When we think of the great videogame protagonists, the same names are mentioned time and time again. Solid Snake, Link, Mario, Gordon Freeman. Every. Bloody. Time. Now, while these characters do have their merits to varying degrees, I think it’s about time that I show some acknowledgement to the true King of Protagonists: Metal Gear Solid 2’s Raiden. Read on for a serious and extensive list of reasons why this underrated gem of a character deserves your love.
He Has Long Hair
Long hair is the best kind of hair. I mean, just look at all of the great men in history with luscious flowing locks: Liquid Snake, Gandalf, Russell Brand, James from Pokemon. All awesome, and the strong correlation between awesomeness and hair length cannot be overlooked. Following in this grand tradition is Raiden, with his long, well cut masculine do. Granted, his hair might not be the longest in videogame history, but it is the blondest, and using good ol’ Nazi Logic, the blonder your hair is, the better you are. The only other character in videogame history who can even come close to matching Raiden’s level of pure blondeness is Dante from Devil May Cry, but since Ninja Theory‘s filthy Godless reboot has removed all traces of past Devil May Cry games from our collective memory, Raiden stands as the blonde king of videogame land. It baffles me how anyone can prefer Solid Snake in the face of such reasoning. Snake has a brunette mullet, a hairstyle associated exclusively with 3rd tier 80’s synthpop acts and paedophiles, retroactively turning Snake and anyone who defends him into a keyboard playing kiddie-fiddler by association. I can’t even look at you people, anymore!
No words. Just judgement.
Lack of Genitals
Videogame history is packed to the brim with burly, masculine men. Asura, Nathan Drake, those repressed homosexuals from Gears of War, even MGS’s own Solid Snake are indeed powerful and effective warriors but there will always be one important factor holding them down: The presence of male genitalia. Their throbbing manly phalluses may indeed be impressive to the ladies/other men, but on the battlefield they do nothing but slow you down and chafe you something rotten, universally hampering combat skills regardless of previous experience and training. Raiden suffers no such issues; he’s free to kick as much or as little ass as he may choose without fear of unwanted soreness. It’s the reason he’s actually the only soldier in videogame history capable of performing that awesome cartwheel he does instead of a pansy little combat roll.
Have you tried kicking this much ass with working privates? I have, and it cannot be done.
Raiden’s Ken doll physique is an almost invaluable tool on the battlefield, and a massive contributing factor in making him just plain superior to everyone else.
Raiden has a smoking hot girlfriend who he acquired all on his own without any interference from any allegorical society-controlling AI authorities and whom he impregnated. Snake spends the majority of his life with a slightly camp man in glasses, watching Brokeback Mountain and listening to Westlife and giving each other massages. Those are the facts we’re dealing with. Raiden is a virile ladies’ man and Snake is clearly a homosexual, and since being straight makes you a good person regardless of other qualities (Dane Cook, Mitt Romney) and being gay makes you evil and horrible (Rob Halford, Stephen Fry) Raiden must be better than Snake. You just can’t argue with that.
This means, “You will not walk for the next 4 days!” in Gay Sign Language.
He Accepts His Insults Like a Champ
A noticeable trend in Metal Gear Solid 2 is the fact that practically every character in the game insults Raiden at some point. All of the villains, women and superiors undermine him at some point. Fortune calls him “completely useless,” Snake refers to him as a “VR kid,” and the President even questions his gender, of all things!
It's for you to decide. It's up to you.
Now, some people
would have you believe that this a conscious design choice, chosen to undermine the protagonist, and by extension the player, to make the experience less pleasurable in order to reinforce Kojima’s Post-Modern message that we should question what we’re seeing, i.e. A videogame that insults you. Well, these people are clearly wrong and most certainly very silly, as this is just a simple way of showing what a total and utter lad Raiden is. He can handle a bit of banter here and there, like all good lads. Besides, he probably knows that, despite being amazing, he’s not completely flawless, and being taken down a peg or two now and then is helpful to everyone, as Raiden’s massive independently-thinking brain definitely understands. Most protagonists would “fight back” or “argue” when faced with criticism. Raiden takes it like a bro, and that deserves respect.
All aboard The Banter Bus, guys! First stop: Dave!
He’s Helpful and Considerate
Just think of all of the nice things that Raiden does throughout Metal Gear Solid 2. He helped the Patriots to complete the S3 Plan, even after discovering they’d used him all along. He helped lead Emma Emmerich to her death so Otacon could get back to some hot and sexy semi-incest without stupid annoying bitches screaming for help and killing his vibe. He carried on defusing bombs even after being told they were all in the wrong place, knowing full well that it was just a test of his free-will and ability to think for himself by the Patriots, just to help an old man in crisis.
What a gent!
Snake was too busy trying to achieve HIS objectives and save HIS boyfriend’s sister to help anyone else. Not only is he a gay paedophile, but he’s also selfish. That’s probably the worst kind of gay paedophile there is.
He Isn’t a Ninja
Does anyone even like ninjas anymore? I mean, they were OK for a bit but recently I asked like 4 people if they liked ninjas and all of them told me to leave the premises, proving just how offended they were by even the mere mention of ninjas and not because I was a bit naked at the time. I mean, there must be a reason why there are no more Tenchu and Onimusha games on the horizon. There must be a reason why Ninja Gaiden 3 completely tanked.
Pictured: A masterpiece, if not for the ninjas!
There must be a reason why 100% of gamers I’ve spoken to while fully clothed are planning to buy DmC: Devil May Cry instead of Revengeance. That reason must be that ninjas now suck, unconditionally, meaning that MGS2’s Raiden must be better than the new pussy cyborg ninja Raiden. Fact.
He’s Designed To Be As Awesome As Possible.
Not many people understand that many of Solid Snake’s numerous shortcomings were actually included on purpose. See, Metal Gear Solid 2 is a Post-Modern story. Sorry to get all academic on you Snake-loving thickies but a common trope of Post-Modern storytelling is to test the audience’s tolerance for a work by purposefully including unpleasant or disruptive elements, in order to force them to question the work. In this light, we can clearly see why such horrendous design choices were made for Snake. Hideo Kojima is just too talented a writer to simply fail at making a cool character, there HAD to be some deeper reasons behind his choices.
Deep and sexually attractive reasons.
I mean, the horrendous mullet, the retarded croaky voice, the preachy anti-terrorist dialogue. All of this was designed to make us resent Snake and wonder if a world with such an awful character in it could even be real. Raiden, on the other hand, was specifically designed to be as awesome as possible, to make the player feel truly thankful that they’re spending the majority of the game playing as him. The Post-Modern elements are maintained, of course, by the overhanging threat that you may have to play as Snake again at some point, especially after the joke that Kojima pulled at the start of the game where he makes you play as the idealistic old arsehole for a bit, ruining any of the fantastic enjoyment to be found in Raiden’s story. See, not only is Snake a bad character, he ruins other, better characters by simple association. You actually have to put conscious effort in to suck that much. The fact that Raiden is still amazing despite the presence of Snake should be all the proof you need that he’s the greatest protagonist of all time.
I love Raiden. Kojima loves Raiden. And hopefully, after reading all of this EVIDENCE, you love Raiden too.