Next Generation Special Forces

         Metal Gear Solid was a phenomenal game, becoming so popular that many people forget that there were two games before it, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. Sadly, I cannot talk about those games, as I have not played them. Maybe in the future they can be discussed. But for now, I want to look at the first game in the Metal Gear Solid series.
        The problem is, for all that this game impressed me and was a joy to play, it leaves much less to the imagination than other games do, by virtue of all the exposition and information the player is given. There is plenty of mystery throughout the game due to all the secrecy and plotting involved, but once the game is beaten, many of those questions are answered, and those that remain from this game are either answered by the next game or simply aren’t enough to be covered in one of my articles. If there is a significant character in this game, you can be sure everything you wanted to know about them is explored at some point. Well, except Decoy Octopus. That guy died in his disguise, so we don’t see much of him. But really, that means we’re left with nothing to start with, which makes him intrinsically harder to be curious about.
        However, here is one question that I’m sure everyone has wondered at least once- why were the soldiers throughout the game so dumb? They are called the Next Generation Special Forces, made up of a combination of Big Boss’ private guard, a gaggle of other soldiers, and a new group of a soldiers with VR simulation training- that is, they used virtual reality to simulate dangerous situations to train these soldiers without them actually being in danger.
        So this is a group of soldiers made from previous veterans under the wing of the greatest soldier of all time, and new recruits that have been trained for situations previous soldiers could not be trained in, presumably to the point they could match the first half of their group. Compounding this is that they have been given ‘gene therapy’ to give them specific genes that had been proven to produce better soldiers- in other words, they’re being given the sort of battlefield prowess that you’d normally have to be born with, making them even more dangerous. So in theory, these guys should be a very impressive force!
        Yet when you see them in the game, roughly 30 seconds in, it is easy to sneak up on them and break their necks, barring you don’t, say, step on a puddle. If you do they’ll instantly turn around, and of course open fire. Well and good, they have a good awareness of their surroundings- except they don’t. You can see through the radar that they apparently have a very small range of vision, and almost no peripheral vision at all. So long as you aren’t in that exact triangle of sight, you’re safe, barring loud noises that might attract their attention.
        If you hide in a box, they’ll all say, to a man, “It’s just a box” and move on, except when there’s an alarm, in which case then they’ll have the forethought to investigate. If you get them in a neck lock, they have no way of breaking free, and even if they are killed, the others do not notice at all that one of the soldiers supposed to be on duty are gone. What, did they think they were in the bathroom? Speaking of, one of the soldiers actually is in the bathroom. I’m sure if you were in the bathroom and someone was walking in your direction, you’d notice.
        So what possible reason can their be for these highly trained mercenaries to have less sense than a child? Though some characters do deride the VR training, that can’t be the issue. For one, if it was, then not all of the soldiers would act in this fashion, but even the veterans do.
        Well, for one reason, the second area in the game is outside, in an snowy Alaskan night. Given these circumstances, we can forgive it if they do not notice some things. Humans, regardless of how well trained, simply do not have night vision, and the snow would hamper it even further. That just covers those few, however. We might also consider the possibility that Liquid’s plan rather hinged on Snake’s survival. The guards could have simply been turning a blind eye.
        Of course, this seems dubious given Snake killed dozens of them throughout the mission, regardless of how stealthy the player tries to be. There’s sticking to a plan, and then there is self-preservation. Of course, we also know that Psycho Mantis actually used his power to influence the soldiers; perhaps this may have made them more loyal, but it could also have hampered their perception of things, or forced them to follow the plan even at the cost of their lives. Except… they do still talk, and not under Mantis’ influence like Meryl does, they’re clearly speaking of their own volition, unless you think Mantis for some reason feels like stating “It’s a box” and “Whose footprints are these?” over and over.
        Then there is another theory, which comes from something Liquid tells Snake after REX is destroyed. While the soldiers were given the genes of Big Boss, their bodies actively rejected the genes, much as the body might reject a different type of blood. That’s why one of Liquid’s demands was for Big Boss’s DNA, so they can avert the genetic disorders happening to them and live.
        The specifics of how these disorders affect them is not specified, but it is possible that it may explain why they aren’t performing their job well. Their narrow field of view could be explained by tunnel vision, for instance, or they may have difficulty focusing, which would explain why they go on their routes and show very little awareness of their surroundings, because it’s taking all their willpower just to keep one foot in front of the other, much less notice a suspicious box or something.
        This I think is the most likely theory, because it’s the only excuse that could really cover all the issues, even if it is mere speculation. Of course, there is one thing I do know to be the blame for all this. The game’s AI being bad in comparison to future games. But really, who wants to talk about that?

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3 thoughts on “Next Generation Special Forces

  1. Oh! But did you play Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes? I don’t know what to think cause to me those two games are the same except graphic and some music. I hope in the future you’ll write something about all MGS games. And as usual I WANT MORE! 😀

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