Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Missing image
Front cover (North American release).

Developer(s) Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (West)
Publisher(s) Konami
Release date(s) November 14, 2001 (NA)
November 29, 2001 (JP)
March 8, 2002 (EU)
Genre Stealth action
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Mature (M)
CERO: 15+
BBFC: 15
Platform(s) PlayStation 2

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (commonly abbreviated MGS2) is a stealth-based game that was developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. Directed by Hideo Kojima, it is the fourth game in the Metal Gear series and the sequel to the critical and consumer success Metal Gear Solid. It is followed by Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

Following a strategy used to promote the original Metal Gear Solid in 1998, a movie-like trailer for the game was shown at the 2000 E. Critics praised the game's level of graphical detail, in particular the use of in-game graphics to render plot-driving cut scenes. The gameplay is similar to that of Metal Gear Solid. New features, however, allow players to use first-person view to aim weapons, and to tranquilize enemies instead of kill them.


Plot synopsis

Tanker Chapter

The game opens in late 2007 (presumably sometime during or after August 8), on the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Solid Snake, aided by Otacon via codec, is investigating the development of a new Metal Gear, following Revolver Ocelot's general and indiscriminate sale of the REX blueprints to all interested parties. This new Metal Gear RAY is designed to guard against the proliferation of REXes. While it is transported offshore for testing by the Marines aboard the "oil tanker" U.S.S. Discovery, Snake manages to obtain photographic evidence of its existence. The mission rapidly turns sour, though: Shalashaska seizes RAY (claiming he is returning it to its proper owners, the La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo) and sinks the tanker, with loss of all hands, apparently including Snake.

Plant Chapter

This chapter begins on April 29, 2009, as players then find themselves in control of Raiden. Raiden is operating under FOX-HOUND to rescue the President and other hostages from the "Big Shell," a decontamination facility constructed two years ago to clean up the oil spilled during the sinking of the Discovery. He is aided by Colonel Campbell as mission command, Rose (Raiden's girlfriend; one of many movie spoofs; Jack and Rose from "Titanic") as data management, and a number of other on-site specialists, including SEAL Team 10 Lt. JG Iroquois Pliskin (instantly recognizable as Solid Snake in mufti; (another film reference, this time to Kurt Russell's character Snake Plissken from the "Escape from L.A." and "Escape from New York" movies). The party responsible for seizing the Big Shell is the Navy's Dead Cell terrorist-attack-simulation group (who were modeled after the real-life Red Cell ( unit), aided by Shalashaska and led by a man who calls himself Solid Snake but is actually Solidus Snake, the third of the Snake clones and a "well-balanced masterpiece."

It is revealed that the Big Shell is merely a cover for "Arsenal Gear", a mobile underwater fortress defended by a fleet of amphibious mecha (production variants of Metal Gear RAY), which is being secretly built as part of a conspiracy by the Illuminati-like "Patriots". It is armed with a large number of production line Metal Gear RAY units, as well as a supercomputer called "GW" which is designed to monitor, block, and tamper with Internet communications, in order to further the totalitarian agenda of the "Patriots."

Raiden confronts the various members of Dead Cell, discovers the truth behind Solidus, the Big Shell, the reason for his mission, and his own life. There are also some cryptic revelations about the Patriots themselves. He is aided in his efforts by Solid Snake and Otacon. They succeed in delivering a virus into GW, rendering it and Arsenal useless. Raiden also defeats Solidus. Snake and Otacon then set off to find and stop the Patriots themselves, while Raiden is left to make peace (or attempt to do so) with Rose. What happens to Arsenal Gear itself, which crashes into Manhattan island in broad daylight, is never explained. The most interesting fact about the story is explained after the credits roll. Otacon is able to decode the virus disc and uncover a list of names of the twelve members of the Wisemen's Committee. One of them is one of Philanthropy's biggest contributors. It also seems The Patriots did reside in Manhattan, but they were already dead - and had been for about a century.

Missing image
Solid Snake checks a corridor.

Excised Plot Details

The game plan and script reveal some aspects of the plot which are left unclear or confusing during the game itself, or are just interesting to know. Both are available on The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 disc, though the game plan is only in Japanese:

  • Raiden's field commander was named Daniel Quinn ("Colonel"), and his support team consisted of Maxine "Max" Wark, an Asian woman who saves the game data and quotes Shakespeare, and William "Doc" Wilson, the creator of GW. All three would turn out to be AIs.
  • There were two additional members of Dead Cell, Old Boy and the Chinaman. Old Boy was Dead Cell's stratigest and a former Nazi General, and was over 100 years old. The idea was scrapped, but eventually became The End, a member of The Boss's Cobra Unit, from Metal Gear Solid 3. The Chinaman was an expert in martial arts, and used most of Vamp's bullet parrying moves. Both were cut from the game, Old Boy early on, the Chinaman later. The only place to see them is the animated footage of "The Liquidation Of Dead Cell"
  • Liquid Snake, controlling Revolver Ocelot, activates Arsenal Gear's navigation system and sets the target as Federal Hall, as opposed to in the game, where it just happens to end up there.
  • A scene showing Arsenal Gear destroying the Statue of Liberty and half of Manhattan was removed after the events of September 11th.
  • A short coda was present after the credits, a breaking newscast showing the Statue of Liberty's new resting place, Ellis Island (see above). The anchorwoman in this piece would've been Karen Hj, the heroine from Hideo Kojima's Policenauts.
  • George Sears was the 43rd President, and James Johnson is the 44th.
  • Early concept art shows that Vamp was initially conceived as a woman, while Peter Stillman was originally planned to be a younger version of Ed Brown, also from Policenauts.
  • The AI speaking to Raiden during the final CODEC scene is not GW, but is another AI named JFK.
  • Many of the guards patrolling the Big Shell were part of a Secret Service security detail (in actuality, a private army), created by Solidus Snake during his term as President. This detail was most likely cut so as to cut down on the number of voices the soldiers used.
  • Both Ames and the President thought Raiden was an assassin (Olga) sent in by The Patriots to kill the President. Ames had no knowledge the Big Shell incident was part of the S3 Plan, but Johnson realized once Raiden mentioned FOX-HOUND. He then gives up hope of insurrection and reluctantly says his lines.
  • The Ninja tells Raiden she works for "The Patriots", but Raiden's internal nanomachines retranslate it as "La-li-lu-le-lo", thus implying certain people are "programmed" not to be able to say or to hear "The Patriots".
  • Solid, Liquid, and Solidus Snake all are (or were) undergoing advanced aging as a result of the cloning process.
  • Both Iroquois Pliskin and Rose were to have blonde hair, Pliskin's dyed to cover his identity, and Rose's as her natural color.
  • As a child, the civil war Raiden took part in was the Liberian Civil War.
  • Three game modes were planned that didn't make to the finished game. A Bomb Disposal mode (side-missions set in the Tanker and Plant stages where the player must find Fatman's bombs), a Mantis Mask mode (where the player can read other characters' thoughts and detect their lies) and a 2-Player Versus Mode. Of the three discard game modes, the Bomb Disposal missions were integrated into Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.
  • The Arsenal Gear stage was supposed to had been a lot longer than it was in the finished game. One of the proposed areas within Arsenal Gear was a temple where the player would've fought against Vamp (in the original plan, Chinaman was supposed to appeared in the filtration chamber in the core Shell 2 instead of Vamp).

Fan reaction

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty extended the series' plot line and introduced a major new main character. The established hero, Solid Snake, was for most of the game not a playable character. Instead players controlled Raiden, a new member of FOX-HOUND, fresh from VR training. Many fans and critics reacted negatively to this new twist in the gameplay. Areas of contention included Jack's androgynous appearance, a sentimental and somewhat whiny personality, obvious naivety and inexperience, and vulnerable position throughout the game. Hideo Kojima has stated that Jack's character and its perception by the audience are an important part for the overall plan of the game. Furthermore, it was felt that the game was excessively self-indulgent, with excessively long sequences of plot-driving dialogue.

Supporters argued that the above criticisms stemmed from the inappropriate expectation that Metal Gear Solid 2 would be a simple, action-orientated sequel. The ideas and themes which Hideo Kojima tried to express, such as the nature of reality and how information defines humanity (meme theory), were components of highly intellectual and deeply philosophical work of software art. Some commentators Junker ( have tied the game in with other cyberpunk media such as William Gibson's Neuromancer, or the contemporary PC game Deus Ex; whilst others [1] ( have analysed the game as a postmodern artifact.

The game had a particular focus on conspiracy theories, with the main villains a group known only as "The Patriots"; twelve men who control a type of Shadow government, with the President of the United States as their puppet. The origins of "The Patriots" are explored in greater detail in Metal Gear Solid 3.


Hideo Kojima's choice of composer for Metal Gear Solid 2 was highly publicized in the follow-up to the game's release. Harry Gregson-Williams, a Hollywood film composer from Hans Zimmer's studio, was decided upon by Kojima after watching The Replacement Killers with sound director Kazuki Muraoka. A mix CD contaning 18 tracks of Gregson-Williams' work was sent to his office. Flattered by the research put into creating the CD (as some of the tracks were unreleased, and that what tracks he'd worked on for some films were undocumented), he joined the project soon after.

In order to bypass the language barrier and allow the score to be developed before the cut scenes were finalized, Gregson-Williams was sent short phrases or descriptions of the intended action. The resultant themes then shaped the action sequences in return. Gregson-Williams also remixed the original "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme" for use in the game's opening title sequence.

Norihiko Hibino, who had worked on previous Konami games such as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, was responsible for all of the in-game music. He also worked on the majority of the game's cut scenes, re-orchestrating Gregson-Williams' "Main Theme" remix for use in several scenes.

As with Metal Gear Solid, the cut scene music includes an orchestral and choir, whilst the in-game music is scored for electronic instruments. However, the score as a whole includes more electronic and breakbeat themes than its predecessor, in order to reflect the plot's thematic thrust of a machine-dominated society. Rika Muranaka again provided a vocal ending theme, a jazz track entitled "Can't Say Goodbye to Yesterday."

Release information

Missing image
Premium Package box and contents

The Japanese version was held back for two weeks after the North American release. As a result, the developers added additional features and cut-scenes to the Japanese release, including two new modes (Boss Survival and Casting Theatre; the latter allowed the player to view a cut scene and change the character models used). Like the original Metal Gear Solid, a Premium Package of the game was issued in addition to the stand-alone version. The box came with the reversible cover art on the DVD case, a DVD video, an A4-sized pamphlet and a metallic-colored Solid Snake figurine.

The game's original European release date of February 22, 2002, nearly three months after the other releases, was delayed another two weeks. As compensation, Konami included, free of charge, a bonus DVD called The Making of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, containing an hour-long documentary on all aspects of the game's production, a comprehensive archive of trailers, a lengthy text article from the website Gamespot, concept sketches, and other familiar DVD "added value". The added features from the Japanese release were carried over to the game itself along with a new difficulty setting (European Extreme). Template:- Template:Wikiquote Template:- Template:Metal Gear series de:Metal_Gear fr:Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty


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