Doo...Doo...Doo...Doo Doo Doo......Doo...Doo...Doo Doo Doo Doo......
I actually ended up writing so much for this, that I had to scale it back drastically (I'm known for doing that kind of thing these days). I have to save some of it for next year I guess. There’s actually two layers of limits holding me back from going all out with these entries, so thank the forces of nature that will keep all of the Metal Gear Solid posts tempered to a certain extent. Today I’m going to begin talking about my favorite entry in the entire franchise (and personal favorite game of all time), the 1998 edition of Metal Gear Solid. Unfortunately, I still don’t have my own technical issues solved yet, so my music player is stuck where it is for the time being. I still have access to a scanner though, so I’ll continue scanning in my Shinkawa collection for these two entries.
As always, lets go ahead and get the story summary of my progress out of the way…skip on down if you’re not in the mood.
Story Summary ~ My Progress Thus Far
It’s been six years since the fall of Zanzibar. Solid Snake has retreated to Alaska, leading a solitary life as a dog musher. One day, he is approached by armed soldiers and is taken against his will to a submarine, The Discovery. While on board, Snake’s former commander, Roy Campbell approaches him while accompanied by an unknown woman. Campbell then proceeds to tell Snake that his military expertise is once again required to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Snake is far from eager to accept this mission, claiming that he is no patriot and owes his country absolutely nothing. Regardless of this, Campbell continues on, self-assured that Snake will still help him. Just five hours prior to their meeting, a nuclear weapons disposal facility was captured. The assaulting terrorists have presented multiple demands; two priority ones being one billion dollars and someone’s biological remains. The remains in question belonged to the man known in his time as the greatest living soldier in the world, Big Boss.
In addition to learning of the dangers from the terrorists acquiring Big Boss’ genetic information, Snake learns another alarming truth…
The leaders of the rebellion are none other than Snake’s own former unit, FOX-HOUND. This unit is typically composed of a tight-nit group of highly elite and specialized soldiers. While Campbell is explaining all of this, the woman introduces herself as Dr. Naomi Hunter, a gene therapist and chief of FOX-HOUND’s medical staff. She then gives Snake an injection of nanomachines, which will have multiple uses in his upcoming mission. To further understand the sensitive climate of nuclear weapons, Campbell informs Snake that they’ve been assigned a nuclear materials analyst and weapons expert, Nastasha Romanenko (who will also aid via radio support). After going over the specifics and allowing Snake a brief warm-up time in VR-training, the submarine nears the disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island…
Snake & his SOCOM - Yoji Shinkawa
After swimming his way towards the island (being spared the danger of freezing by a specialized sneaking suit), Snake begins his infiltration of the storage facility. His primary objectives are:
1: Rescue the chief of DARPA being held prisoner.
2: Investigate the nuclear capabilities of the terrorists and stop them if they actually have the ability to make a nuclear strike.
*Also, as a personal request from Campbell, Snake was asked to rescue a young soldier, Meryl Silverburgh. She is Campbell’s niece and was taken hostage when FOX-HOUND occupied the island.*
As Snake makes his way through the docks and heliport, he’s introduced to the inventor of his radio transmission system (The Codec), as well as his personal radar (Soliton Radar System), Mei Ling. After she instructs him on how to properly use both, Snake proceeds into the interior of the facility via the ventilation ducts. On the way, he is contacted by his survival expert during Zanzibar, Master Miller. Snake then continues on, making his way inside the tank hangar building. Soon after, he is able to locate the DARPA chief and uses the ducts to drop down into his cell. Unfortunately, the chief informs Snake that the terrorists do actually have the ability to launch. However, they first need passwords from both the chief himself and the ArmsTech president, Kenneth Baker. More bad news comes as the chief reluctantly tells Snake that the terrorists acquired his code already through Psycho Mantis. Mantis is one of the six members of FOX-HOUND and possesses extremely honed psychokinetic & telepathic abilities. Not only that, but Snake is also told how the terrorist physically plan to launch the warheads…
A new model of Metal Gear is being hidden on base, Metal Gear Rex.
As Snake prepares to extract the DARPA chief, something extremely alarming happens. The chief goes through a violent series of spasms and falls while desperately reaching out towards Snake. Upon checking his pulse, Snake learns that he’s dead. While asking Naomi what happened (she observes that it looked like a heart attack), he hears a scuffle in the next cell. A few moments later, the chief’s cell’s is unlocked and opened. Snake begins to make his way out with extreme caution...
As Snake peers outside the cell, he just makes out a nude soldier’s unconscious figure before feeling the barrel of a FAMAS assault rifle against his temple. Snake slowly turns and faces the stolen fatigue’s new owner, a nervous young woman in disguise. He reprimands her for her shaking posture and tells her that the safety to her gun is still on. Instantaneously, Snake draws his own SOCOM pistol and aims right back at her, creating a standoff. The young woman is now becoming noticeably agitated with Snake’s provocations, but before either can act any further, a swarm of soldiers flood the room. Snake begins to fire on them without hesitation, but the disguised woman continues to showcase a nervous hesitation.
Solid Snake - Yoji Shinkawa
At Snake’s urging, the woman lets loose a round from her assault rifle, shredding through three oncoming soldiers, killing them. Just as they finish fending the off their assailants, the young woman hollowly thanks Snake and takes off down the corridor. Snake immediately tries to follow her (making note of how her rear-end wiggles in mid-stride), but the young woman turns around and spreads a round of cover fire, preventing him from further pursuit. Just as the elevator doors close, Snake witnesses a tall thin man wearing a trench coat and a gas-mask, apparently floating in mid-air. He utters one phrase before vanishing from Snake’s sight:
“Good girl, just like that…”
Naomi informs him through codec that what Snake saw was probably Psycho Mantis. As a side effect of Mantis’ telepathy, what Snake actually saw himself was a sort of mental feedback loop. Snake then continues on through the armory, making use of a clue provided to him by the DARPA chief (to locate Baker’s hidden location). As long as Baker doesn’t give up his password, the launch is still easily preventable. Snake finally finds the ArmsTech President, who is tied to a pillar surrounded by C4 tripwires. As Snake realizes the gravity of the trap, he’s able to just dodge a single bullet aimed directly at him from someone else in the room. The gunman then steps out and announces his identity, FOX-HOUND member Revolver Ocelot. Ocelot serves as the team’s specialist interrogator has an extremely alarming talent with gun-fighting (his favored gun being a Colt Single Action Army). As Snake battles Ocelot, a mysterious third party intervenes. Just as Ocelot turns to face Snake, his right arm is sliced clean off (still holding his favored revolver pistol). Horrified, Ocelot picks up his gun still being clutched by his severed hand and angrily flees the scene.
The cloaked figure then appears and can be described only as a type of cyborg-ninja. Snake proceeds to pull his gun on the oncoming threat, demanding its identity. The ninja then stops and while holding up its high-frequency katana blade, it replies:
“I am like you, I have no name…”
The figure then seems to lose control of itself. It makes it’s way from the room wildly screaming and randomly slicing the walls on it’s way out. Snake then helps Baker up (who was knocked clear across the room as the ninja severed all the C4 tripwires with its appearance). As Snake talks to Baker, he learns that there is an override for deactivating the launch. Unfortunately however, Baker gave the terrorists his code as well. This means that they now have the ability to launch a nuclear assault at will. Oddly, Baker tells Snake that both he and the DARPA chief had surgical implants in their brains to prevent psychic mind-probing. This contradicts with what the DARPA chief told Snake earlier, as that was apparently how his code was taken from him. Now faced with the failure to prevent the codes from being acquired, Snake is left with two options. He can either use the override sequence to deactivate the launch, or destroy Metal Gear itself. Baker says that he gave the override keys to a female soldier that was thrown in prison with him earlier. He also advises Snake to seek out Dr. Hal Emmerich, the designer of Metal Gear Rex.
Just as Snake concludes his conversation with Baker, the president goes into a similar series of convulsions that the DARPA chief did. Moments later, Snake finds himself staring at yet another dead body. Now overwhelmingly suspicious, Snake seeks advice from his radio support, but they’re all just as confused as he is. Cambpell then tells Snake to seek out the female soldier with the override keys (who they both now suspect is Meryl). Using an optical test data disc given to him by Baker, Snake is able to get in contact with the woman he met earlier, who is indeed Meryl Silverburgh. Using her help, Snake crosses the canyon towards the nuclear storage building where Dr. Emmerich is being held. As Snake makes his way across the canyon however, he receives an anonymous codec call from someone not using burst transmission (meaning they are somewhere on the base). This anonymous caller tells Snake that there are mines directly in front of him and there is a tank in front of his current position, waiting to ambush him.
Cyborg Ninja - Yoji Shinkawa
Snake moves forth and meets his second member of FOX-HOUND, Vulcan Raven. A giant shaman, Raven seems to have a spiritual lust for battle and proceeds to assault Snake in an M1-Tank. Snake is able to blow up the tank using tactically thrown grenades and immediately continues across the canyon (though the durable Raven is still left alive inside). Inside, Naomi programs his nanomachines so that he’s not physically able to fire his own weapons. Slightly angered, Snake demands to know why. Campbell and Naomi inform him that he’s on the first floor of the nuclear storage building; any stray gunfire won’t cause detonations, but may cause serious nuclear material leaks. Snake then uses the elevator to proceed down to the second floor basement where Dr. Emmerich is being held. On his way, he receives yet another call from the mysterious informant (titling himself “Deepthroat”). He tells Snake that he’ll need remote controlled missiles to help him proceed across a gassed corridor with an electrified floor (used to prevent Dr. Emmerich from escaping). Looking around the building, Snake finds a nikita missle launcher and destroys the control panel giving electricity to the flooring. He then continues on towards Dr. Emmerich’s lab.
Just as Snake is outside the corridor leading to the lab however, he hears something disturbing. A soldier in the next room can be heard violently screaming before he’s silenced (with guttural cutting sounds being the catalyst for that silence). As Snake opens the door to the corridor, he’s introduced to a hallway riddled with bloody corpses. Snake makes note that they’ve all be slashed with some sort of blade and continues on down the hallway. Just as he’s at the corner, a young soldier lumbers around and eerily declares that he’s seen a ghost before falling down, dead. Snake peers around the corner and sees a soldier impaled on a sword, seemingly floating in mid-air. Suddenly the same ninja from earlier appears as his stealth camouflage deactivates; he slings the skewered soldier to the floor. Slicing the door controls he gently glides into Dr. Emmerich’s lab. Now presented with an obvious threat to the doctor's life, Snake immediately follows him in.
Inside, he sees Dr. Emmerich cowering against a wall, urinating on himself. The ninja then appears and demands to see “his friend”, just as the doctor notices Snake in the room. The cyborg then turns to face Snake and almost happily welcomes him to the scene. The ninja declares that he’s removed all obstacles for them to have a fight to the death. Emmerich then uses this opportunity to latch himself safely inside a nearby locker. The ninja happily welcomes him as a spectator and proceeds to fight Snake. As the battle drags on, Snake finds that he’s doing no damage to the ninja at all; he easily deflects all Snake’s projectiles with his sword denouncing him each time. It’s obvious the mysterious individual is simply toying with him, so Snake throws away all his weapons and fights the figure hand-to-hand. Happy with this change, the ninja also throws away his sword and the two continue brawling with each other in a fist fight amongst the lab’s equipment. When seems that Snake is finally gaining the upper hand the soldier asks Snake if he remembers him. Snake seems to recognize the moment as well as the man, just before the ninja loses control of himself again and flees the room.
Calling Campbell and Naomi, Snake immediately declares the identity of the Ninja, Gray Fox.
After calming down, an irritated Snake demands Dr. Emmerich come out of the locker and asks him where Metal Gear is being stored. Emmerich (advising Snake to call him Otacon), naively tells Snake that Metal Gear is a defense system used to shoot down missiles. Snake angrily grabs Otacon and holds him up, demanding that the machine was designed from the beginning for nuclear warfare. Realizing that Otacon was merely being used, Snake releases him and two go over the danger that Metal Gear Rex presents. After informing Snake that Rex lies in an underground maintenance base to the north, Meryl calls Snake. Snake informs her that the doctor is safe, but suddenly Meryl is spotted using the codec and abruptly hangs up. Otacon suggests that Snake search the women’s bathroom for her as she’s still in disguise. They also go over the only identifying trait she has, her wiggling rear-end. Snake then departs to find Meryl; Otacon uses the stealth camoflauge (that he designed as well) to make his way around the base safely without being detected.
Environments - Yoji Shinkawa
Using the aforementioned clues, Snake locates Meryl and the two discuss plans to make their way towards the maintenance base in the women’s lavatory. She gives him a single key for the override, but Snake mentions that there should be three keys. Not realizing where the other two are, they have to take the only option left to them, destroy Metal Gear itself. As the two set off, they notice that all the guards have disappeared and an eerie tune that has been playing for a while has suddenly stopped. While making their way towards a commander’s room in their path, Meryl suddenly begins to act odd. Just as they’re inside the room, Meryl suddenly pulls her own handgun out and aims it at Snake. Naomi informs him that Psycho Mantis must be in the vicinity using her as a puppet. Snake then knocks Meryl out as a non-lethal solution. Mantis then uncloaks himself, as he was also using the same stealth camouflage as the ninja. He arrogantly demonstrates his power to Snake and the two proceed to fight. Snake is at a disadvantage however, as Mantis can read every move he makes, so he’s able to easily dodge any attack Snake executes. After a while, everyone figures out a “trick” to elude him and Snake uses the mechanic to hide his thoughts from Mantis. Snake is then able to easily dispatch Mantis and Meryl regains consciousness. As the two both talk to a dying Mantis, the clairvoyant soldier remarks on some disturbing similarities between him and Snake. He tells them to use a hidden passage to proceed towards the underground maintenance base. The overland route is blocked by frozen glaciers so the only viable path is the underground passage leading through the Communications Towers. He also uses his power to expose a hidden path in the room just before dying. Snake and Meryl then make their way through some caves. Just as they’re making their way through the underground passage, Meryl uses an image she received via Mantis’ earlier mind-control to navigate an otherwise cloaked mined area.
As the two make their way across the passage, Snake notices a red laser sighting crawling across Meryl’s body. Just before they can react, a gunshot announces the presence of the next FOX-HOUND elite, Sniper Wolf. Meryl is shot multiple times and immediately falls to the ground as Snake dashes out of sight. They’re both in a bad situation, as Snake has no way of fighting Wolf with his current weapons and she’s using Meryl as bait to lure him out. Snake then calls Otacon on his codec and Otacon very reluctantly informs Snake that a spare sniper rifle (belonging to Wolf herself) is back in the tank hangar. Telling a near-death Meryl to hang on, Snake leaves her and proceeds all the way back to the tank hangar he first penetrated earlier. After finding Wolf’s spare rifle, Snake retraces his steps and proceeds to battle Wolf in a sniper duel. As Snake seemingly neutralizes her, he notices not only has she disappeared, but Meryl has been taken as well.
Sniper Wolf - Yoji Shinkawa
While proceeding towards the Communications Tower door, a handful of soldiers hold Snake up at gunpoint, catching him off guard. He then turns to face a beautiful Kurdish woman, Sniper Wolf; who happens to be aiming directly at him. She walks up to him and slashes him across the face, announcing (almost lovingly) that she’s left her mark on him and won’t forget Snake until he’s dead. She then signals to the soldiers holding Snake up, and one of them hits him on the back of his head, knocking him unconscious. They then drag Snake away from the Communications Tower as Wolf watches on.
*To Be Continued*
Where Is Solid Snake?
Where does the player end in the Solid series?
Where exactly does Snake begin?
This can be said for any video-game with a strong integral narrative-heart really, but where is the art, so to speak for any character in such a game? We have clearly defined lines for every other medium. Is a "game's haze" here more proof of its versatility or has the medium just not taking such forms yet? Is there is there possibly an outright limit to characterization in games altogether?
As an example:
Film & Theater - Most of the the art lies in the actor's ability to communicate dialogue, mannerisms, and certain idiosyncrasies that can't be grasped elsewhere to convey things such as emotion. Collectively, they all hold up whatever overarching narrative the story is attempting to tell. As an ideal this side of entertainment is meant to give visual sustenance to the audience.
Literature & Books - The unfair muscle with books is that they showcase the most intimate form of the thought process and can communicate it with ease. No other medium will probably be able to naturally have that talent that written literature does, because written word is as sensual as any narrative or or character can communicate from within. It's why films, music, and even games (no matter ho haphazardly) are built on such constructs as scripts.
Music & Sound - The only other thing able to compete with written word is sound. Music and sounds are the color of reality as we know it, and it has evolved throughout the times with the same consistency and power that even books maintain to this day (albeit with a tad more style).
There's clear cut facilities for these three big mediums. Three areas that the audiences can plug themselves into in order to to experience certain aspects not only individual to them, but integral to the respective medium itself. Video-games are an amalgamation of such strengths, so when an enjoyable character such as Solid Snake presents himself, it shows lightning in a bottle. The flaw however, is that this also shows the withered condition of the bottle itself...
I've seen the conflict since I first laid hands on the game, and I wonder about it each time. Some people don't really see "Snake" per say, they see a character who is being voiced by David Hayter, or they see some character built on cliche Western standards that at best only equate to a B-level action movie. I've noticed quite plainly that very few people actually effing see...Snake. The character within the space of the world. It's a given that we take advantage of in all of our other mediums, but we are quick to damn certain portions of games like Metal Gear Solid that are the closest thing (to it's own true world) we have right now.
Meryl Silverburgh - Yoji Shinkawa
Even in tandem with Shinkawa's artwork (which didn't begin until Metal Gear Solid), Snake has gone through plenty of changes. As gamers, we've all been forced to roll them all up into one being to enjoy. Snake has become so irrevocably tied to certain visages and images for fans that it's ironically the amalgamation of of his makeup that we hold dear. What I'd really enjoy to hear is the opinion of someone who loathes Snake that still enjoys his presence in the game, but I doubt I'll get that lucky.
I'm not going to go rambling on about cutscenes as I did that in the 1-4 section of my Games as Art posts over a year ago. I'll simply say why I exclude the MGS series in my current disdain for the use of cutscenes. Simply put, it's not trying to be anymore than what it is (or "was" given your stance on the finality of "Metal Gear" with Metal Gear Solid 4). From the beginning, the Solid series seemed predicated on it's use of scenes in order to convey it's story. It's not using them as the crutch most games use cutscenes for now, it's just simply a convenient coincidence most people use to trash the franchise these days. I'm all for tweaking certain sequences in the game, but let's not pretend that the Metal Gear Solid series is the mother of malice when it comes to a video-game's cheap-shot cutscenes. It's actually one of the few games actually "using" them rather than "relying" on them. There is a difference...
Tying right into the above section, this part is a little messy and contradicting as well, so forgive me.
Prior to the Genome Hall Massacre, if the player flattens against the wall to the right after stepping off the elevator in B2 of the Nuclear Weapons Storage building, they'll see Otacon pacing back and forth in his lab. For anyone that has played the game before, they know all the ensuing trigger points:
A - Just after the air-cleaner the player will hear a soldier yelling "freeze!" just before being viscerally butchered...
B - Just past that room, the player will be greeted with the corpse-laden hallway...
C - Further procession down the hall shows the player a terrified and mortally wounded soldier, who claims that he's just seen a ghost.
D - A cutscene depicting the aggressor, Gray Fox, skewering an impaled genome soldier.
E - Snake/Player is allowed to enter the door to Otacon's lab.
This is not so much of a rant as it is a question to anyone:
Where does the offense of cinema here lie most?
One can't strip moments like these without greatly compromising what makes the game so special in the first place. Things like actually being able to use the corner view to watch Gray Fox slam the impaled soldier down; is that an addition or a detraction? Also, going back to retrofit any game is a fickle and insecure process that I don't greet too warmly myself (it doesn't do the game any justice either).I just wanted to provide the observations while posing questions.
What lies between the aforementioned sequence of events (other than the pragmatic answer: gameplay). Could they be tampered to temper the spatial context of the moment? Pushing that further, could instances like my 4D rant earlier this year be messed with in a positive way (e.g. if the above trigger points disappeared entirely)? Even little details like Otacon sneaking around through the base in stealth camo ties in here. He does show up later to help snake from that position, but what if the player was actually able to run into him or contact him in such contexts (other than the scripted sequences of course)? Those latter ones are all no doubt technical limitations, it's a simmering thought however, nonetheless.
Character Cards - Yoji Shinawaka
The major Metal Gear Solid themes typically revolve around specific cultural evolutions (Gene:MGS, Meme:MGS2, Scene:MGS3, Sense:MGS4). Metal Gear Solid is a bit aberrant here though. It's theme is more dictated from a biological contingency whereas all the others lean more towards cultural (MGS4's "sense" might be the most evenly divided of them all). Everything from the briefing, to Snake's abduction in Alaska, to Liquid Snake's rant about the asymmetry theory and Super Baby Method; they're all built on biological fictive constructs. It's interesting when a game can generate it's own fiction like that, as opposed to just throwing extreme radicals out left and right (e.g. omfg something mutated to mask variation in game mechanics!). It has to be managed in such a way that can actually cause the player to question whether or not the game is making a real reference on something and to question the extent to which it does. If fiction doesn't lead one to embrace non-fiction, of what worth is the fiction? I also described this in my Xenogears playthrough, but when a game earnestly generates it's own world, there's almost nothing else more important (for a game telling a story anyway...). It's not about creating a realistic world or a simulation of our own. It's simply about creating A world, plain and simple. Ours is merely a template, and a broken one at that.
Damn the Discrepancies!
Why do fanboys argue about the passion for particulars? I won't preach as if I don't still do this myself, but of what worth is it? It has to be some spiritual form of masturbation (e.g. "nerd boners" and what not). Sometimes, gamers let these tiny little details destroy their perception of games they claim to love. They will in turn ruin their own experience by blindingly shooting off passion where it has no place. Two examples of this are the natural color of Snake's hair and irises. Not even Kojima himself will convince me now that Snake's natural hair color isn't blonde, so crazed fanboys forming laws from worlds that step on their own toes left and right won't sway me either. It's not too unlike the beauty of science itself, which is built of known laws and observations (which can be destroyed or subverted in the blink of an eye). I tend to hate scientists who swing their "e-penises" around there as well. Calm the hell down and enjoy what's yours.
The Worst Metaphor Ever
For this section, I'm going to perversely enforce a metaphor and beat you over the head with it...
Let's pretend for a second that Metal Gear 1 & 2 are collectively Big Boss. They possess fundamental gifts for initiating the mass of the mainstream game industry towards "stealth" (which in the game's context means opening the military's interest in the profitability of a soldier). This eventually culminates in the the outright clone of the game/soldier's potential (Metal Gear Solid/Solid Snake). The creation of a perfect synthesized soldier is apparent now, just as Metal Gear Solid is far from a perfect game. However, this is one of the many realizations I've had when figuring that this entry in the series is the subjective zenith of the entire franchise for myself and myself alone (perhaps some people share my opinion as well).
Make Me Feel It by ~Snake-Link-Sonic on deviantART
I even stuck one of my little doodles in today.
Solid Snake may not have technically been the best clone per say (even more so during the game's end), but he's by far my favorite one and was in a sense the most accomplished of them all. The title is so forceful, that it oozes context not only towards it's inevitable sequels but it's predecessors as well. the continuity here is obvious. However, what MGS does to it's prequels is apparent most when the game begins to center around Big Boss and Solid Snake's direct relationship, or Solid Snake's confrontation with Gray Fox. Metal Gear Solid purposefully applies more context to the first two Metal Gear games to further aid to it's own.
1 - The player doesn't actually witness Big Boss' "revelation" to Solid Snake in Metal Gear 2, but learn so through this title.
2 - The entire confrontation between Snake and Fox in B2 of the nuclear weapons storage building, as well as Snake's reflection on the event later in the game.
3 - Various overlapping historical references to further establish the game's fictional world (i.e. Liquid Snake citing the Gulf War).
To "seal off" this horrible metaphor, I'll quickly interpret the three sequels to this game (or clones if you prefer).
Metal Gear Solid 2 - a simulated (yet "true") experience of the prior game's conflict, echoing Raiden's purpose within the game itself.
Metal Gear Solid 3 - An underlying truth of matters that flourish anger and distaste by it's end for the player. This of ourse, would be echoing Liquid Snake's treatment throughout his entire life.
Metal Gear Solid 4 - A righteous wrath against the Patriots with no exceptions. This echos Solidus' will in Sons of Liberty, as his goals and ideals are far from what can be considered "wrong" or even immoral to an extent.
I've traced over this many times in this blog without confronting it directly. I won't continue on with a long-winded observation, but I will let this bit of dialogue speak for itself.
Snake: "A rail gun you said?"
Emmerich: "Yeah.It uses magnets to fire bullets at extremely high
velocities. The technology was originally developed for the SDI
system and later scrapped. We were successful in miniaturizing it
in a joint venture between ArmsTech and Rivermore National Labs.
The rail gun is on Rex's right arm."
How many games still do that kind of thing, even to this day? Hell, it's even hard to name five JRPGs that do it, and the amount of earnest "world-building" is a prerequisite for those titles.
Psycho Mantis - Yoji Shinkawa
"And each mind that I peered into was stuffed with the same single
object of obsession. That selfish and atavistic dsire to pass on
one's seed... it was enough to make me sick. Every living thing
on this planet exists to mindlessly pass on their DNA. We're
designed that way. And that's why there is war. But you... you
are different... You're the same as us. We have no past, no
future. We live in the moment. That's out only purpose. Humans
weren't designed to bring each other happiness. From the moment
we're thrown into this world, we're fated to bring each other
nothing but pain and misery."
- Psycho Mantis
Psycho Mantis is an overrated encounter. No doubt that the fight is loved by myself and even forces a quick smirk whenever I witness things like a black screen with "HIDEO" in the upper right. I've seen this touted as one of the best battles in any game, and I don't even hold it in that high of a regard for this title alone. People's awe from it are so contingent on it's 4th wall breaks and the quirky physical interactions the player has to make to compensate for fighting FOX-HOUND's psychic soldier (it's silly to pedestalize it for those reasons alone). He definitely has some of the best quotes in the series though...
Mantis: "I've seen true evil...You Snake...You're just like the Boss... No, you're worse. Compared to you, I'm not so bad."
Even quotes like that directly effect the player because it's yanking along their own persona that has been integrated into Snake's (provided they're playing the game that way). That in itself is an allusion to the intro topic for this blog.
This is one of the few actual in-play allusions that Metal Gear Solid makes to it's predecessors. These damn pitfalls became an overwhelming presence in the first Metal Gear game, and they appear in Metal Gear Solid as well. I only know of them in the armory of the tank hangar and just beyond the permafrost layer outside the underground base. Yes, I have the game's map built into my fucking head at this point. A more sad fact is that I passively recited (from memory) the entire game's dialogue over PalTalk to a group of awestruck people once.
Plenty of the Metal Gear bosses talk during their confrontations with Snake, but Ocelot is distinct. He is usually heard uttering excited phrases that can be taken humorously into sexual context. In both Metal Gear Solid and Snake Eater, he can be heard expressing an almost sensual exuberance to his fight with Snake. It ties into the game itself as it centers around the act of his reloading, and that's the most significant weakness he has as an opponent.
Revolver Ocelot: "there's nothing like slamming a long silver bullet...into a well greased chamber..."
Recreation of Shadow Moses
Even the game's own narrative expresses the importance Shadow Moses had in the context of the series' overarching story. It constantly references and uses information that's crucial to certain situations; all because they stem from the Shadow Moses incident (e.g. Rex's appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4). Let's not forget what Metal Gear Solid 2 virtually is as well...
As Snake's only friend, Otacon's presence in this series is necessary. His reappearance in all the Solid games except Snake Eater is a testament to that (and even in Snake Eater his ancestor's plans clearly seen). What's really interesting is that the non-canonical ending for this game in which Otacon is saved makes more sense than the canonical one (going off the tone of what carries on into Metal Gear Solid 2). One can't kill certain people without creating TIME PARADOXES though (*coughMerylcough*)...so damn the discrepancies...once again.
Snake still kind of levels up in this game as his ammo/item capacities and health bar are increased with each significant boss encounter. It's far more subtle than the previous titles as well, as more emphasis was required on running around and wasting vast amounts of resources in the Famicom games. Such is a curse for the games made in 1987 and 1990 I guess. At least 1998 showed growth in indirect areas such as these, which made the title far more accessible to the mainstream gaming populous.
Friday's Post: DFB – “The Shadow Moses Incident” (Metal Gear Solid) – Part VII