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This article is by Metal Gear Confidential (careful, site seems to be infected) creator Mad Jackyl, who kindly emailed it to me and gave me permission to publish it. It's an honour to be able to present it here, and we thank him for giving more Metal Gear fans the opportunity to enjoy his insight.

Author: Mad Jackyl 
email: madjackyl16@yahoo.com


Back to Metal Gear Solid 2

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In the original Metal Gear Solid storyline, FoxDie is a genetically engineered "designer retrovirus" that targets specific DNA sequences hosted within certain targeted individuals for the means of assassination. The retrovirus is easily transmitted, though harmful only to those preprogrammed individuals. It worked by infecting the target who expresses the preprogrammed DNA sequences at which point it begins altering cell functioning to produce TNF-epsilon (tumor necrosis factor), a cytokine produced in the cell's macrophages which causes apoptosis, or cellular death. Once enough cells are infected by the rapidly multiplying FoxDie retrovirus, the amount of TNF-epsilon present quickly plunges the body into a state of shock, which leads to death. In short, it confuses the messages encoded in each cell so that they ultimately commit suicide on a massive level. In this way, the proponents of FoxDie were able to control the battlefield by killing only those that responded to the codices passed along by the virus. This went along with the main theme of genetic manipulation in Metal Gear Solid.

In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the main theme is the manipulation of information, or that which is not bred into us by genetics, but rather, memetics. The control of and digitization of life is what the main antagonists of Metal Gear Solid 2 sought. It is important that a significant portion of the game takes place on a superstructure known as "The Big Shell", an offshore decontamination facility in the shape of a double helix. I mention the shape of the structure here for the purpose of symbolism. Since Metal Gear Solid 2 dealt with the control of information, it also ties into Metal Gear Solid's theme of genetic control and manipulation in a subtle way. You can see then that it's no coincidence that The Big Shell is in the same double helix shape as that of a strand of DNA to allude to a sort of recurrent theme that ties the two games together.

Just as Solid Snake was the vector that spreads the biological form of FoxDie in the first MGS, Raiden can be seen in MGS2 as a vector for a digitized form of FoxDie. The difference being that this form of FoxDie controls information. As Raiden makes his way throughout Big Shell - itself an abstraction of a biological cell - he encounters update modules specifically referred to as "nodes". As you may know or guess, a node can be defined as, "an integrated and self-sufficient unit of information." By logging into these nodes, Raiden is given critical information to help him in his mission. On each point of Big Shell is a node which he can log into to obtain more information. In this way, Raiden is guided throughout his mission. By using the information provided, he is able to better control his progress through Big Shell. From a networking standpoint, it would also be probable that Raiden's progress could be monitored as well by the provider of the information he is made privy to.

As the end of Metal Gear Solid 2 concludes, we learn of the secretive organization named the Patriots. Just as surprising, we find out the many ways in which Raiden has been controlled all along, the culmination and end-product being what the Patriots simply termed "S3", an acronym meaning Selection for Societal Sanity. Just as Solid Snake was tricked into performing the mission that ended the revolt on Shadow Moses Island several years prior, we learn that Raiden has been tricked via controlled information into neutralizing the terrorist seizure of Big Shell as well. The ultimate aim of S3 seemed to be total battlefield control yet again. The Patriots' merely wanted to run a controlled experiment using a familiar backdrop complete with familiar catalysts (mysterious ninja, a computer virus substituted for a biological one, renegade military unit, et. al.) to simulate the events of Shadow Moses for a second time to see if their artificially intelligent digital manipulation system could "solve" and therefore eliminate such a threat effectively.

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