The Beauty and the Beast unit is made up of four beautiful women who lost their minds after experiencing terrible war atrocities as children. The suits they were outfitted with force their broken minds into some semblance of control using nanomachines, and also makes them virtually invincible soldiers, with a variety of superhuman abilities. The trade off is that the technology exacerbates their mental conditions in the long run. This makes it both their greatest strength and weakness in battle.
During the Guns of the Patriots incident, their goal was to destroy Old Snake, having been convinced that killing him would ease their anguish, and make them "whole" again. Snake fought and defeated each of the members of the unit in turn, usually when they were accompanied by a small unit of the FROGS.
Once Snake defeats their cybernetic combat suits in battle, the woman inside will emerge in an attempt to kill Snake with her own bare hands. If Snake defeats her using non-lethal weapons like his tranquilizer gun, the following cutscene does not make it clear whether or not they survive. Regardless of whether Snake killed them or not, Drebin's comment that they can only survive outside of their suits for only a few minutes, seems to make it certain that they died. However, he also admits that this is just a rumour, so there is a chance that they may yet live. When out of their suits, they immediately start having a nervous breakdown and reliving their respective traumatic moment.
The Beauty and the Beast Unit is an homage of sorts to the previous bosses in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. The name of each member of the B & B Unit is derived from the name of a member of FOXHOUND (from Metal Gear Solid), their weapons are a nod to Dead Cell members' weapons (from Metal Gear Solid 2), and their emotions recall the Cobra Unit call signs (from Metal Gear Solid 3):
- Laughing Octopus - Derived from the camouflage and name of Decoy Octopus, the P90 submachine gun and tentacles of Solidus Snake and the emotion of The Joy, later known as the Boss.
- Raging Raven - Derived from the name and flying accomplices of Vulcan Raven, the explosives of Fatman and the rage of The Fury.
- Crying Wolf - Derived from the name and fighting style of Sniper Wolf, the railgun of Fortune and the despair of The Sorrow.
- Screaming Mantis - Derived from the name and psychic powers of Psycho Mantis, the thrown knife weapons of Vamp and mixture of The Fear and The Pain.
The B&B unit is perhaps the most oblique expression of the franchise's enduring views on soldiers being manipulated to fulfill the political whims of their taskmasters.
- The true faces of each member of the Beauty and the Beast Unit were directly modelled after real-life supermodels. Laughing Octopus is Lyndall Jarvis, Raging Raven is Yumi Kikuchi (a personal friend of Hideo Kojima), Crying Wolf is Mieko Rye, and Screaming Mantis is Scarlett Chorvat.
- If the Beast form of each member of the unit is defeated non-lethally (with the exception of Screaming Mantis, due to the nature of the battle with her Beast form), a statue of their Beast form can be found and obtained during the "Beauty" stage of the battle. Collecting all four (as well as the FROG Statue) will unlock the Solar Gun, a reference to one of Hideo Kojima's other games, Boktai.
- Similarly, Face Camo holograms of each of the Beauties can be unlocked by defeating their respective Beauty forms non-lethally.
- When their Beauty form is advancing upon the player, avoiding them for several minutes will result in transportation to an infinitely sized White Room, with a three minute timer. It is impossible to call Otacon or Rosemary while in this room. Equipping the camera will cause the Beauties to pose. If the player selects and de-selects the camera, they will change their pose. Equipping the iPod and playing "Oishii Two-han Seikatsu" will make them dance. Yeah, it's just that kind of game.