Equip - Solid Eye (Night Vision), MK 2 Tranquilizer pistol, M4 Custom
Special item prize - OctoCamo facemask
The claustrophobic South American showdown against tentacled mistress of disguise Laughing Octopus is Snake’s first encounter with MGS4’s unsettling Beauty and the Beast unit, and a master class in the series’ classic brains and brawn approach to set-piece duels. Playing out in an enclosed, prefab research station comprising of interconnected rooms, Octopus’s initial tactic is to use her full-body camouflage to hide out and taunt you before revealing herself suddenly to panic you into fatal errors.
Blending into oil paintings, wooden slatted walls, ceiling rafters and stock room shelves, she’s visible with the naked eye if you’re sharp. A better tactic is to use the Solid Eye’s night vision mode that lights Octopus up like a Christmas tree. Wear down her health and she starts to get more brazen, barreling after you, firing homing darts your way, and crashing through windows to send you flying. Remember to pick up rations and ammo whenever the coast is clear, and clamber up onto furniture if she starts rolling after you.
Ever the tricksy one, she alternates camouflage with a series of disguises. Are you sure that’s a Dr Naomi Hunter unconscious on the floor? Where did that Haven Trooper’s body come from? Why does that medical scanner have a new, extra thick cable running up to the ceiling? And how come the Metal Gear Mk. 2 is here? If it seems wrong, it’s probably Octopus. Stay sharp, stay calm, stay alive and eventually Laughing Octopus will be gone, replaced by the tragic beauty beneath the grotesque hardware. And (result!) she wants a hug. What could be the harm in that, right? Not so fast. Let Laughing Beauty (as she’s now known) embrace you and she’ll suck the life right out of you.
So while it feels so wrong, you’re going to have to take her down a second time. But you’ve got two choices here. Kill her outright if you like, but if you quick equip Snake’s Mk.2 tranq gun, and wear down Laughing Beauty’s stamina instead, you’ll leave her alive and on the road to mental and physical recovery. And for this display of mercy you’ll receive a special item from her. In this case it’s Laughing Octopus’ OctoCamo facemask, which will come in very handy later on.
General Strategy Continued
All done? Good, now your mission is to track down Dr Naomi Hunter, who’s been spirited away by Liquid’s Haven Troopers, by looking for signs of her passage through the countryside. Equipping Solid Eye’s night vision mode will reveal footprints (hers are narrower than her captors) and show up Haven snipers lying in wait, while flattened grass is also a good indicator that somebody passed by that way.
Use your ears too. It is possible to hear the doctor at certain points, but be warned, there is a decoy tape recording of her voice hidden in a booby-trapped hut, so be on your guard. Watch out too for Claymore mines in the long grass, and try to be quiet. The less you give away about your position the better. Oh, and look out for a set of handprints (!). Follow them to find a great little gift from the development team. Eventually you close in on the doctor only to find her being airlifted away by chopper. Drebin’s arrival in his armoured personnel carrier signals the final stage of this act, a frantic drive towards Snake’s extraction zone back through the entire map.
Pursued by Gekkos and zombie-like PMC mercs Snake must man the personnel carrier’s roof-mounted gun. Strategy here? Keep the mercs from climbing onto the vehicle’s roof and shoot at the Gekko’s heads. In case one or two mercs do join you, keep a CQC weapon equipped so you can leave the big gun, deal with them quickly and get back to shooting a passage through the chaos. Back in town there’s a final sprint through Gekko infested streets to Snake’s chopper. Avoiding them isn’t always possible - so try running and rolling past them to avoid their sweeping attacks.