Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Contender

In my quest to play through the Metal Gear Solid series I've begun the third chapter of the saga: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (yes, that's the title!). Ladies and gentleman, I think we have another contender for the Best First Levels in Videogames. I am continually impressed with what this series has to offer. Hideo Kojima must be some sort of mad genius, as he is able to expertly take traditional western-fare and infuse it with a distinctly Japanese flavor, and by that I mean, a distinctly strange flavor. It's almost as if Kojima sat around watching western action films his entire youth and then attempted to go make his own in videogame form, but with everything not quite how we've come to expect from such films, and all done in a quirky, somethings-a-little-bit-off kind of way. You could even say he's like the Japanese equivalent of Quentin Tarantino (is that going too far?).

Take for example, the opening to Metal Gear Solid 3. This time Kojima is aiming for the prequel treatment. We find Solid Snake traipsing around the jungles of southeast Asia sometime during the late 60s/early 70s. The first hour of the game opens with Snake dropping into the jungle via parachute, encoutering old foes from the previous two games (or are they new foes since this is in the past?). The gameplay is all done quite expertly. But what really seals the deal here is the opening song which plays once you've finished the cold opening, like, say, a James Bond film! Oh, did I say that? Because the opening song that plays is nearly a shot-by-shot parody/send-up of every James Bond opening music video ever made. And just like Kojima is want to do, there's just something not quite right about it.

Oh sure, it's got the soulful female vocals (man they really need to get Tina Turner to sing this song), they've got the big band sound, they've got the trippy silhouette images (they forgot the naked ladies though), but the lyrics... At first they sound typical, but when they start to get going they're just... Well, here's an example: "Someday you go through the rain/And someday, you feed on a treefrog" Huuuhh?? Please, just watch and enjoy for yourself:

I love it. I can't get the song out of my head. It's just so spot-on. What's even better though? Watching other people sing the song on youtube! Hot Girl, check. Girl in her bedroom, got it. These two guys take the cake though, tell me which one you think is better, the one labeled The Definitive Cover, or the "WTF were they thinking?" Karaoke guy? I could seriously watch these all day.

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