Solidus Snake, the only one of the Enfants Terribles who stars in just a single title – barring his bottled remains that were used as a diversion in the events of MGS4. Still, Solidus is one of the most beloved characters in the series, a charismatic villain with some indisputable ideals, but also a ruthless man who goes to such lengths to achieve his goals that it would disturb even Machiavelli. He’s a bastard, but one who we can’t help but like. And eloquent as he is, he has a lot of memorable pieces of dialogue. Here are five of his best quotes.
“Jack, those days during the civil war were as real as they come… Every day was absolute, split between life and death. You ran from it, and now, you’ve been lead back to war by something less than real.”
If there’s one quote that really captures the spirit of MGS2, it’s this one. Raiden tried to run from his tragic past, tried to forget it ever existed, but his memories wouldn’t let go of him. The Patriots constructed a false reality for him, but he also constructed one on his own, in his own mind. When we hear this quote, we don’t actually see Solidus yet, his voice echoes through the air as if it’s just in Raiden’s mind, like a vivid memory. But as soon as Solidus has spoken these words, he suddenly appears in physical form, he becomes real in a sense. Raiden’s worst nightmare is back, standing right in front of him.
“We’re all born with an expiration date. No one lasts forever. Life is nothing but a grace period for turning our genetic material into the next generation. The data of life is transferred from parent to child. That’s how it works. But we have no heirs, no legacy. Cloned from our father with the ability to reproduce conveniently engineered out. What is our legacy if we cannot pass the torch? Proof of our existence – a mark of some sort.”
Right before the final battle atop Federal Hall, Solidus explains to Raiden that he’s not simply after power. His goals lie somewhere else. He does not have the ability to pass on his genes, but passing the torch is more than that: there’s also information to be imparted. The fact that the Patriots are seeking to control that aspect as well is what truly drives him to end their reign. To Solidus, if he’s unable of leaving behind any mark, it’s as if he never existed. And that is something he cannot live with.
“Damn the Patriots…!”
Short and simple. Solidus just took out no less than three Metal Gear RAYs who where coming after him after the system went berserk due to Emma’s virus. Solidus makes short work of the mechanical beasts, and less than a minute later they collapse on the floor. But the real enemy he has in his sights is the power behind it all: the Patriots. Solidus does not fear them, he damns them, and just as he’s standing over the burning remains of their machines, so too will he come after them.
“Unless you kill me and face your past, Jack, you will never escape. You’ll stay in the endless loop — your own double helix.”
His whole life Raiden has been trapped by his past. He tried to run, tried to forget, tried to manufacture a new identity, tried to erase his childhood from existence – along with the man who was at the center of it all, Solidus Snake. But the one thing he could never do was accept it. And as a result the reality of his past kept coming back to haunt him in his dreams. Solidus needs to be acknowledged, and erased, in order for Raiden to move on, to become his own man.
“All I want is to be remembered. By other people, by history. The Patriots are trying to protect their power, their own interests, by controlling the digital flow of information. I want my memory, my existence to remain. Unlike an intron of history, I will be remembered as an exon.”
Solidus explains his true motivations for wanting to take out the Patriots and their system of control. Just as all living things exist to ensure the reproduction of their genetic code, their GENE, Solidus is trying to ensure the future of his MEME. This is why he’s making the comparison to genetic sequencing, he wants to be passed on as part of history’s collected memory.
Did Solidus fight for freedom? Or for himself? The truth is somewhere in the middle. Regardless, he ultimately fails at eliminating those who try to control society’s freedom. At the end of the game, Raiden defeats Solidus in battle atop Federal Hall. Solidus stumbles towards the ledge and throws himself off the roof, unable to accept his defeat. The Patriots have won, and their power would grow even more immense over the following years. As Snake puts it, witnessing the results: “Everything that Solidus feared five years ago, it’s all come to pass.”