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Metal Gear Solid 3:  Snake Eater


After giving so-so ratings to the first two Metal Gear Solid games, I figured I would go back to the well one last time to play a Metal Gear Solid game, featuring the same kind of tactical spy play that inspired the current leader in this category, Splinter Cell.  After seeing a special to buy the game at EB Games for $20 new, I bit the bullet and I'm pretty glad that I did.

Much like the previous two games, you play as Snake, the world's best combat spy that procures all of his equipment on-site to take down a ring of Russian ex-pats bent on taking over the world.  The twist this time is twofold:  first, this game takes place in 1964, more than 30 years before the events of the first Metal Gear Solid game, and second, about 75% of the game takes place in the jungle following two games that took place mainly at enemy installations based indoors.

The changes here mean that you could (and most definitely should) spend more time taking out bad guys than in the first two games, since it is harder to quietly remove baddies without anyone seeing you.  The weapons load seems slightly smaller than it was in the first game, but just as cool, so between your heavy machine gun, your tranq pistols, your shotty and a rocket launcher, you've got plenty of options should you ever be spotted.  They also took away the map option that allowed you to see where enemy guards are currently looking, making it even harder, which is good, because the first two games were way too easy.

Once again, the production quality is top-notch, from the acting down to the (way too numerous) cut scenes.  Even the "adulthood" nature is stepped up from the first two adventures; Snake has a female partner that seems really interested in checking out Snake's...snake, plus the profanity and the violence level is stepped up to fit its M rating.  The kicker is a full-on title track sung in a Bondian riff, so imagine hearing "Goldfinger" but with the chorus changed to "Snake Eater", and you get the drift.

The worst part of the game is clearly the poor overhead camera matched with the need to aim weapons in first-person view; you can't move when you switch to first-person view, and when five guards are aiming AK-47s at you, it gets a bit frustrating to continuously switch to FPV to take anyone out.  Snake's range of view also is horrific whenever he crawls through high grass; then, you can't see anything.  Sure, that's realistic, but then again, I can't see anything if I'm trying to sneak by a patrolling guard.  Other slight negatives:  having to operate on yourself every time you are hurt using a separate menu; also, having too much ammo and way too many silencers lying around on the normal difficulty setting.  You could almost always outgun the bad guys, which wasn't the case in the other games when they were on Alert status.

Still, MGS 3 is a great game, and definitely worth a pickup online.  With its great boss fights and a fantastic ending, it also finishes 100% stronger than MGS 2 did.  Get it!

Rating:  $40


Feedback?  Comments?  Hot doughnut tip?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09