Friday, May 15, 2009

DFB – “Operation Snake Eater” – The Terminal Events (Metal Gear Solid 3) – Part XII

Today marks the conclusion to my 2009 playthrough of Snake Eater. I actually sat down and read through it, so it’s probably far more reader-friendly today than the last few have been, enjoy yourself.


As Always: The Plot Summary is here simply to provide the reader with a loose grounding on where I'm at in regard to what I'm writing about (hence my apprehension at editing it at all), and also because it's very therapeutic for me to type out prior to hitting the subsequent topics. It remains an expendable part of the blogs, so please skip them if you're not into it.


Plot Summary ~!~ My Progress

Photobucket

As Snake makes his way through the underground tunnel, he comes across a fourth member of the Cobra Unit, The Fury. Making use of the surrounding darkness, he’s able to cause enough damage to the former-cosmonaut’s suit in order to completely neutralize him. With The Fury’s death, all that remains of the Cobra Unit is The Joy (The Boss) herself. Following the tunnel, Snake is able to finally able to penetrate the interior of Groznyj Grad. Using EVA’s advice, he knocks out Colonel Raikov and uses his clothing as a disguise. However, just as Snake makes it to the wing Sokolov is being confined in, he’s informed of a grim reality by Sokolov himself, Phase 2 of the Shagohad is finally finished. This means the machine is fully operational now, but Snake deduces that as long as he can prevent the current model from being re-produced, there’s still a chance to halt the entire ordeal. Sokolov then suggests that Snake use “C3” explosives and plant them on the liquid fuel tanks in the Shagohad’s hangar. Sokolov continues on, relating to Snake how wearisome he is of being used to create machines that shouldn’t exist to begin with. All he wishes at this point is to be with his family. Snake voices his assumption that Tatyana was his wife, but Sokolov corrects him, stating that she is in fact, Volgin’s lover. Sokolov also informs Snake that she took the Shagohad’s test data from him just prior to Snake’s entrance.


Unfortunately, just as the two finish talking, Colonel Volgin enters the room. Snake quickly puts his disguise back on and salutes Volgin just as he walks through the door. Volgin then playfully grabs what he believes to be Major Raikov’s genitals. Snake instantly bats his hand away, but Volgin then forcefully grabs his crotch again. Volgin instantly knows something is wrong (as he’s sure to know how his own lover’s genitals feel); he then angrily questions Snake for his identity. Snake remains silent as Volgin proceeds to pull a handgun on him. Suddenly, Volgin shoots both of Sokolov’s legs out from under him. Taking advantage of the moment, Snake swiftly disarms Volgin (via CQC), flooring him in the process. As he begins to make his way out, The Boss enters the room. She immediately engages Snake, who has grown in his CQC techniques, but not enough to disarm her. She once again stands as the victor while taunting Snake for wearing such a ridiculous disguise. Volgin expresses his admiration of her skills and informs her that he can handle the situation now. The Boss then pensively departs the room as Volgin sadistically beats a now-defenseless Snake relentlessly; he continues to do so until Snake is left bloodstained and unconscious on the floor.

When Snake regains consciousness, he finds himself with a bag over his head. He can hear Volgin in the same room as him, torturing Sokolov for whatever information he may have known about the Shagohad’s test data (and the Philosopher’s Legacy). Showing his cruel nature, Volgin continues to assault the scientist until he’s presumed dead. Snake can also hear Tatyana in the room, who is now sobbing at the situation. Volgin then begins to hit Snake as well. Just as he realizes that Snake will have to be dealt with more forcefully, The Boss and Ocelot enter the room as well. Volgin, now using his own electrically charged body, continues to assault Snake to the point where the captive soldier loses control over his own bodily functions (urinating on himself). The Boss very proudly comments that Snake won’t break, as she herself trained him not to. This only seems to upset Volgin more, who angrily continues hitting Snake until a transmitter falls from his body. Volgin picks up the transmitter and angrily demands to know who planted it. The Boss then boldly asserts that it was her doing. She explains that she placed in on him in order to keep track of his location, but Volgin suspiciously states that The Cobras wouldn’t have been killed so easily if they knew where he was to begin with. Volgin then regretfully asks that The Boss to prove to him that she isn’t in collusion with Snake. The Boss dryly asks how and Volgin answers her by demanding that she cut out Snake’s eyes. Volgin continues on, stating that he doesn’t like Snake’s blue eyes and since The Boss made him a soldier, she can unmake him by robbing him of one of a soldier’s most prized possessions.

Photobucket

Just as The Boss raises her knife to Snake’s left eye, Tatyana stops her, stating that Snake has suffered enough. At this point Ocelot jumps into the conversation as well. He accuses Tatyana of being a spy, and proceeds to test her using the same juggling game that he used on Sokolov earlier. Snake is watching this closely however, and realizes that the gun Ocelot is about to fire has a loaded bullet in the chamber. Acting impulsively, he swings his body in front of Ocelot just as he pulls the trigger of the loaded gun. Unfortunately, the muzzle flash ruptures Snake right eyeball and it’s left permanently damaged. The Boss then swiftly steps in and slaps Ocelot for acting so brashly. Ocelot departs the room, and Tatyana (who Snake finally realizes is EVA) whispers to him that she has an escape route laid out for them. Before The Boss departs however, she shoots Snake in the leg and places one of Ocelot’s guns on him, advising him simply to run away. Snake looks up and observes the strange hooded man holding a radio frequency up. After Snake is taken to his cell, he is told by Sigint that there is a certain radio frequency that will unlock his cell. After having a conversation with his amiable prison guard (a soldier named “Johnny” with a constipation problem), he calls the frequency and the cell door opens. Snake then proceeds towards a sewer but as he arrives, EVA calls him. She informs him that all of Groznyj Grad is aware of his escape and is now on full alert. She advises Snake to run towards the exit of the sewer before enemy patrols catch up to him (a unit was just dispatched into the sewer after him).

Photobucket

As Snake arrives, he finds himself at the edge of a large drainage waterfall. The guards have now caught up to him and they are being lead by Ocelot. Now excited at the chance to face Snake once again, he pulls his gun on him, loading it with a single bullet once more. He starts to pull the trigger, but Snake leaps off the edge. Just as Snake hits the water far below, he knocks himself unconscious and floats downstream. When he wakes back up, he finds himself in wading down a river lined with trees engulfed in flames. A downpour of rain then starts and extinguishes the fire. With this, the mysterious hooded soldier appears before Snake and demands that he feels “the sorrow” of all the lives he’s ended in his mission thus far. Snake is then forced to wade upstream while the apparitions of all the various soldiers he’s killed, torment him. This also includes the bodies of the now-deceased Cobra unit as well. Just as Snake reaches the end of the stream, he finds the same skeleton he witnessed at Tselinoyarsk during the Virtuous Mission. Suddenly, Snake appears to die and using a revival pill that was installed into his teeth before the Virtuous Mission, he’s able to regain consciousness. Realizing that his past experience was just a dream, he questions Major Zero, asking if there was ever a Cobra member named The Sorrow. Sigint informs them both that he was a former member of the Cobras and was also very close to The Boss. He was a paranormal soldier and specialized in invoking the spirits of deceased warriors. Sigint also reveals that The Boss was the one who killed The Sorrow at the cliffs of Tselinoyarsk. After consulting with EVA, he decides to meet her in a nearby waterfall.

Photobucket

Just beyond the waterfall, EVA provides Snake with all of his confiscated gear and thanks him for saving her life in the torture room. She also provides Snake with C3 explosives and leaves on her motorcycle once again. Snake then retraces his steps back to the Shagohad’s hangar and proceeds to place the C3 on the surrounding fuel tanks. Just as finishes, he notices that EVA has been captured by Volgin and Ocelot, but before he can do anything, The Boss makes an appearance yet again. Once again engaging her in a CQC scuffle, Snake finds himself on the ground and disarmed for the third time. Volgin reveals that EVA was attempting to steal a small microfilm from his personal vault (revealed to be Philosophers Legacy), and informs Snake of what it actually is. It’s supposedly the largest cache of finances known to man. Established by the Chinese, the Soviets and the Americans, it’s a secret collection pooled funds between all three countries. Volgin somehow inherited the legacy as his father passed away, explaining his seemingly-endless amount of funds. Volgin then entrusts the legacy to The Boss and she departs, stating that she’ll take care of EVA as well. Ocelot eagerly rushes to face Snake, but Volgin refuses and removes his own overcoat, revealing an electro-insulated combat suit. He orders that Ocelot watch while he fights Snake himself. As the battle begins however, something strange begins to happen. Ocelot’s loyalties start to become suspiciously ambiguous. As Snake gains the upper-hand, Ocelot refuses to intervene and Volgin orders him to instead locate the C3 explosives before they explode. Ocelot departs and he gestures to Snake, seemingly giving him a vote of confidence. The battle then continues and despite Volgin’s strength, he falls in defeat while facing Snake on equal grounds.

Photobucket

As Snake flees the hangar, EVA pulls up on her motorbike (now with a sidecar equipped). Snake is shocked at her appearance, but hops in the sidecar and the two flee the hangar before it explodes. Just as the C3 detonates, the hangar goes up in a massive explosion. EVA then stops her bike and tells Snake that The Boss let her go and she’s waiting for him at the end of the escape route that EVA plotted out. However, as the two get finish their conversation, the Shagohad suddenly bursts through the roof of the hangar, proving that the C3 detonation was ineffective. Volgin can be heard furiously yelling to Snake from the cockpit as the two take off attempting to escape Groznyj Grad. After a violent chase along the runway, EVA and Snake arrive at a rail bridge and Snake snipes more C3 explosives that EVA placed on the bridge. Just as the Shagohad passes over the bridge, Snake shoots out all of the explosives and the bridge collapses, supposedly taking the Shagohad down with it. Before EVA and Snake can celebrate however, the smoke clears, revealing that only the back-end of the Shagohad actually fell off the bridge. The front end suddenly uses the remains of the bridge as a ramp and launches itself into the air, landing directly in front of Snake and EVA. Using EVA’s help as a distraction, Snake is able to finally destroy the Shagohad. Just as Volgin attempts to further engage Snake in combat, a mild thunderstorm begins and a bolt of lightning strikes Volgin directly. As Snake and EVA witness the irony of Volgin’s death, the remaining forces of Groznyj Grad hastily pursue them.

Photobucket

Mounting the motorcycle once again, Snake keeps the pursuing forces off while EVA continues along the escape route. Just as they near the aircraft that EVA has stored, they both notice that there’s a gunshot hole in the gas tank and they’re now leaking fuel. Both of them are observing this just as Snake notices that they’re about to crash. Unfortunately they’re too late to react and the bike is thrown off the road, slamming EVA into a tree branch, which pierces part of her abdomen. Snake lands and only suffers a few minor injuries, but using some of his own medical supplies, he’s able to heal EVA well enough for her to continue on. They proceed to slowly make their way through the forest, avoiding the remnants of Groznyj Grad’s patrol units. They then come to a lake where EVA’s WIG aircraft is stored. As she departs to begin preparing for takeoff, Snake silently makes his way to a nearby field of flowers. As enters the field, he feels an intense wind gust from a nearby nuclear blast. Suddenly, The Boss appears in the field as well, dropping the Davy Crockett Launcher she just deployed herself towards Groznyj Grad (which obliterates the entire base). She then talks to Snake at length, about her entire military career, constantly retracing the fact that despite her government’s abusive use of her, she remained loyal. The limits of this loyalty were tested at their absolute end when she was forced to kill her lover (The Sorrow), give up her baby son (never stated directly but known to be Ocelot), and being forced to confront Snake, her most treasured pupil. The Boss then tears her sneaking suit open, exposing her chest and revealing an extremely large caesarean scar (which cryptically forms the image of a Snake crawling across her chest). She also informs Snake about the collective will of the Philosophers. Earlier in the century, the top minds between China, the Soviet Union, and the United States formed what would later be known as the “Wiseman’s Committee”. These original members died off in the 1930’s, but their successors’ sense of ethics began to spiral out of control; this was to the point where even The Boss herself comments that they ended up as a shell of their former selves, with no grasp of good or evil (they in a sense, became war itself). Her father, who was a member of the original Wiseman’s Committee, related all of this to her himself.

Photobucket

After she’s done speaking, she thanks Snake for listening to her and then quietly voices her demand that he stay true to his loyalties as well. Snake is apprehensive at this point, but The Boss maternally demands that he finish his mission. She cryptically asserts that the cycle of war they are both enacting as an endless one and passionately insists that they make the next ten minutes the best-time period of their entire lives. With Soviet aircrafts coming to bomb their vicinity (Khrushchev attempting to eliminate all traces of Groznyj Grad and the Shagohad), the two begin fighting in the field. Engaging The Boss with CQC tactics and camouflage, Snake is finally able to triumph over his mentor. As she’s lying in the field, she hands him The Philosopher’s Legacy and tells him to keep it safe. She then calls Snake a wonderful man and quietly asks that he kill her. Using her own customized assault pistol (ironically dubbed “a Patriot”), Snake euthanizes her. Just as her white horse comes up and neighs over her corpse, Snake can just make out The Sorrow’s figure disappearing with The Boss’ in the field, as all the surrounding flowers turn from white to red.

Photobucket

Snake then quietly makes his way back to the WIG and absent-mindedly gazes at a flower pedal from the field as they take off. Just as it seems they’re finally free of danger however, one of their engines is shot out. Looking out the window, Snake sees Ocelot manipulating one of the flying platforms that were used by various patrols during his mission. Ocelot angrily demands that they have unfinished business and proceeds to slam directly into the ship, smashing the door off and boarding the plane. Unfortunately, Snake has taken most of his equipment off, and Ocelot picks most of the items up and proceeds to release them out of the door into the lake. Snake responds simply by punching Ocelot in the face and the two have a vigorous fist-fight in which Ocelot reveals that he’s picked up some CQC maneuvers as well. Ocelot then pulls his revolver on Snake and attempts to shoot, but EVA tosses Snake the only gun she has left (Ocelot’s other revolver given to Snake in the torture room by The Boss). As the two pull the triggers, they find that both guns are empty. Taking advantage of the situation, Ocelot loads a single bullet into his gun and asks Snake for his own. Ocelot then proceeds to juggle both their guns in order to mix them up for a game of chance. After he’s finished, he lets Snake pick one, and the two proceed to duel. As they both fire their guns, they realize that the single bullet is no more than a blank. Ocelot asks to know Snake’s real name, revealing that his is Adamska. Snake responds that his name is John and Ocelot vows never to forget it. Ocelot then amusedly announces that he had fun and proceeds to brashly leap from the plane (which is still travelling near the surface of the water), skimming across the surface as he lands in the lake.

Photobucket

Just as they begin flying away, the aircraft fighters arrive and attempt to shoot them out of the sky. At the last moment, they receive cessation orders from Khrushchev, which allows Snake and EVA unharmed passage to Alaska. After arriving at the Alaskan safe-house, both EVA and Snake end up consummating their relationship for one night. When Snake awakens the next morning, he finds that EVA has left and she has stolen the Philosopher’s Legacy. Listening to a tape that she left, Snake learns that her true loyalties lay with the Chinese government, which she is a sleeper agent for. The only person who truly knew who and what she was from the beginning…was The Boss. By letting EVA go at Groznyj Grad, she ensured that Snake would be informed the entirety of The Boss’ actual mission. In reality, EVA was required to kill anyone with knowledge about the legacy, but refrained from harming Snake, in order to honor a promise she made to The Boss.

Photobucket

EVA’s tape tearfully reveals that The Boss’ entire defection was an elaborate subterfuge designed the U.S. government to deceive everybody involved. Her mission was to obtain the Philosopher’s Legacy from Volgin and using her status as a living war-legend, she accomplished it. The missions’ complication came when Volgin nuked the Sokolov’s old testing facility during the Virtuous Mission, which left the U.S. with other option apart from adapting the plan in order to prove the country’s innocence. Knowing that this meant her certain death, The Boss knowingly and purposefully designed the mission so that she would be killed by her most adored pupil, Naked Snake. Betraying her old comrades the Cobras, The Boss died for her country, sacrificing absolutely everything in the process. Officially, even her legacy will list her as nothing more than a war-criminal and traitor. By use of EVA, The Boss was at least able to inform Snake of her true intentions in end. As Snake receives an award by President Johnson, he shockingly notices Ocelot gesturing to him from a nearby window. Snake is then awarded his new title and code name, Big Boss. After shaking the President’s hand, Snake coolly refuses to shake the CIA directors hand (who apparently arranged The Boss’ mission and his involvement in it) and departs from the room. He also doesn’t acknowledge Zero, Para-Medic, or Sigint, all of whom are present as this awarding as well. Snake then departs to a nearby graveyard, where he lays a bouquet of flowers and The Boss’ Patriot on an empty grave. Snake silently stands erect and salutes the grave as tears stream down his face.

Photobucket

During the credits, the player is shown a timeline which details the subsequent happenings surrounding the participants in operation Snake Eater. The most ominous entry appears last; in 1972 the “Les Enfants Terribles” project is launched, giving rise to Solid, Liquid, and Solidus Snake.

After the credits, Ocelot is once again heard talking over the phone. He reveals that the film of the legacy obtained by the Chinese (via EVA) was nothing more than a fake. The U.S. is actually in control of it, but only half the money is accounted for, leaving Ocelot to assume that the KGB is in possession of the remainder of the money. Ocelot is also heard speaking about Granin’s designs he stole, which would eventually become a reality as Metal Gear Rex. Ocelot also reveals that his loyalties truly lie with the U.S. and that he was actually a triple agent all along. Not only was Ocelot in reality ADAM (Snake’s intended first contact before EVA showed up), but he is also an agent for the Philosophers, looking to revive the American branch, which would later become known as The Patriots.


~End of Operation Snake Eater~

1 - Sons of The Boss
Photobucket

The bulk of the adversaries in Metal Gear Solid 3 represent yet another hostile Soviet force that the player is forced to deal with. As with my sentiments in “Sons of Liberty”, I think the language barrier should remain past localizations. Going with the “spatial” high I’ve been on however, I’d have to say that the soldiers of this title are aided by the jungle surroundings that they’re provided. The smallest details were crafted into their movement as well. The animations and slight head-movement is far more impressive than the stilted maneuverings of the “Sons of Liberty”. What’s most impressive is that the AI is beginning to leave behind bad habits in this title. Sure, the oldies still remain (e.g. the guards assuming you’ve vanished because of the caution-phase’s dissipation), but guards begin to use some simplistic tactics in order to one-up Snake. Not only do their animations look more plausible, but their patrol routes do as well. The best example of this was the scaling of Krasnogorje’s Mountainside. The ingenious part of this is not only do plenty of the outdoor environments mask the rudimentary makeup of the AI, it actively dumbs the player down along with it (forcibly making them meet the game halfway so to speak). By giving the player the option (or illusion of) choice, it muddles the experience overall (in a good way) by bridging the cognitive perception of engagement with the AI’s antiquated boundaries.

The only flaws in this game become apparent when judged under the now-crushing context of all its mechanics (see previous post). The AI is no different and even when judged in tandem with how everything else is balances; it still very scarcely trips itself up. This is also while you’ll hear most people use the most epitomizing for this game: Rich. It’s a rich title in every respect and the interweaving mechanics tend to play off each other at every turn. The AI’s dance partner in this game was the camo system, which judged how visible the player is to the enemy. Sometimes, soldiers can “see sensibly” and the game is at its best when the player realizes that “running around like an idiot” is an actuality. It’s ironic as well, because this game gives the player access to a great deal of weaponry and dozens of means to fight back. What really interested me in this game was what I also cited as its most detrimental flaw, the linearity. The AI is actually the saving grace of this aspect, as they gave me spatial counterpoints in which I could associate myself with the flora and fauna. With that, I arrive at the beginning of this section again, moving on!

2 - Ancestral Melee
Photobucket

It’s funny that the most extensive metal gear battle in this series thus far isn’t technically a metal gear per se, it’s actually Metal Gear’s earliest competitor. The battle with the Shagohad features a high-octane milieu which is wrapped in a big bun of “cineplay-pandering”. If one enjoys Metal Gear in any fashion, the way that the game indulges them at this point typically revolves around its own little zenith. I equate it with a cartoon character knocking him/herself out and seeing birds fly around their head; in this case it just happens to be the Shagohad loop-chasing EVA & Snake around their head instead. The game even makes note of this by conveniently providing the player with the awe-inspiring infinity symbol on their ammo-meter. The little details become extensively altered in the experience as well (e.g. Snake screaming whenever the player fires the M63 Machine gun).

The Shagohad itself consists of a four-part (or six depending how you look at it) encounter which ends with colonel Volgin using his bio-electric power to manually pilot the Shagohad, standing on top of it and holding it’s wiring cables like reins on a horse. Apart from the obvious homage that the game’s introduction movie is showcasing, nothing is showing a “Bond-lift” quite like that. The only thing I question with the encounter would be that the game also hides behind its own cinematics. For those of us who dug the story/scenes/characters, it doesn’t affect us to any noticeable degree. I’m positive however, that plenty saw just another shameful boss battle. For example, I’ll offer that the most obvious disconnect is that between each portion of gameplay there’s a pretty large cutscene showcasing the context of what’s going on. The actual quality of the scenes is at this point irrelevant, because the game is making an active statement of its own limits (and that’s to be commended). Some people respond well to that, some don’t.

3 - Silence Deteriorate
I think the deteriorating silencers were one of the best additions to this game, because it lets one accurately scale how they play the entire game to begin with. Stealth is a central game mechanic, so a silencer becomes increasingly more important as time crawls on. Not only that, but if the players are actually digging the espionage tactics, they’ll actually begin to cherish the novelty of having a silencer. This is not too unlike how it was a godsend to pick up a suppressor in the original famicom game. This enjoyment is also because the game toned down how far the player could get on snapping necks alone (the guards “hear” far more effectively in this title). Actually “needing” a silencer is something of great enjoyment in this game, and coupled with the amount of perverse pleasure Snake takes in his M1911A1, the mechanic then becomes “charged”. One of the Metal Gear game’s strongest fortes is how they charge their play with their own “crazy” narrative (which is almost exactly the same argument as my cutscene sentiment for the series overall). The only way that the game itself could take this any farther would be to offer some way to maintain the guns themselves (e.g. Hi Guns of the Patriots!).

4 - Spatial Displacement
A nasty streak that all the Metal Gear Solid games share is that while they want the player to watch their cutscenes, they constantly acknowledge that they want the controller in their hand at all times. For me, this problem is very jarring, as I’ll be the first to admit that I lay my controller down when cutscenes in this game play. When you put the controller down in Snake Eater specifically, chances are that you’re going to miss something. Not only does this title constantly have “R1 moments”, but it frequently activates hidden ones as well; ones that the player won’t see unless they constantly have their hand on R1 at all times. For first timers, this can color their experiences extremely differently. An example I’ll use would be my personal favorite hidden R1 moment. Literally the last five to ten seconds of Snake Eater feature Snake saluting the Boss’ grave. There’s no on screen prompt or anything, but one can clearly see that he’s in tears. If they do happen to press R1 however, they’ll see Big Boss’ blurred view of the graveyard from his one teary eye. For the amount of interaction that these sequences provide, there’s much to be said for how the player can, should, or will take in certain scenes. For this title in particular, it creates a displacement, as the surrounding backdrops in this game are arguably the best that the series has had to offer. The only thing that can possibly compete with the entirety of Snake Eater would be Act IV of Guns of the Patriots.

5 - Context Desire
Dragging that last section’s mindset along, I’ll state that despite how wonderfully shot some of MGS3’s cutscenes are, I argue with possibilities in my head regarding how they play out. The best example I’ll use is the scene just prior to entering the underground tunnel where the player faces The Fury. This also ties into how the player shouldn’t be allowed “God’s Eyeball” for certain scenes (see MGS2 blogs). During this scene, you (the player) play witness to Volgin finding out that The End and The Fear are dead. Snake’s only grasp of the situation was what he can see through his binoculars, and that’s how I’d rather witness the scene myself. This is because the player would be forced to play with the context themselves, reading the gestures of the models (they’d only be able to see the figures in the distance right?) and judging the mannerisms that the models DO actually have. Konami has proven that they know Sony’s hardware, now I think they should prove that they know the player as well. If you’re wondering about how the scene should be controlled, look at Raiden’s observation of Solidus’ first appearance in Metal Gear Solid 2, it’s a perfect example for this.

6 - First-Person Fortitude
Between the many easter eggs and all of the “R1-Moments”, Snake Eater makes it a point of actively apologizing to the player for stripping them of playtime so much. Nearly every sequence involving The Sorrow requires the player to engage the first person view in order to see him. What the game’s own narrative does to “charge” this mechanic is what most people assert with Big Boss’ entire image, the eyepatch. The perspective does shift after Snake has his eyeball is ruptured, and it even affects how some scenes playout (after Snake meets with EVA under the waterfall). By the end of the game, it’s being used full on as a sort of vehicle to interweave the narrative into its own engagement by the player (teary eye). The unprompted R1 scenes in this game are in my honest opinion some of the best equipped moments for any game, period. The things that the Metal Gear Solid games do leave for interpretation can be picked up by scenes like this. A good example of this is the reality of whether or not The Boss or Ocelot actually knew who they were to each other. The game makes it a point of playing up The Boss’ maternal treatment towards Ocelot and she’s even shown using her son’s trademark hand gesture to him through one of these unprompted moments.

7 - The Player’s Penance
Not many games actually make the player “pay for sin”. Killing soldiers in this game results in them being shoved back into the player’s face when they confront The Sorrow. Depending on their body count, they’ll either have an annoyingly long navigation of corpses or a light-hearted parade of the Cobra Unit. The game even loosely acknowledges the types of soldiers that the player dispatches. If you down a Hind in the game, you’ll see its pilot lumber towards you in this sequence and if you went crazy with the survey knife, you’ll see a multitude of guards screaming about their neck as blood gushing from their wounds. This is all while The Sorrow floats just in front of Snake, cryptically stating predictions that Ursula will further elaborate on near the end of Portable Ops. Personally, I would have loved the scene to have been a bit less humorous, but that’s probably just me. The smaller touches include all of Snake’s radio contacts screaming at him as if he’s dead. I also wished that this sequence found some way to communicate punishment apart from simply annoying the player, but I honestly don’t have any suggestions on how that should be addressed. I just acknowledge the game for simply letting the player truly experience The Sorrow words:

“Now you will know the sorrow of those whose lives you have ended.”

8 -”The Fatal Coast”
Photobucket

Rokovoj Bereg is arguably the most memorable backdrop in the entire Metal Gear universe. If anyone can sit down, play the last battle in Snake Eater and not get my sentiment here, I consider that person a lost cause. Everything that’s ridiculous about the franchise seamlessly coalesces with the things that the game does extremely well. The smallest things about the final battle in the game permit nothing but enjoyment; examples include:

1 - The three “special snakes” slithering around beneath the flowers.
2 – A battle focused mainly on CQC.
3 – The animations of the flowers rushing around the field.
4 – How those flowers actively camoflauge The Boss herself.
5 – The instrumental that kicks in when three minutes are left in the fight.

“I'll give you 10 minutes. In 10 minutes, MiGs will come and bomb the hell out of this place. If you can beat me in less than 10 minutes, you'll be able to escape in time. (loads Patriot) Let's make this the greatest 10 minutes of our lives, Jack.”

9 -”Drowning At Life’s End”
The end of this game is barely saved from one huge cutscene by secret and stated R1 moments. That personally doesn’t bother me, but they also begin to showcase how much the “Solids” need their scenes as well; they’re just simply an integral part of the experience at this point in the franchise. It also begins to trace some limits in the entire medium’s voice right now. For example, if the scene of Snake’s new title awarding was given entirely over to the player, what respect does that show to the moment of a newfound Big Boss’ grievance? Even if the player did actually get it, being able to carry off the refusal to shake hands with the CIA director is more of a requirement on the player’s part than anything else. Am I wrong in asserting that it will be a very long time before games can be played that way? Not simply because of hardware limitations, but because the conscious gaming society isn’t nurturing enough for that type of a game right now. To effectively control, predict, and provide sustenance for the human imagination is next to impossible (for most). Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t have minds on that spectrum of insanity; it just makes me wonder what will happen once one of those people finally does manage to get past all the bullshit clogging up the works now. Indeed, trouble will ensue, and I’ll love every moment of it.


10 - A Mothers & Brothers Interpretation

The two “sons” of The Boss in this game are in themselves ambassadors of a video-game’s dialect. Ocelot represents everything about this franchise that’s beyond the player’s control. Within the grand scheme of the entire series, his overall purpose and aim (finally revealed in MGS4) mirrors directly that there is a game going on behind the scene and that it’s also manipulating the character at all points (their knowledge of such manipulations being limited). Snake presents the counterpoint, the smallest degree of control that the player is allowed to have, spelling the experience entirely for themselves. The game itself (Ocelot) presents explosive skill and expertise in every inch of itself, but still ultimately remains just beyond the player’s reach, always inaccessible. Snake (the player’s grasp of the game) himself is the smallest bit of light that all gamers latch on to, naively playing out their role and representing their personal resolve to explain video-games to themselves. A big problem today is that gaming has created what Les Enfants Terrible project threatened to all along, an entire race of Big Boss clones.

Recurring Thechanics

Once again, I don’t want to linger on these today, so very quickly…here we go.

Supernatural Soldier
All the Metal Gear Solid games features some soldier that straddles the line between realism and ridiculous using paranormal and supernatural abilities to assault the player:

MGS1 – Psycho Mantis
MGS2 – Vamp
MGS3 – The Sorrow
MGS4 – Screaming Mantis

The only fight that’s not subject to the usual pieties of nostalgia is Vamp’s encounter, which shys away from the paranormal and obeys modern myth and folklore (vampire-like tendencies).

Guiding a Gimp
In both Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, the player is forced to walk with a handicapped female accomplice, and both experiences avoid being simply annoying by fleshing out the dynamism of the game overall.

MGS2 – Emma Emmerich
MGS3 – EVA

One could argue MGS1 as well (Meryl), but only if counts the scenes just prior to fighting Psycho Mantis

Female Save Frequency With Trivia
The save frequencies in the Solid titles (not counting MGS4) all feature females with some knowledge that will either confuse or relax the player

MGS1 – Mei Ling – Constant Quotes and helpful advice.
MGS2 –Rosemary – Constantly addressing her and Jack’s relationship.
MGS3 – Para-Medic – A huge movie buff, she will more often annoy Snake by telling him about movies he has no intention of ever seeing.

Tools of the Patriots

Snake Eater is at its heart, another origin story. It begins to wrap up some of the major themes of the game, bringing it full circle. Nothing is more exemplary for this than the entire use of The Boss and how she’s used in every inch of the game. She almost epitomizes the act of sacrifice and height that a soldier can ever reach (in this game’s world anyway). This sacrifice sparked a long string of events that won’t be resolved until half a century later in Guns of the Patriots.

Confronting Raiden’s Sexuality
MGS3 is once again lets the player experience the depths of their own shallow sexuality. They do this by not only making them assume the role of a character that looks exactly like Raiden from MGS2, but they technically make him homosexual (or bisexual). Given the whining that ensued from Metal Gear Solid 2, Kojima basically pokes a stick in gamer’s eye here. I’d even argue that this sequence is almost a subsystem, put in place to make the players less apprehensive towards their experience with him in Sons of Liberty. Guns of the Patriots just wraps a bow on the entire thing, by making Raiden himself assume the role of the cursed ninja exoskeleton.

I have no overly-passionate closing for Snake Eater, I’ll just state that Metal Gear Solid 3 reaches a summit in for video-games that other titles can only “dream” of achieving. Not acknowledging the mechanics and thechanics that this game in particular pulls off is like pretending the sun didn’t rise this morning (notice that I didn’t say it would tomorrow ^_^). Gamers are often too disparaging to this to this type of gaming making leeway, and that’s extremely sad. They often forget that cynicism and snarkiness are usually nothing more than one-hit notes for masturbation; serving no other purpose than the stroking of fragile egos. Coming from me…well I can live with that.

Photobucket

~sLs~

Monday’s Post: DFB – “Liquid Sun” (Metal Gear Solid 4) – Part XIII
Tuesday’s Post: DFB – “Solid Sun” (Metal Gear Solid 4) – Part XIV
Wednesday’s Post: DFB – “Third Sun” (Metal Gear Solid 4) – Part XV
Thursday’s Post: DFB – “Twin Suns” (Metal Gear Solid 4) – Part XVI
Friday’s Post: DFB – “Old Sun & Naked Sin” (Metal Gear Solid 4) – Parts XVII & XVIII