Raiden, Solidus Snake, Liquid Ocelot, and Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001)
Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty is the black sheep of the series. You’re mostly playing as Raiden, a new character who’s a far cry from the uber-masculine charms of Solid Snake or Big Boss, and your primary villain is Solidus Snake—the third and only perfect clone of Big Boss who’s never been as important in the series as he probably should’ve been.
A handful of years after the events at Shadow Moses, we learn that the A.I. Patriots have selected Solidus Snake to be president of the United States. From that position of power, Solidus orchestrates the events that happened at Shadow Moses, coercing his associate Ocelot into giving him data on Liquid’s Metal Gear. He does this all without the Patriots’ knowledge, because Solidus is secretly working against the A.I.s that put him in power. Why? Because Solidus is basically a duplicate version of Big Boss, and like Big Boss he has a strong moral core. Simply put, Solidus didn’t like being manipulated by a bunch of conspiratorial machines. Regrettably his rebellion looks and sounds a lot like world domination, which makes Solidus a bad dude.
So after his Shadow Moses insurrection bricks and the true nature of his life is revealed, Solidus goes into hiding. He hooks up with Ocelot and starts to muster his own private army for his war against the A.I. Patriots. This army is called the Sons of Liberty, the subtitle of the game we’re about to talk about.
Oh, and remember how I said Ocelot getting his arm chopped off is a big deal? Well, Ocelot finds Liquid Snake’s dead body, and grafts Liquid’s arm to his newfound stump. Because of that, Liquid’s mind is slowly but surely taking over Ocelot’s body through his arm. By the time Metal Gear Solid 2 rolls around Ocelot is almost entirely under Liquid’s control, to the point where we call him “Liquid Ocelot.” I know that doesn’t make any scientific sense, but it’s Metal Gear, man. In Metal Gear, arms can seize brains.
There’s also this kid named Raiden, or Jack depending on your preference. Jack was adopted by Solidus Snake at a very young age, and Solidus basically turned him into a highly trained child soldier. Raiden becomes one of the most traumatized people in the universe, which is entirely understandable, and he disappears for a number of years and tries to adjust to a normal life. He meets a girl named Rose who’s working with The Patriots. She torments him emotionally until he ends up in FOXHOUND, which is where he goes on his first mission—a campaign you play in Metal Gear Solid 2.
So Raiden and Solid Snake infiltrate Solidus’ base of operations to stop the Sons of Liberty. Solidus’ base is actually a giant Metal Gear which houses one of the Patriot’s five A.I. hubs. Raiden and Snake successfully upload a virus into the A.I., and Raiden kills Solidus in a suitably epic final battle where he reveals the terrors he put him through when he was a boy.
However, it’s then revealed that this whole incident was orchestrated by the Patriot A.I.s. The Patriot A.I.s saw how Solid Snake became a legendary soldier during the Shadow Moses mission of Metal Gear Solid, so they created something similar to usher Raiden to a parallel mythical status! RAIDEN WAS JUST THE PATRIOTS’ PAWN! WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT? EXCEPT ANYONE WHO’S EVER PLAYED A METAL GEAR GAME BEFORE!
See what I mean when I say that Metal Gear can get kinda spiritual sometimes? We have machines more interested in building legends than any tangible goals. That’s kinda wonderful, right? I think so—so be quiet. Now, onto the final chapter.