Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)

Metal Gear Solid 3 title screen playstation 2
Developer:Konami|Release Date:
Snake Eater - NA/JP 2004, EU 2005
Subsistence - JP 2005, EU/NA 2006
|Systems:PS2, PS3, PSVita, Xbox 360, 3DS

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the first canon Metal Gear game to never come out on a computer! Even to this day it hasn't had a Steam release, despite getting a HD remaster a decade or so back on consoles. Because Konami are strange.

The title screen up there claims that this is something called Subsistence, but really it's just Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater with a new camera mode and a few extra features. In fact it's a bit like the Substance release for Metal Gear Solid 2 (funny how similar those subtitles are). But there's no VR missions this time! That's possibly because the game's a prequel set 40 years earlier, in the 60s, and VR was less of a thing back then. The story starts on 24 August 1964 in fact, which also happened to be creator Hideo Kojima's first birthday.

Here's a non-trivial bit of trivia about this title screen: you can change the background camo style and colour by clicking the analogue sticks. There's nothing you can press to stop Snake beating up this poor guard over and over though. Here's some more trivia: that's not actually Snake. Well, it is a Snake, but it's not series protagonist Solid Snake (because he was born in the 70s).

I'm not going to assume you've played the other Metal Gears or know anything about the convoluted continuity, but there are going to be SPOILERS below for the series so far, so try not to read anything you don't want to know.

The game doesn't begin with a comic book cutscene, but I felt like showing off the comic that comes in the manual because it's great. It's a nice way to run through the basics while also showing off how much Snake loves the taste of raw fish and how he's into roaring during a stealth mission.


The game actually begins with a choice, though what the choice affects is a total mystery! Unless you look it up online, like I just did.
  • I like MGS1! - Lose stamina slower during the first chapter.
  • I like MGS2! - A Raiden joke at the start.
  • I like MGS3! - Unlocks Duel mode, European Extreme difficulty, all the cutscenes in the Demo Theatre and gives you all the face paints and camo that Snake Eater owners would've had to download.
The menu seems to be the same in the 2011 HD Edition, however the 2012 3DS version also adds "I like MGS4!", "I like MGS PEACE WALKER!" and "I like all the MGS games!" options, which each give you a different type of camo.

After the menu I got about 13 minutes of cutscene, showing Snake's on a plane on his way to make the world's first HALO jump. Along the way he has a flashback to his commander, Major Zero, giving a bit of the backstory with the aid of grainy stock footage and fake photographs.

At the end of World War II, the world was split into two -- East and West. This marked the beginning of the era known as the Cold War. During this Cold War there was a bit of a missile crisis in Cuba, but it was resolved when the US secretly handed back a scientist called Sokolov (who'd only just managed to escape Russia).

Sokolov's been busy in the meantime, developing some kind of super weapon for the Russians, and we'd like him to stop. So Snake's going to be dropped into enemy territory on a mission to rescue Sokolov... and that's pretty much it. There's probably going to be a point where he has to infiltrate a fortress to destroy a nuclear-equipped walking battle tank, but right now we're just getting this guy out.

If you pick "I like MGS2!" at the start you get to play as Raiden instead! Though not really, it's just a mask he brought so the plane's crew wouldn't be able to identify him. But he can take it off now as there's no problem with the Russians seeing his true face.

Solid Snake actor David Hayter is back doing the voice, which wasn't actually a sure thing. All the Snakes so far have had different voice actors, and they've all been clones of this guy, so he could've sounded like any or none of them. I think they made the right choice (though I still want a Liquid Snake game).

Okay, this the actual game then.

Metal Gear Solid games love to show off their visuals, especially at the start, and Snake Eater begins by showing off its grass and shadow effects. The PS2 wasn't exactly cutting edge anymore by the end of 2004, and games like Far Cry were able to pull off more impressive foliage, but this really doesn't look bad in motion.

Not that I was able to move much here, as after a few steps I was dragged into a Codec conversation. Well okay, it's actually just a regular radio conversation (like in the early Metal Gears) as they haven't invented the Codec yet, but whatever that's still what I'm calling them.

The Codec calls work exactly as they always do, as you build up a list of contacts to call up about stuff whenever you feel like. Though this time there's a series of photos to flip through instead of animated faces. Oh man, I hope he didn't bring photos of all his contacts into Russia with him.

Here is the historic first moment that anyone was given the codename 'Snake', as our hero is now known as 'Naked Snake'. Not because he doesn't wear pants, they are very much mandatory (though he can take his shirt off). No, the real meaning of his name is that he goes in with no weapons or equipment whatsoever. Well except for his radio obviously.

Plus his binoculars, a cigar, a fake death pill, a revival pill, an anti-personnel sensor, a motion detector, an active sonar, a survival knife, an Mk22 tranquilliser pistol, a directional microphone and a wardrobe of different outfits.

Aside from them everything is OSP (procure on-site), even dinner... despite the fact that it's only a four hour mission and he could've just packed a sandwich.

Snake, try to remember some of the basics of CQC
I was given back control long enough to collect my missing backpack from a tree and then I was pulled right back into another Codec call!

Major Zero (now called Major Tom) ran through the basics of survival and then Snake's old mentor joined the chat to remind him of the basics of CQC. She's called 'The Boss', which is a much better name than the one Snake later receives: 'Big Boss'. Plus she's voiced by the actress who played newscaster Diane Simmons on Family Guy for a decade!

She depresses him a bit by telling him he'll eventually have to decide whether the mission is more important to him than his own beliefs, but then the call ends and he's free to go tranquilise lunch.

Commencing Virtuous Mission... now.

дремучий : болото

Dremuchij Swampland

Alright, my first task is to cross this bit of swamp. You can barely see them, but there's alligators all over the place and it'll probably be better for me if I avoid them.

Here's a fun fact: the first time I ever played this game I managed to get an instant game over right here, as Snake got eaten by a sneaky alligator (or something). I was so dumbfounded that the game would follow up 30 minutes of cutscenes and Codec calls with an invisible trap that I just turned it off right here and didn't come back to it again for years.

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater PlayStation 2 Snake is Dead Game Over
Okay, what the fuck MGS3? I was being extra careful to watch out for alligators that time! I don't know how I could be any more careful than that.

Wait, WAIT! I've figured it out. I've got all these sensor gadgets with me! I just need to send out a sonar pulse and it'll reveal all the secret alligators hiding in the mud. Possibly.


Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater PlayStation 2 Time Paradox Game Over
I like how the game over screen slowly changes to say 'TIME PARADOX' if you leave it on while wondering what the fuck killed you this time.

Okay fine, you win game, you beat me! I'll go check a walkthrough to find out how to get past the very first obstacle, because I'm that bad at video games.

Oh it's like quicksand! If I get too deep Snake will get stuck and instantly suffocate. Well that actually makes some kind of sense. In fact, now that I think about it, I probably should've called Major Tom up and asked him what was up here instead of checking the walkthrough. Actually he should've called me up, like Otacon did with the invisible instant-death traps in the last game!

You'd expect a radio call at this point saying "Snake, here's a head's up, you're about to encounter an unusual game mechanic that you've never had to worry about before that'll kill you off without you being able to understand why."

дремучий : север

Dremuchij North

Here's a nice feature: I can hold down the first person view button during cutscenes sometimes to see what Snake's looking at. You don't see that in many (or any) other games.

The bad news is I now have to sneak past heavily armed patrols without all the crates and walls I used to rely on. The good news is that I'm at least wearing camouflage.

HD Edition (Xbox 360 version running on Xbox One)
In fact Snake packed a ton of face paint and changes of clothes, so he has something to wear for almost any occasion (and he can grab anything he's missing along the way if you explore a bit).

The trouble with this feature is that you open the menu, pick the paint and uniform with the highest positive number, and that's it. There's no thought required, it's just extra work to do whenever you reach a new kind of environment. Though there are a few specialised outfits, like the tree bark camo that makes you near invisible when you're leaning against trees but overly conspicuous the rest of the time.

But wearing the right uniform isn't enough: you also need to lie down and remain perfectly still to get the ideal camo index. If you pull that off enemies will walk right past you without any clue that you're there.


Okay, in my defence it was working until he developed psychic powers and turned around. Now he's gone and ran away to shoot me from off screen! I miss my nice radar with its view cones showing me exactly what enemies can see. I mean I've got a motion sensor but all it shows is dots (and only when people are moving).

I suppose I should go run away and hide now, before the backup unit they've radioed for comes over and shoots me. Once I'm out of sight I need to wait for the alert timer to run down, then the evasion timer, and then after that I'll finally get my radar back. Oh right, no radar in this game, I keep forgetting.

There's nowhere to hide! No lockers to duck inside, no vents to crawl into! I suppose I could lie in the grass, but the trouble with that is that the enemies walk over the grass. Plus lying in grass means that all I can see is grass and my movement speed is painfully slow.

I switched to a new plan: beating them all up until they were all lying down with stars around their heads. Then I put a tranq dart into each of them to make their unconsciousness more permanent. Even the backup unit.

Everything had gone so ridiculously badly here that I stood out in the open waiting for the next backup team to get me so I could restart and try again... but that was it. The alert timer finished and it went to an evasion timer, then a caution timer, and I was safe again. So I decided to continue, and walked straight into another enemy I didn't see. That's the trouble with camo: they've got it as well.



HD Edition
The alert continued when I went through the exit to the next area, but things eventually calmed down. Now I've got a second chance to make it through an area without being seen. Each area's only tiny, it shouldn't be that hard.

I'm thinking that I should settle for taking the soldiers down one by one without their comrades noticing, but my pistol's silencer wears out a little with every shot, so I'm really reluctant to use it. Sure I've got four spare silencers in my bag, but once they're gone I lose my ranged stealth attacks.

Hang on, is that a frog up there on the top of the bridge?

Oh that's definitely getting shot.

MGS2 had collectable dog tags, MGS3 has frogs, and I have to shoot them all to... unlock something I expect. I don't know, I just want to shoot frogs and hear them go 'wibble wobble'.

Anyway I started tranqing people on the bridge, but their mate saw them sleeping and kicked them awake again... and they fell off the sides to their deaths! That wasn't the plan at all! I tried to put a stop to all these senseless deaths by sniping the guy with the wake-up boots and ended up shooting out some of the ropes holding up the bridge instead, so he fell off as well!

Look, one of them's still alive at least! You can almost see the ZZZs above his head. I think I did pretty well hitting them from all the way over here.

I've used up my silencer but I've decided not to attach a new one, seeing as everyone's well aware of me by this point. Conserving ammo isn't so much of a problem, as enemies tend to drop me a box if I pick their body up. Sometimes I'll even get a grenade or a ration!

With the enemies dealt with, I decided to brave the rickety bridge. Then I saw a ledge below and fell off trying to get to it. SNAKE IS DEAD.

The penalty for death isn't all that harsh, I just have to replay this tiny bridge area again, plus it's more entertaining to mess up than it is in MGS2. Still a bit of a pain in the ass though.

Okay I cleared out the bridge again and I dropped down to the ledge to collect my XM16E1 rifle, but where the hell is it? I don't get this.

Oh, I have to manually pull items out of my backpack to have them ready during gameplay! I suppose that makes more sense than having to cycle through a whole ton of junk while you're trying to whip out your stun grenades.



Alight I've reached the abandoned factory where Sokolov is supposedly being held, but I can't see crap with this camera angle. Metal Gear Solid inherited its top down camera angle from its 2D predecessors and it worked alright in its blocky confined locations, but it's starting to feel very dated at this point.

Fortunately Subsistence introduced a brand new third person camera that can be turned by using the right analogue stick, like in a modern game!

That's so much better! I can actually see the guard I'm trying to avoid now.

In fact I can see him coming over here. Crap, I can't crawl fast enough to get out of the way and standing up is a bit of an issue as well. I keep forgetting that I have to hold the button to get off the floor in this one, as pressing it just makes Snake crouch, and moving while crouched makes him go right back to crawling again.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (3DS)
This was actually fixed for the 3DS game, which lets you crouchwalk to your heart's content. That's not exactly what I wanted, but it's good because it quieter and enemies can apparently hear me move in this game. I need one of those sneaking suits like Solid Snake has.

The 3DS version has some other advantages, like big circles showing up to confirm that you've hit someone, a map on the lower screen, and you can actually walk and aim at the same time! Plus you aim where the camera's pointed, not where Snake's looking, unlike the other versions. It makes a big difference. Though it's still a pain to face the right way when enemies are close up.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (3DS)
Hey, Snake Eater 3D changed the frogs to Yoshis! Also you might have noticed that it's got me aiming in third person view instead of first person view, which suits the game just fine.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows over on the 3DS side though. Sometimes a texture will be shinier or have bump mapping (plus it's in 3D, that's good too), but there's a resolution hit and it's a slightly less pretty looking game overall in my opinion.

The 3DS version also has a bit of a frame rate problem as it's even slower than the PS2 game! PS2 Snake Eater runs at 30 fps, half the speed of PS2 MGS2, and Subsistence's third person camera view strains the system even further, but the 3DS game is more like 20 fps! That's getting close to Star Fox speeds. This was fixed for the HD Editions thankfully, which all run at 60 fps.

Right, I think I've got all the guards around the factory knocked out now. It was a bit of an effort though. It's lucky Snake can tank a bit of damage, as it was a slow and painful process to fight the PS2 version's camera and get him facing the right way each time I came across another one.

Oh no someone's kicking them all awake again! The advantage of non-lethal takedowns is that you only need the one shot to the head (plus it means not killing people), but it's a real pain when someone keeps undoing your hard work. I could drag the bodies somewhere out of the way, but that takes forever in this (and some fucker will just end up finding them anyway knowing my luck).

I think I'd better go hide somewhere and wait for my health to slowly regenerate, as it's dangerously low right now (top bar). It regens faster when I have more stamina (bottom bar), so I'll have a snack to max out my gauge. 

HD Edition
Hah, I was hoping that eating a snake would be an achievement!

There's no hunger or thirst meters in the game, you only need to eat occasionally to top up your stamina, but you can end up with an inventory full of different food and Snake will have an opinion on each after trying them. Plus you can call up your experts to have a chat about them as well.

HD Edition
I should check what they think about this delicious and balanced CalorieMate meal, see if Konami put in any extra work to promote it beyond the blatant product placement. CalorieMate wasn't even released until 1983 and this maple flavour wasn't introduced until 2009!

The depressing part is that the advertising worked on me and I really want to try one now. Maybe the chocolate flavour.

Anyway once things calmed down at the factory I was able to go to the door at the back and visit Sokolov.

Now it's long-ass cutscene time again as Snake has a chat with Russian Otacon and discovers that Colonel Volgin has sent troops to kidnap him. To explain why apparently requires more sepia-tinted stock footage of JFK and troops marching in the streets.

Volgin's trying to seize control of Russia from Khrushchev and feels that Sokolov's secret weapon would help. Basically everyone wants Sokolov, so Snake is going to have to get him out of the country fast and he's going to have to be very careful.

Anyway, the cutscene continues with Snake and Sokolov being surrounded by Russian troops outside. But then they're all gunned down by a young Revolver Ocelot!

Major Ocelot, whatever.

I'm playing as a different Snake to the earlier games, but this is definitely the one and only genuine Ocelot, and he's brought his friends.

So now Snake and Sokolov are surrounded by Ocelot's troops. Fortunately Ocelot tries to show off with his semi-automatic pistol and ends up jamming it. This gives Snake a chance to utterly demolish his entire force using CQC techniques.

Why can't I fight this well in actual gameplay! In fact, better question, why isn't this actual gameplay?

Anyway Snake knocks Ocelot out, but lets him live. In fact he's using a tranq pistol still so everyone lives! Except for all the dead soldiers that Ocelot killed.

Now that's done I finally get to play again. So I searched all the bodies and swiped a mousetrap that Ocelot was carrying. I guess the joke is that he eats mice because he's a cat, even though that'd be an insane thing for a person to actually do. Anyway Snakes eat mice too, so I put the trap down and caught some dinner for later.

Sokolov's ran off somewhere, but I've reached the end of the line now so all I can do is go back the way I came. Which wasn't very far.

Here's all the areas so far stitched together to show how little game there's been in the game during this first hour.

I travelled back down from the factory in Rassvet to the bridge in Dolinvodno and ran into Sokolov again. But that's all the gameplay I've been allowed this time as it's gone right back into cutscene mode again! C'mon game, it's been almost a quarter of an hour since I did anything!

Surprise, it's the Boss, and she's brought her entire Cobra Unit! These are the heroes who won World War II and saved the world, so they would've been a big help to have around earlier.

Unfortunately they're actually here to defect to Volgin and capture Sokolov, so that kind of sucks. Especially as they're one of those special forces squads like Foxhound and Dead Cell where everyone has a supernatural gimmick; you don't want to be an enemy of the guy who controls an army of bees.

Snake and the Boss have a bit of a confrontation, where the Boss utterly embarrasses Snake in hand to hand like Snake did to those Ocelots earlier. Turns out the greatest soldier in the world is pretty good at fighting! Snake will get there eventually but right now he's just a rookie by comparison.

She ends it by breaking his arm and dropping him off the bridge.

Hey, why is it that when I drop Snake off the bridge it's game over, but when she does it I end up in a first aid tutorial?

Turns out that this is one of the few third person shooters where you have to pull the bullets out of your own ass after a fight, though the process is simple: you look at all the stuff that needs doing, then press the button on every item involved in treatment in any order you feel like. Bandage the wound, stitch it up, disinfect it, and then pull the bullet out if you want, it doesn't matter.

Anyway it was nice to get to do something myself for a change, but now it's back to the cutscene!

HD Edition
Aww, poor beat up Snake's sad that they're flying off with Sokolov's proto-Metal Gear. Though he's probably more sad that his mentor's defected, ruined his mission, kicked his ass, and now she's abandoned him. He might have defected too if she'd actually asked him!

Ocelot's up there as well and he's a bit sad that his gun jammed and he lost his fight, but he's soon distracted by Volgin walking around with a handheld nuclear missile launcher. Ocelot's not been known for his compassion so far, in fact he's kind of the main villain of the series, but even he feels they should draw the line at nuking their own people.

But Volgin pulls the trigger and Snake's lucky the research base he hit is a safe distance away, because that was a proper nuke.

Cut to surprise James Bond opening title sequence!

It's got snake skeletons instead of silhouettes of naked women and more in-game footage than your typical Bond opening, but the music is exactly a Bond theme, to the point where it includes the title 'Snake Eater' in its chorus. (YouTube Link)

But the theme goes one better than that, as it includes the lines:
"Someday you go through the rain,
And someday you feed on a tree frog,"
And they're sung with absolute sincerity. Incidentally I haven't seen any tree frogs yet. Just the frogs I shoot that make a noise.

It's been 36 minutes since I last did any sneaking and yet the cutscenes continue.

Snake made it back home, but he and Major Zero are in the shit after the loss of Sokolov and the Boss's defection. Oh and the nuke going off. But they have one chance to redeem themselves... despite the fact that it's only been a week and there's no way Snake's healed enough yet.

Khrushchev phoned up the President and told them that they can avoid World War III if they send someone over to sort out Volgin and kill the Boss. Unfortunately Snake's now the most competent special forces operative they have left so it's all up to him.

They stick him in a drone piggybacking off another jet and fly him over to Russia again. So he's basically got nothing to do the whole trip but look around his tiny cockpit. Wait, hang on, what's up here above the dials?

HD Edition
I was thinking that the game was suspiciously low on locker pin-ups.

Is this the HD Edition's only HD texture? Not that I'm complaining, I'm glad that they haven't messed with the look like Twin Snakes did with the first MGS.

Snake Eater pachislot machine
Though if we got a remake with the graphics of the Snake Eater pachislot machine, that wouldn't be so bad...

Anyway after the cutscene there's another Codec call! It's been 48 minutes now since the last time I did any sneaking. That's longer than the average episode of TV (without commercials).

This is interesting though. The Patriots were the ones who turned out to be pulling the strings in Metal Gear Solid 2 and "La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo" was what the Marine Commandant called them, so why's Major Zero using that as their countersign? Can I call him up again later and ask him?

It seemed like MGS3 was going to ignore all the mysteries set up in MGS2 in favour of telling an entirely unrelated prequel story, but it's more connected that it initially seems.

Anyway, after four minutes of chat I finally got to walk around a bit again! So I kicked a few snakes, shot a squirrel for food, dropped down into the next area, and ran into the Boss. That means it's cutscene time again!

The Boss kicks Snake's ass again, dismantles his pistol, and has her horse step on his hand. She also blows up his plane with her gun that fires magic bullets that somersault through the air. Apparently this is a thing that can happen if a bullet is smaller than the barrel its fired through, and might actually be preferable if you want to seriously mess up an unarmoured target from close range. Though it seems that it's better if the bullets only start to tumble once they've entered the body, and arguably best if they never enter a body at all.

Anyway she eventually goes off and leaves him to run away home. She feels that Snake doesn't have a hope of completing his mission here now that he's unarmed and patrols have been alerted by the sound of the exploding plane... but he's still gonna try. That means I get to do actual gameplay again as I evade/punch all the soldiers! Man it's been a while.

In fact there's one full hour between sneaking past the sentries into the factory to meet Sokolov and sneaking past the soldiers here. A whole hour where the only gameplay was a surgery tutorial, a bit of snake collection, and some time spent catching mice with Ocelot's trap.

Oh and guess what! I'm back in Dremuchij North again, heading north across that bloody bridge to the factory at Rassvet. Let's see if I can manage it without falling off for a change.

долиноводно (еще раз)

Dolinvodno (again)

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (3DS)
Well here I am, replaying the last three levels, except without a gun. Though look, I actually successfully grabbed someone in a chokehold with CQC! It's a bloody miracle!

It's easier on the 3DS I reckon, thanks to its quiet crouch walking. Those icons are a 3DS only feature as well, and they're much appreciated seeing as the 3DS version has really awkward controls and I need the reminder. It actually uses the face buttons to move the camera, unless you've got that second stick add-on.

Now, I have to decide whether to interrogate this guy, knock him out, or kill him. Either way I don't get to take his gun. I mean that'd just be rude.



Right, I'm back at the factory. Now I have to wait for the alert timer to finish, and the evasion timer to finish, and the caution timer to finish, before... actually I don't know what I'm doing here. I was supposed to be meeting someone, but I can't see them around.

I'm trying out my motion detector here, and you can see how it's not all that impressive compared to the Soliton Radar in the near-future games, as it just shows dots. Plus I'm using up battery power leaving it on like this. I don't think I'll be relying on this gadget, and I don't have the patience to listen out for people with the directional mic either.

Oh, it seems that the trick to making the contact appear is to go look around Sokolov's old room again and then walk back out. This triggers a cutscene!

Snake was expecting to meet with a guy called Adam, but instead he's met by Eva. She doesn't seem to know the countersign, and that's a bit of a concern, but she kills a bunch of people when the factory gets surrounded a third time, and that's good enough for him.

She unzips her overalls to reveal she's fairly naked herself underneath, but it seems her only reason to flash her bra is to start seducing Snake. At least that's what the sexy music thinks. The guy's definitely interested, at first, but she breaks the spell when she brings him an extensively customised pistol. Now he only has eyes for his beautiful new M1911A1.

He's eventually convinced to get some sleep, but when he wakes up he discovers that the factory is surrounded by Ocelots! This is the fourth time this has happened now. But hey, at least I'm the one that gets to fight them this time, as the cutscene has ended!

I was really curious about what the ratio was between cutscenes, Codec conversations and gameplay, so I got a video and figured it out. There's over three minutes of story for every minute you get to do something yourself. Of course gameplay varies, and cutscenes and conversations can be skipped, but this is more or less how the first couple of hours of the game breaks down.

Personally I like cutscenes, I usually have no trouble sitting through them on my first playthrough of a game. In fact they often feel like a reward at the end of a long stretch of gameplay. But so far this game is taking the piss.

I feel like it's going to settle down a bit after this though, now that I've got my gun and I'm starting Operation Snake Eater for real. First though, these Ocelots need shooting.

I've actually found an enemy that doesn't kick sleeping soldiers awake! All I had to do was hide under the floor and shoot them all as they walked past. One round in the leg is enough, it just takes a bit longer for the drugs to kick in than a shot to the head.

I'd say that it's funny how drugging people into unconsciousness is considered the good and moral thing to do in this, but most of the time it really wants me to avoid fights altogether.

Right, now I just need to find where the last two Ocelots are and I'm done here.

HD Edition (Xbox 360)
I found one! But he also found me, which is strange considering how perfect my disguise is. I mean did he remember that the box wasn't here before or something? I suppose I'll just have to beat him into unconsciousness now, then put a dart in him to make sure he stays down.

By the way, if you call up your buddy Sigint after getting the cardboard box you get perhaps the finest dialogue in the entire game, maybe even the entire Metal Gear series:

Sigint doesn't want to know what he means.

I ended up wounded after the fight, which means my health bar is 25% red at the moment. If I get all his medical issues sorted out that'll go away and I'll recover life properly again.

The game had me worried at first that treating wounds was going to become a real issue with all the damage I take, but it seems painless enough (for me anyway). As long as I can keep myself stocked up with bandages and antiseptic I think I can live with it.

Well I'm done with the Ocelots but I don't know where to go now. I've had enough of Dolinvodno, and so has the game it seems as the fence I came here through is shut, but the place doesn't have another exit. Though I think I might have seen another fence up on the top right.

No exit there either, but I did trigger a cutscene with Ocelot himself showing up. 

HD Edition
He tried to be a badass and Eve rode a bike up his face in retaliation. He's moved on to a revolver at this point, due to Snake's suggestion earlier, but it carries fewer bullets so he wasn't expecting the chamber to be empty when he tried to shoot him.

Eva wants to just kill Ocelot now that they have the opportunity, but Snake allows him to live yet again. Maybe because he wants to see all the other hilarious ways that he's is going to get destroyed.

Though that's a point, I still haven't had a boss fight yet! Ocelot was the first boss fight in MGS and that was maybe half an hour in. Plus you can fight Olga in MGS2 in like 20 minutes. I should keep playing until I find the first boss fight and see if I can reach it before I hit 3 hours.

Чёрный Пруд

Chyornyj Prud

HD Edition
Finally, a new area for the first time in almost two hours!

The alligators are kind of hard to spot here, but I've been putting bullets and tranq darts into them to clear a path to whatever's on the other side of this lake. I wonder how Eva got over here on that bike...

OH CRAP! I just got instant killed by a crocodile. It wasn't quicksand this time, that was definitely an alligator. I thought I'd shot them all! At least I managed to spot the sneaky tripwire trap in front of the area exit. This game's all about the camouflaged threats.

БольшаяПасть : база

Bolshaya Past Base

HD Edition
After the lake I reached Bolshaya Past South, where the game introduced three new features: dogs, electric fences, and claymore mines. None are instantly lethal, which is lucky for me because I was walking into those mines like I was stepping on rakes. I was trying to look for them, I was even crawling and picking them up, but there was always three more than I was expecting.

Then I reached this place and I was much happier! It's got a helicopter to blow up and buildings full of treasures to steal! There were also a lot of guards and it wasn't long before they were radioing for more, but I seem to have an easier time dealing with the backup units in this than I did in MGS2. I don't need to hide, I just deal with them.

It helps that I've gotten good at rolling through people and knocking them on their ass for a second. Plus I've figured out a new trick: I can raise my pistol and tell enemies to freeze if I catch them while they're still on the ground! I have to be facing towards them, which I struggle with sometimes, but once it works they stay put and Snake automatic trains his gun at them as a bonus. Handy for when I need to put a tranq dart into someone in a hurry while his mates are shooting me.

БольшаяПасть : пещера

Bolshaya Past Crevice

HD Edition
After the helipad I reached a canyon, and there was my old friend Ocelot again! I love how he's not just Snake's rival, he's the one character in the game Snake can always look down on. Poor Snake really feels like an underdog in this, always getting surprised and surrounded. I also like how Ocelot keeps refining his gimmick after every encounter, so now that I'm finally facing him as a boss he's carrying two revolvers (12 shots!)

The guy loves to reload revolvers during a battle, and I love shooting hornet nests onto his head, so we both had fun during the fight. But it was ruined when The Pain turned up with his million hornets and killed off half of Ocelot's men. Ocelot managed to hold them off with his advanced revolver spinning technique, but all Snake could do was jump down a hole and hope the ground was soft (it wasn't). Poor Snake.

Anyway I've been playing for something like three hours now and I've finally reached a boss, so this seems like a good place to turn the game off... and insert disc two.


Put the second disc in (Persistence) and you get a daft trailer for Metal Gear Online, which isn't the 2008 stand alone PlayStation 3 game of the same name, but a multiplayer game mode included with Subsistence! Though the two games do have one thing in common, and that's that the servers were shut down years ago.

"Can you subsist in live battle?" the trailer continually asks. No, no you can't. Unless the emulated fan servers work.

The second disc also features a Duel mode where you can fight bosses (with special rules), and it includes both of the MSX Metal Gear games! Plus there's the Secret Theater.

Secret Theater features some ridiculously well made prerendered in-engine skits, where the events of the game go a slightly different way. Sigint joins Snake on the mission and gets the girl instead, Raiden decides to go back in time and assassinate Naked Snake to become the main character of MGS4, Para-Medic has to stop Snake eating The Boss's horse, that kind of thing.

I'd seen them all before years ago, but I was surprised by how dated the comedy has gotten. Lots of stuff here that doesn't fly as well in 2020. Plenty that's funny too, though your mileage may vary.

The disc also contains another game mode to replace the absent VR Missions: Ape Escape spin-off Snake vs Monkey, starring the legendary Solid Snake!

Snake vs Monkey was part of Snake Eater from the start, but the European and Subsistence versions come with two extra bonus stages! Sadly the HD Edition and Snake Eater 3D come with no missions, as they've strayed from the PlayStation and Sony wants to keep those apes locked down.

By the way, there's a counterpart minigame in Ape Escape 3 called Mesal Gear Solid. But you have to finish the entire game to unlock it, so that's a thing I will never play.

The goal here is to stun and collect all the monkeys in the area, and it's best to do it without alerting them as hitting a moving target with these controls really isn't easy. It took me about seven minutes to find the last bloody monkey in this stage, sweeping the screen with the directional mic trying to hear them. Turns out that they were up on top of a tree! It also turns out that clearing it in 7 minutes isn't fast enough to get a gold, silver or bronze time. The time limits are really tight in this, probably because Snake's desperate to get done with this monkey business so he can get back to his vacation.

Subsistance includes a third disc in some regions, but that just features all the cutscenes edited together into a three and a half hour movie, with extra scenes and remastered sound. Must have taken a lot of editing to trim those cutscenes down to the length of an extended edition Lord of the Rings film.


Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - Subsistence is pretty much exactly as daft as a game with that title should be. To anyone who's new to the series it likely comes across like a string of nonsense at first, but the more you learn about it, the more you realise there's a meaning to each part of it. As action thriller video game series go, this is one of the most thoughtful, as it's actually about things!

It seemed like a bit of a dick move at the time for the series to jump to a prequel right after Metal Gear Solid 2 dumped a whole lot of unanswered questions on fans, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense. The answers aren't as interesting if you don't know the backstory and the context to understand why things went the way they did in the Metal Gear Solid universe. Though really this should've been called Metal Gear Naked.

The game stars Naked Snake near the start of his career, before he became Big Boss and went on to occassional resemble Sean Connery. The character's been in the games for a while, in fact he's the first character to speak in both the original NES and MSX Metal Gear, and he turned out to be such a villain that Solid Snake had to kill him... and then go and kill him a second time in Metal Gear 2. That seems to be how things go in the Metal Gear universe: first you're the hero that saves the world, then you're the bad guy. Yesterday's good is tomorrow's evil and the enemies we fight are only enemies in relative terms, changing with the times (apparently).

The first time I played this I remember being surprised by how likeable and vulnerable Naked Snake is, especially after playing as the legendary Solid Snake. In fact the best part of the game is the weird and funny conversations he has with his support team, once they're done talking about philosophy and game mechanics and Krushchev etc. After being stuck with evil robot Colonel Campbell and Raiden's nagging girlfriend for most of Metal Gear Solid 2, it was a relief to hang out with people who geek out over movies and obsess about James Bond, and generally have some enthusiasm about things in their lives. It's just a shame that the game works so hard to put you off listening to them.

The Metal Gear Solid series has always been a cross between an action movie, an audio play and a video game, but this gets the balance way wrong, in my opinion. Sure I've only replayed the first three hours or so, and I can't remember if it gets any better from here, but that's still a lot of cutscenes and Codec calls to sit through. I like playing games with stories in, I like cutscenes and dialogue, but this makes you wait so long for the gameplay to come back that they might as well have dropped it entirely and made it into a movie or a visual novel.

It doesn't help that the gameplay is actually more complicated than in previous games and requires time to figure out. Sure the camo and survival aspects seem to be there to pad out what little playtime there is, but there's a lot of moves, weapons, tools and tactics to play with and master in those brief moments between cutscenes. I thought that playing MGS2 recently would let me hit the ground running, but I always managed to mess up the stealth, stumble through by punching everyone and tanking damage, and just as I started to learn something about doing it properly I'd get taken away to watch a spy movie instead!

I have actually beaten Snake Eater before, but I remembered nothing that was any help to me. Most of my memories of the game are of getting pissed off in boss fights. Man I hated that Volgin fight near the end. I also remember just walking away from the PS2 during the epic bike chase scene because I was so sick of the game at that point and I didn't care anymore. I didn't rage quit, I just left Snake to it. It was a bit of a surprise when I came back later and discovered that he'd survived and was waiting for me in the next area. I'm not sure now what got me so frustrated at the time, but I'm not keen on playing long enough to find out.

I'd play it for a little bit longer though. The combat's pretty bad compared to Phantom Pain, but I'm starting to find the fun in it, and I'll always love how there's so many gimmicks and Easter eggs to find in these games. And frogs. So it can have a 'not crap' award.

Guess the game! Share your thoughts! Comments are welcome!

You should also consider visiting the Super Adventures Discord! We were just talking about the Worms Armageddon theme, actors that have shown up in FMV games, and vector collision routines... whatever the hell they are.


  1. As I think I have mentioned before, I am playing these games in the wrong order, for no reason at all. SO I've played 5, Revengeance, and 4, but I haven't yet played this one. I know it as the one with the most weird Kojima-ey bits, like waiting around for a boss to die of old age, or being able to kill characters off during cut scenes.

    1. I imagine you're going to find the story interesting and the gameplay more awkward than you're used to.

  2. I'm going to have to disagree with Ray's awarding of the star.

    I don't like MGS3. Not one bit.

    I don't like the setting, the story, the graphics, the vomit palette, the controls, Snake's hunched up little waddle, his weedy kicks, the frame rate, the guards, the bosses, the weapons, the gadgets, the backpack, the wounds, the stamina gauge, the camo, or Sokolov's invention.

    I especially don't like Subsistence, since it feels like such a swizz after MGS1 and MGS2 getting huge expansions with hundreds of levels and MGS3 getting jack. I really enjoyed the VR Missions in both 1 and 2 and have completed both. I am a curry defense master - I can definitely recommend MGS2 HD over the original, since I'm not certain there's a PS2 pad left in existence that's in good enough condition to execute hold-ups reliably.

    The music is okay in 3 and the codec calls are funny. That's about as kind as I can possibly be. I prefer Survive to 3. I prefer *4* to 3 - that's how little I think of 3.

  3. '13 minutes of cutscene, showing Snake's on a plane on his way to make the world's first HALO jump'

    'Snake's on a plane'


    1. It's awesome when people catch these things... and don't hate me for it.

    2. I love puns so I always appreciate it.


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