A Decade of Metal Gear Solid 3
In the continuing trend of trying to make me feel old, my favorite Metal Gear Solid is turning ten. Yeup, a decade of Metal Gear Solid 3, and only a year after Silent Hill had it’s 15th anniversary, and all in the same year the entire PlayStation console celebrates 20 years of gaming memories.
Metal Gear Solid is my favorite video game franchise, hands down, and while I’m not alone in this aspect, Metal Gear purists could argue days on end about what Metal Gear Solid installment is actually “the best”. I don’t argue semantics, I can only say which one’s my favorite, the one that sparks the most memories for me, and the one that I feel is the most dynamic, that one is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
I’m not the greatest writer so I’ve always feared writing an editorial piece on a game I feel so dearly about, like I’m going to do it some injustice if I don’t speak highly enough of it, but this is celebrating a decade of Metal Gear Solid 3, and the world must know just how much this game means to me. I mean, the strategy guide still sits in my living room book case for all the world to see with bookmarked and dog eared pages, wearing them proudly like badges of honor of a seasoned war veteran.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is the introduction of Naked Snake, transporting you into the Cold War era in the jungles of the Soviet Union. Hideo Kojima‘s narrative talents shine in MGS3, pushing you to the emotional brink in every turn, forcing you on a mission to hunt down Snake’s mentor The Boss. She’s not easily tracked down, and MGS3 wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the other bosses that stand in your way, some of the most brilliant and well thought out, well respected bosses I’ve ever faced in any video game ever, the Cobra Unit. Every single one of them tormented in some way, so similar to Snake, you can’t help but feel for them. And the battles, man, the battles. Do you patiently stalk around with your senses hightened and your thermal goggles at the ready as you hunt down the 100 year old sniper, The End? Or do you simply reset your PS2 clock ahead 2 weeks and come back to find his corpse awaiting your return. And The Sorrow, oh The Sorrow, an untouchable being that battles you with psychic powers and with the ghosts of the enemies you’ve slain during your op. You trudge through waste high water, continuously walking forward, never stopping, even in the infamous “death screen”. This battle was always interesting especially if you hadn’t killed any enemies up to that point, you’re just trudging through the water with zero ghosts coming at you. Just brilliant.
In many games before it, seeking someone out and destroying them is a timely task, but never one that evokes an emotional response quite like defeating The Boss. Snake speaks so highly of her, and you can tell she isn’t the double agent she’s portrayed to be, she’s taken up this position for the good of the nation, for the good of the world, as I stood there in the field of flowers, my gun pointed at her head, I sat, waiting, hoping I didn’t have to assassinate her, like the game would take over for me, or something would happen but, there I stood, for minutes, the wind blowing through the flowers, and finally…I pulled the trigger. I still remember that scene to this day.
Of course that final boss battle is just the icing on the cake, Metal Gear Solid 3 also has the best theme song, that’s if you like James Bond-esque opening credits, which again touches on the 1960’s vibe perfectly.
Since the Metal Gear Solid series has always weighed heavily on stealth and the players ability to beat the game with zero kills, zero alarms, and all within a timely manner (something I have done time and time again) Metal Gear Solid 3 shines in this. Survival became the game. Eat to keep up your stamina and change your camouflage to blend into different elements was the name of the game. And of course it still had it’s quarky elements to it to, shooting hidden Kerotan’s (toy frogs) and the option to play the crazy mini game Snake vs Monkey.
I’ll leave this celebration of a decade of Metal Gear Solid 3 with one of the most emotional and longest ladder climbs I’ve ever completed in any game. This scene almost brings me to tears and I don’t know why. Is it symbolic? The long ladder climb comes after a harrowing fight with The End and is essentially proclaiming the point of no return, only three more bosses (not including The Boss) await Snake after this climb, and now there’s no turning back. I’m not sure if the response I have to the climb is because of it’s symbolism, or if it’s because the game just sits that emotional strong in my memory, there’s a similar event at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 while Snake is crawling through a microwave latent tunnel that evokes a similar response, but that’s a story for another day.
Happy birthday lover.