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    Cobra Unit

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    The Cobra Unit was a legendary team of soldiers that were assembled by The Boss in 1942 to combat the Axis Powers. They are the primary antagonists in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Their call signs are all emotions that they best personify when in battle.

    Short summary describing this concept.

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    Naked Snake and his mentor, The Boss.
    Naked Snake and his mentor, The Boss.
    According to the franchise's canon their efforts single-handedly turned the tide in World War II's western front. They were later disbanded in 1947. Following The Boss' defection to the Soviet Union in 1964, they were reunited again and attempted to stop Naked Snake's attempts to foil Colonel Volgin's plans to unleash the new Metal Gear. They were all eventually defeated as he made his way through their base.
    The Cobras all had microbombs attached to them that would detonate upon their defeat, presumably a preventive measure against becoming captured (akin to cyanide pills).  


    The Boss

    The 'mother of special-forces' and legendary American World War II veteran. Founder and leader of the Cobra Unit. She is an extremely skilled exponent of CQC and co-developed it with Naked Snake.

    The Sorrow

    An extremely powerful spiritual medium who fathered a child with The Boss.

    The Fear

    A double-jointed master of camouflage who was deadly with a crossbow.

    The Pain

    A Solomon-esque character who could wield hornets as weapons.

    The End

    The father of modern sniping whose boss battle is one of the most immersive in the franchise.

    The Fury

    A flamethrower-wielding cosmonaut with an uncontrollable temper.

    Thematic Purpose

    Cobra Unit portrait.
    Cobra Unit portrait.
    Throughout the game they are used as a metaphor for the arbitrariness of enemy lines in war. Although comrades-in-arms during World War II, they are later separated because of the events of the Cold War. This is only remedied when The Boss supposedly defects over to the communist faction.
    It is also noteworthy that despite being of mostly Soviet origin, they rarely exhibit a strong nationalist sentiment or necessarily agree with Volgin's plans to adversely compromise Mutually Assured Destruction diplomacy. If anything, they only battle Naked Snake due to their interest in his abilities (being a protégé of The Boss). 
    This can be perceived as an expression of Kojima's views that soldiers are continually being used as pawns in political affairs; a view that he stresses again in Metal Gear Solid. The Boss explains to Naked Snake before their final encounter her true intentions, expressing her views on relativity (that enemies and friends change with the times and that soldiers may have to fight their old comrades) and the futility of war.


    • The Sorrow is dead by the time the Virtuous Mission begins, but Snake does have an out-of-body experience with him.
    • The Boss' call sign is The Joy.
    • It has been speculated that The Fear is a reference to Colonel Kurtz of Apocalypse Now's (played by Marlon Brando) last words.

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