Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DFB – “The Shadow Moses Incident” (Metal Gear Solid) – Part VII

No introduction, the damn thing is big enough as it is so let's jump right into it!

Just for reference in the examination sections:
BEO - "Bird's Eye Offense" - The detrimental process that the primary overhead third-person camera had with my experience regarding the Metal Gear Solid series.

*I suppose at this point the story summaries are here simply because they are therapeutic for me to type out beforehand. If you still want to read them though, feel free to knock yourself out.*

Story Summary ~ My Progress Thus Far

Snake wakes up not to long afterwards; he is strapped to some kind of table and there are blinding white lights above him. He can very hazily hear someone with a British accent addressing him. He then hears Sniper Wolf and Revolver Ocelot speaking to this person as well. As Snake finally wakes up completely, Ocelot notices and re-aligns the table Snake is strapped to so that he's facing them all. Snake now finds himself facing the squad leader of FOX-HOUND (whom his radio support has already warned him about), Liquid Snake. Not only does this FOX-HOUND member hold the same title as Solid Snake, but the only thing distinguishing the two apart are their skin tone (as well as Snake's purposefully dyed & cut hair so as not to be confused with him). Liquid begins to express an arrogant distaste for for Snake's presence and then has a conversation with Vulcan Raven via radio. He learns that the American government is not responding to their demands and boldly tells Wolf and Ocelot that they'll be launching the first nuclear strike in ten hours as planned. He then leaves the room teasingly addressing Snake as "brother".

Sniper Wolf then makes her way towards Snake and caresses his chest (Snake has been stripped down to his pants and all of his items have been confiscated). She lustfully tells Snake that Meryl is still alive and then departs to feed the resident wolves on the island. On her way out, Ocelot comments that she'll never quit hunting Snake now; she's even been known to fall in love with some of her targets before she kills them. Ocelot then tells Snake that it's time for them to get started and he proceeds to engage Snake in his other specialty, torture. By using a specially designed machine (the table that Snake is strapped to), Ocelot continuously runs a high-voltage electric current through Snake's body, causing immense pain. As long as it's only for a short time, it won't kill him; thus it's a proficient means for the sadist to effectively interrogate Snake (various questions regarding the nuclear launch). After his first session with Ocelot, Snake is put in a cell, and notices that the DARPA chief's corpse is there along with him. Oddly, his body looks and smells as if it's been decomposing for days. Campbell and Naomi then call Snake, informing him that the U.S. government has decided not to give into FOX-HOUND's demands.

Snake then angrily scolds Campbell for only telling him half-truths as far as his mission was concerned. Campbell knew all along about the specifics of the Metal Gear Rex project. Even after Snake specifically demanded to have complete disclosure at all times, Campbell still deceived him in order for his participation. After denouncing Campbell, Snake goes over the contradictory presence of the DARPA chief's corpse with Naomi. His body has been drained of all it's blood and he appears to have been dead for several weeks (despite only dying in front of Snake's eyes a few hours ago). Still remorseful from his deception, Campbell tells Snake that his top priority is to destroy Metal Gear, but first he has to escape the cell. While waiting for any opportunity to present itself, Ocelot calls Snake for second torture session.

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Solid Snake - Yoji Shinkawa

After a second round of interrogation, Campbell and Naomi call again. This time Snake and Naomi talk idly in order to keep Snake's mind distracted from his own torture-induced pain. She hesitantly relates her experience for getting into gene therapy, as she never knew her family and wanted to find out her own genetic legacy. The closest thing she had to a relative was a brother who wasn't even blood related to her. Thanks to her makeshift sibling, she was able to survive her otherwise harsh childhood and eventually found her way to America. Naomi then questions Snake about any meaningful relationships in his life. Snake replies that he only has two friends, Roy Campbell (who is shocked that Snake still considers him a friend) and Frank Jaeger. Naomi is somewhat stunned at the mention of Gray Fox, as she knows both he and Snake tried to kill each other during the Zanzibar Uprising six years ago. Snake relates that both he and Fox were just professionals on opposite sides and that the fact that they were at war with each other placed no strain on their friendship whatsoever.

Snake also tells Naomi another unknown piece of information, Big Boss told Snake that he was his father. Naomi is shocked that Snake apparently committed patricide knowingly. However, Snake's only response was that some people just need to be killed. They then leave Snake alone and while the guard's on a bathroom break, Otacon creeps in using his stealth camouflage. He can't release Snake (the guard carries the only key), but gives Snake food, a new keycard (for when he escapes) and a handkerchief, the latter belonging to Sniper Wolf. Otacon then unsuccessfully pleads that Snake not kill her when he finds his way out (Snake simply dismisses him a Stockholm Syndrome victim). As the guard makes his way back, Otacon switches his camouflage back on and flees. Snake then uses the opportunity to hide under the only thing in the cell other than the DARPA chief, a small bed. The uncouth guards storms in the cell thinking that Snake somehow freed himself; Snake then crawls out and knocks him unconscious. Snake then grabs all of his items and makes his way back towards the underground passage he was captured in earlier. Along the way, "Deepthroat" calls Snake and urgently informs him that there's a bomb in his items. Snake is able to toss it away just as it explodes. He knows that Ocelot placed it there and irritatedly states that the sadist will pay for it.

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Cyborg Ninja, Meryl Silverburgh, Solid Snake - Yoji Shinkawa

Snake then proceeds to make his way through the underground passage, but stops once he sees the puddle of blood that Meryl occupied earlier. While blaming himself for her capture, Master Miller and Mei Ling advise him that such emotions aren't going to help him right now. While Naomi is pursuing the topic of Meryl's importance to Snake, Campbell jokingly remakes that she must be predisposed towards her inquisitive conversation. Naomi then tells them about her grandfather who was an undercover agent in President Hoover's time. Master Miller then intrusively questions her before Snake decides it's time to carry on with his mission. Just inside the communications tower, Snake finds himself a rope, but is spotted by a craftily placed security camera. Snake is then forced to evade pursuit from dozens of guards while ascending twenty-seven flights of stairs to the roof of tower A. While making his way across to tower B, a Hind helicopter launches a barrage of missiles, destroying it. It resurfaces in front of Snake. who realizes now that Liquid is the pilot. Just as Snake is about to be shot down, he uses the rope he recently found to repel off the side. This places him in between the two towers and relatively out of the Hind's immediate reach. As he makes his way down to a second walkway, The Hind chases him into tower B, where he finds a Stinger missile launcher. Though, he's safe for the moment, Snake feels he has to make his way to the roof as Liquid can be heard circling the tower, waiting for him.

While scoping out the tower, Snake finds that the first floor staircase is destroyed, preventing him from further access. He makes his way back up to the seemingly broken elevator he passed and hears something shuffling boxes around. After pulling his gun on the source of the noise, he discovers that it's Otacon who trailed him. Otacon reluctantly asks Snake about the nature of love during a time of war, and Snake surprisingly sympathizes with him. Snake then requests that Otacon fix the elevator so he can make his way down and proceed across the snowfield, towards the underground maintenance base where Metal Gear Rex is being stored. Otacon informs him that he'll fix it while Snake makes his way up to the roof to deal with Liquid aboard the Hind. On the roof, Snake demands to know why Liquid continually addresses him as brother while Liquid angrily screams that he should ask the father he killed.

Using his Stinger missile launcher, Snake is able to successfully destroy the Hind and it crashes below. He then makes his way back down and Otacon calls to tell him him that the elevator started working on it's own. While in the elevator, the weight limit warning sounds out, and it starts to descend to the first floor. Otacon calls Snake again to relate how strange the elevator's earlier malfunction was. He summarily states that it was acting as if someone was intentionally holding it; Snake then asks if the weight limit went off when Otacon was inside. Otacon tells him him it did and states that he's only around 130 pounds. Snake observes that it would take at least five people to go over the limit. Otacon suddenly realizes what's happening and urgently yells at Snake that four soldiers who stole his stealth camouflage prototypes must be in the elevator with him. As he hangs up his codec, Snake can hear a guard tell him that it's too late, and they begin to open fire on him. Through some quick thinking within the closed space, Snake is able to dispatch all four of them just as the elevator makes it to the first floor.

While making his way across the snowfield however, Snake is shot by an unknown assailant. He calls Otacon to see if any more stealth prototypes were stolen, but Otacon tells him there were just four. Snake then surmises that someone is sniping at him in the middle of a blizzard. Otacon excitedly exclaims (much to Snake's distaste) that it must be Sniper Wolf. Just then, Wolf then cuts in to their transmission. She joyfully informs Snake that she's about to kill him and Snake angrily announces his vengeance for what she did to Meryl. The two then have a second sniper-duel in the middle of the snowstorm. Using the terrain as best as he can, Snake is successful in landing a fatal lung-shot on the female assassin. As he makes his way towards her, Wolf disdainfully announces her disgust with herself. She regards Snake as a hero and asks that he end her suffering. Otacon then appears and tearfully hands a dying Sniper Wolf her rifle as all the wolf-huskies surround them, supposedly responding to their master's imminent death. Otacon mournfully tells her goodbye while professing his love for her; Snake then shoots her in the head, instantly killing her.

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The Snowfield - Yoji Shinkawa

Snake tells Otacon to leave anyway he can, and makes his way towards the underground base. Otacon refuses and states that he wants to continue helping. He then calls to Snake asking to what purpose and end they're all fighting for (including Sniper Wolf). Snake is only able to provide a vague and hollow answer however, and Otacon yells after him that he'll continue searching as well. Making his way through the blast furnace and permafrost layer, Snake discovers Vulcan Raven waiting for him again; this time armed with a M61 Vulcan, a 20mm Gatling gun usually mounted on fighter jets. Using his explosive armament Snake is able to dispatch the giant soldier. As Raven falls against a door, he gives Snake the last keycard that he'll need in order to enter Metal Gear Rex's hangar. He also tells Snake something in order to help him.

The DARPA chief that Snake saw die was actually Decoy Octopus, a member of FOX-HOUND and specialist in mimicry. He even went as far as draining the DARPA chief's blood into himself in order to copy his appearance. Snake asks Raven why he's helping him and Raven responds that he's a creature not given birth to by nature. He urges Snake to go do battle with the "the boss" and summons all the crows to himself and they begin eating his flesh. As Raven is being devoured, he cryptically asserts that Snake will have no peace throughout the rest of his life. He goes on stating that the souls of all those he's killed will haunt him forever, and that his war-laden life will be eternal. Snake turns around to face him, but only sees Raven's gatling gun left, amongst a pool of blood. Snake then continues on past a bridge, heavily guarded by dozens upon dozens of gun-equipped security cameras. In the nest room, Snake proceeds down a corridor until he finally finds himself in front of the bipedal behemoth, Metal Gear Rex.

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Metal Gear Rex, The Hind D, The M1 Tank, and the Cyborg Ninja - Yoji Shinkawa

While making his way up the side of Rex via containment ladders, Snake discovers that Otacon is researching the secret behind the nuclear-launch override. Apparently, the PAL card that president Baker gave Snake has some sort of "trick" behind it. Otacon successfully hacks the initial security layers behind Baker's personal files and discovers some terrifying facts about the nuclear testing. As Otacon suspected, the nuclear warhead is designed to be fired from Rex's rail gun, but learns that the missile itself uses a propulsion system that doesn't technically classify it as a missile (therefore granting it circumventions around various international treaties). Also, Otacon learns that the missile is a stealth-type that will not show up on radar. This makes Metal Gear Rex a historically dangerous weapon. Otacon then tells Snake that the only testing data recorded was done in a virtual model. Both Otacon and Campbell relate the importance of recording such nuclear test data, but Snake informs them both that the disc given to him by Baker contained just that. Unfortunately, when he was being tortured, Ocelot took it from him so he no longer possesses it. Snake then urgently tells Otacon to keep searching for the secret behind the override and makes his way toward the hangar's control room.

Just as Snake makes his way towards the top, he hides in a corner and observes a conversation between Ocelot and Liquid Snake, who apparently survived the Hind's crash earlier. Ocelot tells Liquid that they're now able to launch their attack at any time, but Liquid seems more intrigued by the U.S. government's actions. When Ocelot suggests a Russian location as a target, Liquid instead suggests a remote Chinese location that can still be concealed from the public. This will serve as a sort of demonstration that will warrant other countries contacting them to make deals and arrangements (as well as tarnishing the United States' reputation). Liquid then relishes in their demands, one billion dollars and Big Boss' remains; both of which will be used to "cure" their genome soldiers. Ocelot then questions Liquid about something called "Foxdie" and they converse about how neither Mantis or Wolf were affected (while it killing Decoy Octopus and Kenneth Baker). Liquid then asks Ocelot about his comrade from Russia, Sergei Gurlukovich. Ocelot says that Gurlukovich is waiting to see how successful Metal Gear Rex's test launch is; in addition to using Rex to to grant Russia a new world order.

Liquid expresses his disdain for Gurlukovich's politician-esque approach, but Ocelot reminds him that it was Gurlukovich who gave them most of their heavy firepower for the rebellion in the first place (not to mention the Hind). Liquid begins to ponder on the effect that an alliance with the Russians will have. He surmises that since Psycho Mantis's death, the soldiers have started becoming anxious; he then proposes that allying with the Russians could help boost their morale. Ocelot states that they could all easily escape afterwards, but Liquid has made him his mind to stay and "dig in" at Shadow-Moses. Ocelot then suddenly realizes what Liquid's ultimate goal is just as Liquid exuberantly declares that he's now titling the facility, Outer Heaven.

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Snake and Metal Gear Rex - Yoji Shinkawa

Ocelot and Liquid then discuss the significance of Snake and his ability to stop them. They both arrive at the conclusion that Snake doesn't have the tools required for the deactivation and that Metal Gear is unstoppable at this point. Liquid also advises Ocelot to keep Meryl alive as their ace-in-the-hole. Otacon then calls Snake and informs him that he found how the override system works. Snake protests that he still needs two other keys, but Otacon tells him that he already has the other two, which is the "trick" Baker mentioned earlier. The connector pins in the PAL card are composed of a shape memory alloy and change shape at different temperatures, meaning that the one key Snake has is potentially three keys in itself. As Otacon tells Snake how to input the card in the control room's laptop terminals, Ocelot sees Snake's elbow from the doorway and immediately fires a shot, knocking the PAL card out of Snake's hand and into the drainage ditch below. Liquid arrogantly tells Snake that he'll enjoy watching him die and immediately raises an alert. Snake then proceeds down to the ground level and searches the nuclear-waste ditch until he finds the PAL key. He then makes his way back up to the now-abandoned control room and inputs the first room-temperature key into the laptop.

Now Snake must find a cold area to freeze the key, so he backtracks to the permafrost layer that he fought Raven in earlier, and waits for the card to freeze. After the card changes, Snake makes his way back and inputs that as well. All that's left for him to do is to warm the key and he'll deactivate the launch. As he's making his way back up to the boiler room, Master Miller calls Snake and asks him if he knows about something called FoxDie. Snake recognizes it as something Liquid and Ocelot were talking about earlier, but he doesn't know what it is. He then tells Snake that FoxDie is a type of retrovirus that kills it's victims by simulating a heart-attack. This makes sense of the otherwise mysterious deaths of both Decoy Octopus and president Baker. Master Miller has had continual suspicion against Naomi ever since he discovered she was lying about her grandfather's undercover government-position earlier. Now he suspects that Naomi may have given Snake an injection containing FoxDie (Snake suddenly remembers the shot for the nanomachines). Snake calls Colonel Campbell back and discovered that Naomi was just placed under arrest for sending coded messages towards the disposal facility.

Snake is shocked at this but resolves that all he can do is leave things up to the Campbell for the time being. As Snake finally heats the key in the boiler room, he begins to make his way back to input the last override code. As he's on the cargo elevator, he receives a codec call...from Naomi.


Snake questions if Master Miller's suspicions are true and Naomi admits that they are. She then relates her experiences throughout her life; this includes the identity of her "brother", Frank Jaegar. The closest person she had to a family member was the same man that Snake supposedly killed in Zanzibar. She also was also spared hardships in her life by the intervention of Big Boss (who Snake also killed). Naomi then tells Snake the scientific details of how FoxDie kills it's victims, and Snake morbidly asks her if she programmed it to kill him too. Naomi says that she injected Snake with FoxDie, but it wasn't due to her personal motives, rather that it was a part of the operation from the beginning. Just then, Naomi is knocked out and Campbell appears on the codec telling Snake that Naomi is not allowed to make any more transmissions. Snake angrily demands to know what she meant by his injection be a part of the mission, but Campbell refuses to let her talk and advises Snake to continue his mission. After making his way back to the control room, Snake inputs the last key in the terminal. As the last code is confirmed, Metal Gear activates and the launch sequence starts up (instead of deactivating as it was supposed to do). Snake is now stunned as he receives a call from Master Miller. Miller's tone has changed significantly and he mockingly expresses pity (as well as gratitude) towards Snake. Miller tells Snake that the terrorists were never able to learn the launch codes from the DARPA chief. Ocelot accidentally killed him during his interrogation and that they had no way to launch. He then humorously tells Snake that he was manipulated by them from the beginning in order to input the sequence to activate the launch process for them.

Campbell then interrupts the transmission and urgently tells Snake that Master Miller's corpse was just discovered at his home; not only that, but he's been dead for at least three days. Campbell didn't realize it as his link to Master was cut off, but Mei Ling advises them that this "Miller's" transmission signal was coming from inside the base. Campbell realizes exactly who Snake has been talking to just as Miller reveals himself to be Liquid Snake. Liquid then activates a mechanism which begins to pour gas into the room; the doors to the control room also lock, trapping Snake inside. Fortunately, with Otacon's help, Snake is able to get the door open just in time to see Liquid running towards the cockpit of Metal Gear Rex.

Snake furiously confronts Liquid, but then proceeds to question him. Liquid now pitying Snake, tells him that he's lost his individual will as a soldier and become nothing more than an expendable pawn. Elaborating on Naomi's half-exposed injection purpose, Liquid also tells Snake that he was purposefully injected with Foxdie as a way of killing the all the terrorists without any damage being done to Metal Gear itself (so it could be recovered later). From the beginning of the mission, he was nothing more than a carrier, meant to infect FOX-HOUND. Liquid does tell Snake however, that Naomi made changes to FoxDie's program at the last minute, but nobody knows exactly what she did. He then takes solace in the fact that because Snake's not dead already, the program hasn't been currently set up to kill him. Realizing what this means, Snake now knows that he and Liquid actually are brothers. Liquid then vaguely comments on Snake's genetic makeup, angrily addressing Snake as the "favorite" who was genetically altered to be the perfect soldier. Liquid distastefully exclaims that he was just leftovers from the experiment used to make Snake. Realizing that Liquid's motives are based around hollow revenge (much like Naomi), Snake prepares to shoot Liquid, but he's too late. Liquid has hopped into the cockpit of Metal Gear Rex and the machine starts to move.

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Liquid piloting Metal Gear Rex - Yoji Shinkawa

Snake then finds himself facing off against Metal Gear Rex. Luckily, he has direct access to the designer this time. Otacon informs him that in order to defeat Rex, he'll have to expose it's interior, which can be done by disabling it's radome from functioning. Once that's destroyed, the cockpit will force the pilot to operate on manual, exposing the interior of Rex. Using this method, Snake causes a significant amount of damage to the radome via his Stinger missiles, but is unable to disable it entirely. As it looks like Snake has failed, the cyborg ninja suddenly appears to help Snake. With his helmet opened, his identity is finally revealed to Snake. As he suspected, it's Gray Fox, who also admits to being "Deepthroat" as well. Fox then battles Metal Gear Rex one on one, causing enough damage to the radome to destroy it (forcing the cockpit open and expose Liquid in the pilot's seat). While briefly speaking to Snake in cover (hiding from Liquid now using only his eyes to pilot), Fox remorsefully reveals that he killed Naomi's parents and only raised her as his sister to soothe his own guilt. Liquid then spots their hiding place, and Fox leaves to continue to battling Rex. Unfortunately, Fox's arm is sliced off by Rex's high-energy laser and his torso torso is also severed in the battle. As Snake refuses to take advantage of an opening to destroy Rex (for fear of killing Fox as well), Liquid begins to crush Fox's body beneath Rex's feet. Fox's armor is still enduring however, and he tells Snake not to submit to becoming just a tool of the government. As Fox bids his best friend farewell, Liquid exerts all of Rex's force on Fox's exoskeleton, crushing him entirely and leaving only large pool of blood beneath Rex's feet. He then arrogantly screams at Snake that although Fox truly earned his codename, he was nothing more than a ghost begging for death now. He renounces Snake as not being able to protect anyone, including himself; he then continues to assault Snake in Rex.

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Solid Snake vs Metal Gear Rex - Yoji Shinkawa

Snake then continues battling Rex with it's interior exposed now. Using some spare ammo left to him by Fox, he's able to destroy the machine, leaving Liquid screaming as the machine explodes in a blazing inferno. The force of the blast knocks Snake into a wall, rendering him unconscious. Snake can just make out Liquid's figure walking towards him before he blacks out entirely...

When Snake wakes up, he finds Liquid waiting for him to come to. He also notices that they're both on the the head of the now-destroyed Metal Gear Rex. Liquid then angrily describes the entire process that gave rise to both their lives. The "Les Enfants Terribles" project, was a secret cloning operation preformed by the U.S. government in order to clone Big Boss, the greatest soldier in the world. Snake himself is supposedly the result in which all the dominant genes are expressed, with Liquid being given all the recessive genes. Liquid demands to break his "cursed lineage" by killing Snake, and unties him. Snake is then contacted by Campbell who tells him that the U.S. is going to try and cover up the entire incident by launching a nuclear assault on the island (using the cover story that the terrorists simply exploded a nuclear device by mistake). Just as Campbell attempts to confuse the chain of command in order to buy Snake time, he's subdued by soldiers.

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The Stakes - Yoji Shinkawa

The Secretary of Defense then picks up the transmission and smugly tells Snake that the only way he'll consider stopping the bombing run is if Snake brings back Rex's test data. Snake replies that he doesn't have it anymore and the secretary says that it's not a priority anymore regardless. He denounces both Snake and Liquid as an embarrassment from the 1970's and tells them to have fun catching up before cutting the transmission. Liquid then shows Snake Meryl, who is tied up near them as well. She's wired to a nuclear device set to blow up just as she dies. The two then engage in a vicious fist fight atop the head of Metal Gear. Snake just barely overcomes Liquid, knocking him over the side and supposedly killing him. He then proceeds to Meryl and as she comes to, Otacon calls Snake and informs him that he'll take care of their escape route. Snake warns him of the oncoming nuclear assault, but Otacon is content with his new-found peace of mind. He bids Snake good luck and and ends the transmission.

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The Final Chase - Yoji Shinkawa

On the way out, Snake and Meryl use a jeep to make their way towards the surface. As they near the end of the tunnel however, Liquid shows up once again trailing them in his own jeep. Snake fends Liquid back as long as he can, but just as both jeeps come out to the surface, they crash into each other. Snake and Meryl are appear unharmed, but are both trapped under the jeep. Just as Snake starts to look for his seemingly-immortal brother, Liquid wearily drags himself out of his own jeep, armed with an FAMAS. Just as he aims it at Snake to kill him, he suddenly falls to his knees in tremendous pain (similar to Decoy Octopus). Both Liquid and Snake know what this means and just as FoxDie claims Liquid's life, Snake realizes that he must be the next target of the virus. Meryl tells him not to think about it, and Snake notices that the bombers aren't anywhere in sight. Campbell then calls Snake and informs him that the Secretary of Defense was arrested and the bombing orders were rescinded. The colonel then expresses gratitude for Snake's successful rescue of Meryl. Snake then requests that Otacon be brought in safely and wishes to talk with Naomi about FoxDie. The colonel states that Naomi wished to talk to him directly about that and patches her into the transmission. Naomi informs Snake that she heard about Fox, but Snake glosses over the truth by simply telling her that Fox expressed his love for her and also that she should forget about him. Snake doesn't bear a grudge against Naomi for FoxDie, but asks to know when he's scheduled to be killed. Naomi simply informs Snake that he'll die when his time's up. She doesn't say anything else and then ends the transmission.

Snake and Meryl then make their way down the mountainside and find a snowmobile waiting for them (organized by Ca"mpbell). They find a bandanna laying on its sea and Snake comments that they should keep it as a reminder of how to live. After expressing his new found will to live a life for someone other than himself, Snake (revealing his name to be David) and Meryl ride off into the sunrise.

*After the credits Revolver Ocelot can be heard talking to an unknown person. He tells this person that he retrieved all the test data and that the DARPA chief was the only one who knew his true identity, and is dead (revealing that Ocelot did in fact kill him on purpose). He also relates to the man, that the inferior Snake was the victor after all (revealing yet layer in the "Les Enfants Terribles" project). He informs him that no one knows the mysterious man's identity as the third Snake, Solidus. He then thanks the man and finally addresses him as the president of the United States...*

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The End - Yoji Shinkawa

~End Shadow Moses Incident~

Sons of Big Boss - The Genome Army

I thought it would be appropriate to go through all the Solid games and give some sort of examination of the bulk forces within them. Since all of them have a "Sons of..." moniker, this seemed fitting enough.

All of the bulk forces in the Metal Gear Solid titles serve as the mass of individuality for general "play-engagement". For Shadow Moses, this meant the genome army. Composed of various special units, they're highly developed soldiers with little to no real battle experience. The AI surrounding the genome army was admirable for it's debut in late 90's mainly because how they operated in 3D space. As engaging enemies however, they were only a microscopic increment above the assailants in Zanzibar. Some could even argue the head-turning mechanic from Metal Gear 2 works more efficiently than this title's guards. So many things loop in and out of how the player experiences the genome army as well. For instance, the fact that the BEO (bird's eye offense) practically forces the player to play by the Soliton Radar, one could make it through the game experiencing these guys as nothing more than blips on their map. One of the first arctic patrols outside on the heliport offered one of Metal Gear Solid's few "Oh that was cool!" moments:

"Huh, whose footprints are these?"

Easily taking advantage of that, the player can virtually force the AI to run around in circles as if he's hooked onto their tracks. This title is also pressing to me becoming a bigger proponent of my "AI-Playdough" section from my previous Metal Gear post (part II). There's simply not a lot of guards during the playthrough on the island (and the communication tower chase is obviously respawn-hell which I can live with). The interaction the player has with the genome army is an overall hollow experience, despite the fact that the game plays it up so colorfully (which is the only thing that saves it). Snake even goes as far as calling them "video-game players" in the title's briefing videos. The way the guards act in Metal Gear titles tend to have them age into their idiocy being a sort of novelty for the experience overall. I suppose that's better than ragging on them all day, but it still irks me nonetheless. I could always use this to springboard into the whole AI debacle, but I think I said enough in the second N313 post. Thematically, the genome army's presence carries it's wait, it's just a tad unfair as the play tends to become dead-weight in hind-sight.

*Factoid: An early model for my Metal Gear Fan-dev eliminated all of the guards entirely. Instead, I supplanted their presence with twenty individually designed "bosses" so to speak, to wander around the entire base and can be encountered randomly by the player at any time (this includes the original title's four specialists as well). This would essentially make Outer Heaven a facility full of boss battles and nothing more. One game have already proven that sixteen successive boss battles can be an emotionally powerful experience if expertfully crafted (coughShadowoftheColossuscough).*

Twin Snakes Taintage

A lot of purists hate Twin Snakes. My feelings towards it never approached disdain because I knew what I was getting from the moment the trailers for it started being shown. Remaking old beloved titles is problematic from a fundamental point of view int he first place as games age very oddly. People fall in love with flaws and idiosyncrasies that get trampled in whatever re-visioning developers decide to put out. Let's take the Resident Evil Remake (which was also ironically for the Gamecube). It added new sequences and overhauled visuals, but it never touched or infringed upon the game's original appeal (which is why it's such an efficient remake).

The problem with Twin Snakes is that in many respects, Metal Gear Solid is a significantly flawed title. Despite all of it's hangups, it still serves as a blazing-hot light that many people latch on to this day. Retrofitting the game with MGS2's mechanics for example...need I say more? The game needed to keep the "harshness" of the original's appeal while still adding to it. It didn't do that however, it simply retrofitted it's own quality mechanics from a sequel. This is the equivalent of me taking a previous paragraph out of an earlier one of these blogs, and pasting it into this one without editing it to blend in.

The cutscenes are simply an admission of what the game is; as was the re-recording of the entire script. It's not so much of a remake as it is a skewed re-imagining of the original game (which isn't bad by any means). There absolutely needs to be a distinction no doubt, but Twin Snakes doesn't deserved to be damned. Instead, it should serve as a model for what truly lies between it and it's 1998 progenitor (as well as all the positive ideas that come from the juxtaposition of the two). Firing ignorant passion at such a title is just as damaging as it's perceived taint of the original work.


FOX-HOUND Field-Day

The first actual confrontation with FOX-HOUND filters into all the games around the franchise, so it's imperative that I address each individual member's relevance within the game. Figuring in the fact that the player faces off against various mercenary forces, Dead Cell, The Cobra Unit, and the B & B corps through out the series, this is the only time that Snake/The Player actually takes on the infamous unit. This is very likely why it's so special in the narrative's context. This is even to the point that the playtime composing them just simply becomes a footnote.

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Shadow Moses Regulars - Yoji Shinkawa

Tears of the Wolf

Sniper Wolf's battles are classic in that they occupy areas tailored for sniper duels, only Snake is at the disadvantage each time. There's something just off-key about having to hit her in position at the Communication Tower encounter. As for the snowfield fight, the only thing missing was more snow falling to help solidify the moment's cinematic play (part of why Crying Wolf was so enjoyable in MGS4). If Snake manages to get shot, resetting his position entirely is usually the most viable option (hence "quick-equip"), as she knocks the player's viewpoint away from her entirely. This is of course, assuming the player is using the PSG-1 to do battle with her, as there are multiple ways to kill Wolf (the second time anyway). That brings into question another topic which is in this post as well...if you're looking hard enough that is.

Spirit of the Raven

Raven is fittingly the most spiritual battle in this game (at least he was for me). This is due to the sound design, the introduction of his character, and the fundamental mechanic of fighting him. What's really fantastic to experience is having this fight without the radar on at all. Running around in the permafrost layer's maze-like layout can be tiring. This is wondrously exacerbated by the fact that Raven picks up speed the more Snake damages him. The sound design kicks in here as well; Raven begins huffing and puffing the longer the battle drags on and before I knew it I found myself trying to catch my breath along with him (in an experience I would never feel again until the entirety of Mirror's Edge ten years later). Granted that the dialogue doesn't put the player off, the whole Alaskan-Olympic metaphor Raven uses preceding the battle further sets up the experience:

Raven: "You jest but indeed ravens and snakes are not the best of friends.
Nevertheless you will make a worthy adversary. You live in Alaska
too. You know of the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics?"

Snake: "Yeah, I know it. You must be a real threat in the "Muk-Tuk"
eating contest."

Raven: "Yes, you are right. But there is another event that I excel at. It is
called the "Ear Pull". It is an event where two opponents pull
each other's ear while enduring the harsh cold. It tests
spiritual as well as physical strength."

Snake: "You want to pull each other's ears?"

Raven: "The form is different, but the spirit is the same. Rejoice, Snake! Ours will be a glorious battle."

Snake: "This isn't glorious. It's just plain killing. Violence isn't a sport!"

Raven: "Well, we will see if there is iron in your words!!!"

*fight begins*

Soul of the Psychic

You can see my description in the previous blog for why I think this encounter is highly-overrated. What the fight does excel in however, is the ability to make the player function within a "cinematic gimp". An example being the the nature of the First-Person View during the fight. Due to some sort of looping process from Mantis reading Snake's mind, the player views Mantis' first person perspective rather than Snake's the entire fight. All the other 4th person breaches are just icing on the cake.

Deception of the Octopus

This boss is one of deception and indirect influence. I consider it the worst boss encounter in the game (as it's all done in a scene), but I still consider it fight nonetheless. I have no problem with the scenes themselves, I just feel slightly cheated that I was offered no interaction at all with Octopus on any level. I like to have some special understanding of the scene I'm in and putting me in the room with his corpse just after FoxDie kicked in wasn't enough.

Venom of the Snake

This my personal favorite fight in the game due to the backdrop, prior two fight sequences, and simplicity of it all. Liquid's "actual superiority" over Snake kind of kicks in tremendously during this battle as his blows are devastating (playing it on extreme makes things really intense). Maneuvering around and finding openings to hit him exposes the actual game's technical limitations, but it didn't hamper the experience for me. In fact, by the time I made it to The Boss in Snake Eater later on down the road, I appreciated that encounter tenfold. I like the emphasis the games begin to place on meaningful simplistic battles. The CQC sequences are debatable for most, but they're usually where I find myself in complete sync with the game.

Agility of the Ocelot

This is actually my least favorite "traditional encounter" in the entire game. I knew exactly why once I played Twin Snakes, it was the BEO. The top-down view has some effect on the battle overall that agitates me to no end. By the time Twin Snake's came around, the encounter was gimped and became easy for it's own good while not actually fixing anything. If I'm to enjoy the first Ocelot encounter, core changes would have to be made to the overall gameplay or animations (i.e. Snake getting shot would actually have to carry more weight).

Malicious Machines

Three pain in the ass boss encounters...all of them worth commenting on.

Tussle against a Tank

Another victim of how the BEO assaults the MGS experience, The tank encounter for me was only saved by Raven's preceding introduction. The act of actually throwing grenades on the top of the hatch is satisfying, but I like a sense of scale in this type of fight and I never really got it until towards the end of the game (see "Rumble with Rex" below).

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Roughs regarding the Tank encounter - Yoji Shinkawa

Hounded by a Hind

The Hind encounter is classic, and it interestingly avoids the BEO by the nature of how the Stinger missile launcher works. The weapon forces Snake to stand stationary in First Person view. That coupled with how a skilled person can use the tracking mechanic, makes this fight just above amazing. There's even major breaks in the pacing of this battle offered by Liquid launching devastating missile attacks once Snake has done significant damage. One thing I actually preferred more in The Twin Snakes however, was how Liquid's dialogue was read before and throughout the fight. As much as an action junkie as I am...I could have done without Snake missile-surfing (it taints the character's image for me).

Nastasha Romanenko: "...shove a Stinger missile up his butt!"



Rumble with Rex

This is something the 1998 version nailed and also something that the BEO actually helped establish as a gift for me to experience. The scale of Rex is still amazing to me in this fight, as it looks almost exaggerated as the camera cuts between a traditional third person view and the top down perspective (which makes Snake look like an ant). If the player proceeds past a certain distance away from Rex, the camera switches, showing the huge bipedal monster that's been played up throughout the entire series. This fight is also magnificently sandwiched in between Gray Fox's epix demise. Not only that, but having Otacon on hand to explain the machine's capabilities are a big plus here as well. When Rex stood up in 1998, I felt it.



4th Wall Constant

Metal Gear Solid marks the beginning of where the franchise made the 4th wall breaches an almost constant presence (wait until we get to Metal Gear Solid 2...). Not just spectacle sequences either (e.g. the Psycho Mantis encounter), but the small bits of dialogue such as everyone describing Snake's interaction as if he's holding the controller himself. Master Miller/Liquid has some subtle force in this game in particular, as he's constantly talking to the player as if he/she is Solid Snake and vice versa.

Virtual Visceral Vicariousness

This is not as exclusive to Metal Gear Solid as it is to games in a very general sense. Particularly ones that color their own worlds to such an extent, there's a hesitance to embrace that child-like-purity styled by imagination. For Metal Gear Solid, I'll use the flooring in the tank hangar's overwalk. Master Miller describes in detail over the codec, telling Snake exactly how to "stalk". After Snake admits he can't do it, Miller advises him to just crawl on his stomach instead (or wear socks of his shoes, heh). Now, the player does avoid sound detection by doing so, but at that particular moment in the game, the requirement to use it is close to none (as is the rest of the game). I still did/do it anyway as it offers a hook to immerse me more in the experience itself. It's not too unlike how I describe my OCD tendencies towards the simple act of jumping in Video Games as Art 1-4. It's certainly not necessary, but at the same time it is...

Sounds of Shadow Moses

Metal Gear Solid's OST isn't as fleshed out as it's successor's scores, but it cements itself as the most atmospheric for me with how it merged it's predecessor's "synthy sounding" limits with it's oncoming title's "orchestral overhauls". Every track in this game commands attention for its respective scene or sequence (The player will KNOW when Mantis' Hymn stops playing). I don't think any gamer (fan or not) will be unable to recognize Rika Muranaka's "The Best is Yet To Come". The way that the moody chills of "Rex's Lair" combine with Otacon's rapid-fire hacking updates are things that will always stand the test of time. If one game boasts the weight of a game's admirable attempts at merging all of it's amalgamated strengths it's this game.

My personal favorite?
17. - "Escape" – 3:11

With the way this game is paced, the climaxing track conquered all the others in my eyes. Both in the second Rex Fight (after Liquid crushes Fox) and the high-speed tunnel chase out of Shadow Moses Island. When the cherry on top of the cake is given some sustenance, it can become special too.



Hand-Drawn Handsomeness
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Generations are being supplanted more and more each day. More and more people who've grown up on video-games, cartoons, and animated stories. This is why it's becoming more and more common place for us to have such a response to games that use hand-drawn visuals to communicate their aesthetics. Everything from Guilty Gear to Wind Waker elicits such a response and Metal Gear Solid is in that category as well. After Sons of Liberty, the codec sequences were substituted for the actual game models on the radio/codec screen. I can see where the compulsion to go in such a direction comes from, but leaving behind the hand-drawn codec faces is a wound that I really don't think ever healed with the series overall. It's also another bullet point on why I still hold so much passion for this game.

Immersion ~ Disruption

As I described in the Ocelot Fight, as well as as the Tank scuffle, the third-person view serves as a constant disconnect for me in this game. Not simply because it actively fights the nature of being stealthy in the game, but because it hampers my own immersion within it. I can't "feel" the world from that angle at all sometimes. For my first playthrough, it wasn't such a big deal. The more and more I play this title, the more and more this issue ages for me. It's the equivalent to having a characteristic flaw on one's face. Removing it is troublesome (unless you're brash and vain), as it becomes a piece of the identity, and thus stripping robs that identity. This is why so many people argued for it as the series finally moved away from it in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. This is a game about war and ironically the BEO is constantly at war with the game's nature as "tactical espionage action".

Laudable Laughs

Whether the player is wandering around looking at genome soldier's asses, laughing at the constant 4th wall breaks, or staring at Meryl to make her blush, they'll always find themselves with a smile in an otherwise melancholic game series. This juxtaposition is part of what makes the franchise so beloved by many. The titles also started becoming infused with countless upon countless Easter-eggs as well. Metal Gear Solid showcased the beginnings of a more cinematic muscle when flexing in this area. Voice actors, and cutscenes can be used for good you know!

Evolutionary Engagement
Speaking of that dialogue, that aforementioned muscle was at it's peak when the illusion of engagement was experienced through the codec. It's all based around the context of the situation of course, but when talking to Snake's support over the codec, it taps into a section of enjoyment not many games can do at all. The multiple lines and amount of dialogue recorded for the title is admirable enough, but having the optional means to access conversations and statements is something Metal Gear Solid exemplified. Even having characters say the exact same things in a different way is helpful here (i.e. calling support multiple times throughout a boss fight). The tech here is also showcasing how once the veil between the player and the game is thickened, great things can happen. Example? Look at how obvious the room-dependant transmissions were in the 1987's Metal Gear. Even at the time, it was obvious what was going on (from a technical standpoint). Having Nastasha give one tid-bits on their chaff grenades can happen almost anywhere on Shadow Moses though. One shouldn't take that for granted.


Recurring Thechanics

Metal Gear Solid spawned quite a few of these as well, so let's take a look...

Screams of Failure
Having Snake's support yell his name over and over upon death became a trademark of the series that all are familiar with to this day. I define it as a thechanic because how it effects the player's perception of dying in a video-game. Of course, shit hits the fan once we get to "Fission Mailed"...but let's not put the chicken before the egg...or in this franchise's case, the owl. =)


Atmosphere
The development team at Konami actively recognized this in Metal Gear Solid 2, professing that the player would be able to "feel the air", but I argue that the dopes already nailed it with Shadow Moses. I felt the cold during my very first nine-hour-straight romp through the title (further merged with the fact that it was fucking freezing in the house that night). That in itself started the habit of me carelessly cranking up the AC at night when in front of any game now.

Estrogen Euthanasia

Three Women, three heads, three bullets. In Metal Gear Solid the Snake shoots Sniper Wolf in the face. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Olga is brutally shot in the head by Solidus, and in Metal Gear Solid 3 the player actually has to pull the trigger themselves, ending The Boss' life. I really wish the player was allowed to actually kill Sniper Wolf (helped by the presence of a sobbing Otacon & howling wolves), but that's a dangerous scene to touch. Of course The Boss's demise is up for argument (i.e. "you don't shoot her in the head!"), but I honestly figure to truly end someone's suffering, you plant one in their skull, plain and simple. The "angle amongst the lilies" lends a bit ambiguity to the moment though so I can't enforce my own perspective. Also, Olga isn't really considered a mercy killing either, but I could stretch that notion so that is. After her admitted betrayal to her "family" (the Gurlukovich army) for the sake of a captive infant-Sunny, she probably sought death in a sense as well. Of course, some people probably just saw Solidus as "bad" and Olga as "good", I feel sorry for those people...

Initial Rescue

All of the Solid titles (with the exception of Guns of the Patriots) have the player seeking out a scientist or person of some other importance to rescue and extract as a first mission objective. Ironically, they almost always get fucked over trying to do so. Guns of the Patriots kind of unintentionally acknowledges this as well, by sending the player to assassinate someone for once.

Snake + Metal Gear = Monster

Metal Gear Solid is the start of both the "the Snakes" and the Metal Gears being lent a visage of abominated nature. Rex, Ray, and the Gekko became "breathing machines", while the player was colored expertly with the shade of "you're a bad ass blue". The narrative condemning all of the "war creations" (Raiden included of course) places the the player in the midst of navigating a complex fictional infrastructure:

Raiden: "I look back on what I've done here so far and things like
training and sense of duty alone won't get you through a sneaking
mission like this."

Rose: "Jack, are you okay?"

Raiden: "You need something -- higher. I can't think of the right word,
but...it has to be pure will, backed up by -- by courage, or
ideals, or something like that. I'd stake my life on it. The
Solid Snake that saved Shadow Moses couldn't turn into a
terrorist."

Johnny Sasaki

Johnny is in all of the Solid games as comic relief and he made his debut as the guard Meryl stole genome-army fatigues from (his grandfather appears in Snake Eater). When Snake first sees him, he's actually in "the john", commenting on how attractive he finds Meryl. He then appears telling the Darpa Chief to shut up (he didn't know Snake was in the room talking to the chief at the time). He makes his first unmasked presence while nude, face down in a pool of spit, with his naked ass bared at the camera (with humorous censoring). Manipulating Johnny to break Snake out of captivity in both Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 3 usually revolve around bad bowel movements. In Metal Gear Solid 2 his appearances are never "seen" but heard through directional mic sequences. It's always in the genes, even when you have to go number two. =)

I can't really see how this title has aged myself, I'm far too biased to even attempt it, so I won't try. I don't want to be overly critical of my favorite title of all time anyway so screw you. Even the way it concludes weaves two multiple endings into one (the Otacon ending is more fitting in tone). It's not without flaws and ironically things like the BEO will serve as testaments to the title's own accelerated aging process. Whether or not you're a fan of the series is irrelevant, but Metal Gear Solid was one of (if the not the most to current day) significant leaps in narrative-based gaming, EVEN when one takes into to context it's interactive sequences.

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Snake and Meryl - Yoji Shinkawa

Tuesday's Post: DFB – “The Tanker Incident & The Introduction of the Big Shell Occurrence” (Metal Gear Solid 2) – Part VIII

~sLs~