Mento Gear Solid 4: Puns of the Patriots: Part Five

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Apologies for the delay everyone. I've been a little too invested in SGDQ over the past week to keep up this obversation LP on everyone's favorite geriatric tactical stealth espionage game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Well, that and I didn't want to get too far ahead of Dan and Drew for the handful of you out there who won't read any this until you've seen the game first-hand (well, second-hand) for the first time with Giant Bomb West's least effective special agents. Also I don't particularly want to play the game anymore, but that comes a distant third in my list of excuses to take the previous week off.

So instead we're here at the start of Act Three, ready to take on whatever the game's Eastern Europe block throws at us. You can catch up with our adventures in Parts One, Two, Three and Four if you'd like, but here's the story so far: We rescued Naomi from her prison/lab, defeated the first Beast and Beauty boss and got our asses saved by a robotic Raiden while escaping. We now need to go meet Raiden's contact "Big Mama" to discover the whereabouts of the body of Big Boss as well as find a way to fix Raiden after his calamitous fight with Vamp. Naomi's followed us on board the Nomad to help us determine what Liquid's up to next.

Today's update concludes at the end of Act Three. Turns out it was a short one. Well, sort of. You'll see.

  • Act Three! Let's do this! This is the best one, right?
  • Sunny's eggs song is now the periodic table of elements in a random order. And here's Naomi, to actually teach her how to fry eggs right because it's not like Otacon's ever going to.
  • Aww, they're bonding. Over the periodic table. I guess that's a twist on the "girls bonding over periods" classic. I never expected a Metal Gear Solid game with insane sexy skinsuit-wearing ladies to pass the Bechdel test.
  • Lot of talk about Liquid's plans. He needs something about the something with the genetics and the nanomachines. Blah blah blah. Some interesting facts though: Snake isn't actually a perfect clone of Big Boss, nor is he and Liquid genetically identical. This is why Liquid still needs Big Boss's genetic code for his plans. It probably also explains why he was looking for Big Boss's DNA back in the original MGS and why Snake wasn't killed by the same FOXDIE strain (at least, right away) that took out Liquid, which feels more like a hand-wave than anything.
  • Also: Big Boss is still alive. I mean, we've only killed him, what, twice? I guess because it happened in those MSX games which are soooo, like, super old, maaaan, that it means they no longer count. Or maybe the dude just has a thousand body doubles like Dr. Doom.
  • Okay, maybe not. While there's no brain activity, the body of Big Boss is being kept alive artificially in a lab somewhere as a "biomort". Aren't those the bad guys from The Inhumanoids?
  • Raiden, who is also in this scene, decides he's not getting enough attention and starts coughing up more roboyogurt. Nice little scene as Naomi looks concerned while we get a flashback to the similarly cyborgified ninja Gray Fox a.k.a. Naomi's brother (slash family murderer) Frank Yaeger.
  • Naomi takes over Sunny's console and starts typing super fast like a real hacker just like in the movies. Sunny's impressed. Cute scene, but for the fact the camera's pointing directly at Naomi's cleavage the whole time again. I don't even remember what her face looks like any more; it's been so long since the camera was interested in that part of her body. She might as well be the floating boobs from Trespasser: Jurassic Park at this point.
  • Raiden-bot's dying, but there's somewhere we can go in Eastern Europe to patch him up. Do we gotta? Also, the doc we're looking for is Dr. Madnar. Man, the Snatcher references just keep on coming don't they? Are we going to bump into a young Gillian Seed pre-cryostasis? Maybe throw in the Policenauts guys too; it's not like I can see this Otacon/Snake buddy comedy partnership going anywhere.
  • All right, so Dr. Madnar was in Metal Gear first. I get it. Old games are still old. (Might I interest you all in a new episode of ST-urday? Nope? Suit yourself.)
  • Naomi's getting in a lot of not-so-subtle handholding with Otacon. You know the dude's dressed like a golfer these days right? Did I mention the bedwetting?
  • Got my cigarettes taken away and my psych gauge dropped again. I'm guessing they installed that thing purely for dumb comedy. Hey, ditto with me and that catflap in my kitchen door that's welded shut.
  • A quiet scene follows. We get a look at Otacon's desktop: a picture of Emma, a Policenauts wallpaper and another wallpaper from one of Otacon's Japanese animes. About what I expected.
  • This scene is dumb. Anyone opposed to me skipping over it? *Sees a raise of hands* Motion passes.
  • I will at least mention the USB stick around Naomi's neck. Sabotage option? Are her loyalties conflicted? Did she and Otacon really just do the hunka-chunka in the chopper? Blaargh.
  • So now we're in Act 3: Third Sun proper. I'm actually stoked that we're sneaking around what looks like a noirish city in Eastern Europe. More opportunities to use the shadows and silence, rather than being out in the open getting shelled at in some dusty field somewhere. "Raven Sword" is our enemy PMC this time, which I imagine means we'll be fighting the Raven-themed Beauty & Beast member. Hope she's good at muktuk-eating contests.
  • Paradise Lost Army would be the rebel ally equivalent for this Act. That's the group led by this "Big Mama" character we're trying to get in contact with. I think I know who that is, but I'm curious to see if my other theory about the relationship between her, Big Boss and his trio of offspring pans out. After all, a surrogate womb makes more sense than a bunch of vats with babies floating in them. (Not that sense has a place in this universe, but I work with what I have.)
  • Why put on a disguise if I'm just going to antagonize the security detail at the train station? Or did I not anticipate that they'd have some way to check people's nanomachines to verify their identity? Isn't that how it's done everywhere in this future? Fortunately, Meryl bails me out again.
  • Meryl's gang is here too. Akiba decides to yell "HEY SNAKE!" despite us trying to be incognito because comedy relief. Snake! We got Snake here! See? No-one cares. Nice trenchcoat, Snake. What are you trying to look like, a secret agent?
  • Meryl doesn't approve that we're out to kill Liquid while she's trying to capture him so I guess I can't rely on her team of screw-ups to trap me in a building full of gas mines and FROG troopers. Oh no. However will I cope?
  • Wow, are you shitting me? A tailing mission? I have to follow some whistling idiot to the Resistance meeting point, and because he's also being careful to avoid detection he's going to take the slowest and most circuitous route possible. I'm starting to understand why there were some disgruntled murmurings about this Act.
  • Also, the tune he's whistling is the same as Sunny's song. Possibly relevant? Does Big Mama and this resistance have some connection to whatever Patriots base Sunny was holed up in?
  • Because these resistance guys are more loafers than sneakers like Snake, they'll keep getting stymied by PMC patrols. I have to eliminate the patrols while ensuring that I don't give myself away to the resistance guy, nor agitate the patrols themselves, or the resistance member will bolt and I have to start over (yaaay). These resistance members are apparently not at all perturbed by all these mysterious unconscious PMC bodies lying around everywhere.
  • Following some whistling guy through the tunnels and alleys of a moody European city at night would be kinda The Third Man-esque if I didn't hate everything about it.
  • Just collected some Snatcher music by grabbing a guard's wang while body searching him. I'm starting to suspect that Kojima misses making games other than Metal Gear Solid. Careful what you wish for, I suppose.
  • The super subtle resistance guy I'm shadowing just threw a grenade at a couple of goons and ran off to stare at a girly poster (Akina again). Am I tailing Drew?
  • So, uh, this whole next part was on me: I noticed a vehicle patrol going through the street, so both I and the resistance guy hid in alcoves as it passed. I kept following the dude from the upper pedestrian area where the cafes were, but then the same vehicle rolled up behind me. Tranqed the dude on the turret, but the alert still went off. While running away I bumped right into the resistance guy who was running TOWARDS the alert, who then pulled a gun on me. Tranqed both him and the PMC guys who showed up, let the alert/evasion/caution tick down, woke up resistance guy and then hid before he saw me and now I'm following him again. I hate this game but boy do I respect it.
  • I'm screwing up this forced stealth section in admittedly hilarious ways, which makes me kind of excited to see how Drew handles it. I know that's the second Drew burn in as many minutes but dagnabbit if that guy doesn't play these games in an entertaining fashion.
  • Our resourceful resistance guy has now switched costumes with a PMC trooper. That's going to make it slightly tougher to keep tabs on him, though I'm thankful that this Solid Eye gizmo seems to know the difference.
  • Tripped an alert at the final hurdle - a big truck rolled through the streets while I was following the dude, leaving me with nowhere to hide - but fortunately the resistance guy didn't bolt. I just followed him as I kept shooting the guys chasing me. Gotta say, that guy was good at keeping his cool.
  • So I finally get to meet Big Mama. Yeah, it's Eva. I already worked it out. Presumably I'm going to have to make nice by feeding her all the rations in my backpack and staring at her chest. I know the drill.
  • She isn't saying who she is, but she's talking about forbidden fruit and is an elderly blonde Patriot agent so I don't know who the game thinks its fooling by not stating it right out of the gate. Fine. Let's find out what "Big Mama" wants.
  • And she mentions a new guy: Zero. Founder of the Patriots. Wasn't the British Major called Zero...?
  • Okay, yeah, once she gets into Operation Snake Eater it's a little more overt. Clearly Kojima didn't think he could pull the wool over the eyes of the majority of the players with Eva's reveal, so the build-up to this cutscene gave us ample clues to figure it out before they made it perfectly obvious. I respect that, especially in a series where the hero regularly repeats back new plot keywords in an interrogative tone.
  • We get into some "what happened after the ending of the last game" business here. Eva got kicked out of China for screwing up the Philosophers' Legacy heist, and is recruited by the fledgling Patriots organization lead by Major Zero and featuring all the other codec contacts in MGS3: Sigint, who became MGS1's DARPA Chief through his expertise with technology; Para-Medic, who became (Doctor) Elvira because of her love of schlock horror movies; and the DJ of that radio station that played knock-off Beach Boys tracks that healed Naked Snake, who became Senator Bluto Blutarsky. I may have made some of that up.
  • More info: Les Enfants Terrible was started by Zero without the consent of Big Boss, and Eva carried both Liquid and Solid to term as a surrogate mother (called it!). Apparently Solidus showed up later? They haven't mentioned him yet. Having little Big Bosses running around (how cute would it be to have a baby bib with "Big Boss" written on it?) was the final straw for the original, and he left to create his globe-hopping mercenary company and Outer Heaven: footsteps his two sons that aren't Solid Snake seem super eager to follow. Meanwhile, Zero is an embittered old rich man who continues to gain power thanks to the war economy and the Patriots AIs. He probably still likes Bond movies a whole lot. The end.
  • I say "the end" because it just prompted me to save. The game is acknowledging that its cutscenes are so long that players shouldn't be expected to sit through one in a single sitting. Wowzers.
  • I like the implication that every conflict in this entire series was because a couple of guys were following their own interpretations of the will of The Boss: a hero they idolized. Meanwhile, Naomi and Eva are also beholden to the example set by The Boss. Specifically, how she walked around with a neckline plunging down to her belly button.
  • More talk about the events of the prior games, including ones in which Solid Snake was an active participant. Zero lost faith in everything after Big Boss told him to sit and spin on his crumpets and tea, and he built AIs to carry the torch after he was gone: GW, TJ, AL and TR. All named for the initials of the Rushmore Presidents. (The program based on 13th US President Isaiah Orville Smith was sold to Apple instead.)
  • Gray Fox apparently assassinated Dr. Clark (a.k.a. Para-Medic) at some point before MGS1 began. If only she'd watched the 1975 B-Movie classic Cyborg Killers: The Rebloodening at the local drive-in; she might've recognized the warning signs and saved herself. We'll always have the "Can I eat rabbit poop?" conversation to remember you by, Doc.
  • All right, now we're getting to the task at hand. We go visit ol' Pops in the back of Eva's van. He's not looking so hot, but then the last time we saw him we'd fired a thousand rockets at his decrepit Sean Connery ass.
  • Naomi's left the Nomad! And I just saw something that looked like the white spy from Spy vs. Spy slink past the door to Eva's church. Something's about to happen isn't it? Oh, thank God.
  • That thing in the coat was three weird mini-robots with big beefy arms that the game called Scarabs. They looked a bit like a cross between the interrogation droid from Star Wars and a Shin Megami Tensei monster (though fortunately not Mara). Why did they design all these robots with realistic human limbs? To creep people out? That actually kinda fits Liquid's MO.
  • Eve shot the crap out of them with that Chinese pistol she's apparently kept for forty years. I got a flashback to MGS3 while she was gunning them down. So wait, these are the player's flashbacks and not Solid Snake's? How meta.
  • We're outtie. While Eva's goons are drawing away the attention of some inbound Geckos, Eva apparently wants to escape on her ancient Triumph motorcycle. Does she not throw anything away?
  • Oh man, it just hit me that we're about to have a motorcycle chase. Like that's the one thing I wanted to revisit from MGS3.
  • "The kids they play all the video games and think they're real soldiers. Look at these losers." Lady, I am trying to enjoy your video game here. Trying really hard, even.
  • Well that was a dumb sequence. Driving around, shooting guys on the pavement from a moving vehicle. Good thing this game has an auto-aim option you can turn on, or I wouldn't have hit anything (and yes, it's going right back off once this godforsaken excuse for a turret sequence ends). At least Eva's still a badass behind the handlebars. More than I can say for Ocelot. Burn!
  • "Raging Raven"? What is this, a highschool football team? She swoops in with her robo-winged posse and tosses Eva and Snake around for an additional chase scene. The FROGs are starting to turn up too, though fortunately they're the tough female troopers from before and not a bunch of Kero-tans I have to hit with pinpoint accuracy. Again, no idea how I'm supposed to hit anything without a minigun or auto-aim. Sure is exciting though.
  • We all got taken out: The van, Snake and Eva. I'm sure Big Boss survived getting flipped over three times despite being a skeleton on life support, because that's how that fucker rolls (as it were), but Eva's looking less good. She got herself a new navel courtesy of some broken iron gate bars. What is that, her third? All right, bring up the surgery screen, let's do this.
  • We drag her into where the van crashed while we scale the tower to take out bird lady. I guess this is our second boss fight. I'm surmising from the amount of times she's screamed "Rage!" so far that she's going to be a bit like The Fury: sneak up on her, shoot her and then run to evade her missiles. Then again, maybe this is our version of the Hind D fight, given how she's flying all over the place.
  • I'm at the top of the tower right now taking potshots at these unmanned winged drones with my Mosin Nagant and having no luck. Where's Duck Dynasty where you need them? I think I'll just focus on the pair of wings with a person attached: I suspect the rest are there as back-ups or decoys.
  • So the fight was really just to find out where she was, get a few hits in and then escape her wrath for a few seconds until she loses you again. So yeah, like The Fury. Or really any MGS boss.
  • Oh, this one's like a dusky brunette. I guess they grabbed these gals from all over. This Beauty battle seems very similar to the first: we get some spooky Eternal Darkness background ambient noise as we stay away from a beckoning Beauty in her skintight suit. Not hugely difficult and sort of makes me wonder why these fights are even in here. Maybe by rendering these bosses practically harmless (yeah right, like I was going to let one grab me and pull my arms off to check) it forces you to make a moral choice between tranquilizing them or putting them out of their misery with a lethal weapon.
  • As before, we get the creepypasta rundown from Drebin. Rage-y here was caged up with other kids and forced to endure abuse from her soldier captors, taking the brunt of the rage they accrued from years of combat. She escaped thanks to some birds who were eating all the other kids (ew), then killed the birds, killed the soliders and killed the civilians they'd captured in a rage-induced fugue. There's something almost Whedon-esque about all these 90lb waifs taking down whole units of burly soldiers.
  • Anyway, she's dozing off after her tantrum and I borrowed her grenade launcher. I'll find some use for that, I'm sure. Best go see how Eva's doing. You know, I kind of like old Eva: it's like she went from Seven of Nine to Captain Janeway. Tough old lady that doesn't give a hoot.
  • Crafty Eva hid Big Boss on a secret fourth van, which meant the one that crashed through the building was another decoy. The real McCoy is floating down a river right now. Eva mentioned the Volta River, so I guess that body is bobbing all the way to Africa. This is starting to turn into "Where in the World is Corpseman Snakeiago?". Otacon, open me a Codec channel to Rockapella.
  • We got made by one of those high-five robots while sneaking into the sewer. This ought to be fun.
  • It got very fun very quickly. Liquid's down here, as is Vamp and Naomi. They sunk the boat with Big Boss on it, but spirited away the legendary hero for their own machinations. Also Liquid kicked my damn ass. When did he get so good at CQC? Oh right, the end of MGS3.
  • He apparently picked up Volgin's powers too. I'd love to hear the explanation for why that is... which are words I would use here if I wasn't sure that I would end up eating them later when the game patiently gives me the explanation for why that is in an hour-long cutscene.
  • That apple keeps showing up whenever Eva wants to make a pointed Adam and Eve reference. It's like doves in a John Woo movie. Did Eva bring it along just in case she needed it for some blunt metaphors? Do you think you could've used that space in your fanny pack for a human puncture kit, perhaps?
  • Anyway, Liquid explains almost nothing in a long rant while intermittently zapping us and then faffs off, leaving a half-dead Snake and Eva on the dock. I guess he wants to show off the culmination of his big plans before he kills us for real. That overtheatrical ham is the same as he's ever been.
  • Meryl's team was waiting for him in her own boat! It cuts to Akiba freaking out, and then back to Meryl who yells "Hold it right there, Liquid!" on the loudspeaker. I'm sure Akiba's thinking the same thing. (I swear I'll stop with the diarrhea jokes when the game stops setting them up for me. Until then they're just going to keep pouring out.)
  • Liquid's like "nah, fuck that" and bugs out. Except he's going to have a hard time with all these other US ships and helicopters. What are you going to do against all this, Mr. Wet Cat? Turn Super Saiyan?
  • Hey, you there, with the spotlights. Change the bulbs to UV ones; they have a vampire aboard that badly needs disintegrating.
  • Oh right, the nanobots. He just turned everyone's ID tagged weapons off. Well, you know, I just got this grenade launcher with no tags that I'd be very happy to bust out right about now. I can barely hold it with this knife in my shoulder, but I think I'll make the effort for this special occasion.
  • There go the choppers. I guess turning those off is slightly more serious than a bunch of guns. Hell, if I only have the one arm I'll go for my pistol. More than enough bullets to kill anything that moves, remember? Put me in, coach!
  • And there goes Liquid's brown note. And the subsequent gunning down of a hundred US troops. Could've prevented all this, Snake. At least Akiba can still get to the ship's turret in time. Get to it, you damn otaku. No, I guess you're going to keep pawing at Meryl while she's incapacitated. Super.
  • Big Boss gets cremated, Eva leaps into the flames because reasons and Snake gets scorched trying to rescue her. Also I think Liquid shot one of the three of us as he was escaping. I dunno. It was very dramatic. Lots of fire everywhere.
  • Meryl's squad's down. Exclamation point hair and cool black guy are chilling on the embankment but they both look kinda tore up. Meryl would've died were it not for the timely CPR of Akiba who apparently is the Kingslayer in disguise? Naturally, Meryl mentally puts aside all the times she's been downwind of him after one of his "unfortunate rebuttals" and falls passionately in love. Looks like the Johnny Sasaki line is continuing for one more generation at least.
  • Not so (getting) lucky? Poor Eva, who finally succumbs to her injuries. No adorable fried egg scene with Sunny and Grandma. Though given those nasty-looking third-degrees that Snake's sporting maybe serving him a fried anything right now would be a little insensitive.
  • That's the end of Act Three. A forced stealth section, a motorcycle chase in which I couldn't hit a thing, a quick boss fight against some angry bird woman and about four hours of exposition. Best Act ever; y'all called it.

That's it for today. The last thing I want right now is another feature film length briefing cutscene. I'll be back either tomorrow or Tuesday with the next part, which will either be the first half of Act Four or the full Act in its entirety depending on how long it turns out to be. As always please feel free to like, comment and subscribe and go easy on the spoilers. I know we're running out of game to spoil but I still don't wanna see 'em.

(Parts Six and Seven.)