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Ettinger firstname.lastname@example.org http://semperar.livejournal.com v2.1, May 2, 2005 UPDATE INFORMATION: version 1.0 basic guide released on GameFAQs! version 1.1 minor spelling and typo corrections, added Goodcow's Farm to approved hosts. patched concerns regarding Ocelot's age and background. version 1.2 (unreleased) cleaned up a lot of the organization and headers. version 1.3 added "Liquid's damn stupid arm" addendum. Corrected FoxDie information. minor additions to "the philosophers" section. version 1.5 noted Ocelot's parentage in the "Liquid's Damn Stupid Arm" section. Please stop reminding me about it. Changed some of the information regarding "Zanzibar Land" and the MG2 background. Added Lilac Man's excellent Solidus theory. version 2.0 this was another biggie. added a new theory about Liquid, explained Ocelot's parentage (in MORE detail,) fixed data about the MSX, added my theory about the Legacy microfilm, and wrote an enormous new section about about Metal Gear technology and its variations. also, i tried not to get offended by the fact that one-third of readers so far rated this guide as 'not informative or helpful' :( version 2.1 (this one!) minor update. some removals, minor changes, and a whole lot of new info in the guide-info and similar sections. bigger update to follow in the near future. you know, after finals. <-------------------------------------------------------------------------> your window ought be at least this wide, wot? <-------------------------------------------------------------------------> DISCLAIMINGS! metal gear solid in all its glory is the property of KONAMI CORPORATION. http://www.konami.co.jp http://www.konami.com the characters and concepts therein are the fabrication of Hideo Kojima and his excellent development staff. This particular work of text is mine, Copyright George Ettinger III, 2005. Canonical concepts are Konami, opinions are my own derivation. All of my personal interpretations are UNofficial. =========================================================================== As of 5/02/05 I approve distribution of this document at - GameFAQs, http://www.gamefaqs.com i think we all know this site. - Philosopher's Legacy, http://philosopherslegacy.fu8.com my buddy Stampede's excellent MGS resource site. - Goodcow's Farm, http://www.goodcowfilms.com a cozy webspace provided to me by the adorable goodcow. - Gamespot, http://www.gamespot.com part of GameFAQs network. came with the deal. but not neoseeker. No, I'm not submitting it to neoseeker. go away. don't email me asking me to register for neoseeker. I don't want to. Sites hosting this guide right now WITHOUT asking (jerkwads,) - AOL Games Channel, http://games.channel.aol.com i just found this sitting there, in the Metal Gear Acid section no less. swiping my guide from gameFAQs AND putting it up for a game it doesn't even mention. thank you very much time-warner. at least they left my name in it. last i knew, AOL wasn't a CNET or gamespot affiliate. if you find this hosted elsehwere, do let me know. =========================================================================== ENORMOUS SPOILER WARNING. MORE SPOILER WARNING. Honestly, every major plot spoiler in each MGS lies ahead. =========================================================================== GAMES THAT THIS FAQ IS WRITTEN FOR (HOSTS PLEASE NOTE) Applicable titles: Metal Gear Solid (PSX) Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (NGC) Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2) Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (XBOX, PS2) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2) Non-applicable titles! Metal Gear (MSX2, NES) Metal Gear 2 (MSX2) Snake's Revenge (NES) Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (GBC, Japan, UK) Metal Gear Solid (GBC, US) Metal Gear AC!D (PSP) Why the discernment, you ask? A couple reasons. For Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, I have not personally played these games, I only know what we learn from the 'Solid' games. Thus I only touch on these games in general plot and not in detail. For Snake's Revenge and the Gameboy Color Metal Gear, neither of these two games are canonical. 'Snake's Revenge' is a bizarre, unofficial pseudo-sequel, and 'Ghost Babel' is a sort of alternative story to the PSX Metal Gear Solid. Niether actually take place or fit in the main storyline. I have recently made the discernment between NES and MSX, originally jumbled only by my own lack of education. I'd like to thank reader Diego for the explanation here; simply put, the original two Metal Gear games, in all their canonical glory, are titles for the Japanese MSX2 Computer. Metal Gear 1 was made into a Famicom (and then NES) game. The unreleased Metal Gear 2 is still in MSX purgatory, not counting some valiant fan efforts. As for MG Acid, I am simply still not aware of any canonical bindings it may have to the story of the 'solid' series. it takes place years after the cliffhanger ending of Sons of Liberty, and there seem to be more than a few conflicts with the overall plot of the other games. I may yet be wrong, but so far AC!D just doesn't fit. It seems to me that Kojima has taken a 'parallel' sort of approach to it, much like Ghost Babel. =========================================================================== TABLE OF CONTENTS As usual, use the edit>find function to skip directly to a section using one of the finder names next to its title. --Introduction I. Snake Eater Era I-A. "The Boss" [ SNATHE ] I-B. "Naked Snake / Big Boss" [ SNANAK ] II. MSX Era II-A. "Solid Snake" (MSX Era) [ MSXSOL ] III. Twin Snakes Era III-A. "Liquid Snake" [ TWILIQ ] III-B. "Solid Snake" (Twin Snakes Era) [ TWISOL ] IV. Sons of Liberty Era IV-A. "Solidus Snake" [ SONDUS ] IV-B. "Raiden" [ SONRAI ] IV-C. "Solid Snake" (Sons of Liberty Era) [ SONSOL ] V. Omnipresent Characters and Forces V-A. "The Philosophers" and "The Patriots" [ OMNPHI ] V-B. "Revolver Ocelot" [ OMNOCE ] VI. Canonical "Metal Gear" Variations VI-A. "Shagohod" [ METSHA ] VI-B. MSX Metal Gear models [ METMSX ] VI-C. "Metal Gear REX" [ METREX ] VI-D. "Metal Gear RAY" and "Arsenal Gear" [ METRAY ] VII. What The Hell VII-A. "Liquid's Severed Arm and Disembodied Spirit" [ WHALIQ ] =========================================================================== --INTRODUCTION v1.1 INTRODUCTION yes, its gonna seem really frickin pretentious for me to do a philosophical analysis of the Metal Gear storyline, but I don't do it out of elitism or pretention. I am not trying to impress anyone or make any profound arguments. I am doing this simply because I love Metal Gear Solid and its characters. I really just wanna make some sense of the grander scheme of things. think of it as a timeline; the how and whys of metal gear, from the end of World War II to nearly 2010. With the addition of Snake Eater, the overall plot of the Metal Gear world has completely blossomed, and for those who haven't taken in the whole saga or are missing parts I want to share everything I can. Metal Gear Solid opened a whole new medium in interactive entertainment, merging cinema and gameplay into one of the finest examples of interactive storytelling today. The story and characters of Metal Gear Solid are brilliant, made rife with conflict and depth. my goal in writing this is, simply, that somebody somewhere will discover something within the characters and concepts of Metal Gear that makes them think. I made this entirely out of interest. I am not attempting to start any semantics arguments or make any fanboy enemies. This said, keep in mind; parts of the story that I recant are just that: the story. Parts that I infer or concepts I interpret are just THAT; my opinions. I make no claim that what I say is law, just a way of looking at it. v2.1 INTRODUCTION well now! i wrote the entire 1.0 release of this guide over the course of two insomniac nights back in March, and now it's doubled in size. I once wrote a guide to those adorable chao critters in the original Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast, but that was nothing as intensive as this. i had a feeling I was biting off more than I could chew, but i had no idea what a sizable undertaking this would become. My chao guide drew a few readers and a fair number of redundant emails, and was generally a bland experience. but gads, did this become big. my inbox has been stormed for the past few months and is finally tapering down. writing this I expecting little more than the occasional emailed scorn for this-or-that opinion I may have expressed. So much of this guide is inference, and thereby just the opinions of little ole me, that I worried it would not be received well. on the contrary! not only has there been little or no controversy, but the amount of CONSTRUCTIVE comments I've recieved over these weeks has been extraordinary. Most of the updates after the second release were driven by reader-contributed info and evidence. the amount of hearty pats-on-the-back and thought-provoking notions I've received is fantastic, and I must express my thanks for it. seriously, great thanks to all of you who have encouraged and contributed to this 112k+ monstrosity (yeah, I know there's bigger out there, but this is a hulluva lot for somebody with my attention span.) i tell ya, the greatest folk in the world are gameFAQs folk. anyhow, thats just a sort of nod to all the folks who've lent their encouragement. it is well-appreciated, and I'm glad that what started as a livejournal rant about patriotism and the philosophies of metal gear has spread into something much more thoughtful to so many people. =========================================================================== I. SNAKE EATER ERA (1964-1972) =========================================================================== This is, simply put, the earliest recorded/playable portion of the Metal Gear story. Most of these events play out in Metal Gear Solid 3. Any developments beyond this take place up until the MSX era. This encompasses the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater as well as the later foundations of FOXHOUND and the Les Enfants Terribles project. Practically all of Big Boss's development lies here. =========================================================================== I-A, "THE BOSS" [ SNATHE ] The story of Metal Gear, in its entirety, begins with The Boss. The Boss is a woman who, in her mid-20s, assembled a cooperative special forces unit of american and soviet operatives in WWII that played a significant role in the allied victory (the "Cobra Unit".) Upon the start of the cold war, the Cobras were disbanded as her loyalties remained with the United States. The Boss trained Naked Snake ("John," "Jack," "Big Boss".) for at least a decade after WWII they were partners, and he was her last and perhaps greatest apprentice. They were closer than allies, than friends or family. In the late fifties they parted ways, Snake no longer her fledgling but fully capable as an independent operative. in 1964, in the height of the cold war, The Boss defected to the soviet union, rejoining the Cobras under the ambitions of Colonel Volgin's radicalist unit. There she gave her new hosts a pair of american-made nuclear shells, along with the return of their asylum-seeking weapons development scientist Dr Sokolov (the obligatory scientist-in-distress of MGS3.) Unexpectedly, Volgin used one of these shells to eradicate a soviet development site, removing evidence of his insurrections against the soviet government and Premier Khruschev. Naked Snake, her last disciple, was enlisted to find her and eliminate her along with the growing soviet threat she has enabled. She never expresses to him any purposes behind her defection, only that she is 'loyal to the end.' Only in the end do we understand her purpose. only once snake's mission is complete does he understand. The Boss's defection was, at first, an order. She was to defect to the soviet union, specifically to Volgin's command, as a ruse by the US government. Volgin had stolen a vast wealth from the Philosophers, the underlying force behind the US, Chinese, and Soviet governments. After the time of World War I, they were a united force with an enormous collected wealth. by the end of WWII, their loyalties were broken and the organization lost its international cooperation. The bulk of the 'Philosophers' Legacy' was left in independent hands in the USSR. Through some deception and numerous details, it was obtained by Colonel Volgin and it was being used to fuel his weapons development as he planned to oust Khruschev from power in a military coup. The Boss was the only american soldier infamous enough and useful enough to be accepted into Volgin's ranks as a defector. Under orders, she betrayed her own nation. Her mission was to reclaim the Philosophers' Legacy for America, where the remaining group was now known as the 'Patriots.' Naked Snake was needed as no more than a witness to her defection. It would lend credibility to her 'betrayal' of the United States, and altogether seal the deal. The problem came when Volgin used one of the nuclear shells over russian soil. The Russian government was in upheaval over the incident. A foreign detonation over soviet territory was an act of war. Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Nikita Khruschev wanted the cold war to erupt into a blazing hot one. Unfortunately, the balance of power within the soviet government could not allow Khruschev to hold back hostility simply by word. The USSR needed proof that this event was the fault of an american defector, and not directly of the US government. To keep that detonation from being an act of war, the Boss had to die. The Boss had a new mission. To carry out her defection to the end, and ultimately be killed by Naked Snake, her last disciple. She had to play the charade to the end, to no-one's knowledge but her own, before finally giving her life for her country. With her death there would be balance and deterrance. War would be averted. Her sacrifice would save the world. But it could never be known. For her sacrifice to save america, she would go down in history as a treasonous war criminal who instigated a nuclear crisis. A monster that threatened both America and the Soviet Union with the effects of her betrayal. To save the world, to prove her loyalty to 'the end' that her government ordered of her, she had to die without honor. She was ordered by the United States government to fight to the death on the side of the Soviet Union. To her own death, at Snake's hands. That was her role. She fulfilled it entirely. The Cobras, her former unit, joined with her again upon her defection. Their loyalties were entirely to her. She knowingly had to send her friends, the disciples she trained and fought with against the axis, to their deaths at Snake's hands. That burden was hers to bear as well, all for the sake of her loyalty to America. She could not let Snake join her. She very well could have tested his loyalties and found him to choose her over the United States, but that wasn't the point; he had to stay behind. He had to be the one to stand against her, to destroy her. She could not let him fail, but she could not make him succeed. She had to be defeated. She needed to be killed by Snake, to complete her mission. In all of Metal Gear Solid mythos, The Boss is the truest 'patriot.' The Boss makes the greatest sacrifices, even beyond the finality of her own death, for her country, and for her loyalty to the american government. She makes no choice of her own in this; she fights for America, loyal to the end. =========================================================================== I-B, "NAKED SNAKE / BIG BOSS" [ SNANAK ] Naked Snake was raised, trained, and entirely made into what he was by the Boss. She was his master, his mentor, and his family, and she had betrayed their home nation. He was the only one believed capable of eliminating her, so he was given the task. Snake fought tooth-and-nail against the odds, against his former master. She was his enemy. She had betrayed the United States for reasons he could not fathom. She had betrayed him personally just as much as she had the nation. He was nothing if not reluctant, but he followed his mission to the letter. He neutralized Volgin's nuclear threat, and moreover, he eliminated the boss. One by one he tore through her disciples, the cobras, who fought to the death for no ideals beyond their loyalty to her. It all ended when he faced her one-on-one, and had to be the one to put her out of her misery with her own sidearm. He had no joy in what he had done. He only did it for his mission, for his loyalty. Not to America, but to her. His only satisfaction was the success of his mission, the safeguarding of the nation he proclaimed fealty to. Fealty. I do not say loyalty because his loyalty was most genuinely with the Boss. But he chose his duties under the United States flag over his feelings for her. Snake defeated the Boss, proving himself the greatest warrior in America's arsenal. The president congratulated him, bestowing him the title 'Big Boss.' It was only then that he came to understand what had transpired. He understood why everything had fallen into place the way it was. He understood the boss's mission. He realized that the country she swore her life to threw her away for its own sake. To a nation, her loyalty was an asset, and her self was expendable. But not to him. At the very height of his career, he had lost all faith in the United States government. He saw that their most loyal soldier, who would give her life for their goals, could be thrown away so easily. The Boss was scapegoated, dishonored, and murdered for the sake of the US Government, and they had led him to do it with his own hands. The story of Snake Eater ends at her grave, as we the viewers reach these revelations at the same time the newly-christened Big Boss does. That story ends there, but Big Boss's life truly begins at that point. After operation Snake Eater, the experimental 'FOX' unit Naked Snake was operating under was officially organized into a US military special operations unit. Under Big Boss's leadership, the fledgling FOXHOUND was established in 1971. The best of the best, in skills, technology and resources, FOXHOUND was an assemblage of some of the most lethal freaks the army could muster. No matter how much further Big Boss's career in the US Military went over these years, his loyalty to the nation had truly ended in 1964 with the Boss's death. Slowly assembling an enormous wealth over the following decade, somewhere in the late seventies or early eighties Big Boss began and completed an extensive plan of subversion. By the mid-eighties, his independent military nation 'Outer Heaven' finally emerged in the southern jungles of Africa. Big Boss had constructed his own small mercenary country, a place for disillusioned soldiers such as himself to find work in what they did best without swearing fealty to a government that would dishonor them. Outer Heaven was built for warriors in a world where they were slowly becoming unwanted. As olive branches spread throughout the world, the times changed but soldiers did not. Big Boss had always been a solider. Fighting was all he was good at. His dream, manifested in Outer Heaven, was a haven for soldiers such as himself that sought to live their lives without being the expendable property of a nation they no longer cared for. The Boss's death left him a warrior but he was no longer a patriot in any respect. He left any allegiances he had to America and went to fortifying Outer Heaven. Despite its size, it was a horrifically formidable force to the rest of the modern world. Within its boundaries, the first 'Metal Gear' (supposedly the first derivitive of Granin's leaked designs from Snake Eater) began its construction. Metal Gear finished what the tread-driven Shagohod began. Metal Gear, in all its variations (except perhaps Ray) is a walking tank capable of launching a long-range nuclear strike from any terrain. Supposedly, its range could rival silo-borne ICBMs. When news of this reached America in the early 90's, Outer Heaven became a threat to national security. To defeat Big Boss, the founder of FOXHOUND and former "Naked Snake," America sent FOXHOUND's best: the operative 'Grey Fox.' When Grey Fox was captured in Outer Heaven, their last resort was FOXHOUND's youngest operative, Solid Snake. =========================================================================== II. MSX ERA (approx 1985-1999) =========================================================================== The MSX was home to the two canonical 'old-skool' Metal Gear games, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. While the NES did eventually find a port of Metal Gear, the second one never reached us. Either ways, the completion of Big Boss's arc and Solid Snake's rise to glory are told here, as well as the underrated and unfortunately obscure story of Frank Jaeger, FOXHOUND's Grey Fox and later the Ninja. These events include Solid Snake's FOXHOUND career and the rise of Big Boss's mercenary nations, Outer Heaven and later Zanzibar Land. =========================================================================== II-A, "SOLID SNAKE" (MSX ERA) [ MSXSOL ] Solid Snake was practically raised in FOXHOUND. His career in it began apparently after Big Boss left the United States, so if they were ever together in FOXHOUND it must have been brief. Solid Snake was one of the three 'snake triplets;' near-identical clones of Big Boss created by the government's 'Les Enfants Terribles' project in 1972, shortly after FOXHOUND's foundation. In the wake of Big Boss's blazing successes, and clear leadership capabilities, genetic research found great applications within him. He was considered to be a genetically ideal soldier, and his DNA was harvested for testing. Government scientists determined a number of genetic factors within him that were linked to various skills and inherent traits that don't just come from 'training.' The notion was that Big Boss was a fountain of 'soldier genes,' genome sequences that could make the difference between a born leader and a born failure. The 'Les Enfants Terrible' project sought to capitalize the notion to produce nothing short of a 'sequel.' Three children, almost entirely identical to Big Boss, were born; Solid, Liquid, and Solidus. While Solidus remains enigmatically separate from the 'twins,' the main two are rather clearly defined: one is tweaked to express more of the dominant characteristics possible within Big Boss's DNA, and the other more of the recessives. They're still nigh-identical, but at the deepest level one could be considered inherently 'superior.' Make note now that Solidus's origin is a very blurry subject. His origins are likely in the project as well, but he lived a very different life. I will explain this in detail in the Solidus section, [ SONDUS ]. Solid Snake, upon his birth, was chosen to be superior (though this doesn't mean he WAS 'superior' per se.) His career in FOXHOUND was rather prominent, but he was not the first choice to deal with the Outer Heaven crisis. Frank Jaeger, known in FOXHOUND as Gray Fox, was sent to defeat Big Boss but was taken hostage. The promising young Solid Snake was then sent in. Snake fought his way through Outer Heaven, rescuing Gray Fox and reaching Big Boss. Knowing the man only as a traitor who abandoned his unit and his country, he fought and defeated Big Boss for the sake of his mission. Metal Gear destroyed, he returned to the United States a small hero, earning his rightful place in FOXHOUND. As the years passed, Snake firmly became a career soldier. From an early age, the only thing he knew for sure was what he was good at; fighting. He was a born soldier, and he found it suited him best to fight for the government. Though not a devout patriot, he was loyal to the United States as their operative. He did his job. Gray Fox, Snake's closest friend in the unit, soon left FOXHOUND. In the late nineties, he resurfaced, now the mercenary leader of a small asian nation akin to Outer Heaven, called 'Zanzibar Land.' His actual superior in the endeavor was none other than Big Boss, still alive after the fall of Outer Heaven. Grey Fox and Big Boss began rebuilding what Outer Heaven once had, including retstarting work on the Metal Gear project. Unaware of these details, Snake was sent yet again to defeat Metal Gear, but in the course of his mission he had to eliminate Gray Fox, his closest friend. He went into his mission a soldier, loyal to his country, and moreover loyal to his mission. He had no intention of failing. He reached Gray Fox and, barehanded amidst a minefield, fought him to the death. The prize, stolen OILIX petroleum microbes and the destruction of Metal Gear, were in Snake's hands. Snake emerged victorious, but he knew the cost. They were friends, best friends, even in death. As men, as human beings, they were friends. As soldiers, as men of allegiance, they were enemies. Snake had to uphold his orders and serve the united states, and Fox had chosen a different path. Fox, like Big Boss before him, had grown disillusioned with the life he spent as a tool for politicians. He was a solider, and would always be a soldier, but he did not want to fight for a nation he did not believe in. On his deathbed he could explain himself to Snake, but it changed nothing; Snake fought for the United States, and Grey Fox fought for Big Boss. They were friends and enemies, and Snake was the victorious enemy over his fallen friend. Snake pushed on, eliminating again the threat of Metal Gear and facing Big Boss for the second time. Before they fought, Big Boss made the lofty claim that he was Snake's father; it did not weaken Snake's resolve to his mission, but the words haunted him nonetheless. He defeated and ultimately killed Big Boss, in a grim spectacle completely mirroring Naked Snake's reluctant triumph over The Boss thirty years earlier. Naked Snake defeated The Boss, earning him unparalleled prestige. He had killed the greatest soldier of the time, and more than that, his closest friend. Solid Snake had been forced to fight and kill his own closest friend, Gray Fox, and then kill Big Boss, the greatest warrior of his time... and possibly his own father. Solid Snake, much like Naked Snake thirty years earlier, returned home both a hero... and a broken man. Snake left the military, and retreated to Alaska, where he lived alone for years to come, happily away from war and the conflicts of choosing duty and allegiance. In his absence, the FOXHOUND unit found a new prodigy, and soon a new leader, in Liquid Snake. =========================================================================== III. TWIN SNAKES ERA (approx 1999-2006) =========================================================================== After Big Boss's final demise and Solid Snake's retirement, FOXHOUND spiraled out of control. Big Boss was crushed but his legacy lived on with what proved to be an insatiable ferocity. Twin Snakes is the revamped title for Metal Gear Solid. The PSX original did not have this surname; it was added for the Gamecube remake. Whether or not I enjoyed that particular game (MGS2-style gameplay on a Gamecube controller is an abomination under the Lord), its subtitle is appropriate and suits the story. Thus this is the story of the first Metal Gear Solid, be it PSX original or NGC remake. Solid Snake is called out of retirement to deal with the rebellion of FOXHOUND against the US government. This is the point at which the sons of Big Boss are finally brought face-to-face. =========================================================================== III-A, "LIQUID SNAKE" [ TWILIQ ] Liquid is the first 'villain' I can address here, but not by individual importance. Were the stories more fleshed out, I would LOVE to understand and explore the intricacies of Big Boss during the MSX era or better yet, Gray Fox. The 'villains' of Metal Gear are ALL important because they are not two-dimensional or static personas. Though the unit members and minibosses (cobras, FOXHOUND, dead cell, you name it) may simply be flunkies to the higher authority, that higher authority is always a genuine character with a depth to explore. If I haven't made that clear already I hope I am doing so right now. The greatest boon made to the Metal Gear plotline is the story of Snake Eater... the hero you play as is the same enemy leader that Solid Snake faces in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. His arc, rise and decline, are beautifully shown in Snake Eater. Whether or not it is obvious, many characters in MGS follow this concept. Liquid was not necessarily a 'villain' when he began in FOXHOUND, we simply don't know. Gray Fox, well, he's an entire story of his own; I really wish we learn more about him. Getting back to the point, Liquid is as important a character as Solid Snake, and I hope to explain why. Liquid Snake, labelled as the 'inferior' of the two at birth, began a military career despite lacking the 'privileged' start that Solid Snake had received. He rose through the ranks of FOXHOUND quickly and became the unit commander between 2002 and 2004. Along with a small force of 'Next Generation Special Forces' soldiers and the rest of FOXHOUND, he staged an insurrection at the nuclear disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island in Alaska's Fox Archipelago in 2005. Liquid's goals were not immediately made obvious, but they soon fell into place. Shadow Moses island was the site of development for Metal Gear Rex, the most dangerous and politically unforgiveable variation of Metal Gear yet... under production by the US government. Seizing this was his primary bargaining chip. Metal Gear Rex was the modus operandi Metal Gear; walking nuclear-strike tank. It was made more lethal by its unprecedented ability to strike any point in the world with a undetectable nuclear warhead launched from any solid terrain. It was a completely underground project. as its entire conception violated countless international treaties. Liquid could threaten more than a nuclear strike, he could threaten the entire balance of power in the world by revealing the government's hand in Rex's creation. Liquid's rebellion gave him control of the entire facility, and he was in a suitable place to make demands. His demands were simple; an exorbitant cash sum, and the remains of Big Boss. Summarily, Liquid was well aware of his own origins. The US Government had secured Big Boss's remains after the Zanzibar Land uprising, and continued their genetic research where they left off in the seventies; the Next-Generation Special Forces soldiers were 'genome soldiers, genetically altered soldiers that benefited from Big Boss's 'soldier genes.' With Metal Gear Rex, Big Boss's remains, and enough funds, Liquid could fulfill his goal: the ultimate rebirth of Outer Heaven. Outer Heaven was nothing short of Big Boss's legacy at this point. The soldier's haven. Liquid knew who and what he was. He was more than a career soldier, he was a BORN soldier, crafted as a mirror image of Big Boss to continue his patriotic duties. As anti-nuke accords spread and disarmament furthered among the superpowers, the soldier was becoming an unwanted aspect of society. Liquid, much like Big Boss, knew that he and his unit were warriors in a nation that had no respect for them. That is the soldier's lot. The soldier is no more than the honed blade; a tool used in wartime to facilitate peacetime. Upon peacetime, that sword is sheathed. If Liquid, FOXHOUND, and the Genome army were nothing more than tools to be kept in storage until the outbreak of war, their lives would be all but annulled. As warriors, their purpose was to wage war; if there was no war for America to send them to, Liquid would make one. And such was his ambition. Metal Gear Rex was his deus ex machina; it would enable him to revive Outer Heaven with its ransom, and then fuel the conflicts of the world with its sale. With an abomination like Rex let loose upon the free world, there would be welcome arms for the soldiers of Outer Heaven. Liquid saw himself as a man of the people; his race was the warriors, a dying race at that (as he would see it.) Liquid was no less than Big Boss's successor. The oppressed, unwanted soldiers of the world were his brothers. Obviously, none moreso his brother than Solid Snake. =========================================================================== III-B, "SOLID SNAKE" (TWIN SNAKES ERA) [ TWISOL ] Solid Snake was pulled away from his retirement by Roy Campbell, his old CO and the former commander of FOXHOUND. The crisis on Shadow Moses required a man like him. Told only of the armed uprising of FOXHOUND and their leader 'Liquid Snake,' Snake was asked to be the government's weapon to combat the insurrection and rescue hostages taken at the facility. Snake had no comprehension of who or what Liquid was. Furthermore, in government employ, nothing pertaining to Metal Gear was let slip to him. Under the pretexts of serving his country and (more importantly) saving the world yet again, Snake reluctantly joined Campbell's ranks. In true one-man-army fashion, he infiltrated Shadow Moses to take on the entirety of FOXHOUND. Attempting to rescue the hostages, the nature of the facility was revealed to Snake. The black project under construction in its underbelly was an unpleasant surprise to him, but he knew what he had to do. Disabling Metal Gear, now his personal pastime, was now a part of his mission. Neither of the corporate hostages in the facility could be saved, however, due to the FOXDIE artificial virus. Unbeknownst to Snake at the time, he was injected with an artificial pathogen programmed to cause cardiac failure in specific targets. Its effect was meant as a sort of fail-safe to his mission. Despite its effects on the hostages, Snake remained immune to its effects himself. Eliminating FOXHOUND units one by one, he made his way to the depths of the facility. Before reaching metal gear itself, he was confronted by the Ninja. The Ninja was no less than the wandering soul of Gray Fox; his barely-alive body reanimated by FOXHOUND technology. Gray Fox, unsure of his own identity, struggled to come to grips with what he had become. Seeking sense or purpose for his life, he tried repeatedly to fight with Snake, but more often than not chose to help him along his way. Reaching Metal Gear, Snake was finally face-to-face with Liquid. Liquid finally put their entire shared heritage into perspective for Snake; The 'Les Enfants Terribles' project, their conception, the lots in life they were given. Although he knew it was a lost cause, Liquid did briefly extend a hand to Snake. "We're both warriors fighting for a world that doesn't need us!" he told Snake. Snake wanted no part in the revival of Outer Heaven or the ensuing war that would erupt. It was at this point no longer a matter of following a mission. The government wanted its hostages rescued, the threat neutralized, and Metal Gear Rex preserved intact. The hostages were long dead, and Snake deemed the 'threat' and Rex to be one and the same. On foot, Snake squared off to Liquid and his Metal Gear Rex. Vastly outmatched, Snake was saved by Gray Fox. Gray Fox, finally within his own senses, speaks with Snake one last time before critically damaging Rex and being killed. He tells Snake, "even if the only thing I was good at was fighting, I can be glad that I fought for what I believed in." Gray Fox's words, and his sacrifice, carry a resounding influence with Snake for the years to follow. The score evened, Snake destroys Metal Gear Rex himself and is left one-on-one against Liquid. Nearly defeated, Snake is looking down the barrel of Liquid's rifle when the FOXDIE virus takes effect... on Liquid. Incredulously, Snake himself is unharmed. FOXDIE was programmed to ultimately kill the hostages along with all of FOXHOUND (likely not including Revolver Ocelot.) Snake was meant to be simply a carrier for the fatal virus, but the mission medical advisor Naomi Hunter had seen to it that this was not so. Frank "Grey Fox" Jaeger was her surrogate family in her childhood as a war orphan, and she sought vengeance for his murder. She programmed it to strike Snake as well, but at random. Once she had spent most of the mission with Snake and come to know him for who he was, she realized his triumph over Grey Fox was not out of malice. She forgave him for the choices he had to make, but FOXDIE could not be undone. The virus remains dormant in Snake from this point on, and will activate at some random point in his near or distant future. The genetics theme within 'Twin Snakes' finally reaches a climax with this revelation; Snake is quantifiably inferior to Liquid, yet he triumphed over Metal Gear and all of FOXHOUND. Liquid's superior genes gave him an inherent advantage, but in the end it did not compare to Solid Snake's sum of experiences and the choices he had made in his life. The classic 'nature versus nurture' conflict is shown with a clear victor at the end of Metal Gear Solid. Snake leaves Shadow Moses with Metal Gear developer Hal Emmerich ('Otacon'). Fueled by the events that have taken place, and Gray Fox's dying words, Snake finally chooses a definite path for his life. Much as Big Boss had Outer Heaven and Liquid had footsteps to follow in, Snake took it upon himself to fight alone against global threats, especially that of Metal Gear proliferation. Not as a soldier of a nation, or a mercenary for hire, but as a warrior of his own ethics. Accepting that "fighting is all he was good at," Snake chooses to finally fight for what he believes in. =========================================================================== IV. SONS OF LIBERTY ERA (approx. 2006-2009) =========================================================================== Sons of Liberty is the subtitle of Metal Gear Solid 2 for PS2. The expanded edition with bonus VR and 'alternative' missions is available for PS2 and XBox as 'Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.' Substance is not a new addition to the story, just a wealth of fun extras. This chapter in the story remains 'Sons of Liberty.' This story takes place in the years 2007 and then 2009, however the developments it adds to the characters really fill in the gaps between this and MGS1. This chapter finds both the 'Tanker Incident' and later the 'Big Shell,' which introduced the character of Raiden. Maligned as the fugly middle child of the series, its story has many loose ends but still provides important information to the whole. =========================================================================== IV-A, "SOLIDUS SNAKE" [ SONDUS ] In Sons of Liberty Solidus Snake (hinted at briefly in Twin Snakes) finally crawls out of the woodwork. Though he is a very genuine character, much of Solidus is enigmatic and incomplete. His backstory is not well shown, but his motivations are clear. Solidus Snake, though much older in appearance than Solid Snake or Liquid Snake, was most likely born around the same time if not AT the same time. In genetic respects, he is most likely a median between the 'twins.' Solidus has deep ties to the Patriots, the now-independent arm of the Philosophers that controls the entirety of American policy and politics. It is likely that he was taken by the Patriots for their own purposes at a young age, or perhaps was conceived entirely for them. His visible age and accounts of his military career would indicate that he is at least a decade older than the twins. THEORY ONE: Solidus was a hardened soldier in an uprising in Africa in the mid-eighties... we might assume that he was 20-something at that time, so his birth falls best in the early to mid sixties... directly before, or directly after operation Snake Eater. The Les Enfants Terribles project began in 1972, so a child before that would not have been a genetic clone. Can we possibly assume, then, that Solidus is a conceived child of Big Boss and an unknown mother? Knowing that Eva was an agent of the Philosphers, were she to have a child it would have fallen into their care... but we are told in a few points that Big Boss was sterile by radiation. This is interesting to say the least, but the next theory is more likely. THEORY TWO: While that thought is definitely interesting, last week Lilac Man pointed to two crucial points that can turn it all around. The first key point is that the Liberian Civil War took place in 1989. If he were born of the Enfants project in 1972, Solidus would have been 17, almost 18 at that time: old enough to be a solider, and very likely leader of younger child soldiers like Raiden. With the war taking place at this time, Solidus is MORE likely a result of the project. Secondly is his noted appearance. Solidus does seem much... grayer than Solid or Liquid were. Solid Snake isn't really meant to have aged as well as we see him in MGS2. The script and planning information in Document of MGS2 along with the dialogue (plus some of the preview bits) really imply that Snake is older than he looks. Whether or not this is completely due to the cloning process is unclear, but both he and Liquid simply weren't aging well. Liquid's comment in MGS2 of "You're drowning in time!" suddenly has actual meaning in this context. All of the Snake clones are forty-something in MGS2, and it seems to have been a marketing decision to give Snake his flowing hockey mane. Otherwise its safe to assume that he should have lost a little color over the years, and that Liquid would show it as well if he were more than a severed arm. Solidus's grizzled gray look isn't necessarily too far out of place. Thanks to Lilac Man for this theory; I thought my theory was more FUN, but this one makes a lot more sense, and I would profess that it is likely true ;) Solidus' origins can be inferred that far at least. Beyond that is the purest conjecture. Either ways, Solidus's entire life was essentially built by the Patriots; he was a sort of mercenary in the late eighties, fighting in a civil war in the nation of Liberia. A decade later, now under the name 'George Sears,' he entered a significant political career. It culminated in his presidency of the United States during the Shadow Moses incident in 2005. Every movement of his career was granted by the Patriots; they placed him in office as a figurehead for their authority, just as they had his predecessors. However, his own motivations were never squelched. Solidus was not simply unhappy being their pawn; he hated the Patriots with a passion, and loathed their dominance over the nation. In the face of Shadow Moses, Solidus attempted to use the public revelations of Metal Gear and the Genome army to expose the Patriots, dragging them under with him. Revolver Ocelot, a member of FOXHOUND during the incident, was an agent of his within Liquid's ranks, and Solidus attempted to use this as a conduit for his influence during the entire ordeal. Ocelot will be addressed separately (he does not quite fit chronologically because he is both omnipresent in the plot yet entirely enigmatic,) but one important point should be made here. No matter how mysterious his loyalties may seem (FOXHOUND, Liquid, Solidus, etc,) in the end of every arc it always boils down to the point; Ocelot's only allegiance is to the Patriots. This is the one undeniable aspect of his character; when all is said and done, he is first and foremost an agent of the Patriots. Once resolved, the incident at Shadow Moses became [inter]national scandal. Solidus's attempts to maneuver the situation into revealing the Patriots failed, and his administration alone took the blame for Metal Gear Rex and FOXHOUND's insurrection. 'George Sears' was ousted from office, and the Patriots, enraged at his attempted subterfuge, attempted to silence him permanently shortly after. Solidus promptly submerged, and remained in hiding for several years to follow. Where exactly Solidus was is unclear. It is hinted that he remained with Ocelot in the time between Twin Snakes and Sons of Liberty, not knowing that Ocelot was a Patriot agent... but this would cast suspicion on the motives of the Patriots, or Ocelot, or both, in helping him stay hidden. This portion of the story remains to be understood. In approximately 2007, Solidus began his organized effort against the Patriots. Enlisting the help of the officially disbanded Navy unit 'Dead Cell' (an assembly of FOXHOUND-esque freaks with significantly less ethical grounding) and a small Russian mercenary force, Solidus christened the group 'Sons of Liberty' and seized control of a Hudson-area offshore oil cleanup rig. The rig, named "Big Shell," was supposedly in place to filter toxins from the Hudson Bay from a massive spill two years earlier. It was in fact a smokescreen for the Patriot's most ambitious project; a mobile fortress, unprecedented in scale or force, called 'Arsenal Gear.' It was to become a unified core of the Patriot's control and oppression of American society; seizing it would be Solidus's greatest blow against the Patriots. Solidus led his 'Sons of Liberty' to control Arsenal Gear, intending to use it to launch a high-atmosphere nuclear strike over New York. Ideally, the electromagnetic fallout would devestate commerce and communication across the metropolis, shattering the Patriots' most direct controls over the nation; the economy. The ensuing chaos would allow him to rise to power using Arsenal and expose the Patriots once and for all. Solidus was indeed a 'patriot' in definition; ethically, he was practically The Boss's dark half. His ultimate goal was to end the rule of the Patriots, and bring America back to its philosophical roots. Democracy, popular sovreignty, the like; the Patriots undermined every concept America was supposedly built upon. Solidus lived much of his life as a individual pawn of the Patriots, but somewhere along the way he faced the conclusion that the oppression at work was against more than just his own ambitions. Solidus did not seek to rule the world, or anything so megalomaniacal. Solidus did not intend to rebuild Outer Heaven, or even follow the footsteps of Big Boss per se. Solidus had a compassion for the American ideal, enough so that he sought to free it from the Patriots' grips. Individual casualties were nothing to him, admittedly; many died in the acts of the Sons of Liberty. His compassion was not within the short-term; he sought to free the nation from the Patriots, no matter the sacrifices. He was not simply vengeful for having been their lap-dog. He wanted their power removed entirely. That alone was his ambition. Solidus was not a villain, though he was far too brutal to be any kind of protagonist. Solidus is the only character in Metal Gear mythos to rise personally against the Patriots in their entirety; dangerous as he was, his ultimate goal... was noble. Solidus's national coup was not meant to be, however. Through Ocelot, the Patriots were constantly well aware of his plans. His entire plot against Arsenal Gear fell perfectly into their hands. Rather than finish him off, the Patriots let him fester and his powers propogate, so that he could be yet again a pawn, now in an even more elaborate plot. His undoing was equally elaborate, and came in the form of a new 'protagonist.' =========================================================================== IV-B, "RAIDEN" [ SONRAI ] As effeminate and vaguely annoying as the whole world may find Raiden to be, his place as a character in the MGS saga is far more critical than first glance reveals. Raiden enters the story as an altogether 'green' operative, trained entirely in virtual reality simulation and hopelessly inexperienced in real-life situations. The questions raised by his skills are deeply troubling, as even he isn't completely confident that he has had genuine 'training.' Faced with 'war as a video game,' he is constantly attempting to draw the line between what is 'combat training' and what might just be electronic brainwashing. As technology progresses, the ability to 'program' soldiers rather than 'teach' them becomes more and more viable. The dilemma raised is that, unlike hands-on training, virtual 'programming' can alter skills along with a person's entire mindset. More than teaching them how to handle a gun, it can create entirely different situations for their mind, teaching them to abandon fear and compassion on the battlefield, potentially warping their humanity beyond repair. Again, where is the line between training and brainwashing? Wherever it may be drawn, technology continues to blur it with its advancements. Raiden spents most of the story as we see it as a sort of blank slate; 'programmed' but not experienced, he adds a sort of 'tabula rasa' characteristic to the MGS story that does not appear anywhere else. This apparent lack of depth, whether or not we like to admit, makes him frighteningly relateable to the player; he is HIMSELF a 'player' in a 'video game' as he sees it, and he has nothing of 'real life' to offer to his situation. While at this point in the mythos, Solid Snake is a certifiable badass, Raiden is the blank character that we can still find ourselves in the shoes of. To play as Snake at this point would disintegrate the story; MGS is first and foremost an interactive experience. Snake would be less 'playing' and more 'suggesting,' as the force of his character and decisions would overwhelm the player, leaving him less a participant and more a spectator. Raiden's sheer lack of personality, though somewhat pathetic, helps define the gameplay and experience. As a player we control Raiden and we are Raiden, unraveling his situation despite our own weaknesses. Now, despite this character setup, Raiden's actual identity carries importance. Raiden was, in the mid-eighties, a child soldier fighting under Solidus' command in the infamously vague 'civil war.' Somehow after the war's conclusion, Raiden found himself alone, making a life for himself in America. Despite the atrocities he faced and learned to accept in his childhood, he made the choice to repress his life up to that point, and try to live a 'normal' life of his own. Raiden was always followed closely by the Patriots. They likely spotted him by extension from Solidus during the war, and monitored him from that point. His efforts to live a simple (but empty) life were ended shortly after the incident at Shadow Moses. The Patriots recruited him to be an operative in the vein of the now-defunct FOXHOUND. Raiden, opting to follow the opportunity, underwent his extensive 'training' for the months (perhaps years) to follow. Trained in VR, Raiden did not end up thinking much of the impersonal nature of his career; he recieved orders by network and radio, equipment and materials by delivery and middlemen. His CO was never more than a voice, but after his length in simulacrum, he saw nothing to it. 'Officially' an operative of FOXHOUND, Raiden was finally deployed in 2009 to deal with the crisis at the Big Shell. His mission was to neutralize the 'Sons of Liberty' and recover a number of hostages from the facility, including the American President. Again, Raiden's existence is an archetype crafted out of the various aspects of growing military technology. He is without identity, without urgency or human distinctions such as fear or devotion. He is simply carrying out his task, as blandly and efficiently as possible. For the majority of his story, he does as told and has as few opinions as possible. While Metal Gear itself is touted as an overglorified 'missing link' between the power of long-range artillery and the mobility of human infantry, Raiden is an embodiment of a 'missing link' himself; the hybrid of human intellect and mechanical precision. He is a human, programmed as if a machine. Thought pleasant-tempered and blonde, he's in reality one of those horrific Orwellian/THX1138/Equilibrium sort of robot-men at heart. Raiden is granted character once he confronts Solidus and his old identity is brought to surface. His real combat experience and morbid childhood breathe a bit of life into his character that was not there previously, giving him personal motivation to see the ordeal through to the end, and defeat Solidus. Raiden's motivation at first is lacking; he simply follows his orders, as it his little more than his job. Nothing so devoted as 'duty;' it is simply his job to eliminate Dead Cell and Solidus. Raiden likely clings so tightly to his orders as they help compensation for his lack of identity. Feeling that fulfilling his 'duties' will bring him personal fulfillment is a tiny but effective driving force. By the end of the story, Raiden has become self-aware. Raiden defeats Solidus, destroying 'Sons of Liberty' and in effect striking that much of a blow against his inner demons. He realizes the deceptions he has been surrounded with, and knows that he cannot define himself through such shallow means. He leaves the fighting behind to find a life and identity of his own, accepting his past and now his present. The most miserable manipulation of all is still the final revelation he reaches. The entire scenario, from Solidus to Raiden, was arranged and Orcastrated by the Patriots. The entire incident at Big Shell was meticulously planned to parallel the events of Shadow Moses. The combination of VR combat training, and this real-and-yet-not experience were the Patriots' "S3" plan. S3 was the concept of a hybrid of both virtual and real experiences that, properly orcastrated, could turn any Soldier into the hardened hero that Solid Snake had become. The only thing that kept the entire scenario from being fulfilled, and Raiden becoming a battle-hardened, now-experienced national hero akin to Solid Snake... was the appearance of the real Solid Snake. =========================================================================== IV-C, "SOLID SNAKE" (SONS OF LIBERTY ERA) [ SONSOL ] When the events of Shadow Moses drew to a close, the acts of President George Sears (Solidus) allowed everything to be exposed to the public. The disposal facility, the Genome army, and most of all Metal Gear Rex were all revealed to the public. The greatest revelation of all was the man responsible for averting the catastrophic results of those events. The Patriots had not intended Shadow Moses be revealed. Solid Snake was a national hero who had narrowly averted armageddon. The Patriots never desired a hero that was not of their own creation. A hero they made and controlled, however, could be yet another powerful influence over the nation. The S3 plan was born. S3, the 'Solid Snake Simulation,' (or 'Selection for Societal Sanity,' see 'THE PATRIOTS' section) was to take a single impressionable soldier, use VR training to mold together his potential, and then create a scenario that ultimately mirrors the threats and situations of Shadow Moses to put him through. With the Patriots pulling all the strings on both sides, that soldier would be guaranteed success, but only by the narrowest margins possible. The level of challenge is just enough to drive him to his utmost potential. In the end, he would emerge victorious amidst a frenzied and worshipping public... and he would still be under the control of the Patriots. The entirety of S3 was to replicate a Solid Snake, a national hero, with variables the Patriots could monitor and control. The entire concept was in place, so the Patriots were ready to put into action as soon as they could remove one thorn from their side; the real Solid Snake. Solid Snake and Hal 'Otacon' Emmerich went underground almost immediately after Shadow Moses. Snake and Otacon had both found what they wanted to fight for with their lives; the eradication of Metal Gear technology for the sake of mankind. Metal Gear proliferation threatened every nation in the world. Snake and Otacon began a series of independent operations to disable Metal Gear variations in numerous nations. Rex's technology and schematics survived Shadow Moses, no doubt thanks to Revolver Ocelot. Dozens of Rex derivatives were operational around the globe within two years of the incident. Snake and Otacon's destructive actions earned them the labels of international terrorists. The label was further encouraged by the Patriots so as to drive away Snake's status as a 'hero' icon. Metal Gear had become a global threat. The US government, specifically the Marine Corps, saw it fit to re-enter government-sponsored Metal Gear development. "Metal Gear Ray" was soon completed. Ray was the 'anti metal gear,' not a walking nuclear platform as a Metal Gear would be, but rather an amphibious assault vehicle capable of effectively disabling the Rex derivatives around the world. Metal Gear Ray was not the nuclear threat that Rex had been, but it was still a cause for alarm to Snake and Otacon. News of its development leaked to them, and Snake undertook a mission to infiltrate a Marine Corps vessel and obtain photographic evidence of Metal Gear Ray to take to the public. Ray was being transported down the Hudson River in the holds of a false oil tanker. Snake got himself aboard and secured the evidence needed, but before he could pull out, the unthinkable happened. A mercenary force, led by Revolver Ocelot, seized control of the tanker. Ocelot boarded Ray and blasted his way out of the tanker, sinking it with his own allies and the marines onboard. Ocelot escaped into the ocean with Ray, leaving the wreckage in Hudson Bay. Snake escaped alive, however the Patriots' plan was already in motion. Footage of Snake onboard the tanker leaked out to the public. The press and media was universally informed that, in an act of outright terrorism, Solid Snake sank a loaded oil tanker in the Hudson river bay. Snake and Otacon's attempts to bring Metal Gear Ray to light were useless, as they were deluged by the allegations. They remained in hiding, now wanted international criminals. To ensure their safety, Snake and Otacon procured Liquid Snake's corpse from shadow moses and arranged for it to be 'recovered' at the tanker site soonafter. nearly identical on a genetic level, Liquid's corpse was confirmed to be Snake, and he was officially declared dead. The record would state that he went down with the tanker. Alive or dead, Snake was defamed and politically neutralized, as was the Patriots' intent. He was no longer a public threat to them, so they were free to move forward with the S3 plan; Arsenal Gear began construction under the bay, with the Big Shell built above to manage the 'cleanup' of the tanker oil spill. Of course, there never was an actual oil spill; the Patriots replicated the effect of a small-scale crude spill and immediately put the Big Shell into place. The Big Shell quickly became a symbol of government benevolence; it was an icon of environmental responsibility and served as the legacy of Solid Snake's dishonor. In the following years, Snake and Otacon became fully aware of the Patriots, their intents, and the purpose of the Big Shell. The Big Shell and the S3 plan came to a head in approximately 2009. Raiden, under the guise of a FOXHOUND agent, inflitrated the Big Shell to rescue the President and neutralize the 'Sons of Liberty.' At the same time, Snake and Otacon were tipped off to the situation by an informant. Simultaneously with Raiden's infiltration, Snake surfaced from hiding and made his way through the Big Shell disguised as a Navy SEAL. It was there that he met Raiden, an together they began to assemble the details of Solidus' plans and furthermore, the extent of the Patriots' grip over the entire situation. Snake's presence in the story of Sons of Liberty is that of a mythological hero; a presence which he denounces, but has rightfully earned after Shadow Moses. He is not the player character because he is no longer the everyman. Snake is now the elite, the master, and simultaneously a relic of a story past. He guides Raiden through his ordeals as a sort of uncompassionate mentor. Snake knows more about the situation than he ever lets on, has a greater wealth of experience than we can comprehend at this point, and is instrumental in the revelations that follow. For us to play as Snake, to see his viewpoint, would have crippled the storytelling. Sons of Liberty is literally about manufacturing a 'Sequel' Snake. The story is about the future of technology, of the military, and of 'heroes' as we know them. Solid Snake in Sons of Liberty is not unlike the returning Odyssius of the Odyssey, relating his journeys to Raiden, a 'Telemachos' coming into his own strength, maturity and identity. We follow Raiden as the center of our story much like the son heralded to adventure, and Snake is our guide as well as his through the revelations of the Patriots and the conspiracies therein. From Sons of Liberty and beyond, Snake continues his purpose of fighting the good fight. The pursuit of global benefit and safety that he followed after Shadow Moses continues on in the end. As Raiden defeats Solidus, Snake sets out to pursue the escaped Revolver Ocelot and take his fight directly to the Patriots. Arsenal Gear neutralized, Snake's enemy is the Patriots. Why Snake's goals shift to the target of the Patriots is never outright stated, but some possiblities can be inferred. From the ends of Shadow Moses the Patriots had found Solid Snake to be their enemy, and with his cover gone, they would continue to wage private war against him; the best viable defense for his own sake would be to take the fight to their doorstep. Deeper than this, however, would be Snake's motive of fighting for future generations. Throughout the story he tells Raiden his duty is not to himself or even the 'world,' but to the future. "We need to pass the torch, and let our children read our sad and messy history by its light," Snake says. "We have a responsibility to the coming generations, to the world, to keep track of the mistakes we've made as a species," Otacon explains. This has fully formed as the duo's modus operandi, and it is undoubtable that Snake seeks to end the reign of the Patriots for the sake of the nation's freedom and future. Snake may perhaps be following in Solidus' footsteps at this point. In his goal to, one day, bring America to the people and away from the Patriots' shadow dictatorship, are his methods the only difference between the two? Solidus wanted freedom for the nation, as does Snake. Solidus had no compassion for the sacrifices that would be made, and his attempt was nothing short of brutal. What will become of Snake in this pursuit? Can we trust that his compassion will remain strong, or might he just become another Solidus? Perhaps even to surpass Big Boss? Hideo Kojima added the tagline to Snake Eater trailers of "Only Snake is the true hero!" Ironically, this rings true throughout the saga. Only Solid Snake proves to be the absolute 'hero' of the saga. The Boss began the saga as a sacrificial patriot, a hero for her country, loyal to the end. Naked Snake emerged a flawed sort of hero in his triumph over The Boss. He knew his victory was truly a loss, and saw the extent of sacrifices being made around him and became disillusioned. It was his betrayal and disillusionment that made him into the 'villain' Big Boss. Liquid followed the same ideals... disillusioned by the nation he fought for, he instead fought to make a world for soliders like himself. This was Big Boss's dying dream. Solidus was a step in a different direction. Solidus was still a patriot to the nation. Solidus loved the United States, and sought to save it from the oppression of the Philosophers and the Patriots. Solidus was a hybrid of philosophies, combining both The Boss and Big Bos. His 'loyalty to the end' was not to the Patriots or the government but to his ideal of the nation. He was disillusioned as a soldier and a politician, and sought to rebuild America for the people, not just for the soldiers. Though a noble goal, his tactics reflected the humanity that he had sacrificed in his years as the Patriots' lackey. It is with these comparisons that we really see what 'Big Boss' means to the saga. Naked Snake is a genuine character, but 'Big Boss' has become a sort of 'dark side' to the entire Metal Gear legacy. The greatest soldiers we see in the saga all eventually succumb to the betrayals the nation and government thrusts upon them, and are disillusioned. Big Boss is the 'darth vader' of Metal Gear as we know it; Naked Snake abandoned his duty and loyalty and fell into disillusionment. Becoming 'Big Boss,' he broke away from his old loyalties and ethics and sought to change the world to suit his ideals. Liquid Snake followed the same course. Betrayed by his origins as an engineered soldier and a world that now rejected his kind, he became Big Boss in his own right. The same follows suit for Solidus, who wanted to free the world from the Patriots. Both prided themselves as 'sons of Big Boss' and furthermore his inheritors, not realizing what the archetype of Big Boss truly stood for; those who succumb to that disillusionment, who wallow in that betrayal, keep abandoning their ethics and humanity and degenerate into monsters. This is why Solid Snake is the 'only true hero.' Snake has faced more than his share of betrayals at the hands of his superiors, he has killed too many friends and allies, and he has faced the personal wrath of the Patriots, but he does not abandon his nobility. Snake does not resort to the atrocities that made Big Boss, Liquid, and Solidus terrorists. He continues to fight with a grounding in humanity and ethics. It is with this in mind that we can have faith he will not become the last inheritor of Big Boss's legacy. =========================================================================== V. OMNIPRESENT FORCES (from before SNAKE EATER to beyond SONS OF LIBERTY) =========================================================================== Some of these characters or concepts are just always there. Ocelot and the Patriots have had their hands in most of the major events of Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 3, behind the scenes or not. Their presences in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are unknown, but I doubt they were just twiddling their thumbs while Big Boss was building entire countries. =========================================================================== V-A, "THE PHILOSOPHERS" AND "THE PATRIOTS" [ OMNPHI ] According to the basis laid down in Snake Eater, the end of World War I saw the foundation of The Philosophers. The Philosophers were an assembly of the wealthiest oligarchs and aristocrats of the United States, Soviet Union, and China. In theory, these three groups were already driving political forces in their respective countries. This first gathering of members was the named the 'Wisemen's Committee.' Their assembly pooled their wealth and, for several decades, established a unseen union between the three nations. Through World War II, the power and reach of the Philosophers grew exponentially. They were now the unquestioned force behind each government. They ran independent political forces, had their own agents, and trained schools of operatives that would undermine seats of power throughout other governments. When the last members of the original Wisemen's Committee died after World War II, the enormous wealth generated by their unions was broken apart and scattered to accounts and other hiding places throughout the three nations. An estimated total of one hundred billion dollars was spread across the nation, completely known only by a select few. This wealth became known as 'The Philosopher's Legacy.' Colonel Volgin's own father, through some illegitimate means, was able to secure the legacy almost in entirety, and Volgin inherited it. It was the Legacy that fueled his fortress and many projects, most prominently the Shagohod. His resources were practically unlimited. With the death of the Wisemen's Committee, tensions rose between the nations and among the philosophers. Which was cause and which was effect is unclear; either discord among the Philosophers caused the Cold War between the nations, or the Cold War between the nations caused discord among the Philosophers. Either ways, the loss of the legacy and breakdown of allegiance disbanded the 'Philosophers' in most respects. Each nation retained its own remaining 'Philosophers.' The American Philosophers became known as 'The Patriots,' and they continued their omnipotence over the American government and way of life. Now, for the sake of clarity, I will express this now. The Philosophers in America were not called "The Patriots" until the year 1970, but I need to discern the 'American brach' of the Philosophers from the original multi-national assembly of 'The Philosophers.' 'The Philosophers' is a blanket term for the entire society. The original assembly was the Wisemen's Committee, and the remaining American group of Philosophers are 'The Patriots.' Russia has its 'Philosophers,' as does China. So, to keep this clear, I will use each term specifically. "The Philosophers:" The wealthiest and most powerful men of America, the Soviet Union, and China, as a whole or respectively. "Wisemen's Committee:" The first members of the Philosophers before and during WWII, when all three nations were still united. "Branch:" The group of Philosophers from each particular nation; American branch, Russian branch, Chinese branch. "The Patriots:" The branch of Philosophers from America after the original Wisemen's Committee was disbanded. So to reiterate, the original twelve members of the Wisemen's Committee were all deceased by the beginning of the Cold War. Their successors and the entire remaining committee disbanded as international relations were severed. Each branch of the Philosophers became independent, and their amassed fortune was practically scattered to the winds. The Boss was in fact the daughter of the last American on the Wisemen's Committee; she was considered the 'last child of the Philosophers.' She was trained by the Philosophers, and even instructed at their schools for a number a years. It is likely that her Cobra unit had other ties to the Philosophers as well. Well into the cold war, the Patriots began planning to reclaim the Philosophers' Legacy. It was their intention to reunite as much of the scattered funds in America as possible. Knowing that Volgin had secured nearly all of it and was using it to fund one of Dr Sokolov's projects, they devised their plan to eliminate Volgin and his Shagohod while reclaiming the legacy in a single operation. Operating through the US government, the mission was assigned to The Boss. As an internationally renowned war hero, she would be able to defect to the Soviet Union and win Volgin's trust. She would secure the legacy, disable the Shagohod, and retrieve Sokolov from within Volgin's ranks. Her 'defection' was executed flawlessly; she 'retrieved' Sokolov from Naked Snake for return back to Volgin, and threw Snake into the river below after brutally subduing him. Only she and the Patriots knew her true intentions. The upper brass in the US government that handled the mission were at the very least pawns of the patriots, and it is likely that the Director of Intelligence was a member himself. As stated earlier, her mission was run askew when Volgin's unexpected detonation of one of the American nuclear shells threw international relations into chaos. The Boss's fate was quickly sealed. Though she was expected to die, it was also necessary that she reclaim the legacy through any means possible. A single microfilm slide contained all the locating information for the scattered increments of the Philosophers' Legacy. Anything Volgin hadn't already gathered was accounted for on the slide, and The Boss was able to procure it before leaving his fortress to face Naked Snake. Upon her death she gave him the slide to return to the United States, and thus the majority of the legacy was reclaimed. Less than half of it remained in Russia, and the rest was secured back in the hands of the Patriots. China, it seems, was left almost completely emptyhanded. The funds secured, the Patriots' dominance over the American government and marketplace was secure for the following decades. Liquid Snake's insurrection struck Shadow Moses in 2005, and from this point onward the Patriot's motives became incredibly subtle. What place they had in Liquid's actions (and Ocelot's, for that matter) is not completely clear; the most we can take away from it is that it did not go as they had intended. The US Government began developing Metal Gear Rex under the guise of a mobile theater missile defense system. Its actual purpose was the capacity to magnetically launch a nuclear warhead without onboard propulsion from any kind of terrain. Such a strike capability would give the US unparalleled power over other nations as well as creating a massive deterrant threat in the international community. This marked the first time the US Government itself began making use of Metal Gear technology. When FOXHOUND took over the facility, the Patriots supported Solid Snake's operation. He was to neutralize FOXHOUND and rescue the hostages without any knowledge of Metal Gear. Snake's victory over FOXHOUND was meant to be the entirety of his mission, and they had hoped to retrieve Rex intact and unrevealed. Not only was Rex revealed, but it was destroyed. Snake was a public figure and a national hero. The Patriots were infuriated. Thus the S3 plan was put into motion and the tanker incident took place. Snake was declared a terrorist and furthermore deceased, and Big Shell was established. Raiden was the subject of the experiment, and in the end he fulfilled expectations by killing Solidus and Dead Cell. Who and WHAT are the Patriots, then? To be sensible, there are a lot of issues to face before you can define them at all. At the VERY least, we know the principles of the Patriots; they are a force of authority. Moreover, they seem themselves as the best judge of what's good for mankind. Not simply in the governing sense, but as paths towards the future of humanity itself. The Patriots see their manipulations and shadowed string-pulling simply as a means of tweaking our course, or running an experiment for the best results. According to Otacon at the end of Sons of Liberty, all the members of the Patriots's Wisemen's committee 'died about a hundred years ago.' Chronologically, that would be referring the the original Philosophers' Wisemen's Committee. If that same committee, dead for at least eighty years, was still considered to be 'the Patriots,' how could they possibly be in charge of anything? The AI behind Arsenal Gear and the S3 functions gave Raiden a wealth of cryptic information as to 'what' the Patriots are. The Patriots are "no longer what you would call 'human.'" The S3 AI, claiming itself to be 'the Patriots,' describes its origins as having grown out of the 'primordial soup' of the government's infrastructure. It says that it simply grew and took consciousness. It sees itself as a protector of humanity's future, crafted by us to save us from ourselves. It refers to the S3 plan as 'Selection for Societal Sanity;' a method of creating direction among the misdirected, a means of coercing the population through the manipulation of a key few. Logically, this would refer to the ultimate goal of fabricating a Solid Snake, and constructing a 'national hero' for whom the masses could pledge fealty. Who better to be the instrument of control than humanity's newest 'savior?' This was the goal of the 'Solid Snake Simulation;' to craft a leader, a mouthpiece, in the image of Solid Snake. A hero on the Patriots' leash. Which acronym is the true name of the 'S3' is unsure, but ultimately irrelevant. The AI says that IT is the final result of the S3, not Raiden. This is what are told by Sons of Liberty. It's all delightfully vague; how does it all piece together, then? ...well... it doesn't. Not completely, no. We must first weed out the 'facts' and then start making inferences. 1) The Patriots' current ruling 'Wisemen's Committee' is officially no different than the original Wisemen's Committee of the Philosophers in World War I. 2) The Patriots are, in modern day, no longer defineably human. 3) The Patriots seek no less than to direct the whole of humanity by its own ideals, effectively coddling and/or suffocating it as needed. 4) The Patriots have the capacity to manipulate information and governmental functions with complete efficiency and stealth. 5) The Arsenal AI, 'GW,' claims to be in itself the final product of S3. It refers to itself as The Patriots, as well. Let's take these concepts literally. The Patriots are a noncorporeal yet sentient force. Perhaps something as 'simple' as an AI, or perhaps some kind of ongoing expression of a concept or protocol. Time to analyze: An AI could not exist to fill the gap from the 1920's beyond 2000. It could not be a digital intelligence in any sense of the word. IE, we cannot treat the Patriots as a DIRECT product of technology. Expressed as something that 'grew' into sentience out of the 'soup' of our bureaucracy, they had to exist in some simpler form aftet their deaths before becoming the conscious 'S3.' It seems that the Patriots as we know them are a manifestation of doctrine. Therefore, my (loose) theory: The Wisemen's committee, as far back as they were alive, established some manner of ongoing, flexible protocols for their ambitions and goals for mankind. These goals took shape over the decades to follow, as they were obeyed to the letter by the governments that came and went. These rules, goals, and layers upon layers of logistics and protocols, eventually found a new life in the digital age. Something within the convoluted forms of the Patriots' doctrines turned it from a catalog of principles into something more. The S3 was the final culmination of this evolution; effectively, this was the 'revival of the Philosophers' that Ocelot had mentioned in passing to the American Director of Intelligence. The Philosophers could be revived in the more distant sense by the reassembly of their minds and principles in the form of digital doctrine. This is to say that, based on the original precepts of the Wisemen's Committee, a 'program' of sorts was gradually created based on their philosophy. More than a set of rules to be followed by men, it became a wealth of notions with the power to form its OWN decisions. An amalgam of the personalities and ethics of the original twelve Philosophers, that with its own evaluations of humanity could follow the course the Philosophers had always intended. The Wisemen's Committee formed and recorded their principles, their protocols and doctrines, and let the evolution of technology build their words from simple scriptures to a cognative network of ideas. This is my interpretation of 'The Patriots.' This is a fantastically abstract concept with no basis in conceivable events; every concept I am suggesting here is utterly intangible. It makes a little bit of sense, however; the various hints we are given slowly form a puzzle that this piece fits into. The 'Philosophers' as we know them in Snake Eater are thus not a communion of men to be consulted, rather an ark of rules and ethics to consult. They are not people to ask but a book to be read; a library of ideas to be obeyed, not men. Thus the S3 really is the final culmination; the Patriots' doctrine finally acts on its own, interprets on its own. It is now a synthetic mind; a computer program designed to calculate the will of the Wisemen's Committee and execute it. As a digital entity, the control it has over information is limitless. Its access to further knowledge is infinite as well, as it is an existence within the entire network of earthly technology and communication. Shades of 'I, Robot' and 'Terminator 3,' yes? But really, it isn't a derivative idea; its simply the notion that doctrine, even oppressive doctrine, can start to take its own form if founded within logical parameters. The Philosophers followed a set of rules for their decisions, and the proliferation of those rules became the Patriots. Again, that's a theory. The Patriots could also be ghosts. Or reanimated corpses. Or aliens. Or immortals. Or a sentient computer program written on program-feed punchcards that went from playing tic-tac-toe at a championship level to playing God on the global scale. Seriously, every possible explanation is just bizarre. I like to think that my notion is somewhat less bizarre than the rest. The concept of the Patriots is not an inference, however. It is rather simple. The Patriots, just like the Philosophers before them, are an organization of some sort that stretches influence over all of society to guide it in a direction it deems preferable and beneficial. The Patriots are no less than the smothering, deceptive parent of our infantile and naïve race. To conclude this more reasonably, I will state the one thing that we know for certain; NONE OF US HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE DEAL WITH THE PATRIOTS IS. Its that simple. While I try to walk the line between knowledge and speculation, most of this section is the latter. So far, this twisted amalgam of existential theories is the most sensible explanation that I can come up with for myself. I encourage you to take what little information there is and come up with your own answers. A fun thing that was pointed out to me by Tom Addison should be taken into account as well; when Commandant Dolph is confronted by Ocelot, his words are "The La-li-lu-le-lo? How is that possible?" Interesting words, that. If the Patriots were a more 'reasonable' concept you'd think he would ask "WHY?" or "WHAT THE HELL???" but instead he is confused by the whole notion. "How is that possible?" he asks. It makes sense that, if the Patriots were accepted to be a less-than-alive group of powers, it should confuse him... As for the Legacy microfilm, there has been dispute as to how it got around, moreover who had a fake one and how it all worked out. I'm still sorting out a reasonable explanation for this, but rest assured it exists. Ocelot was never loyal to Russia. Ocelot is a child raised by the Philosophers, and moreover loyal to the American Philosophers... the 'Patriots.' =========================================================================== V-B, "REVOLVER OCELOT" [ OMNOCE ] Finally, the simplest chapter. No matter how completely incomprehensible Ocelot's motivations may be at times, or how confusing his decisions seem, the truth is universally applied: Ocelot is first, foremost, and entirely the instrument of the Philosophers. Ocelot does the will of the Philosophers, and later The Patriots. That is all. Everything he does is for them, whether or not those around him realize it. He is instrumental in the events surrounding the Shagohod, Rex, and Ray; he double-crosses the various revolutionaries at every turn. He fakes allegiance to any number of outfits so long as it will manipulate them into the Patriots' hands. He plays Volgin into their hands. He plays Liquid into their hands. He played Solidus into their hands. Though he is no single-handed undoing, he helps guide every major event throughout the usurp-laden Metal Gear history. Revolver Ocelot's real name appears to be 'Adam' or 'Adamska.' He is the son of The Boss and The Sorrow, born on or slightly before D-day, WWII. As a newborn he was quickly stolen away by The Philosophers and trained in their schools. He was effectively built by the Philosophers as their right hand. His loyalties shift from government to government with the times. In his teens he was purportedly an NSA codebreaker (this might just be a concocted story.) At age twenty he was commander of the USSR's 'Ocelot' Spetsnaz unit. In his forties and fifties he was 'Revolver' Ocelot of FOXHOUND. Throughout each career he reported to at least two different governments, acting as a double or triple-agent and backstabbing unfathomable numbers of allies. Ocelot's loyalties seem to jump from America to Russia to FOXHOUND to Liquid to Solidus's Sons of Liberty and all over again. Its confusing as hell until you simplify it as such. Ocelot always works for and always reports to the Patriots. Whatever he does, he does for them. Whatever side he seems to fight for, he fights for their desired outcome. As a character, Ocelot is admittedly rather static. He was raised and trained and entirely programmed by the Patriots, so he will be their hands, eyes, gopher and/or garbageman if they so desire. He is a skilled soldier with (apparently) an uncanny mind for both ricochet physics and convoluted political subterfuge. Lastly, to inform anyone who doubted, I am NOT pulling Ocelot's parentage out of my ass. There are several clues present, along with one irrefutable bit. Firstoff, radio conversations with Eva can reveal a few points; - Ocelot is 20 years old - Ocelot was born on a battlefield at the end of WWII via c-section - Ocelot's mother has a long, winding 'snake' scar - one of Ocelot's parents was a legendary soldier The Boss will explain her child's birth in the end; - Her child is male - her child was born on D-day, 1944, making him 20 years old - she gave birth via cesarean section - her child was stolen by the Philosophers - she has a winding, snakelike scar from the delivery Therefore, the Boss's child would now be a 20-year-old man in the employ of the Philosophers. Come ON. If that isn't enough, in an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly, Kojima mentioned that the Boss's son was indeed one of the main characters of MGS3, then promptly made a spinning pistola gesture. For reference, this was EGM #188 (February 2005.) =========================================================================== VI. CANONICAL "METAL GEAR" VARIATIONS =========================================================================== The series' namesake is ironically unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Just as Star Wars is a six-episode series all about the rise and fall of Darth vader, all of Metal Gear is about the legacy of Big Boss. The political motivations always seem to have a Metal Gear in the center, however. Metal Gear is a constant catalyst of events, and the political values of its different forms are worth noting. =========================================================================== VI-A, "SHAGOHOD" [ METSHA ] Shagohod, meaning 'the treading behemoth,' is not defineably a 'Metal Gear' but is no less than the progenitor of the entire Metal Gear concept. Constructed in the Soviet Union in 1964, its research and development were almost exclusively private to Colonel Volgin's unit. It was developed at the OKB-754 design bureau by Doctor Sokolov, and constructed in Volgin's private fortress at Groznyj Grad. Volgin's nigh-infinite funds (thanks to the Philosopher's Legacy) expedited the process noticeably. The Shagohod's premise was simple on paper; a mobile launch site for nuclear inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Easier said than done, as ICBMs are almost exclusively launched from underground silos due to their enormous size and payload. ICBMs had exceptional range for the time, but their launchsites were incredibly limited. The sphere of influence for traditional ICBM launchsites did not suitably threaten the United States. The Shagohod was a quasi-pedal tank. Utterly colossal in size, its rear section was a traditional tread-driven unit on a much larger scale. Its front half was a smaller unit armed with convential weapons and using a pair of dextrous drill-type treads for added forward motion and stability in rough terrain. The rear half was large enough to mount a single small-scale ICBM. This stripped-down version had a single-stage capable of an almost 2500-mile attack radius. The Shagohod's thread was twofold; A) The Shagohod was massive, but still mobile. It could be maneuvered into a variety of terrains to allow its launch from any desired vantage point. B) Rather than fire from a standstill, the Shagohod could accelerate up to 300 mph and launch the missile on momentum and light thrust, so that its onboard rockets would act as a second stage and increase its threat radius to approximately 6000 miles. With onboard rocket propulsion and at least three miles of straight runway, the Shagohod could easily make use of this increased-range function. This added to its mobility and it was a horrific nuclear delivery system in comparison with the traditional silo-launched ICBMs. The desired function of a mobile, ultra-long-range nuclear strike platform was fully realized, albeit primitively, in the Shagohod. The Shagohod was barely a Soviet project. It was driven almost entirely by Colonel Volgin, and was to be the centerpiece in his coup of Khruschev's administration. As Major Zero puts it, he intended 'to turn the Cold war into a blazing hot one.' The Cold War was just as it sounded, a war fought without blazing warfare. Russia and the United States were equal superpowers in the world, both with uncanny military might and a feeling of imperitive threat at each other's hands. Deterrance was the name of the game. Rather than kill and conquer, the US and the USSR competed furiously to maintain tenuous arms superiority. The space race and other technological feats of the sixties and seventies were brought about solely by America's paranoid drive to outpace its mortal socialist enemies. This constant race for superiority kept the balance swinging carefully back and forth. With such a competition, armed conflict did not actually break out. It was a war of motive, a war of potential. The Cold War was fought by each nation racing to match the other's latest threat. This was the whole premise of deterrance, and later our infamous 'nuclear deterrance.' Each side continues to match the other's power to the point that neither will risk launching the first strike for fear that they will simply annihilate eachother completely. The will to conquer versus self- preservation kept each nation at bay, furiously building arms from behind each side of the iron curtain. Even now, our nation 'averts' nuclear threats by maintaining the largest nuclear arsenal imaginable. A nuclear strike on US soil could be feasibly met with tenfold retaliation. Thus is the philosophy of nuclear deterrance. Ideally, each side wanted to amass enough of an advantage that the other would be forced to surrender in the event of heated conflict. By keeping up with each other's advances, both nations stayed within a small perimeter of tactical safety. The Shagohod was meant as a quantum leap past the traditional pace of deterrant competition. Its destructive capabilities elevated it far beyond the level of deterrant threat. With the capacity to obliterate any American target from nearly anywhere, it was expected to bring the US to its knees with little difficulty. The prototype was a moderate threat, but once it had been proven, Volgin could easily afford to mass-produce a legion of them; enough to fell the US in a single unified stroke. The Shagohod was limited, but was the first step towards the horrific and idealized Metal Gear concept. The point of a Metal Gear has always been to lunge past the global level of threat and deterrance and offer instantaneous victory over any oppressor. The shagohod was destroyed by Naked Snake, however Granin's designs for a far more versatile weapon leaked out after Operation Snake eater. His ideas for the 'Metal Gear' required technology that did not yet exist. The ultimate derivitive of his concept, the perfect fusion of bipedal mobility and unlimited strike range, would not be realized for over forty years. =========================================================================== VI-B, MSX ERA METAL GEAR UNITS [ METMSX ] The unfortunate aspect of this section is that information is sorely limited as to the technological capbilities of the first two 'true' Metal Gears. We can infer plenty, and most important is the poltical implications of each. The Metal Gears constructed in Outer Heaven and later Zanzibar Land were entirely similar, if not nearly identical. Their offensive ranges were presumably similar to the Shagohod's peak performance: enough to strike the heartlands of the major national superpowers. The difference that set these apart from the Shagohod is the defining characteristic of a "Metal Gear:" these two machines could, acting without support, fire an absurdly long-range nuclear strike from a standing position on ANY terrain. The shagohod was lethal for its time, but still very limited. It was still tread-driven. This and its massive size still prohibited many less friendly terrains. Also, to reach full attack range, it needed to reach 300 mph on at least three miles of straight, level track. Metal Gear was by definition a bipedal tank capable of traversing any solid terrain. Mountainous or uneven regions could not hinder it. Furthermore, from a stationary position, a Metal Gear unit could launch a self-propelled nuclear strike. In theory, the original two Metal Gears had the technology to match or slightly exceed the Shagohod's optimum strike range without the Shagohod's required groundspeed. How this technology came to pass isn't clear; if anyone has played Metal Gear or Metal Gear 2 thoroughly and can clue me in on their functions or strike ranges, please contact me. No matter how it functioned, it functioned. With what I hope is a sense of sick irony, Big Boss saw the value of the technology that he had once defeated. Founding Outer Heaven, he knew that such a small nation could easily be crushed by one of the major global powers should a large-scale conflict arise. Outer Heaven needed a deus ex machina; it needed a weapon that could instantly grant it the strength and status of a global superpower and the capacity to topple one if needed. For Outer Heavent to prosper, it needed more than legions of soldiers and conventional weapons. It needed an ace it could pull on any nation that threatened its independence. Big Boss realized that something like the Shagohod was exactly what he needed to turn his small country into an overnight deterrant force. The Shagohod itself was obsolete and limited by this point. Metal Gear was designed and built to put it to shame. Destroyed by Solid Snake before it could threaten the world, its second iteration stood to inherit its legacy. With the rise of Zanzibar Land, a successor to Outer Heaven, Big Boss tried yet again to give life to a weapon of such power. Metal Gear II was destroyed as well, but by this point its technology was well-proven to be a potent force in global politics. =========================================================================== VI-C, "METAL GEAR REX" [ METREX ] Metal Gear REX is perhaps the most underrated piece of Metal Gear mythos imaginable. Its political power is unprecedented in the whole saga, and technologically it is the most perfect weapon ever devised. REX is the ultimate realization of Granin's original premise; what the Shagohod attempted and the first Metal Gears began, REX simply perfected. Metal Gear REX is a bipedal, all-terrain tank with enough conventional weaponry to operate without friendly support. Moreover, it can launch a stealth nuclear strike from a standing position with nearly UNLIMITED global range. It is exactly how it sounds. Metal Gear REX has an attack radius that encompasses practically the entire globe, and it retains full mobility over any land terrain. REX uses a miniturized electromagnetic rail cannon that uses magnetic force to fire projectiles at supersonic speeds. These projectiles can be fired in sub-orbital arcs that can land on potentionally any site on the face of the earth. In simpler terms, REX can fire a warhead with such velocity that it will soar to the height of the Earth's atmosphere before gravity arcs it back down onto its target. Furthermore, these nuclear warheads do not require chemical propulsion; they aren't rocket-powered, they are magnetically catapulted at their targets. They are not missiles, they are simply bombs that are 'thrown.' This incredibly flight speed combined with the lack of propellant exhaust makes the warhead undetectable to traditional early-warning systems. It gives off no excess heat or gas to trigger distant detection systems, and even it closer range, its anti-radar surface and incredible speed make magnetic detection futile. What it all boils down to is this; Metal Gear REX can nuke anything, from any place, at any time, without being at all detected. A stationary magnetic rail platform would be deadly enough, but runs a high risk of discovery and destruction from above. REX can not only MOVE, but it can move over any usual obstructions with ease. It can position itself at any reasonably high altitude and find firing trajectories with ease. There is still no greater weapon in the Metal Gear universe. Its political power is also unparalleled, and for good reason. Metal Gear REX was a creation of the United States military. REX was no terrorist abomination; it was a tool of the United States government. REX was designed and assembled as an army black project; the nuclear disposal facility at Shadow Moses was little more than a veil over REX's development. The FOXHOUND insurrection was entirely centered around REX. Metal Gear REX is the pinnacle of nuclear strike technology. It was designed and built under layer after layer of political smokescreen. It's lead engineer, Hal Emmerich, was designing its body and bipedal functions under the assumption that its railgun was meant as a theater missile defense system. Plausibly, REX COULD serve as a TMD; it's incredibly long-range targeting faculties could allow it to identify and isolate high-velocity targets while the rail cannon could fire countermeasures at excellent interception speeds. That guise could politically defend REX to some extent were it revealed. The government's motivation in building its own Metal Gear was still the same as every one of its progenitors; global arms superiority. A nuclear strike is still the apex of offensive and defensive threats; REX's completion would elevate the US to a godlike status in the international community. It would theoretically (with enormous emphasis on the word 'theoretically') serve as an omnipotent peace-preserving deterrant force. REX's presence combined with the already massive might of the US military is enough to intimidate any nation on the planet. REX was not a mutant or a standalone force; it was only the prototype. A legion of Metal Gears ready for distribution around the world is the most horrific threat since the original Shagohod. The global threat and controversy that REX held made it a holy grail to any force looking to make a stand: A) The United States government dared to use it as an overkill deterrant force B) Liquid Snake and FOXHOUND seized it to discredit the US within the international community and rebuild Outer Heaven C) Solidus Snake (at the time President George Sears) helped instigate FOXHOUND's rebellion so that the exposure of Metal Gear REX to the world public would reveal the machinations of the Patriots. REX's destruction at the hands of Solid Snake was an unwitting victory for the Patriots; had Solidus or Liquid had their way, REX's unleashment would have simultaneously revealed and condemned the Patriots. Upon REX's destruction, supposedly Ocelot kept the design schematics and leaked them to a number of hostile nations. I doubt this is true; Ocelot is still the agent of the Patriots, and they would not allow such a threat to leak out to a number of their enemies. The notion that REX derivatives were sprouting around the globe is more than likely a rumor that the Patriots started to perpetuate fear and to necessitate the creation of Metal Gear RAY. =========================================================================== VI-D, "METAL GEAR RAY" AND "ARSENAL GEAR" [ METRAY ] Metal Gear RAY is, in a word, a joke. RAY is not a Metal Gear. I will repeat this. RAY is not a Metal Gear. Metal Gear RAY was developed by the US Marine Corps as a countermeasure to the supposed REX derivatives that were scattered around the globe. RAY is an amphibious and highly dextrous bipedal tank armed with massive amounts of conventional firepower. Officially, it is meant as a highly maneuvarable solo-operable anti-REX weapon. This is where RAY is still a joke. RAY is not nuclear-equipped. RAY is not a nuclear threat at all. It is just a battleship with legs. By definition, RAY is not a Metal Gear. This seems, at first, like a massive blunder on the part of MGS's story. I postulate, however, that it has far more intentional purposes. The 'official' story, laid out by Marine Commandant Dolph, is that Metal Gear RAY is a Marine project designed to wipe out REX variants around the world, while the Navy is simultaneously designing their own new Metal Gear unit. Judging from the end results of Sons of Liberty, I would like to theorize the following: Firstoff, we know that the Patriots have in hand in every branch of the government. To think that the Marine corps is somehow undermining their authority is ludicrous. We are also well aware of what the Navy project actually is; the fortress 'Arsenal Gear.' Arsenal Gear is a nuclear-strike-capable mobile fortress built as a sort of military core for the Patriots. From Arsenal Gear orders could be issued to every branch of the armed forces and an entire war could plausibly be conducted with authority. Arsenal Gear is housed under the Big Shell facility; note that this is the SECOND time an environmentally-friendly cleanup facility has actually been the smokescreen for nuke-capable Metal Gear development. Arsenal launches with a battery of twenty-six first-generation mass-produced RAY units. Arsenal is a fortress and a squad of AI-controlled Metal Gear RAY units serve as its support unit. With this is mind it is my theory that RAY was never meant as some sort of anti-metal gear unit, nor was it some sort of subversive Marine project that the Patriots opposed. The Patriots control practically EVERYTHING, damn it. It is sensible to assume that the Patriots guided development of RAY with the KNOWLEDGE that it would serve as a conventional support unit for Arsenal Gear. The Patriot's fascination with nukes and irony proliferates even still. Not only have they made two separate false cleanup facilities to hide the development of metal gear, but both units have been made under the guise of self-defense. REX was excused as a 'mobile TMD (theater missile defense) platform' and RAY was supposedly an 'independent Anti-REX strike vehicle.' REX was actually a full-scale nuclear strike platform and RAY was the support fighter for a LARGER Metal Gear derivative. Joke's on us, eh? RAY was transported on a false oil tanker by the Marine Corps when Ocelot stole it on behalf of the Patriots. Sinking the tanker with all the marines onboard made the S3 plan was absofreakinglutely perfect. A) RAY was unwittingly built by the Marines for the purpose of defending Arsenal Gear. B) The tanker sank, smearing Solid Snake's name and eliminating any Marine corps officers who knew too much about RAY. C) The sunken tanker facilitated construction of the Big Shell, which masked final construction of Arsenal Gear. D) Ocelot was not widely known yet to be a Patriot spy; once he stole RAY it could be assumed that he was little more than a terrorist and a mercenary, which would easily earn him the alliance of Solidus Snake. E) Ocelot undoubtedly delivered RAY quickly to the Patriots, who in turn were able to quickly complete mass-production based on its specifications. If you follow what I've said so far, you can see where I'm coming from. When Sons of Liberty was released, RAY was billed as 'the new metal gear.' We all assumed it was the next big threat, the next final boss to shoot down with a few stinger missiles and chaff grenades. In reality, RAY was just as much a smokescreen as everything else; RAY is nothin but a tiny tool of the Patriots to keep attention away from Arsenal Gear. =========================================================================== VII. WHAT THE HELL (approx. OH MY GOD - SERIOUSLY NOW) =========================================================================== Some things are just f'ing crazy. =========================================================================== VII-A, "LIQUID'S DAMN STUPID SEVERED ARM AND DISEMBODIED SPIRIT" [ WHALIQ ] By popular demand, I'm going to include some brief acknowledgement of this, the most significant plot point that I INTENTIONALLY AVOIDED in my first versions. On Shadow Moses Island in "Twin Snakes," the Ninja cuts off Revolver Ocelot's right hand, much to his pistol-twirling bloody dismay. When we see Ocelot again in Sons of Liberty (on the tanker), he has a shiny new right arm grafted on. This arm is actually the right arm of Liquid Snake, swiped from the corpse to fill the gap left in Ocelot's life (and left in his elbow.) Now, I hope you're thinking what I'm thinking so far. Which is, 'that's just plain odd.' Well, its not that bad. At first. When Ocelot is stealing Metal Gear RAY from the tanker, the arm throbs, goes all crazy-like, and guess what? Liquid Snake's disembodied spirit takes over Ocelot's body. ooooh joy. So, from at least the tanker incident onward into the future, Liquid Snake can occasionally take over Revolver Ocelot's body. ...yeah. It happens as Ocelot is stealing RAY, but he clearly comes back to his sense as he escapes. It happens again on the surface of Arsenal Gear, as Ocelot takes off yet again. From what can be gathered, Liquid is... uh... living on through his own severed arm. Beyond this, he is apparently glad to be in Ocelot's body, where he has access to the knowledge and resources that can lead him to the Patriots and ultimately their undoing. Liquid's priorities seem to have changed somewhat from his Shadow Moses coup. He no longer is seeking to rebuild Outer Heaven (as that dream was rather thoroughly crushed), but now is similar to Solidus in seeking the end of the Patriots. Altogether, it seems he and Solidus have almost identical ideals at this point, but Liquid's obsession with ultimately being the 'fortunate son' cause him to leave his brothers behind as he takes RAY and Ocelot's unwilling body to find the Patriots. All of this ultimately occurs in the last twenty minutes of Sons of Liberty. Liquid's new host body and motivations have not yet taken an effect on the grand scheme of things. These are issues that will be dealt with in any direct sequel to Sons of Liberty (MGS4, maybe?), so the entire affair regarding Ocelot's bloody stump or Liquid's addams-family reject is not yet pertinent to the plot. Its reasonable to think that Ocelot, being the son of the Sorrow (a man who could communicate with the dead on the battlefield,) has some sort of medium-type abilities that enable this unholy union. Ocelot is undoubtedly still unaware of his own parentage, so its probably never crossed his mind that this is the case. The old sci-fi concept of genetic memory also applies here; though I see Ocelot's medium-inheritance as a more likely answer, this can't be ruled out yet. The notion has usually been applied to offspring; in Xenogears, some of the main characters retain memories of their ancestors stored within their genetic introns. The premise has long been that DNA can have a deeper housing of personal information, perhaps storing enough memories and personality to give an inheritor all of the predecessors memory. While that can apply to offspring, the notion here is that Liquid's entire personality could be bound to his blood, and after time, the slightest traces of his own DNA could manifest within Ocelot's brain. Its farfetched, but it is a tried-and-true science fiction concept, and we know that Hideo is a sucker for conundrums. Liquid's new ambitions along with this turnaround for Ocelot will likely be of critical importance as soon as the story picks up where it left off. If you're curious as to how I feel about the decision to put MGS3 back in time rather than continue the adventures of Crazy Mister Ocelot and his Talking Pet Arm, I'm really content with it; I'm very thankful for all that Snake Eater has added to the story. As for this whole sordid affair with Liquid's ghost, I feel that its the singular bulging blemish on the entire Metal Gear saga. I mean, come on. Come ON. Either ways, we'll eventually find out more. I can't wait. =========================================================================== END OF OVERVIEW =========================================================================== To reiterate, many of the concepts presented here are just my thoughts, and not strict canon. Most of this is just me rambling, with a few bits of help from other folks. Speaking of those folks...! - the good people at http://philosopherslegacy.fu8.com and their keen forums. - Lilac Man, for pretty much debunking Solidus's origins. - Teflon, for straightening out some of MG2 (MSX) for me. - Brett Mann, for correcting my notions on FOXDIE and Naomi. - Tom Addison, who mentioned Dolph's words to Ocelot, which are no less than interesting... - Chris Kenney, for reminding me about the concept of genetic memory. - Diego, who straightened me out about the MSX. - James Meldrum, who let me know what issue of EGM had Kojima's remarks. - the frickin four dozen people who reminded me that Ocelot is the son of the sorrow over the course of one week. Oh god. Oh god. I know. I forgot that, okay? it reached the point of four emails every morning waiting to tell me this point O_O - the frickin four dozen people who needed me to write out how I know that Ocelot is the Boss's son. Oddly, it all started as soon as I fixed the PREVIOUS one.