Metal Gear is known not only for its deep characters, but also for its dramatic and powerful death scenes. Here are the 5 most pivotal, dramatic or shocking death scenes in the Metal Gear Solid series. Some are chosen for their importance to the story, the impact on the player, or the cinematic quality and memorability. But what they have in common is that each of them is sure to stick with you.
Here’s a video where the five death scenes can be watched in order. Below follows an explanation why they were chosen.
After Vulcan Raven has been defeated, he decided to give his body back to nature, since his presence is ‘no longer needed’. As Snake walks away, Raven has a dark and tragic message for him. Raven tells Snake that he is born to be on the battlefield, and that he can’t escape this fate. Snake turns his back on him and walks away, but we can see the words spoken by Raven hold true. The crooked camera angles show that Snake is on a warped path. The ominous music underlines this fact. Also, we see Snake walk in slow motion, which represents the fact that he can try to walk away from this message, but he can’t escape its truth. It keeps hold of him.
“No matter how far you go, or how many corpses you crawl over, the killing will never end.”
As Raven’s final words echo trough the room, Snake turns around and sees the only remains of the man who had stood before him: the gatling gun. Paired with a church bell melody one raven feather swirls towards the weapon. Raven has been consumed, and so has his message by Solid Snake.
Big Boss’ death scene is bittersweet. It is relatively peaceful, since he can die at the grave of the person he loved most, after having made peace with his artificial son. The fact that Big Boss feels that way is underlined by his last words ‘This is good, isn’t it?’. But it’s also tragic, as Big Boss strongly realizes that half of his life consisted of nothing but grave mistakes that caused doom for mankind. Ever since he killed The Boss, something he regrets severely, he, according to his own words, ‘was already dead’. The creation of The Patriots and subsequently Outer Heaven is something that caused more harm than good, and in the end Big Boss realizes he has betrayed The Boss’s ideals rather than lived by them. He feels that he is beyond redemption and the world is better off without him. He hopes that through his clone Solid Snake, he can live his final days as a man.
“Forget about us. Live for yourself.”
His death is very calm and subtle compared to other death scenes in the series, such as Volgin exploding in a thunderbolt or Vulcan Raven being eaten by birds. Big Boss passes away quietly.
After defeating Sniper Wolf, a seemingly cold and emotionless person, Solid Snake hears her life story just before she dies. She turns out to be more a victim of war than a enabler. Her words are full of sorrow and tragedy. After being traumatized and destroyed by war as a child, she makes the choice to see war from a different perspective, literally. From the outside, through the scope of her sniper. She also puts Big Boss in a different light by talking about him as someone who saved her.
“In the name of vengeance I sold my body and my soul.”
The music that plays during her death scenes is one of the most beloved of the series, and for good reason. Her words are like a sad poem, and the images of the two figures on a cold, snowy field are memorable. The atmosphere of the desolate place in the dark night is very strong, but Sniper Wolf likes the tranquility and loneliness of it, saying she has always dreamed of a peaceful place like it.
Zero’s condition in MGS4 represents what happened to The Patriots. Just like The Patriots organization, Major Zero has been taken over by machines himself, in many ways. He can’t think for himself, he can’t breathe for himself. Just as The Patriots organization and its ideals have been taken over by machines, so has the face behind it all, Major Zero. The same thing that EVA describes happened to Big Boss, happened to Zero as well, ‘he wasn’t allowed to live or die’. When Big Boss kills him, he actually frees him. Zero dies a natural death, as a human.
Another thing that’s notable about him is the big contrast between Zero ‘the leader of the Patriots’ and Zero ‘the man’. Throughout the game, he is presented as an almighty tyrant, a god even. When Liquid takes over the system, he shouts to the sky “Do you see this, Zero? We are victorious!’, as if he is shouting directly to the gods. But when you finally see Zero, there is nothing of this all. He is just an old, sad man that isn’t even able to move or think for himself. Big Boss makes this sharp contrast clear when he says ‘This man was the source of it all… and he doesn’t even realize it. He’s completely unaware of the fact that he led the world to the brink of ruin’.
The camerawork helps to emphasize what is being said. When Big Boss talks about Zero as a threat to humanity, a ‘beast’, the camera is very low so that Zero looks powerful and menacing, almost like a god, again contrasting with his actual physicality.
“And for that reason I am taking it upon myself to send Zero back to nothing.”
Big Boss also reflects back on his own mistakes by looking at Zero, and he sees it as his duty to ‘take him back to nothing’. He doesn’t hate him anymore. As Big Boss ends his life, flashbacks of past events show the man he once was. It is unclear wether these are Zero’s or Big Boss’s memories, but it doesn’t matter: they are their shared memories.
The Boss is one of the series’ most beloved characters, but that’s not the only thing that makes her death scene significant. If her death in MGS3 hadn’t happened, nothing else in the story would have unfolded the way it did. There would be no Patriots, no war between Zero and Big Boss, no Outer Heaven, no Les Enfants Terribles (so no Solid Snake as well). Her importance to the story is so great, she’s pretty much the root of all the other events.
“Kill me now.”
What also makes it memorable is the fact you have to pull the trigger yourself. And you have no other option. You can wait, but you can’t go on until you’ve shot her. Just like Big Boss, you can’t walk away from it, wether you like it or not. As Snake stands over his defeated mentor, there’s nothing but silence, until you pull the trigger and a loud gunshot echoes over the landscape. A shot that will change Snake forever, as well as the fate of the entire world.
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