MGS4’s Beautiful Beasts

As we count down the days to the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, I’d like to dedicate some posts to what easily may be the most memorable parts of this epic opus. Namely, the game’s scary new bosses. Introduced during the MGS4 event in Liepzig, the reveal trailer featuring the monstrous and magnificent members of The Beauty and the Beast Unit is certainly the most eye-catching of the released MGS4 spots. Ruling the battlefield wherever they go, these four horsewomen of the Apocalypse are destined to meet Snake in stupendous combat. But they’re not simple war machines or killers- what makes the BaTB members that much more intriguing is the fact that they’re not really soldiers… they’re actually the ultimate victims of war. Caught in military conflicts and inflicted with post-traumatic syndrome, each one of these innocent, beautiful women was forced to become a living weapon in order to cope with the horror that destroyed her mind. Terrifying yet oddly pitiful, these monsters are actually princesses hidden deep inside cold shells, waiting for a noble warrior to free them, and perhaps give them salvation. Is Snake strong enough to be that warrior?

Crying Wolf is the first member of the BaTB seen in the trailer, her mournful sobbing the first sound heard of this sinister force. Appearing as a huge, headless lupine metal monster, Wolf is sure to be a ferocious attacker seeing as how she easily smashes the life out of several militia men simply by running past them. Aside from her raw physical attack, there’s that device on her back that looks suspiciously like the rail gun employed by Fortune in MGS2. Bullet-proof, incredibly agile and powerful, Wolf will be one tough animal to tame.

Raging Raven appears in a flash, a winged killer armed with beautiful but extremely lethal wings that can cut men in half in a lightning-fast pass. Rockets and other firepower are also in this menace’s arsenal, seemingly made all the more devastating by her furious screams of rage. It’s been a while since Snake has fought a flying opponent, and taking on Raven may be akin to the past battles with the Hind in MGS and the Harrier in MGS2.

Laughing Octopus is my personal favorite among the BaTB… simply because I think she’s the scariest of the bunch. A female body with mammoth tentacles sprouting from her headpiece is the stuff of nightmares, and you just gotta believe that those tendrils can easily squeeze the life out of Snake if they ever get a grip on him. It’s made all the more creepy by how Octopus insists on maniacally cackling as she crushes, whips and smashes the life out of her victims. Bringing down this beast will be made more difficult by her ability to use of camouflage like Snake’s, but somehow the old soldier has to find a way to out-maneuver and out-fight this strangely sensual menace.

Finally, there’s Screaming Mantis. A levitating figure with multiple arms that obviously let her manipulate the battlefield like some mad puppet master, I think Mantis will be the final member of the BaTB to take down. Fighting her may be similar to the classic battle with Psycho Mantis from the first MGS, albeit with steroids. Telekinesis or the ability to manipulate other characters or perhaps even aspects of the environment may be among her weapons, aside from those nasty looking sickles. Aside from forcing her enemies to kill each other, she can cause death with her near-invisible puppet strings. How can Snake fight an opponent like this? And what is her link to Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow (both of whom appear as little marionettes in her grip)? It’ll be interesting to find out when Snake finally meets Mantis in mortal combat.

There they are. Four terrifying but terrific bosses who will surely make Snake’s life a living hell. Just keep in mind they’re victims, not villains, and maybe you’ll conquer your fear and find the beauty beneath the beast.

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