Of all the confusing events that occur in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the reveal that Liquid Snake’s arm took over Revolver Ocelot’s body might be the hardest thing to understand. Especially since the secret behind the takeover isn’t fully explained until the end of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Under the name Liquid Ocelot, the two went on to orchestrate some of the biggest events featured in the series.
Like many elements in the Metal Gear Solid universe, the truth is more complicated than it seems. Revolver Ocelot is the double (and sometimes triple) agent of just about every organization in the series, all while furthering his agenda in the process. The events of Metal Gear Solid, which saw the cyborg ninja Grey Fox cutting off Revolver Ocelot’s right arm, left Ocelot in a tough spot. Down one arm but up one corpse of a clone of the best MGS3 soldier from the Cold War, Ocelot did the only logical thing and used Liquid Snake’s arm to replace his own.
When Ocelot and Solid Snake meet up again years later at the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 2, the ‘spirit’ of Liquid Snake emerges, possessing Ocelot’s body and taunting his brother with his apparent immortality. While the thought of spirit possession from an arm seems far-fetched, it was eventually confirmed that Ocelot’s father was The Sorrow, a boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and a soldier with the unique ability to communicate with the dead.
In the end, it is revealed that Liquid’s arm did not take over Ocelot’s body at all. Ocelot was not possessed, but instead used a cocktail of drugs, nanomachines, and hypnosis to create an alternate personality. Because Liquid’s personality manifested whenever Snake was near Ocelot, it appeared to be a spiritual possession. Revolver Ocelot went to these extreme lengths to throw off the trail of the shadow organization the Patriots. With the Patriots believing that Liquid was a minor threat, having already lost to Solid Snake years before, Ocelot was able to take control of much of the world’s private militaries with little interference.
In the lead-up to Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Revolver Ocelot removed Liquid’s arm in an attempt to fix some of the psychological damage he had done to himself. To keep up appearances, Ocelot had a cybernetic prosthetic with realistic skin that matched Liquid’s arm. He then allowed Liquid’s psyche to fully take over, embracing the new personality of Liquid Ocelot.
By tricking the world, and himself, into believing that Liquid Snake’s arm took over Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 2, Ocelot lost himself to a new identity. Ocelot’s original personality returns briefly before his death at the hands of Old Snake, telling him that they are both doppelgängers before finally giving his iconic finger guns and phrase, “You’re pretty good.“