Warning: There Be Spoilers Ahead!
June 8th, 2010. That is the day when the next chapter of the Metal Gear Solid saga is released on the PSP. While it is easy to shrug it off as merely a handheld game, everything about Peace Walker screams quality. Taking place after Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and before the original Metal Gear, Peace Walker is sure to have plenty of nods to the rest of the series for fans to appreciate. The game is also the first handheld Metal Gear to be directed by the series creator, Hideo Kojima, and promises to be an integral part of the series' mythos.
But what about gamers who are interested in Peace Walker but have never played any of the previous games? Gamers who have no idea what a Metal Gear is. Or that Naked Snake and Big Boss are the same person. Or that the name Outer Heaven is significant to the games after Peace Walker. It can be daunting to jump into such a heavily serialized series and not know any of the background. For that reason, we are here to provide a way for those gamers to catch-up with the story leading into Peace Walker.
The Virtuous Mission
Chronologically, the series begins in 1964 with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. A CIA agent with the codename Naked Snake, known as such because he goes into missions with minimal gear, is sent to the jungles of the USSR. Called Virtuous Mission, his goal is to rescue Soviet scientist Nickolai Sokolov who is defecting to the United States. On his way toward the scientist, Snake is aided over the radio by Major Zero, the commanding officer of Snake's FOX unit, Para-Medic, who provides tips on first aid and the local plant and wildlife, and The Boss, Snake's former mentor. Snake also learns that Sokolov has been secretly developing an advanced nuclear missile-equipped tank called the Shagohod, which is also the predecessor of the Metal Gear. Metal Gears are notable for being highly mobile vehicles capable of launching a nuclear missile from anywhere in the world. Working his way through enemy forces, Snake is able to successfully infiltrate and rescue Sokolov. That is until he comes face to face with The Boss, who reveals herself to be a traitor and gives Colonel Volgin, a brutal and sadistic man able to carry a charge of ten million volts in his body, two Davy Crockett miniature nuclear shells. Sokolov is recaptured by the Cobra Unit, The Boss's specialized unit, while The Boss brutally beats Snake and leaves him to die though he's still able to escape. Before leaving, Volgin detonates one of the shells to hide its theft.
Due to the U.S. plane that dropped Snake into the USSR being detected, the Soviet Union declares them responsible for the nuclear attack, but a secret conference is held between the President and the Premier. The conference gives way to a deal between the two countries that could prove the United States' innocence and stop nuclear war from breaking out. Volgin's faction has gone renegade and plans to overthrow the Premier with the Shagohod. The U.S. agrees to destroy the Shagohod and take out both Volgin and The Boss. Operation Snake Eater commences a week later with a recovered Snake being chosen to carry out the mission.
Back in the jungles of the USSR, Snake is again aided over the radio by Major Zero, Para-Medic, and weapons expert, Sigint. He soon meets ex-NSA agent EVA, who defected years earlier to become part of the KGB. ADAM, who was supposed to be his contact, is nowhere to be found, but Snake still decides to work with EVA. He makes his way further into the jungle toward Volgin's military fortress, Groznyj Grad, encountering and fighting against the Ocelot Unit and their leader, Ocelot, along the way. During these encounters, Snake gives advice to the young leader even suggesting that his style of gunplay was better suited with a revolver.
Snake also faces off against the Cobra Unit on his way to Volgin. The Pain is his first enemy and has the ability to control hornets through the queen bee in his backpack. Next is The Fear who possesses superhuman speed and agility in conjunction with his ultra-limber body. He uses a crossbow loaded with poisonous bolts and various booby traps to constantly keep his enemies off guard. Despite this, Snake is able to kill him. The End is Snake's next opponent, an expert sniper who is close to death. This incredibly tough opponent is defeated either by old age and Snake's inability to find him or by Snake himself in an intense sniper battle. The Fury provides the next challenge as a former cosmonaut and an unmitigated pyromaniac. He flies above Snake with a jetpack and constantly sends out an inferno from his flamethrower. Finally, there is The Sorrow, a spirit medium, who forces Snake to face the souls of all the men he has killed.
Once the Cobra Unit is defeated, Snake finally finds both Sokolov and the Shagohod but is captured by Volgin. Sokolov is killed and Snake is tortured by Volgin. During the torture, Ocelot threatens EVA and Snake attempts to protect her but loses his right eye from the bullet. Despite this, Snake is able to escape and recover from his injuries. As he rests, he learns of a group known as the Philosophers, consisting of the most powerful men from the United States, Soviet Union, and China. These men controlled the course of the world from behind the scenes but disbanded in the years following the second World War as infighting took over. This was the real reason the world was plunged into the Cold War. A $100 billion fund amassed by the group, known as the Philosopher's Legacy, is all that remains and is hidden in banks the world over. Volgin has gained access to the money and America is secretly trying to retrieve it in conjunction with his termination.
With this knowledge in hand, Snake confronts Volgin again. This time he is successful in destroying Groznyj Grad and the Shagohod as well as killing Volgin. Before Snake escapes with EVA, he is confronted by The Boss and listens as she tells how war had always been a part of her life. She had even given birth to a child, fathered by The Sorrow, on the battlefield. That child is actually Ocelot, which explains how he rose through the ranks so quickly, being the son of two legendary soldiers. Snake is forced to fight his emotions and The Boss before overcoming and killing her with her own unique gun.
The Boss's Legacy
After escaping to Alaska, Snake and EVA spend the night together, but she disappears in the middle of the night leaving behind only an audio tape. EVA tells how she was actually a Chinese spy with orders to secure the Philosopher's Legacy. During EVA's time infiltrating Volgin's regime, she had talked with The Boss, who knew that EVA was a spy as well. The Boss wasn't truly a traitor. She had been ordered to make it look like she had defected so she could get close to Volgin and find the Philosopher's Legacy for the United States. Her final order was to lose all honor and die at the hands of her student to prove America's innocence in the nuclear attack.
As Snake returns to Washington DC, he is given the new title of Big Boss as well as a medal for his achievements. Snake barely acknowledges the awards, still preferring to be called Snake, and visits The Boss's unmarked grave in Arlington Cemetery soon after. He lays down her gun and a bouquet of flowers before giving a final salute. Meanwhile, Ocelot talks to the director of the CIA and informs him that EVA had actually stolen a fake copy of the location of the Philosopher's Legacy. Half of the money from those secret funds is now in the hands of the United States. In truth, Ocelot was actually the ADAM Snake was supposed to rendezvous with, a secret agent for the CIA.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops picks up six years later in 1970 with Snake's former team, the FOX unit, going rogue. For an unknown reason, Snake is targeted by the FOX unit and is captured. He is soon questioned and tortured by Lieutenant Cunningham, a master of interrogation techniques, who has been ordered to find the location of the other half of the Philosopher's Legacy. Snake is able to resist and is thrown in a prison cell next to Roy Cambell, a member of the Green Berets whose unit was wiped out while investigating the FOX unit. Roy explains that they are being held on the San Jeronimo Peninsula in Colombia, otherwise known as La Peninsula de los Muerto (The Peninsula of the Dead). The Peninsula is actually home to an abandoned Soviet missile silo and is the base of the FOX unit.
Eventually the two are able to escape and split up with Snake making his way to a communications base. He attempts to contact his former commanding officer, Major Zero, but instead makes contact with Para-Medic and Sigint. They inform him that both he and Zero are being charged with treason and the only way to prove their innocence is capturing the leader of FOX unit, a man known as Gene. Snake has to defeat more than the FOX unit though. Gene has gathered soldiers to his side simply by taking over command of a former Red Army unit that was secretly implanted in Colombian territory. The only way Snake can get close enough to Gene is by persuading enemy soldiers to join his ranks.
FOXHOUND and the Patriots
Through Snake's skill, he is able to recruit soldiers and confront members of the FOX unit. First he meets Python, a war buddy of Snake's who he had thought died in Vietnam. Instead, he had lost the ability to control his body temperature, and it continually rises unchecked. In order to survive he has to wear a freeze suit which also acts as his weapon. Snake is able to defeat him and next meets Null, a young man who has been raised to be the perfect soldier and fights with a machete. Though he is unable to defeat him, Snake makes the fight come to a draw and realizes he knows the boy's identity. Years ago, in Mozambique, he had met a boy named Frank Jaeger who he rescued and gave over to the CIA. It was the CIA who had attempted to make him the perfect soldier and, once again, Snake rescues him.
As Snake gets closer to Gene, he learns that Cunningham has been working for the Pentagon all along. The Pentagon had Cunningham kidnap Snake so he could throw a wrench in Gene's plans. This would push Gene into launching a nuclear missile at Russia to ruin the CIA's reputation as well as extend the Cold War. However, because Ocelot had been working behind the scenes with Gene the whole time, Gene knew about this plan all along. Gene's true goal is to use the Metal Gear, codenamed RAXA and forcefully designed by a surprisingly still-alive Sokolov, to launch a missile at America to destroy their Philosophers and create his dream of a nation of soldiers that he calls Army's Heaven. Snake is able to diffuse these plans by destroying RAXA and defeating Gene. Though he had been bred to be the ultimate soldier, Gene had still been defeated by a normal man like Snake. Recognizing him as the true successor to The Boss, Gene gives Snake a microfilm filled with the equipment, personnel, and money that he had secretly accumulated to create Army's Heaven. Before dying, Gene states that he believes that Snake will have use for it someday.
When Snake returns to the United States, he is again rewarded for his actions but this time decides to establish a military group known as FOXHOUND. It is FOXHOUNDs job to carry out black ops missions in politically sensitive areas around the world. Frank Jaeger is also recovering from the ordeal both mentally and physically. Meanwhile, Ocelot kills the director of the CIA and takes documents containing the identities of the Philosophers in order to finally kill them. He then speaks with an unknown man over the phone and plots to use the other half of the Philosopher's Legacy to fulfill their own agenda involving genes, genomes, and the perfect soldier. His only condition is that Big Boss joins them so they can be rid of the Philosophers and create the Patriots.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will pick up four years later in 1974 with an unknown military force known as the Peace Sentinels establishing their presence in Costa Rica. Because Costa Rica is unable to create their own armed forces, Naked Snake/Big Boss is secretly called into duty in order to stop the Peace Sentinels and ensure the balance of power between the East and the West.
The game is sure to bring to light more events which caused Big Boss to create Outer Heaven, a place where the military can avoid the mechanizations of politics, and shift him from an American hero to a villain that had to be stopped in the original Metal Gear. With this, we hope that those with no experience with the Metal Gear Solid series can play Peace Walker and enjoy everything it will offer both in terms of gameplay and story.
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