They are the government's best-kept secrets: masters of stealth, trained to kill in a hundred different ways in the shadows or face to face.
The twenty-third episode of the second season pits two well-known operative protagonists from their respective stealth game series, often compared to each other in a recurring rivalry. The pair will pit a soldier birthed from legacy against one who earned his prowess, in a battle that sees Wizard and Boomstick compare a complete camouflage system against a multi-purpose suit, a master of close combat against a trained and walking arsenal, for Solid Snake and Sam Fisher will and must spare no expense, bringing in everything they have to offer, all for the sake of winning a death battle.
To begin, Wizard and Boomstick take a look at the origins of Solid Snake, who was once but a child named David, born from the Les Enfant Terribles project. His purpose in life was simple: being cloned from the greatest solider of the 20th century, Big Boss, the project was meant to empower David, turning him into the greatest soldier of all. While the project originally had 8 children, 6 of them were scrambled to empower the remaining two, one was prophesied to save the world, the other to destroy it. Luckily for David, he ended up being the good one. He spent most of his young adult life fighting for the Green Berets, the US Army, the CIA, and eventually, the special operations group FOXHOUND; his work in stealth operations in the very last of those being where he attained his now famous codename: Solid Snake. After receiving training from Big Boss himself, his commanding officer, Snake was sent to the secret base Outer Heaven on a rescue mission, but soon discovered that the base housed a Metal Gear, a bipedal weapon capable of launching a nuclear strike to and from anywhere in the world. Not only that, but Big Boss was revealed to be the leader behind the terrorist uprising. To prevent nuclear war, Snake killed Big Boss and destroyed Metal Gear before leaving for an early retirement, relocating to Alaska to train his dogs. Alas, the dream was not meant to be; he was soon pulled out of retirement to destroy another Metal Gear and confront the still-alive Big Boss before leaving again. But even then, more and more and many more Metal Gears would pop up, and Snake would be involved in the destruction of them all.
But though the soldier of fortune known world-over is known for his expertise in infiltration and stealth, Snake has just as much expertise in combat proper. The two cross over when analyzing his arsenal; Snake prefers to travel light for his missions, packing with him only a small handful of weapons: a Ruger Mk 2 pistol when lethal force is not required, a 1911 Operator pistol when it is, and a stun knife, the offspring of a combat knife and a taser. Snake's training with Big Boss, allows him to utilize CQC, or close quarters combat, a fighting style developed by Big Boss with his mentor, The Boss, another legendary war heroine. With this, Snake can easily switch between melee and ranged combat quickly, aided by his master of almost any weapon he uses and his supplementary equipment. For his gear, Snake is outfitted with the Octocamo suit and his Solid Eye: the former is a camouflage system and allows Snake to blend in with his surroundings to an extent where even infrared-equipped Gekkos fail to spot him, while the latter is an eyepatch-like device that can provide real-time battle information, such as night vision and radar. When he needs backup, he uses the codec system, which is regulated by the nanomachines inside his body that also enhance his body further. The codec is an almost entirely silent communication system between him and his support team; one of his most consistent allies on missions is Snake's good friend, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, a self-professed otaku and successful hacker and programmer. Given enough time, he can hack into anything, providing some extra support for Snake, letting him finish the mission with fewer hindrances.
Snake was given the skills to become the greatest soldier in history, and thus far, he has never failed to deliver on that claim. Over the course of his life, Snake has defeated a collection of some of the Metal Gear universe's strongest and strangest, including snipers, cybernetic ninjas, psychics, and several Metal Gears. He has also defeated Big Boss on twice, triumphed over Liquid Snake, the only other survivor of the Les Enfant Terribles project, once blew up a tank with grenades, even used a Metal Gear against a later model designed to destroy them and won, and can survive a long microwave corridor for at least three minutes. However, despite his genes, Snake is an ultimate soldier, but not a perfect human and can go down like a normal person if he takes too much damage. He also suffers physical issues, namely heart issues, seizures and rapid aging, that have been attributed to a combination of having been cloned and the use of nanomachines, and his Octocamo, while unrivaled in its ability to conceal, only provides minimal protection against enemy attacks. Still, such setbacks never overwhelmed Solid Snake, nor would it be likely they ever would.
Having finished studying the details of Solid Snake, Wizard and Boomstick move on to the competition, one Samuel Leo Fisher, born April 1957 in suburban Maryland to a military father. His parents both passed away before he became an adult, and he went through military school in an effort to follow in his father's footsteps. He was a successful operative who served in the Navy SEALs and the CIA, where he had picked up an interest in stealth and espionage, and got sent to covert missions such as the one in the Soviet Republic of Georgia where he met his wife Regan Burns. Regan gave birth to their daughter Sarah, and started a life together, but alas, three years later, with their professions getting in the way, the couple divorced. When Sam found out that Regan eventually died from ovarian cancer, he retired from his military career to be with Sarah, but once more, a quiet life was not meant for him; in 2004, he was recruited by the NSA's Third Echelon to undertake the Splinter Cell program.
It was through the Splinter Cell program that Sam could use his abilities to infiltrate and escape from seemingly impenetrable locations as well as gather vital information. He carries out his operations with the assistance of Anna Grímsdóttir, or Anna Grim for short, and communicates by way of ear implants that enable him to be the only one that can hear her. Grim is a highly proficient hacker and lead programmer, once working directly for Third Echelon, and is also by-the-book in her approach to direct Sam's movements and the use of his tech. At times, while the two make a formidable team, they also tend to butt heads, as Sam can potentially abandon one of Anna's well thought-out plans when he can act on instinct instead. In addition to Anna's support, Sam gets through his operations with a three-layered Mk VIII tactical operation suit, which protects him from bullets and suppresses his heat signature to render him invisible to night vision. He supplements his suit wears the series' iconic triocular night vision goggles that also come equipped heat sensing, SONAR, zooming capabilities, and footprint tracking, with which he uses to close in on his prey without being noticed. It ties in with his proficiency for quick and silent kills, such as those with one of his array of weapons, the semiautomatic five-seven pistol. In situations where he has to take enemies head-on, he uses the SC-20K Modular Assault Weapons System, which has a variety of modes to accommodate for the situation at hand, such as a sniper mode, attachable underbarrel grenade launcher and shotguns, a built-in silencer, and even scopes and sights to ensure greater accuracy. In particular, the grenade launcher attachment to the SC-20K can fire an array of projectiles, such as gas, EMP grenades, and surveillance cameras, which attach themselves firmly in place so that Sam can read them via OPSAT.
Fisher is part of the Splinter Cell program for good reason; his skills allow him to perform impossible tasks without hesitation. Sam's collection of successful assignments include rescuing his daughter from kidnappers and taking part in operations to keep China from invading Taiwan and terrorists from destroying the world's oil supply, as well as repeatedly preventing the onset of World War III. Even more impressive is the fact that Fisher's skill in infiltration has allowed him to break into the headquarters of both the CIA and the Third Echelon, the latter in particular having become corrupted from within, forcing Sam and Grim to gone rogue and take it down, thus forming Fourth Echelon. Sam is also a agile combatant, killing four people with four shots before being noticed. Ultimately, his primary flaw as an agent focuses on his reliance on and occasional disagreement with Anna, but that, too, is a problem that can be worked around. Even in his fifties, Sam Fisher continues to be a formidable agent; one would be well-advised to take caution in the shadows when he's on the job.
Both sides have been given their due, and nothing more needs to be said about either. It's time for a
death stealth battle!
Deep in the forests of Zanzibar, an operation is underway to recover top-secret data files on an experimental human enhancement drug. A helicopter lands at the compound where the drug is said to be located, and from it drops a figure, none other than the scion of the greatest soldier known to man: Solid Snake. As the helicopter takes off into the early morning sun, Snake brandishes his 1911 Operator, venturing towards the compound. A familiar beeping noise shortly afterward heralds the arrival of support from Snake's good friend, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich. The otaku hacker informs Snake that the schematics to the building are now in the Solid Eye, but, more importantly, he also warns Snake of a single heat signature inside the building. That heat signature belongs to Splinter Cell's premiere agent, Sam Fisher, having broken into the compound and now transferring data on the drug. Sam hears the sounds of the helicopter deporting, and checks with his own support, Anna Grim, to confirm that, no, a helicopter escape was not part of the plan. She warns Fisher that another individual is present, with Sam deciding to make quick work of the intruder after taking the drive with the now fully-transferred files. As both spies lean near the sliding door, the only way to the computer, the gaming world's greatest masters of stealth ready their guns, support backing them up.
At the same time, Snake and Fisher whip around the corner and level their guns at each other; the sheer surprise of which forces the pair to straddle the wall again and take a moment before engaging the fight proper. Snake lands the first few hits, disarming Sam of his Five-seven before laying into him with the close-quarters combat experience, but it doesn't take long for the former Third Echelon operative to recover and knock Snake away, grabbing his pistol in the process. Snake readies the Operator, but spots the computer before he can fire; Fisher takes advantage of the distraction and shoots the tower and monitor, destroying the files. Sam refuses to share where the data now is, the pair resuming their conflict. Eventually, Sam kicks Snake out into the hallway, but fails to finish the fight; the slayer of Metal Gears is simply too agile for the SC-20K to keep up with. When Fisher enters the hallway to see where his foe has gone, all he can barely see is a cardboard box slinking away. Sam is quick to call Anna for intelligence, but the pair soon butt heads; Sam eschewing Anna's plans for air support in favor of using the SC-20K's surveillance cameras to keep tabs on the compound.
Snake, meanwhile, is busy contacting Otacon to update him on the happenings in the building. The pair deduce that Sam and Anna aren't part of any of the established PMCs they're used to dealing with, forcing the pair to take a new approach. Otacon's searching for any communication lines their opponents may be using, though, is met with some distractions as his ally goes on a tangent about the importance of cardboard boxes, neither aware of Sam eavesdropping on their conversation. With five-seven in hand, Sam riddles the box full of holes, certain of his kill. And yet, tipping the box over, Sam finds it empty. Snake soon leaps into action, disabling his Octocamo disguise and catching Fisher in a chokehold. Both men launch into an onslaught, pummeling each other with the skills honed from years of martial arts training, culminating in Snake slamming Sam onto the floor, the drive with the data skidding next to the cloned super-soldier.
With drive in hand, Snake attempts to contact Otacon again, but Fisher catches him in an ambush, a bullet grazing his foe's side. Snake retreats, using the Octocamo to disguise himself against the wall. Anna is quick to detect the electrical current emanating from the Octocamo, using Sam's cameras from earlier for information, and Sam capitalizes on the opportunity, hurling an EMP grenade to short it out, giving Fisher enough time to escape via the air ducts, just seconds before Big Boss' scion recovers. Anna can only hear that her partner lost the data before their connection is compromised; Otacon has finally hacked into her systems. While impressed at her skill, he also notes that he was listening in on their own conversation and now, he has to get rid of Anna. The monitors surrounding Anna in her station begin to overload and explode all around her, trapping her in their blasts; she never gets to hear Sam asking to ensure him of her safety.
As the lights in the building begin to die down, Splinter Cell's best activates his iconic night-vision goggles and barges into a pitch-black room. The flash of red from the Solid Eye is accompanied by echoes of Ocelot, both friend and enemy to the legacy of Big Boss before the room is engulfed in darkness again. Otacon cries out for his friend as Sam once again prepares the SC-20K, unleashing a torrent of gunfire that blasts through the walls and windows of the compound, but the former FOXHOUND operative dodges every bullet. Looking around, Sam has lost sight of his foe, and pays for it as Snake lunges at him, catching him in a suplex that sends Sam's rifle flying. Now, Snake brandishes his stun knife while Sam readies a curved Karambit dagger. Tension mounts in the air before culminating in a knife fight between the two, which Sam gains an early advantage in by slashing Snake across the chest and swiping the drive from him. The battle reaches its climax when Snake recovers and closes the distance; in a frenzy of swift movements, Snake counters Sam's movements, catches his dagger and plunges the stun knife square into his foe's chest, electricity coursing through his body. With a knee to the chin, the drive is sent into the air, and not even before it lands does Snake take Sam's dagger, stab him in the chest with it and then drive it right through his brain, the tip jutting out from the crown of his foe's head. Defeated, Sam Fisher slumps to the ground, and Solid Snake catches the drive as it falls. The clone of Big Boss walks away, with a cigarette in his mouth, the drive in his hand, and another victory under his belt.
As the helicopter returns to pick Snake back up, its appearance is perfectly-timed; the airplane Anna was onboard crashes into the compound, destroying it shortly afterward. Both men are given special praise for their skills; Sam for his talent in silent takedowns, Snake for specializing in close-quarters combat. In terms of stealth, the Solid Eye was able to reliably track down Fisher, despite his expertise in the field. Of additional note is that Anna's link to Sam has been known to be hacked into; the codec shares no such history. Likewise, Sam may have had EMPs to try and disable Snake's Solid Eye and nanomachines, but they would have served little purpose; electromagnetic pulses are similar to microwave radiation in terms of how they affect electronics, and both were able to survive Snake's trek through the microwave hallway in Outer Haven. To put it another way, Snake had a reliable counter for everything Sam could throw at him, and had the additional advantage in close-quarters combat to clinch the match in his favor.
- Boomstick: Poor Sam, this loss just kinda snuck up on him. Yeah, right from the start, it was lights out for Sam.Wizard: The winner is Solid Snake!
Solid Snake vs. Sam Fisher contains examples of:
- Brick Joke: The Bond One-Liner of the victor counts as one.Snake: Piece of cake.
- Double Entendre: Boomstick is on a roll in this one; from microwaves making Snake solid, to Anna vibrating Sam's bones, he's got a quip for every occasion, much to the annoyance of Wiz.Wizard: ... what is with you today?Boomstick: I dunno...
- Foreshadowing: During the episode, Otacon manages to hack into Grim's comm line and shut her system down with the plane crashing. This leads to the defeat of Sam Fisher by Solid Snake.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Snake manages to deal the finishing blow to Sam using his own knife.
- Noodle Incident: The hosts get into an argument about Sam not following every little detail Anna plans out, comparing it to a trip where Boomstick apparently wasn't allowed to have a churro.