Review by Vesperas

"Some day you feed on a tree frog"

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the prequel to all the Metal Gear games. Any ways, the series has kept being improved on while keeping things in its original form.

Game Play
First let me tell you this game is packed with action, you can do a large amount of things in this game. You play the role of (Naked) Snake, a soldier in the 1960's. You basically go around killing people to move on to the next area... but what makes this game so much more, is the fact that you can do a lot of things differently...

For example, most of the game you are in a jungle, with little cover just standing there. Now you are walking around... trying to find a target to kill or avoid. So you start to crawl to minimize your appearance... but you want to get closer... so you change into a more suitable camouflage. So now you are racing
against them walking toward you and risk getting caught! So then you crawl into a patch of large blades of grass... but now the game goes into an intrusion view (first person). At this point you can try and kill them, wait till they pass, or use an item to distract them.

This kind of thing happens in the game everywhere and all the time. Whether you want to blast through the game like rambo, stealthfully kill every enemy encountered, or run past them all for a lesser chance of dieing.

Hell, the guards have gotten a lot smarter than in the previous games... they will now find out where you are by your footsteps, and flush you out!You can also interact with them in more way that ever before seen in a game... you can hold them up, beat them up, or blow them up in many ways. Tricking guards in this game is half the fun!

Any ways, the game really does have a survival feeling to it. Once you are in the Jungle... especially at night... you are in an over head camera view. Granted this is the most efficient angle for combat, but for this game, it will make you worry about going forward to fast without scanning the area. Don't worry, as
long as you aren't brain dead, you can figure out where guards are with various radar units and sound/heart beat sensors.

But the survival aspect of the game doesn't stop there! Recall the sub-title of this game "Snake Eater." Yes, you can eat friggen snakes! They restore stamina when eaten. But there is one catch... you have to make the catch. Animals can be found all over the place and can be hunted down... as can plants and fungi. Some things taste better, some this can even poison you... They even added a real time clock (from your PS2's internal clock), which makes some of your food spoil if you turn the game off for a long while!

The other half of the game, besides using items to blend or mess with guards, is combat. Once you blow your cover, you need to seriously kick into high gear and get ready to bail out or stand and fight.

The combat system is still into two areas. The first is ranged... using weapons from pistols, machine guns, and RPG's. The second area is the new added "Close Quarters Combat" or CQC. This includes slamming guards
to the ground, slitting their throats, and trying to get funny tid-bits of information.

But probably the best part in the whole game are the few, most original and innovative boss battles you can imagine... Would if you were in a forest, three areas big, tracking down a sniper using all the tools you can to find him? What if you were in a location with trees with a "Joyful" solider, hiding from each other, and picking each other off behind the cover of trees. What about fighting someone using stealth, like you would in earlier installments of this game?
These are some of the fights you will get yourself in...

This game has everything and more to offer. The game play is fun and you will have many things to do during many play throughs.

Controls
The controls in this game aren't too hard to learn, but I do have a few gripes. The main thing is: Do not play any game inbetween Metal Gear Solid except for another Metal Gear Solid game! Once the controls become second hand, they are perfect.

From playing other games, right off the bat, the "confirm" button is/was a problem for me. Come on now, I know it's been like this for every other MGS game... but why? I can bet over 95% of the games for PSX/PS2 use the X button... if you are like me, you will hit this button by mistake and go back to the previous menu.

Another thing that many people might need time to adjust to: Pressing "Firmly" as the game sometimes called it. At first glance, many people might think corner peeking and standing on your tippy toes is useless... only to find out you have to really press these buttons in friggen hard. This may cause problems when you might want to shoot a machine gun while peeking, as you have to press in a bunch of buttons, and keep them down hard.

Sometimes a simple thing like standing to ducking to crawling might cause a problem, double tapping at the wrong time might just put you right back into a crouch...

Now like I was saying, these are only gripes... since very few games out there actually have features like this. The pressure sensitive aiming and firing added depth. Very few games like you judge how far you actually want to stick out...

The controls are nearly perfect for this game, they are very well executed. The first person view has been more fluid, compared to the last installment... it looks like they just didn't throw it in at last minute for sure.

A newly added part to this game is "CQC, a basic form of Close Quarters Combat." Instead of just a punch, punch, kick combo, you can throw, shove, slam, choke, interrogate, cut, and even use a guard as a friggen shield. It takes practice to pull off, but it adds flavors of depth.

All in all, the controls are good, once you subjugate your self to learning just them. The only thing that is flawed in the execute of these such controls... the habit of pressing your self against something like a tree when you are trying to bail out on a gun fight... this won't lead you to breaking a controller, but it might piss you/me off.

Challenge
This game displays a good variety of difficulties.

From Very Easy to Extreme (With Easy, Normal, and Hard in between), you'll notice things like added damage, and more enemies. Guards also like to see a little more realistically and hear better on harder settings. Bosses also might obtain a new and usually cheaper move or two. To point it out, Very easy will be just that... Bosses take large amount of damage, and you can almost live
forever just standing still. Guards are nearly invalids when it comes to anything from farther than a slug can see. They even start you out with a gun with infinite ammo! Lets not forget about its auto stanima gain and other nifty things.

Normal is perfectly average, a few easy parts, a few harder parts, you know the deal.

There is extreme, a good difficulty that will really make you use all of your skills. The game changed in this area... a bit. It seems like the guards are shooting you with rubber bullets at times... unlike MGS2, where 5 hits = death, but the game has a saving grace... no radar! Yes, that pretty much means that unless you take your time, you you will get caught. I remember back in the old days of MGS and most other stealth games... wait till your radar picks up a blip or your Ki meter has a question mark... find the enemy... wait till he turns... and run to his back and kill him. Too bad you can't do the same in this game. Foot
steps will be heard and running around like actually make you get seen quicker.
Yes, I'm am saying it is actually hard to sneak by enemies this time around... unless you lay with patiences and use all the right tools.

One thing I do not like about the difficulties... all the bosses can be taken out with less skill this time around if you know what to do... solution? Knock them out with a tranq! It added difficulty and new items.

Bottom line: If you are at any skill level (Non-action gamer, casual gamer, or hard core gamer), you will find a mode that will please you. If you are an extreme gamer, extreme mode will test you in new ways.

Story
Wow... just wow.
This is the phase I think most people felt after completing this game.

It starts off as this... You are a man sent in a mission... your code name is Naked Snake. You objective is to rescue a man named Sokolov from some beat up place in a Russian Jungle.

That's all I'm telling you about the story.

Trust me, if you played the other two Metal Gear Solid games, you should all ready know the stories that spawn from this game, and this game is no exception.

I will note this, Snake Eater isn't a sequel, rather before the events of Metal Gear (yes, the NES game released way more than a decade ago.), so it is very interesting to find out how things happen. You will find yourself saying to yourself...

"So that's how that happened..." or "Holy ****ing ****." I actually said the second quote about 1... no 5... no maybe about a dozen times.

Unless you are reading this review for enjoyment and all ready saw the ending, I urge you to never skip a movie... as they will set a long lasting image in your head. Take it from me, the story is that. Damn. Good.

Visuals
First off, let me that say this: This game looks friggen great.

All the characters are extremely detailed, even the regular guards. Just like the previous Metal Gear games, they don't slack in this area.

The most beautiful part of this game would have to be the environments. Unlike most games these days, the backgrounds look as good, if not better, then the people moving around them. Everything from vines to fallen sticks are there, for an insane amount of detail. Even the water looks great in this game.

From the over picture, the detail, and the smooth movements, everything in this game looks great. Just wait till you see a flame-thrower.

Sound
Hiding in the jungle as never been so fun! Sounds in this game are not only pleasing, but they can actually help you out. When hunting for animals, you will hear grass shake. When fighting a few bosses, you will need to sometimes rely on foot steps.

The music fits the game perfectly, without the use of overused teckno. Especially during the times the opening theme is played... very dramatic...

Voice acting in this game is also superb. They sound funny when talking about things outside the story ("Press the action button"), but other than that, some speeches are so emotional, they can bring a tear to your eye.

The sounds in this game are perfect, nothing sticks out too much, but everything fits the theme for the game perfectly.

Replay
This game is worth the money it costs, but only if you want to get the most out of it. Generally, your first play though could take anywhere from 16-20 hours. This is a lot for an action game. If you watch all the movies, try different things, explore, and move slowly (not getting seen), the game will be very interest and hold that way till the very end.

Just playing on extreme for your first time should turn this into another 10 hour experience.

One thing, I might add, I didn't like how they took out the old dog tag collecting area. In other words, playing on different difficulties does nothing but satisfy your needs.

You can collect 48 animals, shoot 64 Kerotan coin bank frogs, force secret radio frequencies out of guards and unlock a few nifty items though, but nothing makes you want to play extreme for any reason than to just say you did.

There are a lot of things to do in this game, but this game will lose its flavor if you don't try to get everything and skip movies. Trust me, if you want a game where you can do a bunch of different things, you have it, it may not be a Grand Theft Auto, but it is still very good in this area.

Pros
Improved Gameplay from other MGS's
New and unique in most areas
The story is That. Damn. Good.
The graphics are flawless
Most of the boss battles are great
A lot of things to do, even on your 5th and up play thoughs
No hidden crap like playing as Raiden!

Cons
No Radar might turn you off, especially if you like MGS1 or 2
Not reason to play through the game many times on all the difficulties
The main set of bosses have no back story...
The food system is great, but rarely needed when new items are unlocked

In closing, I will say this game is nothing short of a masterpiece. If you liked MGS games, or stealth games, this should please you. If you like stories in your games on par with role playing games or real movies, look no farther. If you like solid action games, buy this freaking game.

This game deserves a 10/10, It is great in almost every way.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/28/04


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