Act One: Liquid Sun
Location: Middle East
Snake enters the Middle East on the back of a local militia troop transport and is immediately pitched into the middle of a running street battle between the militia and the technologically superior forces of the Praying Mantis private military company (PMC). Snake’s ultimate goal in this act is to make his way through the war-torn city safely to reach the Praying Mantis base of operations where his target, Liquid Snake is located.
There are two ways of doing this. The first involves avoiding confrontation with either side using Snake’s impeccable stealth abilities. However, with plenty of opportunities for old-skool sneaking in the rest of the game, the better (and more enjoyable) strategy for this first act is to ally Snake with the local militia. Doing this is as simple as killing a PMC mercenary and reaps instant rewards: you won’t have two armies shooting at you on sight; you can navigate the militia safe house’s subterranean tunnels quickly and with impunity; you can use the militia’s mortars to take down enemy vehicles; and you can give and receive valuable items to and from grateful militia soldiers.
But best of all, when things get very shooty, you’re still free to switch on the OctoCamo, melt away and use the ensuing chaos to slip past both armies and ever closer to your real objective. There is no boss battle in this first act, although the set-piece fight against Liquid’s elite, all-female Haven Troopers in the palace is a fantastic test of your combat skills.
Act Two: Solid Sun California
Location: South America
1. If you haven’t already, start buying modifications for your favourite weapons. Red dot sights and underslung shotgun units are never a bad purchase. It’s also worth investing in a Javelin missile launcher. It’s good for taking down choppers, Gekkos, ground vehicles and certain winged bosses you might be about to meet.
2. During the bigger shootouts keep a health item equipped. Do this and should you fail to notice Snake’s health getting low, he will automatically take the ration/Regain power drink/noodles.
With Liquid fled to South America, Snake follows, setting down several clicks away from Liquid’s drug baron-style villa in an area crawling with troops from the Pieuvre Armament PMC. Part one of the mission involves getting to the villa cross-country via a heavily guarded power station and detention block. In a similar style to the Middle East act, it pays to ally yourself with the local armed forces to do this.
At the start of the mission you’ll see a settlement. A group of local soldiers has been rounded up by the PMC mercs. Being sure not to cap any of the local boys, take down the first wave of PMC soldiers and, hey presto! You have yourself a ready-made army to smooth your way up country. Happily, these guys are very aggressive, so will keep the mercs busy, enabling you to pick your battles and look around for special items – there are some great bonus tracks for Snake’s iPod around here, for example.
The path towards the villa branches at key points along the way but all routes lead to the villa, so press on. When you get to the villa, use the local army’s general assault as cover and make your way into the house. There aren’t many PMC guards here, but stay sharp (particularly on the stairs) and make your way to the roof. Feel free to use the fixed gun emplacement here to thin out the PMCs for your new friends or just circle around the side of the roof and head down towards the basement and into Dr Naomi Hunter’s lab. After a long chat with the good doctor, Haven Troopers interrupt to take her away. Then the stage is set for your first boss battle with a member of The Beauty and the Beast unit whom you saw briefly in the Middle East.