Metal Gear Solid: A Look At Series Protagonist Solid Snake
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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One of, if not the, greatest video characters of all time, Solid Snake has defeated a whole host of enemies & robotic nuclear weapons. This article tries to provide a look into what he has done over the Metal Gear series as whole, charting the early skirmishes with Big Boss to his Old Snake moniker.
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Metal Gear Solid: Solid Snake Character Profile
Metal Gear is synonymous with video game fans the world over. It tracks over twenty in game years of struggle between various antagonists and the erstwhile hero from Metal Gear Solid - Solid Snake. After his countless battles throughout the six main games of the series, from the original MSX Metal Gear to the PS3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4, Hideo Kojima finally retired the Snake character. This article tries to provide an analysis of the character, detailing his exploits throughout the core series of games.
A clone of Big Boss, Solid was one of three siblings created in the 1972 Les Enfants Terribles project, alongside the genetically superior Liquid and the genetically balanced Solidus. Becoming a capable soldier, seemingly not because of his “recessive" soldier genes, he was drafted into Big Boss’ FOXHOUND unit sometime before 1995. There he would be taught many of the skills that transfer to later Metal Gear games, such as CQC and an instinctive radar (pre-cursor to the Soliton radar of Metal Gear Solid).
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FOXHOUND and Early Career
Sent by Big Boss to infiltrate Outer Heaven, recounted in the events of the MSX/NES Metal Gear, Solid Snake destroyed Metal Gear TX-55 with the aid of the rescued Gray Fox. This led to the revelation that Big Boss was working against Snake and led the Outer Heaven uprising himself. After defeating Big Boss, Solid Snake retired from service, until four years later when Gray Fox & Big Boss would once again threaten the world.
This time, Snake would infiltrate the militarized nation of Zanzibar Land, trying to destroy Metal Gear D and reclaim the OILIX formula. After defeating the mechanised behemoth, he would fight hand-to-hand battles against both Grey Fox and Big Boss, with the latter revealing his parental nature to Snake. This led to a second retirement for Snake, in the quiet wilderness of Alaska, where he would become an struggling alcoholic & dogsled racer before being called back into action for the events of Metal Gear Solid.
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Metal Gear Solid: Solid Snake Comes Out of Retirement
Solid Snake was taken in by US forces in order to infiltrate the Shadow Moses island nuclear facility. It was here that Liquid Snake had started a terrorist movement against the American government. This was aided by the use of a new Metal Gear prototype, known as REX, which was being held on the island. With the help an exo-skeleton encased Grey Fox, a female rookie soldier named Meryl, the naive scientist Otacon and a plethora of radio support (see Codec) characters; Snake would go on to meet his twin brother in a head-to-head duel atop the destroyed REX in which the genetically “inferior" brother would ultimately win.
Two years after the events of Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake would again rear his head to combat the now widely available Metal Gear schematics, on a tanker in the Hudson river. As he infiltrated the tanker, Russian mercenaries soon overran the US marines stationed there, with Revolver Ocelot revealing himself to be there leader. In a climactic cutscene, Ocelot would steal Metal Gear RAY from the hangar while Snake watched on helpless, supposedly drowning in the wake of Ocelot’s escape.
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In The Absence of Snake
It was also revealed to the player that Ocelot had grafted Liquid’s arm onto his own, which was severed by Grey Fox in Metal Gear Solid, causing a personality split between both Liquid and Ocelot. Due to this oil spill in the Hudson bay around New York a cleanup facility was built to clean the waters around the area. This was a ruse however, as the Big Shell facility housed a host of Metal Gear prototypes. as well as the GW (part of the Patriots AI system) program housed inside Arsenal Gear.
Although players would take control of Raiden for most of Metal Gear Solid 2, Solid Snake was still a key factor in the story, whether in his disguise as SEAL team member Iroquois Pliskin or as Snake himself later in the game. Taking a back seat in the narrative, due to the importance of Raiden’s character portraying the player himself within the gameworld, the game would be derided by critics & fans who wanted to see more of Snake in the game.
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Metal Gear Solid: Old Snake
They wouldn’t get there wish in the third MGS installment either, as Naked Snake (Big Boss) would be the main protagonist, showcasing his rise to fame during the 1960s. Only after the release of the PS3 would we be teased with the final chapter in the MGS and Solid Snake’s personal story when Metal Gear Solid 4 was announced. Suffering from Werner Syndrome, Snake would age dramatically by both appearance and physically, leading to his health problems during the game itself.
It it, the final Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake tries to stop Liquid Ocelot (the amalgam being complete by this time) from controlling the Patriots AI network. With the help of Olga’s child Sunny, the FOXALIVE virus spread through the AI network, destroying it before it would eventually destroy the world due to Liquid Ocelot’s control. This led to a hand-to-hand battle atop the Arsenal Gear inspired Outer Haven, where Solid would fight his brother one final time, defeating him in a similar manner to how he had done nine years prior.
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The End of Metal Gear Solid & Old Snake
Before his death, Revolver Ocelot appeared to gain control of his mind again, telling Snake he wanted him to destroy the Patriots and that Liquid’s control over him was through extensive hypnotherapy. After these events, Snake contemplated suicide, trying to stop the FOXDIE he carried from spreading. However, as the gun rest in his mouth, Big Boss would appear and recount the history of the Patriots to him.
Telling him the FOXDIE he had in his body was no longer mutated but instead focused on killing Big Mama and Big Boss, due to an injection of nano-machines by Drebin, the father eventually died. With a resolution between him and his father, as well as the end to the Patriots and Ocelot’s final message, Snake would go onto live out his life peacefully with both Otacon & Sunny. So ends the legacy of one of the most memorable and greatest video game characters of all time.