Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a third-person stealth action movie that tells the story of a young CIA operative named Nakeed Snake. He is tasked with going to Siberia to destroy the Shagohod, a tank that can fire ballistic missiles, and rescue the creator of this machine. Another target of the protagonist is the Boss - Snake's mentor, his named mother, best friend and object of platonic love. She betrayed the United States and went over to the enemy, and therefore she must be eliminated. But not everything is so simple in the Siberian jungle as it seems at first glance ...
Snake Eater, although it is a numbered third part of the franchise, is chronologically in first place. It is from here that all the storylines that unfold in the previous and future parts start, but the game does not forget about its own history. Metal Gear Solid 3 is the best starting point in the series even today: a minimum of philosophy and schizophrenia, a maximum of action and events.
As mentioned above, Snake has a mission in Siberia: destroy the Shagohod, save the scientist Sokolov, and kill the Boss. The main difficulty of the whole mission is that the hero acts on his own, and on the ground he is helped by a spy sent to the ranks of the Soviet troops - the girl Eva. Of course, Nakid can keep in touch with the headquarters using the famous codec, but this is more likely to receive new orders and advice from the command.
In order to find "Shagohod", Sokolov and his teacher, the protagonist, in the course of the story, will have to fight the "Cobra" detachment. All of them are trained fighters with supernatural powers, and some of them are even in the afterlife. Each of them personifies human feelings: Pain, Fear, The End, Fury and Sorrow.
The hero will also meet the cranberry colonel Yevgeny Borisovich Volgin and Major Ocelot. The first is a tall and strong Russian man, inclined to sadism and homosexual relationships, knows how to tame lightning and is the owner of the Legacy of Philosophers. The second is a young and inexperienced GRU fighter under Volgin's leadership and competing with Snake whenever possible.
The most important fact is that all this is presented in simple language, without trying to hit the hidden meanings, as it was in Sons of Liberty. Hideo Kojima made his own James Bond game, only in his own universe. Also, he often recalls "Bondiana", kindly sneers at her and his previous creations, uses moves from the same films about agent 007.
Only towards the end will philosophical reflections begin: about loyalty to the homeland, soldier's honor and duty, as well as about feelings on the battlefield. But all this is woven into the narrative so organically that it does not cause rejection and does not make you puzzle over the next plot moves and the words of the characters. Kojima masterfully plays the player's emotions and experiences like a violin.
The core of the gameplay hasn't changed since Sons of Liberty. Snake can use various weapons and devices to achieve his goal. However, there were also innovations.
Snake Eater is built around survival mechanics in enemy territory. What does it mean:
- the player needs to keep track of the protagonist's stamina bar. If she dropped to half, Nakid's stomach begins to rumble from hunger and his hands shake. Hunting for crawling, jumping and flying animals or getting edible plants, the main character will be able to feed himself;
- it is important to choose the right disguise. In order not to give yourself away to roaming patrols, you need to merge with the terrain. The player is given a variety of camouflages and face paints to choose from, and in the upper right corner of the screen there is a counter showing the effectiveness of camouflage;
- if Snake is injured or poisoned, you need to go to the special treatment menu and carry out a field operation. To heal a bullet wound, you first need to pull out the bullet with a knife, then disinfect the lesion, sew it up with a special kit and bandage it with a bandage. For each type of wound, there is a certain type of action, andmedications may run out.
Before Metal Gear Solid 3, no one had implemented such a deep survival system, and therefore these mechanics aroused admiration back in 2004. Snake's effectiveness depended not only on the skills of the player, but also on the well-being of the character himself, which made him even more immersed in the process.
All this is reflected in the opponents. Every part of the enemy's body can be hit, and this will have its own effect. The opportunity to shoot at the body radio has not gone anywhere, so as not to raise the alarm to a lone soldier who noticed you. And if you catch a sentinel, take in capture and interrogate, then you can learn something useful both about the mission and about the area.
Introduced in Metal Gear Solid 3, the CQC system allows melee attacks to be used in conjunction with certain weapons, making Snake more effective. Capturing the enemy running at you and using it as a human shield, throwing it on the ground, pounding in hand-to-hand combat, interrogating, or simply cutting his throat with a knife - the choice is up to the player.
Interaction with the animal kingdom allows you to distract the enemy. Having put a Siberian spider or an imperial scorpion to sleep with a tranquilizer pistol, you can throw them at bored soldiers and thus keep them occupied for a while in order to slip by. And there are thousands of such little things.
I would also like to mention the boss battles. You can hit them in both lethal and non-lethal ways - and the latter is not always more difficult. The same Fear, Rage and End rely heavily on their stamina in battle, and therefore it is not always convenient and necessary to fight with them with a firearm.
For example, to defeat the sniper grandfather, you will have to tinker with him for more than one hour in three large locations. The skill of disguise and survival here will be useful to the player at 100%. If you lose to the boss, then you will be put behind bars, from where you will have to get out and again run through several locations to the place of the battle. You can defeat the old man not only with the help of weapons, but also with your own ingenuity. By shifting the time on the console a month ahead, it will be possible to find the sniper already dead (dying of old age), and a little earlier, after one of the cutscenes, you can shoot him at all from afar - this will allow you to skip the battle with him.
Why is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Hideo Kojima's best piece so far? A simple and straightforward story about the Cold War in 1964 and the struggle between two nations, as well as about loyalty, feelings and undercover games of states. Lots of mechanics, implementation of a full-fledged survival and camouflage system in the jungle. Some of the best boss fights in the entire series: what is a sniper duel with the End, hide and seek in the forest with Fear, or a mental battle with Sadness.
The main disadvantage of Snake Eater is its inaccessibility. It was released on consoles Xbox 360, PlayStation 2/3 / Vita and Nintendo 3DS, but never visited personal computers. To evaluate Metal Gear Solid 3 on their own, PlayStation and Nintendo fans will have to find old consoles and game media. Xbox owners are more fortunate - you can buy the project in the Microsoft digital store and run it backwardly on Xbox One and Series X | S.