Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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The Story

                      Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater opens with Snake aboard a secret military plane 
tearing across the sky above an undisclosed area in the Soviet Union. Donning a 
futuristic looking air suit, Snakes jumps out of the plane and skyrockets to the 
ground. Once landed, he receives a message on his handy Codec. It seems that Snake 
needs to investigate the area around and him and neutralize an enemy encampment in 
his general vicinity. From that point on, “Operation Snake Eater” has begun.

 

Snake, having landed from his drop, is smack dab in the middle of a lush and 
expansive jungle. As a result, you’ll be surprised to see that gone are your typical 
Medal Gear crates and lockers. Essentially, you’re new hiding place is everything 
that you see around you; the trees, the ground, the grass, the water, and everything 
in between. First of all, all costume changing is done via a menu, not in real-time. 
A press of the Start button will open up a special menu that lets you change your 
camouflage, organize and manage the contents of your backpack, as well as view and 
eat any stored food you may have. The camouflage menu is pretty straight forward and 
has a selection for changing your outfit and one for changing your face paint. A 3D 
model of Snake is also shown to give you an idea of what he’ll look like after you 
make your outfit and paint selections. 

 

Overall, the camouflage system seemed to work pretty well. Faced with a patrolling 
soldier, I did manage to successfully hide against a tree while wearing a treebark 
pattern outfit and some black face paint. But, other times, I found the system to be 
a bit too hit and miss. Sometimes, I seemed to be completely hidden and 
undetectable, with a camouflage index of 95%, only to be immediately spotted and 
shot at. Other times, I managed to actually remain undetected while possessing a 
much lower index. I realize that the game is still in development, so hopefully 
there will be a bit more balancing in the overall effectiveness and reliability of 
the stealth system.

 

Control-wise, however, the game has been shapen up pretty well and from the get go, 
Snake Eater plays feels like you would expect it to. The analog control felt silky 
smooth and Snake now has a few new moves to help take on the evils that await him in 
the jungle. The new stalking move is performed easily with the PS2 D-pad, allowing 
you an easy and fool-proof way of switching between normal analog stick control to 
more stealthy and calculated movement while stalking. Stalking is also used for more 
precarious actions, such as when I turned Snake into a tight-rope walker as he 
inched his way across a very narrow steel girder that had enemy soldiers stationed 
underneath it.

 

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game is the food and stamina system. 
Underneath Snake’s health bar are five blocks, each one signifying a level of 
stamina. As you play through the game, you’ll lose stamina, which results in Snake 
losing the ability to heal from his wounds as well as maintain a steady aim while in 
combat. Snake’s health bar now continuously refills, granted that he has a high 
enough amount of stamina. While the pace of the healing is pretty slow, it still 
proves helpful, especially during those times when you just want to lay low and 
remain unseen for awhile. Since the game supports a first-person viewpoint, great 
loss of stamina will be reflected in the fact that your aiming while in first person 
will be greatly hindered by a bad case of the hunger shakes. 

 

The actual method of gathering food is even more innovative. At any given time, 
you’re literally surrounded by a smorgasbord of tasty vittles. On the ground you may 
find some mushrooms or a snake slithering around the ground. Up in a tree you may 
spy some birds or a hornet’s nest. Even more dangerous things like crocodiles prove 
to be a good meal. Collecting food comes in two forms: live captures and killing. A 
live capture requires that you shoot any food item (as long as it’s an animal) with 
a tranquilizer gun. Once tranquilized, a small animal cage will appear on the ground 
for you to collect. Killing any animal simply requires the use of any lethal firearm 
or explosive device. One you’ve killed an animal, a small can will appear for you to 
collect (much like the Rations from previous Metal Gear games. While going around 
and blowing up crocodiles with grenades may sound like a good idea, there actually 
are some considerations to keep in mind when going after live or dead kills. First 
of all, live animal provide more stamina than their dead counterparts simply because 
of the fact that they’re alive. Metal stored in cans will eventually rot and turn 
foul, which can result in making your even weaker or even sick. The ability to tote 
around your food live and eat it at your leisure proves to be a bit more helpful 
than toting around a bunch of cans that could go bad at any moment.

 

The actual means of filling your belly with food is pretty varied and allows you 
utilize some interesting means for tracking down your prey. Since all animals 
register body heat, you’ll be able to use thermal goggles for tracking down the more 
elusive prey, like snakes and frogs. Running around in thermal view and trying to 
catch a tiny frog may sound a bit odd for a Metal Gear game, but the execution of 
doing it is surprisingly fun. Overall, the feature of collecting and eating food is 
a nice diversion from the combat that you’ll usually be dealing with and is a nice 
way to break up the action if you’re feeling overwhelming at any given point.

 

The next feature that really impressed me was the close quarters combat. While the 
system came across as a bit complicated, seeing it in action and actually pulling it 
off was impressive. All close quarters combat is utilized through the Circle button. 
When sneaking up behind an enemy, a press of the button will cause Snake to grab an 
opponent and slam them to the ground. Approaching an enemy from the side will result 
in Snake grabbing an enemy and holding them around the neck. At this point, you have 
a number of options at your disposal; you can interrogate the enemy by pressing the 
Square button (which results in you getting some handy gameplay hints), you can use 
them as a human shield by moving Snake around, and you can slit the enemy’s throat. 
Each option serves a unique purpose while you’re playing and being able to correctly 
identify which action you should perform can ultimately affect just how successful 
you may be in the game. For example, say you take an enemy hostage. If you slit his 
throat, he’s dead and his body will not only be useless, but could also alert other 
guards to your presence. Using the enemy as a human shield, however, helps to give 
you a bit of insurance in the event that you are spotted. Enemies won’t usually fire 
on their comrades, so as long as you have a soldier in your grasp, you’ll be 
relatively safe from any damage. 

 

Since the game has no real radar, actually locating enemies on the sly seemed a bit 
too unforgiving. While Snake does have a sonar device that allows him to see any 
living objects in his general vicinity, it makes a great deal of noise, which isn’t 
too helpful for when you’re trying to sneak up on someone. Having to constantly 
switch to the sonar device was a bit annoying and the gameplay crawls down to a 
pretty slow pace as a result. The stalking move does prove helpful for when you’re 
trying to both scout out your location and sneak up on an enemy, stalking is so slow 
that it brings the game to a screeching halt.

All this new things is going to come in handy as you play the game.

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