A Formal Analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2

James Clinton Howell

XII: Naked Dash

An accomplice released Raiden from his bonds, and he embarked upon his now-infamous streaking escape through Arsenal Gear. He had to run completely nude through a heavily guarded hangar while keeping both palms over his unrenderable parts. Metaphorically and literally, he ran naked while MGS1’s illusions decayed.

MGS2’s formal recollection of MGS1’s support staff dissolved first. Snake could not have handled the events of MGS1 without his support team, and Colonel Roy Campbell had served as the Superego father-voice that reminded Snake of his mission’s higher priorities. Throughout the Plant Chapter, Raiden had believed that his C. O. really was Roy Campbell, and he learned while streaking that Arsenal Gear’s artificial intelligence had actually impersonated Campbell. 

Raiden had trusted the A. I. Colonel as a logical extension of the Solid Map, and his desires had given Roy Campbell’s form to the illusion. A supporting character later described the A. I. Colonel explicitly in terms of the Solid Map: “The Colonel is in part your own creation, cobbled together from expectations and experience.” Raiden’s confidence in his fantasy disappeared, and  the A. I. Colonel eroded during Raiden’s escape. The words of MGS1’s Superego turned into drivel. The A. I. Colonel’s face grew transparent to reveal a skeleton—the structural form of the human body.

Raiden’s relationship with the player also changed as the Solid Map failed. Raiden became less controllable when he refused to uncover his genitals during his naked escape. He sometimes sneezed from the cold and revealed his presence to enemies. The player’s actor refused to act; he even made mistakes and created trouble that the player might have avoided. The gameplay subtly asserted Raiden’s growing awareness of himself as a concrete character rather than an abstract actor.

The Solid Map suffered its next-to-last blow when Solid Snake appeared after Raiden had eluded pursuit. As individuals, we identify ourselves as distinct from others. Raiden clearly saw Solid Snake decked in his Tanker Chapter sneaking suit. He could not ignore the fact that he was not—and could not be—Solid Snake.

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