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Exhibit D: Raiden


It may be redundant and obvious, but for the sake of being comprehensive, it must be said: Raiden doesn't know what's real or not. He has no field experience, and yet he feels "like a legendary mercenary"; he believes that he's part of FOXHOUND and is talking to Colonel Campbell, even though they're both part of his imagination; he doesn't even know whether his girlfriend is real! That's called being delusional.

Raiden: I've had extensive training -- the kind that's indistinguishable from the real thing.

Pliskin: Like what?

Raiden: Sneaking mission 60, Weapons 80,

Pliskin: VR, huh.

Raiden: But realistic in every way.

Snake then proceeds to convince Raiden (like he usually does) that the situation is real.

The fact that Raiden believes these VR missions are "indistinguishable from the real thing" proves that either a) he was being trained with cutting-edge technology that actually is totally realistic, in which case he could currently be in the same simulation without knowing it; or b) he is delusional to the point that he can't discern actual reality from virtual reality. Either way, it means he would not be able to tell if he was in VR during this mission!

We are told that this is our first real mission, but even Raiden—who has covered all of Snake's missions in VR—becomes quickly suspicious of how surreal things are...

Colonel: That's not a problem -- the Bravo team brought an explosives pro in with them. He was supposed to standby on Strut C according to their mission. You should find him there.

Raiden : Is this according to simulation too...?

Colonel: What are you talking about? Get to Strut C and find him!

Raiden: Understood... But I need to ask you something before I go.

Colonel: Make it quick.

Raiden: Who are they -- Dead Cell, I mean? They couldn't hit her, no matter how hard they tried... And that vampire too. It's -- it's like... It's like being in a nightmare you can't wake up from.

Rose: Jack, snap out of it!

Raiden: And you Rose -- I can't believe you're on this mission. I keep thinking I'll wake up...

Colonel: Raiden, this is real. And that's why you won't wake up.

Raiden : But nothing seems real.

Rose : I've made up my mind to stay with you. Whether this is real or a bad dream, I'll keep watching you, till it's over.

Raiden : Thank you, Rose. And I won't let you be just a dream...

...Or so says G.W.'s computer A.I. inside your head!

"It's like being in a nightmare you can't wake up from", "I keep thinking I'll wake up", "But nothing seems real"...? All of these juicy lines become doubly ironic when we remember that both the "Colonel" and "Rose" are figments of his imagination! Raiden is arguing with A.I. about whether his mission is real!

Kojima put all of this in here for a good reason, and as I suggested in the first part of this article, it was most likely to illustrate the dangers of technology and virtual reality. It's meta-narrative, encouraging the player/audience to question just how real Raiden's mission is, instead of accept it at face value simply because—like Raiden—we wish that it was.

Raiden's desperation to imitate Solid Snake is exploited by the Patriots in order to lure him into a false reality and test his willingness to complete a mission, even after realizing that it's a VR simulation. This is a metaphor for our desperation to play as Snake, which Kojima exploited in order to lure us into the Big Shell and test our willingness to finish the game, even after realizing that Raiden's mission is just a VR simulation. The fact that most people failed to accept the possibility of this goes a long way to explaining why the game is the black sheep of the series, unappreciated for its layered narrative.

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