The next few Metal Gear posts will now examine the title mecha itself, Metal Gear, and some of it’s variants and derivatives over the years, at least in the major Hideo Kojima games. Metal Gears are basically bipedal robots capable of launching nukes from anywhere in the world. It’s name means that it’s the “gear”-or link-between traditional tank artillery, and bipedal infantry. It’s used by various factions in the series, sometimes for protection, defense, or a deterrent, but often for more nefarious purposes, hence it becoming the main video game ‘bosses’ (apart from the characters actual with the name of Boss) of the series.
First up we had the Shagohod from Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater. Although technically not a Metal Gear but a screw-powered tank used by a rogue Russian faction. Oddly enough, this design was chosen by the bad guys as the design to be mass-produced, instead of the rival “walking tank” Metal Gear design by another developer called Granin. Nevertheless, the plans for Metal Gear eventually wind up in the hands of Granin’s American friend, Huey Emmerich, and also the concept becomes stuck in Big Boss’s mind.
Eventually, in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Huey develops the Peace Walker AI weapons for the rogue unit Peace Sentinel, one of which resembles the Shagohod. The eventual designs culminate in the Peace Walker itself (Controlled by an AI that mentally resembles Snake’s mentor, the Boss), which is almost a Metal Gear, although it has an extra pair of legs for a quadruped function. Utilizing the Boss’s will, Peace Walker eventually submerges itself in lake Nicouraga, although the Pod containing the Boss’s AI is later recovered.
Pupa, Chrystalis, Cocoon and the two Peace Walker configurations.
Detail of Peace Walker’s bipedal, Metal Gear-esque “Basilisk” mode.
The first “true” Metal Gear, at least in the Kojima-directed games, is the ZEKE. It’s largely built from the remains of the Peace Walker weapons, including a rail-gun, and designed by Huey, who defects to Big Boss’s organization. The mech is used to reinforce Big Boss’s army and act as a deterrent against enemies. The mech is almost stolen and used by Big Boss’s rival, Zero/Cipher/The Patriots, but Big Boss is able to disable it. Unfortunately, when Big Boss’s Militaries San Frontieras mother base is destroyed, ZEKE itself is destroyed as well, as it was unarmed and submerged (although not in the same fashion as it’s “sister” Peace Walker) during that destruction.
The next time a Metal Gear resurfaces is 9 years later during Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain, in 1984, built by Emmerich while developing for the rogue Cipher group, XOF. Called Selanthropus, or ST-84, it has advanced weaponry but comparatively weak armor and no real room for a pilot, instead “piloted” by the empathetic/psychic Psycho Mantis, who uses the proxy revenge-based emotions of Big Boss’s clone son, Eli. It’s also one of the few Metal Gears with arms and hands. It was eventually damaged by Venom Snake, but later repaired by Emmerich, and in turn stolen by Eli. In a deleted ending from MGSV, it is destroyed beyond repair by Venom Snake and his allies in Diamond Dogs once again. Eli is presumed dead, but eventually will resurface and cause problems later on as “Liquid Snake”.
When Big Boss and “Venom Boss” develop Outer Heaven as a country, and with Huey exiled and in the states, Big Boss sets about developing a new Metal Gear to reinforce his mercenary nation, similar to what he did with ZEKE. The result is TX-55, which appears in the original Metal Gear Game. It is destroyed by Solid Snake before ever being activated. The design seems to evoke the EV-9D9 from Robocop, as well as certain anime mecha of the time.
When Big Boss relocates Outer Heaven to Zanzibar land in Metal Gear II: Solid Snake, a new Metal Gear is constructed, resembling TX-55 although somewhat more ‘organic’ in design.
Snake actually has to deal with this Metal Gear while it’s still active, and piloted by his old friend and FOXHOUND member, Grey Fox.
In the first “Solid” game, we meet Metal Gear Rex, a secret project that is seized by Liquid Snake’s rogue faction of FOXHOUND, and whose ‘face’ resembles Selanthropus. It’s also designed by Huey’s son Hal, who also goes by the name “Otacon”. With Otacon’s help Snake is able to disable the Metal Gear and defeat Liquid’s plans.
What’s left of Rex, however, comes in handy later on for Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4, Guns of the Patriots, where he pilots it against Metal Gear Ray.
Finally, as far as ‘main’ Metal Gears go, we have Metal Gear Ray introduced in Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, an anti-Metal Gear designed by the navy (but stolen by the Patriots and later Solidus’s group Dead Cell) to combat other Metal Gears, like Rex, and provide escort and defense for the much larger Arsenal gear battleships. Ray itself has no nuke, but is a formidable machine in it’s own right. There are actually many Rays-one, a manned prototype, is mainly piloted by Revolver Ocelot, while the other units are mainly driven by AI. It also returns in 4.