A Formal Analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2
James Clinton Howell
VII: Fatman and Fortune
Fatman’s character design and fight patterns formally recalled Raven’s while contrasting its content. Both men were physically the largest of their groups, yet Fatman had paunch instead of Raven’s brawn. Raven had run through the level shirtless while toting an aircraft machine gun; Fatman skated under the weight of a full body bombsuit while plugging Raiden with a small Glock handgun. Raven had moved up, down, and side-to-side like a rook on a chessboard, and Fatman cut circles in the ground with his skates. Raven had forced Snake to run through a frozen, underground loading dock, while Fatman forced Raiden to run and freeze bombs across an elevated, open-air heliport.
MGS2 inverted the narrative results of each boss’s defeat. After the player had beaten Raven in MGS1, Raven had slumped against a wall, helped Snake with his dying words, claimed that he would watch Snake from beyond death, and disappeared when his namesake devoured him. Fatman, however, slumped against a crate, antagonized Raiden with his dying words, and implied that he would only survive death when others remembered his legacy. MGS2 contrasted Raven’s post-fight absence with Fatman’s presence: the player physically hauled Fatman’s body aside to defuse one final bomb. MGS2’s narrative didn’t even require Fatman’s death. If the player had defeated him via non-lethal means, Fatman still breathed when Raiden proceeded with his mission.
Fortune’s boss fight combined formal elements from Solid Snake’s battles against MGS1 and MGS2 enemies alike. Like Snake’s first fight against Sniper Wolf in MGS1, Fortune and Raiden—a woman and a man—were positioned on opposite ends of an enclosed urban environment. The player had traversed old territory to retrieve a sniper rifle in MGS1, and Wolf had occupied a space that prevented his forward progress. Raiden likewise had to traverse old territory to disarm bombs before encountering Fortune, who occupied a space that prevented his forward progress. Bullets and grenades couldn’t hurt Fortune just as they couldn’t hurt Gray Fox in MGS1, and the level design featured obstacles like Snake had used while fighting Olga during the Tanker Chapter. The fight ended when Vamp appeared, just as Gray Fox had shown up to end Snake’s fight against Ocelot in MGS1.
Fortune verbally abused Raiden because the player couldn’t damage her tantalizingly slim lifebar, and she specifically said that she had expected Solid Snake. Most players learned by accident that Raiden only survived if
he evaded Fortune’s attacks by hiding, running, and cartwheeling out of danger for two minutes. Gray Fox had given Snake a break
in MGS1 after the player had drained Ocelot’s lifebar, but Vamp stopped the fight in
MGS2 when the player hadn’t damaged Fortune at all.
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