PS3 + MGS4

So…I got a PS3 and Metal Gear Solid 4.  Not quite the perfect 10 game it’s been getting, but it is definitely a system-seller.  It was most certainly worth the money too.  I didn’t get the job at Gamestop (the guy never called…) but they did have a neat package for two controllers.

Concerning the PS3, the thing is massive.  Nintendo’s systems have been lightweight and portable, whereas Microsoft has always had big and bulky hardware.  The PS2 was middle of the road, although the refurbished model is smaller than the GameCube.  Now, the PS3 might be bigger than the Xbox 360.  On a side note, I’d like to say Xbox 360 is a really stupid name (though “Wii” is worse).  I understand why it was done (Xbox 2 would sound inferior to a PS3), but 360?  It wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t led to all those silly rumors that the next-gen Playstation would be called the “720”.  Some people will try and spin this to say the Xbox 360 means its a “revolution” in gaming.  Well, people defend the Wii and it doesn’t sound any less stupid.

The lack of backwards compatibility with the PS2 is a bit of a letdown, but again, understandable.  It’s because of a developer thing.  See, to emulate PS2 games, the PS3 needs certain PS2 hardware.  Now, developers can make a game to run on PS2 or PS3 hardware (or both).  If PS2 hardware is in the PS3 and developers are making a PS2 game, well, why would customers want to buy a PS3?  It’s still weird, though.  PS1 games work just fine, but PS2 games?  Nope.

And that’s a lot of “PS”…

As for MGS4, I’ll have more on that later.  I’ve beaten the game but that’s because I’ve sat around since Thursday afternoon and done nothing but play it.  Well, when I didn’t shower/sleep/eat/etc.

And despite the usual pessimism, life can be good sometimes…right?

The less people know about the truth, the more they can fantasize.”

MGS Collection: Metal Gear Solid 3

Snake Eater, the latest console installment of the franchise.  Sure, there’s Portable Ops on the PSP but that didn’t come with the collection.  Out of the three games, Snake Eater is my favorite.  The story isn’t as complex as Sons of Liberty, but just as engrossing.  Snake Eater is actually a prequel to the series, being set in 1964.  It also differs from the other games in terms of its setting, taking place in a jungle instead of a more urban location.

Like Sons of Liberty, there are two versions of Snake Eater.  There’s the original and SubsistenceSubsistence comes with two discs and has features that improve upon the original game.  The most important of these features is a revised, user-controlled camera.  Subsistence also includes the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 games (not to be confused with Metal Gear Solid, these two games were released back in the late 80’s/early 90’s).  The Collection only comes with the first disc of Subsistence, which doesn’t include the two Metal Gear games, Snake vs. Monkey and a few other minor extras.

Plot Overview


Snake Eater is divided into two chapters.  The first chapter is the Virtuous Mission.

In 1962, Nikolai Sokolov, a top Soviet scientist and one of their best developers concerning weapons and rockets, wished to defect to the United States.  The CIA managed to get him across the border but the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred at the same time.  President Kennedy demanded the Soviets remove the missiles from Cuba.  The Soviets demanded the return of Sokolov.  The two compromised and as a bargain, the Americans removed the missiles they had placed in Turkey (which were obsolete anyway).  Two years later, in August 1964, the CIA found out that Sokolov was in Tselinoyarsk.  He was working on a new weapon, a weapon that could shift the balance of the Cold War in favor of the Soviets.  The CIA deployed a young FOX operative named Naked Snake to infiltrate the jungle and rescue Sokolov.

With the support of fellow FOX members Major Zero and Para-Medic, as well as his former mentor The Boss, Snake made his way past KGB soldiers and met up with Sokolov.  Sokolov told Snake about Colonel Volgin, a GRU comrade hell-bent on stealing Sokolov and the weapon he was working on for himself.  Volgin plans to use this weapon, the Shagohod, to overthrow the Khrushchev regime and end the Cold War.  The Shagohod itself is a treading behometh that can launch a nuclear strike on America from anywhere within the Soviet Union.  Compared to missile silos, the Shagohod is mobile and can not be detected by spy planes.  All the Shagohod needs is an airstrip.

Snake escorts Sokolov to the recovery point, dispatching of GRU operatives led by a man named Major Ocelot.  On their way to the rendevous, Snake and Sokolov meet up with The Boss.  The Boss reveals she’s defecting to the Soviet Union, namely Colonel Volgin’s faction.  With the help of her former comrades, the Cobra Unit, The Boss kidnaps Sokolov and presents Volgin with two minituare nuclear shells.  Snake, disillusioned with The Boss’ defection, can’t stop them.  The Boss easily dispatches Snake, throwing him off a bridge into the river below.

Snake survives the falls and while he tends to his wounds, Volgin decides to test one of the mini nuclear shells.  He fires it on Sokolov’s research facility.  The FOX plane sent to retrieve Snake was picked up by Russian radar, leading the Russians to believe the Americans had nuked it.  Of course, the Americans deny involvement.  Johnson tells her the truth about The Boss’ defection and Volgin, but denies the plane caught on radar is American.  Khrushchev demands the Americans prove their innocence.

A week after the events of the Virtuous Mission, Snake is redeployed to Tselinoyarsk.  Major Zero and Para-Medic return to support him, along with a new man named Mr. Sigint, in Operation: Snake Eater.  The operation is appropriately named because Snake will be taking on the Cobra Unit.  Snake has a number of objectives, the first being to meet up with ADAM…an NSA codebreaker who defected to the Soviets a few years ago.  Snake’s primary objectives include rescuing Sokolov, destroying the Shagohod, and eliminating Volgin and The Boss.  Snake goes to meet up with ADAM but is ambushed by The Boss on the way there.  She easily disarms him and alerts the enemy to his presence, forcing Snake to sneak his way to the rendezvous with ADAM.

He does not meet up with ADAM, but with EVA.  EVA provides Snake with a scientist disguise, as well as arming him.  When they are finished, Snake goes to leave but EVA convinces him to rest, citing that the jungle is a dangerous place at night.  Snake rests but in the morning, the two are ambushed by Ocelot and his soldiers.  The two manage to defeat the Ocelot Unit, though Ocelot himself manages to get away, thanks to Snake’s mercy.  Snake then heads to Graniny Gorki, a design bureau where Sokolov is being held.

On his way to the research facility, Snake is ambushed by Ocelot again.  The two have a brief duel before they both are ambushed by hornets.  Snake manages to elude them by entering a cave, but only temporary.  He meets up with the hornets again, when they block the exit to the cave.  The hornets are under the command of The Pain, one of the Cobras.  Snake defeats him and continues on towards Graniny Gorki.

Snake infiltrates Graniny Gorki successfully, but finds out Sokolov is no longer there.  Instead, Snake meets up with another famed Russian scientist, Granin.  Granin had come up with the idea of bipedal walking tank, a Metal Gear, but the idea had been turned down in favor of Sokolov’s Shagohod.  Granin also tells Snake of the Philosopher’s Legacy, a vast sum of money that Volgin had acquired and used to build up his forces.  Granin tells him how to enter Groznyj Grad, Volgin’s fortress where Sokolov and the Shagohod are being held.

Snake’s path to Groznyj Grad involves him transversing the mountainous jungle region.  He disposes of The Fear and The End, two other Cobras, along the way.  He meets up with EVA again, who reveals that Snake could only enter the area where Sokolov is being held by disguising himself as Major Raikov, a Soviet officer.  Snake defeats The Fury before proceeding to Groznyj Grad.

Snake manages to dispose of Raikov and steal his uniform.  He combined the uniform with a specifically-designed mask to make a convincing disguise.  He finds Sokolov and Tatyana (who is actually EVA in disguise), the latter taking a roll of film from the former.  Snake meets up with Sokolov, but Sokolov reveals that the Shagohod is combat-ready.  Volgin plans to mass-produce the Shagohod and deal them out along the communist countries, an act that would end the Cold War.  Sokolov also tells Snake that the best way to destroy the Shagohod would be through the use of C3.

Volgin interrupts Snake and Sokolov…and easily sees through Snake’s disguise.  Volgin shoots Sokolov’s knees, but Snake gains the upper hand.  However, The Boss intervenes and dispels Snake’s disguise.  Snake is captured and brutally tortured by Volgin.  Snake resists the torture.  Volgin orders The Boss to cut out Snake’s eyes but Tatyana stops her.  Ocelot becomes convinced that she is a spy.  Ocelot shoots her but Snake takes the bullet for her, losing his right eye in the process.  Satisfied with the display, Volgin leaves and places Snake in prison.

Snake manages to escape the fortress and meets up with EVA once again to recuperate and regain his equipment.  He infiltrates Groznyj Grad again and plants C3 around the Shagohod.  Before he can make his escape, however, Volgin catches his attention.  Volgin has found out Tatyana was a spy.  She had been caught with a film roll containing where the Philosopher’s Legacy was kept.  Volgin entrusts the Legacy to The Boss.  The Boss also says she’ll dispose of EVA while Volgin fights Snake.

Snake defeats Volgin and meets up with EVA again, who was not killed by The Boss.  The Boss is waiting for Snake at the lake where EVA has a plane for their escape.  The C3 detonates but the Shagohod isn’t destroyed.  Snake and EVA escape Groznyj Grad on EVA’s motorcycle as Volgin gives chase.  After a long chase and fight, the Shagohod and Volgin are destroyed.

Snake and EVA make their way to the lake, but Snake still has one final objective:  eliminate The Boss.  Eliminate his mentor.  The Boss enlightens Snake on the Philosophers, a shadow organization pulling the strings behind American, Russian and Chinese politics.  However, squabbling amongst the Philosophers led to their end and the world being torn into a cold war.  Snake and The Boss fight in an epic battle, which ends with Snake shooting his mentor with her own gun.  The Boss gives Snake the Legacy with her dying breath.  His mission complete, Snake leaves with EVA.

Post-mission, the plot twists hit.  After a night together, EVA leaves Snake and reveals several truths.  She was actually a Chinese spy, sent to retrieve the Legacy and Shagohod data.  ADAM never showed up at the meeting place, so EVA assumed the role of the other NSA codebreaker (who were actually both men).  EVA was also supposed to kill Snake, but she didn’t because she of a promise she made to The Boss.

She also reveals the truth behind The Boss’ defection.  It was not a defection, but a mission from the American government.  Her mission was to infiltrate Volgin’s ranks and acquire the Philosopher’s Legacy.  When Volgin fired a nuclear shell on Soviet soil, however, the mission was revised and changed.  Since the Americans still wanted the Legacy, but had to get rid of The Boss, they changed the operation so she would die at the hands of her most beloved disciple.  Snake is awarded the title of Big Boss, but is disillusioned with the government after hearing EVA’s revelations.

At the end of the game, Ocelot reveals that he was ADAM and that he had acquired the Legacy (EVA’s was a fake).  Ocelot was a triple agent, disguised as a KGB agent but actually an agent for the CIA.  Ocelot planned on using the Legacy to revive the American faction of the Philosophers.  He also obtained Granin’s plans for Metal Gear, citing it may be a useful weapon one day…

Thoughts


Reading about Snake Eater doesn’t do the game justice.  The boss fights are amazing and with the camera in Subsistence, the game is the best in the series.  The only thing I could find to nitpick with this game was EVA.  She reveals the two NSA code-breakers were both men, so wouldn’t someone on Snake’s support team have known this?

No one would think of going around the jungle in a scientist disguise.  If they did, they’d have to be a fool.  No, more than a fool – a complete dumbass.

MGS Collection: Metal Gear Solid 2

Sons of Liberty, the black sheep of the Metal Gear Solid series.  Out of the four games, it’s easy to say MGS2 is the least favorite of them.  Why is that?  Did it not meet expectations?  Was it because most gamers wanted to play as Snake and not Raiden?  Was it the overly long Codec sequences?  The brain screw of a storyline?  …Who knows.  Regardless of its criticisms, Sons of Liberty is a must-play game in the series…and vital to understanding the plot of the 4th game.

Sons of Liberty was originally released on the PS2.  An expansion to the game, titled Substance, was released later for both the PS2 and Xbox.  Substance comes with a myriad of bonus features, like a demo theater (though it doesn’t have all of the game’s cutscenes…), VR missions, a skateboarding mini-game and some other minor features.  The MGS collection comes with Substance, although Sons of Liberty might be cheaper (I got mine for $3).

Plot Overview:  Tanker


Sons of Liberty is divided into two chapters; Tanker and Plant.  You can play one or the other or both.  The Tanker chapter takes place two years after the events of Shadow Moses (the first game).  Revolver Ocelot managed to retain all the data concerning Metal Gear REX.  He sold the data on the black market, allowing anyone with the right resources to have their own Metal Gear.  To combat this threat, Snake and Otacon form Philanthropy…an anti-Metal Gear organization dedicated to halting the advancement (or destroying) of Metal Gear.  They have received information that the United States Marine Corps is developing a new version of Metal Gear to combat all the REXs around the world…Metal Gear RAY.

The prototype Metal Gear RAY is currently heading out of New York on a tanker.  Snake infiltrates the tanker but before he can begin his mission, the tanker is taken over by Russian mercenaries under the command of Sergei Gurlukovich.  Revolver Ocelot is also with them.  The mercenaries quickly dispose of the Marines on deck before heading down into the tanker’s depths.  Although this new development is puzzling, Snake still has a mission to complete.

Snake makes his way to the bridge and finds out the tanker’s destination.  He also meets and fights Olga Gurlukovich, Sergei’s pregnant daughter.  After the fight, Snake spots an Army Cypher watching him.  Otacon also reveals to him that Philanthropy received the information from an unusual source, “E.E.”  Otacon thinks “E.E.” stands for Emma Emmerich, his step-sister.

Armed with a USP, Snake descends into the tanker holds.  Snake photographs the new Metal Gear RAY as the Marine commander, Scott Dolph, briefs his men on the project.  Snake sends the photos to Otacon.  As Dolph’s speech concludes, Ocelot and Sergei make their move.  Sergei reveals that he’s stealing Metal Gear RAY for Russia.  Ocelot double-crosses him, telling his former comrade that he’s not stealing RAY for Russia, but taking it back to “the Patriots”.  Ocelot kills Dolph and Sergei before activating SEMTEX placed around the ship, sinking it.

Ocelot’s plan to sink the tanker and hijack RAY hits a small snag when Snake confronts him.  Ocelot’s right arm, the one he lost in Shadow Moses, acts up.  Ocelot then calls Snake “brother” in a familiar voice, the voice of Liquid Snake.  Ocelot lost his arm in Shadow Moses, but had Liquid’s grafted on.  How Liquid can possess him, however, is unknown.  Ocelot regains control and continues with his plan.  At the end of the chapter, he tells his conspirator that everything is going as planned.  Snake goes missing, presumably dead.

Plot Overview:  Plant


In order to clean up the amount of oil spilt by the tanker, a facility known as the Big Shell was constructed.  Two years after the Tanker incident, on April 29th, 2009, special forces unit Dead Cell led by “Solid Snake” took control of the facility.  A tour was underway with several important people part of them.  These tourists were taken hostage.  Among the hostages was the current President of the United States, James Johnson.  Dead Cell demanded $30 billion or else they would launch a nuclear weapon into the heart of Manhattan.

FOXHOUND operative Raiden was called into action.  His objectives include rescuing the President and stopping the terrorists from firing the nuke.  Colonel Campbell and Rosemary (Raiden’s girlfriend) are his support team for the operation.  As Raiden infiltrates the Big Shell, he sees that he is not alone.  Not only is SEAL Team 10 conducting a divisionary operation, but there is another intruder besides Raiden.

Raiden discovers the corpses of SEAL Team 10 as he begins his mission.  He soon encounters Vamp, one of the members of Dead Cell.  A SEAL survivor manages to intervene and save Raiden.  Vamp leaves as he gets a call from Fortune, another Dead Cell member.  The SEAL survivor tells Raiden he’s Iriquois Plisken, Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Raiden and Plisken later meet up with Peter Stillman, a the bomb disposal expert.  He lost his leg in an explosion five years ago and was called in to offer support.  Dead Cell operative Fatman has planted bombs around the Big Shell and it’s up to Raiden and Plisken to locate and disarm them.  Eerily enough, the bombs aren’t located in ideal locations.  Stillman, who was also Fatman’s mentor, realizes something is up.  Plisken confirms this, when he finds a bigger (but unactivated) bomb.  Stillman heads over to deal with the new threat as Raiden and Plisken deal with the remaining bombs.  Stillman finally figures out the bombs they’ve been dealing with are what trigger the activation on the bigger bombs.  He realizes this before Plisken freezes the final bomb, though.  The two bigger bombs are activated, though Raiden manages to disarm one of them.  Stillman isn’t so lucky and perishes in the explosion.

After a short confrontation with Fortune and Vamp (which ends with Vamp being fatally shot, though he manages to mysteriously come back to life), Raiden defeats Fatman, ending the bomb threat for good.  Raiden meets up with a Cyborg Ninja, similar to the one from Shadow Moses.  The President’s current whereabouts are unknown, so the ninja gives Raiden an enemy disguise so he can infiltrate Shell 1 of the Big Shell.  One of the hostages there is Richard Ames, who should know where the President is.

Raiden managed to meet up with Ames successfully.  Ames reveals the President’s location in Shell 2 and tells Raiden he must be working with the terrorists.  Since the nuclear weapon can only be activated by the President’s vital signs, Ames theorizes he must be helping them of his own free will.  Before he can divulge further information, however, Ocelot enters the room.  Ames suffers a heart attack and Ocelot uncovers Raiden’s disguise in the process.  The ninja intervenes once again, almost taking Ocelot’s arm again, allowing Raiden to escape.

As Raiden makes his way to the President, he meets up with the terrorist’s leader…Solid Snake.  Plisken intervenes at this point, revealing himself to be Solid Snake.  The terrorist’s leader is Solidus Snake, formerly known as ex-President George Sears.  Raiden and Snake team up against Solidus and Vamp (who isn’t dead).  Snake pilots a Kasatka helicopter with Raiden on the ground (though he has a missile launcher) as Solidus and Vamp pilot a Harrier.  Raiden and Snake shoot down Solidus and Vamp, though they are saved from a watery grave by Metal Gear RAY.

Raiden eventually meets up with the President.  The President informs him about the Patriots, a shadow organization that covertly rules over America.  The reason Solidus is threatening to launch a nuke into Manhattan is because he wishes to challenge the Patriots.  Johnson also informs Raiden that the Big Shell is a cover-up for the development of Arsenal Gear, which has the dual role of controlling the flow of all kinds of information and can fire a nuclear weapon from anywhere on the planet.  Johnson orders Raiden to find Emma Emmerich, who knows how to destroy the AI controlling Arsenal Gear.  Johnson then commands Raiden to shoot him.  With his death, the terrorists can’t launch a nuke.  Raiden does not shoot, instead, Ocelot does.

Raiden meets up with Vamp and defeats him in battle once more.  Before Vamp is vanquished, however, he reveals that even though they can’t launch a weapon anymore…they can use Arsenal’s hydrogen bomb to emit an EMP that will knock Manhattan offline.  Afterwards, Raiden meets up with Emma Emmerich.  Emma is Otacon’s step-sister and the two are rather bitter towards each other due to past events that led to Otacon leaving his family behind.

Raiden leads Emma back to Shell 1.  The bridge connecting the two shells had been destroyed by Metal Gear RAY, so the pair have to take the oil fence.  With only one person being able to cross at a time, Emma goes ahead as Raiden and Snake provide sniper support.  Just as Emma is almost across, however, Vamp reappears.  Raiden manages to shoot him through the head but Vamp stabs Emma in the process.  Snake and Raiden escort Emma into Shell 1 Core and upload the virus she was working on that will destroy the Arsenal AI.  Emma and Otacon reconcile before Emma dies.

Unfortunately for them, Emma’s virus wasn’t uploaded properly.  Snake devises a plan to enter Arsenal Gear as Otacon leaves to save the hostages via helicopter.  The ninja reappears and reveals itself to be…Olga Gurlukovich.  Olga knocks Raiden unconscious.

When he reawakens, he’s strapped to a torture bed.  Solidus and Ocelot are with him as Solidus reveals Raiden’s past.  Raiden was a child soldier of the Liberian Civil War.  When Raiden’s real parents died, Solidus adopted him into his soldier unit.  The two leave after a lengthy chat and soon, Olga reappears.  She reveals she was sent by the Patriots to aid Raiden in his mission.  The Patriots took Olga’s child, a young daughter.  If Raiden dies, the Patriots will kill her child.  She frees Raiden, telling him Snake waits up ahead with his gear.

Raiden makes his way through Arsenal Gear, with Colonel Campbell behaving erratically.  Eventually, he ends up in a long corridor and confirms to Rosemary that what Solidus said is true.  Rosemary has a few secrets of her own to share.  She’s been a Patriots spy all along, sent to keep them informed about Raiden.  She did manage to fall in love with him, however.  Her transmission is soon cut off, although she does tell Raiden she’s pregnant.

Raiden meets up with Snake, who apologizes for using him to gain entrance to Arsenal Gear.  The two team up and fight their way through Arsenal soldiers.  It is during all this that Otacon reveals why the Colonel is acting strangely, he’s not really real.  He’s part of the Arsenal AI and Emma’s virus is starting to take effect.  The duo meet up with Fortune, who’s hell-bent on killing Snake (since she believes he killed her father, Scott Dolph).  Snake and Fortune fight as Raiden presses on.

He meets up with Solidus, who tells Raiden about the S3 program.  The Solid Snake Simulation was a training program aimed to turn regular soldiers into troops on par with Solid Snake through VR training.  Raiden defeats a horde of manless Metal Gear RAYs before Solidus intervenes.  Before he can finish off Raiden, Olga appears.  She distracts Solidus but is killed by him.  Solidus orders the remaining RAYs to finish off Raiden but Emma’s virus takes hold.  The RAYs are piloted by the AI as well.  Emma’s virus wrecks havoc with them, although Solidus ends up destroying them himself.  Fortune arrives with a captured Snake before Raiden passes out.

Raiden awakens on top of Arsenal Gear with Solidus, Ocelot, Fortune and Snake.  Solidus reveals he was after a list of the Patriots’ names.  He planned to give Arsenal to Dead Cell, which would draw the Patriots’ attention while he eliminated them one by one.  Amused by this plan, Ocelot reveals the biggest mind screw in the history of games.  The entire event was scripted by the Patriots.  The S3 program was not the virtual reality training, but rather, an orchestrated recreation of Shadow Moses.  He cites off numerous similarities between the events of the past day and those of Shadow Moses.  Ocelot kills Fortune before piloting Metal Gear RAY, intending to go back to the Patriots.  Before he can leave, his arm acts up and he’s possessed once again by Liquid Snake.  Liquid plans to take on the Patriots, thanks to his access to Ocelot’s body.  He takes off in RAY as Snake follows in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Arsenal Gear crashes into Manhattan.  Solidus reveals his noble intentions to Raiden, wishing to see a free America rather than one under the Patriots’ control.  Raiden gets a call from another Patriots’ AI, who explained that due to the Digital Age, information control could be done more easily.  The Patriots seek to control and censor what is worthy and what is not, in order to make sure humans evolve in an ideal way.  Useless information would hinder human development.  The Patriots conclude they are the only ones who know what should be considered “useless” or not.  The Patriots also reveal the S3 program is actually the Selection for Societal Sanity, a test to see how information could be controlled and people could be manipulated under circumstances.  A small step in a much grander scheme.

The Patriots tell Raiden to eliminate Solidus.  He initially refuses, although  the Patriots point out that if he does, Olga’s child and Rosemary will be killed.  Solidus also wants Raiden dead, since nanomachines in his blood contain data on the Patriots.  If Solidus wishes to challenge the Patriots, he needs all the information he can.  Raiden and Solidus fight atop Federal Hall, with Raiden emerging victorious.

Raiden meets up with Snake once more at the end.  Snake has a disc containing information on the Patriots and plans to find them with Otacon’s help.  Raiden wishes to join them but Snake reminds him he has other things to take care of.  Rosemary meets up with Raiden here and the two agree to find their futures, as well as themselves, together.  The End.

After the credits, however, Otacon tells Snake what was on the disc.  It was a list of twelve names, but they were all already dead.  …And the last of the names died about a hundred years ago.

Thoughts


Wow, can you say “mind job”?  If you don’t know what the hell is going on by reading this, imagine playing through it.

Sons of Liberty is the least preferable among fans for understandable reasons.  Aside from the last hour of the game (Arsenal Gear onwards), Raiden and Rose have the most dysfunctional relationship ever.  Still, they eventually make up in the end.  Snake and Otacon are after the Patriots, Ocelot is possessed by Liquid, Vamp’s immortality, who are the Patriots? etc.  It’ll be interesting to see how all these questions are resolved in Metal Gear Solid 4.

There are some instances of discontinuity, though.  At one point, Liquid states Big Boss was in his late 50’s when they made his clones.  According to Snake Eater, the Les Enfant Terribles project (in which Solid, Liquid and Solidus were cloned from Big Boss) took place in 1972.  However, Snake Eater also pits Big Boss’ birthday in the 1930’s…

Insane?  We might be the only ones telling the truth.

MGS Collection: Metal Gear Solid

I got the Metal Gear Solid collection yesterday (as well as 4th Edition D&D, but more on that later).  Since I’m getting a PS3 at the end of the week with the 4th installment, Guns of the Patriots…well, why not have a little Metal Gear week?  Since I have all three games, I figured I’d play them in time for MGS4.

There are two versions of the first game.  There’s the original PlayStation version (which was released numerous times in various versions) and then there’s the GameCube remake (The Twin Snakes).  I never beat the PlayStation version, but I did beat the GameCube version.  Twin Snakes is easier to play but to the point that there’s no challenge.  Also, the cutscenes were redone to the point of ridiculousness (example).  So, it’s been a real treat playing through the original version and seeing how similar/different it is to the remake.

Plot Overview


Before reading any further, here’s some names to keep in mind.  Solid Snake and his support staff; Colonel Roy Campbell (retired commander and Snake’s former CO), Naomi Hunter (chief of FOXHOUND’s medical staff), and Master Miller (Snake’s former drill sergeant).  There’s also the other people who support Snake:  Meryl Silverburgh (Colonel Campbell’s niece) and Hal Emmerich (aka Otacon).  Then there’s the FOXHOUND team:  Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf, Decoy Octopus, Vulcan Raven, Revolver Ocelot and, finally, Liquid Snake (the commander).

Regardless of the version, the plot is the same.  A nuclear weapons disposal facility off the coast of Alaska (Shadow Moses island) was captured by Next-Gen Special Forces known as the Genome Army.  These soldiers were led by members of FOXHOUND.  FOXHOUND has a single demand…they want the United States government to turn over the remains of their greatest soldier; Big Boss.  If that demand is not met within 24 hours, they’ll launch a nuclear weapon.  Solid Snake is summoned out of an early retirement to deal with this new threat.  Snake has two mission objectives:  rescue two hostages (DARPA Chief Donald Anderson and ArmsTech President Kenneth Baker) and investigate whether or not the terrorists can launch a nuke…and stop them if they do.

Sounds simple enough, eh?  Well, the Metal Gear games are renowned for their plot-twisting stories.  As the player progresses through the game, the story unravels with numerous twists and turns…sometimes to a ridiculous amount.

The first of these twists comes when Snake meets up with the DARPA Chief.  The Chief confirms the terrorists can launch a nuke because of the new Metal Gear weapon that was being developed on the island.  Metal Gear REX, a nuclear-equipped walking battle tank that can launch a nuke from any kind of terrain.  The Chief also says the terrorists need two codes to activate REX, a code that he knows and a code that Baker knows.  Unfortunately, the terrorists already found out the Chief’s code (thanks to the psychic abilities of Psycho Mantis, one of the members of FOXHOUND).  The Chief also tells Snake there is a way to stop the launch; the PAL codes…three card keys that, if activated, will engage Metal Gear’s safety lock (and prevent the nuke from launching).  Baker has the keys.  With all this in mind, Snake attempts to escort the Chief to safety.  Before he can do so, the Chief falls dead from a sudden heart attack…at least, that’s what it looks like.

That last sentence reads like something out of the Holy Grail, but anyway…

After a duel with FOXHOUND operative Revolver Ocelot (who loses his hand, due to the sudden appearance of a ninja), Snake meets up with the ArmsTech President.  Baker reveals that the terrorists know his code but reveals he was able to resist Psycho Mantis’ mind reading abilities, thanks to surgical implants in his brain.  He tells Snake everyone who knows these top-secret codes has these implants, including the DARPA Chief.  Baker tells Snake that he gave the card keys to Meryl Silverburgh, a female soldier who did not take part in the uprising…she’s also Colonel Campbell’s niece.  Baker also gives Snake a disc containing all the data on Metal Gear REX.  He then tells Snake to meet up with Hal Emmerich, Metal Gear’s chief engineer, before succumbing to a heart attack.

Before he can meet Dr. Emmerich, Snake meets up with the ninja again.  After fighting the ninja in hand-to-hand combat, he realizes the ninja is his old war buddy, Gray Fox.  Previously, in Zanzibar Land, Snake had left him for dead (and crippled) after a similar fight in a minefield.  Despite being dead, Naomi Hunter reveals he was revived.  Fox was outfitted with an experimental exoskeleton (which gives him insane strength and agility…and ninja abilities) and subject to intense gene therapy.

After the fight with the ninja, Snake confronts Dr. Emmerich.  Emmerich, better known as Otacon, reveals he had no idea REX was designed for nuclear offensive capabilities.  Otacon tells Snake that if the PAL codes don’t work, Snake will have to destroy Metal Gear himself.  Otacon will even attempt to help Snake, feeling that since he created REX, he should help destroy the monstrosity.

Snake eventually meets up with Meryl again.  However, she only has one of the three card keys.  Not knowing where the other two keys are, Snake and Meryl decide to head to Metal Gear’s underground base.  They meet up with and dispose of Psycho Mantis along the way.  Half way to the base, though, the pair are ambushed by Sniper Wolf.  Wolf wounds Meryl and captures Snake.

Snake is captured and meets up with his twin brother (and FOXHOUND commander) Liquid Snake.  Snake is then subject to torture at the hands of Revolver Ocelot.  If Snake surrenders, Ocelot will kill Meryl.  If he doesn’t, he’ll continue torturing him.  Snake refuses to submit.  Ocelot also takes the data disc Snake received from Baker.  In between torture sessions, Snake is imprisoned in a cell.  A cell that houses the decaying corpse of the DARPA Chief.  The Chief has been drained of his blood and, despite being dead for only a few hours, has decayed rapidly.  To take his mind off the pain, Snake asks about Naomi’s background.  Her story raises the ire of Master Miller, who checks into it.  More on that later.

After managing to free himself, Snake heads for Metal Gear’s underground base.  He overcomes many obstacles in his path, including FOXHOUND operatives Sniper Wolf and Vulcan Raven.  Raven reveals another twist:  the DARPA Chief was actually Decoy Octopus in disguise.  Why go through all the trouble to impersonate the Chief?  Raven leaves Snake to think about it.  All the while, trust within Snake’s support team is disintegrating.  The deaths of the DARPA Chief Decoy Octopus and Kenneth Baker, Naomi’s suspicious background…  Naomi is arrested under the presumption of being a spy (her being FOXHOUND’s chief medic doesn’t help her case).

Snake reaches Metal Gear’s underground base, where Otacon reveals that Snake has all three keys.  The one card key he has can be changed into a different shape (via some sort of alloy), but only at different temperatures.  As Snake molds the key, he gets a call from Naomi.  Naomi reveals she is a spy.  Her brother was Frank Jaeger, Gray Fox…the ninja.  When Snake killed him, she swore revenge.  She told Snake he had been injected with FOXDIE, a virus that targets specific people via genetic code and kills them with a heart attack.  While it was not her intention to use FOXDIE, she modified the program to kill Snake as well.  She’s placed under house arrest before any more she can say more, however.

Snake inputs the PAL codes…and activates Metal Gear.  Master Miller calls Snake and thanks him.  The DARPA Chief was killed before Ocelot could get his code, so FOXHOUND decided to manipulate Snake.  Campbell radios Snake, telling him that’s not Master Miller but he’s too late.  Miller has been dead for days.  So who’s Snake been talking to?  “Miller” reveals himself to be Liquid.  Snake confronts Liquid, who tells him Snake had been used by the Pentagon.  The Pentagon injected him with FOXDIE in order to kill off all members of FOXHOUND and Baker, so the United States could retrieve Metal Gear undamaged.

Liquid pilots the newly-activated Metal Gear, intent on killing his brother first.  Gray Fox helps Snake destroy Metal Gear, but he dies in the process.  Snake is knocked unconscious by REX’s explosion.  He awakens atop of REX with Liquid, who explains his motivations….to create a world where soldiers always had a place.  Liquid also explains how he and Snake are related, via the Les Enfants Terribles (Terrible Children) project.  The two are twin clones of Big Boss.  Snake received all the superior soldier genes, whereas Liquid got all the inferior recessive genes.

With all this information in mind, Snake also learns that stealth bombers are on their way to nuke Shadow Moses.  This is on orders from the Secretary of Defense, who wishes to cover up the whole incident.  Snake manages to defeat Liquid (who dies of FOXDIE), save Meryl and escape from the base (with the help of Otacon, who stays behind).  The Secretary of Defense is relieved of command of the operation (who was acting on his own self-interest) and Colonel Campbell calls off the air strike.  Naomi tells Snake to not worry about FOXDIE and live (she set the virus to activate at a random time and since Liquid died…so will Snake).  Snake tells Campbell to have someone pick up Otacon before riding off into the sunset with Meryl.  The End.

Thoughts


Hopefully, that reads well.  If it doesn’t…well, play the game.  There’s a few things I left out because they weren’t essential to the plot.

The one thing that irks me about the story was the fact the “DARPA Chief” lied.  He says Mantis got his code from reading his mind.  Baker reveals that he and the Chief would have surgical implants in their brains to resist those mind probes.  Obviously, this makes the Chief a damn liar…but no one seems to question his honesty.  Everyone assumes the terrorists have both codes.  This gets even worse later, when you find the real Chief’s decaying corpse later and after Raven confirms that the Chief Snake met with was Decoy Octopus in disguise.  In short, I figured out the terrorists did not have both launch codes.  Since they couldn’t launch, why bother with the PAL codes?  I’d have radio’d my CO and brought up this point repeatedly.

As for gameplay, the game can be a mite difficult.  You can’t aim in first person like you can in the later games and your life bar starts out insanely small (and it only grows after boss fights).  Still, the plot is engaging enough for players to keep playing.  And it is one of the best games for the original PlayStation.

Can you understand what it’s like to know that you’re garbage since the day you were born!?

Fun with Snake Eater

One of the reasons I love Metal Gear Solid 3:  Snake Eater so much is because of all the cool easter eggs in the game.  Little things that make the game fun.  Some of the humor is based on the time period (the game takes place in 1964) and also pokes fun at other installments in the series (such as making fun of the Metal Gear concept).

Anyway, here’s some videos of most of the humorous stuff in the game.

Part I:  Includes the tuxedo, the mask (beat the crap out of him!), the Patriot, and the sneaking suit (those are some funky clothes you’re wearing).

Part II:  Includes the scientist camo, the croc cap, and the tsuchinoko.

Part III:  The cardboard box convo, The End dies of old age, the Russian glowcap.

Part IV:  Sigint’s shitty dream, Johnny, the transmitter, and fun with EVA.

Too bad they don’t have the naked camo conversation…ah well.

They’d have to be a fool.  No, more than a fool — a complete dumbass.

MGS4: Another Perfect 10

Over a month ago, I criticized Gamespot giving Grand Theft Auto IV a perfect 10 score.  Despite the fact it doesn’t do anything terribly new and has some flaws, the site gave the game a perfect score.  Anyway, whatever.  GTA IV doesn’t top my list of things to buy.  I’ll get it when it’s not $60…maybe.

Now, they’ve given Metal Gear Solid 4:  Guns of the Patriots a perfect 10.  I like Metal Gear Solid and I’ll definitely end up buying a PS3 for the game, but a perfect game?  C’mon…

The biggest flaw with the Metal Gear Solid games has always been the cutscenes.  “It’s more of an interactive movie than a game!”  “Metal Gear Solid was the best game I ever watched!” etc.  Sons of Liberty had a notorious scene that went 45 minutes.  That’s 45 minutes that the player has to watch instead of play the game.  Guns of the Patriots is rumored to have a 90 minute sequence (not confirmed, but watching some Youtube videos, there are several sequences that approach the 45 minute mark).  Fans will defend this, saying you can always skip the scenes.  You could, but then the player misses out on story details.  If someone points this out, fans will then tell you that’s what the cutscenes are for.  …Not that I have a problem with it, but there’s a solid number of gamers who do.

Like GTA IV, I’m sure the new Metal Gear game will be all kinds of fun.  I was going to get it, regardless of the score.  And I’m glad it’s gotten such nice reviews…but does it deserve the perfect score?  No way.

Where’s Snake?”
“Who knows?  That guy always keeps you waiting.