Puppet soldiers were Red Army or private military soldiers forcibly locked into mindlessly violent, zombie-like trances through the gases released by the Parasite Unit. For many soldiers, the mere presence of these Skulls could turn them to puppets.
The Skulls' ability to control soldiers through gases were similar to The Pain's ability to control insects through his pheromones.
On four separate missions in 1984 carried out by Diamond Dogs commander Venom Snake in both the plains of Afghanistan and the Angola-Zaire border region, the Parasite Unit would employ the use of puppet soldiers during their various hostile encounters with Snake. Any nearby enemy soldiers were possessed by the Skulls' malignant parasitic abilities, turning them into mindless zombies that viciously attacked Snake upon sight; essentially serving as "puppets" for the Skulls. This was done to provide somewhat of a backup force for the Parasite Unit, serving as foot soldiers that could overwhelm Snake and distract him from the Parasite Unit. Among the Zero Risk Security and Contract Forces of Africa private forces in Central Africa, a rumor held that puppet soldiers were the result of possession by the Kikongo god Nzambi.
Even after the Parasite Unit's disappearance, the aftermath of their destructive appearances left several outposts overrun with these zombie-like beings. At least one such group also cornered an escaped child soldier at Da Smasei Laman, before they were neutralized by Venom Snake (who came to retrieve the child).
Personality and traits
The puppet soldiers were identified by their deathly pale skin, whitened pupils, blackening around their eyes and mouths, slight sores near the neck, enlarged veins, and several small blue orbs emitting from their head. Even those with deeply tanned skin developed almost completely chalk white skin. The gases infused into a victim caused them to collapse, whilst they proceeded to convulse and contort as they they used new found flexibility to rise off the ground just by planting their feet on the ground and then bending forward. The soldiers' behavior and abilities borrowed quite heavily from the traditional zombie "clichés" in media, in which they mindlessly sauntered about in a zombie-like gait. They were incredibly durable, withstanding any attack so long as it didn't impact their brain, and would break out into an animalistic sprint upon spotting Snake, violently swatting at him, and would sometimes get a hold of him and tried to feast upon him. They flailed their arms as they ran and stumbled as they walked, both in similar ways to the Skulls. They are also as physically powerful as the Skulls, allowing them to overpower and near instantly injure even the likes of Venom Snake, making it seemingly impossible to defeat them while up close and without a weapon.
It was incredibly difficult to knock them unconscious using CQC or non-lethal weapons, three to four times as many attacks to knock them out with the exception being headshots. In the missions in which the Parasite Unit were faced, after they were defeated, all nearby soldiers revert to their normal state, albeit in a state of deep unconsciousness. However, as aforementioned, some of the infected were left over from the incident and still wandered outposts. Specifically, though the Skulls' control over them were severed after their respective battles, the side-effects of the Skulls' control caused their sanity to break down, resulting in them maintaining their zombie-like state and somehow their twisted superhuman physiology.
Behind the scenes
Although areas in "Eliminate the Wandering Puppets" has the normal soldiers removed, visiting soldiers that drive into the area are not affected by this. Also, if these soldiers see the puppet soldiers, they will faint on sight. Any puppet extracted will be restored to normal with the added bonus of most of them being awarded the Service Cross, which will boost all of their abilities.
The infected staff members in "Shining Lights, Even After Death" have similar appearances and behavior to the puppet soldiers.
Notes and references
- ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015).
Soldier: You ready to set off? // Truck driver: Anytime. // Soldier: What is it under the canvas, anyway? // Truck driver: You're better off not knowing. Besides, you'd violate our contract if you look. // Soldier: I've heard rumors... You think it's true that anyone who looks under the canvas will be possessed by Nzambi? // Truck driver: Do not look under the canvas.