It’s time for Part 2 of my plot discussion for the Metal Gear franchise and I wanted to start off by thanking all of you for all your great comments. We managed to go over 100 comments without any negativity and totally avoided a flamewar! Give yourselves a round of applause.
If you haven’t already, go read Part 1 and get up to speed. We left off just before Metal Gear Solid 2 and that’s what I’ll be looking at today. Metal Gear Solid 2 is easily the most complicated game in the franchise and likely one that a lot of people didn’t like or even understand.
The gameplay summary will be light and I’ll try to focus on discussing the story and meaning of the game. Feel free to correct anything I got wrong as this is all from memory.
Again, keep the comments positive & don’t bring any PS3 vs. 360 spam in here. Let’s have another great conversation.
MGS2 – The Hype
MGS2 is an interesting game. It was teased during the development of the PlayStation 2 and was a major system seller. A lot of people picked up the PS2 for the chance to play MGS2. The hype was major. A playable demo was featured in Zone of the Enders and gamers got their first taste of then next-gen Metal Gear.
However, Solid Snake was not the star of the game. After a short prologue chapter as Snake, players take control of Raiden, a rookie member of FOXHOUND with a questionable gender identity. Gamers were pissed. They felt betrayed. A lot of diehard MGS fans even left the franchise.
Playing it again, however, reveals the genius behind MGS2. Yes, it’s got its problems. A lot of the story is delivered over codec where cutscenes should have been used. That story is also incredibly confusing, but that’s what I’m here for.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Tanker Chapter (Solid Snake)
We open in New York City with Solid Snake infiltrating a tanker believed to be carrying a new model of Metal Gear. Since the events of Shadow Moses, the specs for Metal Gear have been leaked to the black market and Metal Gears are common. Snake and Otacon have been working for an anti-Metal Gear organization named “Philanthropy”.
Operating with intel received from a source that shares a name with Otacon’s sister, Snake is lured to the scene. Once on site, he witnesses the crew ambushed and killed by Russian soldiers led by Colonel Gurlukovich and Revolver Ocelot.
Snake quickly gets into a fight with Gurlukovich’s daughter, Olga, who is grade A pregnant. Armed with only a tranquilizer gun, Snake disables Olga and presses on into the ship. He obtains proof that the US Marines have created a new Metal Gear named Ray, that is specially designed to fight other Metal Gear models.
While there, Ocelot appears. Our good buddy Revolver kills Gurlukovich and the Marine officer in charge. Snake confronts him, but here’s where Kojima gets a little crazy. Remember in MGS when Ocelot’s arm was chopped off by the Ninja? Well, he decided to replace his arm from Liquid Snake’s corpse. Bad choice! Why? Liquid lives on through the arm and can take control of Ocelot. Why is this?
We don’t know for sure, but fans of the series will recall that Ocelot is the son of The Boss and The Sorrow, who possessed great psychic abilities for communicating with the dead. It is most likely that Ocelot also has this ability and this is the way Liquid is able to live on through him.
Ocelot sinks the tanker and escapes with Metal Gear Ray. Snake manages to escape and we jump ahead to another mission.
Plant Chapter (Raiden)
This is going to be a little disjointed because the game is incredibly complex and confusing.
The sinking of the tanker released dangerous chemicals into the water and a clean-up facility was constructed to make sure the ecosystem wasn’t permanently damaged. This is the Big Shell. It’s a cover-up, though.
Snake was blamed for the sinking of the tanker thanks to a few pictures Ocelot managed to snap of Snake on the scene. Snake is also officially dead, but the corpse was curiously missing an arm (hint! Who do we know missing an arm that shares the DNA of Solid Snake?!)
Stay with me…
A new FOXHOUND operative arrives on the scene to rescue the President from terrorists that have taken control of Big Shell. He infiltrates the facility by making an underwater entrance. Once inside, Colonel Campbell tasks him with finding the President.
The mission plays out strikingly similar to the Shadow Moses mission, which Raiden has trained with in Virtual Reality several times. That is, until Solid Snake shows up disguised as a SEAL soldier named Iroquois Pliskin.
As the mission progresses, Raiden is increasingly confused by Snake’s appearance because it was not part of his mission simulation. The Colonel continues to assure him that Snake’s presence doesn’t change the plan.
They meet a cast of super-freaks including Vamp (voiced by Phil LaMarr!), Fortune, and Fatman (who is easily the worst character in the series).
Vamp is a bisexual (don’t ask), seemingly immortal character that behaves much like a vampire would. He is seemingly offed by Raiden after a fight above a pool of water so concentrated with chemicals that it’s impossible to surface. However, throughout the fight Vamp swims around freely in the water so it’s pretty obvious that isn’t going to finish him off.
Fortune is the daughter of Marine officer that Ocelot killed. She has an ability that prevents bullets from hitting her. Bullets fired at her swerve and miss and she’s super mad because she just wants to die. Boo hoo!
Fatman isn’t worth talking about. He’s fat, he’s a man, he skates, and there are bombs. End of his story.
The big surprise is the appearance of Solidus Snake, a third clone of Big Boss. Solidus is actually President Sears from Metal Gear Solid. He was the one that stopped Shadow Moses from being bombed, saving Snake’s life. Ocelot was working for Solidus the entire time.
After he was forced to leave the Presidency he tried to bring Big Boss’ dream of Outer Heaven to fruition. He also seeks to destroy The Patriots. Solidus is the “perfect” clone of Big Boss, being balanced between the dominant and recessive genes.
Let’s skip to the discussion of the end of the game because otherwise this will go on for far too long. Here comes the crazy!
Raiden’s mission was intended to mirror the events of Shadow Moses to try and artificially create a new Solid Snake through a live exercise. This is the S3 or Solid Snake Simulation Plan. Everything from the similar infiltration, damsel in distress (Meryl vs. Emma), and the Cyber Ninja was planned from the beginning by The Patriots to mirror Snake’s mission in MGS. Reminder: Olga agreed to play the role of the Ninja because they were holding her child hostage. The child, Sunny, will be important in MGS4.
Unfortunately, the real Snake showed up and screwed up the plan. Raiden began questioning things and stumbled on the truth. The Colonel was an AI, which also led to some amazing codec calls.
It turns out Big Shell was just a cover up for an entirely new type of Metal Gear: Arsenal Gear. Arsenal is a giant fortress that houses an AI program named GW. GW’s purpose is to selectively censor and erase information from the internet and public knowledge.
Specifically, The Patriots want to erase their identities so they can never be tracked down.
It’s all about complete control over the flow of information. That is the true goal of the Patriots. Ocelot shows up and reveals that he was an agent of the Patriots from the beginning. He used Solidus and the S3 Plan actually stands for Selection for Societal Sanity.
Ocelot escapes and Raiden is forced to fight and kill Solidus. Snake and Otacon recover the identities of the Patriots and discover that the 12 key members of the Patriots have been dead for 100 years. Furthermore, one of them is a sponsor of Snake’s anti-Metal Gear organization! What?!
What Does It All Mean? A Discussion of the Theme of MGS2.
If Metal Gear Solid was about genetics, MGS2 is about information. We can even look at “information” the same way we’d look at genetics.
The goal of the Patriots is to choose the “best” information to survive and make sure that the “bad” or harmful information gets destroyed. That certainly sounds a lot like genetic engineering, right? Kojima actually knows what he’s doing.
The Genome soldiers of MGS are products of genetic engineering, using Big Boss’s DNA as a template. Solid, Liquid, and Solidus are all clones of Big Boss. In MGS2, they attempt to create a new Solid Snake “clone” through a situation. Instead of using genetic engineering, they use information and experience to try and shape Raiden.
Stay Tuned for Part 3!
In Part 3, I’ll discuss the unanswered questions as we get ready to finally play Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as well as my impressions of the Metal Gear Online Beta.