10 things that helped make Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater a classic

Today, it’s exactly 10 years ago Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater came out in the United States. The game is considered one of the best games ever made, and for good reason. Here are 10 things in the game that made it stood out and live on in gaming history.

The Intro

MGS3-Halo-Jump-2You know a game is going to be good when the intro is as epic as this. An aircraft cuts through the night sky of Pakistan, approaching Soviet airspace. On board it carries Naked Snake, who is about to perform ‘the world’s first HALO jump’. He smokes his cigar as he prepares himself mentally for the task. “Opening rear hatch.” The hatch opens, and we see the sun has begun to rise. Snake, now wearing a mask, walks towards the exit. He jumps – not just any jump but with some bad ass somersaults thrown in there, and after a brief free fall he opens his parachute. At this point, players can switch to first person to admire the view. The music builds up and enhances the intensity. While Snake defends the game cuts to a briefing in which Zero explains the situation. After that, we return to Snake as he lands in the middle of he forest. He slowly rises to his feet, and removes his mask. “Commencing Virtuous Mission now.” Hell yeah!

 

Betrayal on the Bridge

MGS3-BridgeSymbolically, a bridge may stand for a transition, but it can also signal a threat on someone’s path. After Snake has rescued the defected Soviet scientist Sokolov, the two are crossing a long suspension bridge covering a deep cliff. But halfway there, a person blocks his way. It’s The Boss, Snake’s former mentor. “I’m defecting to the Soviet Union.” she says. And she is bringing her loyal comrades, the Cobra Unit, with her. She orders Snake to go home, breaks his arm and throws him off the bridge. Virtuous Mission has ended in a failure, and the real story is about to begin.

 

Still in a Dream – The Snake Eater Title Sequence

MGS3-Title-Sequence-2Metal Gear Solid 3 is made to feel like a James Bond movie, and the title sequence (made by well known title sequence designer Kyle Cooper) certainly helps set the mood. Against a backdrop of a collage of newspaper headlines reporting the tumultuous events that defined the Cold War times, slithering snake skeletons, clips foreshadowing the evens of the game, and mirrored images of crawling smoke, the song that plays is one that would be remembered fondly by gamers. “What a thrill…”

 

Survival of the Fittest

MGS3-Snake-WoundedMGS3 takes place in the sixties, before the age of modern technologies present in earlier Metal Gear games, and is set in a rough, natural environment of crocodile filled swamps, forests full of traps and arid mountaintops. Because of these factors, Snake has to rely on his survival skills a lot. This means he has to select the right type of camouflage and face paint for the situation, organize his backpack, and even hunt for his own food. He can use the wildlife to his advantage by capturing snakes and throwing them at guards, or simply eat them to regain health (and he also has an opinion on the taste of each meal he consumes). In addition, Snake has to tend to his wounds if he is to stand a chance to survive. Gunshot wounds, burns, cuts, even wounds inflicted by leeches, all have to be taken care of to ensure he is at his full potential.

 

An Eye for an Eye

MGS3-Eye One of the most recognizable features of Big Boss is his eyepatch, and MGS3 shows us what exactly happened that made him lose his right eye. After Snake has been captured by the sadistic Volgin, he commands The Boss to cut out Snake’s eyes. “I don’t like those blue eyes of his.” he declares. However, EVA steps in, after which Ocelot becomes suspicious and decides to test her out in one of his twisted games, which of course involves revolvers and a variation on Russian roulette. Snake tries to save EVA by bumping into the trigger-happy guy, but this causes Ocelot to accidentally shoot through his eye. Snake’s eyeball is destroyed. From that moment on, using the first person perspective only provides limited sight. Snake eventually starts wearing an eyepatch, bringing his appearance one step closer to the iconic Big Boss.

River of Sorrows

MGS3-River-SorrowThis is one of the most remarkable boss battles in the game. Snake wades through and endless, ghostly river, while the spirits of soldiers and animals he killed during his mission come back to hunt him. He tries to defeat The Sorrow, but as this is a ghost nothing can harm him, and he always ends up killing Snake in the end. But ultimately, that’s exactly the trick: Snake is not in the real world, he’s caught between the world of spirits and the world of the living, and only by dying and taking a revival pill he brought with him, he is able to escape this eerie place.

 

A Boss Battle with ‘End’less Possibilities

Metal-Gear-Solid-3-The-End One of the enemies Snake runs into during the course of the game is the legendary sniper The End. The guy is well over a hundred years old, but he can be a serious threat. You’ll have to take him out at some point, however, there are several ways to do it. One of them is to kill the poor bastard long before the actual battle is meant to take place, while the man is completely unsuspecting. Another way is to abuse the fact that your opponent isn’t the youngest anymore. If you shut off the game for a week, he will have died of old age once you load your save file again (of course, you can also fast forward the clock of your console). Of course, you can also choose to engage in a one on one sniper battle, but be warned: he is a though opponent. If sniping doesn’t work, you can exploiting his weak points during the fight: you can use your thermal goggles to sneak up on him and attack him from close range.

The Final Battle

Snake-vs-The-Boss-MGS3-Fight This is the moment the game has been building up to. Snake has defeated Volgin, ended the Shagohod threat, and he has overcome The Pain, The Fear, The Sorrow, The End and The Fury. Only one objective remains, and there’s no way around it now. He has to kill his former mentor, The Boss. Snake and The Boss are standing in a field of white flowers, flowing in the wind. The Boss orders some WIGs to arrive in ten minutes and ‘bomb the hell out of this place’. “Let’s make these the greatest ten minutes of our lives, Jack.” As the battle reaches its conclusion, the Snake Eater title song we heard at the beginning begins to play.

One Last Showdown

MGS3-One-Last-Showdown In Metal Gear, there are protagonists, there are antagonists, and then there’s Ocelot. With him, you’re always asking yourself who he’s really working for, and whether he’s your ally or your enemy. But what is clear is that Ocelot finds in Snake someone he admires, someone he looks up to. He fights Snake several times during the course of the game, and he is fascinated by Snake’s skills, constantly seeking his approval. Just before Snake and EVA manage to escape with the WIG after defeating The Boss, Ocelot barges in for ‘one last showdown’. He’s not there to kill Snake, he’s there for a fair fight, western style. First, they battle using CQC, and Ocelot enjoys learning a few new moves. At a certain point, Ocelot pokes Snake in the eye, but there is no eye anymore, just a patch with a hole behind it, causing Snake to smile. Ocelot wants to know Snake’s real name. “John.” Snake responds. “Plain name.” Ocelot says. “But I won’t forget it.” After the battle (there are four outcomes but it doesn’t matter), Ocelot takes his leave – but not before turning to Snake one last time. “Till we meet again, John.” And they will. Ocelot smiles, and Snake smiles back. It’s like the beginning of a strange friendship.

Debriefing

MGS3-Snake-Salutes-The-Boss-GraveThe conclusion of this game is one of the saddest and most dramatic ones in gaming. Snake has completed his mission, and he receives the title of Big Boss by the president himself. But it’s a bitter victory for him. Not only was he forced to kill his own mentor, but he also heard the truth behind the mission from a tape EVA left behind. The Boss never truly defected, she was ordered to play this role so the US could get rid of Volgin and at the same time get their hands on the Philosophers Legacy, the enormous sum of money that had fallen into his possession. The Boss was sacrificed for this cause, and Big Boss was never supposed to know. The Boss, one of the most loyal soldiers who ever lived, will go down in history as a traitor. In the final scene of the game, Big Boss visits her grave at Arlington Cemetery, and places at her tombstone a bouquet of flowers, the same white flowers that grew in the field where he last saw her. He then salutes her grave, and just before the credits roll, we see this though and battle hardened soldier cry for her cruel fate. Naked Snake is gone.

It goes without saying that there are many other great things to say about this game (including the ladder, of course!). The incredible depth and attention to detail make this one of the most complete and polished games ever made, and a beloved classic to this day.

  • Big_Boss88

    There is so many things I love about MGS3 and experiencing them for the first time was freaking epic. It’s hard for me to describe it as words, that how amazing this game is. Many memorable and cool scenes indeed like the intro and the bridge scene, where The Boss suddenly appears to kick Snake’s ass.

    The two that maybe gave me the biggest emotional impact was that horrible torture scene ;(… poor Snake. 2nd the epic ending :D. I’m 100% sure I ain’t the only one who has cried during the ending part. Not many games do that to me xD.

    It was super interesting to see the origin of the saga. Also how Snake lost his eye and then to receive later his iconic eye-patch + the title… Big Boss!

    Can’t wait to experience another masterpiece story with The Phantom Pain ;).

  • ThreeMadFrogs

    Happy Birthday, Snake Eater!

  • Wilks

    I recommend Snake Eater 3D to anyone with a 3DS, definitely the best version of MGS3.

    • I don’t have the game (yet). What is the reason you think it’s the best version?

      • Wilks

        Better visuals and aiming over the shoulder along with crouch walking.

        • I see. I may get it some day. I heard complaints about low frame rates though.

          • NegaScott128

            The framerate is horrendous. It can be nearly unplayable at points. But it does have the improved gameplay, and it does look really nice in 3D.

          • Wilks

            Yes, there can be drops here and there… but it’s just pop in more than anything.

          • im a dot

            yeah the frames when its foggy are dead

    • ThreeMadFrogs

      I own it but haven’t played through it yet. I do like the Peace Walker crouching and aiming gameplay elements though.

      • Wilks

        Don’t wait any longer! 🙂

    • Dizz

      I played and wrapped it for the first time on PS3 (HD collection) a couple months ago, since I never had a PS2. The higher resolution makes it look very crisp and it controls quite well also. I do have a 3DS, but I wanted a more cinematic experience with a bigger screen, better audio and higher resolution.

      I think you can’t go wrong with either system though, it’s more just preference. It’d be nice to have on 3DS as well just for a portable version :p

    • andy

      Oh god no, the PS3 and Vita versions are much better, more solid 60fps too that the original did not have. The 3DS version has such horribly broken controls and FPS. Not the way MGS3 should be played AT ALL.

      • Wilks

        The 3DS version is fine and plays far better than any other version as long as you have the circle pad pro.

      • Big_Boss88

        I love playing MGS games on my Vita ^_^ !

  • anonymous

    I don’t know about you all, but for me mgs3 is the best mgs to date for me. Phantom pain might change that but we’ll see.

    • Big_Boss88

      I feel the same, but we’ll see if MGSV can top it and the epic ending also.

    • Headshot GamingTr

      big boss is the best character for me

  • PrinceHeir

    I really can’t believed this was released 10 years ago O___O

    Resident Evil 4 and Metal Gear Solid 3 were one of the few games that stood the test of time. Even to this day i still remember the parts, cutscenes, bosses and amazing moments like it was yesterday ^^

    It’s also one of the few games were it had an amazing intro then goes on to becoming one of the most tragic events in the franchise history.

    Once you beat all the bosses, Volgin 3 times, and finally kill The Boss at the end. Ahh the memories.

    I might play it again maybe in the 30th Anniversary of the franchise(already played the HD one last year)

  • Cartmangus

    Jeesh, 10 years… I still remember experiencing that The End battle for the first time, it really was mindblowing, just the simple fact that there wasn’t any boss music playing as it first started really threw you off. I remember the first time I faced off against him, playing with a friend and we’re standing in FPV for the longest time trying to catch a glimpse of the reflection of his rifle scope, and as we exit FPV he’s standing behind us with the rifle aimed at the head of Snake, scared the living shit out of us.

    And then finding out you had to hold him up to get his camo, a really fun challenge that seemed impossible at first after that 1+ hour battle the first time around. Really one of the most memorable boss fights of all time.

    What a fucking game this was, so much to be said, but to put it shortly, I’ll never forget it and it certainly is an all time favorite.

  • andy

    No. 1 An exclusive single console release at launch pushing the PS2 console even further than the last game.

  • Le Guy who drowned quiet

    there are just to words to describe mgs3 :unpredictable and masterpiece
    im sure you are kojimas loved 10 year old boy.
    HB the first mgs game and the 1st masterpiece I played.

  • prothy

    What I can’t believe is that some ‘professional’ critics think that mindless shooters like Halo are better than this game. For me, the MGS series will always be The Godfather of videogames while everything else is pretty much Transformers 4.

  • Big_Boss88

    Just wanna ask, because I’m curious.

    How long were you my friends stuck at The Sorrow river part in MGS3? I remember being stuck there for a while…like 1h or something lol ;D. I was like wth, HOW CAN I GET THROUGH THIS!? Being killed over and over again, walking down the river with them ghosts.

    So yeah… a while later I noticed that I had that pill…I felt so stupid lol xD. Good memories!

    • Not quite sure anymore, I believe I used a guide. 😛

    • Toni Ymeri

      I was stuck too. I was playing with my cousin and we did’t know what to do and died a lot of times, until my cousin pressed L2 accidentally xD and the item window appeared. Then we used the pill and passed it lol.

    • decoyF0XX

      My friend had to tell me this, I can’t imagine how any human being was able to figure this out on their own haha.

  • i was going to say which one of these is the best in my opinion. then i realised it’s really hard to pick just one scene over the others… it made me think about how i feel about the whole game. i think it’s a masterpiece and one of the best games ever made but I’m not sure how objective i’m about that i always try to alienate how much i like a videogame / Film when making an opinion and try to be as objective as i can but this might be the only case where i can’t do that (or maybe that means that the game really is as amazing as i think) it would be cool to hear opinions from people that don’t know anything about MGS and are just introduced to this game…

    even though i can’t pick one scene, i gotta say the title sequence is just one of the best around, the music, the visuals, that bond style and the song! god that song. realizing the game is 10 years old makes me feel old though haha.

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