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Mission Accomplished

If what I've said is true, we should be able to see plenty of evidence that Kojima is "camoflauging" with the times in order to redeem MGS in the eyes of the fans. After all, that is the requirement of the "mission". So let's look at some conspicuous examples, and what they tell us.

Video clip: Opening theme song

The first example I think of is this opening theme song, which perfectly embodies the tone of the game from here on out. Over-the-top spy action, a la classic James Bond, with wacky villains and a sultry double agent for a love interest. It may have gotten off to a slow start with the Virtuous Mission, but once we see the theme song we know that the fun is about to begin.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that Kojima hated making the game, as he later did with MGS4, or that the theme song is evidence of that. He's obviously a huge fan of James Bond, as the various radio conversations demonstrate, and feels that going back to the Cold War has a lot to offer. Things have changed since the '60s, and Kojima wants to share a piece of his childhood era with the younger generation. It also gives him the opportunity to explore the distant past of the series' storyline itself, and gives him more freedom to explore what "espionage" truly means. These things are all good.

Metababble in camoflauge?

What it does mean is that this is game is throwing real depth out the window in favor of feel-good thrills. This is sad news for those who preferred the postmodernism of MGS2, but perfect for those who felt that the series just needed to stop taking itself seriously and have fun.

Paramedic — despite her horrible voice actress' tendancy to suck the life out of every line of dialogue — is supposed to embody the movie-lover, with seemingly endless amounts of cheeky references to movies that have influenced Kojima and Snake Eater. After saving for the first time she talks about Godzilla with a suspicious amount of potential doublespeak, for example.

The game is so confident in its execution that it really is difficult to realize just how far of a departure it is from the previous games, or what it could entail, but another great example is the game's gun fetish, which I've noted several times before in previous articles.

Video clip: Fascination

In this scene, EVA has been trying to seduce Snake by unzipping her coveralls, making sultry hints, and otherwise flirting with him; but Snake isn't interested in the slightest. Despite the previous R1 ability to peer at her chest from first person view, or the grin on his face when doing so, he now looks away from her, changes the topic, and seems to have his mind elsewhere.

This disinterest vanishes, however, as soon as he sees the .45 she's carrying. For a whole minute, he needlessly pours over every detail of the weapon, with the controller literally palpitating as he speaks. That's what you call a fetish. It's Kojima's way of acknowledging the ridiculous amount of demand for "more guns" by fans and critics, and anticipating that this is the kind of stuff they'd want to see. Kojima has always prided himself on using real-world weapons and their information, but Solid Snake was never a gun nut.

MGS3 is the first game to include a "Viewer" for those who want to examine guns and items from close up — something that seems very un-Metal Gear to old school fans of sneaking and story, and a third example of matching the demands of the times. The other games never had a library of guns like this. A dozen firearms, and eight explosives? It may not seem like much after MGS4's gun extravaganza, but that's the point: it's significant because of the direction in which it inevitably leads.

Look at how Naked Snake lectures the young Ocelot about his weapon choice and experimental loading techniques during their first encounter; a lecture which is continues the next time they meet. Sure, this is awesome because it helps us understand why Ocelot eventually becomes such a specific kind of gun nut by the time of MGS1, but considering that Kojima could just as easily have thought of a different explanation that didn't involve Big Boss's apparent weapon fetish it becomes a self-serving plot point that kills two birds with one stone: answering questions, as well as pleasing Metal Gear gun nuts.

Likewise, Kojima makes Eva's 'muzzle jump to create a horizontal sweep' trick into both an indicator that she has surprisingly suave combat skills for a supposed NSA codebreaker, but also to rile up the action fanatics.

Doing a backflip off of somebody's face with a motorcycle? Welcome to Metal Gear Solid 3.

Boosting the thrills is pretty much Eva's role. You could almost say that if Naked Snake is supposed to double as a metaphor for Kojima's reluctant, serious struggle to choose between being a patriot and rebel, perhaps Eva represents the opposite: his over-the-top, carefree joy of playing the role of a double-agent. Eva does, after all, disguise herself as the modest Tatyana when she isn't shoving her implants into Snake's face or throttling her bike; and she is also a protege of The Boss. Perhaps Eva is the part of Kojima that throws caution to the wind and simply embraces the newfound liscence to be as zany as he likes, while poorly pretending to be modest in front of critics.

Without overanalyzing the actual details of how their relationship unfolds, and how this would translate into a metastory about Kojima's inner conflicts of interest, I think it would be fair to say that Eva is a symbol of the game's abnormally carefree spirit, and Snake is a symbol of the Kojima's serious task as the leader of the Metal Gear series in those dangerous times, and that her involvement is another great example of how Snake Eater deliberately departs from the previous title's in order to give it a wider, less intellectual appeal.

Is everything in Snake Eater worthy of analysis? Absolutely not. It doesn't try to be postmodern, or nearly as challenging as MGS2, because it has to keep its metababble hidden. But it's not as shallow as most people, including myself, have traditionally thought, either. The real legacy of MGS3 is that, like Big Boss, he managed to complete his mission without giving up his independence; meeting the demands of the times without completely sacrificing his artistic integrity.

Unfortunately, like Big Boss he also wasn't satisfied with it in the end, feeling used and betrayed. He did what he had to do, and was praised for it, but in the process he lost his idealism and loyalty. With the creation of the fan-serving Subsistence and, later, MGS4, he would become more and more jaded by what was being asked of him, and long for a day when he could have freedom again.


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