Venom Snake, or “How the Star Wars Prequels Ruined the Phantom Pain”

By October 12, 2015Philosophy, Ramblings

Venom Snake and all the other Spoilers will follow

I am going to spoil the shit out of MGSV: TPP. You have been warned.

I am also going to review this game.

I will start out by saying I am a big fan of the Metal Gear games. I have played the main story console games since Metal Gear Solid came out in 1998. Back then we had the original Sony PlayStation, complete with memory cards and everything.

I first got the game in a demo from a pizza my friend had ordered from Pizza Hut. Of course, I played the hell out of that damn thing relentlessly.

Then, the game officially came out and I went to my local Blockbuster Video and rented it. I even got so far as the Vulcan Raven fight (in the tank) before I had to take it back.

So of course, I saved my progress on my memory card and waited until Christmas wherein I got the game and promptly resumed my playing.

In that interim time I begged my father for the game for Christmas.

Current Situation

After my foray with the PlayStation, I didn’t own another video game system until a few years ago, wherein my friend Bob gave me a game cube.

There are a lot of reasons for this.

Mainly, if I owned a video game system, especially with what they can do now, I would likely not get a single productive thing done in my life.

Thankfully, I had several friends over the years who all owned various systems, like the PS2, the PS3, and currently the Xbox 1, the latter being how I managed to play the current Metal Gear installment.

Prelude to the Game

So apparently Hideo Kojima (brainchild of the Metal Gear franchise) was fired from Konami, and according to many sources it was because he wanted to make the game super awesome, and it cost a shit load of money, and Konami was not cool with that cost.

Added to it, many speculate the interest in Pachinko and health spas are now the driving force behind Konami’s business practices, and you get an unneeded Hideo Kojima.

So you will undoubtedly see many people talking about how his removal from the company yielded an incomplete game.

The Game

Venom Snake Covered in Blood

TPP starts off with some not so subtle references to David Bowie. And that isn’t a bad thing. But that can be a clueIt was in the hospital that I realized I had just figured out one of the major plot points of the game. And it was confirmed later in the game during a flash back where you play through the same mission.

In Mission 46 of chapter 2, you play through the mission wherein it tells you that Venom Snake is a double for Big Boss. Plain as day.

Now, if your Bowie knowledge is up to date, one of the going interpretations for the song The Man who Sold the World is one of secret identities and closetedness, since David Bowie was a closeted bisexual at one point in his career and apparently searching for his identity.

Not a difficult way to read the lyrics to the song.

With that knowledge, and the fact that the events in the mission make it clear (clearer in 46 when you flash back to it and Ocelot is seen talking to Big Boss, and you get the tape from Big Boss), it’s easy to deduce that you are playing a phantom of big boss.

Not to mention Big Boss doesn’t have a fake arm in Guns of the Patriots.

But this isn’t a failing of the game. If you follow politics, there have always been unconfirmed reports of politicians having body doubles. Saddam Hussein allegedly had several, Harry Truman, Lee Harvey Oswald, Hitler, and many more.

And each person has different levels of confirmation on that. Plus, there was that scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones where Padme’s body double gets blown up.

Obviously, an attempt on her life, but her double takes the fall.

So, knowing all this, and possibly because I am a fan of Philip K. Dick (whose universe wholly exists to be something more than what it seems) it was easy to figure out the plot point regarding Venom Snake.

(Big Boss also never had shit sticking out of his head in Guns of the Patriots).

And it also makes sense. If you had that many enemies, would it be prudent of you to go recruiting people for your mother base? Realistically, with as much shit as Venom Snake did, he should have died. I am amazed there wasn’t an armed revolt of Mother Base since basically all the soldiers are men lifted from the throes of war in various parts of Afghanistan and Africa.

Quiet

I liked Quiet. I liked that Venom Snake was willing to let enemies prove themselves. Quiet did so when she saved his life on many occasions and in my playing of the game, she was my best and most favorite buddy to take with me on missions. (D-Dog was my second favorite and I never took down the walker gear with me).

I also enjoyed the fact Snake gave her a chance when even his soldiers were distrustful and outright hateful to her.

I thought it was fitting commentary about how people treat women in general. Despite the good inroads, there is still a long way to go.

I also like that when you develop the tranq sniper rifle for her, she can effectively put to sleep an entire outpost so you can recruit them back to Mother Base.

We can also talk about her lack of clothes, which were explained in the game. I mean what were you expecting? There’s shitty reasons that would only make sense in a fake video game universe all through out the entirety of the Metal Gear Solid series. Remember when Otacon recognized Meryl because of her ass?  Hideo Kojima also wanted to appeal to cosplayers via this character, and said so. He also got people talking about the game even more.

Meryl's Butt from Metal Gear Solid

Story Line

While the story is pretty simple: Exact revenge on the people who destroyed your first Mother Base, and rebuild Mother Base, the themes it touches upon are weightier than before.

And handled eloquently, I might add.

The subjects of PTSD, child soldiers, rape, and torture are all in this game, which as far as I remember, is a first. (Obviously torture is a big part of the series and there were scenes of torture involving you controlling the protagonist, but in this game it happens to other parties, and sometimes you or your people, namely Ocelot and Miller, are directly responsible for it.  And there were child soldiers too, but never as up front as they are here.)

And moreover, all of these things are things that can potentially happen in real world situations, so to include them in the game is perhaps a ballsier move than it initially seems at first.

Child Soldiers

There was one particular mission (Episode 18) wherein you are told to eliminate six rebel soldiers.

Upon arriving at your destination, you realize your targets are all children. It get’s pretty scary when you see Venom Snake raise his gun and aim at the children. Thankfully, he shoots his gun to provide audio of the mission being complete, and he rescues the children.

Not to keep it black and white, he keeps the children at Mother Base and likely raises them to become adult soldiers.

A quiet Exit

The Sniper Quiet Covered in Blood

This one is pretty intense and deals with the aforementioned rape. At this point of the game you know Quiet has a strain of the Vocal Cord Parasite which is why she doesn’t speak English. She leaves Mother Base and gets caught by the Soviet Soldiers in Afghanistan.

At one point during the cutscene she is fully clothed (which deprives her of her ability to breathe if you are familiar, hence the skimpy garb).

One of the soldiers forcibly tries to drown her (which winds up feeding her nutrients) and tries to rape her, though her being revitalized in the water allows her to break free and repeatedly stab the soldier in the dick many times before ending him.

This was pretty graphic and intense compared to what I have seen in my (limited) video game exposure and it was handled well in game and out.

And it served as the beginning to a great mission that winds up ending with Quiet speaking and subsequently dying in an effort to save Venom Snake’s life.

What it lacks

We know the Metal Gear games end when Ocelot gives his post credit narrative. And after mission 46, you get that. But, you get the ability to just dick around and do more stuff for your base.

Which is cool, I guess, but it does not seem as concrete an ending as it should.

But maybe it is just because we know all Snake does is build his base and lead to the events in the original Metal Gear on Nintendo? To that end, does anything really end?

Plus, even less philosophically, there is the matter of Eli (Young Liquid Snake) stealing Sahelantrhropus and nothing ever being mentioned of it again. I mean you don’t even go out and look for him. And it leaves that huge hole in the game after you finish.

And that’s really the only shortcoming with the game that I found as far as the story goes. I mean you can only go so far in the building of Mother Base and the events in the original Metal Gear, which take place eleven years apart.

The End

So all in all, it was a great game. I haven’t witnessed Kojima make a shitty game yet.

What it lacked in story it made up for in the great gameplay. I haven’t played any open world games or games with some of the battle mechanics like this since Gears of War so that was a pretty big departure for me, but in the context of building a world, it all made sense.

If you’re a fan of good story telling or the MGS series, you definitely should check this one out.

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Peter Baker

About Peter Baker

In addition to being a fan of music and heavy metal, I am an avid player of table top RPGs, and I am a personal trainer in Tampa, FL as well as a graduate of the prestigious University of South Florida.

Formerly, I was a prefect for House Slytherin.

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