Character RETROspect

Solid Snake (Part 1)

Last week’s Character RETROspect dealt with the incredibly well-crafted character of Psycho Mantis, but this time we will focus on the legend of the Metal Gear franchise himself, Solid Snake. We’re going to take a look at Snake’s origins and his career up through the phenomenal conclusion of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Chapter 5: Snake, Do You Read Me? Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAKE!

I knew that when I started working on this RETROspect of Solid Snake, I wouldn’t be able to touch upon a lot of the small intricacies of the storylines that I truly wanted to because of how well woven they are into the Metal Gear franchise by Hideo Kojima and his team. The story is often grandiose, and touches upon a large number of political, psychological, and philosophical themes that would take me an incredibly long time to dissect, examine, and discuss. So, with that in mind, we are going to take a much “lighter” approach and talk almost specifically about Solid Snake’s origins and his military career.

Les Enfants Terribles

The Sons of Big Boss

In the early 1970’s, a project was initiated by The Patriots that took the genes of Big Boss, the legendary soldier, and created three clones of him: Solid Snake (recessive genes), Liquid Snake (dominant soldier traits), and Solidus Snake (the perfect clone) — “The Sons of Big Boss.” The Patriots intention with the project was to insure that if something were to happen to Big Boss, or if he were to leave the organization/oppose them, they would still have a suitable “replacement.”

Operation Intrude N313/ Outer Heaven (1995)

Solid Snake, a rookie operative for FOXHOUND, was tasked to go into Outer Heaven by his commanding officer, Big Boss, to retrieve information about Metal Gear and rescue Gray Fox, who was captured a few days prior in “Operation Intrude N312.” After allowing himself to be captured, Snake was able to access Gray Fox’s cell and find out what Metal Gear actually was — a nuclear battle tank capable of launching a nuclear warhead from potentially any location. Gray Fox tells Snake to track down Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar, the creator of Metal Gear TX-55, who was supposedly located in a cell in the prison’s courtyard. After several failed attempts, Snake was able to track Dr. Madnar down with the help of Jennifer, a resistance member in Outer Heaven. Dr. Madnar was only willing to help Snake if he were to save his daughter, Ellen, who had also been imprisoned.

With the information on Metal Gear TX-55 from Dr. Madnar, Snake began his push to find its hangar, but not before he starts to realize that Big Boss was giving him false information about his mission that would impede his progress. When Snake finds the Metal Gear, he places explosives at its feet per Dr. Madnar’s instructions in hopes of destroying it. Big Boss finally reveals to Snake that he was sent in only to gather false information, as Big Boss was actually the mastermind behind the Outer Heaven Uprising, but because of Snake’s success, the two battle to the “death.” Snake escapes after the defeat of Big Boss, and calls back to headquarters to tell them that the mission was a success.

Operation Intrude F014/ Zanzibar Land (1999)

After the success of his previous mission, Snake had entered early retirement only to be called upon once again by FOXHOUND, and its new commander, Colonel Roy Campbell. Snake was to enter a highly militarized nation known as Zanzibar Land, rescue Dr. Kio Marv, and obtain the OILIX formula.

Solid Snake entered Zanzibar Land through the use of a HAHO (High Altitude-High Opening) jump, and eventually found the first of many large building complexes. Snake was then contacted by Holly White, a CIA operative in disguise as a mere journalist, who promised to help him in any way she could. Making his way to where he thought Dr. Marv was located, Snake was instead met by Black Ninja (Kyle Schneider, the once leader of the Outer Heaven Resistance). Kyle explains to Snake that after Outer Heaven, NATO commenced a bombing raid that leveled the area; causing a large amount of casualties between children and resistance members. Kyle also explains that he survived the bombing, but a group came through and captured him, and subsequently put him in the “Black Ninja” project. With his final words, Kyle tells Snake how he can actually find Dr. Marv, by “following the Green Beret.”

Snake begins to follow the Green Beret, which leads him to an empty cell, but he begins to hear knocking and figures out that the knocking is actually a radio frequency. Stumbling upon this information, Snake calls the frequency and discovers that it is actually Dr. Madnar from his previous mission. Dr. Madnar claims to be captured once again, and was forced to work on Metal Gear D, the successor of Metal Gear TX-55. To add to Snake’s shock of another Metal Gear, Madnar tells him that Big Boss is alive, and is actually behind the Zanzibar Land Disturbance!

With Dr. Madnar in tow, they come across Gustava Heffner, the bodyguard of Dr. Marv. The three travel to the detention camp where Dr. Marv is known to be held captive, and while Dr. Madnar makes it across the suspension bridge leading to the detention camp, it is blown up behind him by Gray Fox in Metal Gear D. Gustava is left dying on the ground because of the explosion, but before she dies, she gives Snake her brooch, which can be turned into a key at varying temperatures. Gray Fox tells Snake to leave Zanzibar Land, but Snake doesn’t listen, and instead presses on to find Dr. Marv’s cell. Upon entering his cell, Snake finds the corpse of Dr. Marv, who had died due to repeated torture. Dr. Madnar’s true nature is revealed, and he actually attacks Snake, but is no match for a soldier of Snake’s caliber.

Snake eventually meets up with Gray Fox again, and the two engage in a vicious hand-to-hand battle with Snake emerging victorious. Snake connects the dots once he finds out Gray Fox’s real name, and realizes that Gray Fox was actually the fiance of Gustava. Gray Fox explains his past to Snake, and tells him how Big Boss had saved him several times prior.

After the defeat of Gray Fox, Snake begins to be taunted by Big Boss, and eventually comes face to face with him again. Snake tells Big Boss that he had come to Zanzibar Land to rid himself of the nightmares that he had now be plagued with ever since Outer Heaven. Big Boss tells Snake that the nightmares will never go away… that Snake now has the taste of the battlefield within him. Thinking that he could end his nightmares by killing his father (I am one of those that believe Snake knew that Big Boss was his father), Snake uses a cigarette lighter and aerosol can to catch Big Boss by surprise and defeat him in battle once more.

Snake and Holly escape Zanzibar Land with the help of the pilot, Charlie, who just happened to be running a little late for the rescue mission. On the way back, Campbell tries to persuade Snake to return to FOXHOUND, but Snake refuses his offer to rejoin their ranks. After the mission is complete, Snake disappears into the Alaskan wilderness…

But Snake can’t escape his past forever.

Next time, we will be picking up where Solid Snake’s saga left off, and diving into the Shadow Moses Incident. I hope all of you have enjoyed this little shake-up in the RETROspect world, and I look forward to finishing this Metal Gear undertaking of mine next week.

Also, on a side note, I want to hear from you guys in the comments section! Tell me what you like about this series, what you don’t like, or even suggest possible RETROspects.