Character RETROspect

Solid Snake (Part 2)

This week in Character RETROspect we’ll be looking at Solid Snake’s last few missions, and we’ll be starting with the Shadow Moses Incident. It has been an absolute blast reminiscing about the Metal Gear franchise as a whole, and I cannot wait to do a multi-part RETROspect again in the near future. The time has come to finish off this three-week Metal Gear romp though, so let’s get to it!

Chapter 5.5: No, Really… Do You Read Me, Snake?!

To think that I’m going to be talking about Solid Snake’s last few missions chokes me up a little. No, I’m not an overly emotional gamer, but when it comes to the Metal Gear franchise, I am a blubbering fool. I can’t help it… Hideo Kojima has crafted such a powerful series of games that I’ve become completely hooked on all of the plot twists (and there are a lot) that occur. No game in the series has affected me as much as Metal Gear Solid though — my favorite game in the series — with its beautifully written characters and strong sense of emotion.

The Shadow Moses Incident (2005)

Snake during the Shadow Moses Incident

After the completion of Solid Snake’s Operation Intrude F014 mission in Zanzibar Land, he disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness in an attempt to retire from the battlefield altogether. From the end of Operation Intrude F014 in 1999 to 2005, Snake had become a heavy drinker, often trying to drown his suppressed memories of his previous missions, as well as the fact that he had killed his father in a vicious fight to the death.

In February of 2005, Solid Snake was ambushed at his retirement home in Twin Lakes, Alaska, by armed soldiers and his former commanding officer, Colonel Roy Campbell. The reasoning behind the ambush was to propel Snake back into action once more. The mission at hand was located on Shadow Moses Island, where renegade members of FOXHOUND dubbed the “Sons of Big Boss” were leading a rebellion. The renegade members were being commanded by Solid Snake’s brother, Liquid Snake, and they demanded that the remains of Big Boss be handed over to them so they could correct the genetic mutations in the Genome Soldiers (essentially the Next-Generation Special Forces soldiers), or else they were launch a nuclear attack from the new Metal Gear REX.

Solid Snake’s involvement with the mission was a well-orchestrated plot by the US government, since they deceived Snake into being a carrier of the virus known as FOXDIE with an injection they gave him before he was deployed to Shadow Moses Island. The FOXDIE virus is an interesting virus because it only attacks certain individuals that it has been programmed to kill; after the virus recognizes the individual’s DNA and nanomachines, it then causes cardiac arrest in them. Snake eventually finds out that he is the carrier of the FOXDIE virus, and he is subsequently wiping out the Sons of Big Boss on Shadow Moses Island, which enrages him.

Tasked with rescuing the DARPA Chief Donald Anderson, who was actually killed during torture and was impersonated by Decoy Octopus (member of the Sons of Big Boss), and Kenneth Baker, the president of ArmsTech, Snake ventures into the compound. While on the way to “Donald Anderson’s” cell, Snake finds a young woman being held captive in the facility who turns out to be Meryl Silverburgh, Campbell’s daughter. While watching her working out for a minute, Snake ventures on to locate the cell of “Donald Anderson,” and the supposed DARPA Chief informs Snake about Metal Gear REX, and how he can prevent it from launching nukes by using a detonation override code. Then while in mid-sentence, “Anderson” suffers a heart attack and dies right in front of Snake (because of Decoy Octopus being a member of FOXHOUND).

Revolver Ocelot

After Snake leaves the cell, Meryl Silverburgh assists in an attempt to flee from an onslaught of gunfire from soldiers who were alerted to Snake’s presence. With the batch of soldiers taken out by Snake and Meryl, Snake then locates Kenneth Baker in an attempt to retrieve the detonation override code for Metal Gear Rex from him. Revolver Ocelot shows up to challenge Snake to a gunfight. But near the end of the fight, Cyborg Ninja (who is actually Gray Fox, but was transformed into a cybernetic ninja) comes out of nowhere and cuts off Ocelot’s hand. With the fight over, Snake talks to Baker in an attempt to retrieve the detonation code from him, but Baker dies from coming into contact with Snake and the FOXDIE virus.

Solid Snake has a confrontation with Vulcan Raven, and after the fight, Snake travels onward to meet up with Meryl on the condition that he speaks with Dr. Hal “Otacon” Emmerich. Snake locates Otacon, but is then met by the Cyborg Ninja, and ends up in a fight with him. Once Snake defeats the Cyborg Ninja, Otacon tells Snake that he will use camouflage to procure information and supplies for him. Snake leaves and then meets up with Meryl, who agrees to accompany Snake on his mission, and also gives Snake the PAL card (a security card that allows Snake to enter locked rooms) that she had received from Baker.

On their way to the underground base, Psycho Mantis possesses Meryl, and she attempts to pull her gun on Snake. While Snake is involved in the coolest boss fight ever, he must also try to keep Meryl from harm’s way. After defeating Psycho Mantis in battle, Snake and Meryl travel towards the underground base where they are met by Sniper Wolf, who ends up capturing Snake and wounding Meryl severely after a brief duel. Snake, having been captured, is then tortured by Ocelot. Eventually escaping his cell after being tortured, Snake is: ambushed in a Hind-D helicopter piloted by Liquid Snake, battles Sniper Wolf and Vulcan Raven once more, whilst trying to locate the hangar where Metal Gear REX is being stored.

While in the hangar, Snake is tricked into thinking he is overriding the detonation of Metal Gear REX, but he is actually activating it. Liquid Snake shows his true colors, after impersonating Master Miller (Solid Snake’s former mentor), and uses the now fully functionally REX to attack Snake. In a battle against REX, Cyborg Ninja shows up again, this time to assist Snake in fighting REX, but he is crushed under the weight of it. When Snake destroys REX, he is then challenged to fight Liquid atop of the now defunct Metal Gear. Snake and Liquid fight, and Snake eventually knocks his brother off of REX. Snake reunites with Meryl, and the two escape down a tunnel in a Jeep while being chased by Liquid. The two vehicles crash at the entrance of the tunnel, and with Snake and Meryl stuck underneath the vehicle, Liquid slowly approaches them, but when he tries to shoot Snake, Liquid falls victim to the FOXDIE virus.

After the death of his brother, Snake and Meryl ride off together into the Alaskan wilderness. With Revolver Ocelot being the only surviving member of the renegade faction of FOXHOUND, he reports to the President of the United States the events that unfolded on Shadow Moses Island, revealing that Ocelot is actually a double agent.

The Tanker Incident (2007)

In 2007, Philanthropy, a NGO (non-governmental organization) founded by Solid Snake and Otacon received information about a new Metal Gear prototype codenamed RAY, which was going to be transported through New York City’s harbor aboard the USS Discovery. Metal Gear RAY was being developed by the US Marines as an amphibious anti-Metal Gear. Snake bungee jumped off of the George Washington Bridge onto the Discovery in a mission to take photographs of RAY and verify its existence. After successfully completing the transfer of the photographs of the new Metal Gear RAY, Revolver Ocelot shows up to steal it, and in his escape, causes the tanker to sink — taking Snake and the Marines down with him. The media reports that Snake was behind this terrorist takeover of the Discovery, and died in the aftermath of the sinking.

The Big Shell Incident (2009)

In April of 2009, the terrorist group known as the Sons of Liberty took over control of Big Shell (a decontamination facility erected in response to the sinking of the USS Discovery), and were apparently led by Solid Snake, but we later find out that they are led by Solid Snake’s brother, Solidus Snake. The Big Shell facility was, however, actually built to house the development of the new Arsenal Gear, which is why the Sons of Liberty took over control of the facility.

Snake infiltrates Big Shell in disguise as a Navy SEALS member named Iroquois Plisken (a nod to the film Escape From New York), and assists Raiden in his mission. After Raiden defeats most of the Sons of Liberty, he teams up with Snake to make it to where Arsenal Gear is located. They run into Ocelot, who is now “possessed” by Liquid Snake, and Metal Gear RAY. Ocelot proceeds to take RAY and dive into the ocean, and Snake courageously goes into the water after Ocelot.

Liquid Ocelot’s Insurrection (2014)

Now with Solid Snake’s advanced condition known as Werner’s Syndrome, he is referred to as “Old Snake,” and he is traveling the world trying to stop Liquid Ocelot’s (the now possessed Revolver Ocelot because of having Liquid’s hand grafted onto him) quest of world domination through his version of Outer Heaven, which consists of five of the world’s largest private military companies. With the world in a state of constant war, Snake is asked to assassinate Ocelot by Campbell. Liquid Ocelot’s overall plan was to have the world in a total state of war and acquire Big Boss’ genetic code.

Snake endures a lot of physical and emotional strain on his body as his genetic makeup is rapidly aging his body, and this is clearly evident as he pushes through a microwave corridor on his way to fight Ocelot one last time. As Snake is crawling through this corridor, you can see how his body is failing him, but it is his incredible will that pushes him along. After Snake makes it through the corridor of microwaves, he fights Liquid Ocelot in a battle that uses a lot of themes from the previous games, and it is beautiful to hear how well put together the music was for this fight. Ocelot eventually succumbs to the new FOXDIE virus that is within Snake.

A short while after the defeat of Liquid Ocelot, we see that Snake is sitting in front of Big Boss’ grave and is about to commit suicide to prevent the spread of the FOXDIE virus. Suddenly, Big Boss appears and explains the entire history of the Patriots from his point of view, and also tells Snake about how the newer version of the FOXDIE virus cancels out the original strain that Snake was the carrier for, thus making Snake a free man from the horror of being a walking biological weapon. Big Boss, drained of life, dies in the arms of his son, but not before he makes Snake promise to live life “not as a snake, but as a man.” Snake makes a promise to finally quit smoking and to live the rest of his life peacefully with his friends, Otacon and Sunny…

And this concludes my three article run in the world of Metal Gear, with these last two articles about as clear-cut as I could get with the complicated story of the legendary Solid Snake. I know for sure that one day I want to revisit each mission of Snake’s and delve into the incredible themes that are present throughout, because I feel that Hideo Kojima and his team deserve that much from us fans. I hope that everyone has enjoyed these articles, and I will see you all next week with another edition of Character RETROspect!