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Metal Gear Solid: The Snake Eater 3D review

Kojima's PlayStation classic sneaks quietly onto Nintendo 3DS

I once saw a man throw a rat through the passenger window of a Nissan Micra and, in the ensuing panic, reach into the car and grab a woman's handbag before vanishing into the exhaust fumes like a scandalous Dracula. She was so hepped up on rat-fear chemicals that she pretty much handed the bag to him out of confusion, believing she'd just successfully exchanged it for the rat, which was now biting her shins. The experience taught me two things: one: never leave your windows rolled down in Dublin city centre and two: animals can be thrown at people for ill-gotten gain.

Such vital information served me well in Metal Gear Solid 3D. One of many tactics in the jungle-based stealth adventure is to capture an animal alive using a trap or a tranquiliser dart (which places it in a cage in your inventory) before equipping it as a weapon and throwing it at an unsuspecting guard. This works best with dangerous animals: poisonous snakes, scorpions, venomous spiders and, yes, rats. You can even release friendly animals such as birds to act as a fluttery distraction, just like that crazy woman at Michael Jackson's trial.

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Where The Wild Things Are

Such animal buffoonery is just one tiny aspect of Snake Eater's option-riddled, jungle world. At its most basic, the game is about traversing dense forest environments without being spotted by patrolling guards.

These guys are intelligent and will investigate strange sounds, rustling grass and curious items left in their way, responding to things in a way that makes them endlessly manipulable and, for videogame enemies, highly interactive. They can be held up at gunpoint, for example, or grabbed from behind and interrogated at the point of a knife.

They'll divulge the locations of nearby ammo caches, or give you new frequencies to tune your radio into. They can be stunned, killed or put to sleep. If they spot you, they'll go through several alert phases, pursuing and attacking until you can break line of sight, then probing nearby hiding spots until they get bored and relax again. Most units have a designated radio operator who'll call in reinforcements, unless you can silence him first.

It's easy to spin off down wild tangents when talking about this series' super-reactive artificial intelligence, because there's so much fun depth to it. Toying with guards is Snake Eater's bread and butter, and the steadily growing collection of weapons and tools provided, most of which are entirely optional, ensures that you're unlikely to experience everything even after several playthroughs.

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Snake Eater is a unique game that is absolutely full of secrets, diversions and some lost-in-translation humour. It's utterly unlike anything else on 3DS right now, heavily atmospheric, and tense beyond what you'd expect from a handheld game.

The arboreal setting offers a constantly changing challenge as the game progresses from jungles to jungle-bound labs, warehouses, caves and mountain fortresses. Protagonist Snake (or 'Naked Snake', to give him his fuller, weirder codename) can adapt to these environments by slipping into different camouflage gear, which affects his camo-index (a percentage readout in the corner of the screen that tells you how well you've hidden yourself).

If you wear bright pink and stand next to a brick wall, for example, your camo-index will plummet to zero and you'll be spotted a mile off, but change into some tiger-stripe gear and lie down in long grass and that number will rise.

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24 comments so far...
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  1. ZeldaKing Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 16:59

    80% :O i know thats good and all (i only got over that in one of my three exam results today) but for the high standard of this game this must be one shoddy port

  2. Dertdood Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 17:14

    Glad this didn't get a really high score because from what I played of the demo it was boring

  3. Xenoblade Hero Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 17:19

    Mind you, I survived with the giro controls on the demo, and I don't use the 3D anyway. The frame rate was bearable also. So I think I will still get it, as the demo managed to intregue me. Plus I've finished Revelations, and I need a new, lengthy game to waste my spare time with xD

  4. hamzahdsi Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 18:50

    The only thing that has put me off this game is the gyro-controls. Crossing those bridges... :x

  5. ganonslayer Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 19:14

    I seen this with the demo aswell. lets hope kid icarus holds up :lol:

  6. colourblindyoshi Thursday 8th Mar 2012 at 23:07

    probably the lowest review score ever given to metal gear solid 3... one of the best games ever in my opinion, but do yourselves a favour and just get the hd collection. this will never beat that realistically. i love the intricacies in the plot of this, but this is not a portable game. portable games dont have cut scenes longer than your actual journey...

  7. noodle link Friday 9th Mar 2012 at 16:30

    Steve pretty much hit the nail on the head, here. Bravo, sir!

    It's a slightly iffy port of an otherwise amazing game. Basically, if you have a 3DS and somehow don't have a PS2, Xbox 360 or PS3, buy this. If you have any of the other consoles, get it on those.

  8. TaskOfMajora Friday 9th Mar 2012 at 18:40

    Heh. I’ve never played a Metal Gear game before, but I’ve always been aware that they’re held in very high regard...So I was gobsmacked to see that Steve gave it only 80%, even if it is a slightly bad port.

    It still looks fascinating to me though.

  9. Samster296 Friday 9th Mar 2012 at 19:14

    I played the demo and I found the controls really bad. If you can use circle pad pro with it, the game might be a lot better.

  10. goldeneye64 Sunday 11th Mar 2012 at 10:38

    Bought it yesterday and absoloutley loving it. :D Up to The Pain boss fight, but keep running out of medicines for the bullet bees. :?

  11. dreamer87 Sunday 11th Mar 2012 at 21:19

    I’m a little disappointed with ONM score.
    Metal Gear Solid 3 is an excellent port I would personally give this 90 to 95%.

    I guess because I am a huge metal gear fan I might be a little biased but I do think it looks and plays well on the 3ds. I wish I could have said the same for Splinter Cell.

    My only real disappoints are the lack of the two classic games which are included in playstation version (metal gear solid 1987 and solid snake 1990) maybe though that can be added in the future as some kind of downloadable game add-on.

    I would also have been nice if some extra features could have been included some thing that made use of street pass or play coins.

    Those minor problems aside Metal Gear looks sharp and plays really well I must admit it’s taken me a while to get used to the controls but now that I have I’m glad to have this game in my collection. : )

  12. colourblindyoshi Monday 12th Mar 2012 at 00:17

    i like the msx2 games also, amazing music, good gameplay and background info, and hard as anything you could get. mind you, metal gear has never had a resemblance of casualism.

    a couple of issues ago onm said they 'could port this game to a toaster and it'd still be amazing'- its ported to something better than a toaster here right? i believe this should get 90% minimum on any console, for its story and bonkersness alone, and its aesthetic feel. best stealth game ever made.

  13. Xenoblade Hero Monday 12th Mar 2012 at 09:40

    Hmm... I'm about six hours into the game, and I've got to say, I don't understand what ONM were complaining about. The framerate in game is smooth, both in 3D and 2D. However; there is a noticable drop in framerate within particularly detailed cutscenes. This doesn't detract from the game too much, as they are still very well directed, and need to be applauded. The 3D is brilliant also- and isn't "nowhere near as polished as you would see in first-party Nintendo titles". Many of these titles make their games around these features (see Mario 3D Land) but don't add in enough longlivety or gameplay to satisfy.

    The gyro controls are a nuicance, but these sections are few and far between. They are not as game-breakingly infuriating as ONM suggested- most only last several seconds. It was a strange decision to include them, but they are nowhere near as bad as reviews made out.

    Photo Camoflage is a gimmick, but an undeniably fun one. I had a lot of fun taking photos of random objects and seeing how well they work within different environments. Different people will get a different amount of use from this- some people may not enjoy it as much as I did. This feature is entirely optional; and you can complete the game without even using it.

    I may write a mini-review when I have finished Snake Eater, as I have not completed the game fully yet. I'll be sure to put it in the "Settling Scores" section though, as I think this game is shaping up to be a minor masterpiece. This is the first time I have dared to play a "Metal Gear" video game, and I am currently not disappointed.

  14. epicdude42 Monday 12th Mar 2012 at 17:41

    Just get MGS HD collection instead.

  15. imbusydoctorwho Monday 12th Mar 2012 at 22:05

    The three reason why the game didn't sell well.

    Metal Gear fans have probably played the original Snake Eater on PS2 to death,so it wouldn't be worth them buying it again.

    There's too many triple AAA titles out at the moment,it was released the same day as Mass Effect 3(possible the biggest game of the year so far),Street Fighter X Tekken,and the upcoming Fifa Street to name but a few.

    And lastly the HD is much better value for money.

  16. Redfish20 Saturday 17th Mar 2012 at 14:25

    I didn't really have an issue with the framerate in the demo, does anyone know if this is any different with the full game? (otherwise I think I can cope). As for the shoddy 3D, the original was designed to be played without it and was still a great game so I can just turn it off. As for the gyro bits I reckon I can man up and get over them.

  17. benjymc Saturday 17th Mar 2012 at 21:26

    The Game Looks as it was but I'm loving the way you can take pictures and use it as camouflage on the octocam.
    I remember years ago when you played the game for the first time you thought the graphics were out of this world but when you look at it now it looks so old; I still think that is amazing that nintendo have taken on the Old MGS games but if you want to do a remastered game I still think that Graphics are a major issue.
    Thank you for your time!!! :D

  18. bigterence Wednesday 21st Mar 2012 at 10:38

    Loving this game..dont care about frame rates or comparisons with other systems.80 percent is an insult to this game and puts it in the "cancel my ONM subscription" category.

  19. bigmanboy Friday 6th Apr 2012 at 10:52

    This game is nothing compared to the original, mind you the 3D effects were pretty awesome 8)

  20. benjymc Saturday 7th Apr 2012 at 17:00

    If you've completed it on PS2, is it worth it getting it for the 3DS?

  21. sarah1103 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 20:59

    Want this. Someone buy it for me... please? I'll be your friend for life. :twisted:

  22. Xenobladeperson Tuesday 15th May 2012 at 17:04

    The gyro is terrible, but it doesn't ruin the game. It should get 93% - a brilliant game, there're loads of things to try out after you've finished the game once. Has anyone ever noticed that once means eleven in Spanish?

  23. legend1992 Monday 11th Jun 2012 at 14:56

    I wasn't fazed a bit by the game's frame rate - as low as it was, Konami did a fine job ensuring it ran more smoothly and consistently than the demo. Plus, as a newcomer to Metal Gear, I thought it was a brilliant and gripping introduction to the series - like a book that's so good you can't bear to put it down. I don't see how the game's frame rate should drag the final score down to 80%; Ocarina of Time on N64 was just the same in that regard, but that didn't stop it from being declared the best video game of all time. I don't mean to say that Snake Eater is better than Ocarina - I love the both of them in equal measure - but surely it deserved a better score than that. I would've given it anywhere between 85-90%

  24. noodle link Monday 11th Jun 2012 at 20:03

    I wasn't fazed a bit by the game's frame rate - as low as it was, Konami did a fine job ensuring it ran more smoothly and consistently than the demo. Plus, as a newcomer to Metal Gear, I thought it was a brilliant and gripping introduction to the series - like a book that's so good you can't bear to put it down. I don't see how the game's frame rate should drag the final score down to 80%; Ocarina of Time on N64 was just the same in that regard, but that didn't stop it from being declared the best video game of all time. I don't mean to say that Snake Eater is better than Ocarina - I love the both of them in equal measure - but surely it deserved a better score than that. I would've given it anywhere between 85-90%

    The problem with the frame-rate is that the original had pitch-perfect motion capture. It ran ridiculously fast for a PS2 game. Also, there's a couple of other issues with the 3DS version, such as the poor quality FMV ending cutscene (glad I played the PS2 version first) and the occasional moment of lag. Still, the 3D is fantastic and in some places (the character models and lighting effects in particular) the game actually, shockingly, looks better than the original. It doesn't top any of the home console versions, but this is definitely a solid port well worth picking up.

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