Home Gaming MGS Retrospective – Part 5

MGS Retrospective – Part 5

18 min read

By Etienne Vlok

Snake & RaidenWelcome to the second part of our Metal Gear plot summary, which focuses on the height of the Solid Snake ‘era’ of the plot.

As you’ll notice, the plot becomes progressively more convoluted, right up to the ending of Sons of Liberty, where you would be in the majority if (after completing the game for the first time) you didn’t have a damn clue as to what happened in the finale. While some claim that Sons of Liberty is the first truly postmodern game, dealing with issues as diverse as meme theory, artificial intelligence, information control, conspiracy theories, political and military maneuvering, evolution, existentialism, censorship, the manipulation of free will and the nature of reality, many thought it was simply an effort to shoehorn too many high-concept ideas into a game that couldn’t sustain it. At any rate, more on Sons of Liberty later.

Box Art - Play Station 1 - Metal GearMetal Gear 2: Solid Snake

By 1999, the Cold War is over, and the promise of large scale nuclear disarmament by the major world powers promises a brave new world as the 21st century approaches. Yet, despite all the good news with regards to nuclear disarmament, the world’s supply of oil is running out. Essentially, demand has outstripped supply, and with no new major oil fields being found, isn’t likely to turn around soon. Basically, the Peak Oil theory has proven true. The search for sustainable, renewable fuel is of paramount importance.

Unexpectedly, the looming crisis is defused when Czech scientist Dr. Kio Marv, successfully bio-engineers a new species of algae, called OILIX, that could produce petroleum-grade hydrocarbons with little expense and effort. Marv presents the algae to the World Energy Conference in Prague, and is on his way to a demonstration in the United States when he is kidnapped.

It emerges that a state founded in 1997 called Zanzibar Land, located in central Asia, is responsible for Dr. Marv’s disappearance. Solid Snake is brought out of retirement by FOXHOUND’s new commander, Roy Campbell (who took over as CO of the unit after the Outer Heaven rebellion by Big Boss), and is sent to Zanzibar Land to rescue Dr. Marv.

clip_image001On the course of his mission, Snake teams up with Holly White, a CIA operative posing as a journalist, and Gustava Heffner, an StB (Czech state security) agent and Dr. Marv’s bodyguard. (I’ll get the very obvious joke out of the way here and say that Heffner is, in fact, a woman.)

He is also reunited with Dr. Madnar, the Metal Gear lead designer from Outer Heaven, who claims to have been once again kidnapped and forced to work on another Metal Gear project (named simply Metal Gear D) for Zanzibar Land, as well as oversee mass-production of smaller, non-nuclear-equipped Metal Gear units.

Snake learns from Dr. Madnar that Big Boss, Snake’s former FOXHOUND commander, has survived and is the man in charge in Zanzibar Land, making this essentially Outer Heaven 2.0 (it was probably still in beta, though, seeing as the whole enterprise falls apart once more.) Snake frees Madnar, and escorts Heffner and the doctor out of the facility where they had been housed. Unfortunately, their escape is intercepted by the fully functional Metal Gear D, who kills Heffner. With Madnar recaptured, it is revealed that the pilot of the new Metal Gear is none other than Gray Fox, Snake’s former comrade-in-arms from his FOXHOUND days. Gray Fox – real name Frank Jaeger – willingly joined Big Boss in Zanzibar Land after the events of Metal Gear, sharing a similar vision of a state created exclusively for soldiers. Snake escapes from the confrontation, and presses onwards to find Dr. Marv.

Successfully infiltrating the detention facility, Snake finds that he is too late, as he discovers the corpse of Dr. Marv, who was unable to survive the repeated torture due to a poor heart. Dr. Madnar is also there, who explains he was unable to save him. Just before Snake could retrieve the OILIX formula left by Dr. Marv, Holly reveals via a radio message that Dr. Madnar was not captured after all, but voluntarily resumed his work on Metal Gear. Madnar attempts to overpower Snake, but is no match for the veteran soldier, who kills Madnar easily.

With the OILIX formula in Snake’s hands, Snake is again confronted by Gray Fox piloting Metal Gear D. After successfully destroying Metal Gear D, Snake finds himself in a minefield. The two engage in hand-to-hand combat against each other, and Snake eventually emerges as the victor, leaving Gray Fox for dead.

Upon defeating Fox and aiming to reach his extraction point, Snake is confronted by Big Boss. Having lost his equipment and with no weapons at his disposal, Snake is forced to improvise using the only items he can find, a lighter and aerosol can. Fashioning a makeshift flamethrower, Snake defeats Big Boss for the final time, unwittingly killing his genetic (if not biological) father. Snake and Holly White escape together, and they deliver the OILIX formula to Campbell.

Box Art - MGS 2Metal Gear Solid

In 2005, the world has changed once more. With the threat of the Cold War well and truly over, the need for nuclear weapons is diminished, and disarmament appears to be an attainable goal. One of the facilities where these weapons are disposed of is located on an island located in Alaska’s Fox Archipelago.

Unexpectedly, the new FOXHOUND, lead by Liquid Snake, and the genetically enhanced Next-Generation Special Forces unit (enhanced with the genetic data obtained from studying the remains of Big Boss) lead an armed uprising, completely taking over the facility. They demand that the remains of Big Boss be delivered to them within 24 hours, else a nuclear strike on Washington DC would follow.

As the game begins, Solid Snake, now in retirement at Alaska’s Twin Lakes, is forcibly co-opted at the request of Colonel Roy Campbell to penetrate the terrorist defenses and neutralize the threat. To improve his chances, Snake is injected with a supplement designed to give him similar abilities to the Next-Generation soldiers (over and above those he inherently possesses as the ‘son’ of Big Boss.)

Snake is also ordered to locate two hostages: Donald Anderson, and Kenneth Baker. Anderson is a representative of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), while Baker is the president of ArmsTech, a large scale weapons manufacturer. Campbell also asks Snake to find his niece (revealed right at the end of the game to be his daughter, in fact) Meryl Silverburgh. She is a rookie soldier assigned to FOXHOUND, as was inadvertently caught up in the rebellion. When Snake finds her, she is a prisoner.

Successfully infiltrating the facility, he locates Anderson in short order. Anderson informs him that the stated purpose of the facility is a lie. In reality, it was the research and development centre for a new type of Metal Gear – the REX model – that the US government was developing as a means of maintaining its nuclear capability in secret, even if there was a reduction in nuclear warheads. While discussing this, Anderson suffers an apparent heart attack, leaving Snake baffled as to how it could have happened, since Anderson was a reasonably healthy person.

Snake it isContinuing his search, Snake then finds the other hostage, Kenneth Baker. Revolver Ocelot, now one of the members of FOXHOUND,
attempts to stop Snake from saving Baker, but is himself attacked by a mysterious character who moves supernaturally fast and fights with a katana. In this confrontation, Ocelot loses his right hand. In the ensuing moments, Baker starts to brief Snake on the Metal Gear and the capabilities of the new model, but like the Anderson, he suddenly succumbs to an apparent heart attack.

Snake is directed to find the lead designer of the REX, Hal ‘Otacon’ Emmerich, to learn how he may best render the weapons platform useless and and disarm the nuclear threat to Washington. Upon locating Otacon in his laboratory, Snake is again confronted by the mysterious warrior who injured Ocelot, who can essentially be called a cyborg ninja. After fighting each other, Snake realizes that it is actually his former ally Gray Fox, who he believed to have killed years earlier in Zanzibar Land. It is later revealed that Fox was subjected to an experimental enhancement programme, which leads to his current abilities and method of fighting.

Defeating Gray Fox, who flees, Snake finally learns the capabilities of the new Metal Gear from Emmerich, who is by now remorseful of his involvement in its development. Otacon agrees to aid Snake remotely. Snake meets with Meryl and agrees for her to accompany him on his mission. They head off to the underground facility where the Metal Gear is housed, but partway there, they are ambushed by a member of FOXHOUND, Sniper Wolf. Meryl is seriously wounded, and Snake is captured.

While imprisoned, Liquid confirms Snake’s suspicion that they are brothers, products of the Les Enfants Terrible programme. After being tortured for several hours by Revolver Ocelot, Snake manages to escape, and continues his mission, descending into the bowls of the facility.

In his explorations, he discovers the corpse of Donald Anderson, the DARPA representative. Anderson was clearly tortured, and didn’t die from a heart attack. He learns that the ‘Anderson’ he encountered earlier was, in fact, a member of FOXHOUND in disguise, and he was killed by an engineered nanovirus called FOXDIE. As part of the injection Snake received before he started with the mission, he was infected with FOXDIE. The nanovirus is targeted to very specific people, identifying them by their genetic markers. In this case, the victims were the members of FOXHOUND and the high profile hostages, Baker and Anderson. Snake was to serve as a walking vector, infecting each member merely by coming in close proximity to them.

Infiltrate the Hangar

Infiltrating Metal Gear’s hangar, Snake overhears Liquid Snake and Ocelot preparing the launch sequence for Metal Gear REX. In an attempt to deactivate the weapon, he finds that one of his advisors (via radio) has actually been Liquid Snake all along, and that he had been manipulated into, in fact, arming the REX. With Liquid piloting the Metal Gear, the two brothers face off.

Snake eventually destroys Metal Gear REX with the help of Grey Fox, who dies during the battle. Liquid survives the destruction of the Metal Gear, and the fight continues, with Solid Snake knocking Liquid unconscious long enough to make his escape. He is then reunited with Meryl, and they escape in a jeep while being chased by Liquid. Cornering Snake and Meryl, Liquid (conveniently) succumbs to the FOXDIE virus just as he is about to shoot them.

After the end credits the player finds out Snake has an indeterminate amount of time left before FOXDIE kills him. Ocelot is revealed to be a double agent for the President of the United States, George Sears, or Solidus Snake, the third ‘son’ of Big Boss. Ocelot’s intention all along was to obtain Baker’s disk containing Metal Gear’s specifications and deliver it to the President.

Sons of Liberty

Sons of Liberty opens on a dark, foreboding George Washington Bridge in New York City, in 2007, two years after the Fox Archipelago incident. Solid Snake and Otacon, now members of a non-government organization called Philanthropy, are investigating the development of a new Metal Gear consistently described as being amphibious and having been designed as a counter-Metal Gear weapon.

Since leaking the specifications for REX at the end of Metal Gear Solid (it is assumed that Solidus Snake approved this), the world has seen a multitude of Metal Gear designs spring up all over the planet. The new model was designed specifically to deal with any Metal Gear derivates which may be deployed against the US.

Shortly after Snake’s arrival on the disguised oil tanker U.S.S. Discovery, a group of Russian terrorists under the command of Russian nationalist Sergei Gurlukovich attack the ship. After sneaking up to the bridge, Snake encounters Olga, Sergei’s daughter, who has refused to leave the tanker despite being pregnant.

After he successfully tranquilizes her in combat, he sneaks his way down to the holds in order to record pictures of the new Metal Gear, RAY, an amphibious anti-Metal Gear prototype. Matters rapidly escalate as Revolver Ocelot betrays and murders Gurlukovich. It is revealed that Ocelot has received a new arm following Metal Gear Solid, that of the late Liquid Snake, which via unknown means causes a change in Revolver Ocelot’s demeanor and behavior, with Liquid somehow ‘possessing’ him. Under Liquid’s control he sinks the tanker in the New York harbor, and escapes with RAY before regaining command of his body. Solid Snake is assumed dead.

The player finds himself in control of Raiden, supposedly operating under a reformed FOXHOUND two years after the previous event. Specifically, the game takes place on April 29, 2009. Initially referred to as ‘Snake’, his orders are to rescue hostages, including the US President, from a terrorist group calling themselves the Sons of Liberty. They are are also threatening to destroy the Big Shell clean-up facility in New York harbor. The Big Shell was built to clean up the environmental damage that occurred with the sinking of the Discovery two years prior.

Box Art -Sons of LibertyRaiden infiltrates the Big Shell via sea while a SEAL team does so via helicopter. He joins forces with SEAL Lieutenant Junior Grade Iroquois Pliskin – actually Solid Snake in a paper thin disguise. Seriously, if the player couldn’t immediately see that this is Solid Snake, they were not paying attention.

With the assistance of (yet another) mysterious cyborg ninja calling itself Mr. X, Raiden locates the President, and discovers that the Big Shell is the development facility for a new Metal Gear. Known as Arsenal Gear, it houses a powerful AI supercomputer, “GW”, capable of controlling information transmitted over the Internet. The President also claims the democratic process is a sham, and the true rulers of the United States are an organization known as the Patriots.

Revolver Ocelot kills him soon after, and Raiden proceeds to his final objective: disabling Arsenal Gear. Pliskin, having revealed himself as the true Snake, and Emma Emmerich, an Arsenal Gear engineer and sister of Otacon, assist Raiden in attempting to destroy the “GW” AI by uploading a virus. On the way to the computer room, one of the Sons of Liberty, Vamp, attacks Emma. The virus transfer aborts partway through, and Emma dies due to a fatal knife wound fr
om the attack from Vamp. Snake and Raiden are left with no choice but to disable Arsenal Gear physically. As Snake’s partner Otacon escapes with the surviving hostages by helicopter, Mr. X returns, revealing itself to be Olga Gurlukovich, and knocks Raiden unconscious by hitting him in the back with her sword.

Awakening naked in an Arsenal torture chamber, Raiden is questioned by Solidus Snake, the true terrorist leader. Solidus reveals that Raiden is now a Patriot agent, since FOXHOUND was never reformed by the US military. Raiden is there as an extension of the Patriots, to keep Solidus, who is essentially rebelling against them, from achieving his goals.

Sneaky SneakyOlga Gurlukovich, working as a Patriot double-agent within the Sons of Liberty, helps Raiden escape, and he locates Snake within Arsenal Gear. As they fight through the mammoth vessel, Raiden’s commanding officer begins to act extremely erratically. It becomes apparent that the “Colonel” that Raiden has been taking orders from is actually a creation of the GW super-computer, pieced together from information about Colonel Roy Campbell coupled with Raiden’s own expectations in order to manipulate him. The erratic behavior of the simulation is the result of the virus uploaded earlier beginning to damage GW’s systems.

Raiden is forced into battle with the battalion of 25 Metal Gear RAY units guarding the Big Shell. Olga intervenes to protect him, but is then restrained by Solidus. Olga explains that 2 years ago, right after giving birth to her child, the Patriots took the baby away and have been holding her child hostage ever since. Olga continues to explain that the Patriots blackmailed her, ordering her to become a double-agent or have the Patriots kill her child daughter.

Solidus executes Olga and discards her corpse, turning his attention to Raiden. With all hope seemingly lost, the RAY units begin to malfunction, attacking each other and Solidus as the virus tears through the GW AI’s program. Arsenal begins an emergency ascent to the surface, and Raiden, Solidus and Snake – now a prisoner as well, are carried to the roof of the fortress as it surfaces.

To Solidus’ increasing rage, Ocelot reveals that he too is a Patriot agent. He boards the prototype Metal Gear RAY stolen from the Discovery two years previous, and attempts to finish off the Snake, Raiden and Solidus. However, Liquid possesses him, and announces his plan to hunt down the Patriots based on his host’s knowledge. Setting Arsenal on a collision-course with New York, Liquid Ocelot launches RAY into the ocean, followed by Snake.

Arsenal comes to a halt in downtown New York, launching Raiden and Solidus onto the roof of Federal Hall. Solidus reveals to Raiden his reasons for trying to steal Arsenal: a nuclear electro-magnetic pulse would take down Manhattan’s digital infrastructure and allow Solidus to lead it as a republic against the Patriots, a nation of “Sons of Liberty”.

Likewise the Patriots, via another AI, contact Raiden to reveal the truth of their actions. The AIs are programmed to become ‘digital censors’, removing harmful or implicating information from the electronic world. With such control over the flow of digital information, they could easily be manipulating the ‘facts’ for their own needs – in effect, changing history to suit them.

Sons of LibertyBelieving the only option available is to track down the Patriots using the information in Raiden’s neural implants, Solidus offers him one final duel. Raiden defeats Solidus, and as crowds descend upon the wreckage of Arsenal Gear, Snake and Raiden meet one last time, where his mentor informs him that only he can choose what to believe in, and that he must pass on what he believes to be true.

Having planted a tracking device on Liquid Ocelot’s Metal Gear, he and Otacon plan to follow him, and to hunt down the Patriots, whose details were hidden in the GW computer virus disc. As Snake disappears into the crowd, the sun dawns on April 30, 2009 – the 220th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as President of the United States.

In a brief epilogue, Otacon and Snake discuss the decoding of the virus disc, which reveals that all 12 members of the Wisemen’s Committee (the Patriots’ ruling council) have been dead for approximately 100 years, and that one of them is a major sponsor of Philanthropy.

In closing

Next week, we take a look at what is known about the plot for Guns of the Patriots, and make some educated guesses as to where the finale is heading. Also, a summary of everything known about the Patriots.

Last Updated: May 30, 2008

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