Snake Eater on 3DS plays great, but at hefty cost

Andrew Mendosa

 Hideo Kojima, lead designer and creator of the beloved “Metal Gear Solid” game series, brings the third installment, “Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater” to the handheld the right way.

Although the plot of the “Metal Gear” games can be convoluted, “Metal Gear Solid 3D” tells a simple origin story of the characters of the series. In “Snake Eater” the gamer plays an American FOX agent named Jack or “Snake” during the Cold War. Snake is sent to a remote jungle in Russia where he must save a scientist named Sokolov, a friend of Snake’s commander, Major Zero.  As Snake rescues Sokolov, he is betrayed by his old friend “The Boss” who is known as the best soldier in the world. Throughout the game, Snake tracks down The Boss and a nuclear missile launcher tank called the Shagohod. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but it’s very entertaining. 

The first of the surprising portions of “Snake Eater” is the extended cut scenes and voice acting. Snake, played by David Hayter, is a mix between Clint Eastwood’s classic raspy voice and Rambo. The Boss, played by Lori Allan, does a great job setting the mood of The Boss’s cool and complex character. Kojima blends Spaghetti Western style motifs with anime-like (M-rated) violence. With some cut scenes lasting up to 15 minutes, the frame rate of the 3DS takes a dive. It’s easy to understand considering the handheld is running a PS2 game, but nonetheless, it can be unbearable to watch. In my playthrough (over a three-week period and four-hour plane rides) I managed to log 15 hours on the game. Bearing in mind the compact size of the 3DS, it’s no small feat that this amount of content was packed into a small 8 gigabyte cartridge. 

The gameplay of “Snake Eater” pits Snake against Russian soldiers in the jungle to bee-spitting, flame-throwing bosses. Sneaking behind an enemy, the player is given many options. Knock him out with your tranquilizer gun, interrogate, kill, or just sneak past. You can also choose to just go guns blazing, which will most likely get you killed. The player can choose between different camouflages and even imported camouflages from the DS’s camera to be better veiled in the given environment. 

One major con of the gameplay is the result of the lack of a second analog on the 3DS. Without the Circle Pad Pro accessory, which adds a second analog, aiming a gun or the in-game camera can be near impossible with the ABXY buttons. The accessory will cost you an extra $20, which makes the game cost around $60. With the 3D option, the game is nigh unplayable without headaches, and is best used during cut scenes. 

The story of “Snake Eater” offers many twists and turns. The gameplay is fun and entertaining. It’s a blast to see the characters, and how they all come into the story.  It’s a great port from the 2004 classic, and “Snake Eater” will not leave my 3DS slot for a long time.   

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2012-04-19 10:37:57

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