An Odd1's Reviews > Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid by Raymond Benson
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Jul 11, 12

Read from June 22 to July 11, 2012

"Metal Gear Solid" by Raymond Benson is based on original story and video game by Hideo Kojima, and highly resembles latter. Solo mission for "Solid Snake": neutralize "Metal Gear" nuclear weapon and rescue hostages - VIPs Anderson and Baker with detonate-disarm codes and cards, plus Colonel's niece Meryl. Theme is "When the going gets tough, the tough beat the shit out of everyone else" p224. Like a computer game, Solid conquers increasingly challenging levels, grunts, and bosses, to the top, his brother Liquid. All soldiers are genetically tampered with, so the biggest bugaboos are secret government and scientific, especially gene, experimentation. The moral is this condensed quote: "DNA governs only potential destiny. Until today, I looked for a reason to live. Now, I'll stop looking and just live" p317. The secrets keep on unfolding, layer after layer, But the bangup conspiracy surprise is the epilogue paragraph one-sided phone conversation.

Hard to get caught up when I question action after action, perhaps because predetermined by game, sectioned into levels and "dungeons", like original Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game before computerized versions. Routine shoot and smash, Personalities feel slotted, like NPCs, non-player characters. Ninja-cyborg is "chaotic" in D&D parlance. Fighting illusions may be fun in video game, but sucks in books. Shadow Moses secret facility hides, typical fort under remote island. Standard procedure of giving best soldier cigs and drugs for quick boost is disturbing.

The chief villain is Solid's clone brother Liquid. The assumption, from start to finish, that dominant genes are better than recessive, is oversimplification. That dominant and recessive would divide exactly between fetuses, impossible. Diseases may be dominant; a non-viable fetus would spontaneously abort. Dominant should have dark thick curly hair, dark skin, oval face, dark brown large almond eyes, freckles, cleft chin, broad wide lips, broad straight nose, straight thumb, wet ear wax, short, bald, astigmatic. (If one parent had straight thumbs, one bent, why do I have one of each?)

A "Boss" is the last, biggest, most powerful opponent on each game level (from ~8 year old given Nintendo DS same time as me). Epiphany: name "Big Boss" is self-explanatory, alias villains each a level "boss". Like games, with long dying speech, they gift him with key to unlock next level p235. A subterranean current of hidden agendas trickle up to the climax when S inputs codes.
He thinks he is deactivating, but the same process does activates, uh-oh - written before I knew answer.)

I've never been an acronym fan, abbreviations are easier to remember and decipher. (Aside: while my mom had a stroke, people remembered STOP, but not the symptoms represented = Fail.) Cast (some have past history) and acronym lists would help; here's a starter:

Good Guys & Gals & expertise
1 Solid Snake genetically engineered US special forces FOXHOUND soldier
2 Colonel Roy Campbell 60s FH commander
3 Dr Naomi Hunter geneticist
4 Mei Ling tech, comms - Codec codifying satellite comm system has locating tech
5 Natasha Romanenko hardware - explains weapons to reader, S already knows
6 Master McDonnel Benedict Miller survival
7 Meryl Silverburgh teen Roy's niece

Bad Team rebel FH elite - Why from different countries? Why wierdo fancy supervillains have cartoon superhero monikers?
PsychoM controls:
- genomes = genetically improved troops, novice grunts
true definition: entirety of an organism's hereditary information DNA, RNA, and more
- Space Seals "genome" veteran squad, elite in black
- mercenaries (why bother distinguishing from others? all treated as bad guys even though co-opted by Psycho)
Big Boss - cryo-frozen corpse of S&S dad provides genes for super soldiers, chief villain on previous missions
- Is not dad as prime enemy p185 old news from Star Wars days?
1 Liquid Snake - Solid's clone
2 Psycho Mantis - Russian brain controller
3 Sniper Wolf - Kurdish Female sharpshooter
4 Decoy Octopus - Mexican disguise, languages
5 Vulcan Raven - Alaskan Indian/Inuit commands animals, birds
"giant" p17 2.1m (but Farenheit p30) 6'11" is common (even female) basketball player height.
6 Revolver Ocelot - Russian torturer, six-shooter

Questions: You know Solid will win from the start, so these comments are to provoke your own curiosity rather than satisfy, but they do hint loudly.
• Why do soldiers break down Solid's unlocked door p12, wouldn't a phone call do?
• Why does Roy Solid to strip p13 just for a nanotech shot - anti-freeze, brain boost p20 (how long do they lost and and flirt with pretty Naomi?
• Why doesn't Miller hold his breath against sevoflurane anesthetic gas p30?
• Oish, weapons are all real - numbers and acronyms sounded made up but check out M23 gun Mi24

• Why doesn't he disguise himself in opponent's snowsuit p32? mobility? (A: "dark sneaking suit blended into the shadows" p38), question for prisoner locations? search for door key? take more than 2 grenades? (A: does later)
• With high-tech chemical weapons expert, why not give him something to incapacitate enemies longer than knockout punch, less permanently than neck-twisting, in case they can be rehabilitated to good side; imitate food sickness so they don't suspect infiltration? (A: later he kills all)
• If brown mice infest installation p32, why not infect them to take out enemy, remember bubonic plague nobody vaccinated for anymore?
• Simple grade-school vocab till occasional multi-syllable sprinkled in - penultimate p34, and weapon specs
• Why doesn't Solid warn HQ Liquid may take out jets "swat flies" p33, explain more of intruder? ask where prisoners, directions?
• Ciggies make smoke baddies detect, so why not start him out with nicotine patch or supply long-lasting doses?
• Cowboy daydream can't be "Again, a coincidence" p64 after vision, Psycho near.

• Why 4 pg p64+ prolonged chat, not kill each other at once? Why Ocelot not threaten hostage Baker, force S to go or disarm?
• Why not keep talking over Codec? Without, how can they know ninja bats away bullets - why bother shooting when armor reflects?
• Dying body loses temperature control, may be hotter, but thermal goggles show cooler than room p76.
• Does Codec not transmit that Hunter knows ninja identity?
• Ninja identity meaningless, slows momentum harking to past, though years torture do make Pentagon guys bad.
(Spoiler: so what:
Gray Fox p124, killed by best friend S)
When struggling over word "Pentagon" triggers heart attacks twice, duh, no coincidence.
Like Gray Fox connected to past, this only important for connection to future sequel - will FoxDie injection kill S too?)

• Crawling through air service ducts recalls funny film Galaxy Quest spoof that points out ubiquitous presence of same.
• Faced with laser beams of increasing challenge p93 recalls video game origin.

• Is enemy guiding? Deepthroat p95; despite torture, Liquid lets him live p103; "strange" Master Miller conversation p112; they leave his gear handy p175; "it was too easy" p195; in chopper "Liquid didn't really want to kill him" p204.
• Emmerlich chit-chat purpose p131 to set up sister Emma EE show up later? (future book? tedious sidetrack when no appearance here
• S: "I don't like to waste bullets" p139, but he tosses them around as diversions, why bother?
• Why offer her canteen "chugged longer than he wished" p139, when they are in loo with drinking water taps, and why not refill limited ration?
• Why not shoot Psycho right away p155? He almost kills Meryl too; his directions again suggest enemy guiding.
• Race huskies I met were tiny, vibrating with need to run; wolves normally 120 pd; these hybrids don't sound "huge" p161. "Hanging Woman Creek" by Louis L'Amour 0708902219 says "a big lobo I guess would weigh a hundred and fifty pounds ... and few get that big" p72
• Taking muscle relaxant diazepam p218, with dry mouth sideffects, and backfire rebound withdrawal, instead of calming deep breaths, is bad example of solving problems with drugs, means game has resource for player to use at designated time

• If Naomi can remotely increase painkillers in S blood after torture p184, why not during? Why not ask after back shot p233?
• Can S feel initial injections, smarts, dwindle?
• Daniel Keyes "Flowers for Algernon" book inspired 1968 film Charly - Retarded man, like lab rat, senses fading of surgically improved IQ. film 1/lots stills summate film (mostly YouTube has school projects)
• "Genome soldiers weren't very bright" p223, should be encoded on, why not? Smart people can obey orders. No?

• Why does S not borrow invisible suit of Emmerlich ("Otacon" another gimmicky nickname shorter written, still three syllables spoken)?
• Free scented hanky p190 could have been more powerful, more fun. • Elevator starts and stops by self p210 - duh.

(Spoilers:(view spoiler)

Wasn't a typo, was a mystery:
p58 "Anderson" already dead from 'heart attack', must be "Baker" in torture chair vision
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