The next series of articles will examine some similarities of these two franchises, starting with the formation of Big Boss and Darth Vader. Big Boss, the villain of the original MSX games (and their Nintendo ports) and Darth Vader, the villain of the Star Wars original trilogy. Both had their pasts revealed in prequel installments of the franchise.
On the surface, they couldn’t be more different. One is a movie series about a galaxy at war, with a group of warrior-monk protectors (The Jedi) and their mysterious powers (The Force) at the center of it. The other is a stealth gaming franchise-with themes such as nuclear deterrence, the price of war, information control, and genetic engineering. The action plays much differently too-Star Wars often has grand space and land battles between fleets and armies, while Metal Gear is often involved with stealth-avoiding detection by the enemy, and only using force when necessary.
However at their core they share similar themes. Both, for instance, take place over roughly seventy years of time-and both have a prequel component, with a man whose revered as a hero becoming a villain (of sorts), although with a partial redemption at the end. Both also involve their sons as the redeemer of the “Sins of the Father”.
When we “first” meet the two (In the Phantom Menace, and Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater), they’re sort of innocent compared to what they’ll eventually become. Anakin-although a slave-is living with his mother on Tatooine. John/Snake, although he’s been involved in a few conflicts already and has been trained by the Boss, is relatively naive, especially about the complex machinations driving his mission.
However, fate intervenes. Anakin is able to win his freedom in the pod race, and aid Qui-Gon Jinn and his friends-including his future wife-Padme Amidalia-in their mission. However, his freedom comes at a cost, as he can’t free his mother, and later Jedi rules, training, and business prevent him from coming back to visit her. Later, he loses his other parent figure and mentor (if only for a brief moment), Qui-Gon Jinn, to the twin blades of Darth Maul.
The Boss, in Metal Gear, is somewhat both mentor and mother figure to Snake (Not biologically, we never really hear much about Snake’s life prior to the mission or his family, apart from the fact that he believed in Santa Claus, and still does well into his 30’s).
Shmi of course dies from exhaustion and torture after capture from the Tusken Raiders/Sandpeople in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which then starts to warp the formerly innocent Anakin (Although he’d already developed a temper and ego) into a murderous rage, that he later reveals to Padme. It also drives a lot of what happens in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, as Anakin frankly believes something similar will happen to Padme, and can’t bear to lose her-driving, at least in part, his betrayal of the Jedi and his transformation into Darth Vader.
Snake’s situation is somewhat different. It’s a part of his mission. Due to her actions joining the Rogue Russian colonel Volgin, Big Boss and his superiors are convinced the Boss has defected, and to prevent a war between the US and Russia (Since the Boss gave Volgin a US nuclear missile as a token of trust, which he then uses on Russian soil), the Boss must be killed by Snake and take full blame for the incident.
Snake carries out his orders. Unfortunately, it’s later revealed that the Boss was in deep cover to steal a microfilm from Volgin, and had to take the fall for Volgin’s actions once he used the nuke, and was, in fact, loyal all along.
However, in both cases, the loss of the mother/mentor figure propels the characters going forward. Anakin with his motivation to somehow conquer death and prevent loss; and Big Boss to find a haven for mercenary soldiers. However, both would be further corrupted, especially by the events taking shape around them-and two alliances that would be very important-which would bear them a legacy of their own,but ultimately set them on their final path.