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Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #28: Explanations and The Octopus

Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #28: Explanations and The Octopus

Welcome to the Metal Gear Noob Diaries. This is the recounting of my experience through the MGS series from MGS2: Sons of Liberty all the way to MGSV: Ground Zeroes. I’ll be updating every so often with new thoughts on sections of the games and taking a look back at memorable and enjoyable moments. I’ve never played the series before, so for the fans out there it could be an amusing tale of one noob’s journey, while those as green as myself could well learn a little about the mad world of MGS. Enjoy!

As promised, here’s a little clarification on the cutscene with Drebin from my previous session: the Beauties are apparently all genuinely beautiful women corrupted by some kind of battlefield experience. None of them were soldiers, but war has affected them and shaped them into the freaks they are during the game. “The only way they could cope with the reality of battle,” says Drebin, “was to become war machines themselves.” I must admit I love the idea behind the Beauties - they’re more than just typical bad guys. They’ve essentially been convinced that killing Snake will lead to their freedom from “all the pain, all the fury and all the sorrow” (in yet another wink to MGS3).

MGS4 Old Snake

Snake and Drebin also have an intriguing little chat about the Patriots, during which I finally realised why some people call them La li lu le lo (not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that before). Basically, that’s what people say when they’re not physically able to say Patriots, usually because their nanomachines prevent them from saying it. Drebin is able to prove that he isn’t in liege with the Patriots by saying their proper name - that’s enough to convince Snake anyway. He then gives a bit more detail on the Patriots, and by detail I mean more high and mighty phrases like “the law of this world” or “what holds this world together”. They are America, they are the war economy and Snake is just a cog in their plans.

Kojima’s comments on the controlling nature of upper society are always interesting, although they tend to get a little lost in philosophy and grand ideas.

So that was my previous session, let’s focus on today which, unsurprisingly, was another excellent play through. A brief codec call from Raiden was my first point of contact, and one of the most awesome little segments of the game yet. He tells Snake that he’s protecting him and also reveals that he’s been in South America on a mission for a woman titled Big Mama (?), he located and gave to her...the corpse of Big Boss! I had no idea that the Boss himself would be involved with this game, so it’s cool to know that he’ll be included in some way - even if it’s as a corpse. He found the corpse in exchange for Sunny’s location... for some reason. Which, frankly, is confusing seeing as she’s with Otacon.

MGS4 jack is dead2

A little bit of standard sneaking/fighting gameplay followed this, all building up to Snake meeting up with Naomi, who’s had the full Eva treatment (see picture below for example), even down to lingering camera shots and a couple of ‘pervy Snake’ moments. A really cool cutscene sees her perform a series of medical examinations on Snake to help understand why he’s aging quickly and what Foxdie is doing to him. A really powerful moment comes when Snake disrobes, revealing his old, broken body. Naomi, who clearly once loved Snake, is pretty shocked and distraught. Not the reaction most men want when they take of their shirt.

Naomi explains that Snake has just half a year left to live, although the Foxdie in his body will probably kill him before that anyway. Even worse, the Foxdie is mutating and will soon begin to spread from his body to those near to him. Effectively killing those closest to him - literally and figuratively. She also gives more detail on the SOP: the device/virus/thing actually stops the nanomachines within soldiers from working. The reason the soldiers freaked out in the scene at the end of act one, was because the nanomachines had previously been preventing them from feeling true emotion for their actions on the battlefield. With the machines offline, all the sorrow and pain hit them at once, making them go bananas.

MGS4 Naomi

It’s obviously a bit silly, but the moral behind this element of the story is incredibly prevalent. PTSD and the like is a constant issue on the modern battlefield and Kojima uses Guns of the Patriots to explore this theme in detail. The core idea behind the nanomachine narrative is that of complete sensory control from an external controller. It’s quite Orwellian, and really cool stuff on the whole. On the matter of Snake’s advanced aging, it turns out that his natural lifespan is very short, a purposeful move on the part of the US government to prevent anyone using Snake to their advantage (other than that government, of course) for an extended period of time. Snake has become an old, crippled walking time-bomb. Bad... All bad.

This then fed directly into one of my favourite segments yet in MGS4 (I’m saying that a lot aren’t I?), the battle with Laughing Octopus. A really top-notch fight with an incredible overall atmosphere and tone. Her obsession with laughter becomes freakier, and sadder, as the level progresses. It was pleasantly tricky and has some neat gameplay segments like hunting her down while she camouflages herself in various weird ways. The fight ended with a fantastic, emotional segment in which Octopus takes off her mask and gives a mad speech, all the while throwing up ink. Supposedly she was forced to kill her friends and family when she was a child, laughing all the while. Gah. Genuinely pretty horrible stuff.

MGS4 Raiden

Look. Part of me is worried that I’m not talking enough about gameplay and instead just talking about and giving my thoughts on the story. To be fair, A LOT of this game is story. It’s currently beating the gameplay by a mile, unlike MGS3 in which they were pretty much equal in quality. It’s not that the gameplay is bad, in fact it’s pretty much the same as in Snake Eater, but the narrative is just too damn engrossing. So with that in mind allow me to breeze over the half hour or so of actual gameplay I enjoyed following the Octopus battle. Instead, let’s talk about the final cutscene of today centred around the glorious return of Raiden.

He’s properly back now, although he’s now in the super-future-techno form that he has since become famous for. The scene was just total action porn, with a trench-coat wearing Raiden unleashing his samurai sword on a rather large group of Gekkos. I read that Raiden was a pretty poorly received character following MGS2, something that I actually agreed with in these diaries. So it must’ve been a brave, but freakin’ genius, move from Kojima to turn him into a badass cyborg for MGS4. Suddenly that lame rookie from Sons of Liberty is somehow even more badass than Snake himself - well, almost.

It’s just another sign of Kojima’s unwillingness to allow his characters to stagnate. Old Snake, cyborg Raiden - he doesn’t like us to be comfortable with the narrative. That, I think, is part of the brilliance.

Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries
Ryan Davies

Ryan Davies

Junior Editor

Budding, growing and morphing games journalist from the South. Known nowhere around the world as infamous wrestler Ryan "The Lion" Davies.

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