Monday, July 07, 2008


I was afforded the opportunity this weekend to play on a Playstation 3. (Thanks, Annie Wilkes!!) Specifically, I was given the chance to play Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Let me give you a quick rundown while sparing you the gruesome details.

The Metal Gear series, for me, has always been about bonding with my brother-in-law. Metal Gear Solid was his first major foray into the world of video games, so each and every time a new one hits we like to get together and pass the controller back and forth for a little bit of Snake action. Hell, his nickname is Snake.

Here's where it gets tricky, though. After ten years of playing these games, he hasn't gotten any better. And I'm not exaggerating, for wont of better language he really, really sucks. But honestly, I don't begrudge him or even give him too much shit over it. The fact is that I enjoy our time together on these games. A little bit of male bonding, if you will.

But a rather humorous thought struck me as we were playing through part 4. I had just handed over the controller when another of the game's lengthy cut scenes kicked in, this time detailing our first encounter with Rat Patrol 01, a team of soldiers led by Meryl, a character we knew from a previous game. She was using her impressive powers of exposition to forward the plot when all of a sudden we were ambushed by the elite FROG squadron. As we all geared up for the ensuing battle, Meryl said the following:

"We've got a real live legendary hero with us. Try not to choke."

And here is how that scene played out with Snake at the controls...

Snake dashed from the room, eager to test his mettle in combat against the elite troops of Liquid's army. Steeling his resolve for the forthcoming conflict, Snake ran to the edge of the balcony. Then he turned and ran back the way he came. Pausing to check his weapon, he half turned back towards the combat and stared solemnly at the floor.

Then he heard the sound of the gun ratcheting to his left. He quickly turned to his right, turned on his night vision goggles, then switched from his machine gun to his tranquilizer darts. After turning off his night vision, he again pulled out his machine gun. Pausing to check his weapon once more, Snake looked directly upward to investigate the ceiling.

Snake felt the punch of bullets smashing against his body suit. Upon noticing that the bullets were coming from behind him, Snake turned to the right and checked his map. After satisfying himself that he actually was where he thought he was, he crouched.

Turning to face his foe, Snake fell from his crouching position to a full prone position, hoping that by laying on the floor 3 feet from his opponent he would remain hidden, thus buying himself precious seconds to put away and take back out his weapons three or four more times.

Sensing that his strategy was not working as he'd hoped, Snake stood, then promptly squatted again. After laying prone and squatting, he once again stood to face his foe. Drawing his weapon, he aimed a foot or so to the left of his enemy, emptying a handful of warning clips in the hopes that his terror stricken opponent would flee in terror.

But it was not to be, and before long the fiend had emptied a clip of his own into the chest of Solid Snake. Snake, visibly upset, fell to his knees, then stood, then fell once again and finally stood before checking his weapon.

And then, through sheer luck, Snake managed to drop one of his grenades in the 36 inch space that separated him from his opponent. The force of the blast obliterated the FROG soldier and sent Snake reeling.

Regaining his composure, Snake squatted, checked his map, checked his weapon, checked his map again, lay down and then stood. After running directly into the rail in front of him for 15 seconds while staring at the floor, Snake rejoined his team so that he could further offer his legendary battle skills to their conflict.

What I loved best about all this is that at no point did his teammates mention what a HORRIBLE soldier Snake was. I mean, seriously, I'm not making this stuff up. He literally squats, stands, squats, stands and checks his weapons over and over. I almost wet myself when he unloaded MULTIPLE CLIPS at an enemy at point blank range and missed EVERY SINGLE SHOT. This shows a degree of lacking skill that far exceeds any non-ability I've ever encountered in my life.

I won't lie, it can be extremely frustrating to watch this kind of gameplay, particularly at boss battles, which have been known to stretch past an hour, trying the same failed tactic over and over and over. But most times I just find myself amused, as Solid Snake runs in circles, throws punches at the air and misses all his shots. He's just legendary in a different way, I guess.

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Anonymous said...

That's hilarious.. I use a different method when i try to play first-person shooters on a console. I walk, perfectly calm, until someone shoots me. My tactic is then to rapidly shoot the floor, then ceiling, then floor again. I repeat this golden move until I have scared them away from the fear of a ricochet, or they kill me.

I feel his pain..

Lara said...

Oh my God, that's PRICELESS! I'm actually crying from laughter. I know you tend to exaggerate a bit, but that was spot on. I was scared going into this game after you told me it takes the average gamer 15 to 19 hours to complete. After the first couple of minutes with Snake at the control I was already ready to kill him. You can't laugh (out loud, at least) because this just upsets him more and makes him even worse (if you can imagine). Let's give him credit where credit is due, though. He WAS a God at MGS nine years ago. Granted, it took MONTHS of standing, squatting, and checking his inventory to get so good. He knew that game inside out and was truly amazing. You'd think that those skills would have stuck after the hundreds of hours he put in over the years. No such luck. Now, don't piss me off or I'll print this out and show it to him. Oh wait...he's big on the internet. ;)

E said...

Glad everybody enjoyed it. Honestly, Snake has his moments where he's alright with games, but he was pretty out of practice heading into MGS4. It really was pretty painful, all in all. I must have heard Raging Raven scream "SHOW ME YOUR RAGE" six trillion times before he finally handed the controller to me. To be fair, Vamp taking a year wasn't his fault. ;)