Reviewed on Play Station 2

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Reviewed By: Alex Distaulo
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PlayStation 2 (Sony)
Produced by: Konami
Price Range: $20-30
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Overall Rating:
Genre: Action
Christian Rating: 2 of 5
   (poor)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Violence: 2 of 5
   (heavy)
Adult Content: 2 of 5
   (heavy)

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.  Illustration copyrighted.

Over the 35 years of its existence Konami has been responsible for over a hundred games, some acclaimed such as the Castlevania and Contra series, and some not so acclaimed such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles series. Konami is also responsible for another popular yet somewhat under looked Metal Gear series. The series started in 1987 on the NES and has spawned several sequels throughout the years. The latest installment, Snake Eater is a welcomed addition to the series, for casual gamers at least.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

The story is set in the 1960s during the cold war; it starts off with our hero Snake who is getting ready for the 'virtuous mission'. Snake's mission is to get to enemy headquarters and rescue Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov, a Russian scientist who's being exploited because of his intelligence to create nuclear weapons. On his mission, Snake meets a variety of characters, the most notable and intriguing one being a woman known only as the boss, Snake's mentor at mother-like figure who quickly and unexpectedly defects to the Russian army. Much of the story revolves around the relationship between the Boss and Snake, who is desperately trying to find out the truth behind her defection.

The beginning is the slowest part of the game and unfortunately, the cleanest part, the game goes downhill from there as it's filled with shocking and disturbing images of violence and sexual situations.

Gameplay: Make no mistake, the gameplay remains the same, stealth-based action combat we all grew to love, the game gives you an option of shooting from a first-person perspective, as well as a third-person perspective. The camera however, is not so cooperative. It stays fixed in an overhead view and moves according to your movement. This, although cinematic, makes it hard to see what's in front of you and you'll always find yourself switching to first-person view to see what's in front of you. This makes it hard for you to keep a stealthy profile, something that is crucial especially later in the game.
Putting all that aside, the boss battles are the best part of the experience. Each one is unique it's own way and what's more is that you have several (and I mean several) different ways of defeating them. One such example is 'The End'. He's a hundred year-old sniper who camouflages himself in the nearby foliage. You have the choice of either going through the excruciatingly long battle of finding him, aiming at him with the sniper gun (which shakes by the way) and shooting him several times with either bullets or tranquilizer darts. Or you can simply save, stop playing for about a week, and when you start again 'The End' will have died of old age. The game is filled with quirky humor and variety like this, and the final boss fight is one of the best bosses I have ever beaten.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Screenshot

The big new feature added to the game that everyone's been clamoring about is the jungle survival theme. The entire game takes place in the jungle, so this means you have to hunt for different animals for food to replenish your stamina, if your stamina drops, you won't be able to walk straight or aim well and might even black out. Although this feature adds variety, it can sometimes be tedious to search for morsels of food when you're stamina drops considerably.
Another new feature is camouflage, on the top left corner of the screen, there is a certain percentage that represents you're camouflage level, it's crucial to keep this percentage over 75% but sometimes I found myself getting caught with about 80%, and sometimes I'd sneak through several guards below 60%. Again, this feature adds variety but isn't implemented very well. The action stays the same, as you have to sneak past guards to infiltrate areas, you have to be careful not to be seen or even heard by them. A new feature now is the ability to interrogate guards, however whenever I tried to do this I always found myself accidentally slitting their throats, which isn't a pretty sight or sound.

Positive Elements: Snake is the hero of the game and must stop the evil colonel Volgin; a typical good vs. evil game. Snake is good-natured and is risking his life throughout the game all for the sake of saving the world. He considers 'The Boss' to be a mother to him and admires her in very way until she defects, after this, he is determined to convince her to come back. Snake won't leave behind fallen comrades, in one part of the game you must escort a wounded character through the forest while finding food for her to eat. The game doesn't encourage you to kill people shamefully, in my opinion, it even punishes you: In one instance, Snake must walk a path filled with ghosts of all the people he killed, it can be anywhere from ten people to over a hundred. The more people the player has killed, the longer it will take to finish. Also, the ending (extreme spoiler) is certainly very touching. Snake is seen at the graveyard saluting the boss' tomb with tears in his eyes.

Violence: This is where the game starts losing points, now keep in mind that can choose to tranquilize you're enemies rather than kill them. As mentioned before there is a new feature of slitting guard's throat's but the worst comes during the cut scenes which, thankfully, you can skip. The scenes depict scenes of shootings, beatings, mass hornet stings, burning and torturing. Although part of the torturing has the character's eyes closed, you still feel the vibration of the punches of the torturer, which is quite disturbing. Also, Snake gets his eye shot out in the same scene.

Sexual content: One of the characters known only as Eva, is pretty sexual in her appearance and stature, several cut scenes allow you to press R1 for a different view of the action, in this case it allows you to peek at Eva's breasts or bottom in her underwear. Also, one of the characters, Colonel Volgin, is bisexual. This is hinted at many points in the game and at one point he actually grabs snake's (who is disguised as Volgin's boyfriend) crotch.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Screenshot

Adult Content: Although the boss fights are the best part of the game, they can also be the most disturbing. One of the bosses, 'the Pain' has the ability to control hornets. He acquired this ability by letting hornets sting him continuously for days and even months straight. At one point he takes off his mask covering his stings to reveal a disturbing, hornet stung face and even shoots hornets out of his mouth. Also, 'The Fear', another boss has double-jointed elbows, and a forked tongue and has movements much like that of a spider. Finally, 'The Sorrow' is a ghost who cries tears of blood and forces you to walk down a seemingly never ending path filled with the ghosts of every single person you killed in the game. This part was eerie and disturbing and the ghosts let out an eerie yell every time you shoot them or punch them. Although I found these battles to be somewhat cool, small kids will most likely be deeply disturbed by these images.

Snake Eater certainly has its moments, from its solid, stealth-like gameplay, to its dynamic bosses. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's fair share of shortcomings. Overall, it's a great and its certainly recommendable for its gameplay, but christian gamers will most likely be offended due to its explicit scenes of violence and sexual content.

Year of Release—2005


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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