The Let's Play Archive

Metal Gear: Ghost Babel

by The Dark Id

Part 16: Episode XII: Cardboard Box Cougar

"...development, is held somewhere in here. Find him!"

So, welcome to Stage 5. Stage 5 is easily the very worst stage in the entire game. Like, it's not even a competition. And you all will see why shortly. First, let's take a quick look around the area to get our barring.

We are currently on the first floor of the Barracks. There is very little to do on this floor. In fact, there's nothing at all. There are rooms to the east and west but they've just got patrols and useless supplies. That is, unless we had missed that cardboard box back during the sewers. In which case it has migrated to the room to the east and must be obtained before continuing.

So the Barracks has a first and second floor, as well as a basement. There is no reason at all to go to the basement via elevator at any point. You'll see why shortly. So instead, we'll need to climb to the second floor of the complex.

We will be climbing to the second floor of this joint a LOT. Why, you ask? Well, it is time for what can only be described as THAT part of the game.

To the north of the elevator is a pair of conveyor belts. The one to the left is feeding inward while the upper one is feeding further into the facility. Snake is not allowed to just climb on one of the conveyor belts and proceed. Oh no.

He must use a cardboard box. Why? Cuz FUCK YOU, that's why! Notice that this is a Cardboard Box "Y", to denote its yellow color. That's an important feature.

Old Metal Gear (MGS3: Snake Eater)

You see, these conveyor belts are attached to sorting machines that will ship boxes to sectors designated by their corresponding color. So the first conveyor belt will ship our yellow box to the east. Simple enough, right? So what's the problem, you ask?

Well, when we come to the second conveyor belt you'll see there's also a Blue Box in the mix somewhere. And beyond that... there's a few more conveyor belts... How many...? Well... Let's see how many it takes our default Yellow box to reach its destination (note: the color of the box outside the sorter denotes the one we're using at that intersection.)

Conveyor Belts of Woe
(You should watch this only to know pain.)

Welcome to the Cardboard Box maze! That was only a small fraction of the thing. The conveyor belts will all eventually reach a lift (the big red rectangle thing) which will take Snake down to an area on the first floor accessible only via said lift. This first conveyor belt ride was linear and took us to a room holding...

The RED Cardboard box. This now gives us options to explore other reaches of the conveyor belt maze. And...good luck with that, says Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. You're now completely at the whims of trial and error in regards to progressing. And you must progress in a specific sequence as some areas require key items hidden in other areas.

TLDR: If you want a vision of the future, imagine a cardboard box covering a Solid Snake - forever.

The second groovy feature of the box maze is that all roads lead to the basement. The basement is just full of patrols, cameras, and noisy floor panels to waste time sneaking through before Snake can backtrack to the box maze and try again. Every. Single. Time.

There is one new weapon down here: stun grenades. Flashbangs will knock out all guards on the screen and...that's about it. Very exciting.

Snake exits the basement and returns to the 2nd floor...

So, time to try our hand at the box maze once again. You'd think that since we just picked up a shiny new bright red box that we ought to use that first. But you'd be a goddamn fool. The next offering to the Box gods demands Snake's passage take him the yellow path. And then...

Three more yellows before finally splitting off to the red. Why would you make a box that color...?

The red box detour will dump Snake in a room with a ladder leading down to the first floor. And that ladder...

...of course a room filled with deadly gases. Why isn't that seeping into the upper floor? Pfft. Asphyxiating on toxins would be too easy a release.

This room contains a Level 3 Keycard discarded behind some crates. Why, you didn't know we were going to need an upgraded security clearance? Well, good. Seeing as if you had the government would be hauling you away for study as the world's first psychic.

Snake rides another conveyor down to the basement then backtracks to the second floor again...

Alright. With that keycard in hand we can now go collect the next offering to the Box Gods. Once more, yellow sets the course. Then...

And so Snake is dumped in another sparsely populated room. One with, wouldn't you know it, a door locked with a Level 3 keycard.

There is nothing going on in this area other than mandatory sneaking. But in the basement we find...

...the final piece of the Cardboard Box Maze conundrum! Yay...

Basement brawl and an elevator ride later...

Alright. Now we've got the Blue Box. Aren't you excited to see where it takes us...?

Why it's another maze of boxes! Isn't that just grand?

This room isn't that hard to navigate. We just need to head west to the end then wrap around the top section to the eastern wall. The annoying part is having to hide in boxes as guards slowly shuffle around lost themselves in the sea of poor storage management. At the far end of the storage maze is a door leading east and a conveyor belt leading back south. The door...

...leads to an infinite void of darkness and despair. Sort of like this segment of the game. Only you can't see shit. I'm thinking we might need something to make it through here later.

So instead it's back to the conveyor maze for another round.

This set of conveyors just unceremoniously dumps Snake in the guards' break room. There's no way to get to said break room other than riding the conveyor belts. So I have to assume this is just a common mode of transportation around the base. Gindrans are weird.

Anyway, here we receive the Thermal/IR goggles. Guess where we need to use them...?

Another conveyor belt to the basement, a bunch of backtracking, and following the exact same conveyor belt configuration as last time later...

With this, we are actually FINISHED with the godawful conveyor belt maze. Well, mostly. We might need to ride it briefly for one final time. But it's the same path we used to get the Thermal Goggles so no biggie. I hope I properly conveyed the tedium of that segment to you all. Keep in mind that is the most efficient route using a FAQ laid in front of me the entire time. For reference...

Here's the maze in its entirety. Good luck remembering all that with nothing but a Game Boy Color in your hand.

In any case, the final trial of the second floor of the Barracks is...another frigging laser grid maze... Terrific.

Thankfully, this one just requires timing between the lasers and is mostly there to deter running around in the dark without the Thermal Goggles.

Now then, onward to rescuing Not-Otacon. He'd better fucking be worth it...