Design by Collin Oguro
Almost everyone with a game console is familiar with the trials and tribulations of Solid Snake, world-famous soldier and crusader against the proliferation of Metal Gears, mobile tanks equipped with the ability to fire nuclear missiles. Across three Metal Gear Solid games that have appeared on the Playstation and all of the current-gen consoles, heady concepts such as truth, sacrifice, and identity have been examined in numerous brilliant cutscenes, as gamers guided Snake into military bases around the world in an attempt to stop the menace posed by the Metal Gear program once and for all.
Metal Gear Acid is a bit...different than its predecessors, however. This PSP launch title doesn't feature the same tense, stealth-action combat of the Metal Gear Solid games; instead, it shifts gears a bit and lets Snake infiltratrate an African research facility with nothing but a...deck of cards? That's right, Acid is a fusion of card-game sensibilities with turn-based combat mechanics, which sounds about as bizarre a concept for a game as you could imagine, but which actually works quite well. Using a custom-built deck drawn from over 200 cards based on characters and events in previous Metal Gear games, Snake will have to discover precisely who's behind the hijacking of a plane carrying a U.S. Senator. Along the way, of course, he'll discover the true nature of the research being conducted at the facility, and attempt to stop it.
GameSpot's Game Guide to Metal Gear Acid is designed to give you as much help as you need to get Snake through his mission. Along with a complete walkthrough, we've got plenty of deck construction tips and a tutorial on the difficult-to-learn equipment system that Acid features. Enjoy!
Deck Construction Tips
Part of what makes Metal Gear Acid so challenging is the prospect of constructing your own deck - it's relatively easy to throw together a bunch of cool-looking cards, but you're likely to wind up with something that's borderline unplayable. What's equally as bad is the game's automatic deck construction option, which will result in decks that are just pitilessly awful. No, in order to make a decent deck, you're going to need to slog into the deck editing interface and make one yourself. This chapter is intended to get you a start on creating powerful decks, and includes tips ranging the gamut from the overtly general to the frightfully specific.
Stick To 30 Cards
One of the axioms of real trading card games is that, if you want to be competitive, then you should put as few cards in your deck as possible. You're never - ever - going to find someone entering a high-level Magic tournament with a deck that's larger than 60 cards, for instance. The reason for this is that, although the rules allow you put in as many cards as you like, if you stick with the minimum amount necessary, you're much more able to build a powerful deck, due to the fact that you're much more likely to find cards you need when you need them. Since Metal Gear Acid is much more lenient and only forces you to use 30 cards in a deck, that's the most you'll probably ever want to be using, except in special cases.
Let's say that one particular card is vitally important to your deck. Since you can only have four copies of a given card in your deck, you're going to be more likely to draw it into your hand sooner if you have 30 cards in your deck as opposed to 35 or 40 (which the cap is eventually raised to). Not significantly more likely, sure, but even a matter of a few percent can be a big deal, especially in the boss fights.
We're not saying that you're going to cripple yourself if you throw more than 30 cards into your deck, but it's an undisputable fact that cutting out as much excess as possible will leave you with a deck that's going to be more effective in combat. Larger decks are a bit more versatile, as you can include some of the wackier cards that might not make the cut in a 30-card deck, but you may find yourself standing in place and discarding cards over and over again looking for something you need. This will happen with 30-card decks, as well, just not as often.
Card Types and Ratios
In a 30-card deck, you're not going to have a lot of room for extraneous cards - when something pops up, you're going to want it to be immediately useful to you. That is, at least, the theory - since Acid's gameplay is broken up into periods of movement and combat, you're going to find yourself popping up movement cards when you really want a weapon to shoot with, and vice versa. There's not much you can really do about this, but knowing the proper ratio of the various types of cards is going to help get you along the path of getting what you need, when you need it. These are just general outlines, though, so you may want to tweak your own deck ratios to suit your own playing style.
Weapons are generally either EQUIP or USE types. Use cards are simple; when they pop up into your hand, you can select them, pick a target, and fire them. Very few guns are of the Use type, save for the FAMAS and SOCOM weapons that you start the game with; Use weapons are generally more along the lines of grenades, mines, and rockets that you use once, then forget them.
Equip weapons, as mentioned in the "Using Equipment" section below, have to be equipped, then loaded with ammo in order to be fired. The main drawback to these is that you can't use them as soon as you draw them into your hand, and dealing with the various types of ammo and interference effects can be confusing at first. The main bonus, however, is that interference, when you do get a handle on it, can result in a huge boost to the power of each of your weapons. Again, see the Using Equipment section below for a better introduction to the concepts of interference and equipping.
Most 30-card decks are going to want around 10-12 weapons in them, if not more, mostly of the Equip variety. You're going to need to ensure that you have enough weapons to both ensure that you can equip them into your weapon slots early on in the round and then fire them. Having around one-third of your deck consist of weapons gives you good odds on getting two weapons in your opening hand, so if you have to equip one and fire immediately, you'll often be able to. Of the Use variety of weapons, we found the most useful to be Nikita or RC Missiles and grenades, but you won't need more than one missile and one grenade in most maps.
RC Missiles are great because they can be fired around corners and hit enemies from a good distance away, meaning that the guards won't know where you are, and thus won't be able to find you, even if you do set off an alarm. The main drawback to missiles is that they can be shot by your opponents; if you fire them as your last action during a particularly long turn, then the missile will be hovering right next to your character until you get to move it. If an enemy takes his turn during the interval, he can and will shoot the missile, forcing it to explode prematurely, severely damaging your character. With proper cost management, though, this eventuality can be eliminated.
Grenades aren't so hot on their own, but when combined with rifles or other weapons, they can be a fantastic way to take down multiple enemies at once. Chaff grenades are perhaps the most useful of them all, since they will cause all electronic foes in an area (cameras, gun cameras, and patrol bots) to be confused for a good length of time. Obviously, though if you're in a map without any kind of electronic foes, then a Chaff Grenade will be dead weight in your deck. A better choice is the generic Grenade or, when it becomes available to you, the M15 Grenade.
The main sticking point with grenades is that they take a little time (eight Cost) to detonate after you throw them, meaning that throwing them at an enemy with a low cost total will usually be a waste, as they'll run out of the area of effect before the detonation. What you can do, then, is to wait to throw them until after an enemy takes their turn; so long as they have more than eight Cost built up (which you can check by pressing triangle and examining them), they won't be able to run before the grenade blows. What's perhaps more effective is to throw the grenade at their feet, then shoot it. This isn't going to be possible with most laser-sighted weapons, and requires two separate actions, but will immediately detonate the grenade, allowing you to take out every soldier within range of the detonation.
So far as automatic rifles go, we generally found it best to use M4s, M4 (Laser S.)'s, AKS74u (Laser S.), and R-5's for the bulk of your heavy lifting. There are dozens of weapons in the game, but these are generally the best combination of accuracy and power. Each of these weapons has something going for it, so let's look at them individually, shall we?
M4: The standard, run-of-the-mill assault rifle. Does 10 damage per hit, holds eight ammo, and has an 80% accuracy rating, for an unmodified average of 64 damage per eight-round volley and 192 damage per volley when pumped up by two red arrows. (We obtained these averages by multiplying the damage of a single hit by the number of shots by the accuracy.) Not too shabby.
M4 (Laser S.): Essentially the same as the M4, but with laser sights and 90% accuracy. Laser sighting is, believe it or not, usually a drawback to have on a weapon, so it's usually going to be preferable to have the M4 pumped up with interference than the M4 (Laser S.). That said, the laser-sighted variant can be used to load the M4 or placed above it in your equipment loadout to point a red arrow downwards. It does do 10% more damage on average than the M4, which isn't too shabby, but most enemies will be killed easily enough by inteferenced M4.
AKS74u (Laser S.): We threw this into our decks solely for the left-pointing red arrow, which is very rare. (We only found three cards with a left-pointing red arrow in our first play-through.) In retrospect, having an AKS74u to the right of an M4 is probably a bad idea, as it will be affected by the M4's -5 ATK green arrow and will thus fire for 0 damage per hit when it reacts. A better choice for this purpose is probably going to be Solid Snake (MGS2), which is easy to find and costs less. You'll have to replace it after every 90 cost, but that's an extremely long time in Acid terms.
R-5: The granddaddy of assault rifles, the R-5 is probably the game's best combination of accuracy, power, and ammo. It does 30 damage per hit, with 80% accuracy, and holds five bullets, for an unmodified total of 120 damage per five-shot volley and 200 damage when modified by two red arrows. If, however, you manage to load it with either an M4 or an M4 (Laser S.), it'll fire eight times, for unmodified totals of 192 damage per volley unmodified or 320 damage modified, or, in other words, instant death for almost any enemy you come across in the game.
The ideal situation, then, is to have something like this set up:
|M4 (Laser S.)||Misc. Item or other Equipment card|
|R-5||AKS74u (Laser S.) or Solid Snake (MGS2)|
When you have this set up, the R-5's attack will be boosted to 50 per shot, and it won't have a negative interference effect on either the M4 or the AKS74u, meaning that if they happen to go off as a reaction to enemy fire, they'll do normal damage. The main problem here is that you can't obtain the R-5 until you unlock Chronicles packs, meaning that you'll have to stick to M4's and M4 (Laser S.)'s until that point. When you have either of those weapons in the lower-left slot, it'll interfere negatively with the cards in the upper left and lower right slots, converting both of their ATK to zero, meaning that they won't deal any damage during a counterattack. This is annoying, but if you're killing enemies before they have a chance to shoot you, it shouldn't be that big of a deal.
After you pick up a few PSG-1 sniper rifles late in the game, you'll almost certainly want to set up one of your characters as a dedicated sniper. Sniper rifles are great weapons to use, as they let you fire from twice as far as assault rifles do with a minimal loss of accuracy, and deal plenty of damage to boot. There are only three non-rare sniper rifles that we've discovered, each with their own specific strengths and weaknesses.
PSG-1: Does 60 damage per hit, has a 90% accuracy rating, and holds two shots, for an average damage rating of 108 when loaded with two shots, or 162 when loaded with the Dragunov. This is the weapon you want to equip, mostly due to its high accuracy and the fact that it can go all the way out to ten blocks without losing accuracy.
SVD Dragunov: Does 70 damage per hit, has a 70% accuracy rating, and holds three shots, for an average damage rating of 147 when loaded with another copy of itself. In general, you're going to want four of these in your deck, but it's more valuable when used to load a PSG-1 than it is when equipped.
Mosin Nagant: Does 250 damage per hit, has a 60% accuracy rating, and holds one shot. The main caveat to the Mosin Nagant is that it can't be loaded beyond one shot per round. Even if you use a Dragunov as the loading card, in other words, it'll still only fire once. Although its damage is obviously massive, the 60% miss rate, combined with the ammo limitation, make it generally worthwhile in sniper decks only for the left-pointing red arrow on it and the fact that, as a last resort, you can use it to pop off a single shot from your PSG-1. If you're willing to stock a bunch of Scopes in your deck, you can increase its accuracy to 90% for a few turns, but there are very few non-boss opponents that are going to be able to stand up to three shots from a non-scoped PSG-1, so pursuing the scoping route is just needless complication, in our opinion. Go with what works.
CQC (close-quarters combat) cards become available to you in MGS3 packs. There are three basic types of CQC cards: Throw, Kick, and Punch. In order to use these, you first have to equip one to an equipment slot, then use another CQC card to load it. If you do so while you're standing next to an enemy, you'll inflict a variety of powerful melee attacks on them. The moves you perform will depend on the specific combination of cards that you use: using a Kick card from your hand to "load" an equipped Kick card will result in a pair of roundhouse kicks, while loading an equipped Punch card with a Kick card will result in a punch, then a kick, and so on. Certain combinations may add different status effects to your enemies, such as Bleeding.
The main drawback to CQC is that you have to be right up next to your opponent to use these cards, and that they don't work on most machines. If you plan to set up a character for CQC, you'll want to give them as many of the long-distance movement cards as possible, and probably also set them up with a few Chaff Grenades or Stingers to deal with electronic foes.
The most useful Action Cards are going to be Equipment LV. 2 and Equipment LV. 3, which will expand the number of equipment slots that are available to you. If you're entering a level where you know that you'll have plenty of time at the beginning to cycle through your deck and equip yourself as you like, then you only really need one of each; if you're going to enter a level where you immediately have to start fighting (as in most of the boss levels), then you may want to add another Equipment LV. 2 to find one more quickly.
There's also an extremely important Action card that only Snake can use, which goes by the name of Action+. At the beginning of each round, Snake can only perform two actions per turn, but when he uses an Action+ card, he'll be able to perform an extra round each turn for ten turns. If you use two cards, he'll be able to perform four actions per turn. There is a maximum of four actions per turn for Snake while he's using this card, so if you use more Action+ cards when he already has four actions, he won't gain any more, but you will reset the timer on previous cards that you used, so that you'll get your extra action for ten turns from the time you used your last Action+ card. Teliko can't use Action+ cards, but she has three moves a turn by default, so that's not so bad.
Other than those specific cards, the vast majority of Action Cards are going to be of the mostly useless "attaches to weapon" variety. When you have a weapon in an equip slot, you can use an "attaches to weapon" card on that weapon, which will add some kind of special effect to your next shot. The main drawback to these cards is that they require an action to use, and often perform fairly underwhelming actions, such as forcing the target to fall down or something similar. Unfortunately, almost all of these are going to be useless, thanks to the fact that most enemies will die in a single round of gunfire if you set up your interference correctly, thus removing any need to add any wacky effects to the weapons themselves.
There aren't a whole lot of Support Cards that are really worth using. Most of them are either of the Evade variety or the Cost Subtraction variety. You should probably restrict yourself to two or three Support cards in a deck.
Evade cards give you a chance to completely avoid damage from a single attack. There are three kinds of Evade cards: Front Evade, which lets you avoid any attacks from your front side; Rear Evade, which lets you dodge attacks from the rear; and Evade, which works on attacks from any direction. There are also three tiers of Evade cards, so that, for instance, you'll eventually have Front Evade LV. 1 (with a 50% chance of evasion), LV. 2 (75% chance), and LV. 3 (100% chance). The higher tiers of cards get more expensive, of course, and aren't available until later in the game. Higher-tier versions of these cards also eliminate some or all of the green arrows on the edges, letting them be popped in anywhere without worrying about how they're affecting your weapons.
For our purposes, we found Front Evade to be the most sensibly-costed Evade card. It's relatively easy to position yourself at the end of a movement so that you're facing whichever area you're most likely to be attacked from. Evade is obviously a better choice overall, since it works for attacks from any angle, but also costs twice as much as Front Evade does, which isn't usually worthwhile.
Cost Subtraction: There are a few of these that are available, such as -4 Cost, -8 Cost, -12 Cost, or Jonathan Ingram (-20 Cost). The ability to subtract cost is an underappreciated one; if you happen to build up a bunch of cost, then use a cost subtraction card as your last action in a turn, you'll be able to greatly reduce the amount of time you have to wait for your turn to come up again.
For example, say Teliko is fighting against an enemy. During the enemy's turn, he uses card that boost his Cost total to 10, meaning that his next turn won't occur until Teliko has incurred at least 10 cost and ended her turn. If Teliko uses cards that boost her Cost total up to 15, then ends her turn, then the enemy will take his next turn before she does, but if she uses a -8 Cost as the last action of her turn, then she'll drop down to 7 cost, allowing her to take two turns before the enemy gets to take another action.
This is all rather difficult to get your head around at first, but when you play, you should be able to realize just how useful it is to reduce your cost. The main drawback to cost subtraction cards is that they can't be applied to movement, meaning that you'll have to use them only for their stated purpose.
There are a huge number of items available to use in Metal Gear Acid, but you're probably only going to want to use one to three in a deck, as many of them have no material impact on either your ability to kill your enemies or resist damage. Those that do, however, can be quite handy.
Rations: You'll probably want to have at least one ration in your deck at all times. When used, a ration card will restore some of your character's health. These won't always be necessary when facing off against normal enemies, whom normally wield low-power AKS74u rifles, but when going up against bosses, you'll probably want to have two or three rations in your deck. They're mostly low-cost, so if you don't need to restore any health, they can be applied to movement relatively painlessly.
Armor: The normal Body Armor you start the game with is pretty worthless, as it will only react to half of the attacks that come at you, and only reduce 50 damage overall. The later iterations, such as Ceramic Armor and Bomb Blast Suit, will improve upon both the reaction chances and the amount of damage eliminated. The Bomb Blast Suit will also protect you from Burn effects, making it a good choice to throw into your late-game decks. Only one is really necessary, though, since they stay in your equipment slots until you're hit.
Character Cards are going to compete with weapons as the most popular type of card in your deck, but this is only because they have such a wide variety of effects. Many character cards emulate the effects of cards that would normally fit into another category, such as Jonathan Ingram, which is essentially the culmination of the cost subtraction cards that normally fit into the Support category. You're going to want anywhere from six to 13 character cards in your deck, depending on how many of them you find that emulate or exceed the performance of cards in other categories.
Movement Cards: One unique type of Character Card is the "movement" card, which is usually named off against some kind of grunt-level soldier you face off against (e.g. Marines, Navy SEALS, Genome Soldier, etc.). These cards have no combat application, and can only be used to move your characters around the battlefield. The catch is that they usually hover around four cost, making them cheaper to use than most cards, and will let your characters move further than non-specialized cards applied to movement. A non-movement card used to move your character will let you move up to three spaces, while a movement card will let you move anywhere from four to eight spaces.
One of the most confusing aspect of Metal Gear Acid, at least in our opinion, is the bizarre equipping system, which forces you to equip most weapons, then drawn another weapon that uses the same type of ammo before you can fire it. It's pretty confusing, especially when you first encounter the system after Teliko joins your party, but with a little - well, a lot - of practice, you should get the hang of it.
Luckily, Teliko will join your party at the same time that Metal Gear Solid 2 packs become available; these packs have arguably the best weapons in the game, in the M4 and the M4 (Laser S.). These count as different cards for the purpose of the four-card-per-deck limit, meaning that you can have four M4's and four M4 Laser's in the same deck.
At its most basic, the equipment system works like so: say you draw up an M4 into your hand. You can equip it to one of the two original equipment slots right away. When you have one equipped, then any M4 or M4 (Laser S.) can be used to load it (since they both have the same kind of ammo) and fire. To do so, just select the card (for the purpose of this discussion, say it's an M4 (Laser S.)) from your hand, choose "Equip", then move it over the already-equipped weapon. Since they share ammo, the text will change to "Loading." When you select that, you'll be switched over to aiming mode, which will let you fire the weapon. Firing an equipped weapon like this won't make you lose the weapon that's already equipped (i.e. your equipped M4), but the card you use to load it (i.e. the M4 (Laser S.)) will indeed be dropped from your hand, and won't come up again until you reload your deck. (Speaking of that specific card, of course; if you have multiple copies of it, then the other copies will appear as normal.)
Speaking more generally, any weapon that uses the same kind of ammo as the M4 can be used to load it. Since it uses 5.56mm ammo, then any weapon card that lists itself as using that kind of ammo could be used as a loading card. So, if you had an M4 equipped, then you could use an M4, an M4 (Laser S.), an XM16E, a Stoner M63, or an R-5 weapon to load it. What's more, if you had any of these listed weapons equipped, then any of the listed weapons could also be used to load it, since they all use the same kind of ammo. It's a bit of a nebulous concept; suffice to say, in order to use an equippable weapon, you're going to need to put a lot of copies of it and weapons with similar ammunition into your deck.
What makes matters a bit more complicated is the fact that each weapon has a different number of shots loaded into it automatically. To build on our example of weapons with 5.56mm ammo, both the M4 and the M4 (Laser S.) hold eight shots, whereas the Stoner, R-5, and XM16E each fire five times. What's important to remember about these cards is that the number of time each weapon will fire is based on what weapon you use to load it, not the ammo capacity of the weapon itself. For example, if you have an M4 equipped, but load it with a Stoner, it will only fire five times; if you have a Stoner equipped, however, and use an M4 to fire it, it'll fire eight times. Thus, if you equip weapons that do high damage but have low ammo capacities, then use high-ammo, low-damage weapons to load them, you'll get the best of both worlds.
Balancing multiple weapons like this can be difficult, though, as you'll find yourself wanting to put in enough of the low-ammo weapons to find one early on to equip, but also requiring a number of the high-ammo weapons for use in loading. It's a difficult balance to achieve, honestly, and will require some skillful deck-building.
One of the ways you can increase the power of your equipped weapons is to utilize the game's interference system. Although "interference" sounds like a negative thing, it's actually quite powerful, and will often let you double or triple the power of a given card. Interference is most useful when dealing with weapon cards; there are ways to boost the power of defensive cards, but you're unlikely to need to worry about doing so.
The interference process is based on the arrows that you'll see on most equippable cards. There are three arrows:
- Red: A red arrow indicates that the card being pointed to will get +10 ATK and -10 DEF.
- Blue: Blue arrows indicate that the card being pointed to will get -10 ATK and +10 DEF.
- Green: Green arrows indicate that the card being pointed to gets -5 ATK, -5 DEF, and +10% REA.
So, in other words, you want red arrows pointing towards your weapon cards, and you don't want blue or green arrows pointing at them, or at least not at the weapons that you actually intend to use. We actually found blue and green arrows to be pretty much irrelevant; most items and support cards that you're going to want to equip will usually have high REA and DEF stats already, making the +10 bonuses relatively minor; most weapon cards are going to have somewhere between 10 and 30 ATK, though, meaning that, with a proper setup, you can relatively easily add at least 20 ATK to the weapon that you think you're going to be using the most.
In order to do so, though, you'll need to have at least one Equipment LV. 2 in your deck. Equipment LV. 2 will expand the 2x1 equipment setup you have at the beginning of a level into a 2x2 square, letting you equip twice as many cards. With it, you'll be able to set up a card in the lower-left slot of your 2x2 square, and put cards with red arrows pointing at it in the slots above and to its right, making it relatively easy to bust out with +20 ATK. The easiest example of this with cards from MGS2 is to have an M4 in the upper-left square (which has a red arrow pointing down), and an AKS74u (Laser S.) in the lower-right square (which has a red arrow pointing left). If you then equip a weapon (preferably an M4 (Laser S.) or an M4) in the lower-left square, then it'll have two red arrows pointing at it, resulting in +20 ATK, meaning that each individual shot from it will deal 20 more damage. E.g. if you had an M4 in the lower-left slot, it would deal 10 damage (its base number) +20 damage (from the interference effects) with each shot, meaning that you've effectively increased its damage by 200% with just two cards.
To give a somewhat more detailed example of a late-game suite of interference, here's a setup from after you've gained the Equipment LV. 3 card (which nets you a 3x3 equipment slot setup). The image here illustrates how we attempted to set up our equipment after obtaining the R-5 from Chronicles packs.
A late-game equipment setup.
It's not too difficult to set up something like this, given enough time. Luckily, most missions will place Teliko and Snake in an area a good distance away from enemies, allowing you to cycle through your entire deck, discarding cards that you don't need, until you find the Equipment LV. 2 and 3 cards and the equipment you want to throw into the slots. This will boost your overall Cost for the mission, thus making it more difficult to get an S-ranking, but you can make up the points with optional missions later on, and having your equipment set up ahead of time will make it a lot easier for you to take down anything in your path.
Anyway, as we said, we mostly set up our equipment so that the red arrows would point towards our most powerful weapons. In this setup, the key card is going to be the R-5, which has a base attack of 30, but which is boosted by the red arrows from the M4 and the AKS74u (Laser S.).
(Note that you can switch out the AK's here for a Solid Snake (MGS2), if you wish. You won't actually be using any of the AK's for firing; they're in there solely for the purpose of including a red arrow pointing to the left. Solid Snake cards are a cheaper way to find a left red arrow, but will have to be replaced after every 90 cost, whereas the AK's are permanent. The main drawback to the AK's, though, isn't their cost; it's that they'll often be used as a Reaction, which won't hurt your enemies and in fact may result in more damage coming towards your character, since they can start a counter-war. Solid Snake cards can't react, so that's not a danger with them. Note that you can only have one Solid Snake (MGS2) card equipped at a time, though.)
So anyway, the R-5 card is going to be what you want to use to kill most enemies, since it'll do 50 damage a shot and can be loaded with either an M4, M4 (Laser S.) or R-5 card. The M4 and the M4 (Laser S.) that are equipped can both be fired as well in case you happen to need to do so; they each do 20 damage a shot. Having the M4 (Laser S.) in the bottom-middle slot is purely optional, as you're unlikely to ever really need the extra accuracy, and the laser sighting usually makes firing more problematic than it should be, so feel free to eliminate it for extra optional equipment and items. We would've likely done so, but we never had too many problems sneaking up behind enemies and shooting them in the back, meaning that they rarely had a chance to return fire, meaning that the single suit of armor and single Front Evade up in the corner were enough to get us through any rough spots. The Miscellaneous slot in the lower-left corner can be used for anything you need to use for a specific mission, such as a Card LV. 2, a Uniform, or a Mine Detector.
Anyway, this is just a sample equipment setup that we found useful; feel free to tweak your own setup to suit your own favorite weapons.
Stage 01: Lobito Laboratory - Outside Gate
Make Your Way Inside the Lab Through the North Gate
Alright, it's Snake's first big mission since whatever his last mission was! Time to get under way.
Now, you're going to have to get into the north gate here somehow. Unfortunately, the guard stationed in front of it doesn't move...but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.
We're not kidding when we say that the card system that MGS:A uses is a bit confusing at first glance, so feel free to make an immediate in-mission save by hitting X when you have a hand of cards and selecting System - Save. This will boot you out to the main menu, but you can immediately get back to where you were by hitting the Continue button. This will help if you manage to supremely screw something up here, and it's easy to do so when dealing with the guard at the gate.
First, though, we should find some easier prey and get a taste for killing. Head up the road to the north, then take the eastern path when it turns and start heading to the southeasternmost building on this map. Almost any card can be used for movement, but try to select cards with low Cost, such as Boxes and Rations, whenever possible. If you have weapon cards in your hand, then you'll want to save one or two of them for attack purposes, so be sure not to use all of them up in movement.
There's a single guard in front of the southeastern building. He doesn't move and doesn't turn around at all, making him a perfect target for our first kill. If you walk up beside him and face him, then you should be able to use either a SOCOM, FAMAS, or Cyborg Ninja card to dispose of him without a sweat. Killing soldiers doesn't cause them to be alerted to your presence, luckily, although they will obviously go into alert mode if they survive your fire and get back up (which is unlikely when firing at this extremely close range).
With this soldier out of the way, you can move to the door of this building and grab the MGS1 Pack inside. Each of these packs will net you three random cards from the classic Metal Gear Solid game for the Playstation after you complete the mission. There are three of them in total on this map, although you're best off only getting two of them, for reasons that will become clear shortly.
Getting To The Gate
When you have the first MGS1 Pack in your greasy little hands, start moving to the two buildings to the northwest, each of which has another pack inside it. . Note the positions of the three guards around this area. There's one that paces between the two buildings, another that's motionless near the truck to the east, and the gate guard himself. If you want to check and see how far each of these guys can see. The guard between the buildings is obviously not going to be able to see much beyond the corridor he's in, but the gate guard is capable of seeing up to full four squares directly in front of him, including the entrance to the northern building here, making it unlikely that you can get in there without distracting him away from his position. In our opinion, it's not worth bothering with the northern building's pack. It is, however, a simple matter to get inside the southern building and grab the pack there, since none of the guards can ever have eyes on the doorway leading in unless you alert them ahead of time.
When you have the pack in the southern building, head to the door and step one tile out of it, looking north. Wait for the guard to walk to the western end of the corridor between the buildings, then get behind him and shoot him with one of your weapons or attacks. Attacks deal more damage when they hit your target from behind or from the side, so any of your attacks should be able to off this guard without a problem.
With the guard between the buildings out of the way, all that's left is to distract or kill the guard at the gate. In order to do so, you'll first want to distract him away from his post by knocking on a wall. The best technique for doing this is to flatten yourself against the northern side of the northernmost building here, preferably on the western edge of that wall, then end your turn. When you have a fresh turn, you can knock on the wall (which doesn't require any cost or use up a movement card, since you can select it from the X menu), then run to the north east and hide behind the western guard tower of the gate. If you End your turn a few times until the gate guard's turn pops up, he should run past you to check out the corner, allowing you to run around the pillar and into the gate.
Now, you can kill this guard, but it's extremely tough to do so without getting mangled. He's got Ceramic Armor on which will absorb the first 80 or so damage that he takes, meaning that even a Claymore mine will bounce off of them without leaving a scratch. If you're deadset on killing him without setting off an alarm, then you'll need to lure him over to the corner of the building here and do as much damage as you can to him in a turn. If you've got an Action + card in your hand, now would be a good time to use it, since it'll let you make an extra card action each turn for ten turns, and thus let you use as many as three attack cards on the guard in a single turn. One theoretical sequence of actions would be to lay down a Claymore facing south on one of the tiles adjacent to the northern building, then knock on the wall next to it; this will lure the guard over the mine, which will blow him into the wall (and thus prevent the vicious knockback effect that might knock him backwards and away from you if he ran into the mine straight on) and deal 20% more damage to him, since it'll be facing his side when he runs over it. This won't be enough to kill him, so he'll still be able to get up and will probably spot you anyway, which will result in a large point deduction at the end of the mission, but you'll be able to finish him off with one of your other weapon or attack cards. The only way to really kill him without being Found, so far as we can tell, is to lure him over with a knock and then use a Cyborg Ninja card on him from behind, which slices through his armor and will always kill him in one blow. If you don't have one of them available, then it's best to just avoid him altogether and get to the gate to end the mission. If you can kill him, though, feel free to walk into the northern building here and grab the last MGS1 pack before heading out through the gate to end the mission.
Stage O2: Office
Find Gary Hiding in the North End of the Control Office
The office is going to be a bit more difficult than the Outside Gate area, if only because of the presence of the numerous security cameras in the area and due to the sometimes long guard patrols which will have you sitting and waiting for numerous turns until they get to a point where you can shoot them without being detected. The cameras actually aren't that big of a deal; they can never see you if you simply stay along the wall they're attached to and move underneath them. You can also just shoot them, of course; they're fairly weak.
To begin with here, head through the door to the northwest to grab the MGS1 pack before returning to the south and moving up the hallway to the east. The guard here patrols up and down the western side of the hallway, so wait for him to come down to the south then return north before coming out into the hallway and killing him. There's another guard in the western hallway here that you can kill if you want to avoid the cameras, but if you have a FAMAS, a better course of action is to just walk up the hallway until you're just outside of the cameras view (which you can check with your triangle bird's-eye viewpoint) and hit it with your rifle. This will disable it, allowing you to reach the northern door here without a problem.
There's another MGS1 pack off to the west here, near a barricade set up in the hallway. If you want to nab it, you'll have to take out the camera there. With it in hand, though, return to the eastern door and head through. Another guard awaits you, but he'll be facing away from you for a second, allowing you to sneak up behind him and pop him while he's unawares. After you maneuver through that room, wait at the door leading west for the last guard to either pace off to the east or return to you to blast him. One more MGS1 pack awaits you in the hallway here, so grab it before hitting the hotspot leading north.
Office - Screen 2
Alice will clue you in on the location of Gary when you reach this screen - he's "north." Thanks a bunch, lady.
Anyhoo, you'll have to head west as soon as you enter this area, as that's the only way to wrap around to the northern end of the offices, where Gary is. A guard will patrol the western hallway, which is also watched over by two security cameras. Wait just before you reach the end of the hall so that you're out of the guard's sight, then continually end your turn until you can walk out and use a FAMAS on him. With him out of the way, you can move up the hallway, avoiding the glare of the cameras, and into the room on the eastern side of the hallway.
As soon as you enter here, you'll come across a Patrol Bot. These guys are tough and have armor that will reduce all of your weapons' damage, but if you can kill it, it'll drop an MGS1 pack. It does have 70 life, though, so in order to take it down, you'll probably need to hit it with a Cyborg Ninja card (which automatically does 50 damage, regardless of armor) and either a FAMAS or a Claymore. A SOCOM and a FAMAS at close range will probably also be able to off it; it always faces west when it pivots in the middle of the room, so if you can get around to the eastern side, you should be able to ambush it from near the door there if you wait for it. If you can't kill it, just ignore it and monitor its patrol route to avoid it and reach the eastern door here.
A single guard patrols here; there's also another MGS1 pack on the southern end of this room. Avoid or kill the guard as you wish, then head north to meet Gary, an office employee who's been injured for failure to abide by the strict dress code of the facility. He'll tell you that Dr. Flemming has been taken to the residential quarters on the eastern side of the facility, so it's time for a Mission Change.
Mission Change: Escape through the east exit and head for the residential quarters.
You can't get through the door near Gary's hiding spot - it'll require a Level 2 keycard - so backtrack all the way back to where you first entered this screen, perhaps attempting to take down the Patrol Bot again if you didn't do so already, then head over to the western corridor, where you've no doubt noticed a pair of guards patrolling. The westernmost guard will come all the way to the southern corridor if you wait there, so do so and take him down from close range before sneaking up behind the eastern guard and killing him to clear the way to the exit.
With any luck, you should've found three or four MGS1 packs here, so even if you don't get a reward for being speedy, you'll have a few new cards in your deck to play around with. These will be displayed to you after the Mission Complete screen, so take a look at them and note any that you'd like to add to your deck.
With the Office behind you, the Card Shop will also be open for business in the Intermission screen. For the low, low cost of 600 points, you can buy MGS1 packs from it. Now would be a good time to save your game and spend as much money as you can on packs. Between what you buy and what you found in the Office, hopefully you'll get four copies of the cards you'll really want multiples of at this point in the game: the SOCOM, the FAMAS, and Genome Soldiers. Extra copies of Claymores and Action + would also be nice to throw in, but you probably won't need four copies of each of those.
You'll probably find a lot of character and other cards with the "Attaches To Weapon" attribute. Although they may seem powerful, you likely don't have any equippable weapons at this point, so avoid putting them in your deck for the moment.
Lastly, you'll probably get a tutorial on repeating missions after you complete the Office. Repeating missions will let you attempt them multiple times with different objectives, for the purpose of building up lots of points to spend on cards. You can go through the office multiple times, if you wish, but it's a long mission - it's best to wait until you get to the Minefields and do those as often as you like, since they can be done much more quickly and profitably.
Stage 03A: Ruins - Lower
With some fresh new cards in your deck, you can now access Stage 03A by selecting the Ruins - Lower section of the facility on your map. You won't be here long, but you have to go in before you can move on.
When you reach the gate leading into the ruins, walk to the east a bit past the stairs leading up. (You'll probably spot an MGS1 pack up on the second level of this area if you look around, but you can't reach it yet.) Roger will hit you up on the Codec and let you know that you'll have to find a way around the wall that the guards have positioned in the middle of the road here. Unfortunately, there is no way around it; all you can do is walk up to the square in front of the wall and face it (after killing off the guards and the camera nearby), which will start a conversation telling you that you'll need to find some C4 to get past the wall.
Mission Change: Return to the control office and head for the west armory
When you hear this message, you'll have to make your way back to the gate. Now, Roger will tell you something about returning to the intermission via your menu; don't get confused by this, as doing so will force you to play through this little mini-mission again. Just head back to the gate under your own power and
Stage 04A: Minefield - Lower
Take The Western Route Out
Now, as the name might imply, you can expect to find a few mines in this area. Before heading in, it'd be a wise idea to trade out some of your items for three or four Mine Detectors. When one pops up, you can select the Equip menu item to spot any landmines on your map, which is pretty handy.
When you first enter the map, head into the northern building to grab your first MGS2 pack. You won't be able to open it until the end of the mission, but hey - this mission is awfully short.
With the pack in hand, return to where you started the mission and start walking west. There are mines positioned on the eastern end of the crates and two spaces to the north of it, facing into the alley near the building, so stay on the northern edge of the crates to squeak through those. There'll be two guards rotating around the truck here, so do your best to take them out or avoid them. If you hit an alarm, then the gate through which you have to pass will close, so you'll need to either avoid detection or kill everyone to get back to Caution state for it to open again. There's an MGS1 pack on top of the truck, but you'll need to have the Climb card before you can get to it. Since you almost certainly don't, leave it be for now.
Now, you'll have noticed that this mission is really short. That's a good thing; it'll allow you to play through it multiple times and net yourself plenty of points. There are a number of random objectives that can be given to you, so that Snake will have to get through the level without being spotted, or kill all the enemies, or so on. The one that pops up here most often is to make it to the far end of the level without being spotted, which isn't too difficult to pull off. You can kill enemies to avoid their wrathful glare, so just eliminate guards without letting them see you and you should be able to get 2,000 points every few minutes. If you get the "Kill all enemies" objective and complete it relatively quickly, it's not difficult to get 2,500 points, which will net you an S rating and essentially a free booster pack, as well. Nice!
Stage 05: Armory
Get the C4!
Before you enter the Armory, be sure to remove the mine detectors from your deck - you're not going to need them inside the armory itself, as there aren't any mines within. Chaff grenades would be good to bring along, so add two or three of those to your deck if you happen to have them.
Instead, there are a bunch of guards with ceramic armor on, which, as you'll recall, will nullify the first 80 damage they take from any source, forcing you to deal 105 damage to kill them (since they have 25 health). Tough, yes, but not improbable. Most successful attempts to take them down in a single turn will involve using an Action + card to gain an extra action in a turn, then running up behind them and using either two FAMAS cards or a FAMAS and a SOCOM to blow them away. Alternately, you can wait until one of them is standing next to one of the red barrels in the hall and shoot that instead of them - this will do more than enough damage for an instant kill.
Keep in mind as you walk up the hallway here that the red barrels in the hall are not enough cover to protect you from the guard's sight; the second guard at the wester end of the hall will need to be avoided in one of the side corridors, then. It's the third guard that you encounter, though, that paces around in the southwestern corner of the floor, that'll give you the most problems, as he loves sitting in one spot, then abruptly walking, then rotating in place. If you wait on the eastern side of the obstacle for him to come towards you, then turn his back, you should be able to dart out and blow him away. Alternately, he'll be a worthy target for your Cyborg Ninja card when one pops up. When he's gone, walk up the steps to the second floor. If you wish, you can check out the rooms to the west and southwest to find two MGS1 packs, but you'll need to be on guard for more soldiers and cameras as you move around.
Be mindful of laser sensors, as well, such as exist in the small alcove between the northwestern and western rooms in this hallway. Stepping into one will send you into full alert mode. You can bypass them by crawling underneath their lasers.
Armory- Second Floor
The second floor of the armory will be your first introduction to the splendrous wonder of the Gun Cameras. These act like normal cameras - except, you know, with guns and all. Avoid their lines of sight, as they will completely destroy you if they happen to get eyes on you - they can do around 15 damage from the front or 18 from the side, will fire something like 8-10 times per volley, and will add one cost with each successful hit, allowing them to lock you up with high cost totals and get multiple volleys off before you can react. Ouch, in other words. Before you move around up here, it'd be a good idea to make an in-mission save and reload it immediately, to have something to fall back on if things go awry.
Now, if all you want is the C4, then you can easily get it by heading into the southwestern room here; it should be directly across from you if you came up the first steps that you came across on the first floor. Be careful heading in, though, as there's a gun turret on a wall inside. Be sure to cap it with a FAMAS or SOCOM before heading into its area of sight. With it out of the way, then you'll be able to enter the cage that the C4 is in, grab it, then get the hell out of the Armory. You'll have to head back the way you came; down the stairs and down the hall there.
If you want more cards, however, then you can find some by walking north through the easternmost corridor on this level. It'll be difficult to get through without chaff grenades; there are multiple gun turrets watching over the path, as well as a robot patrol bot in the northeastern corridor itself. If you can get through, though, then take the stairs down to the first floor again, you should find two rooms that you can enter. One contains another MGS2 pack, while the other will have an MGS1 pack behind a laser tripwire, so you'll need to crawl to it. If you don't want to get these now, feel free to wait and come back for them later, when you have the keycards required to get through the doors on the first floor that'll let you access them easily.
With the C4 in hand, you can now bust through the wall in the Lower Ruins, so head back that way.
Stage 03A: Ruins - Lower
Before you head into the Ruins, plop your C4 into your deck. You'll need to have the card in your deck to use it on the wall here. If you reach the wall before the C4 card pops up, then you'll just have to End your turn multiple times or Discard until it pops up. When it does, plop it down at the base of the cracked wall, then run away a bit and shoot it; no more wall.
Mission Change: Head For The Residential Quarters
When the wall goes boom, you're pretty much certain to be thrown into full alarm mode. Since there are three or four guards in the area, as well as a robot bot prowling the upper walkways here, the best thing to do is to just backtrack a bit and hide behind a wall while the guards come over to investigate. When the caution flag goes away, you can start working your way into the next part of the level and dispatching some of the guards.
Objects of note here include the MGS1 on the second level of walkways, near where you entered the level, and a rotating object near the steps past the C4-able wall. This is a Stinger card, which will home in on machines and detonate for a full 180 damage. You won't be able to use it immediately, of course; you'll need to wait until you clear the area.
If you're in the mood for combat, then you can actually get another Stinger card by heading up the ladder that the robot bot guards. Taking out the robot will be tough, however, as it has a good line-of-sight on most of the nearby approaches to its position. If you have a Chaff grenade, you can use that to run up to it and use weapons at close range, or you can just use your Cyborg Ninja card on it, then wait for it to pop up again after a deck reshuffle and use it again. If you can take it down and climb the ladders behind it, another Stinger card will be found in the little base at the top of the steps.
With your loot in hand, leave the ruins.
Stage 06: Residential Zone
Rescue Dr. Flemming
After the opening scene here, you'll have to start making your way through the buildings and proceed to the east. The guards here are notably tougher than the guys you've been facing off against thus far, as they possess 80 health and body armor that will protect them from a lot of damage beyond that. Action Plus will be a big help here, as they'll let you move in close, then punch and use FAMAS cards to blast away at their health. They can also see waaaay out in front of them, so be sure to check their line of sight before moving out.
There are four rooms in the first building you enter, with two of them possessing MGS1 packs. Each of the doorways here are guarded by laser tripwires, though, meaning that you'll have to crawl underneath the lasers to get to your precious prizes, then get back out to the hallway to kill the guard at the southern end of the hall. That's the easy part of the level, though, as you'll have to maneuver through a little walkway to reach the next building. The guard to the south of the walkway shouldn't spot you, but you may alert the northern one as you walk up; try to pause in the middle of the walkway, three squares up from the turn, and wait for him to walk north. This should get him out of range of where you'll watch him move every turn, allowing you to hopefully make it to the door to the eastern building here with a Genome Soldiers card and inside with any other movement card.
The corridor in the second building here has been blocked off, but the room just to the north of the barricade has an MGS1 pack in it if you want to crawl for it. To get through the building, you're going to have to leave through the northern exit and kill the guard prowling around. When he's out of the way, you can grab the Nikita Missile near the western building, then return to the ladder leading down to the ditch and climb down. If you then crawl underneath the steps to the middle building, you'll be able to reach another set of ladders leading up. There's another guard here, and a difficult one; he can sometimes use an Action Plus card himself, giving him an extra action per turn. If you can, use Cyborg Ninja to sap his health and an Action Plus card of your own before heading up to finish him off. If you happened to find a Psycho Mantis card, then you can use that to confuse him and give you a few turns to get close enough for the kill. This guard will drop an MGS2 pack when defeated.
With the guard out of the way, make your way across to the easternmost building and head inside to the terminal. Roger will start to read you a list of passwords to try, but before you can get cracking, the machine scans you in as one "Hans Davis." Hmm.... However mysterious this may be, you have security access to the building now, so feel free to check things out. There's yet another MGS1 pack in one of the rooms here, so grab it before heading to the southernmost room, where Flemming is located...and where you'll meet up with Leone for the first time.
Mission Change: Escape Through The North Exit
With Teliko by your side, you'll have to escape all the way to the northern exit from the residential area. Teliko acts just like Snake does, although she should have some new weapons to choose from, as well as the Level 1 keycard you'll need to get through the yellow door between you and the exit. She also has a permanent 3-card limit per turn, but she has lower overall health than Snake does.
Teliko's weapons are mostly of the Equip sort, which you probably still haven't had much experience with Snake. Equip weapons have to be equipped to Teliko's equipment boxes (or Snake's, when he gets some). When equipped, you can't use them automatically; you have to find another card with similar ammo and use that to load the weapon (also done with the Equip command). When a weapon is loaded, you'll be able to fire it as normal. Equipped weapons also have a reaction number in their descriptions; when a character with an equipped weapon gets hit by an enemy, that's the chance that the weapon will be used in a counter-attack. This is all horribly complex, to be honest with you, but for now, it's recommended that you just work your way to the exit zone as quickly as possible to leave the mission. Easier said than done, of course, as there are going to be a few soldiers in your way.
Getting To Know You...
Now that you have Teliko on your team, you are strongly advised to take some time and get to know how to use her equipment. Luckily for you, you can play through the Lower Minefield stage as many times as you like with minimal risk; if you get into trouble, just exit out to the Intermission and try again. Since you now have MGS2 packs available to you, you'll want to go through that mission a few (dozen) times to earn cash to buy a bunch of packs. There are a number of important cards in those packs, including what's arguably the game's most powerful weapon.
Equipped weapons are tough to get the hang of after the simplicity of dealing with the FAMAS. The real core of your decks for the rest of the game are going to be the cards M4, M4 (Laser S.), AKS74u (Laser S.), and Equipment Lv.2. These four cards, in appropriate numbers, are going to let you overpower pretty much any enemy that you see, without having to resort to any real trickery.
The first thing you'll need to do is stock a few Equipment Lv.2 into your decks. This will expand the number of equipment slots you have from two to four, allowing you to equip up to four items at a time. The most powerful configuration available to you is going to be like so:
|M4||Defensive Equipment (Body Armor, Front Evade, etc.)|
|M4 (Laser S.)||AKS74u (Laser S.)|
The reason you want to set your cards up like this is due to the red arrows that face down on the M4 and left on the AKS74u. When a card has a red arrow pointing towards it on the equipment setup, then all of its hits will do ten extra damage. Since, in this setup, the M4 (Laser S.) will have two red arrows pointing at it, each of its shots will do an extra twenty damage. Since it already fires eight times for 10 damage each hit, after setting all of this up, you'll wind up with a weapon capable of doing 30 damage eight times during each volley, with a 90% hit rate over four blocks, meaning that each volley will do an average of 216 damage each volley. And that's just against opponents that are facing you; if you can get behind a foe, you'll do 45 damage a hit, averaging out to 324 damage! (Of course you'll rarely actually do all that damage, due to the fact that most enemies will only take two or three hits before keeling over.) Compare this to the FAMAS, which does an average of 90 damage from the front or 135 from the rear.
Anyway, when you have the cards set up as outlined as above, what you need to do is wait for another M4 or M4 (Laser S.) to pop into your hand, then get into range of an enemy, select it from your hand, choose Equip, then move it over the M4 (Laser S.) in your equipment slot. (The M4 can be used to fire the M4 (Laser S.) since it uses the same ammo.) Instead of saying Equip or Replace, the command will change to Loading; if you select this option, you'll be able to fire the M4 (Laser S.) you have equipped and kill pretty much anything you spot.
The major drawback to this setup is the fact that the M4 (Laser S.) has a green and blue arrow pointing up and to the right. Each of these arrows takes off 10 ATK per hit, and since the M4 has only 10 ATK and the AKS74u has only 5 ATK, both of their attacks will be reduced to zero, meaning that they won't deal any damage at all if they get used as a reaction or if you want to fire them during your turn. This is bad, sure, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and the ability to pump your laser-sighted M4 up to triple its original ATK is well worth the trouble it'll cause for your other weapons.
Now, ideally, you're going to want to get both Teliko and Snake at least three copies of each of these weapon cards, but this is going to require you to buy a whole lot of MGS2 packs. All of these cards are at one or two ranks of rarity, meaning that they'll pop up fairly often. The sticker is the Equipment LV. 2 card, which appears as a three-rank rarity card in MGS1 packs, meaning that it'll be tough to come across. Assuming you're running a 30-card deck, you're going to want to have at least a couple of them in each character's deck to ensure hitting it relatively early in a round, with three being even more preferable.
Whether or not you want to run a bunch of Lower Minefield missions over and over (and over) again to earn the cash required to buy a billion packs of MGS1 and MGS2 cards is up to you. The FAMAS is still going to be suitable, but you're going to start coming up against tougher enemies than the ones you've been facing thus far, so it'll rapidly be outclassed by the defenses of your foes. It's well worth making a start on collecting the cards that you're going to need now, as it'll make the next few missions that much easier.
Lower Minefield Repeat Missions Mini-Walkthrough
One of the quickest ways to make a lot of points in MGA is to repeat the Lower Minefield mission over and over again. If you blast through the three enemies here as quickly as possible, you can earn 2500 points in just a couple of minutes.
Lower Minefield Repeat Missions are almost exclusively going to be of the "wipe everyone out" or "get to the destination without being seen" variety. The former option should be self-explanatory, but it can be difficult to get to the far edge of the screen without being seen. If you want, you can just exit to the intermission each time you get a stealth mission, but if you want to proceed with the sneaking about, there are some things you can do to help you proceed.
First of all, you have to know where the mines are. Running through the level with a mine detector a couple of times should be enough to let you remember where they are; otherwise, you're going to have some nasty surprises as you attempt to make your way through. After you get their positions down, though, you're going to have to make your way through the level without being seen. You can shoot people, if you wish, but it'll be difficult to take them one down without setting off an alarm or alerting the rest of them to your presence.
The trick here is to have a plan for getting across the screen without being spotted and while eluding the soldier's lines of sight as they run their routes. The basic idea here is to move either Snake two blocks to the west or Taliko three blocks to the west with a low-cost card, so that their next turn comes up again quickly. (This will have them standing immediately next to the first brown crate.) This will trigger the two guards near the truck to run the first leg of their routes. After the character's turn comes up again, have them use Genome Soldiers or another movement card to get near the gap underneath the truck, and have them enter crawl mode at the end of that movement, then use another card to get underneath the truck.
When you're underneath the truck, guards cannot see you, even if you shoot them without killing them. Take this opportunity to off the guard on the western side of the truck, then wait for an opportunity to either make a break for the exit, or sneak out and kill one of the other guards. If you have any Stealth cards from the MGS2 pack, you can also equip them while hiding under the truck, then crawl out from underneath and run for the exit; no one will be able to see you, and thus you'll be able to clear the mission without killing anyone, almost guaranteeing an S-ranking and 2500 points.
Stage 07: BRC-026
BRC-026 is going to be the longest mission you've yet come across, so be sure to head in prepared. It's going to go a lot more smoothly if you run some missions in the Lower Minefields and buy more MGS2 cards, but it's still doable without.
Your first task here is going to be to get across a large storage room filled with mercs and explosive barrels. Exploding a barrel while a merc is standing right next to it might sound like a good idea, but it's a surefire ticket to getting a full Alert going on, so it's best to avoid it if possible. What we found helpful was to sit around at the beginning of the level getting Teliko's weapons set up, then creeping along the left (western) wall to reach the northern end of the room. A robot bot does patrol the northwestern corner of the room, but if you approach from the south, it doesn't seem to ever look down; it just hits the corner, then pivots back to face east, allowing you to wait for it there and pound it from the side. From there, you should be able to turn the corner and head towards the northern door and escape into BRC-026 proper.
Time to find Flemming! In order to do so, though, you're going to need to split your team up. The doors on this screen will only open while one of your characters is standing in front of a lock panel, which is generally going to be a good distance away from the door it controls. You can test this out by moving Teliko or Snake into the room to the west of your starting position, killing the guard there, then moving them to the control panel in the northeastern corner of the room. They have to be standing on its west side to open the door near where you entered the level, and they have to remain standing there until your second character moves through the eastern door, or it'll shut again, leaving you back at square one.
With your character in the western room holding the Security A door open, move the second character (it doesn't really matter who goes where) into the eastern room, kill the guard there, then step in front of the Security B door. While you remain there, the first character can move out of the western room and back to the central corridor and move north. After you move past the Security B door, head east into the room there, which has both A and B security consoles. You'll need to use the A door first to get the second character back to the beginning of the screen, then move to the B so that he or she can move north to meet up with you.
When your characters have linked back up, move into the western room here with one of them and trip the security on the Security C door, then move the other character into the northern hallway, where another C terminal awaits. Using this terminal, you'll be able to link your characters up for good. With that happy occurance out of the way, move into the northernmost room of the screen, kill the guards, and head out to the next screen.
Only one of the doors in the first hallway here is openable, so head to it and in. After killing the guard, you can flip the Security D terminal to allow your second character access to the eastern room. The guard in said room doesn't move, so you'll need to flatten yourself against one of the boxes in the room, then knock and move behind the second set of boxes to nab the guard from behind. With that out of the way, you can trip the E security at the terminal, allowing your first character to move south.
After killing the guard here, head to security terminal D to free your second character to move back to the central corridor, then use the F terminal to bring him or her up to the corridor leading east. In that corridor, there's a small sideroom with another F terminal, so place the second character there, allowing your first character to come along the same path and eventually link up with the second.
With that out of the way, all you need to do to clear the screen is head along the hallway to the east. You'll come to another small room with a guard in it. Check the room here for an MGS2 pack before moving on.
If you want, you can try and take a potshot at the soldier marching around below you as you enter this level; it'll be one less enemy to take down later on. He's easiest to hit with a FAMAS, as are the two soldiers in the room to the north. You'll have to struggle through your awful framerates here - which are going to be an unfortunately frequent occurance - and take down the two guards to make your way back to the first floor. Head south from there to the room you entered the level in, grab the two MGS2 packs, then continue south to the room with the ladder leading to a duct. In order to end the level, move Snake to the base of the ladder. A hugely weird and long cutscene will follow, at which point you'll return to the intermission. Bizarre is too mild a word for it.
Boss Fight: Leone
Now, after you complete the fourth screen, you're going to have another opportunity to return to the intermission, buy cards, go on point-building missions to the Lower Minefields, etc. or do anything else you'd like to before you move back to BRC-026 to take on Leone. This is going to be a tough mission to equip for, because you're going to need some specialized equipment to take on Leone, but you're also going to want to have the normal suite of weapons required to take out soldier enemies.
Leone is a tough customer. He's got 1,000 hit points, has a 100% chance to avoid any gunshots coming at him from his front side, can't be knocked down, and wields a rifle that can pop a character for around 90 damage from the front side in a single shot. He also packs grenades that he'll chuck at your character from a good range away, is immune to most status effects like Psycho Mantis' confusion, and can see through stealth fields. If he's within melee range, he can also strike your character to knock them down and destroy their equipment. He's a heaping helping of fun, in other words.
You're going to be well encouraged not to take him on directly. You can, in theory, attempt to use one of your characters to lure him along, then have the other character sneak up behind him, shoot him in the back, then run behind some cover, but we found it very difficult to do all this without getting set up for an undodgeable grenade attack. Instead, we found it most helpful to try and keep your characters roughly together, spaced out so that a grenade can't hit both of them, and to set down Claymores behind you so that he walks over them. If he hits them head-on, he'll take 100 damage, whereas a side impact will net you 120 points of hurt. What's more is that hitting a Claymore will usually result in the automatic end of Leone's turn, even if it doesn't knock him down.
The trick here is that you're going to have to keep a box between you and Leone at all times, since he can hit you with something approaching 100% accuracy at a range of 8-10 blocks. Leone can combine a movement of four or five blocks with a firing action, so you'll have to ensure that he won't be able to see you when he rounds the corner, or he'll eschew getting close in favor of blasting you with his massive gun. It's going to take a little practice to get used to laying mines in such a way that you can relatively guarantee that Leone will step over them, so don't feel too bad if you have to whip back to the intermission and start over.
The second method of reliably and safely damaging Leone is to use Nikita remote-controlled rockets. You should've had the opportunity to pick up at least two of these by now, with one coming in the Residential Area, and they can really do a number on Leone. When fired, you'll be able to guide them by remote towards Leone from around corners. If you can manage to hit Leone with a Nikita, then it should blow for at least 120 damage, but the real kicker here is that he'll catch on fire and burn. At the start of his next few turns, he'll take a large amount of damage from the burning effect which will add up over time and probably finish him off, if you Nikita him when he's down to around half life. We managed to catch him with a Nikita that also set off a nearby explosive barrel, resulting in an initial hit of 120 damage from the Nikita and 180 damage from the barrel. The next turn, he took 60 damage from the burning, and the turn after that, over 200!
Said explosive barrels are also great ways to deal massive amounts of damage to Leone, but the big drawback to them is that you're going to have to be within line of sight to hit them (unless, of course, you're using a Nikita). Snake will thus require the use of an Action+ effect to come out from cover, blow the barrel, then duck back behind cover. Explosive barrels will also cause Leone to burn, giving you some of that delicious damage-over-time effect that you'll come to know and love.
Recommended Deck Layout
For Leone, you're going to want to have both of your characters have a deck layout that includes the following cards.
- Nikita Missile (If you have two, give each character one.)
- Ration x2
- Claymore x3 or 4 per character
- Cost -8 (If you have any, distribute these amongst your characters. They'll help a great deal in ensuring that their cost at the end of a turn is low enough to run away from grenades before they explode.)
- Front Evade Lv. 2 (If you happen to not be able to move far enough to avoid Leone's shots, these will give you a 75% chance to evade them, so pack a couple.)
- Action+ (You'll probably want to go ahead and pack four of these into Snake's deck, to ensure that he always has four moves a turn.)
In addition to these, you're also going to want to keep in five or six movement cards, as well as 9-10 equippable weapon cards for dealing with the soldiers that pop up after Leone goes down.
If at all possible, try to ensure that both of your characters, or at least Snake, have been healed up before you deal the killing blow to Leone. After the 1,000th point of damage is dealt to him, you see, you'll automatically be warped to another screen with around 10 soldiers on it, in high alert mode, whom will automatically start rushing towards your characters with the aim of slaughtering them both. This is about as cheap a situation as you'll encounter in MGS: Acid, so enjoy it while it lasts. You weren't able to save during the Leone fight, so go ahead and make an in-combat save, then reload it. This way, if something goes severely wrong during this fight, you won't have to fight through Leone again to get back here.
If your characters had a high cost before they killed Leone, then you're probably going to get shot at a few times before you even get a turn. (Like we said: cheap.) One soldiers will actually spawn behind your characters, giving him a free shot at Snake's back. What's more, a couple of the soldiers here are actually able to use the Cyborg Ninja card, letting them do 50 damage to your characters from across the screen. Cheap!
You won't be able to do much except take the initial volleys. When you gain control of your characters, begin moving into the room to the west of your starting position, where only a single guard is stationed. If you can take him out, then your characters should be able to hide in the little corridor between the two desks. In point of fact, the best place to hide is on the northern end of this room, near the security console and two spaces to the west of it, so that neither of your characters are visible to any of the soldiers as they come up the gap between the desks. This will let your characters jump out from their hiding spots, fire once, then get back behind the northern edge of the desks to hide again. Luckily, the enemies here seem to be pretty reluctant to press the attack that far into the room, meaning that they'll take up a position near the southern end of the desks and then just wait there for turn after turn, giving you plenty of time to set up your weapons or wait for your rations to pop up before killing them off.
When you do manage to take down all of the soldiers on this screen, head to the escape circle to the north to finally complete the mission. After you return to the intermission, you'll be greeted with the appearance of the Single option in the card shop, which will let you purchase single cards at exorbitant costs. The Liquid Snake card is likely to always be among the initial offerings, so if you have 100,000 points, go ahead and buy it. Hah.
Not much has changed since before the fight with Leone, but you may have noticed that you have the Card LV.1 and Card LV.2 cards in your inventory now; you picked them up when Teliko came over to your team. If you recall, both the Office and the Armory levels had locked doors that you weren't capable of getting past. If you wish, you can return to those levels and attempt to enter the doors to find out what's on the other side. If you do so, just leave the level if you get one of the "avoid being spotted" missions and try them again, as those are a bit too difficult to really bother with for the purposes of getting to and entering the locked rooms, especially in the armory.
To use a card, you'll need to equip it in one of your equipment slots. When this is done, though, all you need to do to get through a locked door is stand next to it. The northern end of the second screen of the Office level contains a Level 2 locked door that hides a room containing a Mosin Nagant sniper rifle, which is kind of useless since you don't have any cards with which to load it. Most of the locked doors in the Armory contain new card packs, but note that you're going to be heading into that area again pretty soon for a real mission, so you may just want to wait until that happens to get the packs.
Stage 03B: Ruins - Upper
Head West to the Drawbridge
Note the presence of a laser tripwire immediately to the north of where you begin here; if you head through it, all of the guards in the level will start gunning for you, so be sure to stay away from it. In addition to the human guards, there are a pair of Cypher UAV's in the area, as well as a robot bot, so you'd be well advised to put either Stingers or Chaff Grenades into your deck before coming in. If you can disable them, then the human opponents shouldn't be too difficult to get through.
Stage 08: Drawbridge
Cross the Drawbridge
Before you head into this level, be aware that Teliko's going to be leaving your team for a few missions, so if she has any critical items in her deck, take them out and replace them with fluff like Chaff Grenades and SOCOMs. Snake will want to have a couple of Front Evade LV. 2's in his deck.
When you enter the screen, send Snake up to retrieve the MGS2 pack from next to the little hut while Teliko runs across the bridge. Be sure that he's actually grabbed the pack before she hits the bridge, though, as when she gets a few squares into it, a cutscene will begin.
Mission Change: Head for the Shed in the South.
After Teliko's crossed the bridge, be sure that Snake has everything he needs to take on a few soldiers by himself, by which we mean a well-stocked equipment block with the usual assortment of M4's, M4 (Laser S.)'s, and a Front Evade LV. 2, as well as a hand stocked with a few M4's and at least one ration. If you need to sit around discarding stuff, go ahead and do so. You'll also want to have him with at least three and preferably four Rest per turn, thanks to Action+ cards. When everything's set, head down to the shack.
Mission Change: Exterminate Enemy Soldiers
After the shack gets blown away, you're going to have to deal with another cheap-o challenge, as four enemy soldiers will pop in and start running and gunning for you. There isn't going to be anything you can do to them except kill all of them, which is going to be difficult, seeing as how you're completely boxed in. If you're considering laying down mines all over the place before you cross the bridge, well, don't: we tried it, and they all disappear after the cutscene with Teliko finishes. A worthy idea, though.
Instead, you'll have to deal with these guys the old-fashioned way. Unfortunately, much of your equipment will be countered away due to the opening volleys from the soldiers, so if you want alternate modes of killing the guards, considering putting in grenades, Nikita missiles, and the good old FAMAS into your deck before heading into this mission. You might also want to load up on four rations, which, thanks to the fact that the AK's that the guards are wielding only do five damage a hit, should make you pretty much unkillable.
When the guards are out of the way, head to the path leading west and take it to end the mission.
Stage 04B: Minefield - Upper
This being a minefield, you can expect to find a few mines in the area, so you may want to pack a mine detector. There's only one soldier that's close enough to the start point to move, and he won't spot you on his route, so feel free to take a few turns to load yourself out before charging up the map. The guards are somewhat dense, so before you make your move, try to use a couple of Action+ cards to give yourself four moves a turn.
Stage 09: Ebro Tower
Mission: Infiltrate the factory and take out Clown
It appears that someone named Le Clown was the one responsible for impersonating Teliko all this time, and she or he is apparently holed up in Ebro Tower. In order to get the Pythagoras data back, you'll need to head to the top of the tower and confront Le Clown.
Mission Change: Search for an enemy soldier's uniform.
In the first area of the first screen, grab the MGS1 pack, but watch out for the gun turret above it. When you attempt to move into the next room, you'll witness two soldiers killing each other - apparently they've been ordered to kill anyone entering their field of view that's not wearing the appropriate uniform. Your goal after witnessing this little slaughter is to find appropriately-colored uniforms and use them to avoid alerting the guards. Since there are three uniforms, and this is a multi-screen mission, you may want to drop back to the intermission and put an Equipment LV 3 card into your deck to give yourself an extra five equipment slots to play around with.
If you have any moves left after witnessing the cutscene, head out into the main area and kill the red guard there; he'll spot you in the doorway if you end the turn first. Note that the guards here have Front Evade LV 2 cards equipped; you'll need to take them down from the side or behind if you want to be sure of hitting them. You can find two uniforms in the room to the west, with the third in the room to the east.
Mission Change: Get out of the Factory!
With the uniforms in hand, return to the Factory entrance and exit the level. Do as you're told and put the uniforms and at least one C4 card into your deck.
With that done, head back to Ebro Tower and start infiltrating it. Note that you don't necessarily have to use the uniforms in your deck; if you can get the drop on a foe and shoot him from behind, feel free to do so. If you get the 3x3 equipment going, though, it's a good idea to have at least some kind of uniform on at all times. It doesn't hurt anything, and may protect you from an enemy that spots you before you spot him.
In order to reach the northern side of the first screen, you're going to need to head into the eastern room, where you obtained the blue uniform, and crawl through the duct there to reach another little storage area. From there, you'll be able to walk across the northern edge of the room here and reach the stairs leading up. If you can catch the green soldier walking away from you, then shoot him in the back; otherwise, just ignore him and head into the southwestern room on this floor, where there's a computer console that will clue you into a small room blocked off in the northeastern corner of the main hall. To get there, you're going to need to kill the soldiers on the walkway. (There is an MGS2 pack that you apparently need a Climb card to get to; if you can't reach it, don't worry about it.)
Across the way from the walkway is another room that you'll need to pass through. The guard here is blue, so if you have a blue uniform, feel free to put it on. He'll be impossible to see with your aerial view, but you can mouse over him to at least see what squares are in his line of sight, which will let you know when you can sneak up to him and kill him from the side or from behind. Pick up the MGS2 pack here (watching out for the tripwire alarms) before heading out to the walkway again and using your C4 to blow the northern end of the wall. This will lead to another intermission sequence before the next boss fight, so be sure to save your game.
Boss Fight: Teliko
Track Down Clown and take back Pythagoras
Teliko is a mildly tough boss. Although she possesses fewer hit points than Leone, she's going to be able to move more quickly across the battlefield, and is going to be laying down a bunch of mines everywhere she goes. In point of fact, there are a bunch of mines already on the playing field when you enter it, so be sure to pack at least a couple of Mine Detectors in your deck before you head inside.
Teliko isn't quite as difficult to take on as Leone was, thanks to the fact that she can be knocked down and attacked from the front. She does start the level with one Front Evade LV. 2 card equipped, but if you can get around that by attacking her once. Thus, she won't require a lot of specialized equipment; your normal M4's and M4 (Laser S.)'s should be enough to do the job, especially when you take into account the special features of the playing field. Luckily, you're going to have plenty of time after you start the level to equip yourself out, since the boss fight doesn't begin until you head down the nearby hallway and into the room there. If you want to cut down on your deck size, then, feel free to use only one Equipment LV2 and one Equipment LV3 card and cycle through your deck before heading into the boss fight room to use them both. Also be sure that you've used a couple of Action+ cards and have equipped a Mine Detector before heading in.
When you reach the "Dream Town" set, you're going to have to take on Teliko - the real one - in mortal combat, because, you know, helping each other out of the area would be too sensible. The caveat here is that there are plenty of mines scattered about, as we mentioned, and that there are certain colored spots on the ground that can be used to temporarily power up yourself, or Teliko, if she steps on them.
- Green: Increased HIT rate.
- Blue: Increased DEF (for equipped armor, presumably.)
- Yellow: Dumps hand and draws new one.
- Red: +10 ATK on all your weapon cards.
Now, the key location in this fight is going to be the top of the little central hill, near where Teliko starts out. Using your mine detector, you can head right from the entrance and wrap your way around and up to the top of the hill, where you'll have all four types of squares available to you. When you've surmounted the steps, you can shuffle your way back and forth from the red and yellow squares as you need to, or just hide on the blue square in an attempt to lure Teliko up to you. If you can pop off her Front Evade card, then stand on the red square with a few rifles in your hand, then you should have enough power to pop her a few good ones, assuming you've set your hands up properly. We found it fun to wait on the blue square for her to come up, then pop her with a Nikita Missile while she stood on the ramp. Since she often uses up all of the cards in her hand before the end of her turn, any kind of fall should add a Faint effect to her, allowing you to run to the red square and blast her repeatedly over three turns, until she gets up again. That should just about polish her off. Punching her may also add Faint, as well.
Stage 10: Rope Bridge
Destroy All Enemies
As soon as you enter this area, you'll be kicked right back out; you're going to need sniper rifles in order to take out the UAV's watching over the bridge, and you can only find them in the armory. Add both Card LV 1 and Card LV 2 to your decks and head inside.
After the cutscene that introduces the ACUA troops to the cause, you'll need to start heading upstairs to find the two PSG-1's that you're looking for. If you wish, you can sweep through the first floor, opening all of the level one and two locked doors there for more packs of cards. There's even an MGS3 pack in the northwestern room with the level 2 door!
When you're on the second level, you'll need to make your way behind one of the level 2 doors there to find a cage that holds two PSG-1's, but watch out for the gun camera on the wall in that room. After taking out the gun camera and grabbing the PSG-1's, head to the other Level 2 door on the second floor and head inside to find another pair of PSG-1's, which should give you enough of them to guarantee that you'll have enough ammo for them to assault the UAVs on the rope bridge. If you wish, you can also head into the Office level, where there's a Mosin Nagant sniper rifle for you. It does 250 damage a shot, but only fires once, and has only a 60% accuracy, meaning that you'll probably have to pack a Scope card if you want to hit things with any accuracy. The PSG's should be fine for the purposes of taking down UAVs, though.
When you have the PSG-1's in one of your character's decks (it's best to put all four of them into a single deck rather than spread them out), head back to the Rope Bridge level and get to work. The primary concern here is going to be the grey UAV on the western side of the screen, which will start floating towards your position as soon as the level begins. Whomever has your PSG's will have to start quickly looking for two of them, one to equip, and one to fire. You can't hit the UAVs without a sniper rifle, unfortunately, at least not until they get very close to your characters, at which point they'll have already spotted you and will likely have sounded an alarm. Chaff grenades are also going to be irrelevant here, as your goal is to kill all of the enemies, not just get across the bridge, although you can use them to pause the movement of the UAVs while you cycle through your deck in an attempt to find your sniper rifle cards.
So, yeah, basically all you can really do here is attempt to cycle through your deck until you pop up a pair of PSG-1's, before the grey UAV comes along and spots you. This may require a couple of restarts, but eventually you'll be able to pull it off. None of the other UAVs run routes that seem to put them in a position to see you, so long as you stay in your starting squares, so with the western grey UAV out of the way, you'll be able to safely sit back and discard, discard, and discard some more until you come across enough PSG cards to finish them all off. The character that's not using the sniper rifles can attempt to chip in with Stingers or RC missiles, but you'll have to be careful not to set off alarms, as that's a bad thing.
Stage 11A: Mountains
Take the Northern Route out.
The Mountains aren't necessarily difficult, although the path through the screen is a bit exposed, and watched over by flying guards. These guards can apparently be targeted by Stingers, if you wish to take some along, but an easier method of dealing with them is probably to just use your PSG-1s to do the dirty work from a long way away. They have a lot of health, though, so you'll need to pump up the power of your sniper rifles before taking aim, or perhaps use something like a Cyborg Ninja card to weaken them up.
If you do happen to set off an alarm, though, you can rest comfortably back near where you started the level, since most of the guards here have to take part in a pretty elaborate path to where you are before they can get in firing range, which will usually be long enough to recede the Alarm state so that they just retreat before they ever spot you. When you think that you've thinned the herd a bit, start moving around and using your sniper rifles to pick off the foes from long range before following the path up to the exit.
Stage 12: Outside FAR
Head for the thermal power plant
Although Leone recommends that you immediately head east when you reach the Outside FAR level, in order to infiltrate the power plant, you'll probably want to ignore him and instead start picking apart the guards in this area. Each of the little buildings here has a booster pack just waiting to be picked up, so it's worth reducing your overall score to start killing the soldiers and heading inside all of them to grab the booty. There are only three or four guards here, so it shouldn't be too complicated. When you have all of the packs, head to the eastern exit and leave.
Stage 13: Power Plant
Head for the Powerhouse control room
You're going to need either Nikita or RC Missiles for this mission, so be sure to bring along one or two of those cards before heading inside.
The first screen here is dense with enemies, all of whom have 100 life, albeit none with any equipped cards of any particular import, i.e. none of them will be able to dodge or use armor to reduce the damage from your attacks, save for a couple that have Front Evade Lv. 3s on. It'll be difficult to get through this area without raising an alarm, so feel free to sit back where you start and cycle through your deck until you get a 3x3 equipment area set up with all of the goodies available to you. When you're ready to roll, you can either sit back in the reception area and try to snipe out the guards to the north, or just set off an alarm and bring them all to you, which will hopefully clump them up enough to off them with remote-controlled missiles. When they're out of the way, restore your equipment, heal up, then grab the booster packs before making your way to the exit.
This is another dense screen, so be sure to make an in-combat save right at the beginning, then reload it and start moving out. The multiple levels and flights of stairs are going to make using your laser-sighted weapons somewhat difficult, so feel free to build up a stockpile of sniper rifles in your hand before you start taking down fools; none of them should see you in their initial routes, so you should have plenty of time to prepare to take them down before moving out.
Note that setting off an alarm here will likely force you to kill all of the soldiers, though, as the sightlines are pretty good, meaning that it'll be difficult to move the alarm phase back down to Evasion before soldiers spot you after killing one of them. Just situate yourself on the highest level of the room and wait for them to come to you.
Before you leave this room, be sure to rotate your decks and make some strong hands; there's going to be a pretty rough fight in the next screen.
You're going to enter this screen while looking at the backs of four soldiers, so be sure to immediately save your game and reload it - it's easy to get killed here. Before you go gung-ho and attempt to shoot all of these guys in the back, take a moment to check their equipment - all of them have Rear Guard LV. 3's equipped, meaning that the only thing you could possibly hit them at the outset with would be remote-controlled missiles. If you happen to have one, then feel free to use it; even if they all perform their first moves, you should be able to pound them in the back with it and kill them all instantly, leaving only the two guards on the walkways to deal with.
If you don't have any Nikitas in your opening hand, then all you really have to do is just wait a turn; each of the four guards in the square will move forward and out of the range of your observation, meaning that they'll just stand still while you cycle through your deck. When you've found a Nikita, just use it and slam it into their backs, killing them all. Fun!
Note the laser tripwires immediately to the east of your starting position; heading through there will cause plenty of problems, because the three nearby soldiers all have Front Evade LV3 cards equipped. It's best to try and stockpile Action+ cards for Snake, get him up to four moves a turn, then have him pop off as many of the soldiers from behind as possible. You can kill the western soldier first, so long as you hit him in the back and then dart behind cover; if one of the other soldiers sees him die, you'll go to Caution mode instead of hopping all the way to Alert.
When the soldiers are out of the way, you'll have to get to work on disabling the electrical floors. To do so, you're going to need to use either a Nikita or RC missile to glide over the northern floor, around the corner to the west, and into the small room where there's a control panel. Blowing it will disable the electrical floor, allowing you to pass over, but will also spawn another soldier in via the doorway behind you, so be sure to be on guard for his appearance.
After you're clear to move up the formerly-electrified floor, feel free to do so. Note the doorway near the end of the floor, just as it's beginning to ramp up; inside you'll find a Chronicles pack. When you reach the large room in the southwestern corner of the area, you're going to have to fire another remote missile through the gap in its eastern wall, then guide it over to the eastern electrified floor and through the second gap high above it to destroy the control panel there. With that done, you'll have to walk back to the entrance and across the eastern floor until you reach the northern exit from the screen. As per usual, make sure you have decent hands before you step on the exit circles.
As per usual, you may want to go ahead and make an in-combat save before shooting anyone here. If things go really wrong, feel free to walk back a step and move back to the electrical floor room to leave your enemies behind. The problem with this room is the presence of a pair of robot dogs on the walkways, preventing you from using them to move north. In order to proceed, you'll need to take down one or both of them. If you wish, you can begin by sniping out the explosive barrels to kill off a pair of the guards, but if you're going to do this, wait a couple of turns until the southernmost guard walks into the area of the blast, then shoot them; this will leave you with only the robot dogs to deal with. In fact, killing off all three of the guards without moving from your starting position won't cause an alarm to be raised, allowing you to take on the robot dogs without any incoming soldiers to back them up. Either RC Missiles or more sniping will do nicely.
This is another level where you'll have to split your characters off to unlock doors, a la BRC-026. You're going to start out in the same room, though, allowing you to cause a bit of havoc, if you wish; setting off an explosion with a Nikita, or sniping out one of the soldiers and letting one of the others spot you when they come to investigate should sound an alarm, drawing in more of the soldiers and letting you kill them all, making the area a bit easier to proceed through. Otherwise, you can just cycle through your deck and wait for PGS's to pop up and use those to pick off the soldiers, or just head on through as normal. The laser-sighted weapons are going to have trouble finding targets due to the railings and elevation changes, so you may want to use a regular M4 and have it powered up with red arrows before you head out into the larger room.
There are two paths from the starting point; one via the western door and one via the east. The western character will have to head to their control panel first, allowing the eastern character to proceed into room A-01, where another panel awaits. It isn't critical to the passage of the western character, but instead will let you grab another Stinger, of which you probably already have plenty. Whether you want it or not, you'll have to move the eastern character forward to their next panel, and in that manner proceed through the room until you reach the control room on the northern end. Reaching it will finally end the mission and let you go over the many, many card packs you no doubt obtained during the mission.
Power Plant, Part 2
Work your way out of the powerhouse in the dark.
This is going to be the first time that you've had to fight in the dark. While you stay in dark areas, which is going to include pretty much all of the screens in the base, you won't be able to see enemies until they're three or four blocks in front of you. You can use Thermal Goggles, which are found in Chronicles packs, to extend your vision a bit, but we didn't find these to be too useful, as they wear off pretty quick.
You'll need to split off into separate raiding parties once again in the first screen. The fact that you can't see very far isn't too much of a handicap, as it affects your opponents, too; it does negate the range benefit of your sniper rifles, though (since you can't target someone you can't see), so you'll probably want to switch those weapons out for more standard choices like the M4. In fact, you may want to use the M4 over the M4 (Laser S.), as it will again have an easier time hitting enemies above and below you.
After you reach the second screen, you can immediately shoot the explosive barrels in front of you to kill off a couple of guards. You'll still have to deal with the third guard and the two robot dogs, though, so you'll want to be sure to enter the screen in tip-top health and with all your equipment in place. Note that the laser tripwires here are non-functional.
Note that the laser tripwires here are functional. If you have an RC or Nikita Missile in your hand at the beginning of this level, you may want to shoot it and guide it around the hallway until you get back to the entrance you used when you first came through; there should be plenty of targets for you to hit. There are more of the guards with shields in this area; don't forget that they only take half damage from frontal attacks. The other guards will mostly have Front Evade LV 3 equipped, so you'll have to be doing a whole lot of flanking if you want to ensure that your attacks land for full damage.
Both of the initial soldiers here have Rear Evade LV3 on, so be sure to attack them only from the side, or just use a Nikita to blow them both to hell. Be sure to come in with plenty of health and Front Evades or armor applied, though, as there are half a dozen enemies here that will all come charging at you when they realize you're there. Be sure to check their equipment before attacking, as some have Ceramic Armor, some have Evades, some just have a whole lot of life.
Mission Change: Eliminate all enemy soldiers
Uh-oh, real ACUA troopers! You don't have any choice here but to kill everyone in the area, but the ACUA soldiers are quite tough, so you're going to want to have M4's with at least two red arrows pointing at them before you engage any of the soldiers directly. Nikitas and RC Missiles will also work well. None of these guys seem to have Evades or body armors, though, allowing you to bust out on them without having to worry about pesky damage reducers. After they're all dead the mission is over.
When you're ready to infiltrate FAR, head to the Outside FAR area. You still won't be able to head in through the main doors, even if you do disable all of the gun cameras; instead, you'll have to work on finding the sewer access that Alice detected. The problem is that it's almost invisible, although it is in the northwestern corner of the map, as promised. To find it, head towards the northwestern building (it's labelled A-02, but so are most of the other buildings here). If you walk three blocks south and one block west from its entrance, you'll find the panel that conceals the sewer access to FAR; the beam of light from the nearby watchtower goes directly over this square. You may be able to notice some texture thrashing if you move the camera over this area, as well. When you find the panel, you'll gain access to FAR.
Stage 14: FAR
Head for the Metal Gear hangar
After the latest in a string of bizarre cutscenes, take a few turns in the starting room here to get Teliko and Snake properly outfitted. When you're ready to move out, start maneuvering through the halls, shooting out the gun cameras and robot dogs. Since all of the enemies here are electronical, feel free to use Chaff Grenades to confuse all of them while you pass by. If you've added any to your decks, the M15 Grenades from the MGS3 packs work well on these guys, since the dogs are often stationed within a couple of squares of a camera; just throw the grenade into a spot so that both targets will be caught in the blast, then shoot it with a gun to set it off. Voila, no more enemies.
Before you head for the exit in the south, you can find an MGS2 pack being guarded by a soldier in the northeastern corner of the screen. He has rear evade, so get around to his side before shooting him. After that's done, you'll need to disable the electrical floor on the northern end of the screen to unlock the door leading to the southern exit. There are three gun cameras overlooking the path to the duct that leads up to the electrical panel (be sure you hit the right thing; the panel is in the southwestern corner of the room; the control console to unlock the door is to the east, but you need to get a character across the floor to use that). Luckily, they don't seem to be able to spot the missile while it's in flight, so there doesn't appear to be any need to use a chaff grenade to disable them. This may be a function of just staying as far out of their way as possible, though, so you may want to snipe out the first one, then
After you disable the floor, you'll need to run down to the far end of it, disable the gun cameras, then climb the ladder to reach the lock. With the door unlocked, you'll then be able to return to the south side of the level and exit through the door.
The first thing you'll notice about the set of nine rooms here is that some of them are connected by destructible walls. If you've got C4, then great; if not, then don't worry about it, as you can make your way through the doorways. It's not as quick, but you'll be able to proceed at your own pace, unmolested by alarms. Be sure to check each room for card packs, as there are a number of them scattered around.
Stage 14-1: FAR: B3F
Uh-oh, it's time for another boss fight! This time you're going to have to take on Leone, again, but this time he's been drugged up, has more health, a new attack that causes bleeding, and three or four ACUA troops alongside him. You don't get any time at the beginning of the level to set yourself up for combat, so whatever you do, you're going to have to do it quick.
Luckily, you have the ability to customize your decks immediately before this fight, and the mission will end right after you take down Leone, so you won't have to worry about, say, getting ambushed by a dozen soldiers immediately after finishing him off. So, if you wish, you can go for the cheap kills with a ton of claymores, RC Missiles, and M15 grenades thrown at his feet and shot. Both of the latter two options will set him alight and burn him for mucho damage over the next few turns; just make sure he doesn't walk up next to you, as any close contact will also set you on fire.
You can feel free to take advantage of the new equipment you have to increase your survival rates here. The equipment in the Chronicles pack will likely be the most useful of the bunch, as the Bomb Blast Suit will protect you from all of the damage of one of his blows, and the Ration B3 or B2 will be big improvements over the old Rations in the MGS1 packs. The new movement cards in MGS3, as well as the Running Man from Chronicles, should greatly improve your ability to move about the battlefield.
You don't want to completely customize your deck to focus on just Leone, though, as you'll still have to deal with the ACUA soldiers at the beginning of the round. You may want to set up Teliko with most of your anti-Leone equipment and keep Snake on a relatively general-purpose deck, as many of the soldiers seem to go after Snake at the outset. The key for Snake will be to get to his Action+ cards as soon as possible, as he won't be able to do much offensively when he only has two moves per turn.
It's best to take on the soldiers first, and then go after Leone. Since each character will "wake up" from their Out of Action state a few turns after being killed, all you really need to do to ensure victory is to keep your characters somewhat far away from each other. If Leone manages to take one down, he'll have to travel across the screen to reach your other one, allowing the "dead" character to get back up, cycle through their deck for a ration, and get back into fighting shape.
After Leone goes down for the second time, you'll be able to move on to another sub-basement of FAR's.
Stage 14-2: FAR: B4F
Take out the guard who locked the door.
There are numerous guards in this room, which is another example of numerous walkways suspended over a lower floor, making it difficult to spot stuff with laser-sighted weapons. You have plenty of time at the beginning of the level to set up your equipment, so get your sniper set up with a double-boosted PSG before heading out onto the first turbine platform and starting to pick people off.
In order to get to the exit, you'll need to kill guards until you pop the one who locked the door, which will automatically swing open afterwards. The guard is probably random; for us, it was the guy with two submachineguns near the eastern ramp. There's an MGS3 pack in the western end of the room, near the first turbine, so grab it, if you wish, before leaving.
Stage 14-3: FAR: B5F
Figure out how Clown is disguised and defeat her!
Ruh-roh; it's Clown! After Teliko conveniently waits back at the door after your entrance to this room, Clown appears - made up as Teliko, of course. You'll always be able to tell them apart if you glance at their equipment, though, or if you use the triangle key and look at their life totals - Clown will start out with 800 health. At first you're going to be able to control both Teliko and Snake, but this is going to change as soon as the first turn is over; at that point, Clown will start chucking up flashbang grenades that can apparently confuse Teliko and force her to fight against Clown! She'll keep throwing these up, alternating Teliko between friendliness and hostility, but in any case, you're never going to be able to count on having Teliko to fight with, and instead should assume that she's going to be coming after Snake.
The big key thing here is to just do a lot of damage to Clown with your first strike, and it's especially important to ensure that your first damaging attack adds Burn to her. Since RC Missiles don't seem to force Clown to burn, your best bet is use a card like Gun Del Sol, The Fury, Pyro Bison, an M15 grenade, or something similar to get her on fire. Even if your first attack misses, she'll still start chucking up flashbangs, so it's imperative that you actually connect with that first attack. The reason for this is that she'll continue to throw up flashbangs each time she's damaged, meaning that Snake will have three or four turns to start building up his equipment while Clown is burning. This actually takes a lot of luck, though, since Clown has an Evade Lv. 2 equipped, meaning that cards like The Fury will usually miss. If you can manage to get an M15 grenade at her feet and shoot it, though, you'll be all set. If you can't, though, don't worry too much about it; just get Snake set up to start defending himself.
So far as decks go, you'll have to keep in mind that when Teliko is under Clown's control, she'll use any weapons in her deck against Snake. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to give her a deck without any real weapons in it, and make it mostly defensive in nature, with things like Bomb Blast Suits and lots of rations. For the times when she might be under your control, try letting her use RC or Nikita Missiles, which she doesn't appear to be able to use while under mind control. If you happen to get a ration and a remote missile in her hand at the same time, feel free to run up to Clown and use the missile at point-blank range; they'll both take damage, but at least you'll know that you can heal up Teliko the next time you regain control of her. Having Teliko out of action can also sometimes confuse Clown, in that she'll just stand around waiting and burning without moving or using her flashbangs. And, as per usual, Teliko will just get up after being dead for a while, allowing you to reload her hand and wait for her to get a movement card and a missile card in it at the same time, at which point you can bum rush Clown and fire again at point blank range.
So far as Snake goes, you have to keep in mind that Clown uses the XM16E weapon, which only has something like a 50% hit rate, but which will destroy equipment when it does hit. When compounded with your counters, you're going to have a hard time keeping weapons equipped because of this; we generally chose to eschew equippable weapons in favor of the old school FAMAS and SOCOM, which work extremely well when used alongside grenades of all types, especially the M15, since you can chuck a grenade at Clown's feet, then use the weapon card directly from your hand to shoot it. You're definitely going to want to have as many Action+ cards as you can, of course, along with a few high-powered rations and perhaps a Bomb Blast Suit or two. Since you won't be using many equip cards, feel free to take out your Equipment LV2 and LV3 cards.
If you pursue a general strategy of attempting to set Clown on fire, she'll burn through most of her health fairly quickly. After she goes down to around half health, she'll start magically creating a pair of drone Telikos that will also gun for Snake, but they only have 60 health and use the weak AK rifles, meaning that they'll only do 5-7 damage per hit with a 70% hit rate. In other words, they're nothing to worry about at all. What's more troublesome is that Clown will sometimes use a Ration to heal herself for 250 health, which can be annoying. If you keep the pressure on her, though, and use your own rations to heal up Snake when he's down, you should be able to burn Clown to death over time.
Stage 14-4: FAR: ???
Destroy Metal Gear
Well, it's time for the big climactic boss fight, against no less than a Metal Gear itself. After the nonsensical opening cutscene here, Snake and Teliko will find themselves split up, with Snake on the exterior of the Metal Gear attempting to blow it up, while Teliko is trapped in the belly of the horrible machine - and the machine is bleeding to death! Well, no, it's not, we just couldn't resist the reference.
Taking down the Metal Gear will depend on your knowledge of its attacks and abilities, and knowing the roles that your characters will each play. To sum up: Snake will do the hard work, while Teliko sits around fighting patrol bots. Although Teliko can nominally contribute to how the fight proceeds outside the Metal Gear, she's far better off just sitting around using Chaff Grenades to stun the patrol bots that roam around while attempting to heal up Snake with cards like Sacrifice, Survival Kit, and Handy Survival Kit.
Snake is going to have to assault the Metal Gear directly, so you're going to need to have lots of sniper rifles and Stingers to damage. He's going to have to put out around 2,000 damage to the Metal Gear's various parts before it keels over, which is obviously going to take a while, so you'll need to bring along plenty of rations and such to keep him in tip-top form. Besides weapons and movement cards, good support cards will include a couple of -Cost cards, as well as plenty of Action+'s. Here's our rundown of what we brought in with our character's decks:
- PSG-1 x3 (to equip)
- SVD Dragunov x4 (to fire the PSG-1's)
- Mosin Nagant x2 (to power up the PSG's with the left-looking arrow or fire them after they've been equipped)
- Stinger (MGS2) x4 (You can mix in MGS1 Stingers if you wish; they're functionally identical.)
- Action+ x4
- Ration B3 Unit x1
- Cost -12 x1
- Solid Snake (MGS1) x1 (This heals you for 500 life, but is a gold card. If you don't have it, add another Ration.)
- Gurlukovich Sld. X4
- Running Man x2 (Put in as many of these as you happen to have.)
- Jonathan Ingram x1 (-20 Cost)
- Ocelot Unit x3
Teliko's deck is a lot simpler, since all she really has to do is stun the patrol bots (which spawn infinitely) and heal herself and Snake whenever possible. We threw in some RC Missiles and M15 grenades as well, for destroying bots when you happen to run low on Chaff Grenades.
- Chaff Grenade x4
- RC Missile x4
- M15 Grenade x3
- Handy Survival Kit x4
- Survival Kit x4
- Bomb Blast Suit x4
- Ration B2 Unit x3
- Sacrifice x4
Tactics: Phase One
As mentioned, Snake is going to have to be doing the bulk of the damage here, while Teliko sits around in the control room of the Metal Gear and attempts to destroy the control consoles on either side of the area. These things are immune to most forms of damage, but if you stand in front of them and face them, you should be able to hit them with small arms fire, such as from the FAMAS. The benefit of this will be explained later, but rest assured that if you don't feel like doing this, you don't have to; it'll just make it slightly easier for Snake to accomplish his mission on the outside of the Metal Gear. Numerous patrol bots will be appearing in this area while she tries to destroy these panels, so all we had her do was continually pop off Chaff grenades to keep the patrol bots off her back, and use Survival Kits to heal up Snake when he needed it. The weapons in her deck are purely for amusement's sake, or for occasions when she doesn't happen to have a Chaff grenade in her hand or active.
So far as Snake goes, you're going to have to deal with Metal Gear on your own. The Metal Gear's first form will use eight missiles to pound the ground in front of it. What makes it unique is that it pays the cost for these attacks in the turn before they go out. You can get an idea for how this works by having Snake stand still during his first turn; on the MG's turn, it'll pop out the eight missiles, and pay ten cost. If Snake's turn comes up again before this cost runs all the way down, he'll be able to see eight red dots on the ground; this is where the missiles will hit. These have explosive radii, just like grenades, so you'll want to make sure you're at least two squares away from each of them when they hit. Even a glancing blow will deal 100 damage, and you can get caught in multiple blasts at the same time for compound damage. (If you can get Teliko to destroy the consoles inside the Metal Gear, then the arm corresponding to the console will have to skip a turn after firing its missiles, giving Snake a bit more time to maneuver or fire at it.)
The only surefire way to avoid these blasts is to ensure that Snake has a turn that comes up somewhere during the 10-cost countdown for the missile strike. For example, on your first turn of the battle, if you don't intend to move, then you'll want to be sure that you don't use cards with a total cost of more than 10, or else the MG will be able to arm its missiles and fire them 10 cost later without giving Snake a chance to move. If you take a turn with less than 10 cost, though, such as by equipping a single PSG-1 or discarding currently useless cards, then the MG will pay its 10 cost to target the missiles, but Snake's turn will come up before they actually fire, allowing him to analyze the targeting pattern and move, if necessary, to avoid the damage. If the missiles aren't going to hit, then feel free to use your weapons to strike at one of the MG's arms.
To attack the Metal Gear, Snake will probably need to move off to one side of his starting position, and perhaps a bit forward; he doesn't seem to be able to hit the Metal Gear's arms unless he's standing directly in front of them. In other words, there's a bit of a dead spot directly in front of the Metal Gear's central portion in which he can't aim at the arms, so you'll need to move a bit before you can start firing away.
When you get into a position from where you can hit the Metal Gear's arms, feel free to begin pounding on it with your Stingers and PSG-1's. Each arm will require you to deal 500 damage to it, but at the outset, at least, the Metal Gear will rarely move, allowing you to analyze its targeting, make any minor position adjustments you need, and use the rest of your turn to fire at one of its arms. When you kill an arm, it'll fall off, preventing the Metal Gear from firing any more missiles from it. At this point, you'll have to reposition yourself so that you can hit the second arm. The Metal Gear itself may move as well; if it manages to wedge itself into a corner, it can occasionally get into a position from which one of its arms is unhittable. If this occurs, just run into a position where it can't possibly hit you, and it will shift around to follow you.
When Snake hits both of the Metal Gear's arms, it'll shift and change into Phase Two.
Tactics: Phase Two
In Phase Two of this fight, the Metal Gear will shed its now-destroyed arms and begin taking on Snake with its massive laser. Its firing mechanism for this is somewhat similar to its rocket-firing animation, although a bit longer in duration. When it's ready to fire the laser, it'll hunch over on its side and enter into its animation. This will take up 20 cost, and will also cause four fuel rods to lock into place in Teliko's area. Now, if Teliko can somehow manage to shoot all four rods before the 20 cost countdown winds down, she can cancel the laser's firing, but this is nearly impossible to do, and isn't really necessary anyway.
The only time that Snake can damage the Metal Gear is during the 20-cost interval during which it's priming its laser; it's invulnerable to damage at all other times. The same techniques you used on its arms work well here, so fire off Stingers and sniper ammo at it while it's charging. It has 1,000 health, so you're going to need to hit it during multiple priming sequences in order to kill it off. Of course, this entails having Snake actually survive each laser firing.
Said laser does 300 damage, which can't be blocked with any kind of armor, and which damages everything in the hangar in front of the Metal Gear; it'll shoot out straight, then spread out side to side until it hits the walls of the hangar. In other words, it's undodgeable unless you're on one side of the Metal Gear. Of course, it's going to be difficult to get into a position where you can hit the Metal Gear's laser, then move around to its side to dodge the beam, but luckily for you, it's not really necessary to do so, if you constructed your decks properly.
What we're referring to here are the presence of Survival Kits in Teliko's deck. If you have four of each kind of Survival Kits in her deck, then she'll be able to use them from inside the Metal Gear immediately after Snake gets knocked down, thus alleviating some or all of the damage that he took from the laser. The key thing to remember here is that Snake does get knocked down by the blast of the laser, which will knock a card out of his hand; thus, you'll need to be sure that he has at least two cards in his hand before he gets hit by the laser, or he'll faint when he's hit and won't be able to do anything but lie there while his hand replenishes. The Metal Gear also has a patented crotch-gun that will zap Snake for 60 damage; big whoop.
So, the basic pattern here is to just let Snake stand in the middle of the room until the Metal Gear gets into firing position. While it's charging up its main cannon, use your Stingers and sniper rifles to blast it, then wait for the laser to hit. After Snake gets blasted, use either his own healing abilities or use Teliko's Survival Kits (it's relatively easy to stockpile these if you use Chaff Grenades to neuter the patrol bots and continually discard), and he should get back to full health with a minimum of difficulty. At this point, if you don't move Snake, the Metal Gear is unlikely to move, either; instead, it'll usually zap Snake for 60 more damage, then start going back into its charging animation, allowing you to just stand still and wait for more weapons to pop up into your hand. If you can keep Teliko from getting killed by the robot dogs (which shouldn't be difficult, since there's only one of them at a time, and they only do around 50 damage a turn), she'll be able to use all of her healing supplies to keep Snake in tip-top shape, and so long as he stays alive, it's pretty much impossible to lose this fight.
After you take down the Metal Gear, well, it's the end of the game. The climax of the story makes about as much sense as what preceded it - not much, in other words. After the tales of out-of-body experiences and mind control get done with, though, the credits will roll, after which you'll have the Card LV. 1 and Card LV. 2 cards stripped from your library, and the Solid Snake (MG) card added in. You'll be given the option to save your game at this point, and if you reload it again at the main menu, you'll be given the option to play through the game again with all of the cards that you've collected.
In addition to playing through with all of your cards, you can also decide whether or not you want to play through on Extreme difficulty. Extreme difficulty is about as tough as it sounds, as it'll easily double or triple the number of guards on each screen, and supercharge them with double health and huge equipment screens, sometimes outfitting them with seven or eight pieces of armor simultaneously. You'll need to be ultra-stealthy if you plan to get through the game on this difficulty, as it really doesn't cater to a guns-blazing style of gameplay.