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 Subsistence. Subsistence 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.
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…
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.“