Part 7: Metal Gear Part Seven: Parachuting to the CourtyardMetal Gear Part Seven: Parachuting to the Courtyard
When we left off, Snake was standing on the rooftop of Outer Heaven and staring into an abyss.
Equipping the parachute and jumping off the roof lands us in the middle of a bunch of dogs. There are doors all around, but we have to go south first.
To the south is a pair of trucks. Approaching the trucks, however, is a bad idea.
Because they are parked in the middle of a minefield. Also, Snake had to parachute into the courtyard. That POW said that the only way into the courtyard was to parachute.
Did they parachute these trucks into the courtyard? Or did they build the entire fortress around them?
Putting aside the fact that Outer Heaven was built by wizards, getting into the first truck causes it to start moving.
It takes you back here, which is very close to the starting point of the game (literally, two screens in). It is also just one screen to the left of the other truck, to give a sense of the distance Snake's bogus journey has covered so far.
The other truck has Card 4.
So, having run all the way from the basement to the roof, and then to the courtyard just to find Pettrovich, Snake finds that his cell is empty.
This game manages to be both short as hell (it only takes about 3 hours if you know what you're doing) and full of padding.
Building 2 is 10 km north of here.
How do these POWs know so much about enemy movement? Do the guards just use these cells to stand around and discuss their orders or something? Are they all traitors against Outer Heaven?
This is never addressed, which is the origin of another Metal Gear series favourite: raising questions and never answering them.
Once you have Card 4 and putz around the courtyard, going into the last door in the area reveals that we're all the way back on the first floor, and there is a door to the courtyard.
That entire roof section was just padding.
Now, I know Metal Gear games are usually full of backtracking and going the long way, but this part of the game has just been really crappy. On the whole, this is a problem with Metal Gear. For a game from 1987, it's pretty good, but it's also prone to a lot of the problems that plague the series as a whole, and they're exacerbated by the fact that there's nothing really to punctuate the exploration.
All that aside, though, leaving the first building brings a change of scenery. Snake is now in a desert.
Also, the desert is full of mines. I guess that kind of makes sense?
One screen to the north is also a minefield.
Just north of that, though, there are no mines. Instead, the area is being shelled (you can see one of the shells just behind the truck in the screen). The shells are pretty dangerous; getting hit by splash damage is a quarter of Snake's health, getting hit by the explosion is half, and getting hit by the flying shell leaves Snake with only a sliver of health.
The shells also come from the top of the screen, so they get harder to dodge as you move on. It also means that sometimes you just lose most of your health as you transition to the next screen.
After two screens of shelling, Snake finds the culprit, the tank.
Metal Gear MSX Manual posted:
Tank: The MBT of OUTER HEAVEN. Equipped with 125 mm main gun, and two 7.62 mm machineguns to the right and left.
Boss fight against the glorious tank, right here!
Let's see what Diane has to say about the tank.
She's right. What you do to beat the tank is run out when it backs up, plant some land mines, then run back to cover and wait for it to run them over. You can see it all in the video, it's very exciting.
Oh shit, I lied. The tank fucking sucks. Getting close to it means eating bullets from the machinegun, but opening the item window removes your mines from the screen, so you have to wait and hope you get back to cover before it kills you. It's also an insta-kill if the tank runs Snake over (obviously), and if you get in front of the cannon, it shells you (which tends to mean you get hit by the shell before it explodes).
The last three bosses were boring because they couldn't really hurt you, but they died pretty quick. The tank is slow as hell and it can kill you with minimal fuss (I probably died a dozen times trying to get the video).
I think the tank is the worst boss in the whole game.
Outside Building 2 are these guys. I wonder, would they have just let Snake in if their CO hadn't told them not to?
Big Boss calls straightaway. I'm surprised he didn't forget to tell Snake how to dress himself, or what a checkpoint is, or something else.
He also didn't forget to change his number.
Schneider tells us where to find the uniform (in case we didn't have it), and changes his number too.
Diane has nothing to say, but changes her number. Snake's entire support staff have new frequencies now, and I have no idea why. It can't be anti-piracy, because all the numbers are in the game (and not in the manual) and there's no apparent story reason for it.
Toss on the enemy uniform, and the guards just let Snake in the front door. Somewhat disappointingly, the uniform doesn't change Snake's sprite. That would have been a cool detail, but oh well.
Now Snake's in building two and out of the desert. I think the strong point of the early Metal Gear games were the indoor segments (though that's not really saying a lot), and at this point the game starts to get its act together a little bit more.
We're about halfway through at this point, by the way.
Jump in the drainage ditch to continue.
In the next room is another boss, the bulldozer:
Metal Gear MSX Manual posted:
Bull Tank: A large bulldozer tank.
Bull Tank, sorry. Here's the video.
Nobody back home has anything to say about this one, but it's pretty simple. The bulldozer rolls at you. If it hits Snake, he dies. So you just shoot it with grenades before that happens. Eight grenades and it's gone.
It's a cakewalk and it seems really phoned in. At least it's not the tank.
Past the "boss fight" with the bulldozer is another set of laser beams. Unlike last time, they flash on and off and move around. They are still not hard to avoid.
Fact: You can't open the equip windows when you're in an elevator screen.
I take the elevator up to the roof, which is where the next part of the game will take place.