By Mento 8 Comments
All right, so I appreciate this part will be something of a massive text dump, given that the Plant section of Metal Gear Solid 2 is considerably longer and more involved (even, dare I say, more convoluted) than the Tanker prologue. I'm also aware that I promised to hold future entries in this series back until Drew and Dan had reached the subsequent parts in their playthrough.
However! I recently beat the game a few nights ago. Having no idea when those videos will arrive and when certain milestones will be met, it's inevitable that I'm going to have to end up chopping this list into unwieldy pieces to accommodate however long each segment of the game takes Drew, and knowing how boss fights tend to go for him (and the amount of bullshit the boss fights in this game contain in general), I've decided I'm not going to wait around forever with a blog series burning a hole in my (metaphorical) pocket when I have other stuff to be writing about. Besides, Drew and I have similar senses of humor, and I want first dibs at all these joke opportunities. Selfish? Absolutely. But then the internet's had plenty of time to beat us both to any punchlines in the past thirteen years.
What follows is a colossal list of reactions from the second half (well, the latter three-quarters) of Konami's and Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The list has been broken up into rough chapters and placed in spoiler blocks, which I will go back and reconfigure to match the actual video milestones once Drew and Dan reach the relevant parts of their playthrough. In so doing, I hope to both satisfy those who have played the game and know it well enough who might want to see the rest of my confusion in real-time after the dramatic first act, as well as those who are experiencing their first trip (almost certainly the most germane word in this case) through MGS2 with Metal Gear Scanlon: Sons of Drewberty and prefer to have Dan and Drew be their tour guides through the haze of military jargon, overwrought pathos and girlie pics that is Kojima's thoughts made manifest. Obviously, go watch those first (they have all the necessary context for one thing), and then return here and access the spoiler block they pertain to.
In case Drew finds this somehow: Look away, mister. You better experience this game the way Kojima always intended: Long after its release date, recorded for all the internet to see and with only the help of a half-insane Kansanian who writes even stranger military fiction than Kojima does.
Plant Part 1: Jack and the Fatman
Ideally, read this block after watching Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 04:
- It's cute that the first part of the Big Shell is very similar to the intro of MGS 1, including the tutorials we should already know about from the Tanker chapter (though I suppose we could've skipped that).
- Raiden is trying to do a growly voice. It's also cute. Does he think he's Snake? Is that a thing with this new character?
- Oh, and instead of tactical rolling, he cartwheels. Idiot.
- I have to activate a nerd now, if you'll excuse me.
- Weird. I have to find a console in each new area in order to activate the radar, and I'm blind until then. This is going to get annoying, I can tell.
- So they got Raiden's girlfriend to do all the saving? That's sweet. Does she know any proverbs? Why does she keep refusing to use my super cool awesome codename? Why can't Raiden remember their anniversary?
- Raiden apparently took that VR tutorial that teaches you to repeat keywords back to your commanding officer for more information. That's an important one.
- Oh boy, now I'm deep within the terrorists' Honeycomb Hideout. I actually dimly recall getting this far during my initial abandoned playthrough around a decade ago. I think I got confounded by all the hexagonal struts and exasperated by the stealth mechanics.
- Aaaand I just slipped on bird poop. It's coming to me now. The ground, specifically.
- "Quick, Colonel, how do I knock to distract enemies?" "Raiden, how's your mother? She doing okay after her surgery?" "Oh... yeah, she'll make a full recovery *knock, knock* knock on wood." "There you go." "Oh, Colonel!" *sitcom beat plays*
- This time, it's teaching me to hang over a precipitous drop to get past some guards. Or I could just use this M9 I got by going the wrong way from the node room.
- Ehh, I'd better learn how this hanging business works. There's a slowly dropping gauge that determines your grip strength, and you need to practice doing pull-ups for an hour before it gets stronger. Lesson #1 when hanging over a hundred foot drop into the ocean: Pressing X lets go of the ledge, so don't do that.
- I think I found the Alpha SEAL team. They got iced by Sexy Dracula here. Did Anne Rice co-write this?
- I don't think spinning in circles necessarily deflects bullets. I might have to check my ballistics manual to be sure.
- "Iroquois Plisken?" Subtle, Snake. Though I guess it could be another Big Boss clone.
- Dead Cell is the new FOXHOUND then. Any reason to get to get a pack of eccentrics together for a group of boss fights.
- Speaking of which, we immediately meet Fortune too. So I guess these new guys are just straight up magic now? I suppose we had a psychic in the last game. She seems kinda moribund, or rather her energy weapon does.
- After watching the first couple episodes of Metal Gear Scanlon and listening to Dan point out what can be interacted with, I'm going to try to be more attentive with finer details in the environment. Like how these bathrooms filled with ammo (Demolition Man told me that bathrooms of the future have shells in them, but I didn't know they meant this) also have hand-dryers that automatically go off when you go near them.
- Met Peter Stillman, the disabled bomb guy who disables bombs, guy. Getting a lot more exposition here. It looks like the bad guys also have Otacon? Or maybe a relative? At any rate, my new mission is to freeze a bunch of bombs before these assholes set them off in retaliation for that SEAL team incursion.
This block pertains to the (few non-fatal) events of Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 05, though keep in mind I took a different route to clear the bombs and some of these won't be in the Scanlon video:
- Apparently the 1C Strut's bomb (there's one in each, or so we believe) was in the women's bathroom. Like that's not the first place I'd head to in a Metal Gear Solid game.
- Aagh, there's no easy way to reload if you get spotted. You can't even access the options menu, unless you're checking the radar nodes. This is going to get far more frustrating the further I get.
- There's a sediment pool in Strut D with three guards. It's kinda clever, this bit, because one of the guards is constantly making updates. If you take that guard out, a bunch of new guards show up to check in on them, and it can screw you over if you've left bodies everywhere. Fortunately, you can always chuck them into the pool. Took me a few tries, this room.
- Oh cool, sentry posts on the roof. Good thing this bridge has a lower deck. Also, I got a super saccharine story about Raiden and Rose's first date when I tried to save. Can we just go back to proverbs? Hell, even Otacon's half-assed proverbs?
- This conveyor belt parcel room in Strut E (I'm just randomly cycling through all these getting all the bombs) is kind of a neat place to have a shoot out. I also found a new box here, my first with Raiden: it's a Zone of the Enders box! I can sit in it and pretend I'm flying a mecha around! Whooosh! Pew pew!
- Well, we met Olga again briefly. She told some mysterious fellow on the other line that she spotted someone using a box to hide himself as he crossed over to Shell 2. "Only one man I know would use the box trick." Only one man would think that was a good idea when crossing a bridge in broad daylight.
- All right, we're getting more hints that a certain cyborg ninja is back after a "Mr. X" used the same disguised codec trick. Didn't he get mushed into goo by Rex? Either way, I need a mine detector to get to Strut F. I got paranoid that I'd have to head all the way back around to A or something, but it turns out the mine detector's in the same room as the moving boxes, down some stairs. That's handy? Maybe Mr X. planted that too. I just hope he doesn't have a bunch of robot masters for me to face, or tries to stalk me through Raccoon City.
- You know, it's probably against the spirit of the game, but every time I trip an alert I find the quickest way to kill myself. There's no quick load, or really any way to restart that doesn't involve turning the game off and on again, and you go back to when you last saved if you do that. Dying simply puts you right back at the entrance to the room, with no fuss.
- I found a new box and a SOCOM suppressor in F's Warehouse though, so it's not all bad. That makes three boxes now. I need all the boxes.
This block's for Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 06. Is it just me, or are there fewer bulletpoints with each video? It might be Spring before we're done here.
- After removing the bomb in Strut A by playing Pipe Dream, Pete the Bomb Disposal Dude decided to spill the beans about his accident and "missing" leg. He's going to "defuse his own sins" by taking on Fatman with his actually quite okay lower limbs. I can't decide if it's the super serious parts or the super jokey parts that are the most amusing.
- Oh yeah, and the bombs we've been freezing are small fry compared to what's packed into the bases of the struts. I still have to put the last firecracker on ice though. To B, and then after that probably not to B.
- So yeah, the dummy bombs triggered the real ones, and Pete kinda bought it, as I suspected he might. Getting back to Strut A in 400 seconds was interesting, though not particularly difficult. I think if I spent less time going after these damn dogtags...
- Whoa, holy shit. Used the two freaks' powers against them, deflecting a bullet off of Fortune's magic shield to hit Vamp in the head with a bullet he didn't think to dodge. Way to go Raiden. That totally made up for that unwinnable boss fight you just forced on me, game.
- I'm starting to suspect that Fortune might be Vulcan Raven's daughter. Something about the accent and the mystique. Oh, and the giant-ass weapon she's swinging around like it was a toy.
- Oh, and Dracula's back. Great. I guess he really is undead. Either that, or headshots don't do the trick like they used to.
- Well, shit's popping off now. I've got to get to E from A (by way of F; it's a full circle) in another 400 seconds. I just have to hope that this Fatman fellow hasn't left too many claymores lying around.
This tiny block is for Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 07. It was a boss fight episode, so be thankful they made as much progress as they did:
- And here's Fatman. He looks like a cross between Vivi Ornitier and an unmasked Darth Vader. And with him comes a very annoying boss fight where I have to defuse bombs while he inline skates around taunting me like a Jet Set Radio character's creepy uncle.
- Well, I figured the "biggest final bomb" he left behind was inside his own body, and I was planning on throwing the rotund thing into the ocean, but no: he was just sitting on it.
- I take ten paces and Gray Fox shows up. Sure is getting interesting around here. Giant expo dump followed our ninja friend. Including, shock horror, finding out a Metal Gear is somewhere inside Big Shell. The Metal Gear RAY from the Tanker, no less.
- Solid Snake confirmed deceased by Rose. Doesn't really matter that there's several dozen clones of him (well, of Big Boss) wandering around. The lack of an arm was interesting information, I suppose there's some manner of arms race going down between the various Snakes at the moment.
Here are the events of Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 08, sans the usual Strut F issues:
- The deal with the central Shell area is that it's full of guards, but you have a disguise to breeze past them undetected. Well, after you find yourself the necessary AK47. I'll save you the search, it's in the Warehouse in F. In fact, that place is so full of locked rooms I think I'll make it a habit to come back whenever I get a new cardkey.
Plant Part 2: Harried and Confused
- These guys aren't attacking right now, but I imagine once I find this Secret Service guy, things are going to get busy for ol' Raiden.
- Talking of which, the way to find this guy among the rest of the hostages is to use a directional microphone to check his heartbeat for a pacemaker. I better not accidentally throw any chaff grenades while I'm here, then.
- The directional microphone (or D.Mic, who was one of the lesser G-Unit members) is in one of the basement levels of Shell 1, in the same room as Otacon's parrot. I know it was Otacon's parrot because: A) It kept saying "HAL", B) There was a Policenauts poster in the same room, and C) That I instinctively wanted to kill it.
- All right, looking around these hostages for the guy with the weird heartbeat. One of them decided to trip me up as I walked past, which immediately removed my disguise somehow. Equally unlikely was how I put the disguise back on instantaneously before the guard spotted me. If only all hostage scenarios could be so slapstick.
- The nuke activation switch is apparently triggered by the President's free will. Ames is very chatty about some extremely dumb stuff.
- We get our first look at the terrorist leader "Solid Snake", a.k.a. Solidus Snake, a.k.a. how stupid does this game think I am?
- "Hence Sons of Liberty, I suppose." "'Sons of Liberty'?" "Yes, it's the game's subtitle. I'm saying that's what Kojima meant when he named it that." "Ah."
- Ames bought it (FOXDIE 2?), Ocelot figured out who I am and then Gray Fox had to bail me out. Also, Ocelot wasn't going to fall for the same dismemberment trick twice, it looks like. Whatever's going on, the Patriots are in it deep and I keep getting implicated in whatever they're doing. I guess it's better than having two deadly organizations on my case if one thinks I'm with them.
- It's off to Shell 2 finally, since that's where the Prez is. The whole second half of this oil rig left to go. Well, excepting the parts that got blown to shit.
Now we have the events of Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 09, where the game starts amping up the stupid:
- I got a new keycard, so I'm heading to Strut F for some new goodies. Found an RGB Grenade Launcher, which should make things more colorful, and two Sniper Rifles. One of them's the tranquilizer kind, which is what I've been using for most of this game so far. Raiden doesn't seem the type to kill people all willy-nilly anyway (which is to say he's a wuss. Well, until Revengeance anyway).
- Here we are at the 1-2 Connecting Bridge. As predicted, it's full of BS. It's an extension of that three-bomb passage puzzle in the Tanker, only there's way more boxes to shoot and now there's seagulls in the way.
- Actually, this part was a lot of fun. They hid some of those control units in some weird places, so it was satisfying to systematically remove them all. A certain airborne one gave me the most trouble.
- Otacon is Pliskin's pal, surprise surprise. Well, it's good to see that goofy node again.
- All right, big info dump this time. Solidus has introduced himself (and his Doc Ock suit) and then Snake decided his Solid Snake charade was worthy of a rocket or two. Didn't seem to mind that I was within range of the explosion either, thanks dude.
- Solidus fell, landed on a harrier flown by Vamp (who probably should be taking it easy with that head wound) and I'm guessing I have to fight a Harrier in much the same way as the Hind D fight in the previous game? I mean, Snake just threw me a Stinger launcher, so it seems a little more than likely.
- That boss fight felt like a remix of the Hind D fight. Lots of avoiding its firepower while picking my time to strike (and helped by Snake in the Russian chopper I forget the name of). I actually enjoyed it, in that they found multiple ways to make a jet seem far more dangerous. That RAY suddenly appeared afterwards to blow up the bridge kind of cut celebrations short.
- Vamp is now running across water. And now he's running up the side of a strut. This character is ridiculous. This game is ridiculous, sure, but so far this guy's a big part of why that is.
- So now the jig is up, and Plisken reveals himself as Snake. Sometime after the tanker, they stole Liquid's frozen body from the Patriots and planted it in the tanker's wreckage. Genius. And morbid.
- Solidus and the rest have Otacon's sister, Otachan. This isn't going to turn into Resident Evil 4 is it? No painful escort missions or anything? You know, I suspect it's a foregone conclusion. Unless Otacon had the foresight to send out spare stealth camouflage suits as Christmas presents recently.
- And now a save game prompt, the first automatic one since the tanker. Did this game originally come on multiple discs too?
The tenth episode, Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 10, actually got a lot accomplished. I'm impressed! It took me way longer to get over some of these sequences.
- Well, before I go, I better just grab this ration on one of the broken staircases on this thing. I burned through a few while fighting the harrier. Wait, why is it swingi- ...oh.
- Honestly, the awkward controls are leaving something to be desired with this broken walkway platforming sequence.
- There's bird poop on the pipe dangling over a giant drop into the ocean. It's slippery. Ask me how I found that out.
- There are also loose grates. The More You Know.
- And now there's guards watching out for me as I try to cartwheel my way across crumbling gaps. I'm getting heartburn.
- At least I can console myself by knowing that anything that is this annoying to me is going to be extra fun to watch when Drew reaches the same part.
- On Strut L now, and this shit continues to be relentless. Guards, broken walkways, pain. I think I'm up to about 20 deaths since after the Harrier boss (which, I'll go on to state, I accomplished in one go).
- No. I am not getting peed on. I have to draw the line somewhere. I don't care if his bladder is endless.
- Right, one last obstacle: I gotta get past some cypher drone turret things by throwing a chaff grenade, moving past another broken walkway before it wears off. It was a close call, but at least nothing surprising happened. People really try for zero death runs?
- Is Rose supposed to be a nightmare girlfriend, or is Kojima telling us something? Like are any of these questions about Raiden's inability to open up about his feelings really pertinent when I'm in the middle of stopping a Spider-Man villain, a giant amphibious death tank and a freakin' ghoul from taking over the world?
- Another Olga chat to listen in on. Looks like I have some electricity floors to get around if I want to save the president. I remember (vividly) how to do this from the last game, I just need some Nikitas first.
Plant Part 3: The Olympic Champions of Synchronized Drowning
- B1 is underwater, so I'm getting told the swimming controls again. This is how this Codec would occur in reality: "Raiden, what's your situation?" "Blub. Blub blub, blub. Blub?" "Use the circle button to dive, etc."
- Really? We're going to have a jump scare with the waterlogged corpse of Peter Stillman (who is now very still, man)? Hasn't that poor man suffered enough? Though he's actually remarkably intact for someone who was standing right next to a huge pile of C4.
- Also, why are there deep sea mines scattered around down here? The classic spiky ball kind. Maybe someone just had a locker full of these because they thought they looked neat and they all got loose when the area flooded. Considering the weird shit I've found in lockers so far, I wouldn't put it past the guys who used to work here.
- Apparently the Peter Stillman jumpscare corridor was a dead end, at least for now. I suspect I'll be back down that way shortly, given that the door it leads to is a single security level above my own cardkey right now. President first, Poseidon Adventure later.
- Grabbed the Nikita, now to fly it through to the President's room to take out the electrified floor. There is absolutely no reason why the vents to that room are as maze-like as this besides the fact that this is a video game and I need video game-y stuff to do.
- Well, I managed to successfully murder the President. Eat your heart out, John Hinckley, Jr. Seriously, he just leapt out in front of that Nikita for no reason.
- All right, I eventually figured out which of the consoles in a room full of consoles I was meant to destroy and now the grid is off. Didn't end up killing myself once. Killed others, though.
- Did the President just cop a feel? What the hell? Irrespective of the sexual assault, the President doesn't seem like a nice guy. He wanted to take over the country without the Patriots using him as a puppet.
- We're getting a lot of info about the Patriots. They control everything, sort of like how the Freemasons do in the real world. Solidus too: he was behind the Shadow Moses incident and... goddammit, why am I getting invested in all this conspiracy nonsense. I feel like there's a giant flowchart covered in push-pins in some nutcase's basement that explains all this. Kojima's basement, if I'm being precise.
- There's another Metal Gear? And it's the underside of Big Shell? Arsenal Gear. And it has many Metal Gear RAYs to protect it (they would be The Gunners, then. Am I right, soccer fans?). This is starting to sound like a bit too much for me to deal with.
- As I suspected, the Prez gives me the next keycard (he had it the whole time?) and sends us to go get Emma Emmerich, Otacon's sister. Oh yeah, and Ocelot popped in to shoot the President. He's been racking up quite the rap sheet lately.
- Oh boy, and now Snake has a whole bunch of backstory to give us. He pretty much explains what happened on the Tanker, in case we hadn't figured it out yet. I can't even joke about this much dense exposition.
- And now I'm getting a long cutscene with Rose about how much of a repressed weirdo I am when all I wanted to do was save the game. Goddamn, even basic game functions come with a novella-sized dialogue script.
Metal Gear Scanlon 2: Part 11... I... he beat the Vamp fight in two tries? In two tries?!
- I have to get Emma out of the flooded zone because she's hydrophobic. Great. Also I think the game implied that Otacon was masturbating in his bedroom while she was nearly drowning in the family pool. None of this surprises me. It would only surprise me if her drowning was the thing he was whacking it to.
- Vamp cutscene. Starting to suspect this guy might be a demon. Or Neo from the Matrix. Vampire Neo, let's go with that.
- Boss fight time. Vamp explains that the water in this room is deadly, which is why he can swim through it just fine. He does have his own O2 gauge though, which suggests his lungs still work. Mysterious guy. Anyway, this feels more like Ocelot's fight from the first game, in that you're kind of pacing around a small circle with little cover trying to evade speedy attacks and picking one's moment to counterattack. More so than that Fatman fight, at least.
- Ah, you can hit him while he's underwater. It causes him to get back to the surface, where you can hit him again. He's invincible when he has this red aura (I imagine it's a Dracula thing) but there's lots of opportunities to shoot him if I'm patient enough.
- Oh wow, the second half of this fight gets pretty serious. He no longer lets you shoot him in the pool, doesn't hang around long when he's vulnerable and now actively runs after you to slice you to ribbons if you get past his little paralysis trick. Ugh, this fight just got a lot grimmer.
- Every death so far in this fight has been due to cartwheeling away from an attack and accidentally dropping into the instant death pool. It's tiresome.
- "What the hell happened? Raiden?!" Well, Colonel, let me tell you: I died again. He stopped beating around the bush and just kept throwing hella knives at me, including a whole bunch of paralysis ones. I died because I couldn't move. There's your answer, fishbulb.
- Oh god that was the least fun boss fight I've had yet, in either game. I just know he'll be back again too. Fucking vampires. Fuck everything about that character. Like someone gave Sephiroth fangs.
- More underwater mine-dodging shenanigans. Do I really have to escort Emma through all this? I really hope there's another exit to her room that she didn't think to open. On the plus side, I did find some body armor. One boss fight too late, perhaps, but that'll come in useful.
- Oh man, she also peed herself. Definitely an Emmerich.
- "Do you have nanos?" "Yes. Everyone on this project has nanomachines" *goes into Codec mode* "Wow, so you aren't on this project." "Yes! ...Wait, the logical half of my brain just threw up."
- Boy, I wish I had that mask that lets me breathe underwater now. Emma has the lung capacity of a dormouse. The temperament, too.
- "Let's catch a breath in the room where I last saw a brutal and insane killer who I'm not entirely sure is dead." "Yeah, good call. Here's a long story about my bro, Otacon. A really gross one with incestuous overtones." Weeeell, they are step-siblings.
- Otachan's pretty darn smart with the AI stuff, turns out. Couldn't invent herself an oxygen tank though.
- Oh wow, this just got super nuts. This GW AI inside Arsenal Gear can apparently rewrite Wikipedia (sorta) and the Patriots hid world-domination codes in the Y2K fix. This is duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-
- -uuuuuuplicitous of the Patriots, to say the least.
- Oh, and the parrot belongs to Emma. Good thing I didn't shoot it. Wait, is it a good thing?
- Rose, stop getting jealous about Emma and just save my game already. She's like 14.
- She's scared of bugs too, and I guess an egg sac burst somewhere because the path to the elevator is full of them. Give me strength. Fortunately, I remembered I had coolant before I decided to start sniping the little guys.
- For the number of times I've died on a section that seemed perfectly harmless, like getting across a broken bridge, it's remarkable that I managed that BS sequence where you have to get Emma past the amazing respawning guards of Shell 2's Floor 1. I think there were at least five or six, and many were not there on the initial sweep. Fortunate I managed to stash Emma in that gun turret room (so glad cameras and turrets stay broken in this game too, btw).
- Across the bridge, into Strut L (Emma had a level 5 keycard, naturally. It's not like they wanted to limit her access or anything) and now we're having fun ladder time. This isn't the game with the super long ladder, right? That's the next one?
- Sniper escort mission. Figures. The first time went disastrously, as I remembered way too late that I had those Pentazemin pills to steady my aim. Second try was a little better, in that she actually survived. Well, until Vamp showed up again and decided to choke her out.
- So at this point I'd run out of pills and many of those sniper darts ended up in Emma's neck too. This is going to be fun. Thanks Vamp, for yet another wonderful memorable boss fight. Oh, and for stabbing the girl I just spent over an hour protecting. You really are the gift that keeps on giving.
- Oooh, another broken bridge to cross with cyphers and a big time limit to worry about in addition. At least Strut E didn't give me any trouble. Another guy listening to headphones!
- Emma's death scene would be a lot more heartbreaking if I hadn't watched her die over and over due to my incompetence and some truly awful escort sequences. It feels like I'm watching a Crash Test Dummy pass away.
- It's not like I don't end up getting all of Otacon's love interests murdered anyway. He's a nerd! They don't deserve girlfriends! Kojima is very clear on this!
- Though it sounds like he was getting some from his stepmom. This is a weird family.
- Jeez, Otacon, don't cry all over the parrot. They don't like that. They like seeds, mostly.
- Snake and Otacon have their own special high-five/handshake that ends with a hug. I'm going to throw up. I'm going to aim the emesis at the PS3 when I do.
- Snake double-crossed me! With Gray Fox! Who was Olga this whole time! And everything's blowing up!
- And Rose contacted my unconscious body to ask if I wanted to save! Sure, okay!
Sounds like we're building up to a big finale here. If I wake up, I'll undoubtedly be on the Arsenal Gear along with Snake, Olga, Ocelot, Solidus and two dozen Metal Gear RAYs and probably that Vamp guy too. So, you know, among friends at least. See you then.
Here we go, the final two parts. They got released together, so just watch them both before checking out this last spoiler block:
Plant Part 4: La-li-lu-le-whuh?
- Oh, I'm Jack the Ripper, according to Doctor Solidopus. The historical one? No, Solidus' godson. I guess. One of his many child soldiers anyway. This is messed up.
- "Small boy unit". Pfffffffft. Talking of which, why am I naked? Is this like pantsless Officer Barbrady in the Marsh's basement?
- Olga's... on my side? Well, the Patriots' side. I think it's a little too likely that I'm unknowingly with the Patriots, given every NPC I've met so far has said as much. I suspect the Colonel isn't who he says he is either.
- Dammit Rose. I want to save. This... all this sentimental nonsense can wait for never.
- For as heartbreaking as that conversation with Rose was, it's a little tonally undermined by the fact I'm buck naked. And that she's all regular chirpy voice again when I call her back to save for real this time.
- Oh god, why did I try to cartwheel when the camera was directly overhead? I think I can see Raiden's kidneys...
- You can lean up against the table you were on, and the camera obscures Raiden's weenus with a close up of a fast food soda's straw. Big Gulps, huh?
- Found a radar node outside my room and downloaded the data. I almost asked "to what?", but I guess I still have my nanomachines somewhere.
- Colonel is acting pretty darn weird. Like a robot, even. A faulty robot.
- Also, I entered an area and it said "New York 52nd Street". I figured NYC would look a little less... metallic? And above ground?
- Ditto "Aoyama Ni-Chome". (Fun and possibly relevant fact: Shinjuku Ni-Chome is the biggest gay district in Tokyo.) Also, what's with this Discworld emblem on the pause screen? Maybe I jostled my nanomachines when I got knocked out, and now they're messing with me.
- Colonel wants me to turn the game off. You know, Fake Colonel... don't give me any ideas. And now he's being pissy like Rose. I'm wondering what the game's up to now. MGS2 does have a reputation for weirdness.
- What the shit was that? The MSX game? Oh, I see, we've gone full Eternal Darkness (which I believe MGS2 pre-dates). Gotcha. Well, I'll be sure to take all incoming transmissions with the utmost seriousness.
- A string of Japanese names, a scene from a crazy VR mission where you save Meryl from sumo wrestling guards, another insult about my total game runtime, gardening advice, Colonel's otherkin stories, some random home movie instead of the radar and... gossip about people Rose is sleeping with? "I need scissors! 61!"
- I'm just going to sit here and watch all these. These are nuts. This part of the game is sort of reminding me of D2 a bit. The way that game just completely goes off the rails towards the end.
- Rosemary's with the Patriots. Figures. At least she's not completely crazy like the Colonel. Maybe this will end all the schmaltzy post-saving pillow talk. Actually, looks like she's gone for good. Can still save though! Best of both worlds!
- Oh hell yeah, Solid Snake is back in his iconic Sneaking Suit. And he gave me back all my stuff! And there's 25 Metal Gear RAYs ahead to fight. Awesome? But at least I have a ninja sword now. I'll blast right through them all with this thing, no doubt.
- Snake just admitted he still has his infinite ammo headband, if I needed to borrow some. I sure don't remember unlocking that in the last game...
- Another fun shooting gallery. Apparently I let Snake die? As in Solid Snake? Can't he take care of himself? He just runs in front of the last group without defending himself or taking cover. He's completely useless.
- Also there's thousands of these goons. Why? Is this what I reap for using knock out darts all the time?
- Otacon told us that the Colonel is a figment of my imagination, spurred on by the GW AI messing with my nanos. Hence all the madness, as the virus slowly takes it over. But that doesn't really fit with the plot point that GW isn't Patriots technology, but rather Dead Cell's and Solidus's. Why would it be so glowing about the Patriots if that were the case? Unless the Patriots have been tampering with... my head hurts. Back to shooting.
- The Colonel said that they captured Rose, somehow, but Snake told me not to trust illusions like the Colonel. Believing in a legendary hero with an infinite ammo headband is far more rational. Get it together, Raiden.
- And there it is. Fission Mailed. Right in the middle of this swordfight with more endless goons. Do I want to Emit or Continent?
- Fortune's here! She's the daughter of the Commandant from the Tanker, rather than Vulcan Raven. I figured it out when she said Snake killed her dad two years ago, not four. (She also has a "US Navy" wetsuit, funny how I missed that the first time.) Well, that's that mystery solved. And that's one boss fight we're leaving to Snake, I guess.
- Oh but I'm not spared my own. It's a showdown with Doc Solidopus, But not after a super long dialogue cutscene first, because this is a damn Metal Gear Solid game.
- Did I say a Solidus boss fight? I meant one with three Metal Gear RAYs. Good thing I have some Stinger missiles left...
- I also have to wonder what this giant room is supposed to be. I checked the pause screen: "Arsenal Gear-Rectum". Sorry I asked...
- Heatseeking missiles... say, I wonder if the old chaff grenade trick still works? ...it totally does!
- Did I say three Metal Gear RAYs? I meant way more than that. I destroyed five or six before I finally ran out of rations. Really? Do I honestly have to destroy all twenty five? That's their idea of a fun boss fight?
- Seven. Seven was the lucky number I had to blow up. Seven enormous bipedal battle tanks with nuclear capability. Jeez, what a mess. Fortunately, Olga aka Gray Fox 2 is going to fight them off while I escape. Considering what happened to a cyborg ninja last time it faced a Metal Gear...
- ...well, she got killed by Solidus instead. That's two switcheroos now. What is this, a tag team match? And is every major female character going to die in this? We're going to run out of fridges to put them in eventually.
- GW and the RAYs just went nuts. I guess that virus took control. Now I've got Solidus taking down the rest for me. Saves me a job, have at it old man.
- Well, I was all right with how things were going right up until the point he broke my neck. That's gonna cost me. But I get to save?
- Oh, I got knocked out. With my eyes open. Fine, whatever. It's another interrogation scene with button mashing, glad those are back.
- Oh jeez, now Ocelot, Solidus and Fortune are all standing in a circle explaining their plans and double-crossing each other. This is all a little too much info. I'll unpack it later.
- Essentially, Ocelot's plan was to recreate Shadow Moses via a series of coincidences to make Raiden into a second Snake? It's all an elaborate ploy to create the perfect training simulation for Raiden? I'm using question marks because this is all ridiculous?
- Ocelot has Fortune's number all right though. Right in the not-heart too. That's another heroine down, any left?
- Ocelot, deciding that he's not quite filled his quota of major character deaths, hops into a RAY and decides to just missile swarm what's left. But Fortune's innate psychic powers are... you know what? Forget it. Watch it on YouTube. I don't even know.
- After a dramatic stand against Ocelot, I think Fortune, sorry, Helena has bought it for real this time. And Liquid's taken over Ocelot, which is bound to end well as he's still inside a Metal Gear RAY. Does Liquid know how to drive one of those? What am I saying, of course he does. He's Liquid.
- Well, Liquid and Snake both took off. So, uh... how's things, Solidus? Still keeping busy?
- Heh, there was a big Emmerich (Roland, this time) cutscene as the Arsenal Gear headed towards a NYC bridge with the big dramatic music swelling up and everything. But then kinda went... underneath it. Safely.
- Well, we found out what April 30th is. It's the 200th anniversary of Washington coming to power. Rose would be happy we finally figured it out. Were she real. Is she real? I mean, she's a video game character, so what am I even asking?
- The Colonel, or whatever it is, is looking kinda... gaunt. He and Rose decide to give me a ten minute lecture about the internet and how Wikipedia is destroying civilization or something. I'm this close to completely checking out.
- They're also calling Raiden a soulless puppet. Well, we knew this much.
- Selection for Societal Sanity? Mission Failed within Fission Mailed? This is the last fifteen minutes of End of Evangelion. I've run out of things to say. There's no jokes, here. Just endless question marks. I think these AIs want to take over and needed more practice screwing with our heads?
- Well, here's something I can understand: I'm fighting Solidus to the death because he's a giant asshole. Apparently it's swords only, so it's a good thing I got in some practice.
- Did I mention that swordfighting controls suck balls? Because they do. This is like trying to play Die by the Sword, only without the ironic enjoyment.
- Remember the fistfight on Metal Gear in the last game? Remember Drew's reaction to it? This is twice as bad. There's no time limit, at least. The only thing that's running out is my ability to feel joy ever again.
- He stayed on that last sliver of health for a pretty long time, but I finally beat him. I even used the blunt edge so that he wouldn't die and I wouldn't become a tool for the... oh, never mind. I guess I just sliced his spine in half and let him fall to his death. Well, I did have a grudge against the guy, I'll allow it.
- So... the ending. I... hrm. This game is immune to MST3k-ing at this point. No number of trenchant puns about Wisconsin is going to make this labyrinthine plot a chucklefest.
- Life goes on in NYC, I guess, despite the fact I left the corpse of the former president near the Federal Building and an enormous aquatic fortress tank crashed into the side of Manhattan. Hey, if there's one thing I know about New Yorkers it's that they've seen it all before and to forget about it.
- Oh, I did get to see my name during the end cutscenes, on Raiden's dogtags. The one I put into the computer at the start. That they managed to integrate it into the cutscene was impressive (even though it's all in-engine). We also see the real Rose, Otachan's parrot and... VAMP?! Fuck you, game. Fuck this. Fuck everything.
And on that high note, we leave Metal Gear Solid 2 behind, as Raiden and Rose reconnect while we watch a lot of red-tinted stock footage of New York City. Raiden whispered something to Rose, but I guess we'll have to listen to the Lost in Translation commentary track to find out what. After the last cutscenes played out, I got my rank: Elephant. I was about as effective as one during the stealth sections, so that checks out.
Thanks for sticking with me through this game, everyone! I kinda hated it. Sorry. Well, it's not all bad, but holy moley does it balance its good moments with a lot of terrible choices for set-pieces (escorting, protracted sniping, underwater controls, incongruous platforming, sword controls), some really bad boss fights, the over-seriousness was less fun this time around, a less over-the-top villain (though he was technically here too), far too many timed sections and a milquetoast protagonist who, fittingly, won't really find his spark until he's made out of machinery. I could only understand every other cutscene too, though I'm sure with enough time I can decompress it all. I can see why many consider this the black sheep.
But hey, I'm not totally against the idea of a Snake Eater playthrough. Especially if Drew and Dan decide to tackle it someday. Until then, I'll leave you with a reminder to keep watching those Metal Gear Scanlon vids, and if your commanding officer ever turns into a skeleton, probably best to take his subsequent orders with a grain of salt. See ya.
And now, the VR missions:
You must be joking. I'm so done with all this. Bye!