Act Two: Solid Sun
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.
Boss – Laughing Octopus
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.