ORANGEBURG, SC–Solid Snake, tactical-espionage expert and star of PlayStation's "Metal Gear Solid," questioned the nature of the universe Monday when, moments after his 11th death in two hours, a cruel God forced him to "Continue" his earthly toil and suffering.
"Is this all there is?" asked Snake, hiding in a storage locker while two masked guards searched for him in the hold of a cargo ship. "Is this why I was created? To suffer? Will I ever escape this endless loop of grueling labor followed by violent death?"
Snake was then discovered by the guards and cut down in a hail of gunfire.
Snake, who has been fatally shot 2,143 times in the past six months, said he does not know why God deems it necessary for him to endlessly repeat his mission, which involves sneaking aboard a hijacked military ship and discovering who stole the walking nuclear-equipped battle tank known as Metal Gear Ray.
"Why will the Lord not grant me my final rest?" asked a reincarnated Snake, crawling underneath a lifeboat on the ship's weather deck. "Certainly there must be a greater purpose for me than to kill dozens and eventually be killed myself."
Added Snake: "As Goethe said, 'Man must strive, and in striving he must err.'"
Pitching himself over the ship's railing to avoid a trio of patrol guards, Snake pondered the notion of self-determination, wondering aloud whether he had any control over his own destiny. Before he could draw any conclusions, however, he lost his grip, falling into the sea and drowning.
"The Koran asks, 'Shall not the Lord of all the Earth do right?'" said Snake, rematerializing under the lifeboat. "But scholars have often argued whether the question is an assertion of belief or a refutation of faith in absolute goodness on the part of the Creator. As for myself, all I know is, I'm tired of the constant pain, death, and destruction."
Snake was then shot in the head by an undetected guard, falling into a pool of his own blood before reappearing in the ship's afterdeck, where his mission began.
"I often wonder, as many video-game characters do, whether God forces me to Continue to punish me for my sins," Snake said. "After all, I've deserted the American military, killed hundreds of guards, and betrayed my would-be lover, Meryl Silverburgh, by submitting to torture in the alternate ending to the first installment of 'Metal Gear Solid.' But sometimes, like when I suicidally attack dozens of armed guards with only my bare hands, it seems that God is putting me through hell merely to amuse Himself. It just doesn't make sense."
According to Rev. Paul Flessing of Yale University's Divinity School, Snake's theosophical quandary is far from uncommon.
"We all wrestle with the Big Questions about the will of God and one's place in Creation," Flessing said. "But the important thing is to have faith and try to find meaning in one's life–or lives, as the case may be. We must remember the trials of Job, whose faith God continually tested. It seems Snake is going through something very much like that, with this constant pattern of 'Continues.' The purpose will become clear to him in the end."
Sidling along a companionway toward the ship's lounge, Snake considered his ultimate fate.
"What awaits me at the end of my lives' journeys?" Snake asked. "Is there a Paradise on the other side? Or will it all end in a full-motion video sequence that hints at a forthcoming sequel?"
The hallway then filled with nerve gas, fatally asphyxiating Snake.
God, also known as Orangeburg 11-year-old Brandon MacElwee, offered no comment on His greater plan for Snake, saying He was "too busy trying to get to the part with the knife-throwing Russian girl."