Review: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Platform: PS2
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 Player (+Online multiplayer)

Video game auteur Hideo Kojima’s beloved Metal Gear Solid franchise has been one of the most recognized of the Playstation and PS2 eras, and 2004’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is considered by many to be one of the PS2 generation’s very best games.

For those new to the game, MGS3 takes Snake back to the 1960’s at the height of the Cold War, with tension between Russia and the US near the boiling point due to everyone’s favorite nuclear standoff, the Cuban Missile Crisis. How Snake got from the 21st century back into the 1960’s is a spoiler that will not be revealed here! Charged with rescuing a Russian scientist, who due to a crisis of conscience has defected to the US, Snake travels to Russia under cover of jungle and wildlife.

The amount of detail involving Snake’s weaponry and equipment, as well as the addition of the stamina bar and camouflage index add an extraordinary element of strategy and realism to the MGS world, all fitting relatively well with the 1960’s setting of the game. OK, forget that flying jetski, the invisible stealth camouflage and the lightning coming out of Colonel Volgin’s arms. Hey, it’s a video game.

A new addition to the main game is a fully controllable camera, assigned to the right analog stick and allowing the player to view the environment in all its 3D glory. When scoping out the area for soldiers, or a tasty python to eat, the camera really comes in handy. However, the camera won’t make those ruthless hawkeye soldiers any more forgiving.

Disc 2 is where the real value of this release comes through. Kojima’s original 8-Bit games, Metal Gear 1 and 2 for the Japan-only MSX system, are included on this disc and translated into English for the first time. A hilarious secret theater mode is chock full of bloopers and satire, taking the piss out of some of the game’s most dramatic scenes. Don’t watch until you’ve beaten the game once, but be ready for some sidesplitting stuff. True to the humor put into all of the MGS games, Kojima knows how to laugh at his own work. An expanded Ape Escape influenced monkey catching mini-game and an unlockable Boss-rush mode are also included.

The biggest new feature is the online mode. Similar to many FPS’s and console war games, the online game allows for such matchups as team play, some clever capture-the-flag style competitions, and of course free-for-all mode. New online-only environments, and the ability to play as the different enemy soldiers from the main game with some special unlockables, make for a meaty, feature-filled online experience.

If you already have MGS3: Snake Eater, and happen to live in the stone age and don’t have broadband online access, then it may be hard to warrant a purchase of Subsistence. Without the online mode, the other extras, while very entertaining, do not quite make a compelling package. For everyone else, who doesn’t want to run around as a member of Ocelot unit, taking a flame-thrower to your friend sitting at home hundreds of miles away? And, if you somehow never picked up Snake Eater, then MGS3: Subsistence is an absolutely required purchase.