Metal Gear Solid: A Romantic View of Death - Page 1

I. Oh Sweet Death

It would seem that the necessity for death in games now a day is supposed to give players a catalyst in order to act more motivated when playing.

Saying that MGS needs death as a main theme, is somewhat of an understatement for a stealth and spy game; at first glance you think I am referring to only the deaths of some NPC and major characters, but I am trying to aim a little higher as to what exactly death means in the game:

The ultimate challenge that involves surpassing the physical limitation of death.

For starters, let's look at the original Nemesis of the series: Big Boss.

Here we have a man obsessed with making people subjugates of his version of control. He not only searched for the means to orchestrate events in the most hectic and dangerous time in World History, The Cold War, but in fact found it. The Metal Gear was a masterpiece of engineering, and he had it at his disposal.

Even though he was stopped and killed, apparently that was not enough as the world looked beyond just normal conquest and sought to place his name and legacy into the annals of history. This was done by producing an ultimate soldier crafted of his own Genetic traits. Thus, Les Enfants Terribles Program was born, so his name and his life, is forever carried on.

Although some of you say the LET experiment was something done outside of his approval, the man never made a notion to kill or otherwise injure Solid or Liquid (disregarding Solidus, who seemingly was a ghost to all of them) as infants after recognizing there existence.

Big Boss obsession with recognition made him craft the future of two major characters in the series, making his life and his ideal live eternally in their flesh and in his acts.

As a conqueror of history, he sought to defeat death and those who spread it.

Now let's look at one product of his efforts:

Liquid Snake- even as the dominant gene carrier of B.B. clones, this man sought to extinguish the flame of glory his "Father" placed for him. He would not tolerate just being a product of Big Boss, he would succeed where he failed, and it will be him that will control everything he desired. He improved his own abilities, his own mind, and in the end improved the creation of his own creator, the Metal Gear Rex, his masterpiece and legacy.

Yet, as his father, he was stopped perhaps not miserably, but fell just the same at the hands of the reluctant hero in Solid Snake.

But unlike his "father", Liquid Snake managed to in fact surpass him by maintaining his presence here, in our world, inside the body of Revolver Ocelot in order to carry his plans.

Liquid would not be denied his power, or his place, and cheated death in order to carry out his most hazardous plan, to infiltrate the Patriots, using their own spy.

As a son trying to surpass his father, he sought to defeat the limits of death.

Other characters have dealt with Death and managed to come back from it, willingly or not:

Gray Fox - The Greatest soldier FOXHOUND produced, was captured and eventually, admitted into Big Boss own personal plans at Zanzibar.

His place as an ally and a magnificent soldier was far too great to allow him to be fight for someone other than his comrades, and so the events of his life and his mentor corrupted him into understanding the place of "real soldiers". But in the end, he too found the end of his life at the hands of war, at the hands of the man that would foil everything Big Boss planned.

Yet it did not stop there since his existence still flourished; not as a human but a walking, melancholic and emotionally crushed wraith. He was brought back, for his life and his ability was too great to spoil away in death. Gray Fox had met his end in Zanzibar, he had finally found a place to rest at the hands of Snake, there was no need for him to feel regret or remorse, his own path had led him into death; it was his choice to make it so.

But unlike them, he's own rest was taken away from him, they turned into something that was not human, he did not chose that path, it was forced into him, he was violated, his life denied of peace, and his existence strip down into that of a unemotional shell.

No man deserves that.

FOXHOUND members did in fact chose to die, that was their gift, a choice, Grey Fox had it and incidentally, they all met the same fate, but their final wish was accepted, they embraced it, while Fox, the lost and vengeful wraith, did not know what to do in this world anymore when they strip his death away from him.

All of their lives were plagued with misfortune, and regret, his however is far more disturbing:

He had no respect in the world, no hand to guide him, no place to go to, no final stage to experience, since, he already did all of those things.

His end is far more tragic, because he is hurt, he is ourselves scarred deeply into our souls, he deserves our pity, and admiration, because even in death, he still fought for what he believed in, along side an ally, and more importantly, a friend who comforted him no matter what.

He is in essence, the experience of the other side of the coin to a tragic death, he is remorse personified, and what FOXHOUND members would fear if they were left without their belief in a final closure to their lives.

As a soldier, he was forced to conquer death, but defied his own life and happiness.

Death seems to be a main theme for this game, this franchise seems to tragically romanticize the nature of death, and perhaps, to an extent, the human nature to defy it in any way we can.

Other examples are: Olga death at the hands of Solidus, perhaps not willing, but in that same order, her sacrifice made Raiden fight to the bitter end, and defeated his Godfather with his own hands.

She is the example of death being a catalyst, for you the gamer and protagonist, to seek retribution for what has happened, the prime motivator for doing something is death or its close encounter, and the final solution is a bitter sweet end for the most part.

Even accepting that her own life was unable to stop Solidus, she knew exactly what to say in order to turn a nerdy and irregular looking kid's despair into hope. A hope that might be able to save her son in the future.

FOXHOUND members: Raven, Wolf, Mantis, did not seem only to find their place in life, and were for some reasons grateful to die at the hands of a comrade.

Death has more than just a meaning in this game, is an essence into depicting how each chapter is written as the characters progress, perhaps, into their own self-righteous failure, but still, they accept it as more than just a consequence, but a future (BB), a way out of things (Liquid, Solidus), or an excuse to continue living (FOXHOUND, Gray Fox).

Somewhere along the lines, Death has been crafted into the ultimate representation of Challenge, as the one single constant that can not be defeated, only defied, but never questioned.

Death it would seem, is the only true heritage this fictional people have, and as they accept it, they deal with the conflicts of their life (Solid Snake), or their families life (Raiden and Rose), or the world they portray themselves in (Otacon).

-- Article and discussion written and lead by Marcel Rosales Santos

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