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Replacing one of the most grizzled and appreciated veterans of the gaming industry with an androgynous newcomer seemed tantamount to series suicide. Metal Gear Solid 2 introduced players to Raiden, with his wispy blond hair and emotional attachments, while Solid Snake would take a fateful backseat to the action. This article looks at why, after Metal Gear Solid, Raiden would become synonymous with the series while being often ridiculed and sometimes even championed by many a critic.
Its not hard to imagine why, in Metal Gear Solid, Raiden was as hated as he was. Taking Solid Snake out of anything will invariably make it worse, such is the force and stature of his character, especially in lieu of the main series timeline. However Kojima tried something not many have dared to before or after, by putting an objective focus on the character, through the lens of you as a separate entity in the gameworld. This served to change our views of a character we only previously controlled, giving the player a better understanding of his motives, beliefs & actions apart from when we are in direct control of him.
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Metal Gear Solid - Raiden Becomes Snake
The beginnings of Raiden speak true of the Metal Gear series as a whole, with recurring elements and themes being expressed within multiple characters or events. For instance -- in a manner similar to Grey Fox and Naomi -- Raiden is adopted by Solidus Snake after he kills the child’s parents. This leads him to a series of conflicts as a child soldier, gaining the title of “Jack The Ripper” in the Liberian Civil War. Jack would move to America, after suppressing his memories, and join the military. Around this time he also met and fell in love with Rosemary.
Getting the call to join a revived “FOXHOUND”, which was ran by the Patriots and a ruse as per the S3 program, Raiden was tasked with infiltrating the Big Shell facility in the New York harbour. The events of Metal Gear Solid 2 would unfurl during this time. Raiden would meet a disguised Solid Snake, encounter and eventually defeat his father Solidus, kill Vamp on three separate occasions, survive a battle with Fortune and speak to the President before he died.
Later -- after regrouping with Solid Snake and making his way through Arsenal Gear -- Raiden was informed of the Patriots ruse and how he was a pawn in their game to kill Solidus. He would also learn of Rosemary’s betrayal as she too was working for the Patriots as a spy. After fighting off multiple Metal Gear RAY units, Raiden finally met Solidus atop Federal Hall in New York and fought him to the death.
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Finding Snake in the crowd below he would be told to reconcile his personal life before joining Snake again in the field (for Philanthropy). He also found Rosemary shortly after and decided to forgive her earlier transgressions. Raiden initially lived with Rose following the events of MGS2, however he soon became irritable and left her, where Rose would later become intimate with Roy Campbell.
The events of upcoming game Metal Gear Solid: Rising will explain Raiden’s exoskeletal appearance by the fourth and final Metal Gear Solid while also detailing how he saved Sunny from the Patriots grasp with the assistance of Big Mama. Furthermore, Raiden would go on to reclaim the remains of Big Boss, giving them to Big Mama and her militia known as Paradise Lost by the time of MGS4.