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

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Ah. Yes. This game. I'm still playing it, as will become evident soon enough once the bulletpoints start turning up. I have to say that, whether it's the disjointedness of the Act structure or the vast amount of cutscene I'm rarely prepared to face, this is probably the MGS game I've been the least enthused to actually finish. I always tend to exaggerate how much I want to keep playing any given MGS, usually for comedic effect (though where there's smoke...), but it's actually half-legit in this case. The only thing keeping me going, once again, is the promise of a completely bizarre out of left-field ending and the knowledge that this is truly, definitively the end of the road for Solid Snake, Otacon, Liquid Ocelot, and all the 21st century MGS characters. Big Boss and Ocelot will be yukking it up on PS4s soon along with Stripper Sniper, but that's all in the 1980s and shouldn't affect the future at all unless Kojima sneaked a Delorean in there. Wouldn't put it past him, honestly.

Incidentally, I'm not sure where all the vitriol for Quiet comes from given how MGS4 is really setting a low bar for female characterization: so far we've had a betrayer, four mentally imbalanced supermodels, a girl who rarely leaves the kitchen and... well, Rose. Quiet won't have to do much to prove herself a higher caliber of female empowerment, though it'd be nice if Kojima let her speak.

Whatever, though. You start talking about the representation of women in a Metal Gear game on the internet and you'll come back to find your house burned down. Kojima do what he do and I'll just keep on being sarcastic about Otacon's bladder control. We cool.

(Let's get the disclaimers out of the way before we start today: Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five are here for your viewing pleasure. We end today's update on the conclusion of Act Four.)

  • Maybe it's the Stockholm Syndrome talking, but I'm starting to like these mission briefing scenes. They remind me of the chilled out scenes on the Cowboy Bebop in that one anime that is named something I can't recall. Quiet moments before (and occasionally after, or during) the storm where Spike and co. are only half-listening in that goofy bounty hunter show while Jet's pruning his bonsai.
  • Sunny's song is now the names of train stations across Japan, I believe. They sound like the same locations the Patriots AI quickly ran through while weirding out Raiden in the Metal Gear Arsenal's Butthole or however they named the areas in that place. I'm starting to get the idea that the songs are meant to be mnemonic, but given it's the same tune each time it's anyone's guess how Sunny remembers them all. I guess it all ties into this "Sunny lives in the Matrix" plotline I was barely paying attention to. She cooks eggs like they do.
  • Mk. 2 managed to sneak onboard Liquid's ship at the end of the last Act, so we're listening in on their plans from between Naomi's legs, occasionally looking upwards. You know, to see if there's anything incriminating about Liquid's plan that Naomi's keeping in her underwear.
  • It actually sounds like we might be heading back to Shadow Moses in order to prevent Liquid from using some nukes he might've hidden there (along with another Metal Gear REX?). That could be interesting if they're just rebuilding MGS1's setting from scratch.
  • The following ten minute briefing pretty much confirms what I just said. Well, what the bad guys in the boat just said to be more precise. In order to launch a nuke without full control over the System - which regulates all weapons and military operations - they'll have to fix up REX and use its stealth nuclear launch capability to quietly take out the chief AI unit "JD", which is currently located in Sacred Heart Hospital. I mean, low Earth orbit. As REX is presently on Shadow Moses Island, that's where we're going.
  • Snake can barely stand up so it's going to be an interesting walk down memory lane. More of a hobble.
  • Raiden's still sleeping off his Vamp encounter. He's about as helpful as Snake was in MGS2. I guess that's fitting. I like that his (new?) VA's still trying to do a David Hayter impression.
  • Now Raiden and Snake are trying to out-pity party each other. "I'm the worse off!", "No! I am!", "I look like Two-Face!", "I'm half a robot!", "I'm a walking patient zero for a potential global epidemic!" "They replaced my wang with an analogue stick! An N64 one, even! It squeaks when I pee damn you."
  • Oh hey, they actually gave Mei Ling a model and VA. She says that Shadow Moses is now a lot smaller because of global warming. That's a pretty good excuse for the necessary truncating that would be required after reworking an entire game's setting into a single Act. Then again, I don't remember hanging out on a lot of coastlines in that game. I hope this isn't an excuse to shoehorn in some sub-zero swimming sections.
  • "Shadow Moses Island was abandoned ever since the incident, with all the data falsified or destroyed. REX and the nukes should still be there, untouched." OK, so wait, that boxy son of a nerd got blown to shit nine years ago. I definitely call removing its radome arm thing and firing a bunch of Stinger missiles directly at its cockpit and its cock of a pilot. Is Liquid going to get there a few hours before we do and spruce it up to working condition somehow? He'd barely manage a coat of fresh paint in that time.
  • We're meeting Mei Ling at Shadow Moses, huh? I guess she'll be the helpless damsel I'll have to escort past all those underwater mines. Hey, they brought back the motorcycle chase of MGS3, so I wouldn't put it past them to do all that again too.
  • Ha, it started me off with a top-down view and MGS PS1 graphics. OK, I guess we're doing this. Is this a flashback? There's no menus or anything.
  • I naturally walk directly into spotlight and start crawling away from the incoming guards instead of punching them. If this is meant to be a faithful recreation of MGS1 then it's uncanny so far.
  • It was just dozy Old Snake's dream of MGS1. "It was horrible, Otacon. I was a bunch of polygonal boxes." "Snake, I think you should probably stop hiding in those things so much if they're starting to affect your mind like this."
  • Nice little shout out to Twin Snakes with Act 4's subtitle. Here I was thinking Konami disavowed it and its ridiculous 360 no-scope cutscenes, if its conspicuous absence from the HD collection was any indication. I mean, it was also a GameCube exclusive, but how much more work could it have needed to be PS3 compatible compared to MGS2 or that PSP game?
  • So I start in a snowstorm and the visibility's so poor I can barely see five feet in front of me. I suppose this is actually more N64 than GameCube.
  • Found a bad guy wandering around on the radar but couldn't pop him from a distance due to the visibility. Sort of glad I didn't try feeling him out with a few warning shots and the Solid Eye radar: it's not a dude, but a dang ol' Gecko. I'm sure a tranq pistol's going to do a lot against that thing.
  • Oh wow. I'm running around a snowed over heliport from the first MGS and getting all these little flashback audio clips, each of which grant me extra Drebin bucks. I'm sorry, but is he putting a dollar value on nostalgia now? If so, where's his video game Kickstarter?
  • Place seems suspiciously empty. I have spotted a few of those handjob robots walking around though. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since they took the effort to introduce them in the middle of Act 3 without bothering to give me a regular stealth sequence where I'd have to deal with them. Looks like they're busy scanning everywhere, so I just have to keep out of their way or zap 'em.
  • These little guys are perceptive! I can't destroy one without triggering an alarm, as all my silenced weapons aren't strong enough to take one down in one hit. They move around a lot and they're constantly sweeping areas with those eyebeams which means my OctoCamo is apparently useless. There is always hoping that whatever thermal detection they're using can be foiled by a box. It's stupid enough to work?
  • The box is working, but I can't figure out what to do here. Short of calling Otacon, I think I'll just poke around until a solution presents itself.
  • Nah, forget all these annoying bowling balls, I'm just going to head straight through the canyon.
  • I'm glad I had the presence of mind to turn my night vision on. There's no claymores left, but they managed to hide two more Geckos out here.
  • "Just head on through to the back of this area." "Wait, didn't we have to take a circuitous route through this building last time?" "Yeah, but this isn't that. Just keep going to the rear exit."
  • "Oh hey, Snake, looks like you'll have to take a circuitous route through this building." You know what else is circuitous, Otacon? The human nervous system. I'll show you how it all works with this ball peen hammer when I get back.
  • "OK, now go through this hallway. Don't worry, it's not electrified any more." Excuse me if I don't believe a single word you say from here on out Otacon.
  • Am I supposed to remember what Otacon's five digit password is from all the way back? Wait, what am I talking about, it's probably 80085.
  • Loving how both Snake and Otacon (as the brand new Mk. III) went over to the locker area to see if the big pee stain was still there.
  • Otacon turns everything back on and we find out that Vamp and Naomi have already passed through here from the security footage. They're heading for REX's hangar, which probably should be less of a surprise to Otacon given that's why we're all here. I've got to get back to the surface level and keep moving. Man, am I glad I can avoid the basement floor with all those insta-death pitfall traps. I mean, what's even left down there? Ocelot's skeletal arm?
  • The Gecko in the B2 lab hallway is a nice touch, but how is that poor mooing bastard supposed to get out? Oh wait, it just used the elevator. These things are smart, huh. Like velociraptors. Good thing Otacon knows Unix.
  • I blew it up but only after it had found the Mk. III and stood over it as the Mk. III was hacking the door panel. I got a "Mk. III! No! Noooo!" game over when I blew the Gecko up in close proxmity. I guess I'm supposed to be bait, then. Good thing I have literally a hundred lethal weapons with full ammo I've not had the opportunity to use yet.
  • Gunning down that one big leggy lunker stops the timer so I don't have to wait around the full three minutes. I was expecting something a little more substantial from a timed protection sequence: the most reviled of sequences after "escort".
  • Ah. Should've figured from all the wolf howls and the wolf PMC logo and the fact that this is where we fought Sniper Wolf that we may just be fighting the Wolf member of the Beauty and Beasts at some point. What I didn't anticipate is that she'd be carrying around a goddamn Eraser-style rail gun. I guess if REX had one, they probably figured out how to make smaller ones since then. Soon as I get the scoop on this wolf, it's going down. In the AM.
  • So my initial impression is that we have another protracted sniper battle in a snowy field. I don't think it'll go quite the same way as it did the first time, back when I had Nikitas to throw at her from a safe distance.
  • I didn't account for her legion of FROG spotters either. That essentially amounted to finding her, taking out her spotters along the way and putting a few shots of the Mosin Nagant in her before she could do the same to me with her gauss rifle doodad. Without her spotters, I had about a 50/50 chance of finding her before she found me, though those odds changed quite a bit in my favor once I switched the night-vision on: her tank doesn't give off heat, but she has to sit outside it to shoot at me and she's certainly radiant. You know, in a heat signature sense.
  • Turns out Crying Wolf is a dark-skinned woman, possibly of Indian or African descent. You know, if it wasn't for all the dripping wet skinsuits and sex noises they all make after the first part of their fights, I'd almost admire this boss selection for its inclusivity.
  • Same old half-naked chase across the stage. She's going to catch her death of cold in this weather. Upgrading to the SAIGA shotgun (with non-lethal rounds) are making these Beauty battles more trivial than they already were. It keeps making me want to yell "SEGA" every time I fire it though, so that's a concern. For many reasons.
  • You know, there's a certain measure of mercy in knocking these Beauties out but in this case I'm not sure I'm doing her any favors just letting her sleep in a snowstorm. Hypothermia's a hell of a thing.
  • More of Drebin's creepy stories about where Crying Beauty came from. I dunno if any of this is real or if he just writes this stuff on the side. Sometimes you gotta supplement your income as a globe-trotting merchant of death with a little internet fanfiction. I'm sure both pay equally well.
  • Then again, given her backstory involves murdering dozens of babies, I'm not particularly motivated to drag her in from the cold either. This is some messed up shit. I'm glad there's only one more of these...
  • Maybe that wolf will keep her warm. Or eat her. See if I care. Time to loot this giant battlefield of its sweet spoils! Try not to think about the dead babies!
  • Otacon just called me to tell me to switch the disc over now that I'm around the same point in Shadow Moses when the original MGS required a disc swap. Hilarious. I actually had the same idea but in my version the other disc would've been Yakuza 3, or maybe The Last of Us or Ratchet & Clank: Nexus.
  • On that topic, I wonder if they'll recreate the same save file thing with the Mantis boss? Can't think of a whole lot of Konami PS3 games that came out before MGS4 that they could spook you with.
  • The blasting furnace area is filled with those evil hamster ball robots, so I threw a chaff grenade and ran for it. Turns out the exit is locked and I have to pass through an elaborate conveyor belt system in the basement of this manufacturing facility. It's like sneaking into The Rock.
  • Just one Gecko down here? Wow. You're spoiling us.
  • Spoke too soon. The north part has more tiny Epcot Center souvenirs milling around as well as another two Geckos. Tempted to just open fire on these things given that it won't impede this stupid "no kills" rule I'm still fixated on, but I imagine new ones will just keep pouring out of vents and such.
  • Nope. That got too irritating way too quick. One more chaff and it's off to the exit as quickly as possible. I doubt there's any new weapons down here or other cool shit to find. Probably. Whatever it is, it's not worth all this.
  • One more pass through the room of an inexplicable thousand turrets (I remember you well) and we're finally here at the REX hangar. The big guy isn't down here, naturally, so we're sent up to where we fought it all those games ago. I'm starting to think this whole Act would be a lot more dramatic and meaningful if I'd played these games with a nine year gap instead of just the one.
  • Vamp finally appears. And Naomi's pawing at him like a Twilight fangirl. No woman can resist those facial bullethole scars, or that creepy lizard tongue, or the fact that he's a bloodsucking fiend who fillets people. I can't tell if this is a step up from Otacon or not.
  • Great, a Vamp boss fight. The last one didn't go so well for me. This is actually the first time I've been sorely tempted to put the non-lethal gun away and bring out a missile launcher.
  • Naturally, every time I put him down he gets right back up. Is there a certain number of times I'm supposed to do this, or do I need to look for something more permanent? Somehow I doubt a wooden stake is going to cut it, so to speak.
  • The syringe! It knocks out nanos! But how the crap am I supposed to inject him when he's twirling around like that?
  • When I finally figure out how to CQC grab someone and use a syringe on them - you need a one-handed weapon, you need to not be touching the left stick, you need to have the syringe equipped - I disable his nanos and... the game switches to a story cutscene.
  • Raiden shows up out of nowhere to take out the kamikaze Geckos (which are now called Gekkos again. Am I imagining it or does the game go back and forth on this spelling?). Hey Raiden, buddy, if you want your shot at Vamp have at it. I've got a Metal Gear REX to ride out of here. This game just became Trenched! Iron Brigade!
  • OK, REX is not ready yet. Raiden keeps Vamp and his crotch dagger (not a euphemism) busy while Snake deals with the Gekkos. They're just going to have an old-fashioned licky-knife fight up there.
  • Now it goes into a two-player split-screen mode, greatly reducing the field of view I have to see all these exploding Gekkos in time and forcing me to catch snippets out of the corner of my eye of whatever homoerotically charged business is happening with Astro Boy and WWE's Gangrel. This is perhaps the worst? Let's go with that. There'll be time for a proper ranking of "what is worst" afterwards.
  • Oh. The rail gun eventually runs out of bullets in this sequence too. And they just keep coming, jumping in behind me while I'm trying to pick off those at a distance and squatting to poop out an enormous nuclear explosion that instantly destroys everything forever and ever. And I have no indication of how long I'm meant to keep doing this. Super.
  • It sounds like a goddamn abattoir in here there's so much mooing. Would probably smell like one too if I were to stand downwind of Vamp.
  • All right, all right. With the Solid Eye equipped I can see nearby Geckos and their weak points, and with occasional runs to pick up more miraculously respawning rail gun ammo, I just managed to squeak on through. Did I mention those Geckos can hit me from the opposite side of the room with their machine guns? And that their weak points are so nebulously defined by the HUD that they either take a single rail gun shot or about six?
  • Eventually, I have to resort to the RPG and am slowly removing the last few Geckos miliseconds before they explode themselves when we suddenly cut (again, so to speak) to Raiden giving Vamp a bloody bandolier (again, not a euphemism) with his katana. I thought they agreed on knives only? Or did I miss something? Well, I missed a lot, because they had that entire fight when I was too busy with the Geckos. I'm not going to complain too much about missing out on a lot of ballet dagger prancing.
  • Naomi shows up to put Vamp out of my misery. I mean, his misery. That's what I meant. She also tells Snake where to find Liquid - a floating island fortress called Outer Haven - and then opts to stay behind as the Geckos blow up the base because of sudden cancer of the... the plot. Otacon's girlfriend dies part three: called it.
  • Raiden and Snake dramatically cool guy slow-motion jump into REX's cockpit while Otacon bawls like an infant. Apt.
  • Man I would've laughed so hard if, while struggling with the controls for REX, he accidentally stepped forward and squished Naomi's and Vamp's bodies flat. "Whoops." Maybe I've been playing this game too long; it's making me all macabre.
  • Wow, this is kinda cool. I'm running along as REX just mowing down all these Geckos. There's hundreds of these guys. I have all of REX's weapons at my disposal (besides the railgun nuke launcher naturally, as Liquid's already taken off with it), though I'm finding the standard stomp effective enough.
  • Ohhh yeah, Liquid still has that RAY he escaped in back in MGS2. I guess we're here to settle that old nerd argument: REX vs. RAY.
  • Man, I suck at mech battles. This is why I never bought any Zone of the Enders. Looks like RAY eats missiles just fine, but then we suddenly cut to a cutscene where we're both completely wrecked. I can settle for that. Hey, in a sense I destroyed two Metal Gears in one go.
  • Even Liquid gets into the nostalgia spirit by pretending to be killed by FOXDIE, hamming up his own death scene just like the end of MGS1. I hope these guys have good agents; theater critics can be brutal.
  • What the... is that a Mt. Rushmore with all the Snakes on it? On top of some kind of iceberg submarine fortress? Is this a JRPG? Am I in a JRPG right now? If that's the case, shouldn't my main character be closer to 17 than 70?
  • Liquid keeps calling me Snake like that isn't his name too. It's like calling after your good/evil sibling by your shared surname, which might've actually happened in the Stallone Judge Dredd movie now I think about it.
  • Raiden, in his last heroic act, cuts his own arm off to escape the rubble of Shadow Moses and lets himself get crushed to death by Liquid's super-sub/HQ/penis-compensator in order to give an already-dying Snake a few extra seconds of life. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
  • Before we're completely undone, Captain Mei "Desk Job" Ling shows up in the USS Missouri to inaccurately fire at Liquid's five-mile long sub for a few embarrassing minutes until he runs off again. Presumably the next Act is the last one? I don't think Snake has much left in him to keep this up. Or I for that matter.

That's going to do it for today's update. Managed to squeeze another comparatively short Act into a single entry. Then again, it didn't feel particularly short what with that aggravating Vamp/Gecko fight and the large number of (admittedly mostly empty) rooms we were running through. Maybe there was just less to talk about this time. The game's finally being sensible with its heretofore glacial plotting and is now getting more and more concise as it heads closer towards its conclusion, and it's not like I'm going to dither and phone up Rose every five minutes to hear about whatever kind of lemon party she's gotten involved in that week. Nope, this entry was as compact as the Raiden cube sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and I'm all the happier for it.

Vamp's dead! For real this time! If that's not a positive note to end this entry on then I don't even know what to tell you. Until next time.

(Part Seven.)