Act Five: Old Sun
Location: The Patriots’ Ark
This is it, people: the final assault on The Patriots’ Ark – a massive floating superstructure designed to house the GW artificial intelligence that Snake must reach if he’s to stop Liquid from carrying out his plans. Problem is, between Snake and GW’s spookily cemetery-like server room are scores of crack Haven Troopers, Gekkos, the last member of The Beauty and the Beast Unit, Screaming Mantis, and gigantic corridor blasted by deadly microwaves. Feeling strong? You better be. Okay, so first things first.
You need to get from the back to the front of the Ark. Stealth is possible, but will require massive amounts of patience. As ever, lie low with OctoCamo equipped, wait, watch, thin out numbers with your tranq gun if possible and then move on. Make use of higher areas to avoid confrontation when you can, and equip Solid Eye’s night vision mode to ascertain where the Gekko guarding the door you need to move through is looking. Be warned, this door requires effort to open, so make sure the coast is clear before you attempt to open or all your sneaking efforts will have been for nothing.
On the other hand, if you’d rather ‘go loud’ then this is the perfect time to do it. Drebin’s Store has a half-price sale on so get loaded up and steam on forward, laying waste to everyone/thing in your way. Not subtle but satisfying. You can always do stealth on the second play through. After this you’ll enter the Ark’s massive, circular control room. Here you’ll encounter another squad of Haven Troopers. They’ll stream in on the ground floor and fire at you from the circling balcony. Keep moving, take out the lower targets first then pick off the higher ones at your leisure. After this its time to fight Screaming Mantis...
Boss – Screaming Mantis
Equip – Syringe, M4 Custom, AK102, MK.17, P90
Special item prize – Sorrow Doll, Psycho Mantis Doll, Screaming Beauty facemask
The final member of the Beauty and the Beast unit is also its leader, keeping them and anyone she chooses to in check using her terrifying psychic powers. Just like her Metal Gear Solid namesake, Psycho Mantis, Screaming Mantis is a master of manipulation, and as such, defeating her using conventional means is impossible without first shaking yourself free of her mind control.
Initially her tactics involve manipulating ally Meryl’s body like a marionette, along with the corpses of the Haven Troopers lying around the Ark’s control room. However, soon she ups the ante, using her puppeteer skills to prevent you from aiming at her body and even resorts to sneaky misdirection – at various points the screen goes black, with only green TV channel text top right reading ‘Hideo 2’ revealing that your PS3 hasn’t, in fact, crashed. Mantis also flashes up the Kojima Productions logo, but look closely and you’ll see it actually reads ‘Kojima Protection’ instead. Don’t hit reset! You’re being messed with!
So how do you take her down? It’s easier than it, at first, appears. First things first – to free yourself from her control, use the nanomachine syringe on yourself. This effectively cuts Screaming Mantis’ strings, freeing you to aim at her. You may have to repeat this tactic so keep the syringe equipped. But wait, before you tackle Screaming Mantis herself you need to deal with Meryl. While under Screaming Mantis’ control she’s a liability to both you and also herself. To prevent her from killing you or putting her gun to her own head, equip the Mk.2 tranq gun and wear down her stamina to knock her unconscious.
This enables you to turn your attention to Screaming Mantis herself. Rather than trying to shoot her, aim at the strings attached to either one of her puppets – The Sorrow or Psycho Mantis – and, in time, it will be cut loose and fall to the ground. Now sprint over, pick it up, equip it and you can use it against Psycho Mantis. Score a direct hit with its ethereal ‘rounds’ and suddenly you have physical control over the master manipulator. Now all you have to do is shake her to defeat with a violent flourish of the Sixaxis controller. Brilliant. Completists should try and get both dolls, but if you’re running low on health concentrate on the Psycho Mantis doll. It’s more effective – you’ll see why as soon as you’ve taken down Screaming Mantis’ ‘Beauty’ form.
General Strategy (continued)
After you’re done with Screaming Mantis it’s time for Snake to leave Meryl behind and fulfil his destiny. What follows is a series of long Scarab-filled corridors. With stealth out of the question you really need to have ammo maxed out on all of your most reliable and trusted carbines and SMGs. Don’t worry about going nuts here, after this you won’t need your weapons any more.
Once you’ve navigated these corridors there’s one final gauntlet left to run – a seemingly endless passage that’s constantly blasted by microwaves. There is no strategy here other than to join your will to Snake’s and keep hammering [Triangle] for all you’re worth. It will hurt. You will want to give up, but you have to keep going. Make it to the end and GW’s server room and we defy you not to feel like a goddamn hero. You’ve done it, right? Well, almost. While Snake’s ready to call it day forever, there’s one person he still needs to take down. That’s right – Liquid. Think you’ve got a little fight left? Well, you’re going to need more than that...
Boss – Liquid Ocelot
Equip – N/A
Special item prize – N/A
After all the shooting, raging techno war, cyborg mechs and nanomachines, this is what it all comes down to. A one-on-one fistfight between Snake and Liquid on the deck of the Patriot’s Ark. And while two ageing men slugging out like tramps in a park would be an anti-climax, series creator Hideo Kojima uses this brutal, punch-up as a summation of 21 years of Metal Gear, incorporating music, health bars, gestures and even, fleetingly, character models from earlier games as the weary pair stubbornly leather each other until nothing is left on display but pure force of will and a lot of liver spots.
It’s an incredible fight to the finish. Stamina is what counts here, so keep circling Liquid until you’re happy you can get the punches in. When you do, keep at it. Eventually you’ll get a special move prompt [Triangle] and it’s this that will really whittle down Liquid’s health. One last piece of advice – keep away from the edge of the arena. You don’t want slip and go out like a sucker with total victory just within your grasp, do you?
Boss – The final cutscenes
Equip – Comfy socks, chair
Special item prize – Having all the answers
This is it: the final gauntlet. Sorry to say there aren’t really any tactics we can give you on how best to make it through MGS4’s marathon movie ending. True, you could skip the ending of an epic story that’s taken 21 years to tell but you wouldn’t be about to do that now, would you? So our advice is simple – get comfy, sit back and enjoy every last second of it. Oh, and do wait for the credits to end. There’s a moving final message that’s well worth the wait.
Want to read more? Then here's why MGS4's final scene is more powerful than we ever realised.