is a mysterious swamp. Besides hosting South American poison frogs (I'm sure there's an explanation for all these geographically confused fauna), I took a few ropes to reach an item that happened to be a crocodile hat. This isn't going to fool anyone, least of all other crocodiles.
- I got my first leeches too. My cigars do come in useful after all.
- Oh, and I spotted the ingenious log trap ahead of time. The "tripwire" was as thick as my arm, so it was hard to miss. Nice try? (Why do I get this feeling that I'm being lured into a false sense of trap-detecting superiority...?)
- Interesting area following the swamp. Alas, interesting in a gameplay sense, rather than a story sense. The place was full of traps: electric fences, tripwires, a few guards patrolling around and at least one patch of quicksand. I would love to say that I didn't trip any of the noise traps. So much.
- Antics on a base now. Needed to change my camo, but I'm way more at home sneaking around buildings than in the jungle. Lots of trenches to hide in, anyway.
- Ocelot jumped me just outside the base. He's somehow gotten even cockier, despite getting his ass kicked twice now. We're fighting over this trench, so it's entirely a gun battle (presumably for narrative reasons, as we've proven he's no match for Snake up close). He actually bothered to summon his goons with that little cat rowr of his and then told them to stand by and watch.
- Before I could Time Paradox the heck out of that gun-whipping whippersnapper, we got interrupted by bee guy, a.k.a. The Pain. Or The Fear. One of those. The bee one. Apparently twirling one's revolvers is also an effective bug killer, but Ocelot's pals didn't fare quite as well. I did the sensible thing by leaping down a giant hole to nowhere. Hey, worked for James Sunderland.
- A few things about this cave I'm in: it's dark, which means I can finally use this sweet black camo, and also it's very dark. Oh hey thermo goggles, looks like I have a use for you beyond picking out where all the frogs and snakes are.
- I think I'll stop here for a while. Though I'm loath to give that pipsqueak the honor, that was pretty much the first boss fight of the game. Life bars and everything. I'll be back with another update later, once I've defeated the first of the Cobras.
In one of my conversations with Para-Medic, I was told that the reason Snake is back to full health whenever you load a game is that he takes frequent naps between gameplay sessions. If so, I'm sorry for letting you catch 40 winks in a dark, dank cave while there's an evil bee man nearby, Snake.
That's it for today. (CQ)See you later.