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Encyclopedia > Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater cover art
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Publisher: Konami
Director: Hideo Kojima
Release dates: November 17, 2004 (NA)

December 16, 2004 (JP) March 4, 2005 (EU)

Genre: Stealth action
Game modes: Single player
ESRB rating: Mature
BBFC rating: 15
Platform: PlayStation 2
Media: DVD-ROM

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (commonly abbreviated MGS3) is a stealth-based game directed by Hideo Kojima, developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2. It is the fifth game in the Metal Gear series, and was first released in North America, on November 17, 2004.



The game takes place during the Cold War in 1964, in the jungles of Russia. Players take the identity of U.S. CIA soldier "Naked Snake" to rescue a defecting Russian scientist named Sokolov, and to destroy an advanced nuclear battle tank "Shagohod", a '60s precursor to the walking mecha known as Metal Gear.

The game takes place in two missions, the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.

Virtuous Mission

A Soviet scientist named Sokolov, who had requested asylum in the United States, has been transported back to the Soviet Union. (The storyline explains that this was actually a trade for the Soviets to withdraw their missiles from Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

On August 24, 1964, Naked Snake (from here on "Snake"), an agent of the CIA's FOX unit, parachutes into a Soviet region called "Tselinoyarsk". Under the orders of Major Zero (Changed to "Major Tom" at the start of the mission, the name taken from the movie The Great Escape), Snake mission is to retrieve Sokolov. However, he must do it secretly, as revealing the presence of the United States in enemy territory would prove to be disastrous.

Snake succeeds in making contact with Sokolov, who explains that he is being forced to finish developing a new weapon known as the Shagohod, which will give the Soviet Union the ultimate advantage in the Cold War.

On the way back to the extraction point, Snake and Sokolov cross a rope bridge. There, they encounter Snake's mentor, The Boss, who reveals she is defecting to the Soviet Union. Sokolov is captured by members of the Cobra unit; The Boss intends to give him, as well as two miniature nuclear shells known as Davy Crocketts, to Colonel Volgin, her new ally. Colonel Volgin is a member of GRU, the extremist faction in the Soviet Army, and a supporter of Leonid Brezhnev, whom he intends to replace Nikita Khrushchev with. Volgin appears and tells The Boss that Snake must die since he has seen his face, so that their plans to overthrow Khrushchev won't be revealed. The Boss then throws Snake off the bridge and into the river below.

As the villains make their escape via helicopters, with the Shagohod in tow, Volgin uses one of the Davy Crocketts to destroy Sokolov's research facility.

Operation Snake Eater

On August 30, nearly one week after the failure of the Virtuous Mission, Snake once again parachutes into Tselinoyarsk. It was revealed that the FOX unit's gunship was detected by Soviet radar as it rescued Snake, thus implicating America in the explosion. Therefore, Khrushchev tells President Johnson that he will declare war on America in one week if Snake does not eliminate The Boss and Volgin to prove America's innocence in the destruction of the research facility.

Snake's first objective is to meet with a former NSA code breaker called ADAM, who had defected previously. On the way, The Boss corners him and destroys his weapons. When he gets to Rassvet, the rendezvous point, he instead finds EVA, who is ADAM's partner. EVA reveals to Snake that she has infiltrated Groznyj Grad, Volgin's personal base, by posing as Volgin's lover. It is later revealed she is not EVA at all, but actually an agent of the Chinese branch of The Philosophers.

Snake goes to Graniny Gorki, the former prison, where Sokolov is supposedly held. He finds a drunken former director of Soviet weapon development, Granin, who is driven by jealousy of Sokolov's fame and access to research funds. He then gives Snake a key to rescue Sokolov and remove him from the country, thus removing Granin's research rival.

Snake eventually gets to Groznyj Grad, and must destroy Shagohod, and rescue Sokolov, while also facing a final showdown with The Boss.

The Philosophers

Not much is known about the Philosophers. They are an organization formed by individuals from the United States, the USSR, and China. It was revealed during a timeline at the end of the game that the U.S. branch separated from the Philosophers and changed their name to The Patriots.

The Philosophers' Legacy

The Philosophers' Legacy is a massive fund that was collected during World War II by various powerful and influential individuals in the United States, the USSR, and China collectively known as The Philosophers. The fund itself is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and all three branches of The Philosophers are trying to get it for themselves. Volgin was made rich because his father was placed in charge of managing and laundering the Legacy. The main mission of Metal Gear Solid 3, while initially focused on the Shagohod, is actually about this fund. The U.S. would eventually capture the full amount of money, which would lead to their separation from the Philosophers and forming The Patriots discussed in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.


  • Volgin - A Russian nationalist, and the Colonel of GRU. His body carries an electrical charge of over one million volts. He has control of a Davy Crockett nuclear warhead, given to him by The Boss. Volgin takes control of the Shagohod. He is also believed to be bisexual, as hinted in the game with Major Ivan Raidenovich Raikov and EVA.
  • Ocelot - Is Revolver Ocelot from past Metal Gear Solid installments. He is the Major of the Ocelot unit of the Spetsnaz. He is a very skilled gunman. He uses the Makarov PM, and then the Colt Single Action Army on advice from Naked Snake. He is hinted to be the son of The Boss and The Sorrow. At the end of the game it is shown that he is really the NSA codebreaker ADAM, and is a triple agent still in the employ of the CIA.

The Cobras

  • The Boss- A woman who is Snake's mentor and teacher. Her codename within the Cobra Unit was The Joy, since she brought joy into her battles. Hinted to be the Mother of Ocelot and also hinted to have been more than a mentor and master to Naked Snake/Jack. Known as The Joy.
  • The Pain - Controls hornets. Previous to joining the Cobras, he worked with bees. His lust for pain led the Boss to approve his joining the group.
  • The Fear - Superhumanly agile and double jointed in both elbows. A master of simple booby traps and projectile weapons. Compares himself to a "spider."
  • The End - The fictional "Father of Modern Sniping." He is 100 years old and is an autotroph. He can therefore remain stationary for extremely long periods of time while the moss growing within him makes food for his body.
  • The Fury - Was a Russian cosmonaut horribly burned during a secret mission in the late 1950's. He wears a space suit and uses a flamethrower and jetpack. He is a pyromaniac.
  • The Sorrow - Is a ghost. He appears at certain points, often behind The Boss, who is unaware of his presence. In life, The Boss killed him on a mission. This happened despite the two being lovers. Hinted to be Ocelot's father.

Supporting Characters

  • Major Tom/Major Zero - Formerly of the UK SAS (where he served with The Boss), Major Tom is the operational commander for the Virtuous Mission and the subsequent Operation Snake Eater. He is also the commander of the FOX Unit. He is a fan of James Bond and is interested in cryptozoology, specifically, the Tsuchinoko.
  • EVA/Tatyana/Tanya - She is the KGB agent sent to assist Naked Snake in Operation Snake Eater. She also assists Snake in destroying the Shagohod and eliminating Colonel Volgin. It is later revealed she was not an agent for the KGB, but an agent for the Philosophers branch in China. Her real mission is to retrieve the Philosophers legacy for China and kill anyone she sees while attempting to do so, meaning she is supposed to kill Snake. Instead, she spares him,
  • Para-Medic - Para-medic is a member of the support staff, serving as a physician and mission analyst. She provides information on local flora and fauna. She is a huge fan of the movies.
  • Sigint - Sigint provides detailed information on weaponry, machinery, camouflage, and gadgetry. Some speculate that his name is Donald Anderson, who in Metal Gear Solid is the Chief of DARPA. He provides useful strategies and tactics in boss battles and other situations.
  • Doctor Sokolov - One of the principle designers of the Shagohod. He was also a principle designer on the Russian Vostok rocket, though he laments their use as weapons.
  • Director Granin - Director of the Graniny Gorki Research and Design Lab, he is the initial developer and champion of Metal Gear. His USSR compatriots, however, do not share his vision of a biped-walking tank and the Shagohod eclipses his own research in importance. He then shares his research with an American colleague who turns out to be Otacon's father. Granin gives Snake information on the Philosopher's Legacy as well as provides access to Groznyi Grad. Granin has been award twice with the Order of Lenin, which he wears on his suit jacket.

Game play

View of enemy with sniper scope + thermal goggles

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has game play based heavily on camouflage. There is a meter called the "camouflage index" to determine how visible the character is, on a scale of 100%. The player is able to put on various uniforms like "Tiger Stripe" or "Olive Drab" in conjunction with face painting. There is also a fake crocodile head to wear. Hideo Kojima has included a "Naked" camouflage, which basically renders the player character shirtless. This function is for "Rambo" type players, he says.

Also, the emphasis on weapons is higher than in previous installments of the Metal Gear series. In the game, the main character uses a shotgun, various automatic rifles, and grenades. This way, the player character can choose whether to sneak up on people with knives or just shoot them.

The game is set in the jungles of Russia, so the environment is a big part of the game. You can climb trees, hide in grass and swim in rivers and ponds. Also, you must survive off the land by capturing or killing plants and animals and eating them to increase stamina.

New features

  • A "Survival Viewer" - The Survival Viewer is a major change from other versions; instead of a simple pause menu, the player can rifle through Snake's backpack for supplies, eat, change camouflage, and perform other actions.
  1. Camouflage - The camouflage delivers the increased ability to venture stealthily throughout the game. The player can change the look of Naked Snake's face and uniform to blend into the terrain's surroundings, gain the special abilities a uniform can provide or just change his look for an unspecified reason. In May 2004, Konami started a contest on Metal Gear Solid 3's official Website. This contest, called the Camouflage Campaign, allowed fans to design and send in a camouflage pattern for selection to appear in the game (and the designers' names would appear in the game's credits). The competition ended in July, and four designs were selected out of the 5,482 sent in. Additional camouflage patterns are available for download from Konami, if the PS2 has the network adapter installed.
  2. Backpack - The character can only hold a certain amount of items and weapons at a time. Through the backpack screen you can rotate items between the backpack and being equipped.
  3. Cure - Through the help of the game's para-medic, Naked Snake can heal himself (and EVA, later in the game) whenever he is wounded using a range of medications and field surgery techniques.
  4. Food - MGS3 utilizes, in conjunction with the health bar, a stamina bar, which deteriorates over time. To reverse this effect, he has to eat food found around the map from the Food section of the Survival menu.
  5. Map - Shows the topographic map of the area you're in with added detail for to spots you've visited.
  • Close Quarters Combat (CQC) - A tactical fighting system that enables the player character to execute various moves on the opponent. There is a fairly wide range of moves, with techniques including flipping and disarming, throwing, neck breaking, and holding the enemy hostage with a knife for interrogation purposes.
  • The ability to change the camera angle - Unlike the other Metal Gear Solid games, where you have a very fixed field of vision (unless you go into first person view, which yields other vision restrictions), Metal Gear Solid 3 lets you move the game camera around temporarily with the right analog stick. Your surrounding vision is increased slightly, but only in the direction you are pointing the camera to.

Nightmare Mode

Metal Gear Solid 3 contains a secret minigame called Nightmare Mode. In this minigame, you play as a character who uses two large blades to slash his way through an army of zombie-like monsters. Nightmare Mode is completely unrelated to the storyline of Metal Gear Solid 3, and bears no resemblance to MGS in controls, graphics, or gameplay. It is, however, very competent as a stand-alone game.

To play Nightmare Mode, save the game after Naked Snake has endured the brutal torture session. When that save file is loaded, the game will go straight into Nightmare Mode. The Mode will only last for a set amount of time; when it ends, the screen fades to black, then fades from black to a shot of Snake waking up from the nightmare.

This is said to be a teaser for an upcoming game known as "Guy Savage."

See also

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