If you’ve never taken part in the “tactical espionage action” that is the Metal Gear Solid franchise, you’ve been missing out on one of the most impacting series in modern gaming. Today, we’re going to show you how to get Metal Gear Solid 3–believed by many to be the best in the series–up and running on your Windows PC. Since there’s no official port of the game that works on Windows, we’re going to work this little bit of magic through emulation. If you’ve been wary of emulators in the past, rest assured; we’ll walk you through the process step by step, allowing you to enjoy some of your favorite PlayStation 2 games without the need of an actual console.
In 2016, there’s a healthy abundance of feelings about the Metal Gear Solid franchise. The company that was long responsible for publishing the landmark series, Konami, has officially shifted its attention 100% out of the video game market. In addition to that, the series’ creator, Hideo Kojima, had a severe falling out with Konami that preceded the company’s changing to a different area of investment for its capital.
Effectively, this meant that we wouldn’t be seeing any more games in the Metal Gear Solid series. Which is a big damn bummer if you ask anyone that’s been playing these games since the 90s or their earliest conception back on the original Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980s. Many people may not know it, but the Metal Gear series is one of the longest-running game sagas in history.
So, it’s no small amount of praise when fans say that their favorite amongst them all, is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
As much as the Metal Gear Solid games have been connected by their compelling, stealth-based gameplay, they’ve also been telling an expertly layered narrative, one with uncommon depth in the video game medium. The games’ writers are acutely aware of real-world political scenarios, global conflicts, and the history of war, knowledge which is on full display in the games’ themes. In the broadest sense, Metal Gear games are about the legacies of soldiers, and what it means to dedicate oneself to the battlefield. The games take turns telling the stories of Big Boss and Solid Snake; two soldiers who are connected through genetics but are each the product of different generations of warfare.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is set in 1964, and the majority of it takes place in a Soviet-themed jungle. This was a harsh departure from the futuristic, urban-esque settings of previous Metal Gear games, but it was a welcome change. Just as much as your character uses stealth to avoid enemy connection and move about the world, so too will he have to use the surrounding wilderness in order to survive.
Acclaim for this game could go on and on. It suffices to say that it’s one of the best titles in the Metal Gear series, and many consider it to be the very best title ever released on the PlayStation 2.
Playing Metal Gear Solid 3 on PC
“There’s a difference between playing and playing games. The former is an act of joy, the latter — an act.”
― Vera Nazarian,
For many titles that reach the screaming popularity that Metal Gear Solid 3 did, ports to different gaming platforms are inevitable. The producers and developers obviously want gamers around the world to have every chance to play their games, and so the software is adjusted to run on different hardware and operating systems. The only times that you won’t see this happening are with first-party exclusives. You’re probably not going to be seeing Mario running around on a PlayStation or Xbox, for example. Similarly, Master Chief won’t be showing up on any Sony consoles.
The Metal Gear series has always been a multi-platform affair, however. Different versions of the games have shown up on every platform that’s been released since the series reboot on the Sony PlayStation, Metal Gear Solid. Nintendo’s Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Gamecube, and 3DS have all received Metal Gear games. The Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One have all seen them. And of course, being how close Hideo Kojima has been with Sony, every PlayStation console has seen more than one.
Windows, however, has been a bit of a different story. The original Metal Gear Solid received a PC port, as did Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. However, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, did not.
That we haven’t seen the third major entry in the series on Windows is somewhat odd, being that it’s not a Sony PlayStation exclusive; we’ve seen it on other consoles.
Nevertheless, crafty coders and programmers have found ways to get ahold of it, and those methods primarily involve the use of a PlayStation 2 emulator.
The Risks of Emulation
Emulators have an understandably sketchy reputation. There’s a lot of well-founded hesitance that keeps people from using them, in the same way that there’s a huge amount of demand that keeps them up and running.
The hesitance is based on copyright infringement and illegal downloading. The demand is based on a strong desire to play games that are quite out of reach for some people (and for some, a desire to play games without paying a dime for them; more on this, shortly.)
Of course, both of these feelings are spot-on about emulators. Unless you’re careful about how you use one, you could be placing yourself in quite a lot of risk.
Emulators work like this: the program occupies a place on your computer like any other installed software, but it uses your computer’s resources to create a virtual environment that “copies” another operating system entirely. In the case of the PlayStation 2 emulator we’ll be using, the software tricks your computer into behaving like a PS2. This is necessary to replicate the environment that PS2 games needed to run.
The only other alternatives are a port that’s been designed to run natively on a Windows PC or hooking a PlayStation 2 up to your computer. The lack of alternatives is what creates the demand, but what about the risk?
While a PlayStation 2 emulator will allow you to play PS2 games, it doesn’t come with any games for you to play; it only provides the environment to do so. Therefore, users are left with two options: pop a PS2 game into the optical drive of your computer (the only ethically sound option) or download illegally shared “ROMs” of the games that you want to play.
Hopefully, “illegal” set off a few warning bells in your mind, because that’s the part that can get people in hot water. Any downloading or sharing of a game that’s still protected by copyright law is copyright infringement, which is punishable through all kinds of legal means.
Using an Emulator
Risks aside, it’s possible to use an emulator in such a way that you won’t run into these unsavory risks. All that you’ll need is your computer, a decent plug-and-play video game controller (a PlayStation 4 controller works wonders for this) and a copy of Metal Gear Solid 3. Even though it’s from two entire console generations past, it’s still not an expensive game.
Head over to the PCSX2 emulator site. Look for the “Download Here” tab at the top of the page, and then select your computer’s operating system. PCSX2 works notoriously better on Windows, and actually uses your computer’s hardware acceleration in order to run your games more efficiently. The better the hardware you’re using, the prettier your emulated PS2 games are going to look.
You’ll want to download the Standalone Installer, the most recent version of which is 1.4.0. You can choose a directory to install it in after you’ve downloaded it. Don’t worry! PCSX2 downloads and installs just like any other software that you’ll find online, and as long as you’re getting the emulator straight from the people who develop and update it, you usually won’t have to worry about malware or other malicious code tagging along onto your computer.
After you’ve installed the emulator, the rest is easy! Plug a controller into your computer, modify the button mapping inside of the PCXS2 emulator, and pop a game into your computer’s optical drive. You’ll have to instruct the emulator to load.
- Within the PCSX2 emulator, select CDVD followed by Plugin.
- Click Config and then Plugin/BIOS Selector.
- Select cdvd Gigaherz from the list of available options.
- Click Configure and then find and select the appropriate designation for your computer’s optical drive.
- Click OK.
- From the menu, select System followed by Boot CDVD.
And then…wait for the game to load up! Good to go!
While I will always recommend that people play their own games when they’re using an emulator, it’s certainly possible to find and download repositories of ROMs available online. You should only know that doing so is quite illegal, and can (the circumstances are rare) result in harsh consequences. In addition to the legal infraction, ROMs can also frequently contain malicious software that’s harmful to your computer.
If a ROM or emulator causes damage to your computer, there isn’t a warranty on Earth that’s going to fix the problem. PCSX2 and any ROMs you happen to use are third-party software, which means that neither Sony or the developers responsible for the games you’re playing have any control over it.
However, this should certainly be enough to help you get Metal Gear Solid 3 up and running on your PC! Enjoy playing the game, and let us know in the comments if you have any further questions!