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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Acalith Review)

Let's get one thing out of the way before I start my review, shall we? This is, why all-time, favorite game. You heard me right. If I had to choose ONE game to name as the best game EVER, this game would no doubt be it. It is simply unmatched in terms of greatness. No game can touch it. Not Halo 2, not Fable, not Half-Life 2, nor any other game released this year. Now allow we to explain why. But that's just my opinion of course....

The MGS series has always been renowned for its incredibly detailed and deep stories, and Snake Eater continues that tradition. This game is littered with so many twists and turns, that it's quite possible that your head will explode...literally. As you progress through the game, the story just keeps getting more complex and interesting. Once again, the cast of characters is some of the best of any game on the market. This time around, you have your old mentor: The Boss, a hot female KGB agent who originally worked for the NSA: EVA, the really evil guy who is apparently also an electric eel: Colonel Volgin, a group of elite WWII soldiers: the Cobra Unit, an Ocelot Unit Major: [a young] Revolver Ocelot, and a whole bunch of other characters. Each character lends their unique personality to the overall presentation of the story beautifully. As most of you probably know, Snake Eater is a prequel to all of the other MGS games. It takes place in the 60's, during the Cold War. You're sent into the jungles of Russia to secure the safety of a genius weapons scientist, involved in the creation of the Shagohod, a nuclear-equipped tank capable of striking anywhere in the U.S from anywhere in Russia with a nuke. This is what you're trying to for the first couple of hours, until you find out that your old mentor, The Boss, defected to the Soviet Union, and gave Colonel Volgin the Davy Crockett (a portable launching device that can fire experimental portable nuclear missles). The story really gets interesting after this.

The gameplay in Snake Eater has changed quite a bit from it's predecessors. It now takes place in the wild jungles of Russia, where stealth is even more important than in the last games. You now must use face paint, and camouflage to hide from enemies. This works quite well, and couldn't be easier to use. Another new feature is your stamina. You now must get food from the jungle, and eat it to keep your stamina up. If your stamina is low, your aim will be shaky, you won't be able to old onto ledges as long, you can't hold your breath underwater for as long, and your stomach growls occasionally, which can give away your location to any enemy near you. Speaking of enemies, you no longer have the same radar that you used to. Instead, you have 3 different types of radars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. These actually work very well. I personally almost always use the motion detector, because it's the most similar of the three, to the original radar. There is also the new CQC (C  lose Q  uarters C  ombat) system. This allows for some new moves, instead of just the punching and kicking, neck-snapping, and human shields present in the previous games of the series. This, like the other new elements, works really well.

You've seen the trailers and screenshots. You know that this game has some of, if not THE best graphics the PS2 can offer. Sons of Liberty had great graphics for the time, and Snake Eater blows it out of the water. The environments, whether outside or in, are highly detailed and aid in the distinctive atmosphere. The jungle is just bursting with tiny details, that I have yet to experience in other games. The amount of wildlife, as well as the diversity, is overwhelming. The cinematics are even more impressive. You have to see it to believe it.

The soundtrack is once again composed by Harry-Gregson-Williams, the composer for movies like Shrek 2, Armageddon, and The Rock, and once again, the music is phenomenal. Each piece fits the moment, and makes that moment just THAT much more enjoyable. The sound-effects are also brilliant. You tend to forget that you are supposed to be a badass killing machine sent to Russia to go blow up a nuclear-equipped tank as you're walking through the lush forests of the jungle, and listening to the birds chirping in the trees, the grass rustling beneath your feet, and the water splashing as the fish swim around.

I bow to Hideo Kojima's skills, and kiss his feet while doing it. The first MGS was THE game that really got me into gaming. It made me see games in a whole different way. I was used to seeing side-scrolling platformers, like Mario, or simple shoot 'em up type of games. But I remember watching my brother play Metal Gear Solid, and I was introduced to a whole new style of gameplay. 15 years after the release of the original Metal Gear on the MSX, and 6 years after the game that changed the way I looked at games, the MGS series continues to blow me away.
I give it a well deserved 10.0 out of 10.0.
-Chris Shea (Acalith)