Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Still we continue our starvation death march toward MGS3's release date. Konami hasnt even thrown a snack-size salamander of info our way, so this month its come down to specu lation or hallucination. We mightve licked the wrong tree frog. Everythings green....
Download Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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Change is good. Sometimes. After MGS2's dramatic (ahem.. .Raiden) twist, it's hard to say just how many brand-new ideas we hoped to find in MGS3. Such skepticism isn't stopping series designer Hideo Kojima and co. from innovating, however, as he recently disclosed that he's hoping to shock players again with MGS3. Case in point: two-thirds of fate/-will take place in the wilderness, which is based upon a real ecosystem and contains uneven terrain. Food will rot and leaves will rustle (and get you spotted) when you step on them--one of many potential ways to show off MGS3's 5.1 channel surround sound. And while the 1960s scenario may limit Snake's gadget collection, Kojima is working to somehow include vehicles in the game.
Solid Snake has given us the slip again and were the ones controlling the freakin' guy. The one-man-army star of the Metal Gear series is right in front of us on the TV screen in Konamis Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater we swear hes there but we can't see him for the trees.
Looks like the new camouflage system in this killer-looking sequel, due for PlayStation 2 this fall, is working a little too well. Its very hard to play when you cannot see yourself," muses series creator Hideo Kojima. trying to work out the solution to this prickly game-design dilemma. But we dont want to place a little cursor on [him], so were trying to tweak that to where the camo works but you can still see yourself. Kojima is back to work on the Metal Gear series after vowing never to return once hed finished the excellent and off-kilter Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. So perhaps its to make life interesting for himself that hes made such drastic revisions for this sequel: For Snake Eater, players can look forward to a new era, new gameplay, and a new setting,
Kojima says. Weve told you about the new era and shown glimpses of the new jungle setting in past articles, but Kojima has just revealed to us one of the sequels main new gameplay features: Hiding not behind trees or rocks, but in plain sight of your enemy. The secret? Careful use of camouflage.
But before we get too deep into the new games jungle, a quick refresher course: Snake Eater is set in the 1960s an odd period considering that the Snake we know from past Metal Gear games would have been in kindergarten during that turbulent decade. One thing I can say is that Snake is not going to hop on a time machine and travel back in time, Kojima quips. There are games like that out there, but this isnt one of them. Instead, all signs point to the real protagonist of Snake Eater being Big Boss, the main bad guy in the original Metal Gear for Nintendo Entertainment System and also the source of Solid Snakes DNA (as well as evil twin Liquid Snakes. Mullets run in the family, apparently).
Snake Eater begins with this mysterious character (for the sake of simplicity, well keep calling him Solid Snake) parachuting into the jungle on an unknown mission and losing his backpack. Once he's recovered his things, his mission proper whatever it is begins.
Fortunately, we know considerably more about the new gameplay and settings. Survival has been a hot concept in games since Capcom created the survival-horror genre with its Resident Evil series, but never has the literal meaning been applied to a game as heavily as in Snake Eater. With an objective that could (or could not) take days to complete, Snake has to survive the elements in addition to encounters with enemy forces. That means keeping himself well fed on fish and snakes he catches (hence the games name), staying well sheltered, and of course remaining well hidden. Snake can don different types of camo and face paint to match the terrain snow, grass, forest, etc. (see sidebar) in real time. Players will know how well camouflaged they are by checking the Camo Index in the screens upper right corner. It changes in real time based on a variety of factors, including posture, terrain, amount of shadow, and the current camo and face paint Snake is wearing. The highest the index can go is 100 percent, meaning that enemies cannot see Snake no matter how close they are to his position, but its possible to get the percentage down to a negative as well for instance, by taking Snake out of cover and running him over crackling dry leaves. When he runs and you see that negative five percent, Kojima says, thats more like, CHey, see me! Im here!
In fact, running anywhere is not to your advantage in Snake Eater. Its better to mosey and better still to use a new type of motion called stalking, created for this game. This new technique is very useful when you want to sneak up on an enemy from behind, says Kojima. When stalking, Snake moves very slowly on tiptoe and can sometimes move without any penalty to his Camo Index, but it comes at a price. Thing is, when you stalk, you lose a lot of stamina, Kojima says. Basically, when you walk around in the mountains and you have to climb, you lose stamina, and you have to regain stamina by feeding yourself. That means its time to chow down on some wilderness sushi raw fish, snakes, and other high-protein foods.
Gung-ho players whod rather not worry so much about staying hidden can go a little more Rambo if they like. If you want to be a macho, hard-boiled guy like CIm not going to wear anything, then you dont have to wear any camosays Kojima.
You can just walk around with no T-shirt and play it your way. The drawback besides the obvious lack of cover is that Snake will have a harder time staying warm and will lose stamina faster. But at least you wont have to worry about getting out those stubborn stains. One thing about the camo uniforms, says Kojima, is that if you get shot or wounded, therell be bloodstains, and then your camo pattern will have red stuff on it, and your Camo Index will go down.
The first Metal Gear Solid is confined to an Alaskan military base and its immediate snowy environs, while MGS2: Sons of Liberty takes place entirely in industrial settings, such as an oil tanker and an overseas refinery. To contrast this and take the series back to its jungle roots, Kojima is going back to nature. As I said before, most of the gameplay takes place in the wilderness, he says. Youve seen the jungle, but there are also mountains, rivers, and caves basically the natural environment. Its all to force you to switch between different camo patterns anytime and try to pick a pattern thats the best match for where you are.
These outdoor settings make for some nifty visuals, including a torchlit cave filled with bats. But they also make for some changes in the way players must approach certain tasks, such as disposing of bodies. Now that you wont find lockers to stash corpses in, you can hide them in the grass, hide them in holes or tree trunks, and you can also carry them to streams or rivers, Kojima says. Its a fitting end for these enemy troopers who if you play the game right will never even see you coming.
Ever since Metal Gear Solid 2s campaign to put players names on collectible enemy dog tags, series creator Hideo Kojima has tried to include fans in his games in a literal way. This trend continues with the Camouflage Campaign: a contest in which you can design your own Snake Eater camo pattern. Contest entry details will be revealed in May at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo game show, so you might want to start thinking about your entry now. And if you dont make it into the final product, dont give up: The campaign will extend beyond the initial release when Konami offers later patterns as online downloads, a first for Metal Gear Solid.
Keep in mind that you cant design an entire outfit like we have in these mocked-up Snakes here designs are more like PC wallpaper in that you can either center or tile a small texture across the entire suit. Entries will be based on one of three criteria: effectiveness, humor value, or coolness. If a pattern seems to work really well, well pick it, says Kojima, although well choose designs that look good whether or not theyre effective. Kojimas example involved Snake wearing camouflage plastered with the face of Gakko, a toy duck manufactured by Konami Toyware. If there are a lot of ducks in the game somewhere, Kojima jokes, the enemies wont see you when you wear this pattern. .
It's been a bit of wait, but Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was well worth it. Set in the '60s, well before both MGS1 and 2, MGS3 takes you on a ride through the backstory of the Metal Gear universe, presenting its origin in a completely new way. New gameplay mechanics radically alter the basic way in which MGS presents its stealth gameplay. New visuals mean for one of the most stunning PS2 titles I've played. All in all, truly, this is an achievement.
The gameplay mechanics have changed in two interesting new ways. First, the new stealth system involves using camouflage uniforms to blend in with your surroundings. You'll crawl through bush dressed in one color, change to a different uniform, and then blend in with the brickwork from an abandoned building. Next, you don't have any items that restore health; instead you'll hunt for food to replenish your stamina, which in turn causes you to slowly heal. The healing is expanded in and of itself, requiring you to use special healing items like bandages, antiseptic, and basic surgery techniques to do things like set broken bones and remove bullets. I'd say that the only real weaknesses I've seen were in the general level of difficulty. It takes some getting used to before you'll be a good stealthier, and when you're discovered, the guards can be actually woefully ineffective in capturing you, presenting more of an incentive to stealth than an actual challenge.
Visually, MGS3 is more beautiful than ever. Truly stunning for PS2 graphics, MGS3 being the first game I've ever seen that can present a highly detailed jungle environment that both convinces, and hides it's flaws well enough to make the 'seams' virtually invisible. The voice acting cast is just as good and David Hayter reprises his role as Snake, even though strictly speaking, he isn't specifically the same Snake we've followed through previous games.
All in all, MGS3 is a truly good game, mired only by small weakness and as short of a single player game as has been presented before. With all of the improvements that have been made, I'd say this one is definitely worth purchasing.