Metal Gear Solid 4; Father's Day edition
With just one day left until the most important PS3 Exclusive of the year arrives on our shelves and doorsteps, and only a few days until Father's Day, it seemed appropriate to bring the two events together.
As we mentioned in our 'Big Three' for June, MGS4 is a title that should be just as comfortable for 'newbies' to play as it is for seasoned MGS veterans, with a core plot-line that doesn't require prior knowledge of the series combined with many side-plots that point to the previous incarnations of the franchise.
However, we feel it is our duty to explain the origins of Solid Snake by way of his 'Dad'.
Big Boss was a central character in the original Metal Gear (which I remember playing all those years ago on the MSX platform). He was the leader of the special forces unit called FOXHOUND.
Sometimes known in the series as Naked Snake, Big Boss was thought of as 'The Greatest Warrior of the Twentieth Century.' Towards the end of Metal Gear, it is revealed that Big Boss is, in fact, the terrorist leader of an organisation named Outer Heaven.
Big Boss chose to deploy Solid Snake for the missions in the original Metal Gear as he considered him to be his most inexperienced soldier. However, because of the truth of Solid Snake's origins, Big Boss effectively ended up battling himself after revealing the truth of his allegiance.
You see, Solid Snake is in fact a clone of Big Boss. Along with his 'brothers', Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake (who together are referred to as 'Les Enfants Terribles'), they are designed to be the perfect warriors, born from the greatest of all.
Despite losing the battle in Metal Gear, Big Boss did not perish and returned in Metal Gear 2. In MG2, Big Boss has taken military control of Zanzibar Land along with his lieutenant, Gray Fox.
The truth about Solid Snake's father and the cloning experiments that led to his 'birth' were made apparent when Metal Gear Solid became available. In fact, the story was effectively changed - a practise not uncommon in films, comic books and TV shows - where previously stated facts are altered later in the series. Whilst Big Boss is dead by the time MGS was set, this 'new truth' shows he remained a key character in the franchise.
So key, in fact, that Big Boss returned in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater as the playable character and this is the title in which we refer to him as Naked Snake. MGS3 was a prequel to the events of Metal Gear and was set in 1964. During Operation Snake Eater he loses his eye in a battle against a young Revolver Ocelot, which results in the eye patch we see him wearing throughout the rest of the franchise - although as you'll read below, this is another area where the story has been altered throughout the years.
Big Boss returns as the playable character once more on the PSP in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, further underlining his importance to the series.
The loss of Big Boss' eye has been a good example of where the story of Metal Gear has been changed over the years. Originally, the eye patch was on his left eye and according to the MG2 manual, it stated that he also lost his left ear and limbs in the battle with Solid Snake. Following that original depiction, all future images of Big Boss showed he had lost his right eye. As you read above, MGS3 stated the loss of his eye to Revolver Ocelot.
The MGS3 reason has become the standard, but it all serves to point out that whilst the Metal Gear series has been one of the most enduring stories in gaming history, the plot and history haven't always been consistent.
So there you have it. A short history of the daddy of all daddies, and the reason why Solid Snake exists. Now that Solid Snake is an old man in the forthcoming MGS4, will he also spawn the next generation of warriors for the 21st century? I guess we'll just have to play and see...