Monday, 14 December 2009

Disaster Year 2004: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

For the third game in the Metal Gear Solid saga, series director Hideo Kojima shifted focus off millennial subterfuge, winding the clock back to a 60s set inception event. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater details the super soldier souring that facilitated a dreadful future. Players are cast as Naked Snake, the CIA trained secret agent that goes on to found a couple of psychotic paramilitary nations, and provide the raw code for his clone son Solid Snake.

Equipment skews lo-fi, forcing a more deliberately paced advance - sites and clearings must be ruthlessly scouted before proceeding. The jungle stranded Snake also requires a constant upkeep. He must be fed to keep his motors running; sweets and mythological delicacies offer the greatest boost, but positive tastings can be developed through repetition. Any wounds Snake acquires must be swiftly dealt with. A bandage isn't enough, injuries must be stitched and disinfected before dressing. This menu heavy micro-management instills a protective player-toy bond. It stresses the physical frailty of the Snake figure, whilst the narrative drives him into ever more dangerous situations. It also establishes a sense of human failing in a character previously portrayed as an archetypal bad father. This sympathy deepened by the constant betrayals Snake must shoulder. As Naked Snake limps to the finish you realise there was method in his madness.

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