A Formal Analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2

James Clinton Howell

XV: Raiden Unbound

The final showdown with Solidus Snake verified the Solid Map’s dissolution. All guns had disappeared from the player’s inventory; only the sword remained. Raiden and Solidus dueled atop Federal Hall—“where freedom

was born.” For the first time, Raiden fought for himself without using Solid Snake as an ideal. This was also the only boss fight in MGS2 that ended when the Player Objectives matched the Actor Objectives. Raiden slew Solidus when the player won the fight.

MGS2 visually acknowledged Raiden’s transformation when the player returned to the title screen. Whereas the player had seen Solid Snake’s face at the start, he saw Raiden’s face after having beaten the game. Solid Snake’s face had been colored the same shade of red used for lethal weapons in the player’s inventory during both MGS1 and MGS2.
Raiden’s face was colored the same shade of blue reserved for non-lethal weapons in the player’s inventory—MGS2’s innovation upon MGS1’s combat. The changed title screen formally depicted Raiden’s awakening and MGS2’s gameplay shift away from MGS1.

Raiden had escaped the delusion that he was Solid Snake, and he had escaped the player’s control over him as an actor. In a concluding cutscene, Raiden threw away his dogtags with the player’s name chiseled thereon. MGS2 had ditched MGS1, and Raiden had ditched the player. 

MGS2 associated Raiden with the fecundity that comes from the abandonment of cold myths. Solid Snake was sterile, but Raiden was a father.

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