Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is my virtual Everest – a tree-topped, rat-infested mountain home to armed guards, portable nukes and slightly awkward camera controls. And so far, it’s proved itself to be an insurmountable pain in the grass.
So, in my incompetent hands, Solid Snake isn’t Solid, nor Snake – he’s a giant, wimpy elephant with a bandana and a deep voice.
My inventory of shortcomings makes failure look like a resounding success. With Metal Gear Solid, Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Partiots under my belt, Snake Eater should be a cake walk – not a wobbly trek over a dodgy bridge.
As somebody who’s spent considerable amount of time pushing buttons on controllers, it shouldn’t be this difficult. Spectacularly, I’ve managed to overlook guards stood right in front of me, get tripped up by some of the larger of the local nasties, and actually fall off that rickety old bridge. That’s right – I’m the world’s first sneaker to be ‘outsnook’ by the very people I’m meant to be sneaking past.
Snake Eater consistently leaves me with a feeling of unease. It’s my Dark Souls of the sneak-past-em-up. Like its environment, Solid’s third iteration is a far more organic beast, seemingly riddled with unpredictability and uncertainty.
And it all seems to be down to the lack of a Soliton Radar.
It’s only when I revisited Sons of Liberty that I realized how secondary its visuals are. Indeed, they’re wasted on me – a radar addicted, technologically dependant elephant, both giant and wimpy. Metal Gear Solid and its sequel, then, are black-boxed, blue-coned iterations of Pac-man, with fancy, three-dimensional backgrounds.
It’s difficult not to see a frightening reflection in Kojima’s jungle outing. That seperation from the convenience of modern technology, a return to those core intincts and the most basic of skills. My inability to guide Snake through a polygonal jungle assisted by a plethora of tutorials and tips is bizarrely worrying.
But perhaps my own experiences with Snake Eater are a reflection of my own addiction to technology. Beyond my own technological bubble and the mundane realm of the everyday, I simply wouldn’t know how to live in the real world. The simple act of removing a virtual tool from a virtual world alone renders me almost entirely inept.
It’s with this in mind that I endeavour to leave the confines of the web and smell the giant mechanized nuclear-capable war machines once in a while. I just need to make sure there’s not a giant, wimpy elephant hidden amongst them.
Or worse, Solid Snake.