Hideo Kojima is mental. No surprise there for anybody who's already played Snake Eater, of course - only a magnificent lunatic would cap an hour-long boss battle with a bit of gameplay where you spend literally five minutes clambering up a ladder, or give you a special mask that lets you punch guards in the clangers without raising their suspicions.
Likewise, only a supreme fruitloop would force you to trudge past the ghosts of everyone you've killed one minute, then crowbar in some Austin Powers-style caveside-fumbling the next.
Still, spam-mad as Kojima obviously is, he's also a genius, packing his work with detail, humour and inspired design that you'll never see in any other game. That's why Konami tolerates his weirder moments and let him do his own thing.
It's also why it's granted the third MGS the ultimate in self-indulgent directors' cuts - a lavish three-DVD boxed set featuring an online mode, an extended version of the Snake vs Monkey bonus game, the original two Metal Gear games and a re-cut, non-playable version of the Snake Eater story lasting three and a half hours.
Obviously, we played the online mode first. This allows you to play as a variety of characters from the games - from Ocelot to Liquid Snake, Ninja and a guest appearance from a Rumble Roses lady-wrestler - and comes in sneaking, deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture and rescue mission flavours.
Whichever you pick, what's most impressive is how well MGS translates to online play. With minimal tinkering to the controls - a double-click of R2 now switches to secondary weapon, and L1 aiming is slightly easier - it's like playing 'proper' Metal Gear against properly clever guards.
It's possible, for instance, to crawl through long grass and remain virtually undetectable, or stun grenade other characters or plant claymores across popular routes.
Team modes work well, forcing cooperation and chatter - though our Japanese isn't amazing, we managed to make out just enough to pull a beautiful pincer movement on two GRU members staking out the plastic frog (Koj is mental, remember?) that takes the place of the more traditional flag.
Best of all are the sneaking missions. Here, one player is Snake, taking on between two and seven Ocelot unit troopers whose sole aim is to kill him. Snake's mission is to get one of two objects on the level to one of two checkpoints.