Top 10 Best Metal Gear characters
We are huge nerds.
We love Metal Gear here at Play, and the new and totally freaking awesome Metal Gear Rising has reminded us of that fact. Between Revengeance, the upcoming Ground Zeroes and whatever the hell The Phantom Pain is, the future is looking bright for Hideo Kojima’s mental franchise. Here are ten of the best characters from a series renowned for its cinematic storytelling.
Roy Campbell has been a consistent presence in the life of Snake and friends since the days of Metal Gear 2, and even knew Big Boss back in the day as we saw in Portable Ops. He’s proven himself an excellent commanding officer, backing up Snake on the Codec across multiple missions and bringing him back from retirement more than once. The Patriots even used a fake A.I. version of Campbell to guide Raiden during his mission in MGS2. Yeah, Metal Gear is pretty ridiculous. He’s also Meryl’s dad, although neither of them knew that for many years. Drama!
The man known as Gray Fox (and Null, once upon a time) was really Frank Jaeger, FOXHOUND’s best operative and bestowed with the “Fox” title as reward. He obviously wasn’t that great though, as in Metal Gear 1 he gets captured on a mission to infiltrate Outer Heaven and Solid Snake is sent in to rescue him. The tables are turned in Metal Gear 2 as Fox, agreeing with Big Boss’s philosophies, faces off against Snake on the battlefield. Snake wins and the next we see of Fox is as the Cyborg Ninja in MGS, the product of severe experimentation by Dr. Clark, otherwise known as MGS3′s Para-Medic. Frank cuts a bloody path through Shadow Moses but can’t best the Metal Gear REX and dies after heroically destroying its radar dish. Gray Fox remains one of Metal Gear’s most popular and iconic characters, most recently included as a bonus costume in Rising.
The Boss is one of the most important and influential characters in the Metal Gear timeline. Without her, there would be no Big Boss, plain and simple. Known as The Joy when she was the leader of the Cobra Unit during WW2, The Boss later met a young John and made him her disciple, the two developing the close combat style of CQC. The events of Operation Snake Eater, including her apparent defection and eventual death at the hands of John, now known as Naked Snake, were an elaborate plan by the US government to discern the location of the Philosopher’s Legacy. The final part of this plan was to die at the hands of Snake, covering up any trace of conspiracy. Naked Snake learning of this betrayal was the first step in his disillusion with the US, eventually leading to his defection and creation of Outer Heaven. Also, she is Revolver Ocelot’s mum.
Johnny goddamn Sasaki. This guy is the man, right here. Well, kinda, Johnny starts out as a running joke, a genome soldier unwittingly taking part in the Shadow Moses rebellion who frequently suffers from diarrhea and has his clothes stolen on two occasions. He appears again in a couple of easter eggs in MGS2, now employed in the Gurlukovich mercenaries but still suffering terrible stomach trouble. Johnny comes into his own in MGS4, now a member of Meryl’s Rat Patrol Team 01 where he is known as Akiba. Turns out that due to his fear of needles, Johnny is nanomachine-free, rending him completely invulnerable to the Sons of the Patriots’ control. Johnny actually turns into something of a badass, saving Meryl repeatedly and even marrying her in the end. Good stuff, dude.
Raiden, real name Jack, was a controversial character when first introduced, but fan reception has softened to him since. Originally introduced as the protagonist of MGS2 when people were expecting Snake, fans were understandably annoyed by this whiny, androgynous fop who would rather gab on with his equally vapid girlfriend than get on with the mission. He does grow as a character through the game, his past as a child soldier and connection to Solidus Snake as well as his being an unwitting pawn of the Patriots all lend him some depth. Jack returned in MGS4 with a cybernetic ninja body, the result of experimentation after being captured by Patriot forces. This new Raiden is still plenty emo, but now also essentially a superhero, cutting down vast hordes of giant robots with little trouble. The new Metal Gear Rising continues Raiden’s story and features plenty more badass swordsmanship. Yer okay, Jack. Yer okay.
Liquid Snake, along with brothers Solid and Solidus, was a product of the “Les Enfants Terribles” project, three clones of Big Boss created to become perfect soldiers. One clone was created with recessive, “inferior” genes, and Liquid was brought up to believe it was him. This had an understandable effect on his psyche and along with Revolver Ocelot, he stages a rebellion against the US government at Shadow Moses base. Solid Snake is sent in to stop him and well, the rest is history. Liquid has become one of the most iconic villains of the franchise and is still one of its most popular characters, despite only really appearing in one game. He does live on, kinda, through Ocelot (more on that later), but to make such an impact in a short time is a big deal. He has an awesome English accent, too. Plus, turns out that Solid Snake had the bad genes all along! Oops.
Hal Emmerich meets Snake during the Shadow Moses incident under awkward circumstances, having just pissed himself due to an angry cyborg ninja. The two gradually become firm friends, Hal going by the name Otacon due to his nerdy pursuits, with his backup of Snake on the codec proving invaluable on many occasions. The two go on to form Philanthropy, an anti-Metal Gear foundation, and play a big role in MGS2. Otacon is useful as ever in MGS4, not only raising the orphaned Sunny but helping develop the virus to destroy the Patriots and backing up Snake in the Metal Gear MK.2. Otacon has some tough breaks, seeing three different women he loves die over the course of the series, but after a bit of crying he gets back down to business and resumes being one of the most awesome sidekicks ever.
Ocelot doesn’t seem like a big deal when he is first introduced, merely a member of Liquid Snake’s terrorist group. He turns out to be more important than anyone could have guessed though, secretly a spy for not only the president (Solidus Snake!) but the Patriots too. His return in MGS2 is a bit strange, as he seems to be sporadically possessed by the arm of Liquid Snake he used to replace his own. It’s pretty bizarre. Ocelot’s plans to control the Patriots in MGS4 turn out to be similar to Snake’s all along, Ocelot constantly trying to bring them down for the man he idolized, Big Boss. The whole Liquid thing was a ruse to fool the Patriots, or something. We still don’t really understand it. Ocelot also gets bonus points for his awesome role in MGS3 as a cocky young soldier who has yet to discover the revolver.
He’s been known by many names, from Jack, to Naked Snake, Saladin, and most famously, Big Boss. Without him, none of Metal Gear would have happened. Starting out as an idealistic FOX operative, Big Boss’s gradual disillusionment with the world and his desire to found a nation for soldiers provide the catalyst for the entire Metal Gear saga. He’s gone from a hero to a villain to kind of a hero again, but his virtues never wavered and he always stood for what he believed in. Boss has done some awesome stuff during his career, from essentially saving the world in MGS3 to founding the Patriots with Major Zero, only to rebel against them when Zero took his vision in a different direction. His genetic material is incredibly valuable and his three cloned sons get up to all manner of business. Best of all, he’s really hard to kill, cheating death not once but twice to make a surprise return at the end of MGS4. Many people would rank Big Boss as the most important character in Metal Gear, and they might be right. But when it comes to the best, there’s only one guy to choose…
Were you really expecting anything else? Solid Snake is a genuine hero, saving the world on numerous occasions, taking out Metal Gears with ease and even besting his clone brothers. Snake is, quite simply, the best man. He did it. From his young days in the first two Metal Gear games through his family revelations in MGS, his grizzled mullet in MGS2 and his unfortunate advanced aging in MGS4 (due to being a clone), Snake has been a consistent badass who players still love to this day. Snake (real name Dave) with his bandanna and gruff voice has become a video game icon, and rightly so. We weren’t huge fans of his rapid aging in MGS4, but only really because it means the odds of us seeing more games with Snake as the hero are less likely! What would be fantastic are remakes of Metal Gear 1 and 2, recounting Snake’s early days and Big Boss’s downfall in glorious 3D. We can dream. Solid Snake is the best character in Metal Gear, and one of the best ever in videogames.