Despite being one of the most iconic moments in video game history, it was only a matter of time before speedrunners discovered a way to bypass the much-beloved ladder-climbing sequence in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater entirely. What a thrill.
This piece originally appeared on Kotaku Australia on April 13, 2022. It has been retimed as a weekend read.
Brazilian speedrunner apel shared a video this morning showing how a complicated series of inputs can be used to teleport Snake up the ladder passage in the remastered Metal Gear Solid 3 without any climbing involved. This newly discovered technique is derived from a “food zip” bug apel found years ago, which at the time opened up possibilities for skipping boss fights.
Shortly after uploading today’s video, apel provided step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the skip. It’s all Greek to me, but if done correctly, Snake will T-pose and the camera will shoot upwards, saving a ton of time compared to climbing the ladder the way Hideo Kojima intended.
Apel does note, however, that this is currently only useful in a multi-segment Metal Gear Solid 3 speedrun as opposed to an uninterrupted playthrough since the bug is so inconsistent. It may also crash your game, so be careful should you try this out yourself.
Originally performed in an emulator, fellow Metal Gear Solid speedrunner Hau5test has shown that the ladder skip can also be done on actual PlayStation 3 hardware. It might not even require the hard reset mentioned in the instructions, making it potentially viable for single-segment world record attempts.
It’s been some time since I’ve played Metal Gear Solid 3, but the sequence of Snake climbing an abnormally tall ladder remains its most enduring moment. It comes almost directly after beating one of the game’s bizarre bosses, providing you with a quiet moment to reflect on Snake’s mission thus far. And who can forget Cynthia Harrell’s acapella rendition of the bombastic Snake Eater theme song kicking in to break up the monotony? Just aces all around.
Speedrunning is a funny thing. While diehard Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater fans consider the ladder climb one of its defining artistic moments, folks looking for ways to complete the game as fast as possible long regarded the same sequence as a frustrating obstacle between them and their goals. As someone who doesn’t belong to either camp, I’m just happy to be along for the ride.