AKA: Dave, スネ〜〜〜〜ック!!
As seen in: Metal Gear (MSX2)
Also in: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PlayStation 3)
Distinguishing feature: A fixed expression of weary incredulity at the world around him.
Strengths: Infiltrating enemy territory and neutralizing targets using only ordinary household items.
Weaknesses: Chronic echolalia.

Profile by Nicola Nomali | January 31, 2010

Ex-FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake is a celebrated figure in military and intelligence circles privy only to the scantest details of his exploits, down to common civilian who have only seen his name through the veneer of government propaganda. His history of averting global threats with one-man stealth missions has been pervaded by rumors and myths, earning him such monikers as "Legendary Hero," "Professional Intruder," and "the Man Who Makes the Impossible Possible." He's said to have scaled a number of natural fortresses and infiltrated state-of-the-art defenses using little more than a pack of cigarettes and a cardboard box. Entire networks of mercenaries have been pruned to nothing simply by nature of their members joining the side opposing Solid Snake.

Snake's enemies, in fact, might be regarded with as much pity as Snake himself is lauded. Granted, it follows that an ordinary guard would drop dead from a single bullet aimed by a steady hand in the darkness, or even from just three punches to the skull thrown by this martial arts expert; while they had numbers on their side, they were generally lucky that Snake's missions discouraged direct confrontations.

But even the mercenary elite hand-picked by Big Boss, comprised of former Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS, little-known guerilla squads held in higher esteem than the Green Berets, Olympic athletes, and NASA-endorsed space ninjas were no match for him in a head-on duel.

From an outsider's perspective, their tactics sway between deadly and ludicrous: Running Man simply ran away from Snake through a circuitous building while deadly gas filled the room; Night Sight bore a specially silenced gun and camouflage which rendered him completely invisible, even to radar... but ambushed Snake in the only room in the entire Zanzibar Land complex where his footfalls would give away his position. Even Metal Gear, the infamous bipedal tank capable of firing nuclear missiles from any terrain on Earth, which also housed an arsenal's worth of defenses, was done in by the glaring lack of armor on its legs. Still, anyone without Snake's sharpened wits and boundless ingenuity would surely have fallen dead before thinking to chase Running Man onto a trap of land mines, managing to track both Night Sight's footsteps and bullet trajectory to fire back, and so on.

Further precluding the notion that Snake's victories are owed to the opposition's incompetence is Big Boss himself, FOXHOUND's former commander turned terrorist leader, who had earned a reputation of his own as "the Greatest Soldier of the Twentieth Century." Snake tried and failed to kill him during his rookie assignment to the fortress nation of Outer Heaven -- and that time, he was firing straight away with a rocket launcher. Four years later, after destroying the revised Metal Gear D, Snake was forced to abandon every item he'd acquired since crawling into Zanzibar Land barehanded -- every weapon, every futuristic gadget, and even his emergency rations and beloved cardboard box. There, in a remote basement of Big Boss's stronghold, he again had to face his one-time mentor -- who came toting an assault rifle, and was in no mood to play fair. As the madman closed in, he ducked into whatever barren closet availed itself in search of something he could use to fight back; in the end, he came up with...a Zippo lighter and a can of "Mrs. Spray." With devilish resourcefulness (and choking back the emasculation), he made his stand to reduced the legendary soldier to a charred corpse with what he'd turned into a makeshift flamethrower.

As cold as a man would have to be to murder his father figure with aerosol, Snake's remarkable nature extends beyond merely fulfilling the objectives issued by his commanding officers. He's a soldier's soldier, who understands that opponents on all sides have their own reasons to fight, with only the caprice of the status quo distinguishing friend from foe. He might have begun to grasp it in Zanzibar Land, when he faced Kyle Schneider, the former leader of the insurgent resistance in Outer Heaven, now aligned beneath the same dictator he'd been trying to oust. Schneider hadn't lost his mind; NATO's gross mistreatment of his people just shifted Big Boss's relation to him from oppressor to savior. Mere hours later, Snake was assaulted in Metal Gear D by none other than Gray Fox, his FOXHOUND rival (and the closest thing he'd ever had to a best friend), now paying back multiple life debts to Big Boss. Fox obviously returned Snake's conflicted feelings, sending him anonymous messages to guide him through Zanzibar Land even while dispatching mercenaries to kill him. After what was to be their final battle -- a brutal fistfight in a room lined with mines -- Snake still held Fox in his arms and listened sympathetically as he lamented his aimless life of endless, compulsive bloodshed.

That's one mercy Snake can usually guarantee his foes; while he's not above extolling wry one-liners to some of the more cartoonish villains he's faced, he'll at least sit and listen to their regrets until they finally breathe their last. For all his killing, he knows that he has little to no moral high ground over any of them. But could there be a more compelling cause for his undying patience for the meandering woes of any number of psychologically-damaged freaks? Why he rejects his celebrity and disappears into some Arctic hermitage only to answer the call of tactical espionage time and again; or why he once began all his transceiver calls -- from Big Boss's misleading, nonsensical jabber to the aggressive interruptions of informant Diana's jealous boyfriend Steve -- with a tongue-bitingly polite "This is Solid Snake... Your reply, please."

Perhaps Snake believes in his own legend more than he'd ever admit. Or maybe, from the beginning, he's just been the victim of a guilty conscience.

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