A Metal Gear Solid 4 Primer

Screenshot from Konami's Metal Gear Solid 4 for the P3

Solid Snake. Liquid Snake. Big Boss. Grey Fox. FOXHOUND. Revolver Ocelot. Raiden. Metal Gear. To the uninitiated, this sounds like a foreign language, but to the legion of fans running to their favorite games store this week, these small words represent the good times that have passed, and the exciting final chapter promised for their very near future.

Metal Gear Solid 4 launches June 12th, and Newsarama wants you to be ready. Maybe you played the first three (actually five, counting all things Metal Gear) chapters, but it’s been awhile. Maybe you’ve never touched a Metal Gear game, but you’ve heard the hype, seen the screens and trailers, maybe even already read a review or two (10/10 is a common phrase associated with MGS4 so far), and now you’re ready to jump in. Well, fear not, we’re here to help with some key characters, phrases, and events from the games leading into this epic spy shooter. Your Metal Gear Primer starts here.

It should be noted, as teased before, while this is the fourth installment of the Metal Gear Solid series, it is in fact the sixth installment of the overall Metal Gear series. Most fans started with Metal Gear Solid, and most information contained here can be found in the three Solid games. Also, obviously SPOILERS abound for the earlier games, though no major plot points or spoilers will be present for number 4.

Solid Snake

This is the main protagonist of the entire series, and the main protagonist of the latest one. Solid is a clone of Big Boss, the former leader of FOXHOUND, a covert military ops unit. Now, after missions to stop Metal Gear in the past as a member of FOXHOUND and Philanthropy, he’s back, this time as codename: Old Snake. The cloning process caused him to age prematurely- while the game takes place only a few years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake appears about 2-3 decades older.

Big Boss

Big Boss used to be codename: Naked Snake, and players commanded his early missions in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, Big Boss was the man behind the enemy forces. Solid Snake eventually brought him down, though his legacy lived on in his other “son.”

Liquid Snake

Liquid is the other somewhat successful clone of Big Boss. Solid’s genetic twin, Liquid controlled FOXHOUND, now as a rogue unit, against Solid and his team in Metal Gear Solid 2. Liquid knew he and Solid were clones of Big Boss, and was the one to reveal this info to our hero. Liquid, among others in his unit, is killed by FOXDIE, a virus designed to, well, make FOXHOUND members DIE. He appears, in a way, later in the series, however.

Revolver Ocelot

The gunslinger Ocelot, chronologically, started as a foil to Naked Snake in MGS3, working for Spetsnaz (amongst other organizations). He went on to be the only survivor of FOXHOUND in Metal Gear Solid, though he lost an arm in battle with the Cyborg Ninja. In MGS2, he returned, with a new arm. This arm was “borrowed” from Liquid Snake (told you he’d be back!), whose personality was so strongly engrained in his very cells that he frequently took over Ocelot’s body. By the end of that chapter, Revolver Ocelot was in permanent control of Liquid Snake. He shows up in MGS4, now going by the name Liquid Ocelot, their merger complete.

Gray Fox

Frank Jaeger was a top agent of FOXHOUND when they were an altruistic organization, during the events of MGS3 and Metal Gear. However, he somewhat turned against Solid Snake in MG2, both helping and hindering his mission to take down Big Boss and Zanzibar Land. In MGS, Fox was back, again as an on again/off again ally, but this time encased in a Cyborg Ninja suit, enhancing his already high battle skills. Liquid Snake used Metal Gear REX to kill Fox, but the Cyborg Ninja suit lived on. Olga used it in MGS2, and Raiden will wear a similar suit in MGS4.


Probably the most controversial character in the Metal Gear universe, Raiden (pronounced rye-den) is a hero, and a protégé of sorts to Solid Snake. He shows up for the first time in MGS2, as the unexpected protagonist for about 2/3 of the game. This surprised the fans, ambushing them with having to control someone other than Snake. Raiden’s story in MGS2 was also substantially confusing, with his fate being guided by no less than 3 different groups. Finally, he chooses his own destiny at the advice of Solid Snake and wins the day, being reunited with his girlfriend. Again, expect to see Raiden, possibly as a playable character, and wearing the Cyborg Ninja suit in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Meryl, Otacon, Roy Campbell

These are Solid Snake’s main compatriots. Communicating with him primarily by a radio communicator called CODEC using specific frequencies for each character, they help guide Solid Snake through his missions. All three will be back in MGS4, though Meryl now takes a more active role as a field agent leading the newest version of FOXHOUND.

Metal Gear

The easy version: These are nuclear-powered Mecha, or giant robots, and the ultimate weapons of mass destruction. Initially developed independently, the US Military does begin developing Metal Gear of its own. Traditionally only boss battles, the trailers for Metal Gear Solid 4 show several new Metal Gear variants that you apparently fight throughout the game. A miniature Metal Gear, known as Mk. II, accompanies and assists Old Snake in his fight this time around, as well.

Metal Gear Solid 4 will have plenty of sneaking, plot twists, insane bosses, and yes, giant robotic battle suits. The game reportedly also has very VERY long cut scenes. These cinematic breaks from the playable parts of the game flesh out the plot, and there are allegedly some sequences approaching the 90 minute mark. They are pause-able, allowing you to go make some popcorn and grab a fresh Monster before enjoying the expansion of the story. The story likely won’t be the final Metal Gear game, but it will be the final game featuring Solid Snake, and the final MGS run by series creator Hideo Kojima. You can enjoy Metal Gear Solid 4 on June 12th, 2008, only on the Playstation 3.

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