Colonel Roy Campbell is one of the main characters of the Solid Snake portion of the Metal Gear saga, appearing in 3 games of the main saga, and ‘sort of’ appearing in a fourth, as well as the Big Boss era game “Portable Ops”, although the continuity of that game in the overall ‘canon’ is subject to interpretation.
Initially first appears first in the sequel game, Metal Gear II: Solid Snake, as the commander of FOXHOUND after Big Boss’s treachery and suspected death.
Chronologically, he does appear as stated, in Portable Ops, where, as a Green Beret held prisoner but freed by Big Boss he helps Big Boss fight off a rogue FOX Unit. However, due to Portable Op’s place in the continuity (and the fact I personally have not played it yet and know relatively little of it compared to the other games), I’ll be focusing more on his role in the Solid Snake era.
In Metal Gear 2 when he first appears, Roy’s likeness is obviously based on the Rambo film’s supporting character Colonel Trautman, the man who trained Rambo and served as his main commanding officer and friend, later aiding him during the Hope and POW incidents in the first two movies, and in turn rescued by Rambo in the third film.
Before this, Roy also has an affair with his brother Matthew’s wife. (Matthew was killed during the Gulf War). The result of this was Meryl Silverburgh, who would believe Roy was her uncle until the Shadow Moses Incident.
After commanding and aiding Snake during the Zanzibar Land disturbance which forms the plot of Metal Gear 2, Roy appears in Metal Gear Solid, forcing Snake out of retirement. Due to the mission’s sensitive nature, the multiple conspiracies surrounding it, and Meryl trapped on the island as a hostage, Campbell is forced to keep several details of the mission-the existence of the Metal Gear REX, the FOXDIE virus, and other elements-a secret from Snake, while still trying to aid him. Despite this, Solid Snake still considers Roy a friend and ally. When things get even more hairy on the mission, Campbell is relieved of command by Jim Houseman, who wants to bury the whole inciddent-literally-with nuclear bombardment. However, Campbell is able to eventually resume command and protect Snake and his daughter.
During the Big Shell incident which forms the plot of Metal Gear Solid II, the colonel seems to return to give advice to operate Raiden, and seems to be extremely wary of the presence of his old “friend” Solid Snake. However, it eventually turns out that this isn’t the colonel at all, but an AI controlled by the larger Patriots AI network to simulate the conditions of Shadow Moses, gaining data that will help them gain further control.
This AI is also eventually fed a virus which causes it to act extremely erratically and babble total nonsense.
The colonel returns for real in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots where he helps Snake locate Liquid Ocelot. It’s also revealed that he married Raiden’s girlfriend Rose (However this is in fact a ruse to help protect Rose and Raiden’s son, Jack, from the Patriots). During the mission, despite this, he does his best to make amends to Meryl.
Campbell is last seen walking his daughter down the aisle-or what passes for one, on the jet NOMAD and the airport it’s parked at, for her wedding to Johnny Sasaki.
In addition, Campbell also cameos in the Solid Snake screens of the Smash Bros Brawl game, where Solid Snake faces off against Nintendo characters such as Mario, Bowser, Zelda etc.
and most recently in the Ford Focus commercial where the characters discuss the features of the Ford Focus SE.