Part 9: Episode VII: Laser Lemur
Stage 3 Theme
"She should be somewhere in the tower with you. Remember that she's disguised; Contact her when she's alone so that the enemy won't be alerted. She has long hair, tied up at the back, and is wearing a red cap."
So in case you've forgotten, we still need to find not-Meryl somewhere in this watch tower. Unfortunately, unlike her 3D counterpart, Chris isn't parked a short elevator ride a floor up. Instead, our new companion found the single most out of the fucking way area in the entire region to choose to hide out.
Not that we're given much indication to her position other than "somewhere in the building" but suffice it to say there is more than a bit of bullshit between Solid Snake and her position.
The first few rooms aren't much to talk about. Guards have decided to start donning caps so Chris doesn't look silly as the only one wearing one. Some were even nice enough to grow out their hair to help as well. Snake might see some people with red caps or long blond hair. But nobody will have both. That said, there's a surprising amount of blond and red haired people for being in the heart of Africa.
This part of the facility introduces yet another boon to Solid Snake's sneaking ability: hidey-holes!
As the name suggests, Snake can crawl in these little holes to hide out from guards. He'll automatically poke his head out after crawling into one but despite that he's effectively invisible when camping out there just so long as nobody sees him enter.
In any case, it's smooth sailing up until we reach a large rectangular room with four exits. We enter through the southwestern one. The northwestern just leads to some useless supplies. The southeastern exit...
...leads to a room full of nerve gas. Since that is apparently just a military security measure in Metal Gear Solid's universe. At least there's no electrified floor as well. I can't imagine how much it cost to maintain poison gas and electric floors.
"You've got to hold your breath in the gas. The O2 gauge will go down. Once it runs out, your LIFE will take a hard hit. Go look for the mask first."
So Snake has a limited amount of time before he'll start taking damage from the gas. Good thing clouds of toxins can't be absorbed by the skin or anything. Either way, we need to seek out an obnoxious Jim Carrey comedy from the mid-90s to progress.
And it just so happens the northeastern path in the previous room might lead to one. There's a few little catches though.
The first being an invisible laser maze. A staple of every third world country's security systems.
The Colonel calls up Snake...
"...rigged there. The alarm will go off if you break the beam. The infrared wavelength is invisible to the human eye. But it should be detectable if the beam passes through vapors or smoke. Do you have anything that can produce smoke or gas?"
"Well, I did manage to smuggle in a pack of ci--"
"Err...right... I have the FOGGER."
So now it's time for the smoke emitting cigarette shaped gadget to do its thing. The Fogger produces a little cloud of smoke which will reveal laser sensors about a second after standing next to 'em. Unlike the cigarettes in the rest of the series, where smoking makes Snake lose health as quickly as standing in the middle of an inferno, the Fogger doesn't effect Snake's LIFE gauge. So that's nice. Especially when spending time feeling around in the dark through a maze like this one.
Here's the area mapped out for this first minor maze. Nothing too bad. Just try not to forget it as the game will force us to backtrack through it.
After the laser grid maze, Snake will find a Gas Mask discarded behind a couple of shipping crates. There is also a security locked door directly opposite the mask's location.
The problem is that it is a security level 2 checkpoint and Snake only has Card Lv. 1 at the moment. Go ahead and take a wild guess as to what was past that gas filled region from earlier...
Unlike Metal Gear Solid, where the gas mask only significantly reduces oxygen loss in gas filled rooms, the one in Ghost Babel will outright stop it.
Which is nice, since Snake still needs to evade a few patrolmen chilling out in the poison coated cargo bay. So is there a gas leak in here from one of the containers or did the Gindran military really decide the best way to prevent intruders from stealing stored office supplies was to pump the room full of toxic chemicals?
Either way, at the end of a the two nerve gas filled areas is another room with a single patrolman, presumably trapped without a gas mask and the Level 2 card tucked into a corner. Well, at least that's two security cards and not a single person dropped dead from a heart attack. Yet anyway...
Thankfully, the level designers throw us a bone as the Level 2 card will unlock a door connecting the second gas room to where we found the gas mask earlier. Don't worry, they'll make it up with extra dick moves soon enough.
Using our new keycard, we're free to jump on the incredibly massive elevator and ride on to the second floor of the watchtower where Chris is hopefully stationed.
The second floor is largely lacking in noteworthy features save two areas of particular frustration.
The first is a gigantic spiral corridor filled with little hidey-holes and featuring over a dozen patrolling guards. It's tedious in that there is one door to the northwest that leads nowhere and just exists to waste our time. And Snake can basically only make it about twenty feet before needing to hide in one of the spaces in the floor as the next patrol passes by him. But this is the lesser of the two annoying rooms of the area.
The real pain in the ass room is Invisible Laser Maze MkII: Timed Laser Edition.
Once more Snake finds himself in a room full of infrared laser sensors which only appear by use of the Fogger. The trouble is that this time around ALL the sensors are active.
Most all the lasers in the room will cut off at regular intervals (other than the ones toward the top of the area.) But they're all on different timers ranging from once every five seconds to once every 10-15. Considering it already takes a second for the Fogger's smoke to kick in and the lasers all seem to shut off at different intervals, this results in quite a bit of waiting around detecting if the laser will actually turn off any time soon.
This room is also a SHIT LOAD bigger than the first maze. So that's terrific too. Plus you're given no indication as to if the top or bottom left door is the correct path (spoiler: bottom left leads to absolutely nothing.)
In summary: fuck this room.
It's almost worth it just to run through, take the alert, and make a dash north. Especially since guards will stop pursuing Snake the room immediately after the laser maze. Why, you ask?
Well, wouldn't you know it. Chris finally shows up in that room and it would get kind of awkward if guards were running in guns blazing with her wandering around.
That doesn't mean you can't make a savestate and bash her over the head a few times for picking the most bullshit area in the whole complex to patrol back and forth. Jerk.
Granted, that is not a recommended course of action if we want to continue the game.
Pretend that never happened and instead the guard in the red cap with long blond hair spots Snake...
Snake does just that and...
Oh, you know what? Fuck you too game! Did you not see the retarded sewer wave segment? Or the laser mazes? Or the double fetch quest? What do you want from me?!