A History of Metal Gear Solid – Part 3 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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Snaaaakkeee Eeeaaaaattterrrrrrr! What a game. Unbelievable.

MGS3, the sequel to the hit MGS2 and the latest instalment of the MGS franchise. MGS1 and 2 were massive and this needed to be again, there were expectations both technically and plot and the game certainly didn’t disappoint.

MGS3 shocked its fan as the main character was Snake…but not Solid. The main character was none other than the legendary Soldier, Big Boss or ‘Naked Snake’ as he was referred to. It would be a major spoiler to explain why he isn’t called Big Boss…yet. The antagonist from MG1 and 2 and Solid, Liquid and Solidus’ father. It was also based in the 60’s during the cold war. It was a premise that really did shock and excite everyone, no one really knew what to expect from this.

Naked Snake (Big Boss)
Naked Snake (Big Boss)

From the initial screens it was still just as much of an MGS as the others; it was still all about stealth just in different circumstances. No advance gizmos and some more primitive weapon and it was in a Russian jungle. It was a gorgeous looking game but stunning graphics as well as the return of Hollywood cut scenes.

The gameplay also got a major upgrade, there weren’t many narrow corridors anymore they were much more open game fields, so you need to know how to get about without walls, which is where the camo came in, and this will be discussed further in the gameplay section.

If MGS2 was a hit then MGS3 was a blockbuster. It was an amazing game whether a fan of the series or not. It really did set the bar even higher. And if truth to be told this is one the best game if not THE best game ever made. As near perfection as you could expect from a game.


The plot is set in the cold war of the 60’s where there is an incident near Russia where a weapon designer has been kidnapped and needs rescuing. As always. The game introduces Naked Snake, who we know is Big Boss, as a fairly young member of FOX to go and investigate. Snakes mentor The Boss is also involved but we are not sure of the extent. The stage is set, and the game begins.

The Boss
The Boss

After the first introductory mission that’s when the story really begins, there is an air of double crossing and the main villain Volgin is introduced who seems to be working with The Boss who was a hero for Snake. Everything doesn’t seem right, as usual, but it wouldn’t be right if it was.

There was also a new elite group about in the same mould as FOXHOUND and Dead Cell which were the Cobra Unit. The same as usual, all of them weird with their own style to kill people some fights were forgettable and a bit of fun but some were very memorable and stick in your mind well after finishing the campaign. One particular member of the group, The Boss turns out to be a person of great, if not the greatest, importance to the MGS plot line.

Cobra Unit
Cobra Unit

The plot itself is brilliant, the usual twists and turns are there and it was still as grand as always. However, the plot was much more deep and emotional this time around and not just techno, genes and memes nonsense. It was set in the cold war, and it did have a cold war feel to it where no one trusted anyway and everything happens behind the scenes.

It ticks over very well, so there are plots and sub plots to keep you going while the bigger picture is unravelled. There are also regular appearances from EVA and ADAM who we all know to be Revolver Ocelot…how does this link with what happens in MGS1 and 2? It does take MGS4 to really explain that, but MGS3 planted that seed proper.

The plot hugely expands on the legend that will be, Big Boss. We all know he opposes Snake and dies, but now that we control him and all of this happened, how did that come to be? What made him go from MGS3 Big Boss to MG1 and 2 villains? Again, MGS3 plants the seed but it is MGS4 that concludes it proper.

However, what we do know is that Big Boss was once a rookie and bad things happened to him. He was a hero, and as the plot unfolds you see what shaped him as a person and possibly lead to the decisions he made in the future. Seeing Naked Snake in action as well as why they were after the ‘soldier gene’ so much. It also expands on how Solid, Liquid and Solidus’ received their amazing skills and abilities in war.

Sons of Big Boss
Sons of Big Boss

To conclude, the plot in MGS3 is the best in the series and one of the best in video game history, it was truly gripping, had memorable moments and had a killer finish. From start to end you were hooked into the mission and were keen to know what happened next, it was also the “start” to what becomes of the entire MGS storyline, meaning MG1, 2 and MGS1 were not the start but the continuation of an epic series of events that spanned decades and involved more characters than we first thought.


Game play wise it was a revelation. It already had the strong base from MGS2 but expanded it much further. The areas were much more open and you didn’t have the SOLITON radar system so you didn’t know where the guards were automatically, so you would need to be much more aware of the surroundings and to get good cover. This added further dangers however as while you are crawling around you could get attacked or scare a wild animal which would draw attention, or even by just the rustling of leaves. It was very realistic, and kept you on your toes at every situation. True stealth.


Snake was alone in the jungle, and this was the 60’s. There were no proper rations, and you need to eat. There were animals everywhere, do the math. Snake now needed to always maintain energy and food, if he didn’t the movement would be impaired and he wasn’t steady while aiming – if you were playing higher difficulties this was essential. On top of that, a rumbling tummy WILL get you unwanted attention.

If you did get caught and were in a fire fight you could now get injured more seriously than just bleeding as introduced in MGS2, you could now break bones and get bruised and you needed to treat it. It was obviously a hassle, but it still added to the realism of the situation.

To help with all this though, Snake now had camo that you can change and adapt to the surroundings. So, whether it was sand, jungle or industrial there was an appropriate camo that could help you blend in. This was the beginning of this feature in the series and obviously the catalyst for the Octa-camo in MGS4.

Camo selection screen
Camo selection screen

CQC was also added to the game (close quarters combat) to add a bit more spice to the physicality, as well as to demonstrate how skilful Snake was…and some of the bosses…It was a simple addition and very effective, however it wasn’t used much if you really were sneaky. It might get you out of a bind if you were caught, though.

The bosses in the game when facing the cobra unit were ingenious and made use of the games mechanicals in almost all of them. One of the finest bosses MGS has produced was facing the End where you really did need to be stealthy or you would be there forever, as well as the iconic scrap with the End. Iconic for different reasons to other fights for reasons that would be clear to fans of the series and it would contain spoilers


The basics of gameplay were still there from MGS2 such as hold up, hanging from ledges and knocking on walls so it still felt like classic MGS action so the fan didn’t feel too lost with the new-ish system. However, with all these additions the gameplay really was taken to another level, you felt you could do anything you could do if you were actually in the situation itself, whilst still having that MGS feeling about it. Overall, the gameplay = fantastic.


Again, Konami raised the bar here and improved on the MGS2 engine. The jungles felt alive with all the animals on screen as well as weather effects. There was always a lot going on and it looked brilliant with no lag at all.

The game’s menus and codec had a 1960’s feel to it as well to help with transporting the player into the situation, as well as the UI for weapons and the radar; it all looked very much like a 1960’s spy film.


Cut scenes were back and the facial features and improved graphics made them more engaging and real, MGS3 was one of the best looking games at the time and it certainly looked it during the cut scenes.

Not much more to say really other than it looked gorgeous with no tearing or stuttering. Although, if there’s one thing I would pick at is the colouring of the later factory, although it was probably intended, the colours were quite bland.

Overall though, a great looking game.


Harry Gregson-Williams is back and this could be one of his masterpieces. MGS2 sound was superb and MGS3 just went one further, the music was always appropriate and always epic. It had it’s own theme tune that could rival any bond theme. One of the characters that supported snake, Major Zero, was a big fan of James Bond, and with it also coming from the 60’s it was appropriate and brilliant.

The sound was also brilliant, with it sounding like a genuine jungle and the noises of machinery at the factory/base level.

The usual outstanding cast of voice actors were back, but for the third time David Hayter stole the show as Naked Snake, the conversations were deep and gripping and all the emotions were there, never any wooden Resident Evil type voice acting here.

Overall, MGS3 continued what MGS2 started with a brilliant soundtrack and memorable music, everything being perfect and in its place. However, MGS3 really did push the boundaries with its music, particularly the main theme.


MGS3 had a huge impact and was hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, for its deep plot, great ending and amazing soundtrack, it was always going to be a smash hit, and it was, it really was.

MGS was already a famous video game series but it was 3 that really made it out there, it was more accessible for new players as plot wise it was the beginning. It was also much ‘cooler’ being based in the jungle.

It didn’t progress the storyline forward, as such, but it also catered for the hardcore fans with the introduction of Big Boss, expanding Ocelot and for explaining just what is everyone is fighting for in the MGS series.

But anyway, MGS3 was huge and propelled the series further, there was a lot of hype and it lived up to it.


MGS3 legacy in terms of plot was of massive importance, it was the beginning. The first, first mission. All of the other games in the series now point to this games’ events as the start. MGS3 was the true start of the Patriots, the main enemy of the entire series.

One of the biggest impacts was the introduction of Naked Snake (Big Boss) and how different and the same he was to Solid Snake who everyone was used to. It showed a new dimension, that a tough legend like that had a dad, and his dad was a hero himself. Also, it demonstrated how Solid Snake’s future was set even before he was conceived. This adds to the tragedy of Solid Snake’s life as a whole.

MGS3’s storyline itself, alone, had a massive impact because it was the first time it was truly emotional. These articles are all spoiler free but the end to this game is very emotional, which hasn’t really been done all that much apart from the E.E scene in MGS2. This was topped somewhat in MGS4 when it all concludes, but MGS3 was a real tearjerker.

All in all, MGS3 had an important lasting legacy that people still refer to today, the rumoured MGS5 game is cantered along the fallout of MGS3 and its events, particularly the rise of the main antoganist of the series, the Patriots.


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