Metal Gear Solid 4 Character Countdown: Vamp

Thumb - Image 1We have several weeks left before we finally get our hands on Konami Digital Entertainment’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and the home stretch of the waiting period is killing us. To keep you preoccupied, we decided to feature some of the key characters of the game on a weekly basis to freshen our memories on their roles in the series. This week, we’ve got the bloodthirsty and enigmatic villain, Vamp. Full article follows after the jump!

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Welcome to the second installment of our Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots character countdown! If you were with us last week, you’ll know now that we’re doing a mini-series of articles that will highlight some of the upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive’s key characters. Last week’s character profile centered on main bad guy Liquid Ocelot. This week, we’ve got another evildoer in the limelight, and it’s none other than everyone’s favorite bisexual bloodsucker, Vamp!

This man is certainly one of the characters to watch out for in MGS4 as he seems to bring some serious trouble for Solid Snake, Raiden and their FOXHOUND friends. Those of you who’ve played MGS2: Sons of Liberty would know that this guy’s no slouch, and in the next few minutes, the uninitiated among you will find out why. Let’s get started!

Vamp - Image 1 Character history: Much of Vamp’s origin and background remain enigmatic to this day, but in a CODEC transmission between Solid Snake and Raiden in MGS2‘s Big Shell part, Snake offers what little he knows about the vampiric villain.

According to Snake, Vamp was born and raised in Rumania where he and his family regularly attended church services. One day, the church is struck with a terrorist bomb attack, killing Vamp’s family and sending a crucifix flying towards him, impaling the boy and burying him beneath the rubble.

Vamp survives under the debris for a few days by feeding on his parents’ blood for sustenance. He develops a taste the crimson treat through this incident, and hasn’t stopped drinking it since then.

Vamp grows up to become a master of close combat, specialzing in the use of knives. He then joins a special group called Dead Cell which was assembled by US President George Sears (Solidus). He’s joined in the unit by his female love interest Fortune and deranged bomb genius Fatman. Together, they’re sent on a mission to take over Big Shell and steal Arsenal Gear.

Vamp makes his first appearance in MGS2 in chilling fashion. A cutscene shows him stalking Seal Team 10 in one of Big Shell’s struts. He engages them in combat, picking them off one by one with a series of deadly knife attacks. The soldiers try to shoot at him, but to no success as he telegraphs attacks even before they happen. He finishes the sequence off by spinning towards the last opponent standing, cutting him up and creating a blood spray that would make Nosferatu himself drool.

It’s later explained to Raiden in his boss fight with Vamp that the villain easily dodges attacks because he can sense even the most minute twitches in muscles. Because of this, he can interpret emotions, predict attacks, and basically be a step ahead of his every opponent.

An average, reasonable person is likely to think that Vamp’s name is short for Vampire, but Snake explains in one call to Raiden that the name means something else. Vamp actually refers to the villain’s sexual preference. In this case, Vamp’s door swings both ways.It’s a little icky to think that Vamp had a relationship with Fortune and her father, Marine Corps Commandant Scott Dolph, but as Solid Snake puts it – “would it have been better if it was Fortune’s mom?”

Moving on, Vamp is as tough as they come with all the superhuman abilities that he possesses. Like a vampire straight out of horror novels, he can walk on water, he possesses insane speed and agility, he can walk up walls, and he can take shots that would otherwise be mortal to a normal person.

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An example of this is when Raiden shoots at Fortune and has his bullet swerve off the target because of Lady Luck’s invisible force field. The slug flies traight to Vamp’s forehead, taking him down instantly. Fortune assumes that her lover is dead, but Vamp opens his eyes, seems unhurt, and says he’s died before and cannot be killed again.

In Raiden’s boss fight against him, Vamp is beaten and sent plunging to a water treatment unit with high microbial content. In such a state, anything that falls into the water should drown because of the fluid’s limited buoyancy condition. Vamp is assumed dead, but later comes out of nowhere to deliver a killing blow to Emma Emmerich. Players will have the chance to snipe Vamp once more here, but he somehow survives again as evidenced by the MGS2 ending and MGS4 trailers.

In MGS4, Vamp is depicted as seemingly in league with Liquid Ocelot and the Outer Haven agenda. He is shown in a spectacular fight scene in MGS4‘s E3 2007 trailer, where he does more of the same things he did in MGS2. He duels with Raiden’s ninja form at high speeds, suffering hits that would have been lethal to most people. However, he shrugs off the attacks as usual, giving Raiden a few spoonfuls of butt-kick, too.

What makes him tick

This is probably one of the toughest things to figure out in MGS4‘s plot. Vamp seems to hold a significant role in this sequel, and creator Hideo Kojima was quoted as saying that we’ll get an explanation why Vamp is such a tough nut to crack. Getting inside Vamp’s head and figuring out his motives, however, can best be described as shooting in the dark.

We know for a fact that the only two people whom Vamp has been completely loyal to are Fortune and General Dolph, people whom he had relationships with. Now that the two people closest to his heart are dead, it’s a mystery what he’s fighting for.

Given Vamp’s emotionally-driven nature, it can be presumed that he might have found a new person to rally to. Whether he’s part of Liquid Ocelot’s faction or not remains to be clarified. For all we know, he could be a raging wild card. Could all those battles with Raiden have endeared the baby-faced hero to Vamp? It’s possible, and we could see a nice tale of cat and mouse romance in the battlefield. With Kojima Productions doing the storytelling, you never know.

On a personal level, this blogger believes Vamp could be working for the Patriots. The shadowy American organization is slick with its ability to manipulate people and events, and they may have figured they could use someone like Vamp in their ranks to do the dirty work. Incidentally, the official MGS4 site describes him as “a bloodsucker resurrected by modern civilization”. Could it be that it’s Patriots technology behind Vamp’s abilities? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Did you know…

Vamp was originally designed by Kojima Productions to be a female character. That was until the design for Fortune came along, and Vamp had to become a man. However, the long, black hair was kept by Yoji Shinkawa and company. They then blended it based on Spanish dancer Joaquin Cortez’s appearance, and they ended up with what we have now.

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