Part 27: Episode XX: Electric Elk
Theme of Tara (Metal Gear)
"...turbine. It's located in the B1 floor of the plant."
I'm not sure how the Colonel knows that. But sure, why not. B1 it is...
There is an elevator directly north of the stage start which can take Snake up to the second floor or down to the basement. But something else in the area is a bit more noteworthy: an electrified floor. I'm pretty sure I've never seen electrifying metal panels on a walkway used as a security measure outside of video games. But damned if they don't like to do it in the Metal Gear Solid universe. Before we can investigate this new development any further, the codec rings.
Snake answers the call...
"Chris? What happened back there?"
"They took us by surprise..."
"What about Jimmy? Is he OK?"
"...That's got to be some kind of record between escape from one cell and being locked in another..."
"I saw a chance and ran, but Jimmy..."
"...Well. You saw the guy. Run is not a word in his vernacular..."
"Chris, don't blame yourself."
"Better that you're safe than neither of you."
"Besides, unless you were planning to roll the kid to safety, there was nothing you could do."
"I'm so useless... I was supposed to have protected him..."
"I wish I were the one taken. I can't do anything right..."
"I heard your profile. You do a stupid amount of things right. Just... not escort missions. And there's nothing wrong with that. Escort missions are statistically 'the worst' of all tactical ops. For everyone involved. But enough of that..."
"...Chris, you were in the power plant, weren't you?"
"Tell me how I get in."
"Where are you now?"
"I'm just through the eastern entrance by an elevator."
"...Er... Am I missing something here...? Aren't you already in...?"
"Yes... No.. I mean... The electrified floors. What's the deal?!"
"Sections of the floor area are electrified and can't be crossed. But there is a control panel for the floor's electrical grid. If you take that out, you should have no problems getting through. As long as you use some weapon with a long range, like the Nikita missiles."
"...Didn't you do this the first through Outer Heaven...?"
"That was seven years ago. Do you remember every stupid aspect of operations you did in...err... high school...?"
"Got it - use Nikita missiles to go after the power array. You've been in the plant once. I'd like you to give me backup with what you know."
"I could use your help."
"They need to keep Metal Gear in an operational state, so they can't afford to kill Jimmy yet. I'll get him out before they can."
"I'm asking you to trust me."
"Okay. Anything you need to know about the plant, just ask. Snake...thank you."
Well, good to know Chris is still kicking around. Now it's time for the second must tedious stage of the game! Remember how in Metal Gear Solid 1 or 2 the Nikita (remote control) missile launcher was just a floor away and acquired in just a few minutes?
Yeah, that's not the case here. At all... We'll be back to deal with that electrified floor in about fifteen minutes assuming you're looking at a FAQ the whole time and go to B1 first and not the second floor.
Now, the Colonel said that B1 was where the turbines Snake needs to blow up are located. But the Colonel is full of shit. We actually need to go down to the basement level to grab a security card upgrade in order to grab the Nikita missiles from up on the second floor, THEN go to the rest of the first floor to get to the turbines.
But, there's a bit of a problem when it comes to traveling through the basement. The first indicator might be the giant pools of water everywhere. But I'll let a couple of nearby gabbing sentries explain...
"Hallelujah! Thought I'd never get to dry off."
"This is a hell of a mess. What happened?"
"It looks like the drainage duct got choked off somewhere during that squall. We've got drainage water backing up into the plant."
"Hey, that doesn't sound good."
"They say there's no problem with generating power itself..."
"Just, ya know, it's gonna be happening in ridiculously unsafe conditions..."
"Not exactly impressive in a high-tech installation controlled by a state-of-the-art computer system."
"Yeah, 'state-of-the-art' circa like 1986. I think my son's new Nintendo 64 is more advanced than anything in here."
"Well, as long as the cells get charged, everything's doing fine."
The relieved guard starts walking away but stops short...
"...some of the puddles. It looks like regular water, but make sure you stay away from it; don't want you getting hurt."
"...WHAT?! I walked through like five puddles just getting here. I could have been electrocuted to death?!"
*shrug* "They say they're getting us rubber boots at the end of the month. Oh well. Time for happy hour."
So, this section is just bundles of fun. There are giant puddles of water all across the area. Some of them will electrocute Snake when he walks in them. Some of them won't! How do you tell which is which? Walk in 'em.
If Snake goes flying and loses some health? It's electrified! If he does not? You're good to walk through it. That is...literally the only way to know. If you're lucky, there might be a big machine next to the water for an indicator. But 95% of the time there's no such luck. Not even the clichéd electrical currents arcing on the water or anything video gamey like that.
But that's not the only new hazard in this stage. You know what screams "state-of-the-art" security system to me...?
Pit traps! Any area marked with a white box outline will break open into a bottomless pit after a second or so. Said pit will instantly kill Snake should he still be standing on the panel when it opens. This is easily evaded by not standing on the panel when it opens...
Beyond the pits and the stealth electric water, there are also vents. Nothing special happens in vents. They just take for fucking ever to transverse since Snake crawls at a slightly slower space than my two year old kid can walk. This is to say it takes about 45 seconds just to get from one end of the vent to the other. All the while the only sound you hear is Snake's sneaking suit wedgie rubbing against his thighs.
In any case, at the far end of the basement we find the wayward Level 4 keycard. We're now about a third of the way done with this crappy level... Hurray!
Backtracking across the entire area back to the elevator and a ride to the 2nd floor later...
The second floor is devoid of electric water puddles. But it has replaced that nuisance with a shit load of security cameras. Directly south of the elevator is the Level 4 keycard locked door.
The main pain in the ass of the second floor is this room. This room is full to the brim with what I am assuming to be generators of some type. What's so annoying about this room, you ask?
Well, Snake has kind of let himself go in the seven years since Outer Heaven. As such, he cannot maneuver between the generators in this room unless there's enough space for Jimmy to lie down in. With that limitation, we're basically forced to slide between the generators (and Snake slides even slower than he crawls) until he comes to an opening where he can turn and slide through another group of generators.
Did I mention this room is fucking HUGE? Cuz it's literally half the second floor.
Anyway, for the highlights of this floor: there's a set of Body Armor past another long air vent in the generator room. Body Armor reduces damage by 50% so there's really never a time it should be off when i combat.
And after assorted sliding past generator bullshit, we find the Nikita Rocket Launcher tossed in a random corner of a storage room.
The Nikita is a rocket launcher (the only one in Ghost Babel) that fires remote controlled missiles. This thing was used in Metal Gear 1, Metal Gear Solid, and Metal Gear Solid 2 to blow up a panel powering electrified floors. In the latter two games, it was a neat divergence and a novelty weapon that never had a required use past this point.
Ghost Babel, however, is going to run this gimmick in to the fucking ground by the end of this stage. This sucks, because the controls for the Nikita are pretty finicky. The rocket slows down when turning. But only for a split second before zooming forward. Too bad we need to maneuver it through fairly tight corridors with little room for error.
The second shitty part is that it immediately causes an Alert phase after the rocket explodes. And guards appear from the ether in front of Snake if he tries to make a break for it. So, using Nikita missiles basically means Snake gets to sit and wait around for the Alert to go away if he doesn't want to get shot and fight a half dozen newly spawned guards.
Snake returns to the first floor...
There's one other REALLY bullshit part about Nikita missiles: gun cameras. Gun cameras HATE remote controlled missiles. So much so that they will instantly shoot down any missiles not flying at full speed past them. There's no way to disable gun cameras and use the Nikita at the same time (chaff grenades will disable them but also makes the Nikita unavailable.) And they also cannot be destroyed. So of course, the level designers stuck them fucking everywhere.
This is not helped by the fact that we need to navigate Nikita mazes three or four times across the level. The final one being the most bullshit.
First of all, Snake needs to fire a rocket across a chasm and half way around the building just to begin the maze. It's a 10-15 second travel time. This needs to be redone each time this thing is attempted.
Then there's the actual maze. There are I think ten gun cameras in that room. Trying to maneuver near any of then will get the missile blown up. That gets old. Fast. Doubly so with the whole fifteen seconds to retry thing and only the vaguest indication of the correct path.
Anyway, I'm sick of talking about this shitty level. Have a map. I think you can determine for yourself whether it would be fun to play through.
After assorted bullshit, we finally come to the northern most of area of the first floor. B1, huh Colonel...?
Snake marches in like he owns the place. But that doesn't last for long...
Well, that's one way to break the ice...