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

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I perhaps didn't choose the best place to end last time, as it turned out I was a handful of areas away from the end of the game's first Act. I haven't quite got a sense of how the game is paced just yet: I'm aware that there are five "Acts", but have no clue how long each one is individually, nor is that something I'm eager to dig deeper into in case of spoilers. So while I intend to find "appropriate" points upon which to end of each these observation LP chapters, they're going to end up fluctuating in size a lot. Then again, I'll be posting a new one every other day or so, so it's hardly as if there's going to be a dearth of sarcastic MGS quips emanating from this corner of the internet.

Be sure to read the first part of this series if you're just joining us, and keep in mind that I may be pushing ahead of the MGScanlon videos from this point forward. I'll preface every new part of this series with a vague indicator of where I'm at in the story, just in case you're experiencing the game for the first time through the filter of Drew and Dan nincompoopery ("poopery" being the operative word this time around thanks to Akiba). Today's end point is the end of Act One.

  • Heading through a busted-up building. Between the confusing level geometry and the sounds of death and destruction happening around me, this is probably a fairly close approximation of how terrifying it would be to get around in a warzone like this. Well, aside from the goofy little weapon drop blips that follow every dying scream.
  • I've found a couple of them so far, but these iPod track collectibles are kinda weird. Mostly because that they look like briefcases instead of other iPods, but also because they're branded Apple products and not some in-game generic term like "Earsnakes" (y'know, like earworms, as in catchy music? Sure, fine, I'm not a MGS joke writer. Not yet).
  • Big Boss Porta Pros! Shout-outs to Jeff Green and his preferred headphone brand.
  • Talking of branded goods, the "sexy magazine" is now an actual Playboy. With actual photos of girls in it. The game even lets you flip through the thing, like Snake doesn't have enough to focus on. Well, it's not like this isn't the first Metal Gear Solid game that lets him "enjoy himself".
  • We're out of the building and there's... a fart barrel. Well, no, it's our old incontinent pal Johnny Sasaki suffering from the green apple splatters inside an oil barrel before getting made and having to run off with his pants between his legs. Solid Snake (I'd make a poop joke, but with Johnny it's usually Liquid) makes the interesting decision to pick up and carry around a 9kg oil barrel that someone's shat all over. This game.
  • I've not really been helping the rebels around here, despite dressing like one, but it behooved me to remove that sniper before he took my head off. The guy next to me was all "hey, thanks man". Believe me, the act itself was its own reward (plus the free sniper rifle I used the Mk.2 to fetch).
  • The checkpointing in this game is... well, just as awful as it's always been. I lost twenty minutes of progress there, from finding the barrel to sneaking through a dozen alleyways and past snipers and other soldiers. I got shot because I tried to hide in an enemy area with constantly respawning units. This is a whole bunch of bullshit, frankly.
  • OK, I found a better route this time and was able to make it over the last hurdle by crawling along my stomach where there was an incline. Absurdly dangerous, but I guess there was no better way. The game could use some better checkpointing if it's going to make its individual areas this large.
  • Wow, who rigged this whole place with sleep mines and claymores? Probably the Rat Patrol, since I'm supposed to be meeting them here. Perhaps my reputation precedes me.
  • I bumped into those clowns on the top floor. They got the drop on Old Snake, so it's surprising to hear him criticize the whole bunch as rookies. Maybe you just get to call everyone "rookie" when you hit 70 (or appear to).
  • Yay, it's Meryl. She has a real character model now, and is no longer just bunch of cubes stacked on top of each other in a vaguely sexy manner. "Akiba" is what we're calling Johnny these days and then there's these other guys with distinct personalities and nicknames who are probably going to be worth remembering and certainly won't die in an upcoming cutscene. They've even worked out their own group pose. Adorable.
  • I love how they followed a "Akiba has diarrhea" gag scene with the line "Liquid's been in the area for four days". Timing is everything.
  • Okay, the mohawk exclamation joke got me when Meryl was introducing the team. More like it scared the bejeezus out of me.
  • The nanomachines, which is a word I'm almost certainly going to repeat a thousand more times in this playthrough, apparently monitor every aspect of a PMC soldier's status, from their heart rate to their reserve bullet count (presumably this is monitored separately via the gun's ID tag, though maybe soldiers in this world swallow bullets they aren't using). Creepy stuff, and factors heavily into the Patriots AI business from the end of MGS2. Why follow one weenie around recording his every move when you can do the same for entire armies?
  • Meryl explains that constant monitoring and ID tagged weapons prohibit renegade soldiers from committing atrocities and acts of terrorism, because their guns would suddenly stop working and everyone within a fifty mile radius would suddenly get a heads up to shoot the assholes who aren't playing by the rules. A little too altruistic a system, especially as we already know how to get around the ID tags. I suspect a lot of Liquid's personal units aren't beholden to these same rules.
  • Meryl still hears "la li lu le lo" whenever Snake says "The Patriots", which must make New England football matches hilarious in the future. The very next piece of dialogue is, "They call this nanomachine system 'the SOP'", "Sons of the Patriots...". No, that'd be SOLLLLL, idiot.
  • We're getting attacked by some badass (and creepy) FROG soldiers. I guess this would be the French PMC the briefing was talking about. I'm glad I removed all the traps heading up, because trying to avoid all these guys (and their screaming?) would be hard enough without it.
  • I think the implication here is that Johnny just went in his suit. They're really ramping up the poop jokes in this game.
  • The FROGs appear to be all women (hence the screaming) (which, uh, probably isn't a cool thing to say? I just mean that they shriek more than they grunt when they die. Nope, still sound like a psycho) and they all disappear into ash once shot. Some spooky shit is going on here. They actually remind me a lot of Mantis, in fact. He didn't have a hundred heretofore unknown sisters perchance?
  • Meryl's team splits and Snake decides to call her out on a Codec call to Otacon, saying she's worse than Raiden with all this l33t nanomachine bullshit. "In my day, rookies got overconfident because of too many Virtual Reality military video games dagnabbit. Now you got these kids running around with tiny robots in 'em and grah grah grah get off my Lawnmower Man."
  • I've acquired a lot more Drebin bucks, running around collecting all those FROG weapons, but it looks like all the prices have gone up by 50%. Hold tight, lil' Mogin Nasant. I'll rescue you from the cool guy and his monkey soon enough.
  • Now we have weird wolf and raven cyborgs? And an octopus. And a floating psychic person. Why does all this feel so... familiar? They all knew I was here too, which doesn't bode well. I guess we've just seen this game's boss group?
  • I eventually make it to Liquid's camp, where I spot the dude himself. He's looking more like The Sorrow these days with his smart little glasses and trenchcoat. What happened to you, Shalashaska? You used to be cool. (Nah, you were never cool.)
  • Rat Patrol's here too, and despite saying they're not getting involved with Snake's assassination mission they're certainly sneaking furtively around the camp for some reason.
  • Whoa, Liquid just activated some brown note thing that's causing everyone with nanomachines to freak out. Johnny and Liquid appear to be the only ones not suffering any ill effects. I guess that's what happens when you let a shady organization put tiny robots in you.
  • Now they're going insane and whacking each other. Jeez. Oh, and a mystery woman showed up next to Liquid. Might be Dr. Naomi, since they bothered to mention her in the intro? Hard to tell without all the green scanline PS1 graphics. Liquid managed to spot me, because I'm being less than subtle with this mind spike going on, so I get to hear a snippet of his flamboyant rants about whatever utter nonsense plan he's cooked up this time as I pass out. Ah, memories.
  • Hey, it is Naomi. And she just injected herself with something before telling Snake to split and walking off. Then they both took off in a chopper with a dozen of those creepy Gecko things chasing after them. Thanks for stopping by, Snake. Thanks for breaking my cow lamp.
  • Akiba came through for us and carried us out of there like he presumably did with his team. That little poopypants is going to get a proper redemptive arc, I can tell. No Incorrigible Buffoon Storyline (I.B.S.) for him, no sir.

Well, that's the end of Act 1. It sets up a lot of questions, though probably more than it ever intends to answer, and given us a glance at some of the game's major players, including the new boss troupe. They struck me as kinda feminine, like the FROG soldiers. Is this just Kojima being Kojima? Will I have to knock their clothes off before I can defeat them? I also saw more jokes about feces than I anticipated, suggesting that the humor of the series is clearly not aiming for subtlety for the time being.

Regardless, I think this is a natural end point for today's update, even if it's a little shorter than yesterday's. With the bonus bucks I earned at the end of this Act I might finally have enough to purchase that dang ol' Mogin Nasant. Everything's coming up Old Snake. Well, except for that whole "nanomachines just set my brain on fire" thing.

(Parts Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven.)

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